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Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen Reaches Plea Deal; Paul Manafort Guilty On 8 Counts

With Meghna Chakrabarti

President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen strikes a plea deal. We’ll get the big picture on what this means for the Mueller investigation and the president. Also, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is found guilty of eight charges.

Guests

Paula Reid, White House, justice and legal affairs correspondent for CBS News. ( @PaulaReidCBS)

John Harwood, CNBC editor at large covering Washington. ( @JohnJHarwood)

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, professor of law at Stetson University College of Law. ( @ProfCiara)

Natasha Bertrand, staff writer at The Atlantic covering national security and politics. ( @natashabertrand)

From The Reading List

NPR: “ Donald Trump’s Longtime Attorney Michael Cohen Reaches Plea Deal With Feds” — “Donald Trump’s onetime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has reached a plea agreement with federal authorities, according to an individual familiar with the matter.

“Cohen is scheduled to appear in court in New York City on Tuesday afternoon but the details were not clear as to what wrongdoing Cohen might admit, what — if any — cooperation he might offer or what punishment he might finally face.

“Cohen, who worked for Trump on a range of real estate, political and personal matters — including payments to buy the silence of women who said they had sexual relationships with Trump — knows as much or more as anyone in the president’s inner circle.”

Washington Post: “ Manafort convicted of 8 counts, judge will declare mistrial in 10 others” —  “A jury has found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty after a three-week trial on tax and bank fraud charges — a major if not complete victory for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as he continues to investigate the president’s associates.

“The jury convicted Manafort on eight of the 18 counts against him. The jury said it was deadlocked on the other 10. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those other charges.

“Manafort was convicted on five counts of filing false tax returns, one count of not filing a required IRS form, and two bank fraud counts.”

The Atlantic: “ The Dramatic Conclusion to Paul Manafort’s Trial” — “When Paul Manafort’s trial on tax and bank fraud charges began over two weeks ago, it seemed like a slam-dunk case built on a straightforward paper trail that was unlikely to divide a jury. It was the first, and presumably the surest, prosecution to date by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. On Tuesday afternoon, just over halfway into their fourth day of deliberations, the jurors issued a stunning verdict that provoked audible gasps in the courtroom: They could not reach consensus on a majority of the charges, convicting Manafort on just eight of 18 felony counts against him.

“The split verdict was perhaps foreshadowed by the jurors’ request last week, in their first note to Judge T.S. Ellis III, for the court to redefine ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Still, the eight guilty counts could put Manafort in prison for up to 80 years, in a vindication for the special prosecutor and a setback for President Trump, who has for months been loudly denouncing the probe as a ‘witch hunt.'”

The president’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty yesterday, solemnly telling a New York judge that he acted “at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” Cohen’s lawyer was more blunt, saying “There is no doubt that Donald Trump committed a crime and, more than that, a cover-up of the crime.” Aftershocks still rumbling from yesterday’s double court bombshells: Cohen in New York, and Paul Manafort’s guilty verdict in Virginia. Is this a turning point in Trump’s presidency? Will it have an effect on the Mueller investigation? On Congress?

This hour, On Point: Cohen, Manafort and what happens now.

— Meghna Chakrabarti

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building, in New York,  Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.
(Richard Drew/AP)
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Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (Richard Drew/AP)