1/ Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress, admitting that he continued to engage in negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow well into the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen previously said talks regarding the Moscow project stalled in January 2016, when in fact negotiations continued through June with Cohen traveling to Russia for meetings on the project. Cohen also told Congress that when the project allegedly stalled, he emailed Dmitry Peskov, a top aide to Putin, seeking help, but claimed he never received a response. That was also false. Cohen and Peskov discussed the project for 20 minutes by phone. Prosecutors also said that Cohen continued to have contact in 2016 with Felix Sater, a Russian developer assisting with the project. Cohen briefed Trump on the status of the project more than three times. In July 2016, Trump tweeted: "For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia." And, in January 2017, Trump told reporters that he had no deals in Russia because he had "stayed away." In exchange for pleading guilty and continuing to cooperate with Robert Mueller, he hopes to receive a lighter sentence. It's Cohen's second guilty plea in four months. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / ABC News / Politico / CNN / NBC News)

  • 📌 The Re-up: Day 221. Trump's company was pursuing a plan to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow while he was running for president. Discussions about the Moscow project began in September 2015 until it was abandoned just before the presidential primaries began in January 2016, emails show. The details of the deal had not previously been disclosed. The Trump Organization has turned over the emails to the House Intelligence Committee, pointing to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia and Trump associates during the campaign. (Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 221. Trump's business associate promised that Putin would help Trump win the presidency if he built a Trump Tower in Moscow. “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Felix Sater, a Russian immigrant, wrote to Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2015. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.” At the time, Sater was a broker for the Trump Organization and was paid to deliver real estate deals. (New York Times)

  • 📌 Day 221. Trump discussed a proposal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow with his company’s lawyer three times. The project was abandoned in January 2016 “from solely a business standpoint” and had nothing to do with Trump’s campaign his attorney Michael Cohen told the House intelligence committee. "I made the decision to terminate further work on the proposal," Cohen said. “The Trump Tower Moscow proposal was not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.” (Bloomberg)

  • 📌 Day 221. Trump's attorney sent an email to Putin’s personal spokesman to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower project in Moscow. Michael Cohen sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide, at the recommendation of Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman who was serving as a broker on the deal. "I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals," Cohen wrote. "I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon." The email marks the most direct documented interaction of a top Trump aide and a senior member of Putin’s government. (Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 221. Four months into the presidential campaign, Trump signed a “letter of intent” to pursue building a Trump Tower in Moscow. The involvement of then-candidate Trump in a proposed Russian development deal contradicts his repeated claims that his business had “no relationship to Russia whatsoever." The Trump Organization signed a non-binding letter of intent in October 2015. (ABC News)

  • 📌 Day 222. Michael Cohen said he didn't inform Trump that he had sent the email to Putin’s top press official asking for "assistance" in arranging a licensing deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. The Trump Organization attorney sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide, at the recommendation of Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman who was serving as a broker on the deal. Cohen said he never heard back from Peskov and the project never got off the ground. (Wall Street Journal / Politico)

  • 📌 Day 223. The Kremlin confirmed that Trump’s personal lawyer reached out during the 2016 presidential campaign requesting assistance on a stalled Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said they received Michael Cohen’s email, but the Kremlin didn't reply. Peskov said that he had seen the email but that it was not given to Putin. (Associated Press / Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 278. Trump's personal lawyer met with the House Intelligence Committee today. Michael Cohen emailed Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, during the presidential campaign seeking help getting a Trump Tower built in Moscow. Peskov said he never responded to the email. (NBC News)

  • Cohen is the 33rd person Robert Mueller has charged. (FiveThirtyEight)

2/ Trump called Cohen a "weak" and "not a very smart person" for cooperating with Mueller, saying his former lawyer is "lying […] to get a reduced sentence." For the fourth straight morning, Trump attacked Mueller's investigation, musing whether it will "just go on forever." When asked why Trump ever hired Cohen, the president replied: "A long time ago he did me a favor." (Politico / Washington Post / CNBC)

  • Trump: Rosenstein belongs in jail, because "he should have never picked a special counsel." Trump declined to say whether he would fire Rosenstein. (Politico)

3/ Trump's written responses to Mueller about building a Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign reportedly align with what Cohen said in court, according to Trump's lawyers. Rudy Giuliani attempted to explain why Trump would call Cohen a liar if they had the same understanding of the facts, saying: "Cohen has just told us he's a liar. Given the fact that he's a liar, I can't tell you what he's lying about." (New York Times)

4/ Trump abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Putin shortly after Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to Congress about his efforts to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. He cited Moscow's seizure of Ukrainian assets and personnel for the cancellation. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ Trump made several calls from a blocked number in the middle of the night to Roger Stone during the 2016 campaign. The call logs were turned over to Mueller and draw a direct line between Stone and Trump, which has rattled Trump's legal team and showed how closely the special counsel is scrutinizing their relationship. (Washington Post)


Notables.

  1. The Department of Veterans Affairs told congressional staffers that it will not reimburse veterans who were paid less than they were owed as a result of delayed or deferred GI Bill payments. VA officials promised the opposite earlier this month. The VA said it can't make the payments it owes without auditing its previous education claims because that would delay future payments. (NBC News)

  2. The Senate Judiciary Committee cancelled a hearing on judicial nominees as Jeff Flake's demand for a bill to protect Mueller continues. Flake is holding firm to his vow to vote against judicial nominees on the floor and in committee unless Mitch McConnell schedules a vote on the bipartisan special counsel legislation. (Politico)

  3. More than 4 in 10 companies plan to raise prices to offset the higher cost of production due to Trump's trade war. About 1 in 10 companies said the tariffs would encourage them to move more jobs offshore. (CNBC)

  4. Federal agents raided the Chicago City Hall office of Trump's former tax lawyer. It's not yet clear whether the search has anything to do with Trump, but Ed Burke did work for Trump for more than a decade, obtaining $14 million in property tax relief for the Chicago Trump Tower. (Chicago Sun-Times / Fortune / Vox / Washington Examiner / The Hill)

  5. Trump: "I miss New York." (Politico)