Vox Sentences: Michael Cohen makes 33

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Michael Cohen gets a plea deal with Robert Mueller; Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt are raided over suspicions of money laundering.


Cohen and Mueller make a deal

 Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • On Thursday, former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen admitted to lying to Congress about continuing talks with Russia to build a real estate project in Moscow at the same time that Donald Trump was running for president. [NYT / Benjamin Weiser, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, and Michael S. Schmidt]
  • Cohen’s statement is part of a new plea deal he cut with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • This is the first time “Trump Tower Moscow” has been tied to Mueller’s probe. The revelation is potentially significant because it shows Trump was involved in business negotiations with the Kremlin at the same time as Russian spies hacked the email servers of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, an action that may have helped get him elected. [CNN / Kara Scannell, Pamela Brown, Erica Orden, and Stephen Collinson]
  • Shortly after Cohen’s plea deal was announced in court, the New York Times reported that Trump’s written responses to Mueller last week about attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign lined up with Cohen’s remarks, according to the president’s lawyers. [NYT / Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt]
  • Cohen previously pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance charges, but not until Thursday did he agree to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. The court filing, though, shows Cohen first meeting Mueller’s team in August, before he pleaded guilty to those first charges. [Forbes / Kelly Phillips Erb]
  • There’s evidence that at least 26 high-level Trump advisers and campaign operatives were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the candidate’s 2016 campaign and his transition. According to a report, Trump’s team has made more than 92 contacts with Russia-linked operatives to discuss and collaborate on issues ranging from election meddling to business deals, despite blanket denials by all involved that they had relations with the Russians. [The Moscow Project]
  • Cohen is the 33rd person Mueller has charged in connection to the Russia probe. FiveThirtyEight makes a case for why he’s the most important one. [FiveThirtyEight / Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux]

The Deutsche Bank links to the Panama Papers

  • Dozens of federal agents raided the German headquarters of the global finance powerhouse Deutsche Bank on Thursday in a money laundering investigation that reportedly involves more than $350 million. [NYT / Melissa Eddy and Amie Tsang]
  • The probe came about after leaked documents published as part of the Panama Papers (which detail private attorney-client financial information of thousands of offshore entities) linked the bank with tax havens used to shield wealth. [AP / David Rising and Frank Jordans]
  • Authorities are specifically targeting a Deutsche Bank unit based in the British Virgin Islands, which in 2016 alone processed more than $350 million. [FT / Olaf Storbeck]
  • It’s worth noting that Deutsche Bank has long served as President Trump’s biggest lender: It currently holds mortgages on some of his most prized estates, like his Doral golf resort and his luxury hotel in Washington, DC. [Mother Jones / Russ Choma]

Miscellaneous

  • The 2019 Sundance Film Festival received a record-breaking 14,259 submissions, and has selected its final 112 to compete next winter. [Deseret News / Court Mann]
  • Sylvester Stallone announced on Instagram that Creed II likely marks the curtain call for his famed character Rocky Balboa, whom he first portrayed on the big screen more than 40 years ago. [Twitter / Sylvester Stallone]
  • Fortnite, the popular online video game that recently surpassed 200 million subscribers, is apparently so addicting that many parents are sending their children to “video game rehab.” [TicToc Bloomberg]
  • Ever folded up your home and moved? A British company has built a prototype of a two-story expanding house that folds up within 10 minutes and can be trucked to any location. [Twitter / Tech Insider]

Verbatim

“I haven’t made a decision yet because it’s a long time off, but if I do do it, rest assured … If I do do it, Trump will not have a chance.” [Former pro wrestler and onetime Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is considering running against Trump for the presidency / Fox News]


Watch this: How a melancholy egg yolk conquered Japan

Gudetama, explained. [YouTube / Dion Lee and Alex Abad-Santos]


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