Dec 12, 2018

Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen has been sentenced in a New York federal court to 3 years in prison on Wednesday on charges involving campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. He will report to federal prison on March 6.

The big picture: Cohen's sentence involves his plea agreements with prosecutors in both the Southern District of New York and the Mueller investigation, which took starkly different views on his cooperation last week. The New York prosecutors recommended about 4 years in prison, while Mueller's team had a more positive view, arguing that Cohen deserved credit for substantially assisting their investigation.

Cohen tearfully addressed the accusations in a courtroom statement just prior to his sentencing, saying, "I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to, the personal ones to me and those involving the president of the United States of America."

  • "Recently, the president tweeted a statement calling me weak — and it was correct but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds."

The disconnect between the Southern District of New York and Mueller's team was evident during the statements from lawyers from both teams. Jeannie S. Rhee, who works for Mueller, said Cohen provided "credible" information regarding "any links between a campaign and a foreign government."

  • Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos, part of the New York prosecutorial team, said that Cohen's "charges portray a pattern of deception, of brazenness and of greed." He added that they harmed "free and transparent elections, and in committing these crimes, Cohen has eroded faith in the electoral process."

Go deeper: What we now know about Trump and Russia

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 24 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins