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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RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on stage at the conclusion of the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong legislature bans insults to Chinese national anthem

Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.