Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Trump calls for Mueller probe to end following Manafort, Cohen court filings

Trump calls for Mueller probe to end following Manafort, Cohen court filings Trump calls for Mueller probe to end following Manafort, Cohen court filings
Jeannette Daniel | 08 December, 2018, 22:23

U.S. prosecutors have revealed that a Russian offered cooperation to Donald Trump's campaign as early as 2015, declaring that the president's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen had provided "relevant" and "substantial" help to the Russia investigation.

A court filing also reveals that Cohen told prosecutors he and Trump discussed a potential meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, shortly after Trump announced his candidacy for president. The document elsewhere identifies Individual 1 as Trump, and people familiar with the case said Chairman 1 is David Pecker of the National Enquirer.

The meeting didn't take place.

Trump claimed that the feds' filings vindicated him.

"In total, the prosecutors seem to be saying the president was more aware than he has claimed to be", former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said. "Thank you!" he tweeted.

Mueller said Cohen also shared information about his own contacts "with Russian interests during the campaign and discussions with others in the course of making those contacts".

The Russian "repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 and the president of Russia", Mueller said in the court papers.

The filings, in cases involving Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, capped a dramatic week of revelations in Mueller's probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

But Cohen didn't follow up.

Last week, Cohen made a surprise guilty plea to lying to Congress, a move that refocused attention on Trump's ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign. Prosecutors in NY, where Cohen pleaded guilty in August in connection with those payments, said the lawyer "acted in coordination and at the direction" of Trump.

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Cohen, dubbed Trump's "legal fixer" in the past, also described his work in conjunction with Trump in orchestrating hush money payments to two women - a porn star and a Playboy model - who said they had sex with Trump a decade earlier.

A key figure in the Watergate scandal has told CNN that the allegations against President Donald Trump contained in a court filing are sufficient for Congress to start impeachment proceedings.

Recent filings in the Mueller probe have suggested the White House knew that Cohen planned to lie to lawmakers about his contacts with Russians.

In a separate case, federal prosecutors Friday demanded "substantial" jail time of between 51 to 63 months - four to five years - for Cohen for bank fraud and campaign finance violations to which he plead guilty in August.

"But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life (and was evidently hidden from the friends and family members who wrote on his behalf)", it added. Trump singled out Cohen, accusing him of lying to get a reduced prison sentence.

"Cohen did provide information to law enforcement, including information that assisted the Special Counsel's Office", they said.

The documents offered a harsh explanation for Cohen's crimes, saying he was motivated by greed.

Trump had earlier said Cohen became his employee after he did him a "favor", without specifying what it was.

The special counsel and federal prosecutors in NY are filing court memos detailing the cooperation of longtime Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen, who has admitted lying to Congress and orchestrating hush-money payments to protect the president.

Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by then telling "multiple discernible lies" to prosecutors, they said.

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