US prosecutors name Trump in hush payments, detail Russian contacts
08 December, 2018, 23:53 | Author: Wade Massey
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. They bring the legal peril from multiple investigations closer than ever to Trump, tying him to an illegal hush money payment scheme and contradicting his claims that he had nothing to do with Russian Federation.
On Saturday morning, Trump responded to the release of the documents on Twitter (in almost all caps, of course), saying, "AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!"
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. Prosecutors wrote that Cohen had implicated Trump in the arrangement of hush-money payments to women during the 2016 election.
In a series of Friday morning tweets, the president attacked individual law enforcement and intelligence officials by name and accused Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - the Justice Department official who appointed him - of conflicts of interest.
NY prosecutors, however, were far harsher in their assessment of Cohen's character, saying he should get only a modest reduction in an expected prison sentence of about five years.
Manhattan prosecutors said in their sentencing filing that Cohen committed campaign-finance crimes "in coordination with and at the direction of Individual 1".
Yesterday, Mueller said Cohen's false statements to Congress had "obscured the fact" that the skyscraper project held the potential to reap "hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources" for the Trump Organization.
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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.
The New York prosecutors said in their filing that Cohen should receive some credit for his cooperation with Mueller, but noted that he had not entered into a cooperation agreement with their office.
Mueller said that discussions about the potential Moscow development were relevant to the investigation because they occurred "at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the USA presidential election". Cohen did not follow up on the offer, the filing says. But he says it won't be complete until Mueller issues his report.
In late November, prosecutors revealed that Manafort had repeatedly lied to them but did not say about what. But the NY prosecutors were unsparing in their descriptions of his conduct, saying he was motivated by "personal greed" and that he "repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends".
Cohen continued to provide "relevant and truthful information" to assist the probe, holding seven sessions with investigators, "many of them lengthy, and continues to make himself available to investigators", it said. They said his sentence should reflect a "modest" reduction from the roughly four to five years they said federal guidelines would suggest.
"While Cohen - as his own submission makes clear - already enjoyed a privileged life, his desire for even greater wealth and influence precipitated an extensive course of criminal conduct", they said.
Due to his help, Mueller declined to recommend additional jail time for Cohen for lying to Congress.
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