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Prosecutors Expose Trump Hush Money Payments, Russian Contacts

09 December 2018

In response to the two court filings made by federal prosecutors against Michael Cohen on Friday, President Donald Trump took to the internet.

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 said probation officials recommended a sentence for Cohen of three-and-a-half years in prison. Cohen has pleaded guilty to false statements minimizing the involvement of then candidate Trump on the Trump Organization's "Moscow Project" and the timing of its abandonment. Trump tweeted Saturday morning, referring to the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Filings by prosecutors from both NY and the Trump-Russia special counsel's office laid out for the first time details of the cooperation of Cohen, a vital witness who once said he'd "take a bullet" for the president but who in recent months has become a prime antagonist and pledged to come clean with the government.

Cohen, though, did not follow up on the invitation, because he was already working on a Trump project in Moscow through a different person he believed to have Russian government connections, the special counsel's office wrote. He is to be sentenced next week, and may face several years in prison.

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. In doing so, they'll have to provide a federal judge with at least some description of the assistance he's provided to their investigations - the Russian Federation probe and a separate investigation led by the US attorney's office in Manhattan.

"Totally clears the President".

Trump says his campaign had nothing to do with them and he denounces Mueller's investigation as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt".

They said Manafort told "multiple discernible lies", including about his communications with a political consultant will alleged ties to Russian intelligence, and about interactions with Trump administration officials even after Manafort was first indicted in late 2017.

The White House similarly dismissed that filing, arguing it "says absolutely nothing about the President".

He said the most likely result of the Mueller probe is a long report that tries to piece together a "mosaic" that shows Trump committed "political sin, but not federal crime".

In Manafort's case, prosecutors are expected to lay out what torpedoed the cooperation agreement he made when he pleaded guilty in September to two felony charges of conspiracy.

The meeting did not take place.

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

Mueller said on Friday that Cohen repeated his false statements about the project in his first meeting with Mueller's office, admitting the truth only in a later meeting in September after he had pleaded guilty to the separate NY charges.

Prosecutors Expose Trump Hush Money Payments, Russian Contacts