Trump nom­i­nates Rus­sia probe critic as new AG

Irish Independent - - World News - Ben Ri­ley-Smith WASH­ING­TON

MICHAEL CO­HEN, Don­ald Trump’s for­mer per­sonal lawyer and ‘fixer’, should serve a “sub­stan­tial” prison sen­tence de­spite co­op­er­at­ing with spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Pros­e­cu­tors in New York asked a judge to sen­tence Co­hen to a “sub­stan­tial term of im­pris­on­ment” for pay­ing an adult film star hush money on Mr Trump’s be­half, and for evad­ing taxes.

Co­hen pleaded guilty to the

charges in Au­gust.

He has been co­op­er­at­ing with Mr Mueller’s probe into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and Mr Trump’s 2016 elec­tion cam­paign.

Co­hen also pleaded guilty last week to a sep­a­rate charge brought by Mr Mueller’s of­fice that he lied to Congress about dis­cus­sions over the con­struc­tion of a pro­posed Trump Or­gan­i­sa­tion sky­scraper in Moscow.

In a sep­a­rate rec­om­men­da­tion yesterday, Mr Mueller said Co­hen should serve no ex­tra jail time for that of­fence.

Co­hen is sched­uled to be sen­tenced next Wed­nes­day.

Mean­while, Mr Trump an­nounced he will nom­i­nate Wil­liam Barr as at­tor­ney gen­eral af­ter he fired Jeff Ses­sions last month.

The role in­cludes over­see­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian elec­tion med­dling that con­tin­ues to blight his pres­i­dency.

Mr Barr (68) held the po­si­tion for two years un­der Ge­orge W Bush, the for­mer US pres­i­dent, and has voiced views on the Rus­sia probe and other key ar­eas which chime with Mr Trump’s stances.

There was also spec­u­la­tion that John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, could soon be on his way out, though there has been no an­nounce­ment yet.

Mr Barr’s ap­point­ment will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the Rus­sia probe be­ing led by Robert Mueller, the spe­cial coun­sel ap­pointed last May.

Ma­jor moves pro­posed by Mr Mueller, such as bring­ing crim­i­nal in­dict­ments, will have to be ap­proved by Mr Barr once he is in place.

What hap­pens to Mr Mueller’s fi­nal re­port will also be up to the new at­tor­ney gen­eral.

Pres­i­dent Trump yesterday hit out at Rex Tiller­son, his for­mer Sec­re­tary of State, call­ing him “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell” af­ter he crit­i­cisied the pres­i­dent in an in­ter­view.

Mr Tiller­son, who the pres­i­dent fired in March, had ear­lier claimed the pres­i­dent re­peat­edly wanted to vi­o­late the law, did not like read­ing, and was “undis­ci­plined”.

In re­sponse, Mr Trump tweeted yesterday: “Rex Tiller­son, didn’t have the mental ca­pac­ity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell. Now it is a whole new ball­game, great spirit at State!”

Michael Co­hen: Pros­e­cu­tors want him to serve a ‘sub­stan­tial’ term

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