Rus­sia of­fered Trump help in 2015 – lawyers

Manila Times - - World -

NEW YORK: US pros­e­cu­tors re­vealed Fri­day 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.

In a sep­a­rate case, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors de­manded “sub­stan­tial” jail time of be­tween 51 to 63 Co­hen for bank fraud and cam he plead guilty last Au­gust.

US At­tor­ney Robert Khuzami ac­cused the 52- year- old, who once vowed to take a bul­let for the pres­i­dent, of be­ing mo­ti­vated by “per­sonal greed” and of “re­peat­edly” us­ing his power and

“To­tally clears the Pres­i­dent. Thank you!” tweeted the US pres­i­dent cryp­ti­cally as tele­vi­sion net­works were con­sumed by the Co­hen doc­u­ments — which the White House dis­missed as re­veal­ing “noth­ing of value.”

- tions to which Co­hen pleaded guilty in Au­gust con­cerned hush pay­ments he made on Trump’s be­half to al­leged for­mer lovers of the pres­i­dent, in­clud­ing porn star Stormy Daniels.

Robert Mueller, the spe­cial coun­sel head­ing up the probe into Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 vote, fol­lowed up with a sep­a­rate fil­ing say­ing Co­hen had made “sub­stan­tial and sig mis­con­duct, ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions, and as­sist” the spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a thorn in Trump’s side.

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.

He had pro­vided in­for­ma­tion about con­tacts with Rus­sian in­ter­ests dur­ing the cam­paign, at­tempts by Rus­sians to reach the cam­paign and about con­tacts with “per­sons con­nected to the White House” in 2017-2018, the

Around Novem­ber 2015, launched his bid for the pres­i­dency and well be­fore pre­vi­ously re­ported con­tacts, Co­hen spoke to a pur­ported “trusted per­son” in the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion who of­fered the cam­paign “political syn­ergy” and “syn­ergy on a gov­ern­ment level.”

Co­hen said the per­son “re­peat­edly pro­posed” a meeting be­tween Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, claim­ing it could have a “phe­nom­e­nal” im­pact “not only in political but in a busi­ness di­men­sion as well.”

“Co­hen, how­ever, did not fol­low up on this in­vi­ta­tion,” the

The for­mer fixer last week pleaded guilty to ly­ing to Congress in con­nec­tion with a Moscow real estate deal, which was be­ing pur­sued as late as one be­came the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent.

Due to his help, Mueller de­clined to rec­om­mend ad­di­tional jail time for Co­hen for ly­ing to Congress.

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

They also sug­gest Trump and his fam­ily were in the loop on dis­cus­sions with Rus­sians on a Moscow project, even af­ter the real estate ty­coon se­cured the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion in mid-2016.

Trump’s spokes­woman Sarah - ings in Co­hen’s case, say­ing they “tell us noth­ing of value that wasn’t al­ready known.”

“Mr Co­hen has re­peat­edly lied and as the pros­e­cu­tion has pointed out to the court, Mr Co­hen is no hero,” she said.

But Mueller has been inch­ing ever closer to the White House, off a fever­ish vol­ley of tweets against a probe he dubs a “witch hunt,” ac­cus­ing Mueller of “big al­leg­ing the pros­e­cu­tor co­erced false tes­ti­mony from wit­nesses.

The com­man­der- in- chief vowed his lawyers would pro­duce a “ma­jor Counter Re­port” and when he de­liv­ers them.

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