US: Trump lawyer met Rus­sian of­fer­ing ‘po­lit­i­cal syn­ergy’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Chad Day, Eric Tucker and Jim Mus­tian

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer lawyer, Michael Co­hen, was in touch as far back as 2015 with a Rus­sian who of­fered “po­lit­i­cal syn­ergy” with the Trump elec­tion cam­paign and pro­posed a meet­ing be­tween the can­di­date and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, the spe­cial coun­sel said Fri­day.

Court fil­ings from prose­cu­tors in New York and spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s of­fice lay out pre­vi­ously undis­closed con­tacts be­tween Trump as­so­ciates and Rus­sian in­ter­me­di­aries and sug­gest the Krem­lin aimed early on to in­flu­ence Trump and his cam­paign by play­ing to both his po­lit­i­cal aspi­ra­tions and his per­sonal busi­ness in­ter­ests.

The fil­ings, in cases in­volv­ing Co­hen and for­mer cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort, cap a dra­matic week of rev­e­la­tions in Mueller’s on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into po­ten­tial co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and the Krem­lin.

They make clear how wit­nesses pre­vi­ously close to Trump — Co­hen once de­clared he’d “take a bul­let” for the pres­i­dent — have since pro­vided dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about him in ef­forts to come clean to the gov­ern­ment and in some cases get lighter prison sen­tences. One wit­ness, for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn, pro­vided so much in­for­ma­tion to prose­cu­tors that Mueller this week said he shouldn’t serve any prison time.

The in­ter­views with prose­cu­tors have yielded in­ti­mate in­for­ma­tion about episodes un­der close ex­am­i­na­tion, in­clud­ing pos­si­ble Rus­sian col­lu­sion and hush money pay­ments dur­ing the cam­paign to a porn star and Play­boy model who say they had sex with Trump a decade ear­lier.

In one of the fil­ings, Mueller de­tails how Co­hen spoke to a Rus­sian who “claimed to be a ‘trusted per­son’ in the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion who could of­fer the cam­paign ‘po­lit­i­cal syn­ergy’ and ‘syn­ergy on a gov­ern­ment level.’” The per­son re­peat­edly dan­gled a meet­ing be­tween Trump and Putin, say­ing such a meet­ing could have a “phe­nom­e­nal” im­pact “not only in po­lit­i­cal but in a busi­ness di­men­sion as well.”

RICHARD DREW — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Michael Co­hen, for­mer lawyer to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, leaves his apart­ment build­ing on New York’s Park Av­enue. In the lat­est fil­ings Fri­day, prose­cu­tors will weigh in on whether Co­hen de­serves prison time and, if so, how much.

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