Prosecutors: Substantial prison term for Cohen
Memo outlines Russia contacts, payments to women
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, the federal special counsel said Friday in a court filing.
Filings by prosecutors from both New York 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.
Federal prosecutors said Friday that Cohen deserves a substantial prison sentence despite his cooperation with investiga- tors. He is to be sentenced “multiple discernible lies” next week, and may face to prosecutors, they said. several years in prison. Cohen also discussed a
In hours of meetings Moscow real estate deal with prosecutors, Cohen that could have netted detailed his intimate inTrump’s business hundreds volvement in an array of of millions of dollars and episodes, including some conversations with a Rusthat directly touch the pressian intermediary who proident, that are at the center posed a meeting between of investigations into camTrump and Russian Presipaign finance violations and dent Vladimir Putin as well potential collusion between as offering synergy with the the Trump campaign and campaign, prosecutors said. the Kremlin. Cohen, dubbed Trump’s
In one of the “legal fixer” in the past, also filings, Mueller described his work in condetails how Cohen junction with Trump in spoke to a Russian orchestrating hush money who “claimed to payments to two women — be a ‘trusted pera porn star and a Playboy son’ in the Russian model — who said they had after Trump announced his Federation who sex with Trump a decade candidacy for president, the could offer the earlier. Prosecutors in New filings say. campaign ‘politiYork, where Cohen pleaded In a footnote, special cal synergy’ and guilty in August in conneccounsel Robert Mueller’s ‘synergy on a government tion with those payments, team writes that Cohen level.’ ” said the lawyer “acted in conferred with Trump
The filing says the meetcoordination and at the di“about contacting the Rusing never happened. rection” of Trump. sia government before
In an additional filing Despite such specific alreaching out to gauge RusFriday evening, prosecutors legations of Trump’s acsia’s interest in such a meetsaid former Trump camtions, the president quickly ing,” though it never took paign chairman Paul Manatweeted after news of the place. fort lied to them about his filings: “Totally clears the In an additional filing contacts with a Russian President. Thank you!” Friday evening, prosecutors associate and Trump adCohen also told prosesaid Manafort lied to them ministration officials. cutors that he and Trump about his contacts with a
Manafort, who has discussed a potential meetRussian associate and pleaded guilty to several ing with Putin on the sideTrump administration officounts, violated cials.hisplealinesoftheU.N.General agreement by then telling Assembly in 2015, shortly Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by then telling “multiple discernible lies” to prosecutors, they said.
Also Friday, former FBI Director James Comey spoke to House investigators behind closed doors for almost seven hours, grudgingly answering questions about the Justice Department’s decisions during the 2016 presidential election.
Comey, who appeared under subpoena, announced after the meeting that he would return for more questioning Dec. 17. Appearing annoyed, he said “we’re talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails, for heaven’s sake, so I’m not sure we needed to do this at all.”
A transcript of the interview, expected to be released shortly, “will bore you,” Comey said.
Two GOP-led committees brought Comey in as they sought to wrap up a yearlong investigation into the department’s decisions in 2016. Republicans argue that department officials were biased against Trump as they started an investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia and cleared Democrat Hillary Clinton in the probe into her email use.
Former FBI Director James Comey, center, talks to reporters after testifying in a closed hearing before House investigators dealing with investigations he oversaw.