Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details

Pauline Gross
December 9, 2018

In the most telling part, the memo outlines an additional contact between Russia and the Trump orbit, in which Cohen told Mueller about a discussion he had with an unnamed Russian about setting up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a tweet Saturday, he said Mueller has failed to prove collusion after "two years and millions of pages of documents".

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 filing added.

Yet the most precarious legal situation for Trump appears to be separate from Mueller's inquiry: an assertion by federal prosecutors in NY that Trump directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to make illegal payments during the campaign to silence women alleging extramarital affairs.

"When you look at what the prosecutors did in the Southern District of NY they allege that Donald Trump directed two campaign finance violations". One Russian even offering "political synergy" with Trump's campaign.

Trump has denied any collusion with Russian Federation, and Russia has denied any interference in the US presidential campaign.

Manhattan prosecutors said in their sentencing filing that Cohen committed campaign-finance crimes "in coordination with and at the direction of Individual 1".

"In his interviews with the Special Counsel's Office and the FBI, Manafort told multiple discernible lies - these were not instances of mere memory lapses", Mueller's office said in the filing.

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"For these reasons, the office respectfully requests that this court impose a substantial term of imprisonment", they said, recommending that he be granted "a modest downward variance" from the 51 to 63 months in prison he is facing.

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and frequent defender of Trump, said Mueller appears poised to issue a report that will be highly critical of the president, though Dershowitz believes it will deal "more with political sin than a federal crime".

Prosecutors working for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY based in Manhattan asked a judge to impose a sentence that reflects a "modest downward variance" from the potential maximum of 63 months in prison that Cohen faces.

Dean, who was Nixon's former White House counsel, said on Erin Burnett OutFront that Cohen had "implicated Trump directly".

A heavily redacted court filing said that Manafort's "lies" included untruths about his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who U.S. officials suspect is a Russian intelligence operative, and about his contacts with Trump administration officials after striking a plea agreement.

"After cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress, and seeking to criminally influence the Presidential election, Cohen's decision to plead guilty - rather than seek a pardon for his manifold crimes - does not make him a hero", acting U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami wrote.

Mueller's office hinted that Manafort could be slapped with new charges, despite being convicted in August of eight counts related to his work with a pro-Russian political party. "Thank you!" after the court filings, the documents suggest that Trump may have known more about campaign and business contacts with the Russians than he has admitted.

Other reports by GizPress

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