Closer legal peril for Trump in probes; he sees no collusion

Closer legal peril for Trump in probes; he sees no collusion

The special counsel and federal prosecutors in NY are filing court memos detailing the cooperation of longtime Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen, who has admitted lying to Congress and orchestrating hush-money payments to protect the president. "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.

The memo said while prosecutors agree that Cohen should receive credit for his assistance with the special counsel's office, since he chose not to be a formal cooperating witness, he would only get a modest reduction in sentence. Cohen admitted last week to lying to Congress by saying discussions about a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016 when in fact they stretched into that June, well into the USA campaign.

While Cohen implicated the president in the hush payments to two women - adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - in his guilty plea in August in NY, the filing on Friday marked the first time federal prosecutors officially concurred.

In new tweets yesterday, Trump accused federal investigators and senior officials of having conflicts of interest, without offering evidence.

The special counsel's office said Cohen had provided "useful information" about its ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as "relevant information" about his contacts with people connected to the White House between 2017 and 2018.

Trump also has focused his criticism specifically on Cohen, calling him a liar who is making up stories to convince the government to ease his sentence in the New York City crimes to which he's also pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors urged Pauley to hit Cohen with a $500,000 fine and forfeit his assets in addition to the prison sentence.

The filings, in cases involving Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, capped a dramatic week of revelations in Mueller's probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. These are all from New York's federal courts and are unrelated to the investigation of whether anybody in Trump's circle coordinated with Russian officials in their attempts to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election.

"Totally clears the president".

Around November 2015, some five months after Trump 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".

One defendant, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, provided so much information to prosecutors that Mueller this week said he shouldn't serve any prison time. Cohen did not follow up on the offer, the filing says.

Among other things, those documents indicated that prosecutors believe Trump ordered Cohen to pay hush money to two women he'd had affairs with to protect his presidential run.

In Manafort's case, prosecutors are expected to lay out what torpedoed the cooperation agreement he made when he pleaded guilty in September to two felony charges of conspiracy. Though he has portrayed himself as cooperative, "his description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others", prosecutors said.

The meeting did not take place.

However, in the crimes to which he pleaded guilty in August, he was motivated "by personal greed and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends".

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