Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details

Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details

US President Donald Trump on Saturday again denied that his presidential campaign colluded with Russian operatives, but made no comment on claims that he directly organized hush payments to ward off a possible sex scandal during his White House run.

Court filings from prosecutors in NY and special counsel Robert Mueller's office Friday laid out previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries and suggested the Kremlin aimed early on to influence Trump and his campaign by playing to both his political aspirations and his personal business interests.

Mueller's office also submitted a sentencing memo today for Cohen's other guilty plea from the end of November, where he acknowledged lying to Congress when he said negotiations with Russian Federation to build a hotel in Moscow had ended before the primary season kicked off in the spring of 2016 (they had not).

Prosecutors in NY, where Cohen pleaded guilty in August in connection with those payments, said the lawyer "acted in coordination and at the direction" of Trump.

Cohen pleaded guilty to financial crimes in a federal court in NY in August and last week pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a case brought by Mueller.

A separate court document filed Friday evening, in which Mueller's team argued that Manafort had breached a plea agreement by lying to them, also contained multiple references to his contact with Russian-Ukrainian political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik, although most of the details of those contacts are blacked out in the publicly available version of the document.

Prosecutors said the court's Probation Department estimated that federal sentencing guidelines call for Cohen to serve at least four years in prison.

Comey transcript reveals questions about 2016 campaign
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a review of the email investigation on June 14. So far, more than 30 people have been charged or pleaded guilty in Mueller's investigation.

The filings say Cohen made illegal hush money payments to two women - Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - ahead of the 2016 election to keep them quiet about their sexual encounters with Trump.

He spoke with Ali Velshi about the big takeaways from the new Robert Mueller filings on Michael Cohen and Paul Manaofrt.

The president also praised another associate, Roger Stone, for saying he wouldn't testify against him, and Trump said a pardon for Manafort isn't off the table. 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.

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.

Federal prosecutors said Friday that Cohen deserves a substantial prison sentence despite his cooperation with investigators. Though he has portrayed himself as cooperative, "his description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others", prosecutors said.

Yet on Wednesday Mr Cohen, for years Mr Trump's "fixer", will be sentenced for the crimes of bank and tax fraud, and for lying to Congress - for which he pled guilty.

They show the President's former attorney, Michael Cohen, acted on the President's direction, when he broke the law in two election-related crimes. Prosecutors wrote that Cohen had implicated Trump in the arrangement of hush-money payments to women during the 2016 election.

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