Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Cohen talked with Trump about meeting Putin during campaign

Cohen talked with Trump about meeting Putin during campaign

John Dean, a White House counsel under President Richard Nixon who received jail time for his role in the Watergate scandal, said Friday that allegations against President Donald Trump detailed in new court filings give Congress "little choice" other than to begin impeachment proceedings.

A court filing also reveals that Cohen told prosecutors he and Trump discussed a potential meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, shortly after Trump announced his candidacy for president.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations between Trump's business and powerful Russians about a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow, a building that ultimately was never built.

He said Trump had directed him before the 2016 election to arrange payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom alleged they had affairs with Trump. Nonetheless, neither Special Counsel Robert Mueller nor US attorneys have signaled in any way whether charges might be brought against Trump.

In a separate filing on Friday, Mueller's office said Cohen should serve any sentence imposed for that crime concurrently with the sentence imposed for the NY charges, saying he had gone to "significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel's investigation".

The memo was harsh on Cohen's payoffs of the two women, and sought to tie them to Trump's win, arguing that Cohen "coordinated" with the Trump campaign.

Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years.

Mueller said Cohen also shared information about his own contacts "with Russian interests during the campaign and discussions with others in the course of making those contacts". They bring the legal peril from multiple investigations closer than ever to Trump, tying him to an illegal hush money payment scheme and contradicting his claims that he had nothing to do with Russian Federation.

The court documents 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.

Prosecutors, who said Flynn's assistance was "substantial" and merited no prison time, disclosed that he had cooperated not only with the Russian Federation investigation but also with at least one other undisclosed criminal probe.

Donald Trump coordinated with Michael Cohen to commit federal campaign fraud, prosecutors state in a sentencing memo filed December 7 advising a substantial prison term for crimes to which Cohen has pleaded guilty.

In an additional filing Friday evening, prosecutors said former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to them about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials.

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.

The meeting didn't 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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