Court deadlines set stage for more Russian Federation probe details

Court deadlines set stage for more Russian Federation probe details

In court filings, federal prosecutors in NY and those working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller made the case for why Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, deserved prison time.

Cohen also told prosecutors that 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, the filings say.

But he admitted to prosecutors "that his account was false and that he had in fact conferred with Individual 1", which is how Trump is identified in court papers. It never took place.

In the 40-page document Khuzami drew a direct link between Cohen's illegal behavior and Trump.

Trump immediately declared that he was vindicated.

Republicans argue that department officials were biased against President Donald Trump as they started an investigation into his campaign's ties with Russian Federation and cleared Democrat Hillary Clinton in a separate probe into her email use. "Thank you!" he tweeted.

But prosecutors gave him no such clearance.

In hours of meetings with prosecutors, Cohen detailed his intimate involvement in an array of episodes, including some that directly touch the president, that are at the center of investigations into campaign finance violations and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

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".

In November 2015, Cohen spoke with a Russian national who said he could offer the campaign "political synergy" with Russia and repeatedly proposed a meeting with Putin.

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"Cohen, however, did not follow up on this invitation", the filing added. In recent weeks, he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about efforts during the 2016 presidential campaign to get a Trump-branded tower built in Moscow.

Cohen, dubbed Trump's "legal fixer" in the past, also described his work in conjunction with Trump in orchestrating hush money payments to two women - a porn star and a Playboy model - who said they had sex with Trump a decade earlier.

And this time, unlike his early morning outburst in which the president seemed to be on the verge of panic, Trump confidently proclaimed that the new filings mean he is proven innocent and home free.

Trump frequently derides the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt".

NY prosecutors called for a "substantial" prison sentence for six offences, unconnected to the Russian Federation...

Cohen's crimes "were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life", they said.

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

The Manhattan feds noted Cohen's cooperation but said it was limited.

Cohen continued to provide "relevant and truthful information" to assist the probe, holding seven sessions with investigators, "many of them lengthy, and continues to make himself available to investigators", it said. But the NY prosecutors were unsparing in their descriptions of his conduct, saying he was motivated by "personal greed" and that he "repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends".

Federal law requires that any payments made "for the purposes of influencing" an election must be reported in campaign finance disclosures.

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