Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump lashes out at Russian Federation probe ahead of expected new details

Trump lashes out at Russian Federation probe ahead of expected new details

Mr Mueller called for leniency for Michael Cohen, the president's former lawyer, in sentencing next week for lying to Congress about the timing of plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. 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.

Trump's series of early morning tweets came ahead of the expected filing of legal documents on Friday that could shed more light on how two of Trump's closest former aides have helped or hindered Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

The separate filings came from special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in NY ahead of Wednesday's sentencing of Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. 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.

"In total, the prosecutors seem to be saying the president was more aware than he has claimed to be", former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said.

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". "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.

Initially, Cohen said his September 2015 comments on Sean Hannity's radio show predicting a "better than likely chance" that Trump would meet Putin that week at the UN General Assembly were "spontaneous and had not been discussed within the campaign". He also provided information about attempts by Russian nationals to reach Trump's campaign, they said.

The filing says the meeting never happened.

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In fact, the filings allege Trump (referred to as "Individual-1") was heavily involved in his former personal attorney's illegal financial activities, and that when Cohen committed campaign finance violations to make a hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her affair with Trump under wraps, he did so "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump.

Trump repeated his criticism again on Friday and said on Twitter that his attorneys have already begun work on a rebuttal to Mueller in case the special counsel's report is damaging to Trump and becomes public.

Mueller also detailed alleged lies told by Manafort during interviews with prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"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.

"Cohen did provide information to law enforcement, including information that assisted the Special Counsel's Office", they said.

They said Manafort told "multiple discernible lies", including about his communications with a political consultant will alleged ties to Russian intelligence, and about interactions with Trump administration officials even after Manafort was first indicted in late 2017. 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". They said that "reflects Cohen's extensive, deliberate and serious criminal conduct".

Both the NY sentencing memo and Mueller's memo can be read here.

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