USA prosecutors name Trump in hush payments, detail Russian contacts

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 8, 2018

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.

President Donald Trump is marking what's expected to be a busy day for special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation by launching a Twitter broadside against the prosecutor and his team.

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. Prosecutors wrote that Cohen had implicated Trump in the arrangement of hush-money payments to women during the 2016 election.

"Totally clears the President".

The women claimed they had had affairs with Trump, and prosecutors now claim the payouts were made to silence them ahead of the 2016 presidential election in violation of campaign finance laws.

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 response to the two court filings made by federal prosecutors against Michael Cohen on Friday, President Donald Trump took to the internet.

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 had provided information about contacts with Russian interests during the campaign, attempts by Russians to reach the campaign and about contacts with "persons connected to the White House" in 2017-2018, the filing added. Cohen did not follow up on the offer, the filing says.

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

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.

"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 had been hoping prosecutors would make a similar recommendation in his case.

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".

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.

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

Mueller, for his part, praised Cohen for voluntarily providing information about his own and others' conduct on "core topics under investigation" and described the information as "credible and consistent with other evidence" they had obtained.

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.

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