Donald Trump 'tried to hold Putin talks in 2015'

Sergio Conner
December 8, 2018

Cohen and Manafort are among five former Trump associates who prosecutors have accused of lying either to federal investigators or to Congress.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer warned Barr must commit, under oath, that the Russian Federation investigation "will proceed unimpeded" and that the final report will be made available to Congress and the public "immediately".

On Saturday morning, Trump responded to the release of the documents on Twitter (in almost all caps, of course), saying, "AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!"

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.

Mueller said on Friday that Cohen repeated his false statements about the project in his first meeting with Mueller's office, admitting the truth only in a later meeting in September after he had pleaded guilty to the separate NY charges.

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.

Cohen also discussed a Moscow real estate deal that could have netted Trump's business hundreds of millions of dollars and conversations with a Russian intermediary who proposed a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as offering synergy with the campaign, prosecutors said.

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.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Friday that the Cohen filings "tell us nothing of value that wasn't already known".

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"Donald Trump has been implicated directly in campaign finance violations but it is not yet clear what these latest filings have to do with the Russian collusion investigation, if anything", Al Jazeera's correspondent Shihab Rattansi said, speaking from Washington DC.

One defendant, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, provided so much information to prosecutors that Mueller this week said he shouldn't serve any prison time.

The White House similarly dismissed that filing, arguing it "says absolutely nothing about the President".

The commander-in-chief vowed his lawyers would produce a "major Counter Report" to rebut Mueller's findings, as and when he delivers them.

"Mr Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court, Mr Cohen is no hero", she said.

"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. Mueller's memo says Cohen has met with the special counsel's office in seven different sessions to provide valuable information.

A heavily redacted court filing said that Manafort's "lies" included untruths about his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who United States officials suspect is a Russian intelligence operative, and about his contacts with Trump administration officials after striking a plea agreement.

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

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