Russian Federation probe details 'lies' by ex-Trump aide Manafort

Marsha Scott
December 8, 2018

The White House said on Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller's filings earlier in the day on former longtime attorney for President Trump Michael Cohen and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort do nothing to damage the president.

"Totally clears the President", Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.

The explosive revelation came a week after Mueller said that Cohen had detailed to the Russian Federation collusion investigation ongoing contacts with a top aide to Putin on the real estate deal throughout the first half of 2016, even after Trump had secured the Republican presidential nomination.

It noted that Cohen cooperated with its probe but described his lies to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow as "deliberate and premeditated".

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. That meeting "ultimately did not take place", Mueller said.

In new tweets on Friday, Trump accused federal investigators and senior officials of having conflicts of interest, without offering evidence.

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The president has called Cohen a liar and "weak person". Cohen claimed that the remarks were off-the-cuff but later admitted that he discussed a potential, future meeting with Russian officials with Trump.

There is "no bigger warranty in any project than consent of (the president of Russia)", the person told Cohen.

In another ominous sign for the president, the filing Friday also said that Cohen had told the investigation about "certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation" that Cohen knew of because of his regular contact with executives in the Trump Organization during the 2016 campaign.

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. He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a separate case handled by Mueller.

Mueller's office has been tasked with investigating whether anyone in Trump's campaign conspired with the Russians who were waging those "active measures" against the United States and the West. Last month Mueller voided Manafort's plea agreement because, they said, he was not telling the truth.

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". He is to be sentenced next week, and may face several years in prison.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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