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Mueller accuses Manafort of lying, but not about Russian Federation collusion

Mueller accuses Manafort of lying, but not about Russian Federation collusion

A key figure in the Watergate scandal has told CNN that the allegations against President Donald Trump contained in a court filing are sufficient for Congress to start impeachment proceedings.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was in touch as far back as 2015 with a Russian who offered "political synergy" with the Trump election campaign, the federal special counsel said Friday in a court filing.

Mueller filed court documents with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY that state Cohen, despite initially saying he stopped working on the Moscow project in June 2016, "continued to work on the project and discuss it with Individual 1 well into the campaign".

In one of the filings, Mueller details how Cohen spoke to a Russian who "claimed to be a "trusted person" in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign "political synergy" and 'synergy on a government level'".

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations between Trump's business and powerful Russians about a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow, a building that ultimately was never built.

The filings, in cases involving Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, capped a dramatic week of revelations in Mueller's probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Trump also has focused his criticism specifically on Cohen, calling him a liar who is making up stories to convince the government to ease his sentence in the New York City crimes to which he's also pleaded guilty.

In a dueling sentencing memo, Southern District prosecutors called for the judge to impose a $500,000 forfeiture as well as a fine and only a "modest" reduction from the four-to-five year sentence recommended under standard guidelines for his crimes, arguing that he was not as cooperative in their investigation as he was with Mueller. 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.

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These are all from New York's federal courts and are unrelated to the investigation of whether anybody in Trump's circle coordinated with Russian officials in their attempts to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election.

The president also praised another associate, Roger Stone, for saying he wouldn't testify against him, and Trump said a pardon for Manafort isn't off the table.

Actually, he said in his guilty plea, they continued well into the campaign, including past the point at which Trump became the Republican front runner. For that reason, prosecutors said, he should be sentenced to "substantial" prison time, possibly 31/2 years. They said those payments made to a porn star and a Playboy model were an illegal campaign finance violation.

The memo from NY prosecutors identifies three people at an August 2014 meeting: Cohen, "Individual 1" and "Chairman 1".

Manafort resigned from his job on the Trump campaign as questions swirled about his lobbying work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. The court filing Friday makes clear that the payments were made to benefit Trump politically.

There also is a telling footnote from Mueller, which states Cohen, after initially lying, "admitted ... that he had in fact conferred with Individual 1 about contacting the Russian government before reaching out to gauge Russia's interest in such a meeting".

The meeting didn't take place.


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