Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Takeaways for Trump as Mueller Details Russia's 'Political Synergy' Offer

U.S. President Trump delivers remarks as he hosts a Hanukkah reception at the White House in Washington Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details
Kenny Thornton | 09 December, 2018, 04:02

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.

Former Nixon White House lawyer John Dean said he thinks Congress will have "little choice" but to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump following a Friday evening court filing involving Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Trump was undeterred, tweeting early Saturday: "AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!"

Federal prosecutors in NY are recommending a maximum of four years behind bars for Cohen, because they say his crimes were just that serious.

Cohen told prosecutors he never followed up on the Putin invitation, though the offer bore echoes of a March 2016 proposal presented by Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who broached to other advisers the idea of a Putin encounter. Cohen told them he had been in communication with Russian nationals as far back as November 2015, a few months after Trump formally declared he was running for president, to try to arrange possible meetings between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mueller's office, in a separate filing, did not take a position on what sentence Cohen should receive when he appears before a judge next week in New York City. The court filing Friday makes clear that the payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal were made to benefit Trump politically.

NY prosecutors, however, were far harsher in their assessment of Cohen's character, saying he should get only a modest reduction in an expected prison sentence of about five years.

Kelly expected to resign soon, no longer on speaking terms with Trump
Kelly's tenure working for Trump was pocked with controversies, and officials were often amazed at how he managed to survive. The move could be announced at a scheduled White House dinner tonight with Trump and senior White House staff.

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.

"In August 2014, Chairman-1 had met with Cohen and Individual-1, and had offered to help deal with negative stories about Individual-1's relationships with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and "killed, ' " the prosecutors" memorandum says.

Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years.

In the latest filings Friday, prosecutors will weigh in on whether Cohen deserves prison time and, if so, how much.

Manafort resigned from his job on the Trump campaign as questions swirled about his lobbying work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. Mueller's memo says Cohen has met with the special counsel's office in seven different sessions to provide valuable information. Though he has portrayed himself as cooperative, "his description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others", prosecutors said. "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.

They show the President's former attorney, Michael Cohen, acted on the President's direction, when he broke the law in two election-related crimes.

The payments are technically unrelated to the Russian Federation probe, but prosecutors painted a damning picture of the "extensive, deliberate, and serious criminal conduct" of Cohen - once a member of Trump's inner circle of trusted aides.

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