Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building on New York’s Park Avenue on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (AP)

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met Russian, offering ‘political synergy,’ U.S. says

Federal prosecutors say Cohen deserves a substantial prison sentence despite his co-operation

  • Dec. 7, 2018 4:30 p.m.

U.S. 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.

Filings by prosecutors from both New York and the Trump-Russia special counsel’s office laid out for the first time details of the co-operation of Cohen, a vital witness who once said he’d “take a bullet” for the president but who in recent months has become a prime antagonist and pledged to come clean with the government.

Federal prosecutors said Friday that Cohen deserves a substantial prison sentence despite his co-operation with investigators. He is to be sentenced next week, and may face several years in prison.

In hours of meetings with prosecutors, Cohen detailed his intimate involvement in an array of episodes, including some that directly touch the president, that are at the centre of investigations into campaign finance violations and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

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.’”

The filing says the meeting never happened.

READ MORE: Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

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.

Cohen, dubbed Trump’s “legal fixer” in the past, also described his work in conjunction with Trump in orchestrating hush money payments to two women — a porn star and a Playboy model — who said they had sex with Trump a decade earlier. Prosecutors in New York, where Cohen pleaded guilty in August in connection with those payments, said the lawyer “acted in co-ordination and at the direction” of Trump.

Despite such specific allegations of Trump’s actions, the president quickly tweeted after news of the filings: “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”

In addition, the filings reveal that Cohen told prosecutors he and Trump discussed a potential meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, shortly after Trump announced his candidacy for president.

In a footnote, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team writes that Cohen conferred with Trump “about contacting the Russia government before reaching out to gauge Russia’s interest in such a meeting,” though it never took place.

In an additional filing Friday evening, prosecutors said former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to them about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials.

Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by then telling “multiple discernible lies” to prosecutors, they said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Arrest made in incident in which ‘agitated’ man pulled out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Police say 27-year-old man arrested after information received from public

Abbotsford Police warn that water-testing calls are a scam

Fraudulent messages say City of Abbotsford is offering free water-quality tests

Value Village robbed at knifepoint in Mission

Masked man makes off with cash, avoids police K9 units and escapes

One more day in jail for man found with items from Abbotsford home break-in

Police found Ryan Gillanders, 22, with wallets, electronics and more

POLICE/2020: Street checks by police down in Abbotsford, but no plans to completely end them

Figures show street checks in Abbotsford relatively representative of city’s population

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read