Special counsel Robert Mueller said Friday that Michael Cohen had gone to “significant lengths” to help his investigation in a court filing that provided new details about Russia’s outreach to President Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
Specifically, Mueller reveals that Cohen was allegedly approached by a Russian national claiming to be a “trusted person” in the Russian federation who sought to offer Trump’s campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.”
Mueller more broadly hinted at the entanglement that Trump’s business interests in Russia presented for his campaign — interests Cohen admitted to lying to Congress about by feeding them incorrect information about his work on a Trump Tower project in Moscow.
“The defendant’s false statements obscured the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government. If the project was completed, the Company could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues,” Mueller said, going on to directly implicate President Trump, who is known as “Individual 1” in the court filing.
“The fact that Cohen continued to work on the project and discuss it with Individual 1 well into the campaign was material to the ongoing congressional and SCO investigations, particularly because it occurred at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election,” Mueller said.
Mueller wrote that Cohen revealed more information about “contacts between [the Trump org] and Russian interests during the course of the campaign” during his meetings with prosecutors in September 2018.
The special counsel added that Cohen “explained financial aspects of the deal that would have made it highly lucrative for [the Trump org] and himself,” and that the former Trump attorney’s information about the Trump Tower Moscow project was “corroborated by other information obtained in the course of the SCO’s investigation.”
Mueller also for the first time detailed Cohen discussions with Trump in 2015 about meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin while he was in New York for the U.N. General Assembly. Cohen mentioned such a possibility in a radio interview in September 2015, and in subsequent comments to the press, said the remark was made spontaneously.
In fact, according to what Cohen has since told investigators, he had “conferred” with Trump about “contacting the Russian government before reaching out to gauge Russia’s interest in such a meeting,” the filing said.
“The meeting ultimately did not take place,” Mueller said.
Mueller filed his sentencing recommendations separate from the memo filed by Manhattan federal prosecutors, who are handling Cohen’s guilty plea to tax and campaign finance crimes — including the campaign finance crimes involving his effort to conceal affairs that Trump had.
Mueller stressed Cohen’s cooperation in his memorandum, not suggesting any specific sentence for the former Trump attorney, while the New York federal prosecutors asked the judge to determine how the sentencing guidelines – which demand between 51 and 63 months behind bars for Cohen – should be reduced.
Read the memo here: