Mueller's Latest Filing Includes a Clue on More Russian Outreach to Trump

Michael Cohen exits federal court in November

The heavily redacted report came more than a week after prosecutors accused Manafort of "committing federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel's office on a variety of subject matters", violating his plea agreement.

But Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and federal prosecutors in NY indicated they believe otherwise, making clear they have determined evidence shows Trump was the maestro of illegal payments to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence their accounts of extramarital affairs and had knowledge of efforts by his former "fixer" to discuss "political synergy" and potentially conflict-creating business dealings with Russian Federation.

Trump also schemed with his longtime personal lawyer and fixer to make hush-money payments to a porn star and Playboy model, according to a separate 40-page document filed by Manhattan federal prosecutors Friday.

Prosecutors in Cohen's case said that even though he cooperated in their investigation into potential campaign finance violations, he nonetheless deserved prison time.

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.

And this time, unlike his early morning outburst in which the president seemed to be on the verge of panic, Trump confidently proclaimed that the new filings mean he is proven innocent and home free.

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.

But the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director did disclose Cohen's communications with a Russian contact who told him a meeting between Individual 1 and Russian President Vladimir Putin would have a "phenomenal" impact "not only in political but in a business dimension as well".

Cohen, though, did not follow up on the invitation, because he was already working on a Trump project in Moscow through a different person he believed to have Russian government connections, the special counsel's office wrote.

The documents reveal a previously unreported contact from a Russian to Trump's inner circle during the campaign.

Mr Mueller is bound to "provide the [US] attorney general with a confidential report" explaining the prosecutions he brought or decided not to pursue. The November 2015 outreach - which Mueller says Cohen did not pursue - appears to be the earliest known effort by Russian Federation to build ties with the Trump campaign.

It would behoove Trump to discuss the implications of these filings with attorneys before blurting out on Twitter that they "clear" him.

The crafting of that narrative was a "deliberate effort to use his lies as a way to set the tone and shape the course of the hearings in an effort to stymie the inquiries", the special counsel's office said. "That this was all part of a coordinated plan to find some measure of coordination between the campaign and these Russian government officials".

While the willful tax evasion and making false statements to a financial institution charges have nothing to do with Trump, the illegal campaign contributions and making false statements to Congress were related to his campaign.

"The money was always part of what was being dangled", he said.

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