Closer legal peril for Trump in probes; he sees no collusion

Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details

Prosecutors Recommend Prison for Cohen, Say He Paid off Women on Trump's Behalf

The separate filings came from special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in NY ahead of Wednesday's sentencing of Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. They said his sentence should reflect a "modest" reduction from the roughly four to five years they said federal guidelines would suggest.

The campaign finance violations to which Cohen plead guilty - unrelated to the Russian Federation investigation - concerned hush payments he made on Trump's behalf to alleged former lovers of the president, including porn star Stormy Daniels.

Mueller said that discussions about the potential Moscow development were relevant to the investigation because they occurred "at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the US presidential election".

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. He also provided information about attempts by Russian nationals to reach Trump's campaign, they said.

"In total, the prosecutors seem to be saying the president was more aware than he has claimed to be", former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said.

"Donald Trump has been implicated directly in campaign finance violations but it is not yet clear what these latest filings have to do with the Russian collusion investigation, if anything", Al Jazeera's correspondent Shihab Rattansi said, speaking from Washington DC.

Prosecutors on Friday unveiled their recommendation as to what sentence former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen should get since he's been cooperating.

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But Mueller has been inching ever closer to the White House, and early on Friday Trump fired off a feverish volley of tweets against a probe he dubs a "witch hunt", accusing Mueller of "big time conflicts of interest" and alleging the prosecutor coerced false testimony from witnesses.

In an additional filing Friday evening, prosecutors said Manafort lied about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials, including in 2018.

Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by then telling "multiple discernible lies" to prosecutors, they said. It never took place.

Cohen "has met with the [Special Counsel Office] on seven occasions, voluntarily provided the SCO with information about his own conduct and that of others on core topics under investigation by the SCO, and committed to continuing to assist the SCO's investigation". "But Cohen's description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others".

US Attorney Robert Khuzami accused the 52-year-old, who once vowed to take a bullet for the president, of being motivated by "personal greed" and of "repeatedly" using his power and influence for "deceptive ends".

Mueller said on Friday that Cohen repeated his false statements about the project in his first meeting with Mueller's office, admitting the truth only in a later meeting in September after he had pleaded guilty to the separate NY charges.

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