Michael Cohen deserves substantial prison time, prosecutors say

In response to the two court filings made by federal prosecutors against Michael Cohen on Friday, President Donald Trump took to the internet. "Thank you!" Trump tweeted cryptically as television networks were consumed by the Cohen documents - which the White House dismissed as revealing "nothing of value".

Prosecutors said probation officials recommended a sentence for Cohen of three-and-a-half years in prison.

The filing does not name Trump, but refers to an "Individual 1" that it says Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction of" in giving payments to silence adult film actor Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump before the 2016 election.

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.

In a separate filing on Friday, Mueller's office said Cohen should serve any sentence imposed for that crime concurrently with the sentence imposed for the NY charges, saying he had gone to "significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel's investigation".

Trump also has focused his criticism specifically on Cohen, calling him a liar who is making up stories to convince the government to ease his sentence in the New York City crimes to which he's also pleaded guilty.

Third, Cohen provided relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House during the 2017-2018 time period.

Trump, who has called Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt" and repeatedly denied wrongdoing, said earlier this week that Cohen had lied about Trump's business dealings in Russian Federation to get reduced jail time.

Cohen provided prosecutors with a "detailed account" of his involvement, along with the involvement of others, in efforts during the 2016 presidential campaign to complete a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow, the documents said.

"Totally clears the President".

The situation is complicated by the fact that Mr Trump, who has railed against the "witch hunt, recently sacked his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and replaced him with an arch critic of the Mueller probe, Matthew Whitaker".

Cohen also said he discussed the project with Trump during the presidential campaign, undercutting the then-Republican presidential candidate's statements that he didn't have any deals in Russian Federation.

They also suggest Trump and his family were in the loop on discussions with Russians on a Moscow project, even after the real estate tycoon secured the Republican nomination in mid-2016. Cohen did not follow up on the offer, the filing says.

"In his interviews with the Special Counsel's Office and the FBI, Manafort told multiple discernible lies - these were not instances of mere memory lapses", Mueller's office said in the filing. Though he has portrayed himself as cooperative, "his description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others", prosecutors said. Though Cohen had previously implicated Trump in the payments, the prosecutors now are linking Trump to the scheme and backing up Cohen's allegations.

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

The meeting didn't take place.

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.

  • Rogelio Becker