U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to federal investigators about a payment and contacts with Trump administration officials, the U.S. special counsel investigating whether Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russian Federation said in a court filing on Friday.
Prosecutors working for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY based in Manhattan asked a judge to impose a sentence that reflects a "modest downward variance" from the potential maximum of 63 months in prison that Cohen faces.
But also, significantly, the memo documents Cohen's claims that he was operating at the behest of Trump when he paid off two women Trump allegedly had affairs with to keep them from going to the press during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Dean, who served as Nixon's counsel from 1970 to 1973, was chosen by the president to lead a special investigation into the Watergate scandal.
In fact, Mueller said Cohen provided substantial assistance to his team in its probe into Russian interference in the presidential race as well as "useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House during the 2017-2018 time period".
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. He is to be sentenced next week, and may face several years in prison. Mueller's memo says Cohen has met with the special counsel's office in seven different sessions to provide valuable information. They bring the legal peril from multiple investigations closer than ever to Trump, tying him to an illegal hush money payment scheme and contradicting his claims that he had nothing to do with Russian Federation.
Despite such specific allegations of Trump's actions, the president quickly tweeted after news of the filings: "Totally clears the President".
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.
The filing says the meeting never happened.
In Manafort's case, prosecutors are expected to lay out what torpedoed the cooperation agreement he made when he pleaded guilty in September to two felony charges of conspiracy.
"In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1", the document reads, referring to Trump.
Cohen wanted to obscure from Congress and the public that if the project had been completed, Trump's company "could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues", prosecutors wrote. They said that "reflects Cohen's extensive, deliberate and serious criminal conduct".
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.