So turns out Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are a really, really, really bad liars. And now, we know what the two of them were lying about.
Federal prosecutors on Friday accused Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, of lying to them about his contacts with Trump administration officials and other issues, including his interactions with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian tied to Moscow’s intelligence services.
After signing a plea agreement in September, Mr. Manafort “stated he had no direct or indirect communications with anyone in the administration while they were in the administration and that he never asked anyone to try to communicate a message to anyone in the administration on any subject matter,” prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, wrote in a memo to Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
But, they said, Mr. Manafort hid information from them about his contacts with Trump administration officials, telling “multiple discernible lies — these were not instances of mere memory lapses.”
They also accused Mr. Manafort of lying about a $125,000 transfer of funds.
Mr. Mueller’s team has left open the possibility that it could file new charges for lying against Mr. Manafort. Mr. Manafort’s lawyers say he believes he was honest during his interviews with them.
Mr. Mueller’s office also filed a recommendation for the sentencing of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, alongside a scathing attack from prosecutors in Manhattan who rejected Mr. Cohen’s request to avoid a prison term and accused him of using his power and influence “for deceptive ends.”
The prosecutors sought about four years in prison for Mr. Cohen when he is sentenced next week for lying to Congress about the extent of Mr. Trump’s business dealings in Moscow, as well as for campaign finance violations and other charges.
The Manafort stuff is bad enough, but the real fun is Cohen. The Cohen filing by federal prosecutors in New York, also out today, is of particular interest because once again, it indicates that Donald Trump committed a felony.
Mr. Cohen, 52, is to be sentenced in Manhattan next week for two separate guilty pleas: one for campaign finance violations and financial crimes charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and the other for lying to Congress in the Russia inquiry, filed by the Office of the Special Counsel in Washington.
Prosecutors in Manhattan said the crimes Mr. Cohen had committed marked “a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life,” and though he was seeking a sentence of no jail time for providing assistance to the government, he did not deserve much leniency.
In a lengthy memo to the judge, William H. Pauley III, prosecutors wrote that Mr. Cohen was motivated by “personal greed” and had a “rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes.”
They once again emphasized that Mr. Cohen had implicated the president in his guilty plea, writing that Mr. Cohen “played a central role” in a scheme to purchase the silence of two women who claimed to have affairs with Mr. Trump, so they would not speak publicly during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” the prosecutors wrote. “Individual-1” is how Mr. Trump is referred to in the document.
Mr. Cohen’s actions “struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency,” the prosecutors wrote, adding that he “sought to influence the election from the shadows.”
Cohen also copped to dealing with the Russians on Trump's behalf to arrange a meeting with Putin as early as November 2015.
In November 2015, as discussions about a possible Trump Tower Moscow project were gaining momentum, Mr. Cohen told prosecutors he was approached by a Russian claiming to be a “‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation,” who offered “synergy on a government level” with the Trump campaign.
The individual, who was not named, pushed for a meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such a meeting, he said, could have a “‘phenomenal’ impact ‘not only in political but in a business dimension as well.’”
BuzzFeed News reports the unnamed Russian individual is Russian bodybuilder Dmitri Klokov, who was introduced to Cohen by Ivanka Trump in a story they broke back in June.
Amid intense scrutiny of contacts between Donald Trump's inner circle and representatives of Vladimir Putin, Ivanka Trump's name has barely come up. But during the campaign, she connected her father’s personal lawyer with a Russian athlete who offered to introduce Donald Trump to Putin to facilitate a 100-story Trump tower in Moscow, according to emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News and four sources with knowledge of the matter.
There is no evidence that Ivanka Trump’s contact with the athlete — the former Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov — was illegal or that it had anything to do with the election. Nor is it clear that Klokov could even have introduced Trump to the Russian president. But congressional investigators have reviewed emails and questioned witnesses about the interaction, according to two of the sources, and so has special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, according to the other two.
The contacts reveal that even as her father was campaigning to become president of the United States, Ivanka Trump connected Michael Cohen with a Russian who offered to arrange a meeting with one of the US’s adversaries — in order to help close a business deal that could have made the Trump family millions.
These interactions also shed new light on Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer and fixer, who is under criminal investigation and who played a key role in many of Donald Trump’s biggest deals — including the audacious effort to build Europe’s tallest tower in the Russian capital.
Ahh, but now we know from today's filing that the Klokov meeting absolutely did have to do with the election, and of course the Trump Tower Moscow project, which Cohen has now admitted to lying about. And from the Cohen filing by Mueller, we know Cohen cooperated on matters involving "discrete Russia-related matters" and the Trump Organization, namely Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr. and how they relate to the Russia mess.
This is far from over, of course. Again, the big takeaway is Cohen in the filing saying he committed major campaign finance violations by paying hush money to two of Trump's mistresses, and that he did it with and at the direction of "individual-1" who of course is Donald Trump, and that the Trump Organization issued fraudulent invoices to Cohen for the payments.
That's conspiracy to commit a felony, guys.