The Latest: Mueller team calls Cohen assistance significant
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the special counsel’s Russia investigation and President Donald Trump’s views on it (all times local):
Special counsel Robert Mueller says President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer went to “significant lengths” to assist Mueller’s probe, though he initially lied.
Mueller and his team filed papers Friday with a judge scheduled to sentence attorney Michael Cohen next week in New York.
Cohen has pleaded guilty to federal charges and cooperated in multiple probes over several months, including having seven meetings with Mueller’s team.
Mueller says Cohen lied when he first met his team in August. Prosecutors say that after Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud and bank fraud in August, he met again with Mueller’s team in September and admitted his comments about a real estate venture in Moscow were deliberately false and misleading.
Cohen’s lawyers did not immediately comment Friday
Prosecutors say Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, should serve a substantial prison term with a modest amount of credit for his cooperation.
Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced next Wednesday in New York federal court. He pleaded guilty to federal charges and cooperated in multiple state and federal probes over several months, including having seven meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
Cohen’s lawyers, in their own filing last week, said he should be spared any prison time.
Last week, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. In August, he admitted to campaign finance fraud and bank frauds, among other charges.
George Papadopoulos, the first person sent to prison in the Russia investigation, has been released.
That’s according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser was sentenced to 14 days in prison this year after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian intermediaries. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team recommended incarceration for Papadopoulos because they said he begrudged his cooperation and his lies harmed the probe.
Papadopoulos took a remorseful tone during his sentencing hearing, but he has since attacked Mueller’s investigation as corrupt.
Declassified documents show that Papadopoulos’ foreign contacts during the presidential campaign prompted the FBI in July 2016 to open a counterintelligence investigation. That investigation was later taken over by Mueller.
Former FBI Director James Comey has arrived on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with two House committees.
House Republicans are questioning Comey on decisions made by the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election. Democrats will also attend the interview.
Republicans argue that department officials were biased against President Donald Trump as they started an investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia and cleared Democrat Hillary Clinton in a separate probe into her email use.
Comey was asked on his way into the meeting room about Trump’s assertion that he is best friends with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the Russia probe. Comey said: “Note that I smiled.”
Comey said he might answer questions after the interview, which is expected to last much of the day.
President Donald Trump says his legal team has already drafted a rebuttal to any report issued by the special counsel in the Russia investigation.
Trump took to Twitter on Friday to say his legal team is preparing to counter special counsel Robert Mueller’s (MUHL’-urz) findings on whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian election interference.
The Republican president says his team’s report is 87 pages so far. But he says it won’t be complete until Mueller issues his report.
Trump’s comments come as Mueller is facing court deadlines to detail the cooperation of Trump’s longtime legal fixer Michael Cohen. The special counsel also will detail the lies prosecutors say former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told that led to his plea deal falling apart.
Manafort has said he believes he provided “truthful information.”
President Donald Trump is marking what’s expected to be a busy day for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation by launching a Twitter broadside against the prosecutor and his team.
Mueller faces court deadlines in two pivotal cases Friday, and ex-FBI Director James Comey is set to appear before lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Trump has made little secret of his frustration with the swirling probe into Russian election interference and potential misdeeds committed by those in his orbit and is seeking to undermine the legitimacy of Mueller’s investigation.
Trump tweets: “Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest.”
Mueller’s investigation has produced dozens of criminal charges and four guilty pleas from Trump associates.
Trump also argues his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein (ROH’-zen-styn), is “totally conflicted.” Rosenstein oversaw the probe until last month.
Robert Mueller is set to reveal more details about his Russia investigation as he faces court deadlines in the cases of two men who worked closely with President Donald Trump.
The special counsel and federal prosecutors in New York will have to file memos in court on Friday detailing the cooperation of longtime Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen. And Mueller’s team will also be disclosing what they say former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about when his plea deal fell apart last month.
Cohen and Manafort are among five former Trump associates who prosecutors have accused of lying either to federal investigators or to Congress.
The court filings will close out a busy week for Mueller as the president has heightened his attacks on the investigation.