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Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday said President Donald Trump’s former fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen made “substantial and significant efforts to remediate his misconduct,” and to help Mueller’s ongoing criminal investigations.
Mueller specifically said that Cohen, in interviews with the special counsel’s office, has given “relevant and useful information” about contacts with people connected to the White House from 2017 until this year.
Cohen also gave Mueller’s team “useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to” Mueller’s investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with [Trump Organization] executives during the” 2016 presidential campaign.
And Cohen gave Mueller “information about attempts by other Russian nationals to reach” Trump’s presidential campaign as far back as November 2015.
Mueller is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and possible collusion in those attempts by members of Trump’s campaign.
In a court document, Mueller also said he was not taking a position on what sentence Cohen should receive next Wednesday when he is sentenced for the crime of lying to Congress, which is the only charge to have been lodged against the lawyer by the special counsel.
Cohen is also due to be sentenced that same day to financial crimes and campaign violations lodged by federal prosecutors in New York, who have asked for a “substantial” term of imprisonment.
But any sentence lying to Congress that Cohen gets should be served concurrently with the punishment imposed for the other crimes, Mueller’s office wrote in the sentencing memo filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
“Cohen has taken responsibility for his wrongdoing and is willing to face the consequences,” Mueller’s office said.
The 52-year-old Cohen last week pleaded guilty to the crime of misleading Congress.
He had understated the level of involvement and awareness Trump had in a ultimately aborted deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Cohen also had lied by falsely claiming to Congress that the project died in January 2016, when it actually was still being pursued months later, when Trump had become the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president.
Cohen did so, according to Mueller, “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations being conducted by Congress” and the special counsel.
“The fact that Cohen continued to work on the project and discuss it with [Trump] well into the campaign was material to the ongoing congressional and SCO investigations, particularly because it occurred at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election,” Mueller argued.
Likewise, Mueller said, it was “material” that Cohen during the campaign “had a substantial telephone call about the project with an assistant to the press secretary” for Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.
Cohen’s lies hid “the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.”
If the project had been completed, the Trump Organization “could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues,” Mueller said.
“The defendant’s crime was serious,” Mueller’s office wrote. And his lies, the office wrote, “were deliberate and premeditated.”
However, “In recent months, however, the defendant has taken significant steps to mitigate his
criminal conduct,” Mueller’ office wrote.
“He chose to accept responsibility for his false statements and admit to his conduct in open court. He also has gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel’s investigation. He has met with the [Special counsel’s 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.”
“The information he has provided has been credible and consistent with other evidence obtained in the SCO’s ongoing investigation.”
Read Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memo for Michael Cohen