Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen does not deserve prison, judge told

To top it off, George Papadopoulos, the onetime Trump campaign foreign policy aide, finally reported to prison this week.

Mueller's probe has also seen ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort convicted of tax and bank fraud, with reports suggesting he now faces further charges. And one sure sign that the president is anxious about Mueller's probe is the increased frequency with which Trump is now publicly attacking Mueller.

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will tentatively face sentencing on March 5, a federal judge ruled on Friday, after the U.S. special counsel investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation said Manafort had breached his plea agreement.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and financial crimes in a case brought by the US attorney in Manhattan.

Cohen, a former member of Trump's inner circle who in the past called himself the president's "fixer", described efforts to pursue Trump's ambitious Moscow real estate project deep into the 2016 USA presidential campaign, later than previously disclosed.

Trump Jr. did not address what Cohen has now admitted - that talks about such a deal continued at least into June 2016, longer than previously known and well into the presidential campaign.

During the campaign, while publicly espousing a conciliatory relationship with Putin, Trump was repeatedly dismissive of claims that he had connections to the Kremlin, an issue that flared as especially sensitive in the summer of 2016 after the Democratic National Committee and a cybersecurity company asserted that Moscow was behind a punishing cyberattack on the party's network.

Manafort says he believes he was truthful with investigators.

But Trump has continually surfaced in Mueller's investigation, with references to him in Cohen's plea on Thursday and in a draft plea offer extended to conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi and made public this week.

The memo noted that Mueller's office is expected to provide the judge with an assessment of Cohen's cooperation, and that the Manhattan prosecutors are to join in presenting Cohen's assistance as a factor for the judge to consider.

After Cohen's guilty plea on Thursday, Trump canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20, citing the Ukraine crisis. It took place in the context of Ukraine's weekend provocation against Russian Federation, in which the right-wing, US-backed government in Kiev sent ships into waters off Crimea claimed by Russian Federation.

Cohen's legal filings, released late Friday, include praise from associates and relatives, including his father Maurice.

Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling during the 2016 campaign, accused Manafort earlier this week of lying to prosecutors after signing onto a plea agreement that mandated his full cooperation. They concern some of the central questions of the investigation, including why the incoming Trump administration discouraged Russian Federation from retaliating over sanctions imposed for election hacking; who knew what when about illegally obtained Democratic emails; and how plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow came together and fell apart.

Since then, Trump has escalated the confrontation with Russia, including by withdrawing from the US-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Treaty. He said he lied to minimize ties with Russian Federation during Trump's campaign.

"You look at Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, it's like come on man: it's time for you to drain your own swamp", Kennedy added. At the same time, he is playing down the significance of the guilty plea of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for lying to Congress. This was proclaimed by USA cable news networks CNN and MSNBC as a "bombshell" revelation that definitively implicated Assange.

It must be clear to Trump he can't outright deny all this anymore, and he's already made all the ad hominem attacks against Cohen.

Friday's filing in no uncertain terms connected Cohen's wrongdoing to Trump.

- It undercuts Trump's sometime denials in 2016 and since that he had, as he often put it, "nothing to do" with Russian Federation.

A lawyer for Trump and a White House spokesman did not immediately return messages seeking comment early Saturday morning.

  • Leroy Wright