POLITICS
12/07/2018 10:59 pm ET

Here Are The Most Interesting Parts Of The Latest Mueller Filings

Three court filings, from the special counsel and New York prosecutors, reveal new details in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Special counsel Robert Mueller said lawyer Michael Cohen acted at the direction of President Donald Trump.
Ann Heisenfelt via Getty Images
Special counsel Robert Mueller said lawyer Michael Cohen acted at the direction of President Donald Trump.

Three documents filed in court Friday revealed new details in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The documents pertained to the government’s cooperation agreement with Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, as well as Mueller’s assessment of why former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with investigators.

The special counsel said in a memo to a federal judge that Manafort lied to investigators in the special counsel’s office about his contacts with administration officials, among other things.

Mueller’s filing on Cohen outlined how the attorney assisted the special counsel’s office by providing “information about his own contacts with Russian interests during the campaign” as well as details on the Trump Organization’s real estate plans in Russia. Cohen also admitted to making hush-money payments to two women at the direction of Trump.

In another filing Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York submitted a sentencing memo for Cohen recommending he served 42 months.

All three court filings provide new insight into where the special counsel’s investigation currently stands. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits.

Mueller’s Memo On Manafort

  • Manafort told “multiple discernible lies,” Mueller’s team said. “These were not instances of mere memory lapses.”

  • Manafort allegedly told five main lies to the special counsel and the FBI.

Manafort's five alleged lies.
Manafort's five alleged lies.
  • The alleged lies pertained to Manafort’s interactions with suspected Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik, his contacts with Trump administration officials and a transfer of funds to a firm working for Manafort.

  • Manafort allegedly texted with someone authorizing that person to talk to an administration official on his behalf. 

The evidence demonstrates that Manafort had contacts with Administration officials. For instance, in a text exchange from May 26, 2018, Manafort authorized a person to speak with an Administration official on Manafort's behalf. Special counsel's office
  • The memo also referenced “information pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation.”

  • Portions of the memo are heavily redacted, specifically in the section on Kilimnik.

Portions about Manafort's interactions with Kilimnik are heavily redacted.
Special counsel's office
Portions about Manafort's interactions with Kilimnik are heavily redacted.

The Southern District Of New York’s Memo On Cohen

  • Cohen acted “in coordination with and at the direction of Trump” to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to the memo.

  • His efforts included payments to allegedly silence Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

Prosecutors plainly state that Cohen acted at the direction of Trump.
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
Prosecutors plainly state that Cohen acted at the direction of Trump.
  • Cohen sought reimbursements, which were illegally disguised, for orchestrating the payments to McDougal and Daniels, who claimed they had affairs with Trump about a decade earlier. McDougal and Daniels are referenced in the memo as Woman-1 and Woman-2, respectively.

  • Prosecutors claimed the “principal purpose” of Cohen’s payments to McDougal was to “prevent [her] story from influencing the election.”

  • Prosecutors say Cohen saw himself as the “ultimate fixer” for Trump, adding that he arranged the payments to the women “to increase his power and influence.” 

This was not a blind act of loyalty, as Cohen has also suggested. His actions suggest that Cohen relished the status of ultimate fixer – a role that he embraced as recently as May 2018. Cohen was driven by a desire to further ingratiate himself with a potential future President ... and arranged for the payments in an attempt to increase his power and influence. U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
  • The New York prosecutors rejected the idea that Cohen should receive leniency for helping investigators, noting that his crimes were motivated by “personal greed” and that he “repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends.”

  • Prosecutors said Cohen’s cooperation with investigators “does not make him a hero.”

New York prosecutors suggested a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Cohen.
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
New York prosecutors suggested a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Cohen.

Mueller’s Memo On Cohen

  • Cohen has provided the special counsel’s office with information about the Trump Organization’s so-called “Moscow Project,” including who was involved in the discussions and contacts with Russian government officials.

  • Cohen also said he discussed the “Moscow Project” with Trump, who is referred to as “Individual 1” throughout the memo, “well into” his presidential campaign.

Mueller noted that Cohen's alleged discussions of the Moscow Project with Trump were especially concerning considering Russia
Special counsel's office
Mueller noted that Cohen's alleged discussions of the Moscow Project with Trump were especially concerning considering Russia's attempts to interfere with the election.
  • A Russian national who claimed to be politically influential in Russia contacted Cohen in 2015, according to Mueller’s memo. That person offered the Trump campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.”

  • That same Russian national also repeatedly proposed to Cohen a meeting between Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Cohen, however, never followed through with the invitation.

The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a 'phenomenal' impact 'not only in political but in a business dimension as well,' referring to the Moscow Project, because there is 'no bigger warranty in any project than consent of [the President of Russia]. Special counsel Robert Mueller
  •  Mueller is investigating the Trump Organization’s real estate plans in Russia as part of the bigger investigation.

  • The special counsel is also looking into people who were connected to the White House in 2017 and 2018, which overlaps with Trump’s presidency.

The special counsel's investigation is looking into the Trump Organization's real estate plans in Russia, Mueller noted.
The special counsel's investigation is looking into the Trump Organization's real estate plans in Russia, Mueller noted.
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