Court deadlines set stage for more Russia probe details

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Yet on Wednesday Mr Cohen, for years Mr Trump's "fixer", will be sentenced for the crimes of bank and tax fraud, and for lying to Congress - for which he pled guilty.

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.

In a footnote, special counsel Robert Mueller's team writes that Cohen conferred with Trump "about contacting the Russian Federation government before reaching out to gauge Russia's interest in such a meeting", though it never took place.

Court filings Friday from prosecutors in NY and special counsel Robert Mueller laid out why Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, and Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, deserve prison time. The Manhattan prosecutors' charges against Cohen stemmed from a referral from Mueller's team.

In a series of Friday morning tweets, the president attacked individual law enforcement and intelligence officials by name and accused Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - the Justice Department official who appointed him - of conflicts of interest.

The documents turned up the heat on Trump by confirming prosecutors' belief of his involvement in a campaign finance violation, while adding to a growing list of contacts between campaign aides and Russians in 2015 and 2016, legal experts said.

NY prosecutors called for a "substantial" prison sentence for six offences, unconnected to the Russian Federation...

Last week, Cohen admitted to lying to congressional investigators in an attempt to minimize his efforts to secure the Kremlin's help for a Trump skyscraper in Moscow.

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Mueller said that discussions about the potential Moscow development were relevant to the investigation because they occurred "at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the US presidential election".

In an additional filing Friday evening, prosecutors said former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to them about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials.

The commander-in-chief vowed his lawyers would produce a "major Counter Report" to rebut Mueller's findings, as and when he delivers them.

The White House similarly dismissed that filing, arguing it "says absolutely nothing about the President".

Manafort has said he believes he provided "truthful information". Mueller's memo says Cohen has met with the special counsel's office in seven different sessions to provide valuable information. He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends.

A heavily redacted court filing said that Manafort's "lies" included untruths about his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who USA officials suspect is a Russian intelligence operative, and about his contacts with Trump administration officials after striking a plea agreement. They said his sentence should reflect a "modest" reduction from the four to five years they said federal guidelines would suggest.

"While Cohen - as his own submission makes clear - already enjoyed a privileged life, his desire for even greater wealth and influence precipitated an extensive course of criminal conduct", they said.

Cohen pleaded guilty to financial crimes in a federal court in NY in August and last week pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a case brought by Mueller.

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