Tensions High as Mueller Readies Memos on Cohen, Manafort

WASHINGTON (CN) – New details from the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election are expected to be unveiled Friday as Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces a deadline to file sentencing memos regarding convicted former Trump allies Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

In these 2018 file photos, Paul Manafort leaves federal court in Washington, left, and attorney Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York. (AP Photo/File)

Per instructions from U.S. District Judge William Pauly in New York, prosecutors have until 5 p.m. to file sentencing recommendations for Cohen, who was the longtime personal attorney to the president.

In Washington, D.C., the release time for Manafort’s memo is less clear. Details could be filed anytime in federal court before midnight on Friday.

Building up anticipation for the filing meanwhile prosecutors revealed last week that they might pursue new charges in light of evidence that Manafort repeatedly lied to investigators and broke his September plea agreement.

Cohen fanned the flames of the investigation last week as well when he entered a surprise guilty plea pertaining to his false testimony before Congress about a Trump real estate deal in Moscow.

Despite having told lawmakers the plan for Trump skyscrapers in Russia’s capital was dropped in January 2016, and was not discussed with members of the Trump Organization further, the 52-year old attorney said in court last week that this was a lie, told “out of loyalty” to the president.

In actuality, the conversations about construction in Russia continued late into June 2016, Cohen admitted. Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination in July.

In a presentencing memo filed after Cohen entered his guilty plea, his attorneys asked for leniency, arguing the president’s former personal attorney fully cooperated with investigators and exhibited “fortitude and fundamental character” over more than seven interview sessions with Mueller’s team.

FBI raids and consistent scrutiny in the media has already forced the “greatest punishment” on Cohen, his attorneys argued.

For his part, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud after a federal trial in Virginia in August. Manafort was expected to face a second trial in Washington, D.C., for conspiracy against the United States and making false statements to law enforcement. On the eve of those proceedings in September, however, the former lobbyist entered a guilty plea.

Ahead of the expected filings Friday, Trump took to Twitter this morning to lash out at the special counsel’s office, repeating a familiar refrain about the broader forthcoming report that will detail the scope of the Russia probe.

“Will Robert Mueller’s big time conflicts of interest be listed at the top of his Republicans only Report,” Trump tweeted. “Will Andrew Weissman’s horrible and vicious prosecutorial past be listed in the Report.” [Punctuation in original.]

Trump accused of Mueller of running a “total witch hunt,” and warned that the White House is prepared to fire back.

“We will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report. This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President of the United States!” the president tweeted.

%d bloggers like this: