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Mueller interviewed Cohen about Trump-Russia collusion, report says

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Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen.
Drew
Angerer/Getty Images


  • Michael Cohen reportedly sat down for hours of
    interviews with the special counsel Robert Mueller that spanned
    several sessions last month.
  • Mueller asked Cohen about President Donald Trump’s
    business dealings with Russia, potential collusion with Russia,
    and whether Trump or any of his associates had discussed a
    pardon with Cohen, ABC News reported Thursday.
  • Cohen is a key figure in multiple threads of the Russia
    investigation, and his lawyer, Lanny Davis, said earlier that
    given his role as one of the president’s closest confidants,
    Cohen “knows almost everything about Mr. Trump.”

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former longtime lawyer
and fixer, sat down with the special counsel Robert Mueller for
hours of interviews spanning multiple sessions over the last
month, ABC News reported Thursday.

Mueller is said to have asked Cohen about every aspect of Trump’s
dealings — financial, political, and otherwise — with Russian
interests.

The special counsel is tasked with investigating Russia’s
interference in the 2016 US election and whether members of the
Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his
favor. Cohen was the subject of a separate investigation by the
Manhattan US attorney’s office into whether he committed
financial crimes and campaign finance violations connected to two
payments made shortly before the election to women who claim to
have had affairs with Trump.

Cohen pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of tax evasion,
one count of bank fraud, and two counts related to
campaign-finance violations. He is now cooperating with that
investigation, as well as a separate New York state investigation
into the Trump Organization.

But his sit-down with Mueller was entirely voluntary, sources
told ABC News, and did not include any promise of leniency on the
part of prosecutors.

In addition to discussing Trump’s business dealings and potential
collusion with Russia, Mueller’s team also reportedly asked Cohen
whether Trump or any of his associates discussed the possibility
of a pardon with Cohen.

That line of questioning would suggest the special counsel is
continuing to gather new information as part of a parallel
investigation into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice after
the existence of the Russia investigation became public knowledge
last year.

What does Cohen know?


Michael Cohen and Donald Trump
Michael Cohen and Donald
Trump.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Sean
Gallup/Getty Images; Jenny Cheng/Business
Insider


Cohen is a key figure in several threads of the Russia
investigation, including the creation of a Russia-friendly “peace
plan” during the early days of Trump’s presidency, as well as

an allegation that Cohen traveled to Prague
during the summer
of 2016 to meet with Kremlin-linked officials.

Cohen was also central to the Trump Organization’s push to build
a Trump Tower in Moscow at the height of the campaign.

Felix Sater, the Russian-born businessman and Trump associate who
worked with Cohen to push the deal, confirmed earlier this year
that the Trump Organization was actively negotiating with a
sanctioned Russian bank to secure financing for the deal at the
height of the election.

Last month, it also emerged that
Cohen had said Trump knew in advance
about a Russian lawyer’s
offer to the campaign of “dirt” on the Democratic nominee Hillary
Clinton in 2016. Cohen is said to have claimed that he was one of
the people in the room when Trump greenlit the meeting, which is
one of the focal points of the Russia probe.

Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, later walked back that claim,
however, saying he could not independently confirm it.

When news first broke in April that FBI agents had raided Cohen’s
property as part of their investigation into him, Trump defended
him and slammed the raid as a “disgraceful situation.”

“It’s a total witch hunt,” he said at the time, adding that
“attorney=client privilege is dead.”

But when it emerged that Cohen had pleaded guilty, the president
turned on his former lawyer and excoriated him for striking a
deal with prosecutors.

It’s unclear how much useful information Cohen had for the
special counsel.

But Davis suggested last month that Cohen could shed light on
quite a bit.

“Mr. Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of
interest to the special counsel, and is more than happy to tell
the special counsel all that he knows,” Davis said during an
interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

In a later interview on CNN, Davis suggested Cohen’s tenure in
Trump’s inner circle made him privy to details that have yet to
be revealed to Mueller and the broader Russia probe.

“Michael Cohen, being a lawyer for Donald Trump for many, many
years, knows almost everything about Mr. Trump,” Davis said.

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