Special Counsel memo reveals information on Michael Cohen’s Russia contacts

Reporting by Grace Segers and Clare Hymes

In a filing submitted Friday, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is recommending a “substantial term of imprisonment” for Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. The special counsel’s office, which also filed its sentencing memo on the same day, did “not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed.”

While the special counsel recommended that the gravity of Cohen’s crimes be considered, it recommended the government give due recognition to his “substantial and significant efforts to remediate his misconduct, accept responsibility for his actions, and assist the [special counsel’s] investigation.”

The special counsel’s memo also revealed new information about Cohen’s attempts to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow, going back to November 2015. According to the special counsel’s memo, Cohen had a conversation with a Russian national who offered help to Mr. Trump in political and business affairs.

“In or around November 2015, Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke with, a Russian national who claimed to be a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign ‘political synergy’ and ‘synergy on a government level,'” the filing said. Cohen recalled that the individual “repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 (Donald Trump) and the President of Russia.”

The Russian national suggested that such a meeting could have “‘phenomenal” impact’ not only in political but in a business dimension as well.” This was a reference to the Moscow Project, the special counsel said, “because there is ‘no bigger warranty in any project than consent of [the President of Russia].'” However, Cohen never followed up on the invitation.

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