Cohen has been asked by Muellers team about any Trump Organization business in Russia and any contacts the Trump campaign had with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign, according a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Cohens discussions with the special counsels office and the nature of those discussions were first reported by ABC News.
Mueller tells Trumps legal team that he will accept written answers on campaign questions
Good for @michaelcohen212 in providing critical information to the #muellerinvestigation without a cooperation agreement. No one should question his honesty, veracity or loyalty to his #family and #country over @potus @realdonaldtrump
When asked about the discussions, Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani told NBC News that “Cohen has a history of lying” and “is not worthy of belief.”
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations, including two counts related to hush-money payments made to women. He said he made the payments “at the direction of a candidate,” meaning Trump.
Trumps name didnt come up in the federal courtroom in Manhattan, but Cohen said he had paid two women, apparently porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal “at the direction” of an unnamed candidate in 2016, and that a $150,000 payment in August 2016 was for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. Both Daniels and McDougal have said they had past relationships with Trump.
(Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week that he is not a target of Special Counsel Robert Muellers Russia investigation, according to a source familiar with the probe.
After the April 12 conversation with Rosenstein, Trump told advisers that he was not inclined to seek the ouster of either man since he is not the target of Muellers probe.
The Justice Department told Reuters it does not comment on conversations with the president. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Mueller is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Russia has denied meddling in the election. Trump has said there was no collusion and has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt,” raising concerns he might try to fire the special counsel or Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation.
Under Justice Department policy, a target is someone who is believed to have committed a crime and is likely to face charges, while a subject is someone whose conduct is within the scope of an investigation, said Lisa Kern Griffin, a former federal prosecutor and a professor at Duke University School of Law.
Griffin said the assurance from Rosenstein is not significant because the president could yet become a target of the investigation.
“It is possible to progress from being a subject to being a target if the necessary substantive and structural support emerges later,” she said.
Griffin said one reason Trump is being treated as a subject, rather than a target, may be that Rosenstein is operating under assumption that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
(Reporting by Steve Holland in West Palm Beach, Florida; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe in New York; writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by Eric Beech and Dan Grebler)