Mueller accuses Manafort of lying, but not about Russian Federation collusion

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A high-placed Russian offered Donald Trump's presidential campaign "synergy on a government level" in November 2015, well before previous reported contacts between the two sides, Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing Friday.

Prosecutors said Cohen had informed Trump and members of his family several times during that period about the project, despite Trump's repeated claims that he was not doing business with Russian Federation after 2015.

While Cohen implicated the president in the hush payments to two women - adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - in his guilty plea in August in NY, the filing on Friday marked the first time federal prosecutors officially concurred.

Cohen also said he coordinated the payments with, and was directed by, "Individual-1", who is believed to be Trump.

Manafort, who maintains he has been truthful with Mueller, managed Trump's campaign for three months in 2016.

In new tweets on Friday, Trump again questioned prosecutors and accused federal investigators and senior officials of having conflicts of interest, without offering any evidence. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called Cohen a liar and dismissed the filings as insignificant.

Mueller's office, in a separate filing, did not take a position on what sentence Cohen should receive when he appears before a judge next week in New York City.

It noted that Cohen cooperated with its probe but described his lies to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow as "deliberate and premeditated". He has said he did so to stay in sync with Trump's political messaging, and that he consulted with the White House while preparing to testify to Congress. That meeting "ultimately did not take place", Mueller said.

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Mueller said Cohen's untruthfullness about the project "was material" to its ongoing investigations "particularly because it occurred at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the US presidential election".

Prosecutors said Cohen "played a central role" in coordinating "his actions with one or more members of the campaign ... about the fact, nature, and timing" of payments related to the rights of stories from two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

The filing says the meeting never happened.

Prosecutors said Manafort lied about a number of topics, including his communications with Trump administration officials. He also provided information about attempts by Russian nationals to reach Trump's campaign, they said.

The filing was made to demonstrate to the federal district court why sentencing Manafort on financial fraud and witness tampering charges should be moved up to as early as this month rather than next year, as Manafort's original cooperation deal envisaged.

Cohen had been hoping prosecutors would make a similar recommendation in his case.

The federal prosecutors in the NY case described Cohen in their filing as being motivated by "personal greed" and said he "repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends" in pressing the judge to reject Cohen's request he be spared prison. He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a separate case handled by Mueller.

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