Ex-Trump Fixer Michael Cohen Has Spoken to Mueller at Length, Sources Say
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has had multiple lengthy interviews over the last month with investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller, two people familiar with the matter said.
Cohen has been one of Trump’s closest associates over the past decade and admitted he made illegal campaign contributions in the 2016 presidential election at the behest of Trump. He was asked by investigators about Trump’s business and any business dealings with Russia, the people said.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to five counts of tax evasion, one count of lying on a loan application, and two counts of campaign finance violations.
The meetings took place after his guilty plea, according to the people, who described the discussions on condition of anonymity. The New York-based lawyer traveled to Washington for at least one of the interviews with the Mueller team, one of the people said. He entered the guilty plea without a cooperation agreement with prosecutors.
Cohen spent a decade working as a lawyer for Trump and handled some of his most sensitive matters. It was Cohen who helped funnel $130,000 to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford so she’d remain silent about her 2006 tryst with Trump and Cohen who reached out to the Kremlin for help building a Trump Tower in Moscow.
After Trump’s election, companies including Novartis AG and AT&T Inc. made payments to a firm Cohen set up for insights on the new administration.
Once Trump’s staunch ally, Cohen has abandoned the president after pleading guilty to crimes that could send him to prison for 10 years. In his Aug. 21 plea in Manhattan federal court, he pointed the finger at Trump, telling the judge that he made an illegal $130,000 campaign contribution to Clifford shortly before the 2016 election at the direction of a “candidate” for federal office. He also admitted participating in a scheme to pay $150,000 to a second woman, Playboy model Karen McDougal, to keep her story out of the press.
Mueller, whose probe is looking into Russian meddling into the election, originally referred the Cohen investigation to federal prosecutors in Manhattan to look into hush money payments and other matters. The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel suite and seized millions of pages of records and other items.
Mueller has also won the cooperation of Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, who was convicted of bank fraud and tax fraud, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who admitted lying to the FBI about contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The two are working with Mueller in a bid for leniency at their sentencing.
ABC News reported Cohen’s interviews with the Mueller team earlier Thursday.
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