Prosecutors Recommend 'Substantial' Prison Time for Michael Cohen Despite His Assistance

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"The only thing keeping Donald Trump from being indicted and being charged with a crime, beyond wealth and privilege, is that he occupies the office of the presidency", Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) told host Ali Velshi on MSNBC Friday night.

But Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and federal prosecutors in NY indicated they believe otherwise, making clear they have determined evidence shows Trump was the maestro of illegal payments to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence their accounts of extramarital affairs and had knowledge of efforts by his former "fixer" to discuss "political synergy" and potentially conflict-creating business dealings with Russian Federation.

This morning he followed up with "After two years and millions of pages of documents (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!"

Dean's comments, made during CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" segment, follow the release of a legal memo from federal prosecutors in NY regarding Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

But when Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance violations connected to the payments as well as other charges, he stated in court that he had been directed by Trump.

In one filing, Mueller details how Cohen spoke to a Russian who "claimed to be a "trusted person" in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign "political synergy" and 'synergy on a government level'".

Cohen also said he discussed the project with Trump during the presidential campaign, undercutting the then-Republican presidential candidate's statements that he didn't have any deals in Russian Federation.

Dean, who served time in prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal, was discussing a sentencing memo from the Manhattan US attorney's office, which was the first time prosecutors have said Cohen acted at the direction of Trump when the former fixer made payments to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump prior to his time running for office.

"In August 2014, Chairman-1 had met with Cohen and Individual-1, and had offered to help deal with negative stories about Individual-1's relationships with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and "killed, ' " the prosecutors" memorandum says.

Prosecutors in NY are seeking "substantial" jail time, but Mr Mueller does not recommend additional time behind bars as a result of his inquiry.

Cohen, citing the fact he has co-operated with investigators, had requested a sentence of no prison time.

The court papers say Manafort initially told prosecutors he didn't have contact with any people while they were in the Trump administration.

But the Mueller team credits Cohen with cooperating with special prosecutors in their investigation into Russian meddling.

Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by telling "multiple discernible lies" to prosecutors, they said. "But Cohen's description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others". "Thank you!" Mr. Trump tweeted shortly after the filing.

"After cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress, and seeking to criminally influence the presidential election, Cohen's decision to plead guilty - rather than seek a pardon for his manifold crimes - does not make him a hero", they wrote. Though Cohen had previously implicated Trump in the payments, the prosecutors now are linking Trump to the scheme and backing up Cohen's allegations.

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