Trump ex-lawyer ‘happy’ to aid Russia probe

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen

US President Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, is said to be “more than happy” to speak to the inquiry into alleged collusion with Russia.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to violating finance laws during the 2016 presidential election by handling hush money for Mr Trump’s alleged lovers.

Cohen is ready to “tell everything about Donald Trump that he knows”, his personal lawyer said.

Mr Trump tweeted that Cohen had made up stories in order to get a deal.

The president denies there was any collusion with Russia to get him elected.

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” he tweeted.

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis says his client has knowledge of whether Donald Trump knew in advance about the computer hacking which undermined his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Cohen also has knowledge, Mr Davis said, of a meeting at Trump Tower in New York in June 2016 between Trump campaign aides and a Russian delegation which was promising political “dirt”.

The lawyer also asked why the US president, who was not named in Cohen’s plea of guilt, should not be prosecuted for the crimes Cohen had confessed to committing on his behalf.

Mr Trump criticised Cohen on Twitter on Wednesday, and said that Cohen had pleaded “guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime”.

However, both prosecutors and Cohen agreed that his actions had violated campaign finance laws.

 

Cohen’s guilty plea came on the same day that a jury convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of bank and tax fraud charges.

At a rally on Tuesday, Mr Trump attacked the suggestion that his campaign had colluded with Russia, telling his audience in West Virginia: “Where is the collusion? They are still looking for collusion, where is the collusion? Find some collusion. We want to find the collusion.”

There is no confirmation that he will speak to the Russia inquiry which, under former FBI director Robert Mueller, is tasked with establishing whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to swing the election in Mr Trump’s favour.

The well-documented meeting at Trump Tower between Mr Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and a Russian lawyer is a focus of the Mueller inquiry.

Mr Trump Jr went into the meeting in the belief that he would be offered “official documents and information that would incriminate” Mrs Clinton. -BBC

 

 

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