Pressure on Michael Cohen intensifies as Mueller stays focused on the Trump attorney

Cohen, who is now in a dispute with his attorneys about some of his legal bills, plans to seek new representation soon, the people said. He wants to find a New York lawyer more familiar with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, they said.

.. In Washington, Mueller has been examining Cohen’s role in at least two episodes involving Russian interests, as The Post has previously reported.

One area of interest to the special counsel is negotiations Cohen undertook during the 2016 campaign to help the Trump Organization build a tower in Moscow, according to people familiar with the probe. Cohen brought Trump a letter of intent in October 2015 from a Russian developer to build a Moscow project. Later, he sent an email to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s chief spokesman seeking help to advance the stalled project. He has said he did not recall receiving a response.

.. Another area that Mueller’s team has explored is a proposal to end tensions in Ukraine, viewed by some as a plan that would benefit Russia

.. The meeting was organized by Felix Sater, a Trump business partner who had also worked to broker the deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the presidential campaign.

The back-channel proposal offered a pathway for resolving the Ukrainian dispute that could have eventually led to the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia, a top goal of Putin.

.. Cohen told the news outlet that he took it to Washington and left it in Flynn’s office days before Flynn was fired.

.. But in interviews last year with The Post, Cohen called that account “fake news” and denied that he gave the proposal to Flynn or that he had ever said he had done so. Instead, Cohen told The Post he threw away the unopened envelope in a trash can at his New York apartment.

“I never looked at it,” Cohen said. “I never turned it over to anyone.”

.. Cohen also told The Post that Artemenko indicated to him that his peace initiative for Ukraine came with Russian support. “He said Russia was on board — the Russian government,”

.. Artemenko said he met repeatedly with U.S. officials, including members of Congress, to promote the proposal in Washington. The meetings, he said, he were set up by Curt Weldon, a Republican former congressman from Pennsylvania.

.. He said the nuclear power plan would have been a blow to Russia because it would have provided independent power to neighboring states that had been dependent on Russian energy sources. “Since this was an anti-Russia energy development proposal, it was no surprise to me that U.S. officials would support this project,” Sater said.

Michael Cohen, ‘Ultimate Trump Loyalist,’ Now in the Sights of the F.B.I.

During the presidential campaign, Michael D. Cohen got a Google alert for a breaking story: “Russian President Vladimir Putin Praises Donald Trump as ‘Talented’ and ‘Very Colorful.’”

For most American politicians, that article in December 2015 would hardly have been welcome news. But Mr. Cohen, whose role as personal lawyer and fixer for President Trump has been firmly rooted in the transactional world of his boss, saw opportunity. He emailed an old friend who had been talking about seeking Kremlin support to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, and sent him the article.

“Now is the time,” Mr. Cohen wrote. “Call me.”

.. Mr. Trump values few things more than loyalty, but secrecy is one of them. For years, to keep the circle of people involved as small as possible, he chose to have Mr. Cohen serve as his legal attack dog from a perch inside Trump Tower in Manhattan instead of having outside counsel deal with his problems, according to two people familiar with their relationship.

.. In private, Mr. Cohen has compared himself to Tom Hagen, the smooth consigliere to the mafia family in the movie “The Godfather.”

.. The lawyer seemed to relish his reputation as Mr. Trump’s “pit bull” and embraced an aggressive — some say bullying — approach to solving problems.

.. he never got a senior administration job, which people who know him say he expected

.. Another payment that the F.B.I. is said to be investigating, for $150,000, was made by American Media Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer.

.. Mr. Trump, who was from Queens, and the Bronx-born Mr. Pecker viewed themselves as outsiders looking in at an elitist Manhattan establishment.

.. Several people close to A.M.I. and Mr. Cohen have said that the lawyer was in regular contact with company executives during the presidential campaign, when The Enquirer regularly heralded Mr. Trump and attacked his rivals.

.. A.M.I. had shared Ms. McDougal’s allegations with Mr. Cohen, though the company said it did so only as part of efforts to corroborate her story, which it said it could not do.

.. The Times reported that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was looking into$150,000 donation to Mr. Trump’s charitable foundation from a Ukrainian billionaire that was solicited by Mr. Cohen during the 2016 campaign.

.. Mr. Mueller has examined Mr. Cohen’s postelection role in forwarding to the administration a Ukraine-Russia peace proposal pushed by a Ukrainian lawmaker.

.. Mr. Cohen wasted no time, arranging for Mr. Trump to sign a letter of intent for the Moscow tower deal. But the project seemed to stall in the coming months.

Rather than let it go, Mr. Cohen reached out directly to Mr. Putin’s press secretary in January 2016, asking for assistance. Later, he asserted that his effort was unsuccessful.

F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen; Trump Calls It ‘Disgraceful’

The F.B.I. raided the office and hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including payments to a pornographic film actress.

.. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud, and the documents identified in the warrant date back years

.. Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”

.. The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but most likely resulted from information that he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.

.. “Today the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” said Stephen Ryan

.. Mr. Trump reacted angrily to the raid. “It’s a disgraceful situation,” he told reporters at the White House before a meeting with military leaders. He added, “I have this witch hunt constantly going on.”

.. Agents raided space Mr. Cohen uses in the Rockefeller Center office of the law firm Squire Patton Boggs, as well as a room Mr. Cohen is staying at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue 

.. In order to obtain a search warrant, prosecutors must convince a federal judge that agents are likely to discover evidence of criminal activity.

.. The searches open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice.

.. The search is an aggressive move for the Justice Department, which normally relies on grand jury subpoenas to obtain records from people who are represented by lawyers and are cooperating with authorities. Search warrants are more often used in cases in which prosecutors do not trust people to preserve or turn over the records themselves.

.. The seized records include communications between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, which would likely require a special team of agents to review because conversations between lawyers and clients are protected from scrutiny in most instances.

.. He attracted attention in the Russia investigation after emails showed that a business associate of Mr. Trump, Felix Sater, pitched Mr. Cohen on a lucrative real estate deal in Russia.

.. The deal was supposed to be a Trump Tower in Moscow and Mr. Sater boasted to Mr. Cohen that the tower would get Mr. Trump elected president. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote. “I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.” But the emails obtained by The New York Times show no response from Mr. Cohen, who told congressional investigators that he regarded Mr. Sater’s talk as puffery.

Comments:

 .. As a lawyer of 35 years, this is one of the most significant developments in the Mueller investigation.

It is extraordinarily hard to convince a judge, who is a former lawyer himself or herself, to pierce the attorney/client privilege and work product doctrine to issue a subpoena and seize material subject to those sacred protections.

The judge must be convinced that Cohen’s records will demonstrate substantial criminal activity.

This may be “Black Monday” for Donald Trump.

.. Remember that phrase Joe Biden got caught saying on mike that time? This is one of those.

Getting a search warrant for a lawyer’s files is a BIG, BIG deal. It requires sign-off from either the US Attorney or an Assistant AG, consultation with main justice in DC, and consideration of other, less-intrusive methods of getting the information. And that’s before the warrant goes to the judge. Judges tend to be very protective of attorney-client confidentiality and are very skeptical of such requests even in routine cases, let alone when the request is for a warrant for the client files of the personal attorney to the President of the United States.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Cohen’s legal trouble just went all the way to 11.

.. The plot thickens. Trump keeps talking about collusion. It’s the money laundering and related financial activities he should be worried about. It’s the payoffs and bribes he should be worried about. It’s the threats he should be worried about.

.. Trump said many times, do not investigate the family business! Big red line. Gosh! Why would he say that? Looks like we are about to find out.

.. Remember this, Republicans; President Clinton’s impeachment over sex-related perjury began with an investigation into a real estate deal. YOU set this standard of expansive investigations. YOU laid the groundwork for this. Any cries that this exceeds Mueller’s authority and mission should be accompanied by your profound apologies to the country for what you have done. Otherwise, reap the whirlwind.

 

.. And now, the American people get to learn about the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.

 

.. I’ll bet they included records regarding Cohen’s negotiation of a hotel deal in Moscow for Trump during the election when Trump said he had no business in Russia. It would seem such a Moscow deal would fit right into the areas of inquiry of Mr. Mueller.

 

.. The noose tightens… Expect the obligatory military strike on Syria as another in a long list of “Look – a puppy!” diversion is perpetrated on the all-too-gullible American public.

 

.. As Richard Nixon would put it, people have the right to know if their president is a crook.

 

.. The privileged communications between an attorney and his/her clients may be seized legally as part of an investigation by a special prosecutor. Completely legal. Very sorry the whiny lawyer of the lawyer doesn’t want to admit it. The truth of everything involved with this investigation will be made known. Be patient.

 

.. Just as in the cases of Manafort et al. (and that dossier) many will scream that this is way beyond Mueller’s powers.
But, best as I read, he IS entitled to follow up on almost EVERY crime he finds when doing his work on collusion and such.
Capone didn’t go down for murders, he was convicted on tax fraud.

 

.. For all those Trumpsters hanging out here disparaging Mueller, this action is totally within the scope of the Russia investigation. Remember Mr. Cohen was already reportedly involved in brokering a Trump business project in Moscow and had been also involved with a Ukrainian lawmaker passing a pro-Russian peace proposal from a Ukrainian lawmaker to Michael Flynn, so it is very likely that Cohen has been resisting handing over documents that the Special Counsel wanted to review, and this was the most appropriate way of going about getting the information they were after. The Daniels stuff isn’t even in the same league as the types of possible crimes that Mueller may be investigating. Uncovering an unlawful international money laundering racket alone would be fair game for Mueller and his team. Think about this for a second. What would a personal attorney for Donald Trump be doing in Russia in January 2016 in the midst of a presidential campaign when Trump had not even locked up the nomination yet. Come on people! There is something very rotten in Trumpland. The Stormy Daniels case is just a small sideshow that is eating up oxygen in the media. Follow the Cohen.

 

.. There must be a multi-million dollar overseas fund with Cohen’s name on it

 

.. It isn’t just the facts of the case that determine when they will act and how; they also are studying their foe.

.. As of the past week or a little longer, Trump has no personal support, no one person in place he can trust and confide in, no one who can temper his outbursts and his tendencies to blindly and stupidly lash out. They know it and are counting on it – the case doesn’t rely solely on this, but who the opposition is and how they act/react, who their support lines are, who their attorneys are…it all has its own bit of importance. Trump is now on his own, if and how much we as a country suffer for this before the insanity ends is a guess.

 

Mueller Wants Trump’s Business Records. What’s the Russia Connection?

For more than 30 years, Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to conduct business in Russia. He traveled to Moscow in 1987 to explore building a hotel. He applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996. And his children and associates have met with Russian developers and government officials on multiple occasions in search of joint ventures.

.. But the company says nothing has come of it.

There Was a Moscow Hotel Deal in the Works During the Campaign

.. Perhaps the closest Mr. Trump came to launching a real estate project in Russia was during the presidential campaign, when he signed a letter of intent in late 2015 for a Trump hotel to be built in Moscow. Ultimately, the deal never materialized.

In email exchanges with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, Felix Sater, a Russian émigré who had previously helped develop Trump SoHo in New York, talked about securing financing for the Moscow project from VTB, a major state-owned Russian bank under American sanctions. He also mused about how the deal, if supported by Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, would “fix relations between the countries by showing everyone that commerce & business are much better and more practical than politics.”

“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Mr. Sater wrote in one of the emails.

.. Mr. Trump signed the letter of intent with Andrey Rozov, a developer of retail and residential projects in the Moscow region. If the deal went through, Mr. Trump would receive a $4 million upfront fee in exchange for licensing his name, and his company would manage the completed hotel.

.. By January 2016, the project seemed to have stalled. At one point, without success, Mr. Cohen emailed an aide to Mr. Putin seeking help jump-starting it.

.. Mr. Trump’s business opportunities in Russia got little traction until he took the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.

.. The visit left an impression on Mr. Trump and had him contemplating future endeavors with the Agalarovs.

.. “I had a great weekend with you and your family,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter in a message to Aras Agalarov. “You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next,” he wrote, before referring to Mr. Agalarov’s son, a pop star: “EMIN was WOW!”

In June 2016, a publicist for Emin Agalarov requested that Donald Trump Jr. meet with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. That meeting, at Trump Tower in New York, first reported by The New York Times last July, included other campaign officials and has been the subject of considerable scrutiny.

.. in a September 2015 interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” he had made the Miss Universe pageant seem far more important.

“I called it my weekend in Moscow,” Mr. Trump said. “I was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.”

.. Deutsche Bank, offered Mr. Trump more than $4 billion in loan commitments and potential bond offerings, a majority of which were completed, The Times reported last year.

.. the bank last year landed in legal trouble over Russian money laundering — paying more than $600 million in penalties to American and British regulators.

.. Some Deutsche Bank executives expect they will eventually have to produce records as part of Mr. Mueller’s inquiry

.. The bank has already been asked to turn over documents to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn about another client with a White House connection: the Kushner Companies

.. Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire oligarch, paid $95 million for Mr. Trump’s oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach, Fla

.. Mr. Trump sold the house less than four years after buying it for about $41 million. Mr. Rybolovlev paid the markup despite buying the property in 2008, at the height of the housing crisis. And Mr. Trump had made few improvements to the mansion, which reportedly had a mold problem.

.. Mr. Rybolovlev, moreover, never lived in the property.

.. At the time of the sale, Mr. Trump was facing financial pressure. He potentially owed Deutsche Bank $40 million after not paying off a loan for his Chicago hotel and tower.

.. James Dodson recounted a conversation he had had with Eric Trump in 2013 on a newly opened Trump golf course in Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Dodson said he had asked Mr. Trump about the company’s sources of funds, and Mr. Trump told him, “We have pretty much all the money we need from investors in Russia.”

.. In 2008, at a real estate conference in New York, Donald Trump Jr. said: “In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S., Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets, say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

In Moscow Luxury-Tower Plan, Donald Trump Paired With Developer for Russia’s Working Class

Andrei Rozov ..  He and Trump associate Felix Sater both worked for a Russian property tycoon named Sergei Polonsky.

.. In 2015, Mr. Sater brought to the president’s company a proposal to license the Trump brand for a residential project in the Russian capital

.. Mr. Rozov signed a nonbinding letter of intent with the Trump Organization in October 2015 on behalf of his firm to explore the possibility of a Trump-branded tower in Moscow.

.. Mr. Sater, in a statement, confirmed proposing construction of “the tallest building in Moscow” to the Trump Organization.

.. Mr. Cohen, in a statement provided to congressional investigators, said he “primarily communicated” with the Moscow-based development firm on the idea through Mr. Sater. 

.. The Moscow proposal came at the end of a period during which Mr. Trump, his children and other Trump Organization executives initiated numerous deals with foreign developers, two of them in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan.

.. As Mr. Trump prepared to take over as president, his company ended several of its most controversial foreign deals, including the Azerbaijan and Georgia projects, but it kept others in the pipeline.

Mr. Trump said his company, which would be run by his sons and another executive, wouldn’t forge new deals outside the U.S. He didn’t relinquish ownership.

.. The Moscow project ultimately faltered for what the Trump Organization described as business reasons, but only after the company lawyer, Mr. Cohen, discussed the matter multiple times with Mr. Trump and sent an email directly to the Kremlin public-relations department in early 2016 asking for help on the deal.

Mr. Cohen’s outreach to the Kremlin spotlighted the kinds of politically-tinged real-estate deals the Trump Organization continued to pursue and consider in far-flung locales, even as Mr. Trump campaigned for the presidency.

.. Mr. Sater also made inroads in Russia with the property tycoon Mr. Polonsky. 

 

 

Sam Nunberg vows to refuse Mueller subpoena: What to know about the former Trump aide

“I’m not spending 80 hours going over my emails with Roger Stone and Stephen K. Bannon and producing them,” Nunberg told the newspaper. “Donald Trump won this election on his own. He campaigned his ass off. And there is nobody who hates him more than me.”

.. “Even if you have someone’s emails from other parties to them or from the service provider, you ask for them anyway,” Bharara tweeted Monday afternoon. “Among other things you learn a lot when people selectively disclose.”

.. Nunberg was fired in 2014 after an unflattering piece about Trump ran in BuzzFeed. Nunberg was blamed by Trump for the bad press.

Nunberg was rehired for the campaign, but was fired again by Trump in August 2015, after past racially-charged Facebook posts dating back to 2007 were discovered.

 

.. Unlike Trump, Nunberg did not deny quotes in Wolff’s book, though he did say at least one may have been taken out of context.

 

Rumored Issues

  • Trump Tower Moscow
  • Verify that he heard Russian Spoken at the Campaign