Report suggests 2016 Trump-Russia dossier was correct about Michael Cohen and Russians
Developments on Day 449 of the Trump Administration:
Further Trouble for Trump Attorney Amid Criminal Investigation
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen did make a secret trip to Prague in summer 2016, according to “two sources familiar with the matter”.
Confirmation of the trip would support the “Steele dossier”, a set of 17 memoranda compiled in 2016 about Trump-Russia links and contacts, compiled by a former British intelligence officer with extensive Russian contacts.
The report also adds to Cohen’s difficulties as it was confirmed this week that he is under criminal investigation for business dealings.
The lawyer’s office was raided by the FBI last weekend, with a no-knock “warrant” from a Federal judge in New York, after Mueller referred material to New York prosecutors. Material gathered include payoffs to two women — porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal — to ensure their silence over sexual encounters with Donald Trump, and Trump-Cohen communications over the “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump bragged about sexually accosting women.
A Czech Encounter?
Donald Trump’s inner circle and allies in the Republican Party and media have disparaged the Steele dossier for 15 months as “fake news”, but many of its claims — including meetings between Trump advisors and Russian officials and Russian financial and political assistance to the 2016 campaign — have been corroborated.
One of the claims is that Cohen, two Russians, and several Eastern European hackers met at the Prague office of a Russian State-backed social and cultural organization, Rossotrudnichestvo. The meeting considered “how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers in Europe who had worked under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign”.
Citing information from an unnamed “Kremlin insider”, the dossier said the discussion was over how to “sweep it all under the carpet and make sure no connection could be fully established or proven”.
When the Steele dossier was publicized at the end of 2016, Cohen tried to deny the Prague trip by posting an image of his passport on Twitter. However, the picture was only of the cover and his identity page, and not the inside pages with stamps establishing where he was during the summer.
It is unclear whether Mueller’s team have evident that Cohen met the Russian official – purportedly Konstantin Kosachev, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, who was among those sanctioned by the US this month — in the Czech capital. Kosachev, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of a house of the Russian legislature, has denied any trip to Prague. 2016.
But investigators do have evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany during August or early September, said the sources.
Cohen responded on Twitter on Saturday:
Bad reporting, bad information and bad story by same reporter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC. No matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven! https://t.co/ra7nwjUA0X
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) April 14, 2018