Donald Trump rants on Twitter about Russia probe, collusion and claims he is in the clear

Donald Trump has gone on a Twitter rant, claiming the Russia probe has cost $US30 million and still found no collusion with his campaign. His comments come despite his claims last week that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was costing $40 million, and the fact that his findings are yet to be released. When will … Continue reading “Donald Trump rants on Twitter about Russia probe, collusion and claims he is in the clear”

Donald Trump has gone on a Twitter rant, claiming the Russia probe has cost $US30 million and still found no collusion with his campaign.

His comments come despite his claims last week that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was costing $40 million, and the fact that his findings are yet to be released.

When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever? After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018

What was released yesterday were court filings from prosecutors in New York and Mr Mueller’s office laying out previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries and suggested the Kremlin aimed early on to influence Mr Trump and his campaign by playing to both his political aspirations and his personal business interests.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: APSource:AP

The investigators also found that Mr Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was in touch as far back as 2015 with a Russian who offered “political synergy” with the Trump election campaign and proposed a meeting between the candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Michael Cohen. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Paul Manafort. PictureL GettySource:AP

The filings, in cases involving Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, capped a dramatic week of revelations in Mr Mueller’s probe into possible co-ordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. They bring the legal peril from multiple investigations closer than ever to Mr Trump, tying him to an illegal hush money payment scheme and contradicting his claims that he had nothing to do with Russia.

They make clear how witnesses previously close to Mr Trump — Cohen once declared he’d “take a bullet” for the president — have since provided damaging information about him in efforts to come clean to the government and in some cases get lighter prison sentences.

One defendant, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, provided so much information to prosecutors that Mr Mueller this week said he shouldn’t serve any prison time.

Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels (L) and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. Piocyue: AFPSource:AFP

In hours of interviews with prosecutors, witnesses have offered up information about pivotal episodes under examination, including possible collusion with Russia and payments during the campaign to silence a porn star and Playboy model who said they had sex with Trump a decade earlier.

Mr Trump has maintained his innocence, falsely tweeting yesterday that the report totally clears the president.

George Conway, the husband of Mr Trump’s counsellor Kellyanne Conway, pointed out the flaws in Mr Trump’s tweet.

Except for that little part where the US Attorney’s Office says that you directed and coordinated with Cohen to commit two felonies. Other than that, totally scot-free. https://t.co/YXmgY9KmXi

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) December 8, 2018

In one of the filings, Mr 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.”’

The person repeatedly dangled a meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Putin, saying such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact “not only in political but in a business dimension as well.”

That was a reference to a proposed Moscow real estate deal that prosecutors say could have netted Mr Trump’s business hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cohen admitted last week to lying to Congress by saying discussions about a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016 when in fact they stretched into that June, well into the US campaign.

Cohen told prosecutors he never followed up on the Putin invitation, though the offer bore echoes of a March 2016 proposal presented by Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who broached to other advisers the idea of a Putin encounter.

George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser who triggered the Russia investigation. Picture: APSource:AP

Prosecutors said probation officials recommended a sentence for Cohen of three- and-a-half years in prison. His lawyers want the 52-year-old lawyer to avoid prison time altogether.

In an additional filing on Friday evening, prosecutors said Manafort lied about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials, including in 2018.

The court papers say Manafort initially told prosecutors he didn’t have contact with any people while they were in the Trump administration. But prosecutors say they recovered “electronic documents” showing contacts with multiple administration officials not identified in the filings.

Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by telling “multiple discernible lies” to prosecutors, they said.

Paul Manafort is seen during the election campaign with Donald and Ivanka Trump. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Manafort resigned from his job on the Trump campaign as questions swirled about his lobbying work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. Prosecutors in Cohen’s case said that even though he co-operated in their investigation into potential campaign finance violations, he nonetheless deserved prison time. Though he has portrayed himself as cooperative, “his description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others,” prosecutors said.

“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.

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