Dec 7, 2018

Prosecutors recommend "substantial" prison sentence for Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Prosecutors from New York’s Southern District are recommending a "substantial term of imprisonment" for President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for campaign finance and tax violations, as well as lying to Congress, despite his cooperation with the investigation.

The two big revelations from that memo and a separate sentencing filing released Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team:

  • Mueller's team disclosed that a Russian national reached out to Cohen in November 2015 and claimed they could offer the Trump campaign "synergy on a government level."
  • The federal prosecutors revealed that Cohen paid off two women "in coordination with and at the direction of" then-candidate Donald Trump — described as "Individual 1" — to hide his extramarital affairs.

Mueller and his team are not taking a position on what amount of prison time Cohen should serve, but said "any sentence of incarceration" the court in New York recommends would be "appropriate."

Southern District of New York

Federal prosecutors noted that Cohen committed four "separate and serious" crimes over several years — "willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress" — and recommended he serve 42 months in prison.

  • Between 2012 and 2016, "Cohen evaded taxes by failing to report more than $4 million in income" to the IRS.
  • In December 2015, Cohen applied for a home equity line and "made false statements about his net worth and monthly expenses" — the latest in a series of lies he told in credit applications.
  • During the 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen paid off two women "in coordination with and at the direction of" then-candidate Donald Trump to suppress stories about affairs and prevent them from influencing the election.
  • Cohen also made false statements to Congress, which have been outlined in his guilty plea in the Mueller investigation.
Mueller investigation

Mueller's filing notes that Cohen has "gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel's investigation" and has met with the special counsel's office on 7 occasions.

  • Cohen provided information about his contacts with "Russian interests," including his and others’ involvement in the Moscow Project and Russians’ outreach to the campaign.
  • In November 2015, a Russian national claiming to be a "trusted person" in the Russian Federation reached out and said they could offer the Trump campaign "synergy on a government level." The person repeatedly offered to set up a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin, but Cohen did not follow up on the invitation.
  • "[B]y virtue of his regular contact with Company executives during the campaign," Cohen provided the Special Counsel's office "useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation."
  • The White House link: Cohen provided "relevant and useful information" about his contacts with "persons connected to the White House" from 2017 to 2018.

What's next: Cohen has "committed to continuing to assist the [office's] investigations."

Go deeper: Read the two memos

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,430,141 — Total deaths: 82,119 — Total recoveries: 301,130Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 398,809 — Total deaths: 12,895 — Total recoveries: 22,224Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

African Americans are disproportionately dying from coronavirus

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams at a Coronavirus Task Force Press news briefing. Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has highlighted the disproportionate impact the novel coronavirus is having on African American communities, telling CBS Tuesday "many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID."

Driving the news: Several states and cities have reported that African Americans are dying from the virus at higher rates than any other racial demographic. Not all agencies have released a breakdown of data, but the virus is spiking in cities with large African American populations, including New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans.

Go deeperArrow48 mins ago - Health

Wisconsin won't be declaring a winner tonight

A Wisconsin poll worker wearing PPE guides people through a line outside of a polling place. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13 due to a back-and-forth on absentee voting amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers attempted to delay the state's election in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in polling places. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned his order Monday and said the election must be held on Tuesday as originally scheduled.