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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

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”