During this week's two major events, President Trump has been described as a topic of major interest in the jargon of criminal investigations, with an opaque legal code name: "Individual 1".
The investigation by the special advocate Robert S. Mueller III, which bears witness to new evidence, casts new doubt on Trump's version of the main events in Russia, pointing to a political and legal risk for the president. Investigators have publicly made Trump a central player in their investigation into whether the Trump campaign was conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.
Together, the documents show that investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants while they were heading to Russia and WikiLeaks – and that they were trying to conceal the extent of their activities.
On Thursday, Michael Trump's long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to having lied to Congress while he insisted that Trump was not pursuing the construction project of ###################################################################### 39, a Trump tower in Moscow after January 2016, repeatedly claiming that the latter had no commercial interest in Russia in a new light. A special special council draft document revealed on Tuesday also indicates that prosecutors are closely examining Trump's interactions with long-time advisor Roger Stone, who is seeking information on WikiLeaks' plan to broadcast pirated Democrat emails.
Legal experts have explained that the danger the president may face due to Mueller's new evidence about the Moscow project and WikiLeaks remains unclear, but his notoriety in the prosecutor's papers puts the president in a prominent role .
"It's deeply troubling. It's not a place anyone wants to be, nor where you would like your friends or family to be, "said former federal prosecutor Glen Kopp. "And it's certainly not a place you'd like your president to be."
Trump, identified as "Particular 1" in Cohen's guilty plea, reportedly received direct updates from Cohen while he was pursuing a project of the Trump Tower in Moscow with the Kremlin, until 14 June 2016. The president also appears in Trump's ally, Jerome Corsi, who allegedly told Stone about WikiLeaks' plan to broadcast damaging Democratic e-mails in October of the same year, knowing that Stone was "in regular contact "with Trump. The Washington Post reported this week that Trump had spoken to Stone the day after he had received Corsi's warning.
In the draft document, prosecutors asked Corsi to plead guilty by lying when he said he was not aware of WikiLeaks' plans and urged others to visit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to obtain harmful e-mails from WikiLeaks. Democrats.
Trump gave slightly different accounts of his commercial ties to Moscow over time. In July 2016, he tweeted: "For the record, I have zero investment in Russia." A day later, he said, "I have nothing to do with Russia."
In January 2017, he told a reporter: "I do not agree that could take place in Russia because we stayed away."
Trump's personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said Thursday that the president's written responses to Mueller about the Moscow project, which he had submitted just before Thanksgiving, were consistent with Cohen's version of events. They discussed a project starting in 2015 and continuing until 2016, and it resulted in nothing, he said.
"The President, to his knowledge, remembers that there had been such a proposal regarding a hotel," Giuliani said. "He talked to Cohen about it, as Cohen said. A non-binding letter of intent has been sent. As far as he knows, this has never materialized. It was nice of the end of it. "
Alan Dershowitz, Trump's ally and constitutional lawyer, said that Cohen's confession did not suggest that Trump had committed a crime, but could suggest that Trump was not telling the public the whole truth about the Moscow deal.
"It's politically damaging, but I do not know how damaging it is," said Dershowitz. "This is questionable political behavior. This is a good reason for people voting against Trump. But I do not see any crime yet. "
Tim O'Brien, Trump's biographer and diligent critic, said the developments posed significant new challenges for the president.
"This is part of the pattern of fact that leads us to know whether or not there has been collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin," O'Brien said. "I think the ruthless force of the American justice system, which he has tried to undermine since he took office, is around him. I do not think we know where he is going to land. But he is certainly entangled in something that he is ill equipped, legally and personally, to handle. "
Some legal experts have argued that Mueller seemed to draw a portrait of a creditor candidate in the Kremlin. Emails published in Cohen's plea show that Trump is seeking financial support from the Russian government for a private project, while Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to say flattering things about Trump.
"This creates the potential for Trump to feel compelled to repay President Putin, or Russia in general. . . do not put the best interests of the American forward, "said Kopp. "You are creating a potential vulnerability for a future leader of America."
Trump was surprised by Cohen's remarks Thursday morning in the press, said a White House official.
A justice official called the White House board office late Wednesday to inform staff that Cohen would plead guilty in a case the next day, according to a person with direct knowledge of the notification. However, they were not told the details they had seen shortly before Cohen's argument Thursday morning.
Giuliani said the president thought the information development was a free slap of the Mueller team, as he was preparing to leave the White House to get to the top Group of 20 in Argentina.
In public, Trump was provocative, telling reporters that Cohen was a liar and a "weak person" who would do anything to protect himself from the fraud charges he faces in connection with his taxi business. Expressing himself before boarding the Marine One helicopter, he also denigrated Cohen's intelligence, calling it "not very smart".
"He has been convicted of various things unrelated to us," said Trump. "He's a weak person, and what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence. He is lying about a project that everyone knew about. I mean, we were very open with that. "
He questioned the scrutiny of the Moscow project.
"There would have been no harm if I had done it," Trump said. "When I run for president, that does not mean I'm not allowed to do business."
Trump often worries about seeing Cohen on television, advisers said. Among the White House advisers, Cohen is perceived as an existential threat – as much or more than the Mueller investigation itself because of his longstanding role as a Trump repairer. Trump's legal team only learned on Thursday that Cohen had spent dozens of interviews with Mueller's office, according to a senior administration official.
Trump was furious earlier this year when Cohen released recordings of him, and asked his lawyers and advisers if anything could be done to stop him from going out anymore.
Trump's legal team described Cohen as an imperfect figure whose words make no sense, as when he pleaded guilty in August to eight charges, including paying women for their silence about alleged business with Trump.
Legal experts have stated that prosecutors are unlikely to plead guilty – a brick in the general case – to the word of a person. The documents filed by the prosecutors show that they corroborated and corroborated Cohen's story with contemporary e-mails, and people close to the investigation also report receiving corroborating testimony from other witnesses.
"This is obviously an important plea and statement. This means that when the President represented, during the campaign, that he had no commercial interest in Russia, that was not true, "said Representative Adam B. Schiff (California), the Democrat who ranks as a candidate for the House Intelligence Committee chair. "If the president and his associates were lying in real time while they were looking for this deal, what would what does it mean now, how much can we trust what the president says about a persistent Russian financial interest? "
Giuliani said the president and his company had not tried to conceal his search for a tour project in Moscow and had voluntarily disclosed some of the documents used by Mueller's team in his investigation of Cohen for lying to Congress. . According to a person familiar with the investigation, Cohen and the Trump Organization could not produce some of the key recordings on which Mueller supports. Other witnesses provided copies of these communications.
In the White House, two collaborators said Trump had complained more about Mueller's prosecutors in recent days and was closely following what Corsi and Stone said. Trump has praised extensively his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for fighting the Mueller team, who accused Manafort this week of violating the plea agreement by repeatedly lying to prosecutors in the framework of its cooperation promised in the investigation on Russia. Cohen had not been concerned about Trump's spirit, said these two aides.
Many in the White House are trying to avoid talking to the president of the Mueller investigation for fear of being summoned. And the two assistants said that the reason why Trump was complaining more about the investigation recently was not clear. During the mid-term campaign, the president sometimes told councilors that people had forgotten the Mueller probe and pointed out that it no longer dominated the headlines on television.
Alice Crites contributed to this report.