The Wall Street Journal: Michael Cohen worked ‘at the direction of’ Trump in arranging illegal payments, Manhattan prosecutors say

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, has provided significant assistance on Russia-related matters in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including information about attempts by Russian nationals to reach the Trump campaign, according to a court filing by Mr. Mueller’s office Friday.

In a separate filing, Manhattan federal prosecutors said Mr. Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of” Mr. Trump in arranging two illegal hush-money payments to women who alleged they had sexual encounters with Mr. Trump, the most direct implication yet by the government that the president was involved in committing federal crimes.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal detailed numerous previously unreported actions by Mr. Trump to intervene directly to suppress the women’s allegations.

Still, prosecutors in Manhattan said that while Mr. Cohen deserves credit for his assistance to investigators, he should receive a “substantial” prison sentence of around four years, citing shortcomings in his discussions with law enforcement and the severity of his crimes.

Mr. Cohen is set to be sentenced on Wednesday by a federal judge in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty in August to eight counts including campaign-finance violations and tax fraud. Last month, he pleaded guilty to an additional charge brought by Mr. Mueller’s office, admitting that he lied to Congress about Mr. Trump’s involvement in efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com: Cohen Gave Significant Help on Russia Probe, Mueller Team Says

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