Tag: Michael Cohen

Senators question Russian-Oligarch-linked firm tht hired Michael Cohen

April 16, 2018 – Manhattan, New York, United States – Michael Cohen, President TrumpÕs embattled lawyer, leaves court in Manhattan on Monday April 16, 2018..4/16/2018.Manhattan, NY..Go Nakamura/Zuma Wire (Credit Image: � Go Nakamura via ZUMA Wire)

By Dan Friedman   July 27, 2018

Four Democratic senators want a New York financial firm linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg to explain its hiring last year of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney and emerging legal adversary.

Cohen has publicly advertised his willingness to cooperate with federal prosecutors investigating him for possible campaign finance violations and financial crimes. On Thursday, CNN reported that Cohen is prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower at which Trump campaign officials expected to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian emissary. That’s one of several areas in which Cohen’s claims could show that Trump lied in public statements, a fact that might spell legal trouble for the president.

A letter sent Thursday by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) shows that Cohen’s legal plight is also drawing continued scrutiny of the companies that hired him hoping to capitalize on his access to Trump. The firms paid Cohen through a limited liability company he set up in Delaware. Cohen used the same LLC to pay hush money to women including Stormy Daniels, a pornographic actress who claims she had sex with Trump in 2006, the year after he married First Lady Melania Trump.

The lawmakers sent 29 questions to Andrew Intrater, the CEO of Columbus Nova, a New York-based investment firm. Intrater is Vekselberg’s distant cousin. Vekselberg’s conglomerate, the Renova Group, has also been Columbus Nova’s primary client. The Treasury Department sanctioned Vekselberg and Renova in April, barring them from financial transactions in the United States. Intrater, who had little prior history of political contributions, donated $250,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee and $35,000 to a Trump reelection fund in 2017. Vekselberg attended Trump’s inauguration with Intrater and discussed US-Russia relations during a meeting with Cohen in Trump Tower. Both Vekselberg and Intrater have reportedly been questioned by Mueller’s office.

Columbus Nova last year paid Cohen $500,000. Two people people speaking for the firm told Mother Jones in May that Intrater hired Cohen in the hope that he could connect the the firm with wealthy investors. In their letter, the senators alleged that Cohen tried—unsuccessfully—to convince another client, the drug company Novartis, to invest in a pharmaceutical firm tied to Columbus Nova.

The senators want to know whether the payments Columbus Nova made to Cohen were connected to Vekselberg and Russian-influence efforts. Their letter notes that “Columbus Nova began paying Mr. Cohen in January 2017 and that shortly thereafter, he worked with Ukrainian politician Andrii Artemenko to hand deliver a proposal ‘outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia’ to the office of then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.” The senators cite reporting that indicates Vekselberg hoped to fund Artemenko’s plan through Columbus Nova. They ask Intrater to explain “what relationship, if any,” he or Columbus Nova has with Artemenko.

A spokesman for Columbus Nova said Friday that Intrater and Columbus Nova had no ties to Artemenko. He said the firm is reviewing the letter.

Read the Democrats’ letter here:

Trump denies knowing about Trump Tower meeting in advance

U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen leaves federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson – HP1EE4G1O38OD

By Jill Colvin, Associated Press

By Michael r. Sisak, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump denied Friday that he knew in advance about a Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 between a Russian lawyer, his eldest son and other campaign aides that had been convened to hear dirt on his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump tweeted, “NO,” he “did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.” CNN reported Thursday Trump’s former longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, claims Trump knew in advance about the meeting. CNN cited anonymous sources saying Cohen was willing to share that information with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

A person familiar with the investigation confirmed the CNN report to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Cohen wasn’t at the Trump Tower meeting and Cohen has not offered evidence to support the claim that Trump knew about the meeting. He does not have any recordings of the meeting, the person said.

Trump’s team met with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, believing she had dirt on Clinton to share.

The Associated Press reported this week that Veselnitskaya worked more closely with senior Russian government officials than she previously let on, based on scores of emails, transcripts and legal documents that show her to be a well-connected attorney who served as a ghostwriter for top Russian government lawyers and received assistance from senior Interior Ministry personnel in a case involving a key client.

Trump, who in the past has denied knowing about the meeting before it happened, also shot back at Cohen, who was once so loyal to Trump that he said he’d take a bullet for his boss.

“Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam,” Trump tweeted, adding: “(Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!”

READ MORE: The giant timeline of everything Russia, Trump and the investigations

Cohen, whose business dealings are being investigated by the FBI, has longtime dealings in the taxi industry and owns several medallions for New York City yellow cabs that allow them to pick up passengers on the street.

Cohen lawyer Guy Petrillo did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Cohen is under federal investigation in New York. The Justice Department has been investigating Cohen for months, raiding his home, office and hotel room in search of documents related to a $130,000 payment the attorney facilitated before the 2016 election to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who says she had sex with Trump in 2006.

In an interview with ABC News earlier this month, Cohen declined to answer if Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance, citing the advice of his lawyers and the ongoing investigation.

Trump also on Friday dismissed as “ridiculous” a report that Muller’s team is looking at Trump’s tweets as they investigate possible collusion and obstruction of justice.

Trump complained that he had returned from a trip Midwest Thursday “only to be greeted with the ridiculous news” that Mueller and his team “cannot find Collusion… so now they are looking at my Tweets (along with 53 million other people).”

“(T)he rigged Witch Hunt continues!” he complained, adding: “How stupid and unfair to our Country.”

Mueller is known to be scrutinizing Trump’s tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former F.B.I. director James Comey. A list of potential questions for Trump compiled by the president’s legal team following conversations with investigators and released earlier this year made clear that Mueller is interested in some of Trump’s tweets to the extent they raise obstruction of justice concerns.