US President Donald Trump again denied that his presidential campaign colluded with Russian operatives, but made no comment on claims that he directly organised hush payments to ward off a possible sex scandal during his campaigh for the presidency.
Castro, a member of the House intelligence committee, which has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, was discussing prosecutors' raft of court filings Friday in the criminal cases against former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
On Saturday morning, Trump responded to the release of the documents on Twitter (in almost all caps, of course), saying, "AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!"
In a separate filing on Friday, Mueller's office said Cohen should serve any sentence imposed for that crime concurrently with the sentence imposed for the NY charges, saying he had gone to "significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel's investigation".
Prosecutors in NY, where Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance crimes in connection with those payments, said the lawyer "acted in coordination and at the direction" of Trump.
In one filing, Mueller details how Cohen spoke to a Russian who "claimed to be a "trusted person" in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign "political synergy" and 'synergy on a government level'".
The filings say Cohen made illegal hush money payments to two women - Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - ahead of the 2016 election to keep them quiet about their sexual encounters with Trump.
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Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and frequent defender of Trump, said Mueller appears poised to issue a report that will be highly critical of the president, though Dershowitz believes it will deal "more with political sin than a federal crime".
In the latest filings Friday, prosecutors will weigh in on whether Cohen deserves prison time and, if so, how much.
The court papers say Manafort initially told prosecutors he didn't have contact with any people while they were in the Trump administration.
Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by telling "multiple discernible lies" to prosecutors, they said.
In a dueling sentencing memo, Southern District prosecutors called for the judge to impose a $500,000 forfeiture as well as a fine and only a "modest" reduction from the four-to-five year sentence recommended under standard guidelines for his crimes, arguing that he was not as cooperative in their investigation as he was with Mueller. "But Cohen's description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others". "Thank you!" Trump tweeted cryptically as television networks were consumed by the Cohen documents - which the White House dismissed as revealing "nothing of value".
"After cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress, and seeking to criminally influence the Presidential election, Cohen's decision to plead guilty - rather than seek a pardon for his manifold crimes - does not make him a hero", acting U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami wrote.
Cohen has also admitted to making hush money payments to two women who allegedly had affairs with Trump before he was elected president.