US Special Counsel Mueller recommends no jail time for Flynn

Paul Manafort leaves Federal District Court in Washington Monday Oct. 30 2017. Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and Manafort's business associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy against the Unit

"That's only a crime if you can show that President Trump knew that was unlawful, but I don't know that it takes too many steps to get there".

Court filings from prosecutors in NY and special counsel Robert Mueller's office Friday laid out previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries and suggested the Kremlin aimed early on to influence Trump and his campaign by playing to both his political aspirations and his personal business interests.

The filing from Southern District of NY prosecutors alleges that Trump ordered Cohen to make hush money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump, a fact revealed some time ago.

Sanders, in remarks released after the filings on Friday, said Cohen had "repeatedly lied" and "is no hero".

The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin called the President's tweets "potentially an abuse of power that could lead to impeachment".

The prosecutors also said Manafort misled them about the reason for the $125,000 wire transfer of funds in 2017 - claiming it was money owed to him as income or as repayment of a debt - and gave "inconsistent statements" about the source of the money.

That episode, which Trump has denied, is among those under scrutiny by Mueller as he probes whether the president attempted to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation.

Cohen admitted to lying during the campaign about his negotiations with Russian officials about a project to build a Trump Tower hotel in Moscow.

Moreover, Mueller said in one filing that Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, had provided his office with "useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact" with Trump's real estate company during the 2016 campaign.

Prosecutors in Cohen's case said that even though he co-operated in their investigation into the hush money payments to women, he nonetheless deserved to spend time in prison.

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Donald Trump has been identified as Individual 1 in federal court filings.

This year, prosecutors have claimed, Manafort and Kilimnik teamed up to try to persuade two witnesses to lie about the scope of the Ukraine work in order to protect Manafort. Mueller also is still pursuing whether Trump obstructed justice while in office.

"At the time, the defendant was a national security advisor and surrogate for the Trump campaign who opined publicly on foreign policy and national security issues", the sentencing memorandum noted.

Mueller accused Manafort last month of breaching a plea bargain agreement by lying to his prosecutors.

Despite Trump's declarations, Mueller hasn't ruled out that the prospect of election season coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign, and only recently received written answers from the president about possible Russian interference.

"Manafort told multiple discernible lies - these were not instances of mere memory lapses", the prosecutors wrote in a memo to Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court for the District of Columbia. But the document's lengthy redactions also underscore how much Mueller has yet to reveal.

The memo says Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying to the special counsel's office and FBI investigators.

As part of his plea deal, Flynn said members of Trump's inner circle, including his son-in-law and White House aide Jared Kushner, were involved in - and at times directing - his actions in the weeks before Trump took office.

"We will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report", Trump tweeted.

"Donald Trump has been implicated directly in campaign finance violations but it is not yet clear what these latest filings have to do with the Russian collusion investigation, if anything", Al Jazeera's correspondent Shihab Rattansi said, speaking from Washington DC.

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