A new report from McClatchy suggests that longtime Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen traveled to Prague during the 2016 election campaign, which the infamous Christopher Steele dossier alleged was in relation to a meeting with Russian officials.
According to McClatchy, a cell phone traced to Cohen pinged cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, four sources said. Two other sources said that electronic surveillance by an unidentified Eastern European intelligence agency “picked up a conversation among Russians, one of whom remarked that Cohen was in Prague,” the outlet reported.
The intelligence did not say that Cohen was there to meet with Russians, as the Steele dossier alleged, but contradicts his repeated denials that he never traveled to Prague.
“Steele’s dossier, a compilation of intelligence from his network of Kremlin sources, is full of uncorroborated details about the purported meeting,” McClatchy reported. “It said Konstantin Kosachev, a longtime member of the Russian Senate and chairman of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, ‘facilitated’ the gathering… Among the goals of the meeting, the dossier said, was to limit negative news reports about the Russia-friendly relationships of two Trump campaign aides— foreign policy adviser Carter Page and just-ousted campaign Chairman Paul Manafort — and to ensure that European hackers were paid and told to ‘lie low.’”
Cohen denies report:
Cohen, who has been voluntarily cooperating with special counsel Bob Mueller’s probe, once again denied traveling to Prague after the report came out.
“I hear Prague… is beautiful in the summertime,” Cohen tweeted Thursday. “I wouldn’t know as I have never been. Mueller knows everything!”
“Have you ever been to any location within the Czech Republic?” asked law professor Jennifer Taub. “Asking for several hundred million friends.”
“NO,” Cohen replied.
Ex-prosecutor says revelation is damning:
Former federal prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks told McClatchy that if the report is true, the revelation is damning for the president.
“This is a very significant break, because it looks like a direct link between Donald Trump’s personal fixer and Russians most likely involved in the disruption of our election,” she said. “It would prove that lying was going on, not only about being in Prague, but much beyond the Prague episode.”
Nick Akerman, a former Watergate federal prosecutor, suggested that Cohen’s denials should not be taken at face value because it would be “standard for Mueller to tell Cohen and his lawyers not to discuss publicly the details” of the investigation.”