Mueller Filing Cites Offer of 'Political Synergy.' Trump: 'No Collusion'

Documents drop on Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen in Russia probe
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2018 7:40 AM CST
What Mueller's Filings on These 2 Men Could Mean for Trump
In these 2018 file photos, Paul Manafort, left, leaves federal court in Washington, and attorney Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – All eyes were on three new filings related to the Russia probe, dropped Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller's team and New York prosecutors, and related to two men: former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen. One person seemingly not fazed by the details: the president himself, per USA Today. "Totally clears the President. Thank you!" Trump tweeted Friday evening, not directly citing what he was talking about, but widely believed to be about the court reveals, as they started circulating right around the time of his tweet. He doubled down on Saturday morning, tweeting: "AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!."

Although some portions of the documents were redacted, one part in particular is catching people's attention: where it's alleged Trump coordinated with and directed Cohen to commit two campaign finance felonies. Also of note is that a Russian national is alleged to have touched base with Cohen as far back as 2015 to try to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin; the meeting never came to be, per the documents. What's being said about the filings and what they could mean for Trump:

  • The catchphrase that's making waves online about that Russian national: that that person was pushing "political synergy" and "synergy on a government level" to the Trump campaign, per the AP. Some online noted that "political synergy" sounds like a "polite way of saying collusion."
  • The Washington Post notes the court papers "directly [implicate]" Trump in efforts "to buy women's silence" going back to 2014, and that new evidence has now been offered that shows Russia's attempts "to forge a political alliance with Trump before he became president—disclosures that show the deepening political and legal morass enveloping the administration." Also from the Post: "five big takeaways," including that Mueller "appears to be keying [in] on Russia ties in Trump's business."

  • Although Trump has tried to publicly discredit his former attorney before, the New York Times reports the federal prosecutors' revelations "[put] the weight of the Justice Department behind [Cohen's] accusations." That didn't stop White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from offering her take in a statement: "The government's filings in Mr. Cohen's case tell us nothing of value that wasn't already known. Mr. Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court, Mr. Cohen is no hero."
  • The Washington Times sides with the president, offering its take front and center in its headline: "Mueller recommends 'substantial' jail time for Cohen, but no Russian collusion mentioned."
  • On the Manafort front, Politico reports that a big sticking point was his alleged lying about the contacts he has or had with the Trump administration. "Manafort told multiple discernible lies—these were not instances of mere memory lapses," federal prosecutors write.
(Read more Russia investigation stories.)

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