Cohen Says He Didn't Visit Prague. Phone Pings Disagree

McClatchy reports cell phone data suggests he was there in 2016, despite his denials
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2018 2:00 PM CST
Cohen's Maybe-Trip to Prague Is Back in the News
Michael Cohen leaves federal court after his sentencing in New York Dec. 12, 2018.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

One of the tantalizing—and unproven—allegations made in the infamous Steele dossier is that Michael Cohen secretly visited Prague in 2016 amid the election and met with key Russian figures. Cohen has always adamantly denied it, insisting that he has never been to Prague for any reason, period. Now, McClatchy reports that a phone traced to Cohen pinged in the Czech capital late in the summer of 2016. And around the same time, a European intelligence agency listening in on the conversations of Russians heard one of them say that Cohen was in Prague. If the new bits of circumstantial evidence are correct and Cohen was, in fact, in Prague, that lends credibility to the portion of the dossier alleging some degree of coordination between Trump campaign figures and Russians. But many questions are outstanding.

"The new information regarding the recovery of Cohen’s cell phone location doesn’t explain why he was apparently there or who he was meeting with, if anyone," writes Peter Stone and Greg Gordon. "But it adds to evidence that Cohen was in or near Prague around the time of the supposed meeting." And if he was in Prague, then why did he deny it so forcefully when the allegation first emerged? Of course, that denial came before Cohen pleaded guilty and began cooperating with the Mueller investigation. A big unknown is whether Cohen, as part of the cooperation, changed his tune about visiting the city and, if so, explained what he was doing there. According to the dossier, he met with a powerful ally of Vladimir Putin and others, and they discussed how to limit news stories about the Russian ties of Paul Manafort and another Trump adviser, Carter Page, as well as the need to pay European hackers. (Read more Michael Cohen stories.)

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