Trump reveals 87-page response to Mueller findings already created, despite fact no Russia probe report released yet

Angry stream of posts likely to increase speculation president becoming increasingly agitated as wide-ranging investigation approaches endgame

Richard A. L. Williams
Friday 07 December 2018 14:56 GMT
Lawyer Alan Dershowitz: Mueller report to be 'devastating' for Donald Trump

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Donald Trump has revealed an 87-page response to Robert Mueller's investigation has already been compiled by his lawyer, despite the special counsel not having released a report on his findings yet.

The president followed up a barrage of detailed and often misspelled early morning tweets about the wide-ranging probe with a post that said: "It has been incorrectly reported that Rudy Giuliani and others will not be doing a counter to the Mueller Report.

"That is Fake News. Already 87 pages done, but obviously cannot complete until we see the final Witch Hunt Report."

He later added: "We will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report. This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President of the United States!"

In an earlier bellicose stream of posts over the course of an hour - that will likely increase speculation Mr Trump is becoming increasingly agitated as the Mueller investigation seemingly approaches denouement - he raged at what he continued to refer to as "a total Witch Hunt", while lashing out at familiar targets including the FBI chief he sacked, James Comey, and Hillary Clinton.

Just hours earlier - around the same time a man called CNN to tell them he had planted five explosives inside their New York headquarters - he had tweeted: "FAKE NEWS - THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"

Mr Trump has routinely referred to news media outlets which cover stories that reflect negatively on him as "fake news".

It comes as Mr Mueller prepares to reveal more details about the investigation on Friday as he faces court deadlines in the cases of two men who worked closely with the president.

The special counsel and federal prosecutors in New York will have to file separate memos in court detailing the cooperation of longtime Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen, who has admitted lying to Congress and orchestrating hush-money payments to protect the president.

And Mr Mueller's team will also be disclosing what they say former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about when his plea deal fell apart last month.

Cohen and Manafort are among five former Trump associates whom prosecutors have accused of lying either to federal investigators or to Congress.

The court filings will close out a week in which Mr Mueller's team for the first time provided some details of the help they have received from former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Prosecutors, who said Flynn's assistance was “substantial” and merited no prison time, disclosed that he had cooperated not only with the Russia investigation but also with at least one other undisclosed criminal probe.

The new details about Mueller's investigation are set to become public as Mr Trump continues to lash out at the Russia investigation and those who help prosecutors.

He singled out Cohen, accusing him of lying to get a reduced prison sentence. The president also praised another associate, Roger Stone, for saying he would not testify against him, and Trump said a pardon for Manafort isn't off the table.

In the latest filings on Friday, prosecutors will weigh in on whether Cohen deserves prison time and, if so, how much. In doing so, they will have to provide a federal judge with at least some description of the assistance he has provided to their investigations — the Russia probe and a separate investigation led by the US attorney's office in Manhattan.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, including tax evasion and campaign finance violations.

He said the then Republican candidate had directed him before the 2016 election to arrange payments to buy the silence of porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom alleged they had affairs with Mr Trump.

And then last week, Cohen made a surprise guilty plea to lying to Congress, a move that refocused attention on Mr Trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign.

Cohen admitted he lied about the details of a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, saying that talks about the project went on until June 2016 — longer than he previously said.

Cohen also said he discussed the project with Mr Trump during the presidential campaign, undercutting the then-Republican presidential candidate's statements that he didn't have any deals in Russia.

Mr Trump has downplayed the project and stressed that he never put any money into the deal and ultimately decided not to do it.

In Manafort's case, prosecutors are expected to lay out what torpedoed the cooperation agreement he made when he pleaded guilty in September to two felony charges of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. In late November, prosecutors revealed that Manafort had repeatedly lied to them but did not say about what. The allegations exposed him to the possibility of additional criminal charges and a lengthier prison sentence.

Manafort's attorneys have denied that he made false statements, and a judge is expected to hear from them before deciding whether he actually lied. Manafort, who was convicted in August in federal court in Virginia of eight financial crimes, also awaits sentencing in that case.

Additional reporting by agencies

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