BBC: Trump lawyer 'paid by Ukraine' to arrange White House talks

20:33, 23 May 2018
Politics
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REUTERS

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by U.S. law, the BBC said.

The meeting at the White House was last June.

Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country's anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

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A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Mr Poroshenko's administration described what happened before the visit to the White House.

Mr Cohen was brought in, he said, because Ukraine's registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington DC could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with Mr Trump. Mr Poroshenko needed something that could be portrayed as "talks".

This senior official's account is as follows – Mr Poroshenko decided to establish a back channel to Mr Trump. The task was given to a former aide, who asked a loyal Ukrainian MP for help.

He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in New York state, Chabad of Port Washington. This eventually led to Michael Cohen, the president's lawyer and trusted fixer. Mr Cohen was paid $400,000.

There is no suggestion that Mr Trump knew about the payment.

A second source in Kyiv gave the same details, except that the total paid to Mr Cohen was $600,000.

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