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

Cohen insists he’s never done business with Taxi King

Cohen insists he’s never done business with Taxi King

In a statement from Freidman, read aloud on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" Tuesday evening, Freidman acknowledged his business relationship with Cohen.

Cohen is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in NY for his business dealings, as well as for a $130,000 hush-money payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 presidential election.

He wanted to open a so-called back channel to Trump because Ukrainian lobbyists in Washington could arrange only a brief photo opportunity and handshake.

Cohen's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Poroshenko had a meeting at the White House in June 2017, when the White House schedule said the Ukrainian president would be able to "drop in" on Mr. Trump in the Oval Office. One source said Cohen received $400,000, and another put the number at $600,000, in return for help setting up a backchannel to Mr. Trump.

The special master, former federal judge Barbara Jones, is tasked with reviewing whether the seized documents are protected by attorney-client privilege before turning documents that are not protected over to prosecutors, who are investigating Cohen for possible crimes related to his business dealings.

Shortly after the June meeting with Trump, Ukraine's anti-corruption agency dropped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who is now another top target in the Mueller probe.

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"He's just not involved in the taxis", said former NY mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani, who met with Poroshenko in Ukraine late previous year, said he did not know anything of such payments to Cohen and said he was still getting caught up on the story. He also took pains to depict the taxi industry as a force for civic good, stating that "my best days" started on September 12, 2001, when people wouldn't employ "people of color or different ethnicities, and they all became taxi drivers".

"I disagree and, if I did, I never knew it", he said.

"I have to assume that maybe there was a discussion of doing this", he said of such an arrangement between Cohen and Ukraine.

The Ukrainian MP was later put in touch with Cohen after using personal contacts at a Jewish charity in NY. Wood says he's seen an intelligence report citing senior Ukrainian sources claiming these deals flow a backchannel arrangement where Ukraine would buy US support and the USA would give Ukraine limited arms help. Manafort resigned from the campaign after the story was published.

It suggests the Trump camp received a quid pro quo-the cessation of the investigation into Manafort.

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