President Trump on Russian Federation probe: no proof of collusion after 2 years

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Also Friday, Mueller filed a report that said former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors about his contacts with the White House and a pal with ties to Russian intelligence while under investigation. Cohen told them he had been in communication with Russian nationals as far back as November 2015, a few months after Trump formally declared he was running for president, to try to arrange possible meetings between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But prosecutors say they recovered "electronic documents" showing contacts with multiple administration officials not identified in the filings.

The president also praised another associate, Roger Stone, for saying he wouldn't testify against him, and Trump said a pardon for Manafort isn't off the table.

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.

Cohen, dubbed Trump's "legal fixer" in the past, also described his work in conjunction with Trump in orchestrating hush money payments to two women - a porn star and a Playboy model - who said they had sex with Trump a decade earlier.

Despite such specific allegations of Trump's actions, the president quickly tweeted after news of the filings: "Totally clears the President".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed that argument, saying the Manafort filling "says absolutely nothing about the President", while the Cohen filing "tell us nothing of value that wasn't already known".

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Prosecutors working for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY based in Manhattan asked a judge to impose a sentence that reflects a "modest downward variance" from the potential maximum of 63 months in prison that Cohen faces.

Prosecutors in Cohen's case said that even though he cooperated in their investigation into the hush money payments to women he nonetheless deserved to spend time in prison. Though he has portrayed himself as cooperative, "his description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others", prosecutors said.

Cohen pleaded guilty to financial crimes in a federal court in NY in August and last week pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a case brought by Mueller.

Questions about how people in Donald Trump's orbit reached out to Russians during the 2016 election have often overshadowed equally interesting questions about how Russia reached out to Trump.

In one of the filings, Mueller details how Cohen spoke to a Russian who "claimed to be a "trusted person" in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign "political synergy" and 'synergy on a government level'". Cohen admitted last week to lying to Congress by saying discussions about a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016 when in fact they stretched into that June, well into the USA campaign.

Mueller's office, in a separate filing, did not take a position on what sentence Cohen should receive when he appears before a judge next week in New York City. "The sentence imposed should reflect the seriousness of Cohen's brazen violations of the election laws and attempt to counter the public cynicism that may arise when individuals like Cohen act as if the political process belongs to the rich and powerful".