Michael Cohen’s cell phone pinged off cell phone towers in Prague during the summer of 2016, suggesting that Cohen was there meeting with Russian government officials as alleged in the infamous Steele dossier, McClatchy reported, citing four people familiar with the matter.
McClatchy also reported that electronic eavesdropping by an Eastern European intelligence agency picked up a call between Russians officials during which one said Cohen was in Prague. At the meeting, Cohen and Russians allegedly discussed how to hide the campaign’s close relationship with the Russian government. Both revelations have been shared with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.
While the cell phone data does not conclusively prove that Cohen met with Russian operatives, it certainly does not look good for Trump, who denies any involvement in election interference and continues to call the investigation a “rigged witch hunt.” Cohen is currently cooperating with the Mueller investigation and has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s attempts to build a Trump Tower Russia in addition to bank fraud, tax fraud, and violating campaign finance law.
But Cohen’s spokesman, Lanny Davis, denied Cohen made the Prague trip as recently as this week, saying Cohen “has said one million times he was never in Prague,” adding, “One million and one times. He’s never been to Prague. … He’s never been to the Czech Republic.” However, Davis is no longer a member of Cohen’s legal team and admitted he has not been briefed on what Cohen has revealed to Mueller.
Former prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks told McClatchy that these new revelations could be important to Mueller’s case. “This is a very significant break, because it looks like a direct link between Donald Trump’s personal fixer and Russians most likely involved in the disruption of our election,” she said. “It would prove that lying was going on, not only about being in Prague, but much beyond the Prague episode.”