Trump associates have long insisted that the president’s former personal attorney has never traveled to Prague let alone made such a trip during the 2016 election, as the now-infamous Steele dossier asserts — but new evidence reportedly puts those denials to rest.
McClatchy reported on Thursday that four people with knowledge of the matter said a “mobile phone traced to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials”.
During the same period of late August or early September, electronic eavesdropping by an Eastern European intelligence agency picked up a conversation among Russians, one of whom remarked that Cohen was in Prague, two people familiar with the incident said.
The phone and surveillance data, which have not previously been disclosed, lend new credence to a key part of a former British spy’s dossier of Kremlin intelligence describing purported coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s election meddling operation.
According to the dossier, put together by former British spy Christopher Steele, Cohen met with at least one Kremlin official in the Czech Republic to determine how to keep secret the close “liaison” between the Trump campaign and Moscow, McClatchy reported.
This latest evidence shows that Cohen was in fact in Prague during the election, though it sheds no light on who he met there or what was discussed.
McClatchy’s four sources said special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s election interference and potential ties to the Trump campaign, is also in possession of the new electronic evidence.
McClatchy reported in April 2018 that Mueller had obtained evidence Cohen traveled to Prague from Germany in late August or early September of 2016, but it could not be learned how that information was gleaned.
If the foreign intelligence intercepts are accurate, the big questions now are whether Cohen has acknowledged to investigators that a meeting in Prague occurred, informed them what transpired and revealed what, if anything, he told Trump about it.