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Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.
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 US law.
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.
The White House schedule said only that Mr Poroshenko would "drop in" to the Oval Office while Mr Trump was having staff meetings.
That had been agreed through official channels. Mr Cohen's fee was for getting Mr Poroshenko more than just an embarrassingly brief few minutes of small talk and a handshake, the senior official said. But negotiations continued until the early hours of the day of the visit.
Mr Poroshenko was desperate to meet Mr Trump because of what had happened in the US presidential election campaign.
In August 2016, the New York Times published a document that appeared to show Mr Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, getting millions of dollars from pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.
It was a page of the so-called "black ledger" belonging to the Party of the Regions, the pro-Russian party that employed Mr Manafort when he ran a political consultancy in Ukraine.
The page appeared to have come from Ukraine's National Anti Corruption Bureau, which was investigating him. Mr Manafort had to resign.
None of our sources say that Mr Trump used the Oval Office meeting to ask Mr Poroshenko to kill the Manafort investigation. But if there was a back channel, did Michael Cohen use it to tell the Ukrainians what was expected of them?
Perhaps he didn't need to.
One source in Kiev said Mr Poroshenko had given Trump "a gift" - making sure that Ukraine would find no more evidence to give the US inquiry into whether the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russia.
Mr Poroshenko knew that to do otherwise, another source said, "would be like spitting in Trump's face".
originally posted by: AndyFromMichigan
Funny how in the last couple of days we're being deluged with these articles, right as it's being made public how the CIA, FBI, and DOJ were actively conspiring to fabricate grounds to investigate the Trump campaign.
Drawing on "senior, well placed" intelligence sources in Kiev, the report sets out this sequence of events…
As soon as Trump was elected, the report says, Ukraine stopped "proactively" investigating Manafort.
Liaison with the US government was moved away from the National Anti Corruption Bureau to a senior aide in the presidential administration.
The report states that Poroshenko returned from Washington and, in August or September, 2017, decided to completely end cooperation with the US agencies investigating Manafort. He did not give an order to implement this decision until November 2017.
The order became known to the US government after scheduled visits by Poroshenko's senior aide to see Mueller and the CIA director, in November and December, were cancelled.
The report says that an "element of the understanding" between Poroshenko and Trump was that Ukraine agreed to import US coal and signed a $1bn contract for American-made diesel trains.