Ukraine paid Cohen $400K to set up talks with Trump

Image from CBS News Twitter's feed reporting on Evgeny Freidman's connection to Michael Cohen and the Trump Russia probe

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's administration demands a refutation of false reports that a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump previous year was "paid by Ukraine".

That question should frighten both Cohen and President Trump's legal team.

Cohen denied the story to the BBC.

The task was given to a former aide, who asked a loyal Ukrainian MP for help. If anybody knows about what Cohen has done wrong, Freidman may have been the most likely candidate - especially if Cohen did keep Trump in the dark about his Stormy Daniels payment and other matters.

Paltiel dismissed that article as antisemitic and on Wednesday, the rabbi expressed dismay that the BBC failed to approach him- or anyone at the Chabad house- for comment before running the claim.

Since then, Ukraine has made deals with the U.S.to import coal, locomotives and Javelin anti-tank missiles.

"Poroshenko's inner circle were shocked by how dirty this whole arrangement [with Cohen] was", one source in Ukraine told the BBC.

Manafort's lobbying work for the pro-Russia party became the focus of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's probe into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation a year ago. A FinCen representative said last week that "under longstanding procedures", the office "will limit access to certain SARs when requested by law enforcement authorities in connection with an ongoing investigation".

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Mr. Poroshenko who wanted to open a back channel to the Republican U.S. President, the BBC said, citing unnamed sources in Kiev. This is not just bad news for Michael Cohen, but bad news for everyone inside of the Trump administration. Poroshenko wanted much more, something that could be portrayed as full talks with the US president.

Poroshenko ultimately got his Oval Office photo op and sit-down.

The document appeared to show Paul Manafort, Mr Trump's presidential campaign manager, had received millions of dollars from pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

However, the meeting was in doubt even as Poroshenko was en route to the US, infuriating Ukranian officials that Cohen took the money, reportedly as high as $600,000, despite not being able to make good on his promise, the BBC reports. Hence, the red-faced Poroshenko needed a chance to make good with Trump.

He moved into Trump Park Avenue, where Cohen and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner lived.

Cohen has served as Trump's fixer and worked with him at the Trump Organization before he resigned that post but stayed on as the president's personal attorney.

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