Michael Cohen says 'Mueller knows everything,' denies new report about alleged Prague meeting

  • Close observers of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe can't stop talking about whether Cohen has ever visited Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
  • McClatchy reported that a phone traced to Cohen "briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016 ... leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials."
  • Notably, other outlets, including CNBC, have not been able to verify McClatchy's reporting, which would be expected for a story of its magnitude.
  • Cohen has continued to deny ever having been to Prague, and a representative for Cohen told CNBC on Thursday that the lawyer had never been to the country.
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, June 20, 2018.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, June 20, 2018.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen has had a long year.

It started with reports that raised new questions about his role in facilitating hush money payments to women alleging affairs with the president.

It ended in a federal court in Manhattan, where he was sentenced to three years in prison for those payments, as well as a range of other crimes including lying to Congress.

Meanwhile, close observers of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe can't stop talking about whether Cohen has ever visited Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

The visit would be noteworthy because of where it was first reported: a salacious document that has become a central talking point for those following the Russia investigation.

Christopher Steele, a former British spy, wrote in his infamous but unverified intelligence dossier compiled during the 2016 election that Cohen traveled to the city in August of that year to meet with "Kremlin officials" to discuss possible payments for hackers working against Trump's electoral rival Hillary Clinton.

Steele has said that he believes between 70 and 90 percent of the dossier is true. Republicans have criticized the FBI for citing the dossier as part of an application to wiretap Trump's former foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, though the surveillance was approved by four judges appointed by Republicans.

WATCH: Trump underreported payments to Cohen in disclosures

One of the intelligence reports in the dossier said that Cohen's meeting in Prague concerned "how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow's secret liaison with the TRUMP team more generally."

Trump and Cohen have denied the allegations in the dossier since it was first published, and Cohen sued BuzzFeed, the news outlet that first published the intelligence reports online for defamation. He later dropped the suit, citing his limited resources to pursue legal action, but maintained that the dossier was defamatory.

The Prague saga has been drawn out by reporting from McClatchy. In April, the news outlet reported that Mueller had evidence that Cohen was in Prague in 2016, "confirming part of dossier." That report cited two unnamed sources.

Eight months later, McClatchy followed up with a second report that appeared to further the story. On Thursday, it reported that a phone traced to Cohen "briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016 ... leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials."

Notably, other outlets, including CNBC, have not been able to verify McClatchy's reporting, which would be expected for a story of its magnitude. Cohen has continued to deny ever having been to Prague, and a representative for Cohen told CNBC on Thursday that the lawyer had never been to the country.

WATCH: Mueller's investigation could make money for taxpayers

"As Mr. Cohen said in a letter posted online by his prior law firm and many times since, he has never been to Prague and denies this anonymously sourced story again," said Lanny Davis, Cohen's communications advisor.

The report from McClatchy notes that its sourcing comes from four different people based on "information shared by their foreign intelligence connections." Each of the sources, the news outlet wrote, obtained information independently.

At this point, it is not clear what incentive Cohen would have to lie about his Prague travels. Mueller has written in court filings that he believes Cohen has been truthful. Cohen has reportedly spent 70 hours in interviews with Mueller's prosecutors and other federal investigators.