Mueller: Manafort lied about contacts with Trump administration, Russian ties

Paul Manafort. Photo: Instagram

Dec. 8 (UPI) — Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team laid out five ways in which President Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, lied to investigators in a heavily redacted court filing Friday.

The memo said Manafort lied to investigators after agreeing to cooperate with the Russia probe as part of a plea agreement. Mueller notified the court of the violation in November.

Though Friday’s filing redacted many key details, it accused Manafort of lying when he said associate Konstantin Kilimnik was not involved in witness tampering after Manafort’s indictment in 2017. Mueller has accused Kilimnik of having ties to Russian intelligence and the hacking of Democrats during the 2016 campaign.

Other alleged interactions with Kilimnik were redacted.

The Mueller filing also said Manafort was in contact with Trump administration officials as recently as the beginning of 2018, nearly two years after he resigned as campaign chairman. He allegedly sent a text message in May authorizing an unnamed person to speak with an administration official, also unnamed.

“The evidence demonstrates that Manafort lied about his contacts,” the memo said.

The memo said Manafort also lied in another Justice Department probe, though details of that investigation were not revealed.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday’s filing says “absolutely nothing about the president.”

“It says even less about collusion and is devoted almost entirely to lobbying-related issues. Once again the media is trying to create a story where there isn’t one,” she said.

On Sept. 14, Manafort entered a plea agreement with the Mueller team, saying he would cooperate with prosecutors in his Washington, D.C., money laundering and foreign lobbying case. The arrangement came less than a month after a federal jury in Virginia found him guilty on eight counts in a bank fraud trial in a separate case linked to the Mueller probe.

Prosecutors in the Virginia conviction said Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, passed the money they received from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to conceal it from the Internal Revenue Service.

The D.C. indictment charged Manafort with conspiracy, money laundering, tax fraud, failure to file reports of foreign financial assets, serving as an unregistered foreign agent and giving false and misleading statements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Witness tampering charges were added in June 2018 and named Kilimnik as an accomplice.

In the Virginia case, Manafort faces at least seven years in prison, and he could face between 17 years and 22 years in prison in the D.C. case. That number could increase if he faces additional charges related to the alleged lies detailed in the Friday memo.





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