2019-02-08 20:32:441 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
The more and more that is learned about Paul Manafort and his crimes, the more alarming it becomes that this man was part of a presidential campaign, and the more questionable it becomes that the candidate knew nothing about any of it.
Donald Trump's former campaign chairman in 2016 was a very early target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. While many others who were indicted copped plea deals, Manafort maintained his innocence. While still maintaining that he was charged with witness tampering, and his bail was revoked.
Taking his chances at his first trial, he was found guilty on eight charges of bank fraud and tax evasion. Facing a second trial, he finally took the plea deal, pleading guilty to conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
A few months later Mueller accused him of lying and sharing information with Trump's legal team. His two sentencing hearings have been delayed while the court waits to hear the details of the alleged lying.
One aspect that has been known about Manafort since the beginning was the lobbying work he did for Ukraine, namely former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych. Fellow K Ukrainian Konstantin Kilimnik, who has Russian ties, worked for Manafort.
New court filings allege that Manafort was unbelievably still working on Ukrainian political matters in 2018, and Kilimnik was assessed by the FBI as attending Trump's' inauguration.
A partially redacted transcript was released on Thursday of a sealed hearing between prosecutors and Manafort's defense team. Attorneys discussed whether he may have been motivated to lie "to at least augment his chances for a pardon."
Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann alleged that Manafort may have lied as a way to hide his scheme that funneled cash to himself while working for Trump's campaign pro bono.
Manafort and Kilimnik discussed on more than one occasion a peace plan for Ukraine. One time they discussed it was August 2016 while Manafort was serving as the chairman of the Trump campaign, admitted his attorneys
The two also met in December 2016, January 2017, February 2017, and as recently as last winter, according to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson's comments at the hearing.
Mueller's office claims the defendant "intentionally provided false information" in debriefing sessions on multiple topics, including his interactions with Kilimnik. He's also been accused of passing polling data to Kilimnik during the campaign. They worked on a poll in Ukraine together in 2018.
"Is there, you know, a pattern here of minimizing and understatement and belated acknowledgment after he finds out the government already has the proof when Kilimnik and Ukraine are concerned?" Jackson queried in the hearing.
The transcript also lead to more details of an August 2, 2016, meeting, at the height of the Trump campaign, at the Grand Havana Room between Manafort and Kilimnik. Weissman said Rick Gates, Manafort's No. 2, was also in attendance.
Kilimnik has said they discussed "unpaid bills" and "current news" and that they were "private visits" and "in no way related to politics or the presidential campaign in the U.S."
Manafort is facing a possible 7- to 10-year sentence in his first trial in Virginia, and his Washington trial could mean another 10 years.
22 August, 2019
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Jair Bolsonaro (Image source: Public domain) After last year's wildfires in California, the United States knows a little about the pain of going......More
22 August, 2019
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Jay Inslee (Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons) The second Democratic nominee in a week has dropped out of the race for the 2020......More
22 August, 2019
New research reveals older people with a weak hand grip could signal diminished cognitive and memory. Loss of handgrip by 11 pounds put people at a 10% risk of cognitive impairment and an 18% risk......More