Special Counsel Says Former Trump Campaign Chairman, Manafort, Violated His Plea Agreement

Special Counsel Says Former Trump Campaign Chairman, Manafort, Violated His Plea Agreement November 26, 2018

Well, somebody is going to be wearing an orange jumpsuit for a very long time.

The “somebody” in this particular scenario is Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump.

Monday brought bad news for Mr. Manafort, in that special counsel Robert Mueller made a new filing, alleging that Manafort further lied to federal prosecutors, after he’d made a plea agreement to work with them.

“After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement,” Mueller’s team said in a joint status report with Paul Manafort’s defense attorneys filed late Monday.

In a campaign team that was fraught with really bad ideas, that was probably the worst of all possible bad ideas.

Because of what they believe to be deception on Paul Manafort’s part, Mueller’s team has asked that his sentencing date be scheduled.

So what was Manafort initially convicted of?

This past summer, he was convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud in Northern Virginia. From there, he agreed to work with Robert Mueller’s team, in an effort to avoid a second federal trial in Washington, D.C.

Also as part of his plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to several felony charges, in connection to his lobbying for foreign governments, as well as the agreement to cooperate with Mueller.

Manafort is considered to be an important part of the investigation into just how close Russians got to the inside of the Trump camp.

Manafort, along with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner, all took part in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian officials, ostensibly to receive dirt on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Manafort’s lawyers, in their portion of the joint filing sought to dispute Mueller’s claims, adding that their client had met numerous times with the Mueller team, and that he believed his answers to be truthful.

“He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement,” the filing states. “Given the conflict in the parties’ positions, there is no reason to delay the sentencing herein, and he asks the Court to set a sentencing date in this matter.”

The government said it would explain in detail in a later filing ahead of sentencing Manafort’s crimes and lies, including those he told after signing the plea agreement.

If it turns out Manafort has been lying to special counsel, he can kiss any notion of a lighter sentence goodbye. It would be most unwise, on his part.

Still, it will be interesting what prompted today’s move from special counsel.

One equally interesting theory that may actually have legs has been floating around in certain circles on the internet, and it goes like this:

President Trump’s legal team just turned in his written answers to Mueller. One of the supposed questions was, “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”

So what if Trump’s answers to those questions relied on Manafort’s answers to Mueller, while he was “cooperating”?

And what if Mueller delayed bringing these charges of lying against Manafort until after the answers to Trump’s questions were in his possession, so he could compare them against each other?

Did Trump’s attorneys help him into a “perjury trap,” as they were so fond of calling their client’s inability to tell the truth?

It’s a theory.

But for now, we will have to marvel at the monumental screw-up that is Paul Manafort – and on the same day as the “low-level coffee boy” checks in to serve his own sentence.

No wonder the president was particularly agitated, today.

 

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  • IllinoisPatriot

    I’ve not forgotten that Manafort was also the beneficiary of a hung jury on 10 of the 18 counts he was originally charged with or that Mueller asked for an extended time before he had to file for either a re-trial or dismissal of those 10 charges.

    Reports at the time were that a single juror (possibly paid off) refused to make the ruling unanimous on all the 10 counts the jury could not agree on.

    With Manafort now having violated the terms of his plea deal, I’m wondering if he can still be retried on the original 10 “hung” counts in addition to his second trial in DC or if the re-filing deadline has passed.

    From what I’ve seen of Mueller’s work and opsec, I think he’s too good a prosecutor to ask Trump questions he does not already know the answers to. I agree that the theory you mentioned DOES have legs and can imagine a situation where Trump has admitted to things that Manafort denied or admitted that Manafort did things at Trump’s request that Manafort denied – similar to both Trump’s admission to Lester Holt as to why he fired James Comey and to MIchael Cohen’s change-of-story about Stormy Danials once he was dumped by Trump with his admission that he paid off Stormy Daniels at the request of “the candidate”.

    I do look forward to your reports with more details on Manafort’s legal situation (and of course Trump’s as well).

    UPDATE: I found most of my answers here in the Wash Examiner.

    Turns out Manafort IS still potentially triable for the 10 counts that were declared “hung” in VA earlier. (Looks like Mueller has until Feb sometime to re-file the charges because of the deal they made with the judge). He can also be tried on the DC issues. What is at stake for Manafort is that the deal he has now been accused of breaking limits (caps) his time served to 10 years with the sentences in VA & DC being served concurrently. Without those caps, he faces a maximum sentence of 80 years just for the 8 charges he’s already been found guilty on PLUS going to trial in DC for additional penalties (loss of assets, increase in sentence) PLUS being re-tried on the 10 counts that have NOT been dismissed from VA.

    It sounds that either Manafort is counting on (having been promised ?) a pardon from Trump or that he still believes himself above the law and that the actual sentencing will be just a slap on the wrist or that Manafort has real reason to try to work with Mueller in order to someday see daylight again with a chance to enjoy his ill-gotten gains…..

    Now I’m wondering what (if anything) Manafort has been holding back that could / would incriminate Trump that perhaps Trump’s written answers just blew wide open with unforced admissions or blatant contradictions….

  • JASmius

    Another theory is that Manafort fears, shall we say, a Putin-administered fate for himself and/or his family. Recall that the charges on which he was convicted (as well as the ones on which the jury deadlocked) weren’t campaign-related but arose from his shady work with Russian and Russian-allied oligarchs and mobsters. He may be protecting more individuals than just Trump, and spending the rest of his life in an American prison may look preferable to he and his family winding up dead like Czar Vlad’s previous victims.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I doubt that being in prison is any sort of “protection” since I’m quite sure the Russians have (or can easily get) fellow prisoners to do their bidding. What’s another murder to a prisoner already serving life-without-parole ?