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.