Ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort 'lied to special counsel Mueller'

Arturo Kim
November 27, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort violated his plea agreement and lied to investigators after agreeing to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and could face sentencing in his federal case as a result, CNBC reports.

The latest development could indicate a set back for Mueller's investigation if Manafort had not been cooperating.

Still, Mueller's office argued it would "file a detailed sentencing submission to the Probation Department and the Court in advance of sentencing that sets forth the nature of the defendant's crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement herein".

The charges stemmed from political work Manafort had done for the government of Ukraine prior to his accepting the position as campaign manager for then-candidate Donald Trump.

The move signals a return to the acrimonious relationship Manafort has had with the special counsel's office since his indictment a year ago.

But federal prosecutors on Monday said he violated the pact and asked a judge to sentence him.

Manafort, who admitted to two conspiracy counts in Washington in September after a jury convicted him in Virginia earlier of tax and bank fraud, "committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel's Office on a variety of subject matters", according to the filing.

It's a dire turn for Manafort, who was accused of witness tampering, pleaded guilty to a range of charges laid by Mueller and finally agreed to cooperate to avert the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

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The D.C. court filing brings to a head weeks of speculation that Manafort's cooperation with the special counsel could be breaking down.

Manafort had agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation as part of a plea deal in September.

The timing of the Manafort status update is worth noting in its own right - seriously, it feels like it was only just yesterday that President Trump supplied written answers to Mueller's questions "regarding the Russia-related topics of the inquiry".

As part of his plea agreement, Manafort pledged to "co-operate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly" with the government "in any and all matters" prosecutors deemed necessary.

Prosecutors did not elaborate on areas where they contend that Manafort lied.

He has been held in a Virginia jail since June.

The judge in DC District Court who received the update Monday night has not yet weighed in, and a sentencing for Manafort's guilty plea has not yet been scheduled.

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