Manafort lied after guilty plea, Mueller says, and should be sentenced immediately

Geneva Stokes
November 27, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller filed a complaint Monday alleging that former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea deal by lying during his interviews with prosecutors.

Manafort denies that he lied, and his attorneys say he believes he "provided truthful information".

Mr Mueller said Mr 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 joint statement indicates that new sentencing dates are to be set "without delay", despite Manafort's claim that he has been telling the truth. Prosecutors alleged Manafort hid tens of millions of dollars in overseas income over several decades, including his time as chairman of the Trump campaign in 2016.

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.

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Manafort said in the same filing he disagreed with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's assertion that he lied to investigators.

Instead, he agreed to plead guilty to two charges of conspiracy, and to cooperate with federal investigators as they probe Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The breakdown in the plea deal means that Manafort will most likely face a harsher sentence - both for the crimes he pleaded guilty to in Washington and for his conviction by a jury in August in a separate case in Virginia for bank and tax fraud. He pleaded guilty a month later in Washington and began meeting with US investigators while he was locked up in jail.

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". "If you do the reporting, I think what you're starting to see is a belief that he is not only cornered, but that national security is in real danger because of the way he is acting", he said. "The president has opined on Twitter that he thinks Manafort has been treated unfairly, and he has pardoned others - including Sheriff Joe Arpaio - who he thinks have also been treated unfairly", CNN legal analyst and attorney Ross Garber explained. He had been in the room for the Trump Tower meeting with Russians who touted they had incriminating information about Hillary Clinton; he had allegedly offered private briefings on the campaign to a Russian oligarch to whom he was indebted, according to The Washington Post; and he had overseen the Trump campaign in the months when Russian military intelligence allegedly hacked Democratic Party officials. Trump denies any campaign collusion and calls the investigation a political witch hunt.

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