Mueller Adds Obstruction Charge on Manafort and Indicts His Right-Hand Man

April FrancisJun 11, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought additional charges against U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign chairman and a longtime associate, accusing them of obstructing justice.

According to Mueller's filing this week, Manafort's alleged attempts to tamper with witness testimony took place over several days in February, after Gates' cooperation deal was announced.

Along with his former business associate Rick Gates, Manafort was initially indicted in October 2017 on multiple counts that included: conspiracy against the USA, conspiracy to launder money, false statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

By naming Kilimnik, the indictment could alter the way the prosecution of Manafort and the probe by Mueller into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign is perceived, said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.

Manafort, who spent years lobbying for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine before joining the Trump campaign, was already facing a number of charges from Mueller since he was first indicted in October.

Perhaps more important is that an alleged line from the Russian government to the Trump campaign could be getting clearer.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Manafort accused Mueller of a "not too-subtle attempt to poison the potential jury pool".

"The indictment serves a strategic objective in raising public awareness about the connections that those who worked on Trump's campaign had with Russians, and it serves a legal goal by putting more pressure on Manafort to become a cooperating witness", the story says.

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Manafort's attorneys argue in newly filed court papers that he never asked anyone to provide false testimony. He has pleaded not guilty. The dismissive nature of Manafort's response is maintained throughout the response.

Manafort's claims came in a court filing that said the communications flagged by the special counsel were "irrelevant, innocuous and unsupportive of the conjured witness tampering claim".

Manafort is now under house arrest. "You now have the former chairman of the Trump campaign charged with conspiring with a suspected Russian intelligence operative".

Ellis previously suggested Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Closer scrutiny of this "evidence" reveals that the Special Counsel's allegations are without merit because Mr. Manafort's limited communications can not be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness. The indictment doesn't give details, but in another court motion earlier this week Mr. Mueller said Mr. Manafort tried to get a witness to lie for him in court.

"They haven't been convicted of anything", Trump said, telling the media that he hasn't given any thought to the notion. He also revealed that before getting involved with Manafort and Gates in 2005, he worked for the International Republican Institute, a US-funded "democracy promotion" outfit led by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona).

Author information: Devlin Barrett writes about national security and law enforcement for The Washington Post.

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