Mueller: Manafort Has Lied To Investigators Since Plea Deal

Friday, 30 Nov, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller accused Paul Manafort on Monday night of violating his plea deal by lying to investigators - a move that could potentially lead to more jail time for the former Donald Trump campaign chairman.

But on Monday, Mueller's office said in a new court filing that Manafort had breached his plea deal by lying to investigators.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Yeah, in a court filing last night, David, the special counsel said Manafort had committed new crimes by repeatedly lying to lawyers in the special counsel team and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the course of his so-called cooperation.

Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and agreed to "broad" cooperation with the special counsel as part of his agreement.

The former Trump campaign chairman has met prosecutors at least nine times, amounting to hours of discussions about what he knows.

In another development Monday, one of Trump's former aides, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, reported to prison after a federal judge rejected a bid to delay the start of his sentence while a constitutional challenge to Mueller's investigation remains unresolved.

Manafort was set to slip away from several of the charges against him as a result of his plea agreement, but that's not likely to be the case anymore. The interview was reportedly cancelled as the White House lawyers believed that Trump might put himself in legal jeopardy by lying to investigators in a face-to-face meeting.

Manafort's attorneys said their client disagreed, and that Manafort said he believed he'd provided truthful information. He was convicted by a jury in August on tax and bank fraud charges in the other case in Virginia.

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Trump's tweet this morning seems to try to shift blame away from Manafort and toward Robert Mueller, which could intentionally be a means of setting his base up for a future pardon.

Mueller said in the filing that those lies breached Manafort's plea agreement.

As Mueller's probe continues to come up short on expectations proving the endlessly hyped accusation of collusion, investigators have been forced to double-down on those who have been implicated, even if their ability to connect Trump with Russian Federation ends up looking like a game of "several degrees of separation".

The rupture in relations could hamper Mueller's ability to turn an insider against Trump in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and has raised questions about whether Manafort could be angling for a presidential pardon.

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Celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who has frequently provided Trump with advice, said on ABC News on Sunday that Trump could take a heavy hit when Mueller completes his probe.

But with prosecutors saying he breached the agreement, Manafort now faces serious repercussions such as the possibility of prosecution on additional charges including the 10 felony counts prosecutors dropped when he made the deal.

As part of his plea agreement, Manafort not only pledged to fully cooperate with prosecutors, but he also forfeited many of his rights, including to withdraw from the deal if he broke its terms.