Mueller eyes Manafort meeting with Russian partner in 2016 -court filing
10 February, 2019, 15:29 | Author: Wade Massey
Andrew Weissmann, one of the prosecutors on Mueller's team, told the judge that Manafort's alleged lies about his meetings with Kilimnik were significant because they related to "what we think is going on, and what we think the motive here is".
Mueller's prosecutors, who have charged more than 30 people, are investigating whether anyone in the Trump campaign conspired with Russians. But that portion of Weissmann's testimony is redacted in the public transcripts.
To make explicit what the special counsel's office is saying here: Manafort's meeting with a man with ties to Russian intelligence during the heat of the 2016 campaign is at "the heart" of the Russia investigation.
"This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel's office is investigating", Weissmann said at the hearing.
After President Donald Trump's former Campaign Chair Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 counts of federal criminal charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he made a decision to try his luck and avoid a second trial by becoming a cooperating witness in the Russian Federation investigation.
At the meeting, Ukrainian policy - and, it appears according to previous filings, a peace plan that would have benefited Russian Federation - came up.
In a final allegation, prosecutors have said Manafort lied about the terms of a $125,000 payment toward an apparent debt he incurred to a law firm he employed in 2017. They also revealed that in 2017 and 2018- years when Manafort was under federal investigation and later indictment for his work in Ukraine- he arranged for polling in the country on behalf of an unnamed Ukrainian political figure.
Jackson's ruling could affect Manafort's sentencing on two felony charges stemming from illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian interests. He also was convicted by a jury in August in a separate federal case in Virginia for bank and tax fraud crimes.
Mueller got that information from Gates, according to the transcript.
Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing also attacked Gates's credibility and urged the judge not to rely on it.
"I am aware that he was cross-examined fiercely, that his credibility was shaken enormously, that there were a number of issues that you argued successfully that he was not a good source, that there was evidence produced that he benefited from a lot of the financial things that were wrong, and that his credibility was attacked", Jackson said.
Kilimnik told the Washington Post that his meeting with Manafort on August 2 was "in no way related to politics or [the] presidential campaign in the U.S". This, quite directly, implies that Trump has an interest in one of his former aides engaging in a criminal cover-up - a circumstance that is hard to imagine unless the president himself is at least indirectly implicated in criminal behavior. The New York Times has reported the payment involved Manafort's use of money from a pro-Trump political action committee to help pay his legal bills.
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