In what will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has announced that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been caught lying to federal investigators and has directed the judge to take that into consideration when his sentencing hearing is held, which is likely going to be much sooner than Manafort expected.
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) November 27, 2018
Manafort was charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and agreed to a plea deal with Special Counsel Mueller to avoid a courtroom trial. His deal included a guilty plea that crucially did include a cooperation agreement with the Special Counsel’s investigation, along with having to forfeit four of his homes and the money he squirreled away in hidden bank accounts across the world.
In exchange, prosecutors dropped five money laundering charges and violations of a lobbying disclosure law.
While prosecutors did not reveal what, exactly, Manafort lied about, any chance Manafort had of getting a lighter sentence have been dashed and prosecutors could, if they so choose, re-open the dropped money laundering charges and disclosure violations, reports the Washington Post.
Manafort was under indictment in a D.C. court for his failure to register as a lobbyist under the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his work lobbying for Russia’s Ukranian puppet leader, Viktor Yanukovych, and his United Regions party.
Prior to these indictments, Manafort was convicted of 8 out of 18 financial crimes, most of them centered around his efforts to evade taxes on the $75 million dollars he received doing shady lobbying work for Yanukovych and his Russian patrons.
After fifteen months of investigation, Mueller’s team has obtained guilty pleas and cooperation agreements from disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, campaign manager Paul Manafort, campaign advisor Rick Gates, Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen, and foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.
Manafort’s last hope is now a presidential pardon, which he’s clearly trying to angle for by getting caught lying to prosecutors like this.
So Manafort is pretty clearly throwing the pardon Hail Mary now, I guess.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 27, 2018
It’s a bold gamble on his part, and whether or not it pays off has huge ramifications for the future of the Trump-Russia investigation. If it does, Trump will have shown his hand and made it clear that impeachment is the only thing that will make sure he and his cronies pay for their crimes.
If not, Manafort is going to be in jail for an incredibly long time.