Mueller just released Manafort’s sentencing memo and it puts Republicans in a bind

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Special Counsel Mueller’s Office just filed their final sentencing memo in Paul Manafort’s criminal trial for illegal foreign lobbying and its 800+ pages surprisingly exposed that Republicans let him get away with some of the very same criminal offenses thirty years ago.

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Today’s memo revealed that Manafort is facing a term of imprisonment lasting 17-22 years in addition to the 20-24-year sentence they recommended for his financial crimes trial in Virginia last week.

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Trump’s former Campaign Chairman was convicted on eight counts of financial crimes in a Virginia court before he pleaded guilty to two more offenses in Washington, D.C. last year.

Most observers expected prosecutors to file a heavily redacted memorandum, but instead, they surprisingly filed a detailed history of Manafort’s incredibly intimate knowledge of the Foreign Agents Registration Act showing that the first time he violated FARA involved secret work for Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s while he was a public official in the Reagan Administration, which itself is an additional corruption crime.

They wrote:

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The OPIC is a federal financial guarantee agency which would’ve given Manafort tremendous benefit in his work as a foreign lobbyist by allowing him to use the government to steer private investment around the world, for a fee.

But former Republican President Reagan’s Justice Department let Paul Manafort violate the federal law against Bribery, Graft, and Conflicts of Interest which prohibits federal officials from acting as agents of a foreign government or corporation and comes with a potential 2-year-term or fines or both.

That’s probably why he thought he’d get away with surgically violating the legal requirements under FARA to disclose his foreign lobbying efforts on behalf of Ukraine’s pro-Russia political party and kleptomaniac ex-President.

The remainder of Manafort’s sentencing memo details his dirty schemes to whitewash the political crimes of exiled former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who did indeed lock up the woman whom he defeated to win his election in 2010.

In addition to hiring former European heads of state to secretly influence the Obama Administration and Congress to cover for Yanukovych’s dictatorial ways, Trump’s former Campaign Manager hired the global law firm Skadden Arps to write a highly misleading report to approve of the cover-up and lied about the massive sum of cash he funneled to the attorneys.

Last year, Skadden entered into a settlement and cooperation agreement with the Special Counsel’s Office for violating FARA and repaid the $4.6 million Manafort paid them.  One of its lawyers became the first Mueller probe target to go to jail after he got caught covering up for Manafort and his co-conspirator Rick Gates’ crimes.

Paul Manafort is facing a jail term that could reach 44 years and fines of up to $24 million in connection with his financial crimes, illegal foreign lobbying and witness tampering with his former right-hand-man, Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik with whom he colluded to deliver the Trump campaign’s detailed polling data to the Kremlin.

That explains why Mueller’s team wrote that Manafort “repeatedly and brazenly violated the law” and would probably re-offend if he’s ever let out of jail for his crimes, “which were committed while under a spotlight due to his work as the campaign chairman and, later, while he was on bail from this Court.”

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Special Counsel Mueller’s filing draws a clear line to his current crimes from the partisan “Get out of jail free” card that Manafort played as one of President Reagan’s top campaign aides running his “Southern Strategy” – which is the euphemism Republican strategists coined for inciting racism to continue Jim Crow politics in the South – to help him win election in 1980.

If only President Reagan’s administration had only enforced the law and sought a felony conviction, instead of letting Manafort off the hook with less than even a slap on the wrists, it might’ve ended his lobbying career back then, or at maybe even rendered him too toxic to worm his way to the top of future Republican Donald Trump’s crooked campaign.

Here is a copy of Mueller’s final sentencing memorandum in Paul Manafort’s case:

Clarification: Law firm Skadden Arps did not “plead guilty,” but rather they settled the civil action against them for FARA violations.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

Grant Stern is a columnist for the Washington Press. He's also mortgage broker, writer, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida.

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