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Mueller reveals how Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement



Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow, has detailed in a memo released Friday exactly how former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement with investigators.

The memo says Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying to the special counsel’s office and FBI investigators.

The alleged lies are related to Manafort’s statements about his associations with a Russian-Ukrainian political operative, wire transfers to a firm working for Manafort, and Manafort’s contact with Trump administration officials, among other things.

Much of the details in Mueller’s filing are redacted, but it reveals that federal investigators collected evidence of Manafort’s alleged series of lies via “electronic communications” and “travel records.”

A late November court filing from Mueller’s office had accused Manafort of lying to investigators from the special counsel’s office and the FBI “on a variety of subject matters” in the two months he was nominally a formal cooperating witness in the Mueller probe.

The filing said Manafort “thus relieves the government of any obligations it has under the agreement,” since the terms of the plea deal required Manafort to agree not to commit crimes during the course of his cooperation.

Manafort has been charged twice in the Mueller probe for offenses relating to his years of work lobbying for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party in the US.

Manafort was first charged in December 2017 in the District of Columbia on 12 offenses, including money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and obstruction of justice. He and his deputy Rick Gates were charged again in the Eastern District of Virginia on 18 counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and hiding foreign bank accounts in February 2018.

Read more:Here’s everyone who has been charged and convicted in Mueller’s Russia probe so far

While Gates immediately chose to take a plea deal and testify against his former mentor, Manafort went to trial. In August, a jury in Arlington, Virginia, convicted him on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, with a mistrial declared on the other 10 counts to which jurors could not come to a consensus.

Manafort was scheduled to go to trial again in September, but instead struck a deal with the special counsel’s office to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstruction of justice in exchange for his cooperation.

Now that Manafort’s plea deal has fallen apart, his last hope to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison is a presidential pardon.

Read more:While Michael Cohen cooperates with Mueller probe, Paul Manafort appears to be betting on a presidential pardon

Trump has spent months publicly signaling he could pardon Manafort, saying that he believed Manafort’s treatment was “unfair” and calling him “brave” for not flipping, in contrast to Cohen.

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