“New charges have been filed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates, but the charges were put under seal by the court, obscuring the nature and import of the development,” Politico reports.
“Federal law enforcement officials have identified more than $40 million in ‘suspicious’ financial transactions to and from companies controlled by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort — a much larger sum than was cited in his October indictment on money laundering charges,” BuzzFeed News reports.
“The vast web of transactions was unraveled mainly in 2014 and 2015 during an FBI operation to fight international kleptocracy that ultimately fizzled. The story of that failed effort — and its resurrection by special counsel Robert Mueller as he investigated whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election — has never been fully told.”
Rick Gates “will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul Manafort,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to a person familiar with those talks, Gates, a longtime political consultant, can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” if he fully cooperates with the investigation. He said that Gates is apt to serve about 18 months in prison.
“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has told a federal judge it has found evidence that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, committed bank fraud not addressed by the indictment last October in which he was charged with money laundering and failure to register as a foreign agent,” Politico reports.
“As legal wrangling continues over a $10 million bail package for Manafort, prosecutors this week accused him of submitting false information to a bank in connection with one of his mortgages.”
The Atlantic has a must-read profile of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort:
When Paul Manafort officially joined the Trump campaign, on March 28, 2016, he represented a danger not only to himself but to the political organization he would ultimately run. A lifetime of foreign adventures didn’t just contain scandalous stories, it evinced the character of a man who would very likely commandeer the campaign to serve his own interests, with little concern for the collective consequences.
“The criminal trial of President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort appears likely to start in September at the earliest after a federal judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office to kick off the trial in May,” Politico reports.
Daily Beast: “A superseding indictment would essentially replace the current indictment of Manafort. And in that current indictment, Mueller’s team hinted there was more to come. In particular, they hinted at potential tax charges for Manafort’s foreign financial transactions. Federal prosecutors can bring charges against any American who has money in a foreign bank account and doesn’t check a box on their tax forms disclosing it. The Manafort/Gates indictment describes financial behavior that may be liable for that kind of prosecution. And that’s an indicator that Mueller’s team may be preparing to formally charge both men with violating tax laws.”
Associated Press: “Revealing that they know every word Manafort changed in a recently published op-ed, prosecutors for the special counsel argued Friday that the former Trump campaign chairman’s attempt to mount a public relations campaign to defend himself while under house arrest ‘raises serious concerns about his trustworthiness.'”
“Writing in Microsoft Word, Manafort changed several sections of the essay, going line-by-line for over 30 minutes on the night of Nov. 29, court papers show.”
“Each change was tracked in the document, which prosecutors later compared to talking points Manafort drafted last year to respond to news reports about his consulting work in Ukraine. They found they mirrored his edits, and appeared to show he had a ‘public relations campaign’ in mind to help his case.”
Federal prosecutors asserted that a longtime associate of Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Trump’s campaign, has been “assessed to have ties” to Russian intelligence — the first time the special counsel has alleged a Trump official had such contacts, the Washington Post reports.
Special counsel Robert Mueller accused President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, of working with a Russian colleague to draft an opinion piece about his political work for Ukraine, Reuters reports.
“Had it been published, prosecutors say it would have violated a Nov. 8 court order not to discuss the case publicly… Due to Manafort’s actions, prosecutors said the judge should reject his request to modify his bail conditions.”
Bloomberg: “The federal indictment of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, accuses him of laundering millions in foreign payments to pursue a ‘lavish lifestyle’ in the U.S., especially in the Hamptons, where he has a house. What it doesn’t explain — or highlight — are the stratospheric payments he made to home improvement companies when his renovation work was estimated at far less.
“Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in his indictment, says that a Hamptons firm got $5.4 million in wire transfers from Cyprus over 71 payments. But building permits over the same period examined by Bloomberg show that renovations by Manafort’s Hamptons’ contractor were estimated to cost $1.2 million. That’s less than a quarter of what was ultimately sent — an apparent discrepancy that could draw scrutiny from investigators.”
“The Justice Department is seeking to reach a plea deal in its criminal investigation of the former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s one-time campaign chairman,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The investigation into Jeffrey Yohai—who hasn’t been charged with any crime—by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles is separate from the Washington-based probe of his former father-in-law and others by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”
A federal judge “ordered former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates to remain under house arrest with their movements tracked by GPS devices – until they offer up more bail money to assure their future appearances in court,” USA Today reports.
The judge said she was “inclined” to eventually “let both Manafort and Gates out of home confinement, and was even open to allowing them to travel within the United States so they could continue their consulting work, but not overseas.”
“Paul Manafort is offering to post $12.5 million-worth of assets — including his Trump Tower apartment — as part of a bail package to ensure that he appears for the trial he’s facing on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist,” Politico reports.
“In exchange for pledging the properties, Manafort is seeking to be released from home confinement at his Alexandria, Va. condo and permitted to travel freely in Florida, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and New York.”