Special Counsel: Manafort Lied About Contacts With White House After Plea Agreement

I have previously written about the reported contacts of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and White House or Trump team members. If true, it was a remarkably reckless act on both sides and could further jeopardize confidentiality protections. Now, in a response to Manafort, Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a redacted account of Manafort’s alleged false statements and non-cooperation to prosecutors. The most interesting item from my perspective was confirmation that the Special Counsel is supplying what it says is direct proof that Manafort misrepresented or lied about the contacts with the Trump team.

As I discussed earlier, these contacts would make a long line of blunders pale in comparison. In the prior filings, Mueller alleged that Manafort communicated directly and indirectly with Trump administration officials, including a “senior” official. If Mueller believes Manafort was coordinating his withholding of information or lack of cooperation, then it could be construed as the same range of collateral crimes from obstruction to subornation to witness tampering. Moreover, since there is a crime fraud exception to attorney client privilege, this allegation could lead to losing confidentiality over these meetings and force lawyers for Trump to take the stand to answer the allegations. It gives Mueller a line of attack that he did not have based on the original allegations. 

Now the redacted filing reaffirms that Manafort lied to prosecutors about his contacts with the Trump Administration in front of the grand jury. The prosecutors alleged that Manafort stated that he had no contact “with any member of the Administration and did not try to have such contact.” However, the filing states that “evidence demonstrates that Manafort’s statements were false.” The evidence includes a text exchange from May 2018 in which an unnamed individual says that he or she has an impending meeting with President Trump and asks Manafort, “If I see POTUS one on one next week am I ok to remind him of our relationship?” Manafort replies “Yes. Even if not one on one.”

Again, it would be an incredibly moronic move by Manafort. However, this is the same individual who was found to have violated his home confinement conditions in allegedly pressuring potential witnesses over the phone from his home on their accounts. Despite being burned on such calls, Manafort proceeded to make damaging statements on monitored prison lines. In other words, it would not be out of character. However, it is breathtaking that any lawyer on either side would create a back channel with a cooperating government witness to learn non-public details, developments or inquiries in a federal investigation.

60 thoughts on “Special Counsel: Manafort Lied About Contacts With White House After Plea Agreement”

  1. (music- to tune of Henry The 8th)
    I’m Man A Fart the 8th I am…
    Manafart the 8th I am I am…
    I got married to the widow next door…
    She’s been married seven times before… and
    Everyone was a Man A Fart!
    It wouldn’t be a Willy or a Fred…
    Cause their ain’t no fart that can’t be manned…
    Man A Fart The 8th I am!

  2. “Special Counsel is supplying what it says is direct proof that Manafort misrepresented or lied about the contacts with the Trump team.”

    It is telling that anyone in academic and government circles believes honesty, integrity and character are threads in the fabric of our culture anymore.

    “[Bill] Clinton’s an unusually good liar,” his fellow Democrat Bob Kerrey

    Just crazy

  3. A WH staffer asks Manafort if he can tell the POTUS that he knows him. Not exactly plans to breach the great chain across the Hudson at West Point but to conspiracy nuts I’m sure its grounds for treason.

    1. Mueller’s filing was heavily redacted. The most innocuous example was not redacted. Do you suppose that all of the redacted stuff is equally innocuous?

      1. L4D:
        I’d say the rest relates to on-going matters so I think there’s more there in terms of violations of the plea deal. That said, the government always writes the most slanted take on events that melt in the sunshine of the other side’s reply.

        1. Rubbing lemon juice on Mueller’s redactions doesn’t make them legible. And, yes, that is the current extent of my efforts at deciphering redactions.

          But, but . . . Downing’s redactions unveiled themselves with a simple copy and paste procedure. And the journalists already did that for us. I wonder if Downing did that accidentally on purpose.

      1. Trump can’t pardon Manafort now. The pardon is an official act committed by a public official (The POTUS). If that public official (The POTUS, Trump) commits that official act (pardoning Manafort) in exchange for “something of value” (say, false testimony before a grand jury, for instance), then that public official (The POTUS, Trump) will have committed the impeachable offense of Bribery. Of course, Trump could still pardon himself to stay out of jail after he may have been removed from office. But pardoning Manafort will get Trump impeached for Bribery. And Bribery might just be the sort of impeachable offense to get enough Republican Senators to convict and remove Trump from office.

        Manafort must have much to fear from his Russian friends.

          1. Desperation makes intelligent people do stupid things.

            Doing a few stupid things does not make a previously intelligent person completely stupid–just partly so.

        1. you must have watched “Training Day” with Denzel Washington and let the ending seep too far into your brain.

          It was an excellent movie but one should not take scary depictions of Russian mobsters too seriously.

          1. Maybe you could ask the 1.6 million Russian Americans that live in NY Tri-State area. They might have a better idea of how these Russian mobs work.

        2. A President may NOT pardon him or her self. Try reading the thing instead of pizzing on it.

          But that would mean he had not been imipeached which is no big deal but tried and convicted. 2/3rds majority of BOTH houses of congress.

          As for the Manafort crap story Meuller says that ‘some unknown unidentified somebody claimed Meuller lied. But has no proof. You betcha by golly Comrade Mueller. Methinks thou doth play the role of meddlesome priest too much needing only a harlequin suit to really look the fool. You think we are going to believe you? You are far too incompetent.

          1. Hamilton said the pardon power could be used to quell rebellion. From that, some scholars (Turley, for instance) have held that a pardon could be granted to pre-empt an indictment. AFAIK, it remains an untested theory–unless you count amnesty for draft resistors. But the idea that Trump can’t pardon himself because he has to be convicted of a crime first, and that he can’t even be tried for a crime until he is indicted, and that DoJ regulations hold that a sitting President can’t be indicted, and that therefore Trump has to be impeached and removed from office before Trump can . . . what? Pardon himself? Well, that would be too late. Wouldn’t it?

            Did you know that Trump said out loud in public that he had the power to pardon himself? Maybe Trump is far too incompetent, despite the absence of a harlequin suit.

    1. Redactions are not available for statues. Or are they?

      I mention redactions because Mueller’s most recent filing about Manafort’s lies was heavily redacted as usual.

      When will the redactions be unveiled?

        1. A fair bit of the redactions referred to Manafort’s grand jury testimony.

          Also, many of the smaller redactions are the names of people or acronyms for organizations given the context of the sentences in which those smaller redactions appear.

          1. Thanks for the reminder, Enigma. That’s highly likely. Ongoing investigations do have a way of leading to future indictments. And Mueller prefers to speak through indictments rather than through confidential reports to the Attorney General that explain his decisions to prosecute or to decline prosecution. Why place limits on Cohen’s upcoming Congressional testimony if not to protect ongoing investigations pending future indictments?

            P. S. They seem to be assuming that Trump is the only “target” or “subject” in Mueller’s scope. And that Mueller will decline to prosecute Trump because DoJ regulations say Mueller can’t indict a sitting President. That’s true. And therefore Mueller will not indict Trump. Nobody’s a bigger stickler for playing by the rules than Mueller is. But the Trump organization is not a sitting President. And neither are Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Roger Stone nor any of the remainder of Trump’s crew. Ha-Ha!

              1. still waiting enigma. i propose that there is a cutoff date for your predictions on this and by that date if no indictment issues you buy a pizza party for us. otherwise we do the same for you. whatchasay?

                1. So you’re on the record saying the indictments are finished? Other than the need to define “us,” we can come up with a bet. I feel very confident in picking Feb. 28th as a date, that seems almost too easy so I can be negotiated to a closer date.
                  Just to remind you, Corsi and Stone are both on the record saying they expect to be indicted. Trump told friends he expects Don, Jr to be indicted. This is a bet you really want? Stay away from Vegas and Atlantic City.

              2. Enigma,…
                Do you have an idea of when Junior will be indicted?
                A rough guesstimate will do, if you want to take a shot at it.
                Hypothetically, if he has not been indicted a year from now, would you then begin to doubt that he’d ever be indicted?
                I’ll have more to say on this subject in about 2 weeks….let’s say Feb. 1st.
                Remind me of that date and my promise of additional comments on Trump Jr./ indictment.
                This will post as “anonymous” for lack of log-in space, Tom Nash

                1. I’m not privy to any inside information as to dates. I would suspect Junior will be one of the last to be indicted because it will mark the end of any civility in the process. Ask me about Corsi and Stone I’d say any day now. It’s also possible they all are under sealed indictments, waiting for other investigations to be completed.

          1. At the very least, Mueller has cared about national security ever since his eighth day on the job as Director of The FBI.

            Need I remind Uff Da of what date that was???

            1. let me see i remember he lied about WMDs in Iraq when he was FBI director, so that must have been 9/11. ok, do i get a cookie now?

  4. What is disturbing is the presumption that a prosecutor can have total control over all the communications of anyone they accuse of a crime.

    Turley wrote of the revelations that the FBI was investigating Trump as a russian spy that the same facts could lead to totally contradictory conclusions based on your biases.

    The same is true here.

    There used to be a presumption of innocence in our constitution and legal system.

    That means that being investigated or not, charged or not short of a conviction the targets of prosecutors are presumed innocent.
    That means their actions in defending themselves are PRESUMPTIVELY the actions of innocent people.

    Communication can not be PRESUMED to be obstruction, or witness tampering.

    Bill Clinton had numerous communications with Monica Lewinsky while under investigation.
    Starr was deeply suspicious of those. But he did not assert obstruction or witness tampering merely because they were communicating.

    He did so when Clinton asked Lewinsky to lie in an afidavit – and she did so.

    There are myriads of reasons for Manafort to comunicate with Trump – based on the evidence we have thus far that communication was innocuous.

    You correctly note that Manafort stupidly communcated on prison phones that he knew were bugged – all the more reason he should have been out on Bail.

    There is actually a constitutional right to bail – again routed in the presumption of innocence.
    Pissing off a special counsel is NOT a basis for denying bail.

    Manafort was purportedly denied bail because he engaged in “witness tampering” – but again he was afforded zero presumption of innocence.

    Manafort communicated with a person NOT identified as a prosecution witness, and provided them a link to a news article.
    In what way is that witness tampering ?

    Even if Manafort had contacted this person and Plead with them to testify in his behalf – only to a prosecution nazi would that be witness tampering.

    I am honestly seriously disturbed that even the tax evasion claims made it to trial – much less resulted in conviction.
    The entire determination rested on whether the funds Manafort transfer from offshore accounts were loans or not.

    We are once again in the stupid area of creating crimes based on our ability to mind read anothers intentions.

    Manafort overtly represented the transfers as loans. His accountants and others testified that he directed them to account for them as loans.

    To the extent he erred, he failed to document the loans and failed to pay himself back.

    At the absolute worst that is the basis for a penalty, it is not the basis of a crime.
    Tax evasion should require you to do something wrong to avoid taxes, not to badly do something legal.

    I doubt anyone has much sympathy for Manafort – but that can be said of all of Washington.

    I can make a long list of Manaforts from both parties I would happily see in jail for years.

    But unlike Mueller, the left and apparently Prof. Turley I do not consider political differences the basis of a crime.

    The court in Manaforts case not merely forgot the presumption of innocence,
    But Lerhned Hands wise oppinion on taxes,

    “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”

    The least rights that we can expect that we have ourselves are the most rights we are prepared to allow those we hate.

    The way we deal with Manafort, and others whose politics or morality we dislike reflects our own morality or lack thereof.

    Manafort may be a scoundrel – but the crimes I see are of Mueller’s.

    When selected as SC – a process we now know was corrupt and rigged, myriads of people in high places on both parties said we should trust Mueller – he has a long and earned reputation for integrity. I am old enough to remember Ruby Ridge, and Wacco, and Richard Jewel and the Anthrax letters, and the FBI labs scandals, but my memory did not recall Mueller’s central role in all of those.

    I am sorry Mueller is NOT a man of integrity, he is a bully who has ruined other peoples lives with bullying and bad judgement – THAT IS CORRUPTION, only in washington is that rewarded.

    After Richard Jewel Mueller should not be prosecuting anyone. But there is no evidence that Mueller learned anything from that disaster.

    How we treat others is the evidence of our own character – long before Manafort Mueller demonstrated extremely bad character.

    I do not understand how Prof. Turley can defend Mueller on anything.

    In the contest between a criminal defendant and a prosecutor – the burden is on the state and the prosecutor – not the defendant. The requirement to adhere to the law, to seek justice not victory rests with the prosecutor, our system of justice does not work if the PROSECUTORS do not abide by the law, if the prosecutors do not have good character.

    1. That was well stated even where I don’t agree.

      I am beginning to understand just how independent prosecutors are.

          1. Lock the Sacklers up. of course they are entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence but yes prosecute these drug dealers for conspiracy

    2. dhlii said, “There used to be a presumption of innocence in our constitution and legal system.”

      Manafort was presumed innocent until he was convicted on eight counts in the Virginia trial. Manafort was further presumed innocent until he pled guilty to the charges in the District of Columbia trial. He pled guilty, in part, to avoid a retrial on the counts for which the jurors in the Virginia trial were hung, based upon the objections of just one out of the twelve jurors.

      You have turned the presumption of innocence into a fetish.

      1. it is a fetish of our system, a sacred cornerstone of our legal structure and one not to be mocked or trifled with, not even by a system of prosecutors that routinely pretends it does not exist, and the fools in public who disregard it at their whim

        1. Manafort was CONVICTED. Manafort PLED GUILTY. Affording Manafort the presumption of innocence after Manafort was CONVICTED and PLED GUILTY is . . . ANACHRONISTIC.

          1. hello. a person accused of one crime and proven guilty is STILL ENTITLED TO THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE WITH RESPECT TO OTHER ALLEGATIONS. like my caps? that’s me yelling back at you because you are dense.

            you accuse anyone you like of assorted crimes and don’t keep track of your accusatory arrows that you fire like machine gun bullets sprayed all over the place like an unsuccessful verbal drive by that only perforates doors and windows. so you have accused on a daily basis assorted figures of crimes and precious few of your accusations have ended in convictions. that’s the reality

    3. I am sorry Mueller is NOT a man of integrity, he is a bully who has ruined other peoples lives with bullying and bad judgement – THAT IS CORRUPTION, only in washington is that rewarded.

      dhlii, good post! I’m going to try and cease using Left and Right to describe someone like Mueller. Instead, I’m going to call them Lawfarists. They are the true enemy. I like this quote to describe them:

      … lawfare is about more than just delegitimizing a state’s right to defend itself; it is about the abuse of the law and our judicial systems to undermine the very principles they stands for: the rule of law, the sanctity of innocent human life, and the right to free speech. Lawfare is not something in which persons engage in the pursuit of justice; it is a negative undertaking and must be defined as such to have any real meaning. Otherwise, we risk diluting the phenomenon and feeding the inability to distinguish between what is the correct application of the law, on the one hand, and what is lawfare, on the other. Because that is the essence of the issue here, how do we distinguish between that which constitutes a constructive, legitimate legal battle (even if the legal battle is against us and inconvenient) from that which is a counterproductive perversion of the law, which should be allocated no precedent? The delineation is not as simple as some may like to make it; that is, that lawsuits against terrorists are good, and legal actions against the U.S. and Israel are bad. Now, the question is not “who is the target”, but “what is the intention” behind the legal action: is it to pursue justice, to apply the law in the interests of freedom and democracy, or is the intent to undermine the system of laws being manipulated?
      Lawfare Project Director Brooke Goldstein

      1. not sure how this relates. Are you saying brooke goldstein is a foreign agent of Israel who has failed to register under FARA like Manafort?

        perhaps people assume FARA only applies to enemies not “Friendly” states ?

    4. Excellent analysis and right on point. Sadly this is what our government has become-an oppresser. It is fast becoming time for drastic action.

        1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

          Human rights attorney Brooke Goldstein founded the Lawfare Project in 2010. The Lawfare Project describes itself as “the world’s only international pro-Israel litigation fund” and says it “has launched more than 70 lawsuits and legal actions in 16 jurisdictions across the globe.” The organization states it “maintains an international network of more than 350 attorneys” to support its work.

          1. uh what has this got to do with the price of tea in china? and here I thought i was good at bringing up nonsequitors

    5. Your comment is laughably stupid. You have no comprehension of either the facts or the law in this instance. There is no presumption of innocence once someone has pleaded guilty. Manafort explicitly and repeatedly violated the terms of his cooperation agreement into he voluntarily entered. Get off InfoWars and ditch the tinfoil hat comrade. “The Interwebs, turning Bozos into experts since 1994”.

      1. pled guilty…. another illiterate …. ‘voluntarily entered?’ try bribed or strong armed. There is no difference between Meuller and his Mob than any neighborhood protection racket and add RICO to his other crimes.

    6. there’s a lot of good and important insights in that dhili thank you

      and worthy ideals however failed in practice

    7. Presumption of innocence is a trial right. Cops, investigators, and prosecutors don’t have to presume innocence; only the petit jury at trial. Pro tip: hannity doesn’t even play a lawyer on TV.

      This is to “but hannity pinky-swore he was innocent” dilli

  5. Prof. Turley always give the abusive prosecutor the benefit of the doubt. The guy is a shyster, and he’s butt-hurt Manafort won’t compose for him. Buy a clue.

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