Did President Trump Just Prepare America For a Manafort Pardon?

Did President Trump Just Prepare America For a Manafort Pardon?

Paul Manafort has "breached" his plea agreement with the Justice Department by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller's office two months after he started to cooperate in the Russian Federation probe, prosecutors alleged Monday.

The developments in the Manafort case could mean some of the charges against him that were dropped could be reinstated, while prosecutors are no longer likely to ask for a lighter sentence.

By accusing Manafort of lying when he pledged to tell the truth, Mueller used a filing in federal court in Washington to set up a dramatic courtroom confrontation with a man who could have been a valuable witness in new cases by the special counsel's office.

The breakdown in the plea deal raises the prospect that Manafort is seeking to protect others who worked on Trump's campaign and to curry favor with the president, said former federal prosecutor David Weinstein.

A jury in Northern Virginia convicted Manafort of eight counts of financial fraud in August stemming from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine.

Mueller on Monday accused Manafort of violating his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal investigators.

In September Manafort accepted the plea deal on related conspiracy charges in return for an agreement to co-operate with Mr Mueller's investigation. The interview was reportedly cancelled as the White House lawyers believed that Trump might put himself in legal jeopardy by lying to investigators in a face-to-face meeting.

For their part, Manafort's attorneys said he believes he has offered "useful information" and doesn't agree with the government assertion that he breached the plea agreement. Manafort agreed to a plead guilty in a deal in September in his second trial for fraud and money laundering.

So Manafort has a lot more headaches now, but then again, so does Mueller.

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They did not immediately detail what Manafort lied about, saying his "crimes and lies" would be revealed at another time.

The news of Manafort's lack of cooperation came in the form of a court filing by federal prosecutors on Monday.

The rupture in relations could hamper Mueller's ability to turn an insider against Trump in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and has raised questions about whether Manafort could be angling for a presidential pardon.

Mueller's investigation has produced two cases charging Russians with alleged interference in the election, including one in which Russian intelligence agents were charged with hacking Democratic party e-mails that were embarrassing to Clinton and leaking them to WikiLeaks during the campaign.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said at a press briefing Tuesday that she is "not aware of any conversations for anyone's pardon involved" in the Mueller probe.

Russian Federation denies USA allegations it hacked Democratic Party emails and ran a disinformation campaign, largely on social media.

"Everybody who lies to Mueller gets called on it - so he had to know that Mueller would catch him".

Though prosecutors can vacate Manafort's plea agreement, they may not want to do that yet because it would result in another lengthy trial. In 2011, Obama gave his original 10-year term a two-year extension.

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