Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Manafort's lawyers say Mueller's new charges are based on 'thinnest of evidence'

They say the op-ed was part of a public effort Manafort was trying to orchestrate that would have violated a judge's order to refrain from trying his case in the press FILE The charges do no relate to Manafort’s work on the Trump campaign
Lisa Bryan | 11 June, 2018, 14:13

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is calling newly filed obstruction charges "dubious allegations". They said nothing governing the terms of their client's pretrial release prevents him from having contact with anyone, that the apps, which encrypt messages, that Manafort used are commonplace and that he'd asked no one to produce a false affidavit or false testimony at trial.

On Friday, Trump also dismissed any talk of pardoning Manafort or his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who is under investigation by federal prosecutors in NY.

The indictment charges both men with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice related to contacts they had with two witnesses earlier this year.

The special counsel's team alleged one witness told investigators that Manafort wanted them to commit perjury about a lobbying effort they worked on for him in the United States.

This is how Vogel puts it in the third paragraph of his story: "The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has not publicly sought to connect Mr. Kilimnik or Mr. Manafort to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but Friday's indictment of Mr. Kilimnik could carry symbolic significance nonetheless".

In the days that followed and through April, Manafort and Kilimnik suggested the two witnesses who worked on the Hapsburg group project say the group focused on Europe and "never lobbied in the USA", according to an encrypted message between Kilimnik and one witness that prosecutors obtained. Kilimnik was considered by investigators to have been involved trying to set this up, according to The Washington Post last September.

Manafort lawyers said even the messages cited by prosecutors "are entirely consistent with Mr. Manafort's stated position and repeated assertion of his innocence", that his lobbying was "European-focused" and that he had no idea the two recipients would be called as witnesses.

Prosecutors have previously said Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he denies. The group's lobbying work included advocacy on behalf of Yanukovych in Washington, D.C., with members of Congress and officials in the executive branch.


Manafort messaged and called one of the witnesses shortly after he and business partner Rick Gates were indicted previous year on a slew of charges related to their Ukrainian political activities, according to court papers.

Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence asset, is now under the protection of Moscow and unlikely to ever see an American court room. For Manafort, the charges came just before his attorneys argued that he should be allowed to be freed from home confinement on bond pending his trial, scheduled for next month in Alexandria, Va. The individuals shared communications with prosecutors, the government said. Neither does the alleged obstruction of justice in connection with the previously pending charges. Kilimnik has denied such ties and characterized himself as "a random casualty because of my proximity to" Manafort.

The judge in Manafort's case rebuked Mueller's team during a hearing in early May, saying that the prosecutors are more interested in taking down Trump than securing a conviction against Manafort.

Manafort worked with a lobbying firm that enlisted former European politicians, the so-called Hapsburg group, who wrote articles and addressed USA politicians.

The president has consistently downplayed Manafort's role in this campaign leading up to his general election victory in 2016. Manafort has longstanding ties to a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin.

On Friday, Trump wouldn't rule out pardoning Manafort.

On Friday, the former campaign manager issued a report denouncing allegations by Robert Mueller that he had tampered with witness evidence.

Recommended

French Authorities Release Statement On Anthony Bourdain's Passing French Authorities Release Statement On Anthony Bourdain's Passing These two tragedies have inspired hundreds to tweet some version of the same message: Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Years of hard work in kitchens around Manhattan, and as executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles, finally paid off.

Eden Hazard seeks clarity over Antonio Conte's Chelsea future Eden Hazard seeks clarity over Antonio Conte's Chelsea future We have 23 players who can play, ' he added. "We've got a great team and a great coach ". Of course, someone can now say "okay, we've qualified that's it".

Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un prepare for Singapore summit Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un prepare for Singapore summit Later, Kim met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Lee's office in the sprawling palace known as the Istana. Kim is scheduled to begin a summit Tuesday with President Trump.

Trump Says Singapore Summit Is `One-Time Shot' for Kim Jong Un Trump Says Singapore Summit Is `One-Time Shot' for Kim Jong Un That makes him optimistic that the talks between Mr Trump and Mr Kim will produce lasting change. "So far so good", Trump said. North Korea spent decades developing nuclear weapons, culminating in the test of a thermonuclear device in 2017.

U.S. embassy issues new alert over mystery illness U.S.  embassy issues new alert over mystery illness One other diplomat who reported signs was at a distinct upscale constructing close to the consulate, the paper mentioned. Embassy employees working in Havana, Cuba showed mysterious health symptoms related to unexplained sounds.

Kaala audience reaction: Rajinikanth’s film receives an overwhelming response from the fans Kaala audience reaction: Rajinikanth’s film receives an overwhelming response from the fans As the film premieres worldwide, fans took to their Twitter handle to give their initial review for the film. Rajini's " Kaala " has hit the screens and has been receiving an overwhelming reception from fans.

Trump to skip G7 climate sessions following spat with Macron, Trudeau Trump to skip G7 climate sessions following spat with Macron, Trudeau The comments come amid growing concern about trade disputes between the U.S. and its partners in North America and in Europe. There also is concern inside the administration about what may happen once Trump arrives in Canada.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will make his England debut against Costa Rica Trent Alexander-Arnold will make his England debut against Costa Rica Worldwide friendlies - Follow the Football match between England and Costa Rica live with Eurosport. I still need to get in the box a bit more to finish off chances.

Microsoft sinks data center off Scottish island Microsoft sinks data center off Scottish island It will not be possible to fix the computers if they fail, but the hope is that there will be a lower failure rate than on land. The data center that went under is essentially a 40-foot long tank that's packed with 12 racks and a total of 864 servers.

No agreement yet between US, China on ZTE: Trump aide No agreement yet between US, China on ZTE: Trump aide This compromise would allow the company to once again use USA -made components in their products-although at a large cost. Commerce Department spokesman James Rockas told Reuters that "no definitive agreement has been signed by both parties ".

Kevin Durant's presence puts Cavs in a near-impossible situation against Warriors Kevin Durant's presence puts Cavs in a near-impossible situation against Warriors Three minutes into the first quarter, he faked a shot and threw a pass off the backboard to himself for a two-handed dunk. Golden State was up three and Durant was being guarded by Rodney Hood 35 feet from the basket.

Donald Trump: ‘I will invite Kim Jong-un to White House’ Donald Trump: ‘I will invite Kim Jong-un to White House’ Trump pulled out of President Barack Obama's nuclear accord with Iran over the objections of European allies. Abe is visiting the White House for talks with Trump ahead of the next week's US-N Korea Summit.

Tactical change helps Halep reach French Open semis Tactical change helps Halep reach French Open semis I want to side with Halep, but I can't bet against Muguruza in her current form. "She served a lot better than I did". Kerber would become only the second German woman to reach the last four in Paris since Steffi Graf won back in 1999.

Man United agree to sign Brazil midfielder Fred Man United agree to sign Brazil midfielder Fred Fred started his youth career at Atletico Mineiro in Brazil , before leaving in 2009 to play for Porto Alegre. De Gea was once again voted as United's Player of the Season as they finished runners up to Manchester City .

Republicans in tight U.S. House races feel heat from Mexican tariffs Dan Newhouse, for one, voiced concerns about retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. several months ago. The US Commerce Department says that constitutes a threat to US national security.