Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied repeatedly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation after making a plea agreement to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, prosecutors charged Monday. The pardon hope may very well be what Manafort's driving at and it could occur, but we also have to ask what all of this does for Mueller.
But in plea papers, Manafort agreed to cooperate "fully and truthfully" with the investigation conducted by the office of special counsel, including participating in interviews and debriefings, producing any documents in his control, testifying, and agreeing to delay sentencing until a time set by the government. "He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government's characterization or that he has breached the agreement". That includes a Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer he was told had derogatory information on Democrat Hillary Clinton. But special counsel prosecutors were "not getting what they want", one source with knowledge of the discussions said.
In September Manafort accepted the plea deal on related conspiracy charges in return for an agreement to co-operate with Mr Mueller's investigation.
But the development will also raise speculation that Manafort may be seeking to curry favor with Trump or protecting other associates who worked on the campaign.
In the same joint status report filing, Manafort's legal team pushed back against the government's assertion.
Manafort, who worked for the Trump campaign for almost six months in the middle of 2016, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and another count of obstruction of justice in a deal to avert a second trial on money laundering and illegal lobbying charges. Except for one aspect of their bank fraud case, in which Manafort appeared to dangle access to the Trump campaign in exchange for a bank loan, the cases did not publicly describe Manafort's work as campaign chairman.
Prosecutors did not elaborate on areas where they contend that Manafort lied.
The judge in DC District Court who received the update Monday night has not yet weighed in, and a sentencing for Manafort's guilty plea has not yet been scheduled.
Manafort has been held in a Virginia jail since June, after he and Kilimnik were accused of attempting to tamper with possible witnesses before his trial.
After an allegedly drunken Papadopoulos related the conversation to an Australian diplomat who passed the information on through intelligence channels, the FBI opened an investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.