Ex-Trump aide attempted to tamper with potential witnesses: Mueller

Ex-Trump aide attempted to tamper with potential witnesses: Mueller

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Monday accused Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign manager, of witness tampering.

A motion submitted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading up the main investigation into alleged Russian election meddling, said that Manafort had contacted witnesses by phone and encrypted text messaging for the objective of securing "materially false testimony". The contacts occurred while Manafort is under house arrest.

Then what I found nearly amusing - sad, but amusing - was one of the witnesses who's an associate of Mr. Manafort's is reinforcing this message by saying P., an obvious reference to Mr. Manafort, wants you to say, you know, we never lobbied in the United States.

Mueller has indicted Manafort in federal courts in Virginia and Washington, D.C., with an array of allegations from money-laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent, to bank and tax fraud.

Manafort previously denied all charges.

The former campaign chairman has been charged with money laundering, foreign lobbying violations, conspiracy against the US, and tax fraud, as well as other financial crimes.

Manafort continued to try to contact him with an encrypted messaging application.

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"Things went from bad to much worse for Paul Manafort - here's why", said Glenn Kirschner, a homicide prosecutor until last month for the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney's office.

The day after Gates' plea, Manafort messaged and called one of the witnesses and continued reaching out over the next several days, according to a sworn affidavit filed by an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in the case.

Manafort and a confidante first asked the two people to claim that the Ukrainian lobbying work only happened in Europe, effectively attempting to get their stories all on the same page, since all involved knew the group had lobbied Congress, investigators said.

An associate of Manafort reached out to one of the witnesses to inform the person that "My friend P is trying to reach (a witness) to brief him on what's going on". The individual then hung up "because he was concerned about the outreach", according to the affidavit.

Manafort called Person D1 and sent him encrypted WhatsApp messages, while his associate reached out to Person D1 and Person D2 through a mix of encrypted WhatsApp and Telegram messages, according to court documents.

"Basically P wants to give him a quick summary that he says to everybody (which is true) that our friends never lobbied in the USA, and the objective of the program was [European Union]", Person A said.

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