Trump says Russian Federation probe 'discredited' as former aide heads to jail

Howard TerryJun 18, 2018

A USA federal judge has sent President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to jail pending trial, after Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged him last week with witness tampering.

Paul Manafort was ordered into custody after a federal judge revoked his house arrest, citing newly filed obstruction of justice charges.

Prosecutors argued on Friday that Manafort could continue to engage in alleged criminal activity if he is not jailed.

Andres revealed that one of the witnesses was driving with his wife in rural Italy when Manafort contacted him on February 24, the day after he was indicted on expanded charges in Washington.

"Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns", Trump wrote on Twitter.

He faces charges of tax fraud, money laundering, and illegal lobbying.

Manafort is facing trials in Virginia and Washington, DC, with the former scheduled to start in July.

Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman from March 29, 2016 until August 19 of the same year.

The president was asked by reporters Friday about the possibility of pardons for some of the former members of his campaign and White House.

Mr Manafort was accused of using encrypted mobile phone apps to contact people in breach of his bail terms.

But the judge revoked Mr Manafort's bail conditions, sending him to jail.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty and said he's done nothing wrong.

Trump condemned the treatment of Manafort, a veteran Washington political consultant, as he sought to paint Mueller's team as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation - which Mueller once ran - as deeply biased and illegitimate.

US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs US District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washington, US, October 30, 2017.

Mueller's team said in court filings that between 2006 and 2015, Manafort advised former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, who fled to Russian Federation after the Ukrainian revolution in 2014.

While out on bail, prosecutors say, Manaforttried to contact a pair of former journalists who'd worked on the lobbying, asking them to characterize their work as excluding the U.S.

Prosecutors say Mr Manafort and Mr Kilimnik tried to get the two witnesses to say that lobbying work carried out by clandestinely paid former politicians only occurred in Europe and not the United States, a contention the two witnesses said they knew to be false.

Remind me again, why is Manafort on trial?

Andres said Manafort had carried out a "sustained campaign" over five weeks to influence the witnesses' testimony, which he said was part of Manafort's "history of deception in this case".

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