Manafort continued Ukraine work in 2018, prosecutors say

Mueller alleges Manafort continued work related to Ukraine despite 2017 indictment

Mueller alleges Manafort continued work related to Ukraine despite 2017 indictment

The transcript from a sealed hearing in Paul Manafort's case provides further insight into what special counsel Robert Mueller considers significant in his wide-ranging probe of the Kremlin's efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election and the ties between Trump associates and Russian Federation.

At one point in the discussion, Weissmann describes how Manafort told prosecutors that his topic of discussion with Kilimnik was a "backdoor [REDACTED]. and because of that, he was not going to countenance it".

Among other times, they said Manafort and Kilimnik had discussed the topic "in January 2017, in person, in Washington, D.C., when Kilimnik was here for the inauguration".

Manafort's lawyers have countered that any discrepancies were unintentional as he refreshed his memory or recalled specific details in his sessions with investigators and a grand jury.

A special counsel prosecutor also suggested in the hearing that the former campaign chairman was not forthcoming because Manafort was angling for a pardon.

Mueller is investigating United States allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the election and whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow officials.

If a judge determines Manafort lied after his plea, it could affect the sentencing he would receive after his admission that he conspired to defraud the United States, violate lobbying laws and obstruct justice in connection with years of undisclosed work for a pro-Russian political party and Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych.

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Instead, the deal collapsed, with prosecutors withdrawing any offer of a recommendation for leniency and accusing Manafort in late November of lying repeatedly to them.

Previously, Manafort's attorneys accidentally revealed that among the topics discussed by Manafort and Kilimnik during the election was a possible peace plan to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Crimea. Kilimnik, who was also indicted in the Manafort case but has been beyond the reach of US law enforcement, has been described by prosecutors as someone with ties to Russian intelligence.

Kilimnik told the Washington Post that his meeting with Manafort on August 2 was "in no way related to politics or [the] presidential campaign in the U.S". He was found guilty on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud, in August.

Mueller got that information from Gates, according to the transcript.

The August 2016 meeting with Kilimnik also mattered to prosecutors because the Federal Bureau of Investigation has linked Kilimnik to the Russian intelligence service, the GRU, Weissmann said.

Manafort's defense team has argued in court filings that "a fair reading" of much of the government's evidence about the alleged lies "merely demonstrates a lack of consistency in Mr. Manafort's recollection of certain facts and events", many of which occurred years ago or during a high-pressure presidential campaign he left as questions about his work in Ukraine were being raised. Trump told the New York Post at the time.

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