If last week saw Paul Manafort get off easy in a Virginia courtroom, this week saw the former Trump campaign chairman’s legal problems multiply. DC District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to another seven years in prison, though he’ll be allowed to serve his sentence for conspiracy-related charges concurrently with his Virginia sentence.
In total, Manafort was ordered to spend some seven-and-a-half years behind bars.
The tone of the two hearings couldn’t have been more different. While Virginia District Judge T.S. Ellis praised Manafort as a “generous person” who had lived a relatively “blameless life,” Berman Jackson said he was no “victim.” “It is hard to overstate the number of lies, and the amount of fraud,” she said of Manafort’s conduct.
Outside the courthouse, Manafort’s attorneys were loudly heckled by protesters for trying to claim that the back-to-back cases affirmed that “there was absolutely no evidence of any Russian collusion.”
Almost as soon as the sentence came down, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced that a New York state grand jury had indicted Manafort on mortgage fraud charges. The 16 separate counts laid out in the indictment include mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records. Manafort would still be accountable for these state criminal charges in the event that he received a pardon from President Trump for his federal crimes.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) caused a mini-firestorm by claiming she was “not for” impeachment unless presidential conduct is discovered that is “so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” that it merits it. Pelosi has previously said pushing for impeachment was premature pending the conclusion of the special counsel’s investigation.
The Democratic leader waved away the attention, saying she’s said a version of the same statement “every week,” and only favors impeachment based on “ironclad” facts.
Trump, meanwhile, is now saying “there should be no Mueller Report” at all, since the document would be the fruit of a witch hunt against him.
The House of Representatives voted unanimously this week to release the eventual report, with just a few diehard Trump-boosting lawmakers voting “present” rather than “yes” or “no.”
Powerhouse attorney Andrew Weissman is departing from Robert Mueller’s team in the latest sign that the probe may be winding down.
Federal prosecutors in New York are seeking communications between Michael Cohen and a lawyer who inquired about a presidential pardon on Cohen’s behalf. Cohen’s legal team sent a letter to the House Oversight Committee this week saying that the former Trump fixer “could have been clearer” when he testified that he never asked for a pardon from Trump. Though Cohen didn’t do so personally, he did dispatch representatives to make this act in the immediate aftermath of the FBI’s April 2018 of his properties.
Cohen’s testimony is opening new lines of inquiry for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank this week seeking more information about the financing of various Trump building projects.
A Nov. 5 trial date was set in the case of Roger Stone, while Judge Berman Jackson continues to mull whether Stone violated a gag order she imposed.
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