President Trump calls Manafort jailing unfair

Hugh Fox
June 17, 2018

Before the announcement, President Trump continued to distance himself from Manafort.

Manafort, a long-time Republican operative and businessman, is a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election, and has been indicted on mostly financial-related charges, including conspiring to launder money and defraud the United States.

Manafort was booked into the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia.

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.

Legal experts say Mueller wants to keep applying pressure on Manafort to plead guilty and assist prosecutors as Gates did and is cooperating with the probe after cutting a plea deal. That case, which focuses on alleged bank and tax fraud in connection with money earned for his Ukraine work, is scheduled for July.

US District Judge Amy Berman made the decision after prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Russian Federation probe, alleged that Manafort and one of his associates had tried to tamper with witnesses in the case, US media reports.

"This is not middle school", Jackson said to the lawyers.

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Judge Amy Berman Jackson refused, and sent him to jail. It is not about the conduct of the office of special counsel.

"This is not about politics", Jackson said, according to Politico.

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

Kilimnik worked with Manafort in Ukraine during that time, and during the 2016 election they were reportedly in regular contact.

Last week, Mueller charged him in a new indictment with witness tampering, which Manafort pleaded not guilty to on Friday. "What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others?"

Donald Trump has made some oblique references to Manafort, including this week saying he felt bad for what he saw as unfair prosecution for crimes that took place years ago.

Trump has not yet commented on Manafort's jailing, but said Friday morning that he "feels bad" for his former campaign manager.

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Mr Manafort is now confined to his home in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, and forced to wear a Global Positioning System monitoring device.

Manafort's attorneys have accused prosecutors of conjuring a "sinister plot" out of "innocuous" contacts.

Mueller insists Manafort's case falls within his jurisdiction because of his connection with both the Trump campaign and to officials in Russian Federation and Ukraine.

None of the charges against them relate to alleged collusion with Russian Federation.

"He worked for me, what, for 49 days or something?" he said.

The witness-tampering claims that triggered Friday's hearing revolve around alleged actions by Manafort and a longtime associate alleged to have ties to Russian intelligence services, Konstantin Kilimnik. Domin said that at least one witness said Manafort tried to influence or "coach" the story on lobbying methods and practices.

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