Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort allegedly violated orders from the judge who is presiding over his case by attempting to sneak a ghostwritten op-ed in praise of Paul Manafort into the press, according to court filings that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team issued on Monday. Mueller’s office changed its position on the loosening of bail terms for Manafort based on the alleged attempted shenanigans.
On Wednesday, Talking Points Memo published the op-ed in question, which it received from professed author Oleg Voloshyn. It is a hoot!
TPM reported that the op-ed could be described as a “love letter to Manafort.” That description, however, does a disservice to love letters, which generally are a little more subtle.
Here are some highlights:
• The title of the article is “European Integration Unknown Soldier.” That’s supposed to be Manafort. The “unknown soldier.”
• The lede of the piece explicitly describes Manafort as “a person now falsely accused of lobbying Russian interests.”
• The editorial claims that Russia—rather than having been aided by Manafort through the installation of a puppet favorable to Moscow as president of Ukraine—in reality blamed Manafort for “treason of special relationship with brother nation.”
• It also includes lines that read as if they were lifted from old promotional materials about his now disgraced lobbying arm: “Manafort brought to the Ukrainian political consultancy business a very important rule: An effective leader needs to be consistent as a President with his promises as a candidate.”
• The author, who is definitely not Paul Manafort, is additionally disgusted with the media’s unfair treatment of Paul Manafort: “With all that said I can only wonder why some American media dare falsely claim that Paul Manafort lobbied Russian interests in Ukraine … ”
• Finally, the story concludes, the prosecution of Paul Manafort is really a political stunt meant to attack President Trump: “All listed here facts can be easily verified. If only one pursues the truth. Not tends to twist the reality in line with his or her conviction that the dubious goal of undermining Trump’s presidency justifies most dishonest means.”
Paul Manafort’s supporters, who may or may not be Paul Manafort himself, are disgusted with the “most dishonest means” of Paul Manafort’s persecutors.
As a reminder, here are some of the things that Manafort has already been accused of doing in Mueller’s indictment related to alleged secret work done on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party:
• Concealing payments of millions of dollars for pro-Russian lobbying work in Ukraine.
• Laundering millions of dollars through dummy companies “to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States.”
• Evading taxes on those millions of dollars.
• Lying to federal investigators and on federal forms about these activities.
• Using money from these activities to defraud banks to the tune of millions of more dollars of loans.
Those are just the alleged criminal activities we already know about. On Wednesday, it was reported by CNN that more charges could be coming.
In addition to these alleged criminal activities, Mueller’s team now says Manafort sought to evade court orders from the judge commanding both sides to “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.” As such, the special counsel’s office has retracted its decision to acquiesce to Manafort’s request for less stringent bail requirements and is asking the court to maintain GPS monitoring and “provide for a fully secured bond of unencumbered real estate.”
In its court filing, Mueller’s team ultimately alleged: “Manafort worked on the draft with a long-time Russian colleague of Manafort’s, who is currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.”
The Times reported that person was Konstantin V. Kilimnik, citing “a person close to Mr. Manafort.”
Voloshyn, meanwhile, claimed to TPM that he wrote the story on his own initiative, while also acknowledging that he sent it to Kilimnik, who he says then forwarded it to Manafort.
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