New Transcripts Reveal Manafort Lies to Special Counsel

(CN) – Partially redacted transcripts from Paul Manafort’s hearing in Washington, D.C. Wednesday were released Friday, showing the federal judge’s doubt of many of Manafort’s claims, including his relationship with his Russian partner.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled earlier this week that Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, lied to Special Counsel investigators about his August 2016 communication with Russian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik over issues related to Ukraine and sanctions.

“I find that the September 21st claim that he laid the issue to rest by telling Kilimnik [redacted] was an intentional material false statement,” Jackson said. “Moreover, there are other misleading, inaccurate statements that reinforce the conclusion that he was lying about his dealings with Kilimnik.”

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, leaves court after a May 23, 2018, hearing in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Judge Jackson also found Manafort tried to protect Kilimnik from prosecutors by lying about the Russian’s role in pressuring witnesses.

“This is a problematic attempt to shield his Russian conspirator from liability and it gives rise to legitimate questions about where his loyalties lie,” Jackson said. “So it bears upon my finding that the Office of Special Counsel was fully justified in its determination and acted in good faith when it found that he didn’t live up to his obligations under the plea agreement.”

Jackson said while she couldn’t determine if Kilimnik was a spy, she said he “doesn’t have to be in the government or even be an active spy to be a link” between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“I have not been provided with the evidence that I would need to decide, nor do I have to decide because it’s outside the scope of this hearing,” Jackson said Wednesday.

Judge Jackson said she agreed with prosecutors in three of five areas they claimed Manafort lied to investigators, including $125,000 paid to his law firm by an unnamed company.

She said the Special Counsel failed to prove Manafort lied about Kilimnik’s part in a conspiracy to obstruct justice and Manafort’s contacts in President Trump’s administration.

“If there were other contacts of concern to the Office of Special Counsel, as counsel seem to allude to at the hearing, they haven’t been brought to my attention in this proceeding and they don’t bear and can’t bear on my decision,” she said.

Jackson, however, said Kilimnik was the center of many Manafort’s lies to the Special Counsel.

“This is a topic at the undisputed core of the Office of Special Counsel’s investigation,” she said.

The judge brought up Manafort’s unwillingness to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel, only bringing telling the truth when directly asked.

“Concessions comes in dribs and drabs, only after it’s clear that the Office of Special Counsel already knew the answer,” the judge said. “Again, it’s part of a pattern of requiring the Office of Special Counsel to pull teeth; withholding facts if he can get away with it. And that’s just not consistent with what was contemplated by the plea, and it supports the breach determination.”

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