Judge rules: Former Trump campaign manager lied to FBI

Federal judge rules that Paul Manafort intentionally lied to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller multiple times.

Ben Ariel ,

Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort intentionally lied to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller multiple times in the course of his cooperation with the government, The Hill reported.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort intentionally misled investigators on a range of subjects, including his contacts with a Russian business associate Konstantin Kilimnik and a separate Justice Department investigation being run out of another district.

Jackson, who is overseeing Manafort’s Washington, D.C., case, ruled that the special counsel “established by a preponderance of the evidence” that Manafort intentionally lied about a payment made to a firm working for him; his interactions with Kilimnik, a Russian who is suspected of ties to Kremlin intelligence, and the unknown Justice Department investigation.

Jackson wrote that Manafort’s lies about the payment and his contacts with Kilimnik were “material to the investigation.”

However, the judge said Mueller failed to establish sufficient evidence that Manafort intentionally lied about his contacts with the Trump administration or Kilimnik’s role in a scheme to tamper with witnesses.

Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in D.C. on March 13.

Last September, Manafort agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department, including in Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In exchange, Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice due to attempts to tamper with witnesses.

Manafort was found guilty late last year of eight charges of bank and tax fraud.

In November, Mueller and defense attorneys for Manafort said he had violated his plea agreement by lying to federal prosecutors.

Manafort was seen as a potentially valuable witness for Mueller in his investigation of Russian election interference and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

He worked for nearly half a year on the campaign before resigning in August 2016 over revelations of his lobbying on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

His former business partner Richard Gates, who also worked on the Trump campaign, has also pleaded guilty and been cooperating in the investigation.

Manafort is one of several Trump associates ensnared in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference. Others who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate include former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

While Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia, Trump has reportedly been informed he is not a target of the probe.

Trump has acknowledged intelligence information indicating that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, but has rejected the idea that his campaign colluded with Russia in the meddling.