Judge sets hearing on Manafort witness tampering allegations

Trump Bashes FBI, DOJ for Not Telling Him They Were 'Secretly Investigating' Manafort

President Donald Trump criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sunday, questioning why neither agency had let him know they were "secretly investigating" his former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, during the 2016 presidential election.

The statement comes a day after prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller accused Manafort and one of his associates of repeatedly contacting two witnesses in an attempt to get them to lie about the nature of work he directed on behalf of Ukrainian interests. The contacts occurred earlier this year, shortly after a grand jury returned a new indictment against Manafort and while he was confined to his home.

The two witnesses are not named in court filings.

The former politicians, who were paid more than 2 million euros for their work, did not disclose they were being paid for lobbying, as required by US law, Mueller's office charged.

Mueller's prosecutors said in court filings on Monday that Manafort had been in touch with two officials of the PR group directly and through a long-time associate who represented him in Ukraine and who has alleged links to Russian intelligence.

For one, prosecutors are likely to introduce evidence of witness tampering at Manafort's upcoming trial to show consciousness of guilt, or a guilty mind.

Days later, court papers say the person identified as Kilimnik texted the other individual, writing, "Basically P wants to give him a quick summary that he says to everybody (which is true) that our friends never lobbied in the U.S., and the objective of the program was European Union".

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to respond by Friday to the government's bid to revoke or revise his release and set a June 15 hearing on the matter, according to a court filing. The majority of the charges against him are tied to Manafort's lobbying activities for the Ukrainian government.

He has pleaded not guilty. A superseding indictment disclosed in February claimed Manafort engaged in tax fraud, lied to banks, and engaged in an illegal lobbying scheme.

The person told investigators that he interpreted Manafort's efforts to reach him as a way to influence his potential statements.

Prosecutors assert that Manafort "used his overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income". Specifically, Manafort allegedly told Person D1 on February 26, "We should talk". The fund's website was initially registered in December by Bruce Baldinger, a New Jersey real estate lawyer who has worked for years with Manafort, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Manafort's outreach attempts were primarily made via encrypted messaging applications, according to Mueller. But by February, when their flurry of texts and calls began, he appeared to be a risky ally given contemporary reports about his links to Russian intelligence and US filings that showed Mueller had access to some of the pair's conversations. "I have made clear that they worked in Europe".

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