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Former Trump staffer Manafort accused of witness tampering

Former Trump staffer Manafort accused of witness tampering

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller says in a court filing that former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses in his own bank and tax fraud case.

Mueller's team says in a new court filing that Manafort and one of his associates "repeatedly" contacted two witnesses in an effort to influence their testimony.

In December, Mueller also said Manafort had tried to improperly influence the trial by secretly ghostwriting an op-ed piece by a Ukrainian politician describing Manafort's work. Prosecutors also submitted the filing they made in DC to the judge overseeing Manafort's financial crimes case in Virginia, T.S. Ellis, in case he wants to change Manafort's bail terms there. The contacts occurred while Manafort is under house arrest. Another message said, "We should talk".

In a series of tweets Sunday morning, President Donald Trump trashed the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice for not revealing to his campaign that agents were "secretly investigating" his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, during the 2016 election. "I have made clear that [the Hapsburg group] worked in Europe".

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Berman Jackson said information was being withheld because in those instances because "the names of confidential sources who had provided information to the government" were involved and because they contained "information relating to ongoing investigations that does not bear upon the allegations in either of the two cases now pending against Manafort". "What we have here is Mr. Manafort reaching out to witnesses and saying, 'Remember, we didn't do any lobbying in the United States, ' when there is ample evidence that that's untrue".

While both claims lack strong legal foundation, according to most experts, they signalled that the president is doubling down against Mueller's probe into campaign collusion with Russian Federation and whether Trump sought to obstruct justice.

Among those indicted are several former Trump campaign and administration staff, including Mr Manafort; Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser; Rick Gates, the former Trump deputy campaign chair; and George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the campaign.

However, he became the center of Mueller's investigation, whose focus has recently shifted from seeking proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation in the run-up to the 2016 election, to looking into alleged obstruction of justice by Trump and his associates. He has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his failure to disclose his United States lobbying work for a foreign government and to bank fraud and other financial crimes.