Somehow, Paul Manafort has found a way to dig himself into deeper trouble. This time — by engaging in witness-tampering. A new filing by Robert Mueller states that Manafort did this by plotting with a former Russian intelligence officer months after Mueller had already publicly disclosed that Manafort had conspired with this same ex-spy to violate a court gag order.
Paul Manafort was indicted in October 2017, and he has been out on bail with his travel restricted. He has been forced to wear GPS ankle bracelets — plural. A primary condition of his bail is that he not commit any crimes while on pretrial release. That makes perfect sense, right? And who would even by so stupid? Who would have the hubris?
Apparently, Paul Manafort, on both accounts. In Mueller’s latest filing, he maintains that in February of this year, Manafort contacted former associates—who are potential witnesses in his case — to encourage them to stick to a false cover story.
Paul Manafort’s penchant for self-sabotage appears to be of such scope that it is a minor miracle he hasn’t spent the majority of his life in prison. Manafort still has to face his initial charges — to which he pleaded not guilty. Undoubtedly, a witness-tampering charge added to Manafort’s laundry list would be anything but optimal for his defense. Plus he has pissed of Robert Mueller again.
Could it be that releasing the evidence without adding any new charges might be a power play by federal prosecutors in order to pressure Manafort into testifying against President Trump?