Trump's ex-campaign manager Manafort doesn't deserve leniency: Counsel

Tuesday, 26 Feb, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller wrote a scathing memo about Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, as the former Republican power player prepares to receive his sentences as a convicted felon early next month.

But Democrats have said they are concerned Attorney General William Barr will withhold key portions of the report.

Pulling no punches across the 25-page filing, Mueller's team details a stunning collection of crimes-both admittedly and allegedly-committed by Manafort while suggesting the former Trump 2016 campaign be subject to severe punishment for his actions.

From 2006 to 2015, Manafort led a multi-million dollar USA lobbying operation at the direction of Ukraine, without registering or providing required public disclosures, prosecutors said.

"We can't tell the country fully what happened without it", Schiff said, citing "the intense public need to know here, which I think overrides any other consideration".

Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is critical to establish whether the election was compromised and to address vulnerabilities. The six House Democratic committee leaders touched on that point in their letter Friday, arguing that withholding evidence because the president will not be charged "is to convert (Justice) Department policy into the means for a cover-up".

"The American people want their elected officials to focus on issues and my boss is", Conway said, adding it would be "up to Mr. Mueller" to decide whether or not to share his findings, whatever they may be, with the public. Mueller's work has already led to dozens of indictments and guilty pleas by Trump's former campaign chairman and other advisers.

"We are going to get to the bottom of this", said Schiff. But the evidence so far shows that a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communications. Finding such collusion was the original purview of Mueller's investigation when it began in 2017. As part of that plea, he agreed to cooperate with Mueller's team, a move that could have helped him avoid a longer prison sentence.

"The overall intent of the regulations - it's said time and time again - is public confidence in the administration of justice".

Mueller is expected to submit a final report to the Department of Justice within weeks. Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller investigation as a "witch hunt" and insisted there was "NO COLLUSION" with Russian Federation. But within weeks, prosecutors say he repeatedly lied to investigators, including about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who the USA says has ties to Russian intelligence.

In D.C. the statutory maximum Manafort, 69, faces is 10 years.