Trump says Attorney-General should stop Mueller probe 'right now'

Marsha Scott
August 2, 2018

Pres. Trump derides previous administrations for not telling him about Paul Manafort's alleged crimes before he hired him to run his 2016 campaign.

If convicted of all the charges, Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The comments were the first volley in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial.

Manafort has a second trial scheduled for September in the District of Columbia.

"Let's move on, enough is enough", the judge said sternly, allowing the witness to describe the annual spending, but not the total amount over the five year period.

One of those on-lookers keeping a close eye on the Manafort trial: the president. But federal judges overseeing both cases have upheld Mueller's authority to investigate and prosecute Manafort.

Manafort spent more than $100,000 at the store in 2010, and more than $444,000 in 2013, according to Katzman. "Where is the Russian Collusion?"

And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".

Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel began his Tuesday show noting that the Paul Manafort trial began today.

"All of this was willful", Asonye said.

In fact, Gates' testimony could even hurt their case.

Expected to be a main witness, Gates was Manafort's right-hand man for years and has knowledge of their offshore accounts and work for Deripaska and in Ukraine.

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"He may testify in this case, he may not", said prosecutor Uzo Asonye, a day after the defense made clear in opening statements to jurors that its strategy centered on discrediting Gates as an untruthful embezzler. Gates embezzled money from Manafort. Gates is the one who should be in the defendant's chair - not Manafort. But Gates kept his name on them "so he could keep control", he said.

Trump is trying to distance himself from Manafort, who led Trump's efforts to secure the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. As he was leaving the courtroom at the end of day, he blew a kiss and mouthed "I love you" to his wife, Kathleen, who was seated in the first row.

"The defense's main goal is to put a lot of things out there and have someone grab onto it or gravitate towards it as a reason why someone couldn't have done something or didn't do something intentionally", Thorn said. "That's what you really have difficulty, as a defense attorney, combatting".

The luxurious lifestyle was funded by Manafort's political consulting for the pro-Russian Ukrainian political party of Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed as Ukraine's president in 2014. He said Manafort was the only business client of his who paid via global wire transfer.

Prosecutors originally planned to submit 50 exhibits and more than 400 documents to the record as evidence.

He urged them, in closing, to "keep an open mind".

"It's not the American way", the judge said.

However, Ronald Wall, the top financial officer at House of Bijan, said that Manafort was not the only customer there who paid via wire transfer. "They're going to tell the story chronologically of how it all happened". "It's evidence of his income".

The lawyers' facial expressions, Ellis said, appeared to show them thinking "why do we have to put up with this idiot judge?"

The case will likely last two or three weeks in Virginia court.

Overall, anti-fraud investigators at Wells Fargo, following a tip from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, flagged almost $300,000 in "suspicious" transactions by Butina and Erickson, saying in some cases the activity had no "apparent economic, business, or lawful goal".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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