by WorldTribune Staff, November 27, 2018
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has collided with a series of new hurdles in its supposed stretch run as two former Trump officials refused to roll over while President Donald Trump tore into Mueller in a string of tweets.
Mueller’s team complained of “not getting what they want” out of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort while a second Trump associate, Jerome Corsi, refused to sign a plea deal.
A Nov. 26 court filing said Manafort, who was convicted on multiple counts of financial fraud over the summer in connection with work he completed in Ukraine as a political consultant, breached a plea deal with Mueller agreed upon earlier this year.
“After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement,” Mueller’s office said.
Manafort’s legal team said their client “has provided information to the government in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations. He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement.”
Corsi, an associate of Roger Stone, said on Nov. 26 that he is refusing to sign a plea deal offered by Mueller.
“They can put me in prison the rest of my life. I am not going to sign a lie,” Corsi told CNN in a phone call.
Corsi, whose role in Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election largely revolves around the possibility that he was an intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks, said he was offered a deal to plea on one count of perjury.
Trump, meanwhile, slammed Mueller in a series of tweets on Nov. 27:
“The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other. Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue….
“….The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his…
“….terrible Gang of Angry Democrats. Look at their past, and look where they come from. The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives. Where is the Server? Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and “Justice” Department!”
In a Nov. 26 tweet, the president wrote: “When Mueller does his final report, will he be covering all of his conflicts of interest in a preamble, will he be recommending action on all of the crimes of many kinds from those “on the other side”(whatever happened to Podesta?), and will he be putting in statements from..…
“….hundreds of people closely involved with my campaign who never met, saw or spoke to a Russian during this period? So many campaign workers, people inside from the beginning, ask me why they have not been called (they want to be). There was NO Collusion & Mueller knows it!”
Manafort has been behind bars since the judge in his D.C. case revoked his bail in June. He is set to be sentenced in Virginia on Feb. 8, 2019. Neither the defense nor the prosecution team has objected to the sentencing date.
Corsi, describing his experience with Mueller’s team as “like being interrogated as a POW in the Korean War,” said after two months of questioning, prosecutors believed they caught him in various lies and did not appear to believe him when he said he could not recall certain events.
Corsi insisted he had no contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that “investigators were so mad because I didn’t give them what they wanted.”
In a statement following Corsi’s comments, Stone said the special counsel was harassing Corsi “not for lying, but for refusing to lie” and continued to maintain his own innocence.
“It is inconceivable that in America someone would be prosecuted for refusing to swear to a false narrative pushed on him by the Muller investigators,” Stone said.
Sources close Manafort and WikiLeaks are denying a Nov. 27 report by the UK’s Guardian which claimed Manafort met with Assange the same month he joined the Trump campaign team.
WikiLeaks, which in 2016 posted hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, denied any such meeting took place.
“@WikiLeaks is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange,” the group tweeted.
A source close to Manafort and his attorney Kevin Downing told Fox News the report is “totally false.”
Meanwhile, Trump campaign associate George Papadopoulos tweeted on Nov. 25 that the “FISA declassification will exonerate us all.”
On Nov. 26, Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Russia-linked individuals, began a two-week prison term.
“Keep the focus on FISA declassification. Do not get distracted. See you on the other side,” he tweeted on Nov. 25.
In a Nov. 22 tweet, Papadopoulos wrote: “It’s not really a secret who the British “sources” were that were illicitly spying on Trump and me and others. They are fighting to keep this private. I will lay them out here: 1) Tobias Ellwood 2) Stefan Halper 3) Alexander Downer 4) British Embassy in DC 5) GCHQ 6) Erika T”