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Tag: Robert Mueller

From Riches to Rags: Manafort’s Lavish Lifestyle Takes Center Stage at Criminal Trial

House of Bijan, where Paul Manafort liked to shop.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Before Paul Manafort began leading the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, the Republican political operative lived an extravagant lifestyle, spending more than $1 million on lavish clothes between 2010 and 2014, more than $6 million on seven homes, $820,000 to manicure the lawns, a $21,000 black titanium and crystal watch and a $15,000 ostrich jacket. 

During the second day of the criminal trial Wednesday, prosecutors said Manafort financed his lifestyle by using wire transfers from secret offshore accounts to dodge taxes and lying to banks about his income to acquire loans.

Paul Manafort jail mugshot.

The high-priced consultant accumulated the wealth working for government officials in Ukraine.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating Russian interference during the presidential election, charged Manafort with 18 criminal counts, including tax evasion, bank fraud and conspiracy. If convicted, the 69-year-old could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A manager and CFO at luxury retailer Alan Couture and the exclusive menswear retailer House of Bijan testified, describing Manafort’s pricey spending habits that included tailored pin-stripe suits, neckwear and jackets.

The defense sought to undermine government witness Paul Gates, a former business partner of Manafort’s, saying Gates often made the payments to buy the luxury items. for Manafort.

Gates cut a plea deal with prosecutors to provide information about Manafort’s expenses.

Trump Urges AG Sessions to Nix Special Counsel Probe of Collusion, Obstruction of Justice

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump on Wednesday urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to nix the special counsel investigation into allegations of collusion and obstruction of justice in his administration and presidential campaign.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

Trump continued, “Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX. The Democrats paid for the phony and discredited Dossier which was, along with Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, used to begin the Witch Hunt. Disgraceful!”

Following the tweets, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani tried to downplay the comments.

“We have been saying for months that it is time to bring this inquiry to an end. The President has expressed the same opinion,” Giuliani said.

Trump has been angry with Sessions since he recused himself from any investigation involving Trump’s campaign because the former senator was involved in the campaign and acknowledged speaking to at least one high-level Russian in the lead-up to the campaign.

That gave Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authority to appoint Robert Mueller to investigate Russia’s involvement in the campaign following Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

Despite Trump’s rhetoric and claims that his campaign and administration did nothing wrong, he continues to refuse to sit down with Mueller for an interview.

Mueller Refers Lobbyists’ Work with Ukrainian Governments to Federal Prosecutors in N.Y.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The deeper special counsel Robert Mueller looks, the uglier his findings get.

The former FBI director who is leading the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election has led him to something unrelated – lobbyists and consultants working for the Ukrainian government.

This week, Pauk Manafort is on trial on numerous charges of tax evasion and bank fraud related to millions of dollars he made working with Ukrainian officials.  

CNN is now reporting that Mueller has turned over new cases involving the Ukrainian government to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. 

Prosecutors are investigating whether U.S. lobbyists failed to register their work supporting the Ukrainian government. Those lobbyists include Democrat Tony Podesta, ex-Minnesota GOP Rep. Vin Weber and former President Obama’s White House counsel Greg Craig.

No charges have been filed yet, and it’s unclear how far along prosecutors are in the investigation.

$15,000 Ostrich Jacket? Prosecutors: Manafort’s Lavish Lifestyle Financed by Tax Evasion, Fraud, Pr

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, relished his “extravagant lifestyle” so much that he committed tax evasion and bank fraud to finance it, special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors said Tuesday in opening arguments. 

Prosecutors told a jury that Manafort “believed the law did not apply to him – not tax law, not banking law” as he splurged on real estate and swanky clothes, including a $15,000 jacket “made from an ostrich.”

“He got whatever he wanted,” assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye said in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Defense attorneys painted a much different picture, saying Manafort was victimized by his deceptive former partner, Rick Gates, who agreed to cooperative with prosecutors in exchange for leniency. And if Manafort failed to pay the proper amount of taxes, his attorneys say it was inadvertent. 

If convicted, Manafort could be sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.

Prosecutors said Manafort dodged paying his taxes while he worked as a consultant for a political party in Ukraine and then lied to banks to continue getting loans as his payments stopped.

The trial resumes today.

Follow Ticklethewire.com for daily coverage of the trial.

Huge Implications for Special Counsel Mueller As Manafort Trial Begins Today

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The long-anticipated trial of Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, begins today in a courtroom in Alexandria.

Manafort faces 18 charges of bank and tax fraud, primarily related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine before he joined the Trump campaign.

If he’s found guilty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The trial is the first to stem from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation that began in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

The implications are enormous for Mueller, who has come under constant attack by the president and his allies who are seeking to undermine the former FBI director’s credibility. Trump continues to call the investigation a “witch hunt.”

Jury selection begins today.

Follow Ticklethewire.com for daily coverage of the trial. 

Trump Claims Mueller Holds a Grudge, Calls Probe ‘Illegal Scam’

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued his tirade against special counsel Robert Mueller, suggesting again that the former FBI chief has “conflicts of interest,” citing a “very nasty and contentious business relationship.”

In a series of weekend tweets designed to erode the public’s confidence in the investigation over Russia meddling in the presidential election, Trump claimed Mueller also held a grudge because he was not appointed FBI director.

Sunday’s tweet was more specific than past claims of alleged conflicts of interest involving Mueller, who was appointed by the president’s own Justice Department after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Trump’s claim about a “contentious business relationship” appears to involve a dispute with Mueller over fees at Trump’s National Golf Club in Virginia.

Here are additional tweets from Sunday:

Group of Conservative Lawmakers Are Trying to Impeach Deputy AG Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A group of conservative lawmakers are trying to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the top official overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Trump and his campaign’s role in Russian interference during the election.

Eleven Congressional members filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein on Wednesday, claiming he committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced the politically risky measure.

They and nine other Republicans allege Rosenstein mishandled the FISA surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to Donald Trump; a lack of transparency; unnecessarily excessive redactions of documents; and violating a Congressional subpoena, Newsweek reports.

Observers believe it’s incredibly unlikely that the lawmakers will get enough votes to secure an impeachment conviction. The measure requires a majority in the House of Representatives and two-thirds support in the Senate.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey – a move that has infuriated the president and his supporters.

Judge Delays Manafort Trial, Reveals Names of Witnesses Promised Immunity

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A federal judge on Monday delayed the start date for Paul Manafort’s trial and revealed the identities of five witnesses who were offered immunity to testify against President Trump’s former campaign chairman.

Judge T.S. Ellis approved the Manafort’s request to postpone the trial date to July 31 and unsealed the names of the five prospective witnesses: Dennis Raico, Cindy Laporta, Conor O’Brien, Donna Duggan, and James Brennan.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team requested that the names remain anonymous, but the judge wouldn’t agree.

Some news reports indicated the witnesses were tied to financial institutions in which Manafort is accused of hiding money he made working as a consultant overseas.

Manafort has been charged with money laundering and tax evasion, along other crimes.