Analysis: Today’s Mueller Memo on Manafort Crimes May Prove Collusion

All of Washington is waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. Rumors are that Mueller could submit a report to the Department of Justice (DOJ) as early as next week. If that happens, it would bring to a close what the president refers to as a “witch hunt.” In fact, it is an investigation that has dominated headlines for nearly two years.

But today Mueller will file with a federal court a document which may reveal a great deal of information about the alleged collusion. Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for Paul Manafort is due to a federal judge in DC District Court before midnight today.

The will be the last major court filing in Mueller’s lengthy Manafort prosecution and it could be a bombshell.

The probe of Trump’s one-time campaign manager has led investigators to compile a huge amount of information about Manafort’s secret bank accounts, his Ukrainian political work, and his underhanded activities while serving on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

In the sentencing memorandum prosecutors will outline in detail all facts they believe the federal judge should take into account before his sentencing (which is now set for March 13.)

This means Mueller will disclose what he knows about Manafort’s criminal business schemes, his contacts with key Russians after he was arrested and the lies he told to prosecutors and a grand jury after he agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.

In filings like these, prosecutors write a detailed account of all of the defendant’s crimes and misbehavior. Up to now, the details of Manafort’s cooperation have been guarded by prosecutors, since his interviews are a major part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.

Today’s memo will outline the evidence Mueller has with respect to the two charges Manafort pleaded guilty to in September:

  1. conspiracy against the United States, and
  2. conspiracy witness tampering, which he committed after he was arrested by trying to contact former Ukrainian business associates.

At the time of his plea, he also admitted to a many other money laundering and foreign lobbying crimes that took place in connection with his work for Ukrainian politicians and other foreign clients.

According to Manafort his co-conspirators were:

  • his long-time colleagues Rick Gates, who is still cooperating with Mueller, and
  • Konstantin Kilimnik, whom prosecutors say is connected to Russian intelligence and who is at the heart of their inquiry.

The memo will also likely cover his and Kilimnik’s alleged contact with potential witnesses in his case after Manafort’s October 2017 arrest, and his lies about his interactions with Kilimnik in 2016 and other topics.

Previously, prosecutors said Manafort should face up to 25 years in prison and pay tens of millions of dollars for tax and bank fraud.

Friday’s sentencing memo will give more details about why they think he should spend the rest of his life in jail.

In the past, Mueller’s sentencing memos have revealed devastating new information which has been detrimental to the president. We can expect today’s memorandum to do the same thing.

Today could be a very bad day for Donald Trump as Mueller files with the court a public document setting forth the evidence he has proving that Trump’s campaign manager colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign in a conspiracy against the United States.