Judge Drops Order On Robert Mueller – Sets Friday Deadline To Hand Over Documents


Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is continuing to build as time goes on. Manafort has sought to undercut that case through challenging Mueller’s authority to bring the charges in question, but by and large, the judicial system has sided with Mueller, and for now, the back and forth is continuing.

This week, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a ruling that perhaps treads the line between siding with Mueller and siding with Manafort, although she herself made clear that the development she’s now called for “in Manafort’s favor” is minor. She denied the former Trump campaign chairman’s request for a bill of particulars outlining the evidence against him in detail, but she did grant his request to have the names of certain individuals implicated in the case against him revealed.

The special counsel’s office has until Friday to reveal the identities of individuals they have claimed that Manafort caused to act as unregistered foreign agents in the United States, which is one of the crimes the longtime political operative himself is accused of. He is also accused of crimes ranging from money laundering to bank and tax fraud; he was originally indicted alongside his longtime associate Rick Gates, but earlier this year, Gates flipped in the face of mounting new charges.

As for the individuals Manafort is alleged to have caused to act as unregistered foreign agents in the U.S., as of early Tuesday their identities await formal confirmation from their special counsel’s office but they’ve already been incorporated into news reports, Bloomberg notes.

The individuals in question include Romano Prodi, the former prime minister of Italy; Alfred Gusenbauer, the former chancellor of Austria; and Aleksander Kwasniewski, the former president of Poland. The official revelation of these individuals’ identities is hardly poised to lessen the case against Manafort; it’s just another pending formal confirmation of its gravity. If he hoped for something else with demanding the individuals’ identities those efforts may have backfired.

Manafort personally worked in the United States as an unregistered foreign agent of Russia-aligned politicians in Ukraine, Mueller’s office alleges. It’s the money he got as a part of that scheme that was incorporated into his money laundering scheme, and it’s also money that he got for working for politicians including Victor Yanukovych — the currently in exile former Ukrainian president — that underlined his initial departure from the Trump campaign in 2016.

Manafort worked for the Trump campaign during a period that former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos was aiming to set up a meeting between then-candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is one of many either attempted or completed contacts between Trump associates and Russians.

It’s not even only Manafort who has been nabbed from Trump’s circles for acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the United States. Although he decided to cooperate with investigators and therefore avoided the steep consequences Manafort might face, the president’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, acted as an unregistered foreign agent of the Turkish government in the United States.

All of the developments fit into a broader pattern of the Trump team proving ready and willing to accept help from whoever would offer it no matter the ramifications.

Featured Image via Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg via Getty Images