How Paul Manafort Lied to Mueller to Protect Jared Kushner

Paul Manafort appears to have saved the President’s son-in-law by lying to Mueller’s prosecutors.

That’s what his 302 from September 13, 2018, released yesterday under FOIA, appears to show.

The 302 records the last interview before he sealed his plea deal (starting at PDF 223). Much of it focuses on how the campaign dealt with WikiLeaks. The 302 includes the following topics:

  1. A reminder that on the previous two days, Manafort had lied about meeting Konstantin Kilimnik in February 2017, but after being shown travel records in this interview he admitted it.
  2. Mostly redacted (for ongoing investigation likely tied to Roger Stone’s prosecution) discussions about how Manafort didn’t want Trump “distracted by the titillation of a WikiLeaks release.”
  3. A claim that the RNC would handle press on the WikiLeaks release, even though three Trump staffers had been strategizing just that for weeks.
  4. Manafort’s claim he was surprised by the “Russia are you listening” comment, which is consistent with other people’s claims, if unbelievable.
  5. Language designed to sustain a claim that Manafort had no idea why Trump attributed the stolen emails to Russia in his “Russia are you listening” comment.
  6. A claim that no one suspected Trump of “colluding” with Russian before Robbie Mook made the allegation.
  7. A discussion that ties the two October 7 events (the release of the Podesta emails and the Access Hollywood tape) with details of his own crimes in Ukraine, along with an admission that Manafort spoke to Trump about all that.
  8. Manafort’s claims to be absolutely ignorant about whether Trump had any entanglements with Russia.
  9. Lies about (almost certainly) Steve Calk’s awareness that his bank loan paperwork submission was false.

Between topic 8 and 9, the 302 also captures the basis for one of Mueller’s claims that Manafort lied during his cooperation agreement, an allegation (that Judge Amy Berman Jackson upheld) that Manafort lied about another DOJ investigation to protect someone.

I laid out what the breach determination disclosed about the investigation here. Basically, shortly before Manafort left the campaign, someone (which it’s now clear is almost certainly Roger Stone and indeed appears to have come up in Stone’s trial) offered up a way to save the candidate. The question is how closely involved someone else — someone with a 7-character name — got involved in this effort to save the candidate. According to the breach proceedings, Manafort told one story that incriminated the person with a 7-character name when first interviewed, prior to getting his plea deal, on September 13 (that is, in this 302). But when Mueller’s team brought prosecutors from another investigation in to hear the story on October 5, Manafort at first gave a very different version, one that was much less incriminating to that 7-character name person, a version that aligned with the story that person was telling the FBI at the time, and that put more of the blame on the 5-character name person, presumably Stone.

It appears highly likely that the person he was protecting was Jared Kushner.

In the breach hearing (discussion starts on page 110), the names of both people involved are redacted.

But in the 302 released yesterday, Kushner’s name is not redacted.

Numerous times in Paul Manafort’s texts with Sean Hannity (who, in another of the 302s released yesterday, he admitted to treating as a back channel to Trump), Manafort talked about his certainty that Mueller would go after Kushner. Indeed, he claimed that’s who he would have to give up to get a plea deal.

We now know he discussed Kushner the day before he got a plea deal. And then he reneged on telling that story.

As I disclosed in 2018, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation. 

48 replies
  1. e.a.f. says:

    oh dear.

    wonder why he could give up Trump or Kushner? it can’t be that he is that loyal. perhaps he was that afraid or expecting a pardon if he was a “good boy” or was he being paid that much money?

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    Do you think this applies to Mueller and Trump’s vicious attack/betrayal of Mueller as the Godfather of the Witch Hunt?

    “You’re in the ring and getting the snot kicked out of you and you cannot fight back.”
    Chuckie O’Brien’s (Hoffa’s Driver) take on his portrayal in “The Irishman”

  3. Matthew Harris says:

    Back in June of 2017, when I was guessing who would get arrested, I guessed Manafort, Flynn, and Kushner.

    Since that time, as more figures have been revealed to be more complicit, Kushner has kept sliding back in how involved I think he was with everything. After more than two years, I have kind of filed Kushner away as “useful idiot”, without the “useful”.

    But it could just be that Kushner has been extremely skillful at dodging problems, either because his family connection with Trump makes him untouchable, or because he is good at hiding his tracks (and has hired real lawyers and listened to them). But it could be, that as more comes out, Kushner will be seen as a more important figure. I especially wonder this, in regards to Saudi Arabia and Iran, because there is a good chance that Kushner has a financial dependence on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States that has driven US foreign policy. That is one thing that might not come out for a while.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A new release of a hundred thousand documents about Cambridge Analytica’s political manipulations in sixty-eight countries. The firm may be defunct, but its patrons, its parent and affiliated companies, and its business model are not.

    “There’s evidence of really quite disturbing experiments on American voters, manipulating them with fear-based messaging, targeting the most vulnerable, that seems to be continuing. This is an entire global industry that’s out of control.”

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      I read the Chris Wylie book, “Mindf*ck – Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America” over the holidays. If you have any interest in this story, the book is well worth reading. Very informative and highly engaging. Villains like Bannon and Nix are almost cartoonishly bad actors, but they are also remarkably competent within their spheres of evil.

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm. Does this imply that Fox’s Chris Wallace does a better job with Republican targets than NBC’s stable?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If Chuck Todd thinks he is being used, he could start practicing journalism. If he did, MTP would find it harder to book DC insiders, because it would no longer be the easy untended field in which to spread their manure. The suits at NBC might think that Robespierre had joined their ranks and was eyeing their neck sizes.

      As I see it, Chuck is a full and willing participant and co-conspirator in the way he refuses to practice journalism, and helps to prevent others from practicing it. He was Tim Russert’s water boy, inherited the farm, and hasn’t changed a thing.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Well, I just watched this morning’s show and didn’t see a anything different. He had Pompeo spewing justification for the timing of the hit on Soulemani, and the former Governor of North Carolina inexplicably weighing in with his foreign policy expertise. Neither of whom received anything close to push back from Pushover Chuck.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As their official policy, the US, the UK, and Israel have a funny notion of “imminent.” Like many terms of art, it does not have the meaning it has in everyday use: “soon” or “about to happen”. Imminent means whatever Humpty Dumpty says it means. It could mean next month, later, or I don’t know, but I’m afraid.

    The essentially undefined term is part of the oxymoronic doctrine of “pre-emptive self-defense.” As a corollary (and as if an adjunct to Dick Cheney’s 1% doctrine), it does not require a specific enemy or target, but rather a generalized fear of attack. It could mean whomever I’m most afraid of or irritated with at the moment – Afghanistan, for example, rather than the country of origin of most of the nineteen 9/11 terrorists.

    It is the perfect doctrine to trot out to assuage Trump’s omnipresent rage. There’s always somebody somewhere who irritates the shit out of him. But it’s not really a doctrine, it’s “because I said so” masquerading as one. Craig Murray has more; I often disagree with him, but this comment seems correct.

    • Vicks says:

      A key difference in the battle between the Trump team and the good guys, is rather than mucking things up with “technicalities” team Trump would be all over this using the common definition of the word “imminent” to blast out their defense
      Now we are going to watch democrats tip toe warily around the idea that the timing on this was bullshit.
      When it is so easy to “win” with Trump’s style of messaging, how long will these attempts at ethics last?
      Is it “just” ethics?
      Maybe it’s a little less about morals, and there is something in this party’s ego that resists looking uneducated?
      Either way, it’s a defining difference and there is so much to be said when one side consistently sees and then takes the easy way instead of doing the much more difficult “right” thing.

    • P J Evans says:

      Trmp probably would tell them to rake their forests.

      I looked at photos from Australia (I’ve also seen some from NZ, where the sky is smoke-orange), and they’re way too close to the ones from CA the last few years. The wildlife is different, but the scenes are the same, right to the firefighters and the helicopters and air tankers.

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