Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Paul Manafort, the longtime Republican strategist and disgraced former chairman of President Trump’s 2016 campaign, just got a lot stronger.
Mueller on Friday filed a new, superseding indictment that alleges Manafort and one of Manafort’s partners in his multi-year lobbying campaign in Ukraine obstructed justice and conspired to obstruct justice by contacting witnesses in an attempt to tamper with their potential testimonies.
Those charges come on top of the crimes Mueller has already accused Manafort of committing as part of that lobbying work in Ukraine, including money laundering, failing to register as a foreign lobbyist and making false statements to two law enforcement officials.
Specifically, Mueller’s new indictment, filed in federal court in Virginia, alleges that Manafort and his associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, “knowingly and intentionally attempted to corruptly persuade” two witnesses, identified as Persons D1 and D2, “with the intent to influence, delay, and prevent” their testimonies.
Legal experts have said that the latest allegations against Manafort could result in him going to jail in connection with the Mueller probe. So far, Manafort has avoided jail time.
Earlier on Friday, President Trump did not rule out the possibility of pardoning Manafort and Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in connection with the law enforcement investigations involving both men. “I haven’t even thought about it,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I haven’t thought about any of it. It’s certainly far too early to be thinking about that.”
The president has been on a pardon spree in recent weeks, leading many to believe that more get-out-of-jail-free cards are on the way.