Why Trump’s sudden interest? One possible inference was that the President had somehow heard that there was more bad news coming about Manafort, and he was trying to limit some of the damage in advance of its release.
.. Mueller’s office accused Manafort, who is out on bail, of trying to tamper with potential witnesses earlier this year, and asked a judge to consider jailing him before his trial.
.. Manafort secretly arranged for a group of former European officials, known as the Hapsburg group, to lobby inside the United States on his clients’ behalf, and that Manafort didn’t disclose this activity on federal disclosure forms.
.. The court filing states that Manafort was trying to get the witness to lie on his behalf: “Person D1 has told the government that he understood Manafort’s outreach to be an effort to ‘suborn perjury,’ because person D1 knew that the Hapsburg group worked in the United States—not just Europe.”
.. “Persons D1 and D2 both preserved the messages they received from Manafort and Person A”—Manafort’s longtime associate—“which were sent on encrypted applications, and have provided them to the government.”
.. Manafort’s actions seem brazen or desperate, or perhaps both.
.. On Monday night, reporters identified Person A as Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian with Russian citizenship, who once worked for Manafort’s consulting firm.
.. His name came up last year, when Mueller’s team claimed he helped edit an op-ed for a Kiev newspaper in coöperation with Manafort.
.. The special counsel said that this op-ed violated a gag order that had been placed on Manafort.
.. leaving Manafort to face the prospect of a trial in Virginia next month, followed by another one, in Washington, D.C., in September.
.. Neither did Trump—but he didn’t need to. He had already tried to run as far as possible from his former campaign chairman.
.. Now, like everyone else, he will watch what happens next in court, and see if Manafort becomes a coöperating witness.