Breaking news coming out of DC regarding Paul Manafort and it isn't looking good. Here's the short version: he tried to circumvent his bail conditions and gag order and was discovered to be ghost writing a Ukranian op-ed with a Russian who is linked to Russian intelligence in an attempt to influence public opinion about Manafort's role in Ukraine.
This was a bad move.
Richard Painter joined Ari Melber on The Beat on Monday evening to discuss this. His commentary was fiery, to say the least. Here is the transcript:
Melber: I have to tell you, I know folks get tired of this breaking news, so much news these days but I'm flabbergasted at allegation here in court paper that Paul Manafort would as recently as late last week still be carrying on contact with official with alleged ties to Russian intel about campaigns, for Paul Manafort's self-interest seems odd. Going to read more of this and get analysis. Judges often tell parties not to try their cases in the press. This new filing from Mueller refers to what the judge had previously said. At first appearance before this court with Manafort present, the judge admonished the parties not to try the case in the press and said "this is a criminal trial, not a public relations campaign" and Mueller goes on to say Manafort through his lawyer made statements to the press after initial appearance and court gave the parties opportunity to object to that order which it says he didn't do. Even if not with Russian part of what Mueller is arguing is Manafort could be in violation of doing out of court arguing of the case that the judge has said should only happen in court.
Painter: I think that's what the judge would prefer and best thing to do. There are first amendment rights that criminal defendants have if they want to strenuously object to the charge in public arena, it's tough to tell them not to do that. But there is no first amendment right to collaborate with Russian agents and if the court tells you not to hang around with the Russians, the court means business and he should go back to the slammer if he doesn't get that. First amendment right to say what he wants, but not hang out with Russian agents who have been conducting illegal activities in the United States and he's right in the middle of it.
Although the Mueller team did not ask for remand, it is ultimately up to the judge. Will Manafort be given a fancy new ankle bracelet and he stuck on house arrest until his trial in the spring or will he get 3 hots and a cot?