Ex-Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Jailed After New Mueller Indictment

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Manafort is accused of witness tampering.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was ordered jailed by a federal judge on Friday after being arraigned on a new charge of witness tampering.

“I cannot turn a blind eye to this,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, according to NBC News

According to multiple reporters in the courtroom, Manafort — who has been under house arrest in Virginia since October — was taken into custody immediately after the judge’s ruling. He will remain in custody until his trial, which is expected to begin in early September. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller secured an indictment earlier this month saying Manafort attempted to reach witnesses with an encrypted messaging program while he was awaiting trial in an attempt to “suborn perjury,” according to one of those witnesses. 

Prosecutor Greg Andres said Friday that Manafort also used a tactic called “foldering” to secretly communicate with people:

Manafort pleaded not guilty to those charges, and his attorneys argued that the judge could take other steps aside from jailing their client to cease any improper contact, such as issuing an order specifically barring Manafort from contacting potential witnesses. 

Jackson, however, disagreed. 

This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone,” she said. 

She also dismissed accusations that the special counsel’s indictment for witness tampering was politically motivated.

This is not about politics,” Jackson said, according to Politico. “It is not about the conduct of the Office of Special Counsel. It is about the defendant’s alleged conduct.”

Manafort was charged last October with conspiracy and money laundering as part of Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign actively colluded with Russian officials to sway the outcome of the 2016 campaign. He has also denied those allegations.

Trump tweeted a response to Manafort’s jailing, defending his former campaign manager.

Trump comments throw immigration reform vote into doubt

House Republicans have hit the pause button on a plan to vote on immigration reform next week after President Trump warned he “wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.”

Republican leaders said they expect the White House to clarify whether Trump was referring to a bill authored by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and in concert with White House officials, that would incorporate the “four pillars” of Trump’s own immigration reform plan.

Republicans planned to put the bill on the floor for a vote next week. But now next week’s schedule is unclear.

The weekly schedule announcement was canceled Friday and Republicans say they won’t move the bill if Trump indeed opposes it. And he might.

Trump had long been in favor of a competing and more conservative bill authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., that will also get a floor vote this month. Goodlatte is in the process of tweaking his bill to remove provisions that some conservatives oppose.

And while the Ryan compromise bill includes more than $16 billion for a border wall — a top priority for Trump — the funding is spread out over many years and not provided all at once.

The Goodlatte bill, however, authorizes building a border wall but does not specifically provide money.

Both bills legalize "Dreamers" who came here illegally as children. The Ryan compromise bill provides an easier pathway to citizenship but both bills include a pathway. The Goodlatte bill reduces immigration overall by about 25 percent annually.

A Goodlatte spokesperson has not responded to a request about the status of Goodlatte’s bill or whether he has been in contact with Trump.
Trump made the remarks during an impromptu Friday morning appearance on "Fox and Friends.


Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Pens Defense Of Robert Mueller Russia Probe

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George Conway’s piece, “The Terrible Arguments Against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation,” rejects Trump’s claims.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway has written an article that adamantly defends the constitutionality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s alleged connection with President Donald Trump’s campaign in the 2016 election. 

The piece, “The Terrible Arguments Against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation,” published Monday on the Lawfare legal blog, opens with a critique of Trump’s tweets about the probe. The president has railed about the investigation as “totally unconstitutional.” 

Conway, a lawyer, notes that Trump’s argument likely came from “conservative legal scholar and co-founder of the Federalist Society, professor Steven Calabresi.”

“Unfortunately for the president, these writings are no more correct than the spelling in his original tweet. And in light of the president’s apparent embrace of Calabresi’s conclusions, it is well worth taking a close look at Calabresi’s argument in support of those conclusions,” writes Conway.

Conway then cites Calabresi’s argument ― as detailed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed ― that Mueller’s probe is “null and void” because it “violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2.” Conway notes that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia considered U.S. attorneys “inferior officers” under the Constitution, and says the special counsel also is an inferior officer. That, he maintains, defeats the claim that Mueller’s appointment is unconstitutional.

“In short, there is no serious argument that Special Counsel Mueller’s appointment violates the Appointments Clause specifically or the separation of powers generally,” writes Conway.


Conway concludes:

It isn’t very surprising to see the president tweet a meritless legal position, because, as a non-lawyer, he wouldn’t know the difference between a good one and a bad one. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with lawyers making inventive and novel arguments on behalf of their clients, or on behalf of causes or people they support, if the arguments are well-grounded in law and fact, even if the arguments ultimately turn out to be wrong. But the “constitutional” arguments made against the special counsel do not meet that standard and had little more rigor than the tweet that promoted them. Such a lack of rigor, sadly, has been a disturbing trend in much of the politically charged public discourse about the law lately, and one that lawyers — regardless of their politics — owe a duty to abjure.

Despite his wife’s association with the president, Conway has been critical of Trump, frequently tweeting distaste or counterarguments to Trump’s claims.

It’s unclear what Kellyanne Conway thinks about her husband’s opinions. Two months ago, when she was asked about her husband’s criticisms of the president by CNN’s Dana Bash, she described what constitutes a “difference of opinion” between spouses, and later tweeted that the question was “cheap & irrelevant.”





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