Tuesday Open Thread | Mueller moves to revoke Manafort’s pretrial release over witness tampering

Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing on Monday that President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses while on pretrial release.

Mueller’s team has asked the court to revoke or revise Manafort’s release conditions, including his bond and house arrest, in the wake of the filing, which was first reported by Reuters.

FBI agent Brock Domin said in the filing that Manafort attempted to contact witnesses via phone call, text and encrypted messages to two people from “The Hapsburg Group,” which Manafort had worked with to lobby for Ukrainian interests.

Domin said that Manfort’s attempts at contact were “in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence,” and that the probe into the matter was still ongoing.

The special counsel’s office hit Manafort with a 12-count indictment last year, which included conspiracy against the United States, tax fraud and money laundering.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are not directly related to his work for the Trump campaign.

His former business associate, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making a false statement to the FBI agents investigating Russian interference earlier this year as part of a plea deal with Mueller’s team.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, along with former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan have also pleaded guilty in the case.

A grand jury also indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies earlier this year for allegedly meddling in the 2016 election.

Trump has spoken out about Manafort in recent days, slamming the FBI and Department of Justice for not telling him that agents were “secretly investigating” Manafort during the 2016 presidential campaign.