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This Week: Cohen Being Probed For Tax Fraud, Manafort’s Protégé Tells All

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August 10, 2018 4:48 p.m.

During Paul Manafort’s federal trial in Alexandria, VA, Manafort’s ex-protégé, Rick Gates, testified that the pair committed crimes together, underreporting Manafort’s income on tax filings and lying to accountants and bookkeepers about his loans.

Gates also admitted that he lived a “secret life,” embezzling money from Manafort and using it to fund an apartment in London where he carried out multiple extramarital affairs. Gates testified that he spoke to the special counsel about his time at the Trump campaign, but Mueller’s team prevented him from going further on this topic.

Manafort’s former accountant was fired after admitting that she filed Manafort’s tax returns despite knowing that they contained false information. An ex-employee at a bank that provided Manafort $16 million in loans testified that the first one was approved the day after the bank’s CEO, Stephen Calk, said at a meeting that he wanted a job with the Trump administration. Emails show that Manafort pushed Gates to have Calk be considered for army secretary.

The presiding judge, T.S. Ellis, was forced to tell the jury to “put aside any criticism” of federal prosecutors after mistakenly berating them over an interaction with a witness. Even Fox News personality Andrew Napolitano criticized Ellis for his “extraordinary bias against the government.”

Financial troubles are also hanging over Michael Cohen, who is officially under investigation for tax fraud. Federal prosecutors are examining whether Cohen underreported the cash income he received from his taxi medallion business on federal tax forms. His former partner, admitted tax cheat “Taxi King” Gene Freidman, is cooperating with the government. Their shared accountant, Jeffrey Getzel, was also subpoenaed.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office are also reportedly investigating whether employees at Sterling National Bank allowed Cohen to take out loans without providing appropriate documentation. Both Cohen and Freidman took out large loans in 2014 after their once-lucrative taxi medallions plummeted in value, and Cohen refinanced 16 medallions through the bank weeks after the FBI raided his premises.

Former Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller was held in contempt of court for defying a judge’s order to testify before the special counsel grand jury. Stone associate Kristin Davis, better known as the “Manhattan Madam,” testified before Mueller’s grand jury on Friday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested a closed-door interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani made a series of useless statements about the prospect of an interview between his client and Robert Mueller, fretting about a “perjury trap” and ultimately saying the odds of it happening were “50-50.” Giuliani and fellow Trump attorney also guest hosted Sean Hannity’s radio show.

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly discussed nuclear arms control and prohibition on weapons in space at their July meeting in Helsinki.

In leaked comments from a fundraiser, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said Trump faced serious legal jeopardy from the Russia probe if Republicans lose the majority. In the meantime, Republican lawmakers are reportedly preparing subpoenas for a number of people connected to the Steele dossier.

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