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This Week: Jury Deliberates In Blockbuster Manafort Trial

August 17, 2018 12:38 p.m.

A verdict could come at any moment in the Alexandria, Virginia federal courtroom where former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being tried on a slew of tax and bank fraud charges.

Prosecutors rested their case on Monday after 10 days of testimony from dozens of witnesses. Manafort’s lawyers said Tuesday that they would call none, alleging that the government “cannot meet that burden” of proof that would move a jury to issue a guilty verdict.

The trial yielded fresh evidence about favor-trading in the Trump campaign, even in its final days. The government released emails that showed that days after a Chicago bank gave Manafort a $9.5 million loan, Manafort emailed Jared Kushner recommending that the bank’s CEO serve as Army secretary in the Trump administration. The CEO, Steve Calk, had sent Manafort a ranked list of the government positions he wanted.

While he’s consistently distance himself from Manafort since his indictment, President Donald Trump on Friday expressed some sympathy for his former campaign manager, defensively telling reporters that Manafort is “happens to be a very good person” and that it’s “very sad what they’ve done” to him.

Pressure is building against longtime Trump ally Roger Stone. Robert Mueller’s prosecutors are looking through emails he sent threatening onetime associate Randy Credico for denying serving as the middle-man between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Credico was subpoenaed to testify before Mueller’s grand jury on Sept. 7.

As part of her bridge-burning book tour, ex-reality star and White House official Omarosa claimed that she’s been interviewed by Mueller’s team. Citing no evidence, she alleged that Trump “absolutely” knew about the Clinton campaign’s stolen emails before WikiLeaks began publishing them in the summer of 2016. Omarosa said she also handed over to Mueller some of the secretly recorded conversations she’s been eagerly sharing with the media.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that the President won’t agree to an interview with Mueller after Sept. 1 out of concerns that he’d be interfering with the midterms. Giuliani said they’re also willing to go to the Supreme Court to fight any subpoena requiring Trump to testify.

Former FBI official Peter Strzok was officially fired, months after anti-Trump texts were found on his cell phone. Trump said that the Hillary Clinton email probe, which Strzok helped carry out, should be “redone” now that he was gone.

Trump also stripped another critic, former CIA director John Brennan, of his security clearance. The White House initially citied national security concerns prompted by Brennan’s “erratic” behavior. Trump then told the Wall Street Journal he did so because of Brennan’s involvement in the Russia “witch hunt.”

George Papadopolous, whose drunken rants are widely credited for the launch of the Russia probe, was thrust back into the spotlight Thursday, when his wife Simona Mangiante said she wants Papadopolous to scrap his deal with Mueller.

On Capitol Hill, Senate Intelligence Committee efforts to investigate financial matters related to the Russia probe have been stymied by the Treasury Department, which has ignored and refused records requests.

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