Donald Trump: Paul Manafort's trial has 'nothing to do with Collusion'

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Manafort's trial is the first arising from Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation. "Counterintelligence officers say the duo's banking activity could provide a road map of back channels to powerful American entities such as the National Rifle Association, and information about the Kremlin's attempt to sway the 2016 US presidential election".

Judge Ellis later told prosecutors that he can 'understand this effort to show [Manafort] lived lavishly, ' but did not believe this was relevant to the government's tax evasion and bank fraud charges against the former Trump campaign chairman. They know they're not going to be able to contradict the paper trail, they know they're not going to be able to convince the jury that Manafort told the truth on his taxes and that Manafort told the truth on his mortgage applications.

The prosecution called both Ronald Wall, the chief financial officer of the House of Bijan, and Maximillian Katzman, the former manager of the New York City-based Alan Couture, to the witness stand on the second day of the trial against Manafort.

But prosecutors' star witness is likely to be Gates, who worked closely with Manafort in Ukraine and later followed him into Trump's campaign as deputy chairman.

The special counsel has enlisted as many as 35 witnesses to testify against Manafort.

"Money's coming in fast". "That's what Rick Gates was being paid to do".

Mr Manafort, who has been jailed for almost two months, wore a black suit and appeared fully engaged in his defence, whispering with his lawyers during jury selection and scribbling notes as the prosecution began its opening statement. He is seeking to keep jurors from hearing details of his years of work in Ukraine for the Party of Regions and President Viktor Yanukovych, saying it is irrelevant and prejudicial. Devine testified that Manafort ran a tightly disciplined, professional campaign that contributed to his candidate's victory.

The question was a strike at the defense, which argued Tuesday that Manafort was forced to open foreign accounts to receive payment for his political consulting work in Ukraine.

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Prosecutors said their testimony provided evidence on Manafort's income and his use of foreign bank accounts and shell companies, which they allege he used to dodge taxes and hide millions in income from his Ukrainian political clients. Asonye said the evidence would show he lied to the Internal Revenue Service. Mr Manafort denies the charges, which are unrelated...

Opening remarks by Manafort's lawyer, Thomas Zehnle, gave an indication of his defense tactic - singling out Gates. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III will try to weed out potential prejudice in what has become a highly publicized and politically divisive investigation. And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt". Manafort's trial is unrelated to either allegation.

"There was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!"

Trump's Capone tweet has people wondering whether mentioning Manafort in the same breath as Scarface is really all that flattering.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Gates, a longtime Manafort deputy who also worked in a senior role in the Trump campaign, had initially been charged alongside Manafort, but in February announced he would plead guilty to charges of conspiracy against the US and lying to federal authorities. That trial, set in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that the longtime political consultant acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the USA government.

Three other aides, including Manafort's longtime business partner Rick Gates, have already pleaded guilty and are co-operating with Mueller's probe.

Mueller's team has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies, including the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials.

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