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The probe by Robert Mueller that put former Trump campaign aide Paul Manafort in prison was initiated using evidence, called “the ledger,” that Mueller knew was unreliable and likely fake.
In search warrant affidavits, the FBI portrayed the ledger as one reason it resurrected a criminal case against Manafort that was dropped in 2014 and needed search warrants in 2017 for bank records to prove he worked for the Russian-backed Party of Regions in Ukraine.
There’s just one problem: The FBI’s public reliance on the ledger came months after the feds were warned repeatedly that the document couldn’t be trusted and likely was a fake, according to documents and more than a dozen interviews with knowledgeable sources.
To get around this fact, which was made very clear to Mueller and his investigators, they leaked the fake data to the press, and then used the press stories to justify the investigation.
Submitting knowingly false or suspect evidence — whether historical or to support probable cause — in a federal court proceeding violates FBI rules and can be a crime under certain circumstances. “To establish probable cause, the affiant must demonstrate a basis for knowledge and belief that the facts are true,” the FBI operating manual states.
But with Manafort, the FBI and Mueller’s office did not cite the actual ledger — which would require agents to discuss their assessment of the evidence — and instead cited media reports about it. The feds assisted on one of those stories as sources.
For example, agents mentioned the ledger in an affidavit supporting a July 2017 search warrant for Manafort’s house, citing it as one of the reasons the FBI resurrected the criminal case against Manafort.
This is beyond corrupt. I would say that it should be grounds for dismissal for the charges against Manafort, even if he admitted to guilt. At a minimum, Mueller and his cohorts should be facing jail time.