Documents released Friday by the Department of Justice confirm that a DOJ attorney known as Robert Mueller's "pit bull" arranged an April 11, 2017 meeting with journalists to discuss their investigation into Paul Manafort in which information may have been leaked back and forth concerning the case.
At question is the FBI's relationship with AP - and whether or not the FBI leaked information about the Manafort case to them or vice-versa.
According to memos written by FBI agents, Special Counsel attorney Andrew Weissmann, Mueller's #2 (who donated $6,600 to the DNC, Obama and Clinton campaigns and reportedly attended a Clinton election night party in NYC), arranged a meeting between DOJ/FBI officials and four reporters from the Associated Press - who told the FBI about a storage locker owned by Manafort and then gave the FBI a passcode to access it.
The memos also show that one of the AP journalists gave the FBI an unusual detail about a storage unit in Alexandria, Virginia that Manafort used to keep records of his worldwide business dealings. Both memos say the AP revealed a code number to access the unit, although one memo says the reporters declined to share the unit number of the locker or its street address. -Politico
Manafort's attorneys received the documents on June 29 and revealed them in a Virginia federal court filing as part of a push for a hearing into possible leaks of sealed grand jury information, false reports and potentially classified materials.
“The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred,” wrote Manafort attorney Kevin Downing in a motion requesting the hearing. “Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”
One of the memos written by FBI Supervisory Special Agent Karen Greenaway reveals "The meeting was arranged by Andrew Weissmann," who goes on to note that Weissmann provided guidance to the reporters.
According to Greenaway, Weissmann suggested that the reporters ask the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority, a Cypriot government agency, if it had provided the Department of Treasury with all of the documents they were legally authorized to provide regarding Manafort. -Daily Caller
AP director of media relations Lauren Easton defended the FBI briefing in a statement toi the Daily Caller News Foundation:
"Associated Press journalists met with representatives from the Department of Justice in an effort to get information on stories they were reporting, as reporters do. During the course of the meeting, they asked DOJ representatives about a storage locker belonging to Paul Manafort, without sharing its name or location."
Originally reported by journalist Sara Carter in January, the meeting between AP and DOJ officials was confirmed for the first time on June 29 in a pre-trial hearing at which FBI special agent Jeffrey Pfeiffer admitted that the FBI may have conducted a May 2017 raid on a storage locker rented by Manafort.
The AP journalists, Chad Day, Ted Bridis, Jack Gillum and Eric Tucker, were conducting an extensive investigation of Manafort, including payments he received through various shell companies set up in Cyprus.
Day and Gillum published an article a day after the meeting laying out some of the allegations against Manafort, including that he was listed in a “black ledger” that documented illicit payments from a Ukrainian political party allied with the Russian government. -Daily Caller
Manafort will go on trial July 25 for a litany of bank fraud and money laundering charges connected to a 2012-2014 lobbying effort for a pro-Ukraine think tank tied to former president Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych fled from Ukraine to Russia after he was unseated in a 2014 coup.
Manafort’s firm earned $17 million consulting for Yanukovych’s centrist, pro-Russia ‘Party of Regions.’ During the same period, he oversaw a lobbying campaign for the pro-Russia “Centre for a Modern Ukraine,” (ECMU) a Brussels based think tank linked to Yanukovych which was pushing for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union.
Of note, the now defunct Podesta group, operating under Manafort, earned over $1.2 million as part of that effort.
While the Podesta group and Paul Manafort both failed to file paperwork related to the Pro-Russia Centre for a Modern Ukraine, retroactive disclosures filed by the Podesta group on August 17 revealed dozens of previously unreported communications with high level democrat officials related to the lobbying campaign – including Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the office of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Read the motion by Manafort's attorneys here: