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Prosecutors: Manafort may have lied to improve chances of a pardon

A redacted transcript released Thursday shows that Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, was still working in Ukraine after he was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and that prosecutors believe he may have lied in order to help boost his chances for a presidential pardon.

In the hearing, held Monday, prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told Judge Amy Berman Jackson that the special counsel was extremely interested in a meeting Manafort had with Russian political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik in 2016. Mueller indicted Manafort in 2017, and last September, he reached a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy and witness tampering. He agreed to be a cooperating witness, but in November, the special counsel said Manafort had lied multiple times, voiding their agreement.

Manafort told the special counsel the last time he discussed Ukrainian policy with Kilimnik was at the 2016 meeting, but prosecutors now say the pair met to talk about Ukrainian policy throughout 2017 and in 2018.

The transcript reveals that prosecutors also believe Manafort lied about "an extremely sensitive matter" related to his former deputy, Rick Gates. It is thought that Manafort lied about this because being truthful would lead to "negative consequences in terms of the other motive that Mr. Manafort could have, which is to at least augment his chances for a pardon." Read more about the transcript at NBC News.