Griffin Connolly

Manafort Jury Stuck on Foreign Accounts, ‘Reasonable Doubt’
Jurors had four questions for judge Thursday

After roughly seven hours of deliberation Thursday, the six men and six women on the jury deciding the fate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will require at least another day to hand down their verdict.

At approximately 5:06 p.m., Judge T.S. Ellis III read a handwritten note from the jury with four questions. One of the questions referred to the requirements for people filing reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, or FBARs. Another asked the judge to redefine “reasonable doubt.”

3 Key Points in Manafort Defense’s Closing Argument
Prosecutors bear the burden of proof in the U.S., Manafort’s lawyers remind jury

Paul Manafort’s lawyers presented their final argument Wednesday, defending the former Trump campaign chairman from 18 charges of tax evasion, bank fraud, and bank fraud conspiracy.

Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty on all charges.

Manafort Prosecution Comes Down to Three Key Points
Prosecutors present closing argument in former Trump campaign manager’s tax evasion trial

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team delivered its closing argument in the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Wednesday.

Manafort faces a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty on all 18 charges.

Gary Johnson Mounting Third-Party Bid for New Mexico Senate Seat
Former GOP governor took 9 percent in state as 2016 Libertarian presidential nominee

Former Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson has qualified to run for Senate in New Mexico, according to the secretary of state’s candidate list.

Johnson, who served two terms as New Mexico governor as a Republican, will make a formal announcement on his bid soon, his campaign manager told The Associated Press.

Closing Arguments for Manafort Trial Set for Wednesday, if Jurors Can ‘Pay Attention’
Jury could decide former Trump campaign chairman’s fate as early as that evening

Closing arguments for the Paul Manafort trial are set to begin Wednesday morning, Judge T.S. Ellis III said in court Tuesday.

The Eastern Virginia jury could decide as early as Wednesday evening whether the former Trump campaign chairman is guilty of any of the 18 counts he is facing on tax evasion and bank fraud.

3 Takeaways as Prosecution Rests Case in Paul Manafort Trial
Trial has put potential tax reporting loophole under the microscope

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team on Monday rested its case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, wrapping up its evidence and witness testimony in just 10 days.

The defense will decide whether it will call any witnesses Tuesday morning. If it does not, both sides are expected to deliver closing arguments. Then the jury will decide Manafort’s fate.

What I Saw That You Couldn't See at the Manafort Trial, Week 2

With no audio or video recording allowed in the courtroom where Paul Manafort's trial enters its third week, reporter Griffin Connolly shares descriptions of what the transcripts couldn't convey. From Manafort's intense stare-down of his former associate who served as a witness for the prosecution, potential drama in the jury room, to the mad rush by reporters to get to a pay phone, here are the highlights from week 2....
FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired For Anti-Trump Texts
Counterterrorism official had been in the hot seat since anti-Trump texts with alleged mistress were discovered

Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who has been in the hot seat since the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered his anti-Trump text messages with DOJ lawyer Lisa Page, has been fired from the bureau, his lawyer told multiple news outlets.

Strzok, 48, was one of the main targets of a faction of House Republicans who have sought information on anti-Trump bias in the upper reaches of the DOJ.

Rep. David Cicilline’s Sister Let Off Hook on ‘Live PD’
Some viewers say she caught a break because of political connections

A local Rhode Island police officer let Rep. David Cicilline’s sister, Susan Cicilline-Buonanno, go home without any troubles after pulling her over and administering a sobriety test — on television.

The encounter was broadcast on A&E’s “Live PD,” a program that follows roughly six police officers from around the country as they feed delayed video to the show.

3 Takeaways as Second Week of Manafort Trial Ends
Procedural hiccup pushed Friday’s start to middle of afternoon

The second week of the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is in the books with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team expecting to call its final witness to the stand Monday afternoon. After that, the prosecution will rest its case.

After a procedural hiccup Friday morning that pushed the start of the day’s testimony to the middle of the afternoon, three of the prosecution’s witnesses took the stand to discuss the bank fraud charges against Manafort. Two employees from The Federal Savings Bank testified about a pair of loans Manafort secured from the bank in 2016. A ticket sales executive for the New York Yankees also testified.

3 Takeaways From Day 8 of the Paul Manafort Trial
Who lied on a bank loan application? Was it Manafort, Gates or both?

Day Eight of the Paul Manafort trial brought special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team closer to the finish line of its case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Prosecutors zeroed in on the loan fraud charges against Manafort, who faces 18 total counts of tax evasion and bank fraud and a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty.

3 Takeaways from Day 7 of the Manafort Trial
Damaging evidence is piling up, while prosecutors annoy the judge

Day seven of the Paul Manafort trial took a technical turn Wednesday, an indication that prosecutors could be wrapping up their case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy and the prosecution’s star witness, walked out of the courtroom late Wednesday morning after more than 10 hours of testimony that spanned three days.

Rick Gates Leaves Manafort Trial After 10-Plus Hours of Brutal Questioning
‘After all the lies you’ve told and fraud you’ve committed, you expect this jury to believe you?’

Rick Gates walked away from the witness stand Wednesday with the rest of the world newly privy to the specifics of how he went behind the backs of the government, his longtime boss, and his family to support a so-called secret life.

In all the star witness in the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of political consulting guru and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, answered questions for more than 10 hours spanning three days from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecutors and Manafort’s lead defense attorney, Kevin Downing.

3 Takeaways from Day 6 of the Manafort Trial
Credibility of longtime deputy could be critical to prosecution

Day Six of the Paul Manafort trial is in the books.

It’s a day that featured testimony from just one witness, Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, who finished his direct questioning from prosecutors and underwent a grueling cross-examination from lead defense attorney Kevin Downing.

Paul Manafort Prosecution Could End This Week, U.S. Attorney Says
Prosecutor responds to judge’s urging amid Rick Gates’ testimony

The tax evasion and bank fraud prosecution of Paul Manafort could draw to a close as early as the end of the week, prosecutors said Tuesday before Judge T.S. Ellis III recessed the court for lunch.

Ellis has hounded special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team to sideline evidence and witnesses that are not directly related to the charges against Manafort.

3 Takeaways From Day 5 of the Manafort Trial
Manafort’s former deputy, Rick Gates, takes the stand

The second week of the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of Paul Manafort kicked off Monday.

The day featured the defense’s cross-examination of Cindy Laporta, the onetime Trump campaign chairman’s former accountant and tax preparer; testimony from a Treasury Department employee who researched whether Manafort had filed reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, or FBARs; and Manafort’s former deputy, Rick Gates.

North Carolina GOP Candidate Preached Extensively on Wives Submitting to Husbands
Former Baptist preacher Mark Harris is running in the 9th District

Democrats were already targeting North Carolina’s 9th District before incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger lost his Republican primary in May. And they’re hoping that past comments from the former Baptist minister who defeated him improves their chances of flipping the seat this fall. 

Mark Harris on multiple occasions — as a preacher and political candidate — has said that women should submit fully to their husbands and that he believed homosexuality is a choice. Before venturing into politics, he was a pastor at First Baptist Church in Charlotte. 

Rick Gates, 23 Emails and a Turning Point in the Manafort Trial
Former right-hand man plead guilty earlier this year

Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s former right hand man, has been called to testify in the trial the former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Gates pleaded guilty in February to a bank fraud conspiracy charge in exchange for testifying against his former boss.

Sen. Rand Paul Invites Top Russians to U.S. as They Claim No Election Interference
‘We all do it,’ Kentucky Republican has said of election interference

Sen. Rand Paul invited top Russian government officials to visit the U.S. later this year to continue a dialogue on important national security issues, he announced Monday.

The Kentucky Republican, who is leading a legislative delegation in the country this week, met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs. That committee is the Russian equivalent of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that Paul sits on.

3 Takeaways After First Week of Manafort Trial
Explosive testimony from accountants caps tough Day 4 for ex-Trump campaign chairman

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The first week of the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of Paul Manafort is in the books after a tough Friday for the former Trump campaign chairman.

Day Four featured explosive testimony from two witnesses: Manafort’s former accountants, Cindy Laporta and Philip Ayliff. Laporta was the first witness to testify under immunity from the prosecution, an indication she would otherwise have been opening herself up to legal trouble.