Manafort bookkeeper: He approved ‘every penny’ on personal bills

Manafort bookkeeper: He approved ‘every penny’ on personal bills
© Greg Nash

Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrial of ex-Obama White House counsel suddenly postponed Top Mueller probe prosecutor to join Georgetown Law as lecturer DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews MORE's former personal bookkeeper Heather Washkuhn on Thursday dismissed claims that Manafort could not be responsible for his own personal spending because it was managed by others, explaining that Manafort approved "every penny" of his personal spending.

Washkuhn testified during Manafort's trial in Virginia that the former Trump campaign chairman inflated his business income by millions to keep his foreign bank accounts a secret from his various personal assistants, The Associated Press reported.

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“I would say he was very knowledgeable. He was very detail-oriented. He approved every penny of everything we paid,” Washkuhn said.

Washkuhn's testimony could be instrumental to attorneys working for Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE's special counsel office as they seek to prove that the former Trump aide laundered millions of dollars through bank accounts based in Cyprus to fund lavish spending habits in the U.S.

The money, they allege, was made working for pro-Russia political parties in Ukraine before Russia's annexation of Crimea. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 charges in Virginia in a trial that began this week, and faces more in Washington, D.C., next month.

If found guilty, the businessman faces up to life in prison. During the trial Thursday, Manafort's attorneys sought to cast his former business associate, Richard Gates, as the primary culprit, while Manafort was less in control, according to the AP.

But Washkuhn told jurors that "mainly Mr. Manafort was the approval source," according to the news service.

Manafort's trial comes amid increased attacks by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE against the Justice Department and the special counsel's investigation into Russia's election interference and possible collusion between the Kremlin and Trump's campaign.

Trump this week directly called on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE to shut down Mueller's investigation.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further," Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

The probe has already returned dozens of indictments and several guilty pleas.