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

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

Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortHillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Comey: Mueller may be in 'fourth quarter' of Russia probe Flynn sentencing move spurs questions about duration of Mueller probe 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency 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 SessionsTrump attack on Sessions may point to his departure Hillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Sessions in Chicago: If you want more shootings, listen to ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter 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.