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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being sentenced in Virginia last week to 47 months in prison for bank and tax fraud, Paul Manafort was sentenced in D.C. to 73 months for crimes related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. 30 months of the sentence will overlap with the previous sentence.

"It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved in this case."
— Judge Amy Berman Jackson

Why it matters: President Trump's 69-year-old former campaign chairman has been sentenced to a total of 90 months, or 7.5 years in prison. Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy last September, but violated his cooperation agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller by lying to investigators — eliminating any chance he had of receiving leniency from D.C. Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

The big picture: Manafort is the fifth person to be sentenced in the Mueller investigation. Once a renowned political consultant who made a fortune lobbying for foreign dictators, Manafort's fall from grace was exacerbated by his chronic aversion to telling the truth. He lied to his accountants, his banks, his own lawyers and most importantly to the special counsel.

Unlike the Virginia trial, Manafort's D.C. case — which resulted in more than 500 court filings and a final sentencing memo that totaled more than 800 pages — revealed several key insights about Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

  • Specifically, prosecutors called attention to Manafort's lies about his contacts with suspected Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik — a topic Mueller's team said at a hearing goes "very much to the heart of what the special counsel's office is investigating."
  • A poorly redacted court filing by Manafort's lawyers revealed that he lied about sharing 2016 internal campaign polling data with Kilimnik and about their discussions about a secret Ukrainian peace plan. Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates, who is cooperating with Mueller and has a status hearing on Friday, reportedly provided information about these episodes to investigators.

The bottom line: Trump and his defenders have consistently argued that Manafort's crimes have nothing to do with the president or collusion with Russia. But as Jackson said at the sentencing: "Any conspiracy, collusion was not presented in this case, therefore it was not resolved by this case."

  • Manafort is now heading to prison in part, as Jackson noted in an earlier hearing, because he repeatedly lied in an effort to "shield his Russian conspirator from liability."
  • Questions about why the former Trump campaign chairman was willing to risk the rest of his life in prison to hide his Russian contacts remain unanswered.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

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