Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion with Russia came to a head when he officially charged two people, Rick Gates and Paul Manafort, with a variety of crimes against the state. Charges include seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, money laundering, being a foreign agent, and even conspiracy against the state. After an initial demand from Mueller to surrender to law enforcement, both Gates and Manafort were officially indicted by a federal grand jury.
- Both Manafort and Gates have pled guilty to the charges. However, the fact that a federal grand jury also agreed to the indictment shows a high level of plausibility for any evidence Mueller may hold.
- Much of the indictment focuses on allegations that both parties hid very large sums of money in offshore accounts and/or engaged in money laundering and tax evasion schemes. For his part, Manafort is accused of hiding and siphoning over $75 million over the course of approximately eight years.
- The indictment also suggests that much of the laundered money came from lobbying efforts by both parties on behalf of the Ukraine. These efforts targeted “multiple Members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions” and Ukraine elections. Supporters for both Manafort and Gates suggest these were genuine attempts to bring the Ukraine closer to the United States, rather than attempts to generate offshore income.
- The charges follow an event in which George Papadopoulos, one of Trump’s foreign advisers, was also charged with making false statements to the FBI just three weeks ago.
- The President himself spoke out about suggested connections between the findings and Russian collusion in the election. “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” “. . . Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
Do you think that this has anything to do with Russian collusion in the election?