Special Counsel Robert Mueller has leveled charges against President Trump’s initial but short-lived former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
According to The Daily Caller, opponents to President Trump are likely disappointed as these indictments have nothing to do with Mueller’s tasked investigation. The 12 indictments are for business crimes allegedly committed by Manafort years prior to President Trump’s campaign days, providing no evidence of Trump-Russian collusion.
The indictments are based on alleged money laundering efforts by Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates while they were partners in the lobbying firm Davis Manafort. Supposedly, they tried to hide money they received for providing consulting work for the Ukrainian political party, Party of Regions, which has ties to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The indictment also claims that Manafort and Gates laundered tens of millions via offshore shell companies. Supposedly, tens of million were wired from overseas companies to US-based businesses.
While these indictments are bad news for Manafort and Gates, they have nothing whatsoever to do with President Trump. They also fail to prove collusion occurred with the Russian government. The last activity Manafort was indicted for happened in 2014, two years before he started working with Trump’s campaign.
According to Reuters, Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing made this argument when speaking with reporters, “I think you all saw today that President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.”
He also said, “Mr. Manafort represented pro-European Union campaigns for the Ukrainians and…was seeking to further democracy and to help the Ukraine come closer to the United States and the EU. Those activities ended in 2014 over two years before Mr. Manafort served in the Trump campaign.”
CNN reports that some in the left-leaning media believe these indictments are merely an “appetizer” for future indictments that should prove the collusion allegations.
CNN legal contributor Steve Vladeck made this argument: “It seems to me that this is a very important interim development in the Mueller investigation, but only as an appetizer. And like most meals, if all we get is an appetizer, I think folks on all sides of the political spectrum will find the denouement rather unsatisfying. It’s a tantalizing step, but only if it’s the first—and not the last.”
Some also believe that these indictment charges against Manafort could be a way of pressuring him to turn on President Trump and reveal the evidence needed to prove collusion.
While condemning for Manafort, these indictments do nothing for the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. If anything, they reject it. No doubt some on the Left will still find a way to make President Trump look bad for hiring someone who had been previously involved in such activities, but they can’t use these indictments to further their accusations of collusion.
Paul Manafort has been arrested for crimes he allegedly committed before the 2016 election. Do you think the media is purposely hiding that fact?
Manafort was seen as one of the central figures in the Russia collusion narrative and Mueller was only able to discover corrupt business practices before he worked with President Trump.
It could be that the Manafort “appetizer” might only be desperate crumbs Mueller needed in order to feed the hungry Left.