It seems like the Special Counsel has finally made his move, targeting President Trump’s former campaign manager and political ally in the ongoing witch-hunt regarding Russian collusion.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and one of his lesser-known associates, Rick Gates, were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 counts and will be appearing before a Judge shortly, according to Fox News.
Mueller’s office said that the counts included conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration (FARA) statements, false statements to a federal agent and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign banks and financial accounts.
The Special Counsel made it known that he intended to make his first arrest on Monday, and while no one knew who precisely the individual in question would be, some speculated it would be Manafort due to his past political work in Ukraine.
The former campaign chairman will be appearing before Magistrate Judge Robinson at 1:30 pm ET on Monday for an initial appearance and arraignment. In total, Manafort is indicted on a $75 million money-laundering charge.
President Trump immediately tweeted the following comments. 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?????” adding that “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
According to the indictment, between 2006 and 2015, Manafort and his associate Gates acted as unregistered agents for a political party called the Party of Regions in Ukraine, whose leader, Viktor Yanukovych, was president from 2010 to 2014. Both Manafort and Gates helped raise tens of millions of dollars while operating in the area.
The indictment goes on to say that the duo laundered over 75 million dollars through a number of corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts to hide the Ukrainian payments to the United States.
Tom Perez, Chairman of the Democrat National Committee, said in a statement that “The Chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign and his deputy have been charged with conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, and making false statements – all related to their work to promote a pro-Putin regime. It’s time for Republicans to commit to protecting this investigation and preserving the rule of law.”
At the same time, others on the opposite side of the political aisle said that Manafort’s history in Ukraine doesn’t do anything to link President Trump to Russia. Rep. Pete King (R-NY) said on America’s Newsroom that there is “no evidence” of this at all.
“This pre-dates the campaign entirely and could pre-date Paul Manafort even meeting Donald Trump. This has nothing to do with the campaign,” King told Fox News. “The investigation still has to go forward but what I’ve seen so far, is there is no evidence at all linking the Trump campaign to Russian influence or collusion.”
Special Prosecutor Mueller has arrested Paul Manafort. Do you think he is guilty?
Earlier in July, the FBI executed a surprise search warrant with guns drawn at Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, seizing financial and tax documents, according to The Daily Mail. It’s unclear whether or not Mueller has larger targets in his sight, or will be attempting to pressure Manafort in the hopes of finding evidence that will link the President to the Russians in some way.
Regardless of how things will turn out for Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, Mueller will be hard pressed to find any potential evidence against the President.