Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of President Trump’s former campaign chairman and ally Paul Manafort is the newest development that has caught the attention of the political world.
The President had responded to the arrest of one of his close supporters, tweeting: “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?????”
Over the weekend, Special Counsel Mueller announced that he and his team would be making their first arrest on Monday, leaving the identity of the individual unknown. Many people successfully speculated that Manafort was the person in question, and was joined in the indictment by his close associate Rick Gates. Both were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 counts.
Trump made several responses to the indictments, mentioning that the financial crime that Manafort is accused of committing doesn’t provide any evidence of Russian collusion by the Trump campaign, which was Mueller’s original goal.
“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?????” he tweeted, adding that “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
“The Fake News is working overtime. As Paul Manafort’s lawyer said, there was ’no collusion’ and events mentioned took place long before he … came to the campaign,” Trump tweeted, referring to Kevin Downing.
Trump also dismissed revelations about George Papadopoulos, a foreign-policy advisor to his presidential campaign who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his contact with Russian officials, according to The New York Post.
“Few people knew the young, low-level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar. Check the DEMS! ” Trump wrote in response.
Manafort and Gates allegedly committed crimes while working for the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych between 2006 and 2016. The former campaign chairman is indicted on a $75 million money-laundering charge as well as counts of conspiracy against the United States, being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration (FARA) statements, false statements to a federal agent and failure to file reports of foreign banks and financial accounts, according to Fox News.
Although the Democrats have jumped on this opportunity, many experts are noting that these allegations of financial crime fail to link President Trump in any way to the Russians. Rep. Pete King (R-NY) said there is “no evidence 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.”
Paul Manafort has been arrested as part of the special counsel on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Do you think he is guilty of a crime?
Mr. Trump was previously asked about Manafort numerous times, including just after the FBI conducted a guns-drawn raid on Manafort’s home. The President called it “pretty tough stuff” but complimented his ally by saying “I’ve always known him to be a good man,” according to ABC News.
Whether Manafort and his associate will be found guilty of these alleged crimes is yet to be seen, but Mueller’s arrest has done little to prove the collusion narrative true. If this is the best the Special Counsel can do after so much time with his investigation, then Trump supporters might not need to be worried after all.