Paul Manafort, Rick Gates Indicted–Plead Not Guilty
Paul Manafort surrendered to FBI authorities on Monday morning and later plead not guilty on. He, along with longtime business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted by the FBI on 12 counts, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration Act, conspiracy to launder money (to offshore accounts) and “conspiracy against the United States.”
The indictment explicitly states, “Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income.” Allegedly, Manafort laundered $900K dollars through a Virginia rug shop, $5.43M through home improvements in the Hamtpons, lied to his own tax preparer about his connection and control over foreign bank accounts, and defrauded banks in order to get lower rates on mortgages.
Manafort’s arrest is the first of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe. The indictment makes no mention of Manafort’s relation to Donald Trump’s campaign, Russia, or election meddling. It remains to be seen whether or not there will be additional indictments or how close Manafort’s indictment relates to President Trump and the Russia Investigation.
In other news, George Papadopoulos–A former Trump Campaign Volunteer according to spokeswoman Sarah H. Sanders–plead guilty about lying to the FBI agents apart of Mueller’s probe. Contrary to Sanders’ statement, many have stated that Papadopoulos was a foreign policy advisor, including Trump himself, where on March 21st, 2016, he catalogued Papadopoulous as an “energy guy and oil consultant, excellent guy” along with other campaign advisors at the time, Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Walid Phares, and Carter Page, Ph.D. Other outlets have reported that Papadopoulos ‘sought dirt’ on Hillary Clinton from sometime between March and April 2016 with a ‘professor’ in Russia who claimed to have “thousands of emails.”
It will be interesting to keep an eye on whether Robert Mueller will use Papadopoulos, Manafort, and Gates in order to pry more information about Trump and Russia, and whether it amounts to anything at all.