Early on Monday, special counsel Robert Mueller formally filed charges against Paul Manafort, the former manager of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, on a 12-count indictment for “conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent,” amongst many others.
Part of the accusations against Manafort include funneling over $75 million through an offshore account and laundering $18 million.
Many folks on the left have already been salivating, hoping that something will come out of this that will incriminate Trump and prove there was collusion between the president and Russia.
Well, bad news for those individuals. Nothing in the indictment itself seems to suggest any such connection between the two. That’s got to be a little disappointing.
Here’s a few more facts about the situation via The Daily Wire:
Here’s the bad news for Trump: Manafort was a horrible pick from the beginning for campaign manager, and that pick will smear mud on the Trump campaign even if Trump had nothing to do with Manafort’s illegal behavior.
The indictment centers almost entirely around Manafort’s alleged illegal lobbying and money laundering activities between 2006 and 2014, since Manafort’s money source was the Ukrainian Party of Regions, which dissolved in 2014 with the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych. The indictment alleges that Manafort and Richard Gates III, his right hand, worked as “unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine…generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work.” They then “laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.” Manafort and Gates didn’t register as foreign agents, which they apparently were. And “Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income.”
The period of defrauding the government continued through 2017, according to the indictment: “Between in or around 2008 and 2017, both dates being approximate and inclusive…Manafort and Gates devised and intended to devise, and executed and attempted to execute, a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises from the United States, bank, and other financial institutions.” They allegedly wired millions through other companies for purposes of laundering through 2014. Manafort also bought properties with offshore money in order to take loans against the property in order to boost his lifestyle.
The charge of “conspiracy against the United States” isn’t a treason charge – it’s a financial charge based on defrauding the United States and covering it up through obstruction of justice.
The media are going to have a tough time linking Manafort to Trump and Trump to Russia thereby, at least from the charges in this indictment. There’s literally nothing about collusion; there’s literally nothing about Trump. This is about Manafort, which could suggest that Mueller wants to flip Manafort against Trump – or it could be that Manafort is going to go down for his alleged nefarious activities over the period of the last decade and a half. But the Russian collusion narrative has not been forwarded by this indictment.
While there isn’t anything criminal that could damage Trump or his administration, like the author of the quoted piece stated, this will still have a negative impact on his perception in the public eye, and with the constant hit jobs the media has already been putting out, that’s definitely not going to be a good thing for conservatives, especially those coming up for reelection in 2018.
It’s critical for a leader to be very cautious about the people he surrounds himself with, especially those who advise him on important matters facing our country. Not only will these people have a heavy roll in shaping policy, they will also be influencing the public’s perception of the administration. If they are not moral people, it will reflect poorly on those in charge.
That shouldn’t mar the good being done by the president now, but undoubtedly, thanks to the current political climate, it probably will.