The speculations are sure to fly as Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has issued indictments for Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, and Rick Gates, a business associate of Manafort. The charges being filed are all related to business dealings the two men had in the Ukraine in the year 2015, before either man was affiliated with the Trump campaign.
Despite this fact, the BBC chose to run with the headline “Ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort ‘faces charges over Russia.’ They later changed the headline to “Ex-Trump aide Manafort charged with US tax fraud over Ukraine work.” Here’s a screenshot of their original title, which still shows up in Google news:
Here are highlights from the indictment:
Defendants PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., (MANAFORT) and RICHARD W. GATES III (GATES) served for years as political consultants and lobbyists. Between at least 2006 and 2015, MANAFORT and GATES acted as unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions ( a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was President from 2010 to 2014), Yanukovych, and the Opposition Bloc (a successor to the Patty of Regions that formed in 2014 when Yanukovych fled to Russia). MANAFORT and GATES generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work. In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, MANAFORT and GATES laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.
……GATES aided MANAFORT in obtaining money from these offshore accounts, which he was instrumental in opening. Like MANAFORT, GATES used money from these offshore accounts to pay for his personal expenses, including his mortgage, children’s tuition, and interior decorating of his Virginia residence.
6. In total, more than $75,000,000 flowed through the offshore accounts. MANAFORT laundered more than $18,000,000, which was used by him to buy property, goods, and services in the United States, income that he concealed from the United States Treasury, the Department of Justice, and others. GATES transferred more than $3,000,000 from the offshore accounts to other accounts that he controlled.
Conspiracy Against The United States (Count 1)
Conspiracy To Launder Money (Count 2)
Failure To File Reports Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts For Calendar Years 2011-2014 (Counts 3-6)
Failure To File Reports Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts For Calendar Years 2011-2013 (counts 7-9)
Unnregistered Agent Of A Foreign Principal (Count 10)
False and Misleading FARA Statements (Count 11)
False Statements (Count 12)
In addition to the charges, the grand jury also recommended property be subject to civil asset forfeiture:
The grand jury finds probable cause to believe that the property subject to forfeiture by PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., includes, but is not limited to, the following listed assets:
a. The real property and premises commonly known as 377 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11231 (Block 429, Lot 65), including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto;
b. The real property and premises commonly knovrn as 29 Howard Street, #4D, New York, New York, 10013 (Block 209, Lot 1104), including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto;
c. The real property and premises commonly known as 1046 N. Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia, 22201, including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto;
d. The real property and premises commonly known as 174 Jobs Lane, Water Mill, New York 11976, including all appurtenances, improvements, and attachments thereon, and any property traceable thereto;
e. Northwestern Mutual Universal Life Insurance Policy 18268327.
You can read the full indictment here: Manafort Charges
This morning, the two men did the proverbial ‘perp walk,’ as they were met by an FBI Agent outside a field office in Washington, DC. The two men were turning themselves in as per orders by Robert Mueller to surrender themselves for arrest.
None of the charges are related to the original allegation of Team Trump colluding with Russia, which can be interpreted that, so far, Mueller still lacks any significant evidence to charge anyone on the charges he was originally appointed to investigate. However, it could also be that Mueller is going after these two men, Manafort and Gates, in an attempt to pressure them to give up evidence that could implicate Trump and/or other members of his campaign in actual collusion with Russia.
Donald Trump tweeted in response, “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 added, “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
Manafort and Gates are now being subject to Civil Asset Forfeiture, a law enforcement power that allows authorities to seize assets before any accused person has actually been convicted as a crime. This controversial power is one that President Trump has eagerly supported in the past. The power has been challenged as being a violation of due process found in the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. The fact that it is now being used as a weapon to, I would bet, pressure Manafort to offer evidence (if there is any) against his former boss, is ironic.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
We encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).
Contributed by Paul Gordon of iState TV.