Former Trump Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, Turns Himself In

Former Trump Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, Turns Himself In
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Did the Kremlin collude with president Donald Trump and meddle with the November election?

Late last week, it was announced that the first charges related to the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election “could” be unsealed Monday, with possible arrests to follow. Washington has not been left disappointed.

On Monday, President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and former Trump campaign official Richard Gates were charged with 12 counts, including money laundering and conspiracy against the U.S.

These are serious crimes. In addition to millions of dollars in fines, if found guilty, Manafort could end up spending 80 years in prison; Gates faces 70 years.

The surrender comes on the heels of news that George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign manager, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russians who promised to deliver “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and “thousands” of her e-mails.

The secret plea agreement suggests Papadopoulos may be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed in May to head the investigation after Trump fired James Comey as director of the FBI.

For his part, Trump has been trying to discredit Mueller and called the probe a witch hunt. The real story, from Trump’s perspective, is the alleged links between Russia and Hillary Clinton.

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted:

On Monday morning, hours after Manafort was charged with money laundering and conspiring against the U.S., Trump continued his barrage of tweets:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said during a press briefing that “today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president, nothing to do with the president’s campaign or campaign activity.”

Admittedly, Manafort’s indictment does not allege he conspired with the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign to influence the election. However, it does allege a criminal conspiracy continued through February 2017, after Trump ascended to the White House.

And yes, the charges may relate to issues that, according to Trump, occurred “years ago.” But when it comes to politics, it’s all about perception. And with an approval rating of just 38%, Trump has problems with his image and credibility.

Moreover, Trump may want to distance himself from Mueller and call it a “witch hunt,” but the fact is Mueller is just getting started. 

 

Sources

First on CNN: First charges filed in Mueller investigation,” CNN, October 30, 2017.

Donald J. Trump Twitter account,” last accessed October 30, 2017.

Press Briefing with Sarah Sanders,” YouTube video, 1:42:20, October 30, 2017, posted by “The White House.”

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