Paul Manafort | Photo credit NBC News
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s revealed his target, and first indictment, early Monday morning. Former Trump campaign manager and convention chairman, Paul Manafort, surrendered himself to authorities at the Washington field office. There are 12 charges against him and his former law firm partner, Rick Gates.
Manafort has been awaiting charges since Summer when F.B.I officials raided his home. Agents seized binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that he set up secret offshore bank accounts. The investigation has reportedly turned up violations of federal tax law, money laundering, and undisclosed foreign lobbying.
However, sources close to Manafort believe there is more to the story “I think what’s happening here is that the special counsel will try to manufacture a crime and then say, ‘Look, we won’t prosecute you for this if you simply admit you were colluding with the Russians and Trump knew everything’,” says Roger Stone, an informal adviser to Trump.
During a recent interview the president’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, says Trump is not worried about Manafort offering damaging information. “The president has no concerns in terms of any impact, as to what happens to them, on his campaign or on the White House,” Cobb told the New York Times.
The Manafort Indictment
As a top Republican strategist, Manafort began working for the Trump campaign in March of 2016 day-to-day handling operations. Trump subsequently fired him several months later, after reports that he received more than $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president, and a pro-Russia politician.
President Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials and the indictment offers no evidence to contradict his assertions. The 31-page indictment reveals contact between Manafort and Ukrainian officials, dating back to 2005. It also lists several offshore bank accounts opened by Manafort and Gates.
But, and this is important, there is nothing at all to suggest any wrongdoing involving President Trump and Russia. On the contrary, though, there is plenty of new evidence to suggest that is not true of Trump’s predecessor. Both Obama and Clinton are under investigation for their handling of the now infamous Uranium One deal.