Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been in hot water for quite a while after being charged with conspiracy and money laundering back in October, along with a close associate of Manafort’s, Rick Gates. Gates was also a Trump campaign advisor.
Now, Gates has reportedly reached a plea deal and flipped, which is more bad news for Manafort. Not only that, but Mueller has found evidence of additional criminal conduct by Manafort, and submitted it to the judge in the criminal case they are pursuing.
It is not yet clear whether or not additional charges will be sought, but additional evidence has been entered.
”As legal wrangling continues over a $10 million bail package for Manafort, prosecutors this week accused him of submitting false information to a bank in connection with one of his mortgages.
‘“The proposed package is deficient in the government’s view, in light of additional criminal conduct that we have learned since the Court’s initial bail determination,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing submitted on Tuesday and made public in a redacted form on Friday evening. “That criminal conduct includes a series of bank frauds and bank fraud conspiracies.”’
It doesn’t stop there. Crimes like money laundering are easy to prove with paperwork, and it’s common for bulletproof cases with serious time to be used to get defendants to flip on higher-ups within an organization. Mueller has clearly employed that strategy against multiple people in this case, and it has been effective. Manafort works with Russian interests, and if Trump does, their relationship becomes all the more interesting.
With that in mind, things like this make you wonder:
‘A report in The Wall Street Journal last year said investigators from the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman were examining loans that Manafort obtained in connection with various real estate transactions, including mortgages issued by Federal Savings Bank. That and other articles also noted that the bank’s chairman, Stephen Calk, was an economic adviser to the Trump campaign.’
It’s not clear whether sitting presidents can legally be charged for crimes by a prosecutor, and historical precedent has been to list the president as an indicted co-conspirator, and then, when all is said and done, submit the evidence to Congress, which can impeach him. If convicted by the U.S. Senate, a sitting president could then conceivably be removed from office, although it has not yet happened.
If Trump is caught up in a web of financial crimes, and/or is in debt to Russian interests, that would be of great interest considering his conduct.
His sons have bragged about how much money comes in from Russia. He has blocked sanctions on Russia, despite a veto-proof bipartisan majority demanding sanctions via the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This, despite the fact that Russia is known by our and other intelligence forces to have employed cyber warfare and propaganda techniques against our electoral system.
Not to mention that they attacked a NATO ally and annexed part of their territory within several years of attacking and annexing another border nation, that President Vladimir Putin was a member of the KGB, has a Cold War mindset to this day, and has repeatedly had dissidents, journalists, and whistleblowers murdered. Russia is not our friend. Yet Trump has nothing but praise for Putin, respect for Russia, and a long history of shady financial deals.
Who knows why Trump behaves the way he does? One thing is for certain: Mueller is looking to find out.
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