MUELLER MOVES: Trump’s Former Campaign Manager Surrenders to FBI
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Mr. Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, and his longtime associate Rick Gates, surrendered to the FBI on Monday. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said Mr. Manafort laundered more than $18 million to buy properties and services. [New York Times]

VETERAN REPUBLICAN strategist Paul Manafort surrendered today, as Robert Mueller‘s special investigation opened indictments on Manafort and his “protégé and junior partner,” Richard Gates.

From another New York Times article

“Rick was Paul’s business guy,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic political consultant who worked with Davis Manafort on the Ukraine campaigns. (He quit in 2012, after Mr. Yanukovych jailed a former rival for the presidency.) Working for Mr. Yanukovych, Mr. Devine said, helped position Mr. Gates and his bosses to do business in the country.

“You elect Yanukovych, he is going to make it a market economy, so you work to do deals and get foreign investment — and that’s where the real money was,” Mr. Devine said.

He joined the Trump campaign in March 2016. Donald Trump gave him wide power inside his campaign. His appearance was meant to stabilize the Trump campaign at a time when the Republican Party was splintering during the primary.

The financial charges and alleged money laundering stems from activities beyond the 2016 Trump campaign. It is the beginning, not the end of charges.

When news surfaced of Manafort’s connections to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a pro-Russia politician, he was fired by the Trump campaign.

It was Manafort who was suspected of altering the GOP 2016 platform to benefit pro-Russian interests.

These are the first charges from Mueller’s investigation.

Paul Manafort’s ties to Russia have been widely known, as has his involvement with Russian oligarchs. Donald Trump and his team knew who he was when they hired him. They did it anyway.

Without the connection between Manafort and Trump, it’s likely that this financial malfeasance would have gone without investigation.

There is speculation that the statute of limitations was running out, which triggered these charges. There is also analysis that Robert Mueller is sending a message.

The question now is, what does Paul Manafort know?

According to Ari Melber, chief legal correspondent for MSNBC, “coverup” is part of the indictment, so it’s another problem for Manafort, too.

UPDATE: George Papadopolous confessed earlier to making false statements to the FBI, which revolve around Russia.

“Through his false statements and omissions, defendant … impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” prosecutors wrote. [NBC News]