Paul Manafort has officially been indicted. We’ve all seen it coming for a while now, as special prosecutor Robert Mueller ordered a raid of Manafort’s house back in July—and you don’t raid a person’s house without strong circumstantial evidence.
Because of his ties to Trump’s campaign, this might make many of you nervous. Well, the details so far are not exactly terrifying. Manafort just might be in big trouble, but Trump is in a different situation altogether. Here’s what we know so far and what it means going forward.
Details of the Federal Case
The first thing to understand is that this is a young case and many details are missing. Everything you’re reading today is subject to significant updates as more details emerge. That said, the current charges number a dozen and have been leveraged against Manafort and Rick Gates. They include conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, false statements and violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
These charges, if proven, would be enough to convict the pair and their organizations of political espionage. While it’s way too early to say if that will happen, the FBI seems to be leaning heavily on charges centered around financial laws. Sources with knowledge of the case have said they have evidence of mishandling and misreporting funds, and those charges are much more likely to stick.
The indictment is bad news for Manafort and his ilk, but it isn’t the disaster to the Trump Presidency that the left might have you believe.
What Isn’t There
Just as important as the existing charges are those missing. Most notably, there are no charges of collusion, Russian election meddling or treason. That tells us a lot. First, we can surmise that whatever evidence the FBI has so far is insufficient to suggest Manfort and co.’s crimes actually impacted the election.
The story so far has been that Russian agents contacted Manafort, but he refused their offers. Those agents then went on to conduct their business without the collaboration of Trump’s campaign group. It’s also important to note that none of these charges tie directly to Trump or his campaign. There are distant links, but when you review the timeline, you can see why Trump’s nose is still clean in all of this.
Let’s look at that timeline to see how it all unfolds.
March 2016: Manafort joins Trump’s campaign. He did not enter as the manager, but he quickly proved himself effective in his functions.
June 9, 2016: Manafort allegedly meets with Russian agents. While there was undoubtedly a meeting between Manafort and a lawyer from Russia, her agency is still in dispute. We found that this meeting was illegally recorded (more on that later), and those recordings yielded nothing sufficient to bring charges.
August 19, 2016: Manafort resigns from campaign. At this point there were no substantial allegations against the manager. He and Trump cited a number of differences as the reason for the parting, but it seemed amicable. Left-wing media spun the idea that Manafort was abandoning a sinking ship.
Also August 2016: Report suggests financial misgivings surrounding Manafort. According to the report, Manafort received Russian-born money between 2007 and 2012. These funds are likely tied to the laundering and false reporting charges in the current indictment. They are also the reason Trump isn’t tied to the issue. The money stopped during the previous election, and there is currently no suggestion that Russian money was ever a part of Trump’s campaign. Instead, Trump unwittingly worked alongside a man who may prove to be a dirty criminal.
May 12, 2017: Mueller is put in charge of a special investigation of Manafort and his group.
July 2017: Manafort testifies before Congress.
Also July 2017: Manafort’s home is raided. This suggests that evidence up to this part was insufficient to bring any charges. All of the recorded conversations were non-criminal (still more on this in a moment).
September 2017: Illegal surveillance is revealed. Proof that the FBI was spying on Trump’s campaign at Obama’s behest emerges. This is roughly identical to the actions that led to Nixon’s impeachment. Despite the illegal surveillance that persisted for at least a year, no evidence was found that could lead to any charges. This pretty much solidly proves that Manafort’s potentially illegal actions were not tied to Trump’s campaign and happened and concluded long before Trump entered the picture.
October 2017: Manafort was indicted.
There isn’t much else to say. That the FBI has brought an indictment suggests that they have convincing evidence of criminal activity. The timeline shows that they needed financial statements retrieved in the raids to actually mount that evidence, and it is why we know that Trump is not a party to the crimes. Russia played its hand, but we have plenty of evidence that their efforts helped Clinton far more than Trump, and there is no question that the election results are verified and viable.
What happens with Manafort is a separate issue, and we for one will be surprised if the investigation doesn’t eventually uncover more corruption and wrong doing from the left in the process.
~ American Liberty Report