Manafort and others plead “nyet” to conspiring with the Russians
by Christian Decker
Staff Special Counsel
On October 27th, the first charges were filled in the ongoing Russian Probe considering the country’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. By Monday the 30th, we had two indictments, one of former Trump campaign manager Paul “I look like every shady business man ever” Manafort, and his business partner Rick “who the hell is this guy?” Gates. Even more exciting, former advisor to President Trump, George “ok seriously who are these people?” Papadopoulos, has pled guilty to lying to the FBI concerning brokering meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, according to the Hill. Now these indictments are not directly affecting the White House, as these meetings and business dealings occurred either before the campaign or did not directly relate to it, except maybe the Papadopoulos guilty plea. However, this would mean that when the President hired Manafort, that he either knew about Manafort’s shady background and still hired him anyway, or that he simply just didn’t bother to find out.
Whatever the case of the President’s oversight or lack thereof, the indictments are pretty damning to Manafort and Gates. The men are accused of making tens of millions of dollars by working for the Ukrainian government and concealing that work through lying and falsifying paperwork, according to the Hill. They are also accused of laundering millions of dollars to fund expensive goods for themselves. In the case of Manafort it came in the form of expensive designer suits, and apparently copious amounts of rugs, according to Last Week Tonight.
As of right now, Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges and appears to not be cooperating with investigators. On the other hand, Papadopoulos has been cooperating surprisingly well with investigators. Because of Papadopoulos’ involvement with the Trump campaign and the implications of trying to set up meetings with Russian officials, his testimony could be key in allegations against more of the White House and campaign staff, and possibly even the President himself.
The White House has attempted to distance itself from Papadopoulos, saying that he wasn’t really a top advisor in the White House. However, as recently as a few weeks ago, Papadopoulos was seen in an Instagram photo posted by the President himself, during a prominent advisor meeting at the White House. In the photo, Papadopoulos is sitting directly next to the President.
Recently it has come to light that Robert “Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men” Mueller might have enough evidence to indict former national security advisor Michael “definitely not a Russian conspirator” Flynn. This is potentially problematic for the President, considering he could be facing charges for obstruction of justice for firing James “the Scapegoat” Comey, the now former director of the FBI. It is even being rumored that Flynn could be aiming for a Presidential pardon. This could be a risky move for Trump, considering Flynn resigned for being implicated in possible Russian collusion, and pardoning him could send a clear signal of his intentions.
Mueller’s evidence is apparently lobbying work that Flynn had done in 2016, according to Business Insider. According to sources, Flynn was lobbying for Ekim Alptekin, a business man who had ties with the Turkish government. Under federal law, he was required to register with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent. However, he did not do so until March of this year. If Flynn is implicated with an indictment, this could have serious repercussions for the President. Because of President Trump citing “this Russia thing”, in his reasons for firing James Comey, who at the time was investigating Flynn, the evidence could come full circle back to the President.
Mueller is also looking into a possible indictment of Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn “how many Jr.’s could there possibly be” Jr. This is for working for his father’s intelligence firm, which may implicate him in his father’s charges. It is also possible that Mueller is using this as leverage for Flynn senior to cooperate with the investigation.
Mueller is also currently investigating statements that Donald “my dad bought me everything” Trump Jr. made that may have been dictated by his father, the President. Trump Jr.’s statements were regarding reports that he had met with Russian agents for dirt on then Democratic candidate Hillary “I can’t run a good campaign to save my life” Clinton. The statement was amended several times, first stating that there was no meeting, and later that it was about potential adoption. At first the White House denied any knowledge of these meetings at all. However, the Washington Post later reported that the President may have directed these responses form Air Force One.