News from the scandal John Oliver calls, “Stupid Watergate”
by Christian Decker
It has been over a year since the FBI first informed us that our election was hacked by agents of the Russian government. It was revealed that potentially a member of the Trump team, maybe even the president himself had colluded with Russia agents to give himself a boost over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. Results have been relatively inconclusive over the past year. At the start of this investigation, Special Counsel Robert “Sherlock Holmes” Muller was assigned to oversee the investigation into whether or not the Trump campaign did in fact commit treason. Many months, and many indictments including that of Paul “Fredo” Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and also Russians in the U.S. who are being accused of influencing the election at various campaign rallies. These 13 Russians are accused of running misinformation campaigns against the president’s then opponent Hillary “Hello Fellow Kids” Clinton.
In a new string of charges, Muller has accused Manafort, and another manager, Rick Gates, of laundering over 30 million dollars and not paying their taxes for over 10 years, according to CNN. Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, said in a statement that Manafort “is innocent of the allegations set out in the newly filed indictments and he is confident that he will be acquitted of all charges. The new allegations against Mr. Manafort, once again, have nothing to do with Russia and 2016 election interference/collusion. Mr. Manafort is confident that he will be acquitted, and violations of his constitutional rights will be remedied.”
As of now, the White House has not issued any statements regarding any of the indictments. Ironically, the reasons for this is because according to the White House, none of this has to do with the Trump Campaign or the White House. As you all may know, this is indeed linked to Trump’s election because they were both members of his campaign. This is not even including George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to his charges just a few months ago. The President even said he didn’t know the guy. Yikes.
According to NBC, Rick Gates has since pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and conspiracy. This could be big news for the Russia investigations. It’s possible that Gates could give up Manafort and even some higher ups in the White House in exchange for a lighter sentence. NBC claims that “the agreement, which requires Gates to cooperate on ‘all matters’ prosecutors deem relevant, appears to be a good deal for both sides. Gates could get as little as probation if he keeps up his end of the bargain, and Mueller’s case against Manafort morphs from one built on paper evidence to one in which the star witness worked hand-in-hand with the defendant.”
In relation to Manafort’s other charges, he has now also been accused of working with the Ukrainian government by helping to lobby for them in the United States, which is illegal unless you get permission from the U.S. Justice department. He did this by assembling a “Super VIP” group, which was full of European politicians who could lobby without being directly related to the Ukrainian government.
Through all of this, Manafort continues to deny that he is guilty, which is honestly laughable at this point. In his defense, Manafort said: “I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence,” he added, referring to Gates. “For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise. This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”
The investigation is continuing at full capacity it would seem. Mueller has also gotten Alex van der Zwaan to plead guilty to the charges that he lied to the Mueller team about contact with Rick Gates. It’s worth noting that he’s the son of a Russian oligarch. He has also been able to interview higher ups in the White House, including former White House chief strategist Steve “Ugly Nazi” Bannon, Attorney General Jeff “Racist Asshole” Sessions, and former FBI Director James “Whistleblower” Comey.
With our democracy pretty much at stake here. It is essential that Mueller be left to his own devices to be able to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation. Whether or not this produces more indictments or even charges of treason, it is important that we remember that democracy must prevail. If nothing more comes out of this investigation, America will have to accept that regardless of political leanings and party affiliation.