Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
Today the Federal grand jury convened by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller issued indictments against Paul Manafort, the former chair of President Trump’s campaign, and Rick Gates, Manafort’s right hand man. The indictments largely allege conspiracies to commit financial crimes such as laundering money, evading income tax, not declaring large funds brought into the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent, etc. They center around payments from abroad for campaign consulting and similar activities, especially from Ukraine. These are the first indictments that stem from Mr. Mueller’s five month investigation into all things Russian; the speed with which Mr. Mueller uncovered, investigated and obtained indictments indicate the seriousness and experience of Mueller and his team. They will also serve to squelch the rumblings about shutting down the special prosecution.
Do the indictments provide support for the accusations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians? NO; these indictments point to the venality and unsuccessful deviousness of Manafort and Gates. Can Mueller tie the two together; who knows? Time will tell At least, Mueller has 2 scalps to hang from his belt.
Also, today George Papadopoulus.plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians during the campaign. Papadopoulus was listed during the campaign as one of the foreign policy advisers to the campaign and, as such, would have access to the higher ups in the campaign. Not a big fish – remember, there was, and is, only one big fish in the Trump pond – but not a minnow, either A classic prosecutor’s tactic is to catch an underling and turn them against the higher-ups in return for favorable sentencing. The fact that George plead guilty instead of going through the trial/sentencing process leads one to believe that there is a deal in the works. Who was at that meeting Donald, Jr., arranged with the Russian attorney who claimed to have dirt on Hillary – besides Jr., Manafort and Jared Kushner. Donald , Jr., is probably safe but the same cannot be said about Kushner. Could Mueller reach that high? Only the shadow knows.
Only five months into Mueller’s tenure as Special Prosecutor the dominoes are starting to fall. Mr. Mueller reached pretty high to being with; can he climb the ladder even further? I doubt seriously he will stop, or stall out, now.
See Donald, Jr.; 07/17/2017