Mueller connects Manafort to “The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World” in Trump-Russia probe
Mueller has uncovered some dark secrets in the Russia probe
Paul Manafort has been under investigation by the FBI since arguably 2014, but it was only following the 2016 presidential election that things got heated for him. To help his client Donald Trump win, Manafort was allegedly willing to meet with foreign state officials and launder money for them. This would make him a traitor to his country.
However, Manafort is far from alone in this matter, as the Russia probe has expanded to include several other key members of the campaign team, from co-chairman Sam Clovis to George Papadopoulos, who has been an apparent goldmine for the Mueller investigation.
Related: As Mueller closes in, Trump Administration desperately plays to base with Civil War rhetoric
Manafort stands out the most because of his high-level position and actions, but it appears that things could be a lot worse than even Mueller initially imagined. In the indictment, which was unsealed for the public, Manafort was revealed to have been involved in some shady financial dealings between Russian mobsters. As Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast reported, Manafort utilized a company called Lucicle Consultants Limited to receive funds from a Ukrainian politician linked to “the most dangerous mobster in the world,” Semion Yudkovich “the Brainy Don” Mogilevich.
This is not the first time we have seen investigators connect Manafort to sketchy foreign individuals. In April 2016, the former campaign manager was questioned by Cayman Island officials over his partnership with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was banned from entering the United States over his organized crime ties.
Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing had prepared for this inevitable disclosure by denying the allegations beforehand. In a long statement released late last month, he said:
“President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russia government.
Mr. Manafort represented pro-European Union campaigns for the Ukrainians and in the course of that representation he was seeking to further democracy and to help the Ukrainians come closer to the United States and to the EU. Those activities ended in 2014, two years before Mr Manafort served in the Trump Campaign.
Today you see an indictment brought by the Office of Special Counsel that is using a very novel theory to prosecute Mr. Manafort regarding a FARA filing. The United States government has only used that offense six times since 1966 and only resulted in one conviction.
The second thing about this indictment that I, myself, find most ridiculous is a claim that maintaining offshore accounts to bring all your funds into the United States, as a scheme to conceal from the United States government, is ridiculous.
We cannot be sure that Donald Trump was aware of Manafort’s business associates, but considering Trump allegedly has his own deep interests in Russia, it certainly raises more than a few eyebrows. Stay Tuned.
Image by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
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