Trump campaign officials charged, Trump protests

The first indictments in the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the US election reveal charges have been laid against three people who worked on the Trump campaign, but Trump insists there was ‘NO COLLUSION!’

Fox News leads with Trump denials: Trump, GOP lawmakers slam Manafort indictment as irrelevant to Russia-collusion probe

The president fired back on Monday in an attempt to distance his White House from the Manafort and Gates indictments, noting their crimes were committed “years” before they worked on the campaign.

Washington Post leads with Three former Trump campaign officials charged in Russia probe

George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty earlier this month to making a false statement to FBI investigators who asked about his contacts with a foreigner who claimed to have high-level Russian connection. The agreement was unsealed Monday.

News of the plea came as Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates were charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and other charges related to their work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.

Fox News continues with diversion and downplaying Trump:

And also details of the charges:

EXPLAINED: How Paul Manafort is connected to the Trump, Russia investigation

It’s been more than a year since Paul Manafort briefly led President Trump’s quest for the White House and even longer since he worked for a controversial Ukrainian politician.

The opening paragraph downplays the Trump connection.

Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates, 45, were told to turn themselves into federal authorities Monday morning. First reported by the New York Times, these are reportedly the first charges filed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 president election.

Manafort and Gates were indicted by a federal grand jury that contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading [Foreign Agents Registration Act] statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, a spokesperson for the Special Counsel’s Office told Fox News.

Manafort, 68, has been the subject of a longstanding investigation due to his past dealings in Ukraine several years ago – for which he didn’t file as a foreign agent until June 2017. But Mueller has incorporated that investigation into his own probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates.

Eventually, Manafort was hired by controversial former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russia politician who was ousted from power twice. After Yanukovych was eventually elected president in 2010, Manafort reportedly stayed on as an adviser and worked with other projects in Eastern Europe, including the Party of Regions political party.

Manafort also worked for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. In 2005, Manafort came up with a plan to influence U.S. politics, business dealings and the media in order to “greatly benefit the Putin Government,” according to the Associated Press.

Deripaska, 49, is a close Putin ally and signed a $10 million annual contract with Manafort in 2006. They maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, the Associated Press reported.

Financial records obtained by the New York Times indicated that Manafort was in debt to pro-Russian interests by up to $17 million prior to joining Trump’s campaign.

Along with Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s eldest son, Manafort met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskay in June 2016. She was said to have damaging information on Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, which was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Mueller took over the criminal investigation into Manafort’s financial dealings as he looks into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the White House.

Trump and the Russia investigation: What to know

Before he handed over the White House to Trump, former President Barack Obama sanctioned Russia for its alleged involvement in the election – a move that would eventually come back to dismantle one of Trump’s senior aides.

Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also got the administration into hot water for his own actions during the campaign. Trump Jr. confirmed in July 2017 that he took a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign as she was supposed to have damaging information about Clinton.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, were at the meeting as well. The two are also being investigated.

Michael Flynn’s tenure as Trump’s national security adviser was short but rife with controversy that still bedevils the administration. But Flynn didn’t come without a warning.

Only a few days after the November election, Obama met with Trump to share his concerns about Flynn, a retired lieutenant general. Flynn had served under Obama as head of military intelligence until he was fired in 2014 following reports of insubordination and questionable management style.

As Obama issued the sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the election, Flynn reportedly called the Russian ambassador to discuss the move. Flynn initially denied speaking to the ambassador, but when intelligence officials revealed proof, he said he just didn’t remember speaking on that topic.

Flynn resigned under harsh scrutiny for misleading the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his ties to and conversations with Russian officials.

He remains under multiple investigations by congressional committees and the Pentagon’s inspector general. Mueller has included Flynn in his probe, and his investigators are reportedly trying to determine if he was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the campaign, the New York Times reported in August.

So this is likely just the first shots fired by the Mueller investigation.

Last word from Trump, in typical trump fashion:

The president led a chorus of critics of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, noting that the crimes for which Manafort and his aide, Rick Gates, are charged appear to predate the presidential campaign by years.

“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Trump tweeted Monday. “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

Perhaps the President doth protest too much.

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  1. David

     /  October 31, 2017

    As is now become clear there is no collusion between Trump and Russia. Manaforts charges date back 11 years and involve money from Ukraine and that he didnt pay tax on it or register with the US authorities…nothing to do with his brief stint helping Trump win the delegate race. Ironically Manafort was in business with Podesta who worked for Clinton and the DNC and has quietly been fired.
    And the guy with the funny name well he lied to the FBI and is being charged with that, he was an unpaid volunteer briefly on a foreign policy committee who tried to broker a meeting between the Trump campaign and some Russians, he was rejected and then ignored by the campaign as per the released emails.
    Hilary has gone very quiet maybe because she spent 9 million procuring a dodgy dossier from the Russians to discredit Trump and paid for it by funneling the money through her law firm, Unlike the Trump innuendo the Clinton stuff is fact.

    • “As is now become clear there is no collusion between Trump and Russia. ”

      That isn’t clear at all. There is no way of knowing what the investigation has already found out, what it may still discover, and whether Manafort or the others charged may reveal under already proof of some contact between Russians and his campaign officials, and also with his son and son-in-law.

      It is important for then integrity of the US democratic system that this is cleared up as much as possible. If eventually there is no proof found of collusion between Trump or his campaign and Russians trying to undermine the election process then all good, but protesting too much looks a tad suspicious.

      • MaureenW

         /  October 31, 2017

        Tony Podesta is next on the list for Mueller for not filing as a foreign agent for Russia.
        What a clown show this investigation is, there is no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia and interfering with the democratic process, but there is evidence against Clinton for using a phoney dossier on Trump amongst other dishonesty and crimes.

        • “there is no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia and interfering with the democratic process”

          That’s still unknown. There is no evidence that has been made public (apart from the evidence that has been made public) but we don’t know how much the Mueller investigation knows.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  October 31, 2017

          Bullshit Maureen, Clinton didn’t use the Steele dossier. It didn’t even come to light until January this year, waaay after the election.

          • MaureenW

             /  October 31, 2017

            Used as a basis for this investigation in an effort to have Trump impeached, a bullshit dossier.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  October 31, 2017

              Much has been made this week of reports that the Clinton campaign paid for the so-called “dossier” about Trump that was compiled by a former British intelligence agent. One important point is sometimes lost in the discussion. The dossier itself played absolutely no role in the coordinated intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in our election. That assessment, which was released in unclassified form in January but which contained much more detail in the classified version that has been briefed to Congress, was based entirely on other sources and analysis.

              It’s true that then President-elect Trump was briefed on the allegations in the dossier. This was not, however, because the Intelligence Community had relied on it in any way, or even made any determination that the information it contained was reliable and accurate. Rather, after considerable thought and discussion, DNI Clapper and the heads of the FBI, CIA and NSA decided that because the dossier was circulating among Members of Congress and the media, it was important to warn the President-elect of its existence. Imagine his anger – which would have been fully justified – if the document had leaked and he learned that U.S. government agencies knew of it and did NOT warn him.

              The Russian efforts to influence our election are an important crisis for our democracy. The salacious allegations in the “dossier” are a mere sideshow that should not distract from a comprehensive investigation of that crisis.

              – Robert Litt, former General Counsel to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.


              [my emphasis]

      • David

         /  October 31, 2017

        If there was collusion the 1st charges laid surely would have demonstrated that, can’t blame Trump lashing out after all the investigating still no evidence.

      • Pete, there literally hasn’t been one piece of evidence that links Trump to Russia or Russian interests. While much is made of this Manafort business, as it relates to Trump, even the NYT said this:

         “Mr. Trump fired Mr. Manafort just months later, after reports that he received more than $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a pro-Russia politician. Mr. Manafort spent years as a political consultant for Mr. Yanukovych.

        American intelligence agencies have concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia launched a stealth campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to damage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win the election. The Justice Department appointed Mr. Mueller III as special counsel in May to lead the investigation into the Russian operations and to determine whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved.

        Mr. Trump has denied any such collusion, and no evidence has surfaced publicly to contradict him…..”

        It’s clear that finally everything is under the microscope and with the evidence that factions of the Clinton campaign directly involved with financing, the leaking and subsequently lying of complicity there are going to be many more scalps. I think these scalps will at least include anyone who has not been squeaky clean with their taxes.

        I’ve always believed that Trump had no involvement with Russia. Very likely that within both campaigns there are greedy people who associate themselves with power will be unmasked, but I’m sticking my neck out and saying that this man, odious and traditionally unpresidential as he is, is innocent of the machinations of the Russian interference. Although he is all sorts of weird I believe he is, in his own strange way and ultimately – a patriot.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  October 31, 2017

      Oh puh-lease David, you are simply over the top and completely blinkered in your defence of 45 and his corrupt administration. And your “what aboutism” re Clinton is descending into absurdity.

      Just for a moment stop and ask yourself why Clinton would collude with the Russians to lose the election. Or why, armed with the Steele dossier, she didn’t use it before the election.

      Every significant campaign does opposition research, your guy won, he and his administration are in deep shit, his supporters are in deep spin-cycle mode, and you’re in deep denial.

      • Your commentary indicates to me a complete lack of balance on this issue Joe.

        Show me one bit of evidence that points to Trump’s Russian complicity.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  October 31, 2017

          Trav, I don’t know about trump’s direct complicity but there are mounting indications of collusion between his campaign, his administration, and Russians:

          His campaign was filled with operatives connected to the Russian government.

          It included people who knew that the Russians had obtained Clinton-related emails and who lied about that knowledge to federal investigators.

          It included campaign officials (and Trump family members) who met with Russian operatives when they believed there was useful opposition research on offer.

          trump himself publicly asked Russia to hack into Clinton’s computers to find and release her missing emails.

          That was after Papadopoulos was told by the Russians that they’d hacked Podesta, then lied about it. Here’s a link to proof of the Papadopoulos lies
          Note that Papadopoulos was named by the trump campaign as one of five foreign policy advisors for the Campaign at the time of his meetings with the Russians.

          We also know the Russians really did hack into John Podesta’s and the DNC’s email accounts and found and released emails that damaged Clinton. They really did conduct social media operations designed help Trump.

          After winning the White House, Trump attacked the CIA and fired the director of the FBI to discredit or end their investigations into Russia’s role in the election.

          Then there’s the incidental stuff like Sessions and Kushner repeatedly lying about meetings with Russian officials… and…, and…, and…

          Sure no hard evidence of actual collusion – yet – although Papadopoulos looks like he’s flipped and is working with Mueller.

          But it would be really extraordinary if all this happened and the two sides never worked together. Bear in mind that this is just the end of the beginning for Mueller and with Papadopoulus squealing like Deliverance, there’s more to come.

          • Someone who worked for him for literally two months in 2016 and is then charged for unrelated crimes from 2006? I had a a thief or two working for me over the years, but my mates don’t look at me sideways when their valuables go missing.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  October 31, 2017

            trump himself publicly asked Russia to hack into Clinton’s computers to find and release her missing emails

            Are you serious? If you are, you are an idiot. If you are not, you are being deceptive. Trump was making a sarcastic joke which was obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temperature.

            • MaureenW

               /  October 31, 2017

              That would leave Joe out.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  October 31, 2017

              go tell it to Mueller … he’s the one in the box seat driving this vehicle, not you, nor trump.

              Mueller’s decision to release the Papadopoulos plea signals where the investigation is really going.He already has a lead on collusion, and now he also has two of the most flippable major players to get at the big fish. And trump can’t claim any of it is a direct attack on him.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  October 31, 2017

              B.s. reply Joe. Shame on you.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  October 31, 2017

              You’re losing your touch Al. Not a single Benghazi, uranium, or email server.

              Toughen up fella

      • David

         /  October 31, 2017

        “Just for a moment stop and ask yourself why Clinton would collude with the Russians to lose the election. ”

        Joe, I think her intention was to win the election. The fact she lost to Trump is a rather damning judgment on her judgement and ability.

      • PDB

         /  October 31, 2017

        Joe: “Just for a moment stop and ask yourself why Clinton would collude with the Russians to lose the election.”

        Just for a moment stop and ask yourself why the Russians would collude with the Trump campaign when almost everybody assumed he had zero chance of becoming president. why bother? Better to butter up the sure bet in Clinton.

        Joe: “Or why, armed with the Steele dossier, she didn’t use it before the election.”

        The dossier was a load of nonsense with zero evidence of what it was suggesting – that’s why. The act of using it before the election is not important, the act of paying a huge amount of money for it to be completed in the first instance is.

        Again, I think Trump is an idiot and Clinton terrible corrupt and I’ve no foot in either camp, but the Russian-Trump campaign collusion story is a massive beat-up mainly driven by the democrats who are still trying to deflect from their election day failings.

  2. barryglik

     /  October 31, 2017

    I think Don Trump is fun. He has people jumping up and down which is quite entertaining. Mr Obama was quite docile in comparison. Actually I think we should have four year terms like the USA. They have two terms and then the other team has two terms. 8 years for us 8 years for them. Nice and regular makes future planning easier.

  3. Joe Bloggs

     /  October 31, 2017

    Manafort’s bail conditions:
    – to report to pre-trial services for orientation the next morning
    – to remain in his home except for court appearances, religious services, medical appointments, and attorney meetings
    – to surrender his passport
    – to post a $10 million bond

    Gates’ bail conditions:
    – to report to pre-trial services for orientation the next morning
    – to remain in his home except for court appearances, religious services, medical appointments, and attorney meetings
    – to surrender his passport
    – to post a $5 million bond

  4. Mefrostate

     /  October 31, 2017

    Why is no-one talking about the Papadopoulus aspect of this? He admitted guilt, verified that he was aware of Russia having dirt on Hillary as early as March 2016, communicated this info to higher-ups in the campaign, and tried to arrange meetings with Russia. He then lied about all this to the FBI, and later that day Trump asked Comey for his loyalty.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  October 31, 2017

      see above Mefrostate:

      And yes, the clues are all in the Papadopoulos plea deal. Papadopoulos is described in the court docs as a “proactive cooperator,” and it wouldn’t surprise me if he wore a wire in the months since he was arrested at Dulles Airport in July and charged..

      He describes receiving an offer for “dirt” on Hillary Clinton available in “thousands of emails”.

      There’s a potentially critical May 2016 email forwarded to Trump staffers that promised “cooperation” from the Russians.

      There’s a follow-up phone call between Papadopoulos and someone listed as his campaign supervisor.

      Papadopoulos had already been hired to join the trump campaign when he was contacted about the Clinton emails, and trump campaign officials were clearly involved with Papadopoulos on these issues.His statements also make clear that he was acting with the involvement of higher-ranking officials in trump’s orbit.

      The Papadopoulos guilty plea is specifically related to the campaign and to the broader concern that there was indeed some kind of relationship between senior trump campaign officials and the Russian government, Russian officials, etc.

      So everything moves from being political to being legal, and that changes the game.

      oh, and Happy Manafort Indictment Day! 🙂

  5. Joe Bloggs

     /  October 31, 2017

    On or about May 21, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS emailed another high-ranking Campaign official, with the subject line “Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump.” The email included the May 4 MFA Email and added: “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime and have been reaching out to me to discuss.”2

    Footnote 2:
    The government notes that the official forwarded defendant PAPADOPOULOS’s email to another Campaign official (without including defendant PAPADOPOULOS) and stated:
    “Let[‘]s discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”