Special Counsel Robert Mueller has led a vicious charge against President Trump’s former campaign team for over a year.
With little evidence arising throughout that span of time, it was believed the case had become cold.
But just this week, Robert Mueller’s witch hunt came to a climax—and the fallout will certainly be interesting.
Two former members of Trump’s campaign team were just charged with financial crimes.
The charges come as Mueller has been investigating many of Trump’s campaign, hoping to find conspirators in the interference by Russian operatives in the 2016 American election.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was one of the men charged with committing fraud to their bank.
Rick Gates was also charged.
The new 32-count indictment accuses the men of lying to banks about their business income in order to get more than $20 million in loans. The charges come as part of Mueller’s investigation into alleged meddling by the Russian government in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In October, Manfort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, and Gates, a former campaign aide, pleaded not guilty to a slew of other charges filed by the Mueller team. A federal judge placed them both on house arrest.
Manafort resigned as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016 after The New York Times reported a Ukrainian government corruption probe found Manafort received nearly $13 million off the books from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. In June 2017, when Manafort registered as a foreign agent after the fact, he reported making more than $17 million from the Party of Regions.
The new indictment says Manafort and Gates passed the money they received from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to conceal it from the Internal Revenue Service. The charges include preparing false tax returns, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and failure to disclose income from foreign sources.
Meanwhile, Gates is accused of transferring more than $3 million from offshore accounts.
Though Manafort was ousted from the Trump campaign in 2016, Gates stayed on and had a role in the president’s inaugural committee. He also was part of a lobbying group to help push Trump’s agenda, but he was forced out in April amid questions over his role in the Russia probe.
On Jan. 3, 2018, Manafort sued the Department of Justice, saying Mueller didn’t have the authority to investigate his lobbying dealings in Ukraine. The Department of Justice asked for the suit to be dropped, saying Manafort misinterpreted Mueller’s appointment as allowing him to investigate crimes “uncovered for the very first time during his investigation.”
They said he can prosecute crimes the Justice Department knew about.
The charges brought against these two men will certainly lead to an interesting fallout— though it is unclear how the financial crimes were related to Robert Mueller’s case, and may simply be a desperate man grasping at straws.
Do you believe Paul Manafort and Rick Gates committed fraud?
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