Monday morning the the first charges from Robert Mueller’s probe into the ‘Russia/Trump collusion’ allegations were unsealed and made public. This in effect caused Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, to surrender over to the federal authorities.
Rick Gates, whom is Manaforts protege and business partner, also turned himself in.
The Justice Department has listed 12 separate criminal counts against the two businessmen, including: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
Via the Daily Mail: The government alleges that at least $75 million was moved by Manafort to offshore accounts without declaring the income to the government. Form there Manafort allegedly withdrew $18 million to fund a lavish lifestyle, and Gates pulled another $3 million out.
Among the expenses covered by Manafort-controlled entities in Cyprus were $600,000 for antiques and $500,000 paid to a Beverly Hills tailor. Other money went for premium automobiles and home renovations in Florida and the Hamptons.
Manafort also spent $934,350 at an antique rug store.
All the charges against Manafort and Gates are focused on alleged financial crimes and have nothing to do with the initial focus of Mueller’s investigation; which was if Donald Trump’s presidential campaign worked with Russia to turn the 2016 election in his favor.
The criminal allegations predate the Trump campaign and the president’s name isn’t even mentioned once in the indictment document.
CNN’s White House source informed the network that ‘today has zero to do with the White House.’
The move to indict the two men represents a dramatic turn in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Manafort was seen leaving his home at 8:00 a.m. with his attorney and arrived at FBI headquarters less than 20 minutes later.
A federal grand jury approved the indictments on Friday and a judge ordered them sealed. A White House official told DailyMail.com on Monday that the administration may not comment at all on the arrests.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama and confirmed in the Senate by a 97-0 vote.
DNC Chair Tom Perez said that the indictment ‘underscores the seriousness of the investigation into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. It’s time for Republicans to commit to protecting this investigation and preserving the rule of law.’
Ironic, since none of the charges have anything to do with Trump’s presidential campaign.