Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director assigned to probe claims of Trump campaign-Russia collusion fueled by the largely unverified anti-Trump “dossier” funded by the Democratic Party, has brought new charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
But there’s no mention of “collusion” in the indictment returned Thursday by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia.
Manafort and aide Rick Gates are charged with tax and bank fraud regarding three loans Manafort applied for in connection with various homes he owns, reported Politico.
The previous indictment charged Manafort and Gates with money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents for their work with the Ukrainian government.
Prosecutors said more than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts controlled by Manafort, Bloomberg reported. “Manafort, with Gates’s help, laundered more than $30 million in income that he had concealed from the U.S. Treasury Department and Justice Department, they said. Gates collected about $3 million in income that he, too, concealed, they said.”
The indictment alleges Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work. “From approximately 2006 through the present, Manafort and Gates engaged in a scheme to hide income from United States authorities, while enjoying the use of the money,” Bloomberg said.
Mueller also recently charged 12 Russians with running a disinformation campaign on social media to interfere with the 2016 election. While critics of the president have pointed to the indictment as evidence of problems for the president, the allegations explain the Russians attacked Hillary Clinton, and later staged anti-Trump rallies, toward their goal of election chaos.
In fact, that indictment specifically cites any participation by Trump campaign personnel as “unwitting,” seeming to clear the campaign of any “collusion” allegations.
WND reported in January when Manafort sued Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Department of Justice in U.S. federal court, alleging Mueller strayed beyond the scope of the investigation he was authorized to pursue.
Manafort also alleged Rosenstein didn’t have the authority to appoint Mueller, meaning his actions are void.
The original indictment against Manafort, one expert said, also had nothing to do with “collusion,” the ostensible reason Mueller was given authority to subpoena individuals and summon a grand jury for charges.
At that time, former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova told WND and Radio America that the court filings show there apparently are no links to “collusion with the Russians.”
“That’s number one. It involves previous work that Manafort did for the Ukranian government and various Ukranian organizations, which he failed to report to the U.S. government because he was doing work on their behalf, lobbying the U.S. government in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” diGenova explained.
“It has nothing to do with the campaign, and it involves activities from 2006-2015, before [Manafort] got anywhere near the Trump campaign.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova:
DiGenova said many hold a fundamental misunderstanding about the communication campaigns are allowed to have with foreign governments.
“It’s not illegal to talk to a foreign government during a campaign,” he said. “It’s not illegal to have meetings with foreigners or foreign governments during a campaign. It’s not illegal to travel overseas to meet with foreign governments or foreign officials.”
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified to the House Intelligence Committee that the anti-Trump dossier was essential to obtaining a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
The dossier, based largely on Russian sources, was written by former British spy Christopher Steele. It was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and funded by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee.