On October 30th, 2017, Robert S. Mueller charged Paul Manafort with twelve counts by a Federal Grand Jury, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. Manafort was forced out of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign less than three months before the election after the New York Times exposed his business affairs with the former leader of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. These affairs revealed a financial account from Mr. Yanukovych’s political party listed 12.7 million dollars in off-book cash payments reserved for Manafort’s company.
The former campaign manager pleaded not guilty to all charges while his long time business partner, Rick Gates, who was also charged, turned himself in. According to the New York Times, Manafort laundered millions of dollars “to buy luxury cars, real estate, antique rugs and expensive clothes.” In addition, he used some of the ill-gotten gains to help bail his son-in-law out of some failing real estate investments.
His indictment rippled through Washington. The New York Times reported “suspicious behavior” from Democratic lobbyist, Tony Podesta, when he quit his lobbying firm on the day Manafort’s charges were announced. Podesta’s firm, the Podesta Group, was coincidentally hired to do lobbying work on behalf of Ukraine. However, the announcements are not at all over. Aaron Zelinski, a prosecutor on the investigative team, said, “there’s a large-scale, ongoing investigation, of which this case is a small part.” It can be inferred that more charges are yet to come. An unnamed source from ABC stated that it could take up to 8 months for subsequent charges to be filed.
George Papadopoulos, President Trump’s former foreign policy advisor, pleaded guilty to fabricating statements to the FBI on account of his affairs with Russian government. According to an article by CNN journalists Jeremy Herb, Evan Perez, Marshall Cohen, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, “In court records unsealed on Monday, the FBI said George Papadopoulos ‘falsely described his interactions with a certain foreign contact who discussed ‘dirt’ related to emails’ concerning Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Records also describe an email between Trump campaign officials suggesting they were considering acting on Russian invitations to go to Russia.” Mueller’s charges against top officials from the President’s campaign indicates possible conspiracy between Trump’s team and the Russian government as well as potential financial crimes and obstruction of justice.