FBI

Paul Manafort — President Trump’s former campaign chair — has been indicted by former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s grand jury.

According to the indictment, Manafort is being charged with 12 counts of conspiracy to launder money in relation to a series of questionable wire transfers that were done to avoid reporting millions of dollars to the IRS that were earned working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine between 2006 and 2015. In addition to Manafort, Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates was also indicted as a co-conspirator.

The federal grand jury indictment accused Trump’s former campaign chairman of laundering the money he was paid by the pro-Kremlin Party of Regions (which was later known as the Opposition Bloc) through various multimillion-dollar real estate purchases done through LLCs in his name. Manafort then took out large loans using those homes as collateral, effectively “washing” the money and never paying back the loan.

During the 2016 campaign, Manafort’s time on the Trump campaign ended abruptly after an AP report was published about $2.2 million in payments the pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine made to Manafort, which were then channeled to two prominent lobbying firms in Washington, DC. Prior to running the Trump campaign, Manafort had a home in Trump Tower (which he bought for $3.6 million in 2006). Even after Trump became president, Manafort remained in contact with the Trump administration, advising on the FBI’s Russia investigation.

For his part, President Trump distanced himself from Manafort in a Monday morning tweet, attempting to deflect attention to former rival Hillary Clinton.

The Manafort indictment is the culmination of months of investigating by special counsel Robert Mueller, whom Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed following the abrupt firing of then-FBI Director James Comey. Manafort was subjected to a no-knock FBI raid at his home in August, with FBI agents seizing various documents they believed would have been altered or destroyed had they tried to obtain them through other means.

Other persons of interest in Mueller’s probe include former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is also President Trump’s son-in-law. As of this writing, neither one of them have been charged, although both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee are continuing to probe into Flynn’s and Kushner’s past in their respective investigations.

Watch Manafort turn himself in to the FBI in the video below:

 

Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based freelancer specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.

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