This isn’t surprising from the standpoint of people didn’t see this indictment coming. It’s now official. Paul Manafort has been indicted by a grand jury. (To read the indictment, follow this link). Following this summer’s early morning raid of Manafort’s home, this was expected to be the first indictment. That early morning raid told everyone that Manafort was in Special Counsel Mueller’s crosshairs.

Several things are noteworthy. On the first page of the indictment, it says “Defendants Paul J. Manafort, Jr. and Richard W. Gates III served for years as political consultants and lobbyists. Between at least 2006 and 2015, Manafort and Gates acted as unregistered agents of the government of the Ukraine… Manafort and Gates generated millions of dollars of income as a result of their Ukraine work. In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, Manafort and Gates laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts.”

This article says “Manafort laundered more than $18 million, which the indictment says he concealed from the federal government. From 2008 to 2014, Manafort wired $12 million to be sent to vendors for personal items, including $5.4 million on home improvements in the Hamptons, $934,350 to an antique rug store in Virginia, $520,440 to a clothing store in Beverley Hills and $655,500 for landscaping in New York, according to the indictment.”

The long and short of it is that this doesn’t connect Manafort’s dealings with the Ukraine to the Trump-Russia collusion story. Ed Morrissey highlights the fact that “Manafort only served as the Trump campaign chair for two months (and for three months prior ran his delegate liaison effort), and that his scope of knowledge on the 2016 election is likely to be less than comprehensive. Two days after a security briefing to Trump in August 2016, Manafort left the campaign, leaving Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon in charge. Manafort might have some knowledge, but if so, Mueller should have been able to get it from other people without having to cut a deal with Manafort.”

Then there’s this:

Based on this indictment, there’s no question that Manafort and Gates are accused of committing some serious crimes. That being said, I predict that the word leverage will quickly become the hyperventilating media’s favorite new word by week’s end.

Based on this indictment, Mueller is no closer to proving Trump-Russia collusion than he was the day he was named special counsel. That being said, the hyperventilating media will do their best to make it sound like Mueller is closing in on President Trump. The other thing that liberal blowhards have already started doing is speculating on whether President Trump will fire Mueller. (He won’t.)

Finally, it’s important to note that an indictment is just the prosecution’s side of the story. It doesn’t include the defense’s cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses or the presenting of their case.

Leave a Reply