Allegations of Trump’s Campaign having colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election, have been discussed and investigated from the start of Trump’s Presidency. During all these months of Hearings and Investigations, there was a lot of smoke but little to no fire, which frustrated lawmakers and the public alike. And while seemingly circumstantial evidence kept piling-up, and speculation ran rampant, there was nothing concrete enough to give real substance to the accusations and allegations, till now.
On Monday, October 30, 2017, Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice, Robert Mueller, filed 12 serious charges against Paul Manafort, ex-Chairman of the Trump Campaign (for-a-time), and his business associate and Vice Chairman, Rick Gates, for, among other things, conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, making false statements, filing misleading information under FARA statements, and being an unregistered agent to a foreign principal.
At the same time Mueller filed charges against a Trump Campaign Advisor, George Papadopoulos, charges for lying to a Federal Agent, to which Papadopoulos has pled guilty. Significantly, George Papadopoulos is ‘proactively co-operating’ with the Federal Authorities, in their ongoing investigation to find out if there were ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and any individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation’.
While at first glance ‘the Charges’ against Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates appear to be unrelated to the Trump Campaign, a position that Trump and the White House have taken in their own defense, Manafort’s business dealings for a decade or so (from 2006 to 2017) were closely linked with the pro-Russia, ex-President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and Russian business and political contacts. In dealing with the pro-Russia Ukraine contacts and with Russian contacts, Manafort and his associates made tens of Millions of Dollars, which they failed to declare to the government of the United States, as they also failed to disclose that they were acting as ‘agents of a foreign principal’, among other alleged crimes.
While they were actively carrying on their business, acting as pro-Russia and Ukraine agents, they also got involved in the Trump Campaign as Chairman and Vice Chair, and are documented as pursuing vigorously any invitation by Russians contacts, to members of the Trump Campaign and his family such as his son Donald Trump Jr., in their offer of ‘Dirt’ on Hillary Clinton.
George Papadopoulos is well documented as responding positively to the enticement of procuring the ‘Dirt’ on Hillary, through the Russians, and is also documented for contacting high ranking officials of the Trump Campaign, who also reacted very positively, and for trying to arrange meetings between them and individuals ‘close to Putin’. Some of the high ranking officials in the Trump Campaign that Papadopoulos contacted, according to the charges, may have been Manafort and Gates (though that is not certain yet). What is certain is that Manafort was involved directly in the ‘meeting in the Trump Tower’, with Donald Jr., and Jared Kushner, in July 2016, when he was Chairman of the Campaign, by invitation from a go-between from England. The son of President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., accepted the meeting with a ‘Russian lawyer’ and some others, to get the promised ‘Dirt’ on Hillary Clinton. This pro-active search for Russian ‘Dirt’ on Clinton is now providing the possible landslide of indictments that may be coming from Mueller’s investigation, which could bury Trump and some of his Team members.
What these charges, and the e-mail evidence are showing is - that in their repeated and enthusiastic attempts to get Russian mined ‘Dirt’ on Hillary Clinton, they may be fulfilling the mandate of the Mueller investigation, ‘to find any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and any individual of the Campaign of the President Donald Trump ...’, in which case a sink-hole is developing under the Campaign members of Trump’s team and some of his family members, who equally vigorously, and in print, pursued the now infamous, and ultimately elusive, Russian ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton.