Donald Trump

New Federal Charges Filed Against Manafort, Gates

A total of 32 claims of tax and bank fraud in concealing foreign income.

|

Paul Manafort
CAMERON CARNES/UPI/Newscom

Paul Manafort, former campaign leader for Donald Trump, and business partner Rick Gates face a new raft of federal charges in Special Counsel Robert Muller's Russia-related probe for the Department of Justice.

A grand jury indictment filed this afternoon accuses the two men of hiding millions of dollars in income from Manafort's lobbying on behalf of Ukraine and not reporting it to the IRS. Then, after that money dried up (when the Ukrainian president Manafort had been representing fled to Russia after being removed from office), the two men obtained millions in bank loans on their real estate by falsely inflating Manafort's income and failing to disclose debts.

All told, the grand jury included 32 charges in this new indictment. This is on top of the previous indictment of the two men in October for concealing their ties with the Ukrainian government and failing to properly register as agents of a foreign official.

As with the previous indictment, nothing in these charges directly entangles Trump into any allegations of election manipulation with the Russian government. For that matter, the charges don't even accuse Manafort or Gates of participating in any sort of election manipulation scheme. These charges are all accusing the two men of concealing from the government the millions of dollars Manafort made from Ukraine and then engaging in fraudulent claims to get bank loans.

Read the indictment yourself here.

NEXT: Trump Blames Movies and Video Games, More Warnings About Florida Shooter, ICE Could Be Yanked from California: P.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I guess I didn’t realize the wide scope of the Mueller’s investigation.

    1. The Mueller investigates what he likes.

      1. It’s a ‘matter’, not an investigation.

        1. What’s the matter with a fishing expedition?

    2. It’s not wide – it’s open season, with an unlimited budget. Mueller can follow any lead anywhere, as long as his thread begins inside the Trump campaign. That could potentially reach into somebody’s tax returns if they donated to the presidential slush fund – there is no bottom. Some people have said Mueller should be removed, but he actually is doing his “job”, which has no ceiling or guardrails. I’m thinking Trump needs to declare his charter for operating an abuse of power in and of itself, and therefore highly defective in serving the interests of justice. A new charter needs to be drawn up, and heck… maybe keep Mueller as top dog. At this point, things are so weird, I’m thinking congress needs to threaten Sessions with impeachment if he can’t provide them with an alternative course of action – operating prosecutions full soviet style is simply not acceptable in the US. The special prosecutor is operating under a set of “rules” that Lenin himself would be proud to sponsor.

      1. It isn’t supposed to begin or end at the Trump campaign.

        It is supposed to be about Russian interference in the US election.

        The fact that his investigation seems to be almost exclusive to finding people around Trump to squeeze for any dirt he can find on Trump should be troubling to most Americans.

        These indictments signal that he’s going to keep ratcheting up the pressure until someone forks over some evidence that Trump or someone close to Trump did something – anything – that will bring him low.

        If they were running an honest investigation, they’d hand over any information they happen to find on related individuals committing unrelated crimes to another FBI unit. The fact that they are instead using their vast resources to continue digging on these two individuals indicates that they don’t have anything of substance on the actual Russia investigation and therefore are going to continue pressing these two guys until they roll over on somebody. Anybody. For anything. Just to give them another thread to start pulling.

        1. The letter appointing him.

          His jurisdiction is:

          “any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald trump

          Any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation

          any other matters with the scope of 28 C.F.R.? 600.4(a)”

          Where that last reads, “(a)Original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.”

          He appears to be interpreting “Any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” as a blank check.

          1. Are you suggesting that investigating links between Paul “Hired Gun for Putin’s Ukrainian Puppet” Manafort and Russia fell outside of his jurisdiction? Or, assuming you will acknowledge it was legitimate to investigate Manafort’s links, are you suggesting that the discovery of Manafort’s financial misdeeds didn’t “arise directly from the investigation” of Manafort’s rather obvious links to Russia?

            Surely, Manafort’s hidden income from Ukraine and inflated income to secure large real estate loans are precisely the type of ancillary crimes that would be discovered in investigating Manafort’s well-publicized links to Russia (via Yanukovych who is widely know as a Putin puppet and is currently living under Putin’s protection in Moscow in exile from Ukraine where he is wanted for a multitude of crimes, both financial and murderous). Or was he supposed to ignore those financial crimes after discovering them in the course of investigating Manafort’s links to Russia? ….you know, Manafort being the guy who resigned after high-level members of the Trump campaign reportedly became “uneasy” about his Russia connections and had not been forthright about them.

  2. Still waiting for the un-paid parking ticket.

  3. Manafort made and hid millions ultimately sourced from Russia. He wa in debt to a Russian mobster. Despite being short on money, he managed the Trump campaign for free. One has to wonder what his angle on that was. You think there is no connection between his work for a Russian stooge (the Ukrainian one, not Trump) and Russia’s work for his candidate?

    1. Russians err takin urr jerbs!

    2. “You think there is no connection between his work for a Russian stooge (the Ukrainian one, not Trump) and Russia’s work for his candidate?”
      So what?
      Do you think the hag lost because of some “connection” here?

    3. Ukraine is not Russia.

    4. And how many of your tax dollars went to Russia as foreign aid, or part of some other deal? Gee, maybe you too are a Trumpster and Mueller wants to talk to you about your “connections”…
      I’m being facetious of course, to make a point. Presently, Mueller can indict anyone with a pulse, so long as he can find a judge willing to listen to 15 months worth of extrapolations of infinitesimal probabilities of association with… the Trump campaign for just a nanosecond of a particular day in 2016 involving transactions laundered through scores of people you never knew existed. Throw a long enough line of bs at a suspect, and you will get them to make a sequence mistake somewhere, then presto: Martha Stewart time. The case doesn’t ever need to exist to produce a process crime and get a conviction.
      Thank God for the 5th amendment.

      1. We’ll see how this goes at trial.

        Generally, I don’t think these kinds of charges turn out the way they want, and are often beat on appeal. Bob Mendez for example.

  4. His biggest crime was not running the payouts through a bogus foundation. Then it would have been totes cool.

  5. I wonder if Manafort could also face criminal trial in Ukraine or in a state court should Trump attempt a pardon? If you accept the idea that Trump has nothing to hide then he should have nothing but contempt for Manafort and Gates for bringing this Russian money laundering scandal into Trump’s campaign. An innocent Trump is a victim of Manafort and as a victim it would make no sense to expect a pardon. Any talk of pardons at this point should raise red flags.

    1. Pardons don’t stop new roads of investigations. As long as Mueller keeps his office open for business, there will be no pardons. He will concoct new charges against persons of interest, then the pardon itself will be called collusion, and you will see Maxine Waters have a stroke on network TV following an outburst of anger that bursts a blood vessel.

  6. I always find it percular when people with such a sketch past put themselves into situations that are likely to invite a high level of scrutiny. But, they do it all the time.

    1. Ambition can overrule intellect.

      1. 99.99% of the time you get away with it. Or else D.C. would be a ghost town.

        Manafort’s real crime, so far as the system is concerned, was associating himself with a successful candidate who both parties’ establishments hated. Otherwise the technical crimes would have been overlooked.

  7. Matthew,

    Are you unaware that the Ukrainian for whom Manafort worked is well-known as a Putin puppet? That he went to into exile in Russia (Moscow) with the aid of Russian agents in order to escape arrest and prosecution for crimes against Ukraine and its people (including mass murder of protesters and theft of government resources)? That Russia supported him in committing those crimes, including by, but not limited to, helping him escape justice after the fact.

    The commenter to which you reply made it pretty clear that the commenter knew Russia and Ukraine are two different countries. Are you suggesting that because Yanukovych likely got his money by stealing from Ukraine it is inaccurate to say the funds that went to Manafort were “ultimately sourced to Russia?” I think the rather obvious point is that Manafort was beholden to Yanukovych who, somewhat obviously, is as much a puppet of Putin as it is possible to be. The line of “favors” extends directly (and with only two links) from Manafort to Putin.

    Manafort’s alleged crimes are not as far removed from the Russia investigation as some seem (pretend?) to believe. To investigate Russian interference in the election and possible collusion, it is quite obviously necessary to follow the money.

    1. So are we thinking that this guy was paying a crap-ton of money to Manafort before Trump was a candidate, and he was shuttling the money home via multiple shell companies – before Trump was a candidate – in a scheme by Putin to interfere with the American election?

      So they only spent a couple hundred grand on social media and spam advertising online… But they dropped 30 million on a middle man in the US on the off chance that he’d one day be in a position in a putative Trump campaign where he could …. what? Feed Trump Russian intel on Clinton?

      Isn’t Clinton the only one we know of who actually paid for Russian intel on an American political candidate? Well, Clinton and the DNC. And the FBI. But other than those three…. isn’t that the only people we know of who actually actively and intentionally colluded with the Russians to affect the US election?

      1. Although I do get your point. If the guy is taking back-channel money from people who are tight with the Russian government, there’s a connection worth looking in to.

        It just seems odd to me that we are spending millions trying to prove that someone who works for the Trump campaign took a phone call from someone who works for someone close to a Russian oligarch who is close to Putin…. because that would be treason! …. and we are not the least bit worried that the Clinton campaign, the DNC and the FBI all funded a “dossier” that was sourced from the same Russian government. In fact, they were so eager to “collude” with the Russians that they paid out millions for the privilege.

        1. A few things make the Trump and Hillary cases different:

          1. The Hillary campaign hired a company (which also worked with Republicans) which hired a person who may have (probably?) met with Russian agents in compiling opposition research. (The dossier material was not released during the campaign.) I am not aware Hillary or anyone on her staff lied to the FBI or to the American public about hiring Fusion GPS.

          vs.

          Senior Trump campaign officials, including the President’s son, met directly with a Russian who promised to provide dirt on Hillary, then lied about the reason for the meeting. (Trump and other’s of his campaign have lied about various other aspects of Russian contacts (including Flynn and what the White House knew about Flynn and when they knew it).

          2. DNC servers were illegally hacked by Russians and damaging material from the hacks was leaked at crucial points during the campaign to assist the Trump campaign.

          vs.

          There is no indication of illegal activity that influenced or was intended to influence the election in Hillary’s favor.

          3. Also, we know that the Russians were trying to help Trump, not Hillary.

  8. Another angle on this indictment: Apparently they have indicted them in a separate court with a different judge. So now they have to have legal teams working in two different courts at the same time to defend themselves. Obviously much more expensive and much more difficult to defend.

    That seems… shady. I would suppose that the defense team could petition the court to consolidate the cases, should they want to.

    I just have a hard time imagining a normal prosecutor indicting the same guy in different courts at the same time. Usually they would want to save their own resources as well. I suppose that isn’t a problem when you have an essentially unlimited budget.

    1. Not any shadier than making sure to go to a different FISA judge every time they got the warrant to wiretap Trump’s campaign, so that the judge wouldn’t notice that the application was the same each time, rather than showing evidence the surveillance was turning up relevant data.

      You’re not supposed to get FISA warrants renewed unless you can show new information coming out of the investigation to show the surveillance was justified. They circumvented that by going to a new judge each time.

      1. Brett,

        I am impressed with the number of unwarranted assumptions you make in two short paragraphs. (You make the worst assumptions about motives and about the application contents/process without having seen the applications. Were they identical? How would you know? Was no new, relevant evidence obtained prior to the renewals? How would you know?)

        Your theory requires that, not one, but four different Republican-appointed judges were hoodwinked by a Republican-appointed FBI director (originally, allowed to stay on by Obama). That is quite the conspiracy you’ve “uncovered.”

        1. And, shocker, the response to the inaccurate Nunes memo has been released and confirms that new evidence was provided for the renewals. I wonder if facts will change your opinion.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.