Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Manafort Indictment: Not Much There, and a Boon for Trump

Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill in 2013 
(Reuters file photo: Larry Downing)
The Paul Manafort indictment is much ado about nothing . . . except as a vehicle to squeeze Manafort, which is special counsel Robert Mueller’s objective — as we have been arguing for three months (see here, here, and here).
Do not be fooled by the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading on Count One (page 23 of the indictment). This case has nothing to do with what Democrats and the media call “the attack on our democracy” (i.e., the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election, supposedly in “collusion” with the Trump campaign). Essentially, Manafort and his associate, Richard W. Gates, are charged with (a) conspiring to conceal from the U.S. government about $75 million they made as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine, years before the 2016 election (mainly, from 2006 through 2014), and (b) a money-laundering conspiracy.
There are twelve counts in all, but those are the two major allegations.
The so-called conspiracy against the United States mainly involves Manafort’s and Gates’s alleged failure to file Treasury Department forms required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Specifically, Americans who hold a stake in foreign bank accounts must file what’s known as an “FBAR” (foreign bank account report) in any year in which, at any point, the balance in the account exceeds $10,000. Federal law also requires disclosure of foreign accounts on annual income-tax returns. Manafort and Gates are said to have controlled foreign accounts through which their Ukrainian political-consulting income sluiced, and to have failed to file accurate FBARs and tax returns. In addition, they allegedly failed to register as foreign agents from 2008 through 2014 and made false statements when they belatedly registered.
Read the rest of the story HERE and follow links to related stories below:

Friendly reminder from CBS: Manafort indictment “not even close” to Trump-Putin collusion allegations

NO CHARGES OF TRUMP COLLUSION: Here's What You Need To Know About The Manafort Indictment

An Earthquake That Shouldn’t Shake Trump

A Guide to Understanding the Manafort Indictment

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1 comment:

cimbri said...

People would be surprised at the role call of former high officials who are registered agents of foreign powers. It’s never really been a big deal in the past. The money laundering charge on Manafort seems like a stretch. The article points out that there must be underlying crimes that are provable beyond a reasonable doubt. Simply paying Manafort to lobby Obama or other officials or foreign officials is not money laundering. The money has to be dirty to begin with, as part of the drug trade, prostitution or some other set of crimes. Difficult to prove, since it’s coming from overseas. If this is all Mueller has, then this whole episode was a big nothingburger.