Things have been moving at a tremendous pace in the Russiagate investigation lately. Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, has staggered the “hoax” claims of Donald Trump with over a hundred new charges in the investigation.
This was coupled with the stunning news that Manafort’s associate Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chair for the Trump campaign, has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.
Mueller also charged Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, with a multimillion-dollar fraud related to mortgages.
This sounds innocuous, but Manafort has a history of shady real estate dealings; ripping off Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on a multimillion-dollar hotel deal in the Cayman Islands is how he landed himself in this stew in the first place.
Manafort in particular has been making millions since the 1980’s, lobbying for brutal world dictators who’ve been shunned by the rest of the world, such as Putin prop Victor Yanukovych, ousted as president of Ukraine after the Orange Revolution of 2004.
By Friday Gates had pleaded guilty to two different charges: conspiracy with regard to the financial crimes, and lying to investigators. Apparently, he told the lie during prior plea talks. Prosecutors prepared a revised indictment, this time directed only at Manafort.
Donald Trump also is shaking in his boots over perjury. His lawyers are trying to set terms for his testimony before special counsel Robert Mueller. Without a care in the world for their country and its well-being, they’re prepared to wage a court battle to shield him from testifying at all if their conditions aren’t met, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sources familiar with the situation reported that Trump’s legal team is currently considering all its options in finding various ways for him to testify that would prevent him from perjuring himself, which they know full well he will do within minutes of starting the meeting.
If Trump is speaking, Trump is lying. It’s like breathing, to him.
The week before that, Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals on charges related to their involvement in the Internet Research Agency, a social-media mill, alleging that it used illegal means to promote Trump’s candidacy.
Its efforts included buying ads on social media and digitally impersonating Trump supporters in Florida. It also involved giving plenty of help to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, one of only two Senators not to vote to sanction Russia this year.
Michael Flynn, the President’s former national-security adviser, had already pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. He had been in legal jeopardy anyway, thanks to his work as an unregistered foreign lobbyist. He too is now coöperating with the investigation. So is George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying about his foreign contacts.
As of yet, none of the charges formally accuse the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with the Russians, or whether the President himself obstructed justice. But the ever-growing list of people who are cooperating points to Mueller getting close on both points, particularly if Manafort joins them.
As campaign chairman, Gates sat in on the now famous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who contacted Trump Jr. offering “dirt” on the Clinton campaign. Manafort left the campaign two months later. Gates, however, stayed on through the election. He may have much more to tell.
All along, Paul Manafort has come into view more and more clearly as the guy who knew how it all went down on the ground. He’s not testifying, probably out of fear for his life. The best case scenario for him is life in prison.
For Gates, it’s different. He was not the man on top, and it’s not too late for his redemption. In that case, he would go from being one of America’s most repugnant criminals to being one of its saviors, the guy who looked himself in the mirror and found courage enough in himself to decide to tell the truth and save the country.
It is the opinion of Millennia Democrats that if he knew what Manafort was doing, and he can testify that he was doing it with Trump’s blessing, that may very well be the final shot needed to bring down Trump.
This is also the opinion of former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, John Dean, one of the leading figures in the Watergate scandal. On Saturday, Dean said the news should be of great concern to former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who faces multiple charges in the case, as well as to the White House.
Mueller is throwing everything he can against Manafort, including Gates who can nail him. Increasingly it appears Manafort is the link to Russian collusion. If Gates can testify that Manafort was acting with Trump’s blessings, it’s the end of his presidency. That’s substantial. https://t.co/t6pHNno1xL
— John Dean (@JohnWDean) February 25, 2018
All of this is very different from the pornography film that was Ken Starr drooling in the tabloids twenty years ago. These are Americans, who have actively attempted to sell out America to its most hostile, powerful, and implacable foe. They deserve nothing less than the ultimate penalty of law.
In the last analysis, the biggest threat to Trump in the matter of Russiagate is not Robert Mueller or even Paul Manafort. It is he himself that is most to fear. His scorched-earth attacks on the FBI and on Mueller through the early part of the year failed to do anything but make him look more guilty. Something is in the air, and the tension is palpable. America will have to wait and see.