Archive for Monday, October 30, 2017

Guilty plea, two indictments in Trump-Russia probe

A court artist drawing shows President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, center standing and Manafort's business associate, Rick Gates, in federal court in Washington, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson. Seated at front left is Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing. Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty following their arrest on charges related to conspiracy against the United States and other felonies. The charges are the first from the special counsel investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Dana Verkouteren via AP)

A court artist drawing shows President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, center standing and Manafort's business associate, Rick Gates, in federal court in Washington, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson. Seated at front left is Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing. Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty following their arrest on charges related to conspiracy against the United States and other felonies. The charges are the first from the special counsel investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Dana Verkouteren via AP)

October 30, 2017, 9:21 a.m. Updated October 30, 2017, 3:19 p.m.


— A former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians, special counsel Robert Mueller said Monday, while former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Manafort's business partner pleaded not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy against the United States and other counts.

The guilty plea by former adviser George Papadopoulos marked the first criminal case that cites interactions between Trump campaign associates and Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign. The developments ushered Mueller's sprawling investigation into a new phase with felony charges and possible prison sentences for key members of the Trump team including Manafort, who led the campaign during critical months, and Rick Gates, a campaign aide.

Court papers also revealed that Papadopoulos was told about the Russians possessing "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails" on April 26, 2016, well before it became public that the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's emails had been hacked.

Papadopoulos has been cooperating with investigators, according to court papers, a potentially ominous sign for others in the Trump orbit who might be implicated by his statements. Papadopoulos' lawyers hinted strongly in a statement Monday that their client has more testimony to provide.

During the daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders downplayed Papadopoulos' role in the campaign, saying it was "extremely limited."

"He was not paid by the campaign," Sanders said, adding later: "Any actions that he took would have been on his own."

She said the White House has had "indications" that Mueller's investigation would conclude "soon."

The president quickly tweeted about the allegations against Manafort, saying the alleged crimes were "years ago," and insisting there was "NO COLLUSION" between his campaign and Russia.

He added, as he has a number of times recently, "Why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????"

Manafort and Gates appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Manafort and Gates were both released on home confinement. Manafort was freed on a $10 million bond meant to guarantee his future court appearances. Gates' bond was $5 million.

Outside the courthouse, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing attacked the charges, saying "there is no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government."

Papadopoulos' plea occurred on Oct. 5 and was unsealed Monday. In court papers, he admitted to lying to FBI agents about the nature of his interactions with "foreign nationals" who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials. Those interactions included speaking with Russian intermediaries who were attempting to line up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and offering "dirt" on Clinton.

The court filings don't provide details on the emails or whom Papadopoulos may have told about the Russian government effort.

The FBI interviewed Papadopoulos about his Russian connections on Jan. 27, a week after Trump's inauguration. The interview predates Mueller's appointment but was part of the FBI probe into Russian election interference that he has taken over.

Papadopoulos was arrested over the summer at Dulles International Airport and has since met with the government "on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions."

The separate charges against Manafort and Rick Gates contend the men acted as unregistered foreign agents for Ukrainian interests. The indictments also include other financial counts involving tens of millions of dollars routed through offshore accounts.

Manafort's indictment doesn't reference the Trump campaign or make any allegations about coordination between the Kremlin and the president's aides to influence the outcome of the election in Trump's favor. The indictment does allege a criminal conspiracy was continuing through February of this year, after Trump had taken office.

The indictment filed in federal court in Washington accuses both Manafort and Gates of funneling payments through foreign companies and bank accounts as part of their political work in Ukraine. The two men surrendered to federal authorities Monday, and were expected in court later in the day to face the charges brought by Mueller's team.

The indictment lays out 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, making false statements and several charges related to failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts. The indictment alleges the men moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

In total, more than $75 million flowed through the offshore accounts, according to the indictment. Manafort is accused of laundering more than $18 million.

A spokesman for Manafort did not immediately return calls or text messages requesting comment. Manafort and Gates have previously denied any wrongdoing.

Manafort, 68, was fired as Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016 after word surfaced that he had orchestrated a covert lobbying operation on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. The indictment against Manafort and Gates was largely based on activities disclosed in August 2016 by The Associated Press, which reported that the pair had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine's ruling political party.

Citing internal emails, the AP noted that Gates personally directed the work of two prominent Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group. The indictment doesn't refer to the companies by name.

Specifically, the indictment accuses Manafort of using "his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income." That included using offshore accounts to purchase multimillion-dollar properties in the U.S., some of which the government is seeking to seize.

The indictment also cites more than $900,000 in payments to an antique rug store, about $850,000 to a New York men's clothing store and the purchase of a Mercedes Benz and multiple Range Rovers.

Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department's investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to tip the presidential election.

The appointment came one week after the firing of James Comey, who as FBI director led the investigation, and also followed the recusal months earlier of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the probe.

Manafort joined Trump's campaign in March 2016 and oversaw the Republican National Convention delegate strategy. Trump pushed him out in August amid a stream of negative headlines about Manafort's foreign consulting work.

Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, said in an interview at the time that his father was concerned that questions about Manafort's past were taking attention away from the billionaire's presidential bid.

Manafort has been a subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych. That investigation was incorporated into Mueller's broader probe. In July, his investigators raided one of Manafort's homes in Virginia, searching for tax and international banking records.

Previously, he denied any wrongdoing related to his Ukrainian work, saying through a spokesman that it "was totally open and appropriate."

Manafort also recently registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for parts of Ukrainian work that occurred in Washington. The filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act came retroactively, a tacit acknowledgment that he operated in Washington in violation of the federal transparency law. The indictment Monday accuses Manafort and Gates of making several false and misleading statements in that FARA filing.

Mueller's investigation has also reached into the White House, as he examines the circumstances of Comey's firing. Investigators have requested extensive documents and have interviewed multiple current and former officials.

Mueller's grand jury has also heard testimony about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York attended by a Russian lawyer as well as Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

In Gates, Mueller brings in not just Manafort's chief deputy, but a key player from Trump's campaign who survived Manafort's ouster last summer. As of two weeks ago, Gates was still working for Tom Barrack, a Trump confidant, helping with the closeout of the inauguration committee's campaign account.


Daniel Kennamore 5 months, 3 weeks ago

To all those with Clinton Derangement Syndrome, this is what investigations into actual treason looks like...not the years of nothing-burgers you clinged to attempting to get something to stick.

People who still support these clowns are complicit in their treason as far as I'm concerned.

Harlan Hobbs 5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Daniel Kennamore 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The charges against Papadopoulos are the real story today:

Key points:

Began meeting with Russians after joining Trump campaign in 2016

Notified Trump campaign in-person and via email of his progress meeting with the Russians

Lied to FBI in January and February 2016

Was arrested at Dulles trying to flee the country on July 27, 2017

Has been cooperating since then

Brock Masters 5 months, 3 weeks ago

No loyalty to anyone who commits crimes so if found guilty should be punished.

Pretty simple.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Of course, all the people who still worship Trump will continue to try and change the focus to Clinton. And they won't let facts get in the way. Republicans have spent millions of dollars investigating Clinton and there is nothing over and over again. The only reason they are bringing back this lie is to take the spotlight off Trump's buddies who hopefully will go to jail. And maybe Trump will be next? Let's hope; although, I don't trust Pence much. He would happily turn the US into a Christian caliphate.

Cait McKnelly 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Pence will go down with him. To quote my father (in the clean version), "If you play with dung, you get dung on you." There's no way on earth that Pence didn't have some knowledge of this. Frankly, I'm a helluva lot more terrified of a Paul Ryan presidency if Pence doesn't pass the smell test.

Gary Stussie 5 months, 3 weeks ago

A nothing burger! No evidence of collusion by Trump campaign. Wait until the Clinton end of this investigation gets going.

Jim Slade 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So a Trump campaign employee meeting with the Russians at the request of the Trump campaign has nothing to do with the Trump campaign.


Gary Stussie 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Not much ... but DNC paying millions for fake dossier put together by russians is pretty big news.

Jim Slade 5 months, 3 weeks ago

A "fake" dossier that has been corroborated by the facts and evidence in the indictments...

You forget the same people that produced the dossier was initially paid by a right wing organization first to find dirt on Trump.

Looks like the group did the jobs it was paid for as we're seeing the facts in the dossier leading to criminal charges.

Bob Summers 5 months, 3 weeks ago

As the noose gets tighter around Clinton's neck, expect a lot more of this to distract the Liberal sheep.

Richard Aronoff 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Dorothy: Why don't you try reading the indictment? The words you will not find anywhere in the indictment's 31 paages are: Trump, Russia, collusion or election. In addition, the vast majority of the alleged infractions occurred between 2010 and 2012.

Use your excellent research abilities to look up the names: Raymond Donovan, Ted Stevens, the Duke lacrosse team, Richard Jewell and Steven Hatfill.

Or if you're too busy, perhaps you'd like to read this article from one of Richard Heckler's favorite sources regarding the presumption of innocence and prosecutor misconduct. (The article was written before all charges against Sen. Stevens were dismissed.:

It has been said that a prosecutor can "indict a ham sandwich." When it comes to a Republican and a Washington, DC grand jury, you don't even need the ham.

Mannafort and Gates will have their day in court. If they're smart, they will opt for a bench trial and not a jury trial.

Finally, I find it very interesting that this benighted journal jumped right onto this indictment story but hasn't printed a word about what the New York Times and the Washington Post reported about the so-called Russian dossier and the DNC.

No worries though, I'm sure the LJW will alert us immediately if a new chicken restaurant comes to town.

Daniel Kennamore 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Ah, I see you're going to just totally ignore the charges against Papadopoulos.

Plenty of Trump and Russia talk in there.

And, as always, just blame the Clintons when the cheeto-in-chief faces tough questions.

Jim Slade 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So a Trump campaign employee meeting with the Russians at the request of the Trump campaign has nothing to do with the Trump campaign.


Bob Smith 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Wait until the dust settles around the Podesta group before you start counting scalps.

Daniel Kennamore 5 months, 3 weeks ago

This is what you Trump people don't get, this isn't about 'my team' versus 'yours'.

If T Podesta did anything wrong I'll be just as happy to see him behind bars.

That said, if you're trying to equate the independent actions of a lobbyist to those of high ranking Trump campaign officials you're once again missing the point.

Josh Berg 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The real point is that this happened under Obama's watch. Seems the corruption was all fine and dandy until your party lost the election

Daniel Kennamore 5 months, 3 weeks ago

How is it Obama's fault at all that Manafort hired Podesta's firm for a PR campaign?

Maybe if the GOP controlled congress has spent time looking at real issues instead of using their positions to smear Hillary for years they would have found out about this sooner.

Bob Smith 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Danny's very protective of his idols.

Michael Kort 5 months, 3 weeks ago

And now for more breaking news from Swampington, D.C. ( AKA = the District of Collusion ) .

Manafort, Gates and their loved ones are now on the Endangered Species List in at least two Major Countries, one being the USSR and the other being the USA because making them go away permanently thru death's door or as a threatened event, would not be a rocket science solution for the political problems of evil world leaders attempting to make this all just go away . .

The Justice Department should be on top of that like a hawk to prevent that from happening .

Cait McKnelly 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm most concerned about Bill Browder. God, I hope that man has a good security detail.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I know today has probably really knocked your aluminum hat ajar. Please adjust, And quit listening to Alex Jones. He lost custody of his kids for a reason.

Michael Kort 5 months, 3 weeks ago

IS IT LOCK HER UP ?.............OR .........IS IT LOCK ALL THREE OF THEM UP ? ........Now What Was That Trump Rally Chant ? ? ?.............BREAKING CAN fool allot of the people, MOST of the time ............And it helps if you are an UNREALITY TV STAR, to be able to fool them ! ! !...............Somehow i don't think that these guys were Making America Great Again ! ?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So for years and several million dollars, a Republican congress has tried to find something that Clinton did that was illegal. Granted she should have used only her government email for business, but I guess that's not a problem now that it's been proven that some of Trump's people have done the same thing since then. They put her through investigation after investigation into Benghazi.

But here they have been investigating Trump's cronies and advisors for less than a year, and have come up with a lot of crimes, and worse, antiAmerican activities. I realize most Republicans worship the almighty dollar, and it doesn't matter how you got your money, but really? You want to claim your patriotism and have your ill-gotten gains too? You admire someone who ripped off our country dealing with a foreign country who wants to replace us as the world leader? Oh wait, Trump's already abdicated our world leadership. Thank goodness, Germany is holding out as a leader.

Don Brennaman 5 months, 3 weeks ago

could you help with Trump's 222 most repeated lies?

Larry Sturm 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Trump's Witch Hunt is about to catch the orange headed witch.Anybody that denies ,denies and denies some more is generally guilty.

Richard Heckler 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Special counsel Robert Mueller was given the authority to prosecute whatever alleged crimes that are discovered along the way.

Richard Heckler 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Other related activity:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a liar. His perjury before the Senate helped obscure the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. He is not fit to be the country’s chief law enforcement officer and it is time for Congress to remove him.

This week’s Trump-Russia bombshells are shining a harsh new light on Sessions. They make clear that he was chairing the meeting where George Papadopoulos suggested that he could arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. Most recently, media reports suggest that Trump advisor Carter Page – in sworn testimony – told the House Intelligence Committee that he had in fact told Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the campaign.

Senators have now asked Sessions three times what he knew about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

He has never mentioned Papadopoulos, Page or the fact that Trump advisors were trying to forge ties with a foreign government. Congress must hold Sessions accountable for his failure to tell the full truth, but Trump’s Republican lapdogs will never act unless they are under massive pressure.

Can you add your name today?


Richard Heckler 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Impeachment Exists for Lying Liars Like Jeff Sessions

If ever there was a candidate for removal from office, it’s him.

Impeachment is hard.

But c’mon, people! We cannot be so resistant to constitutional duty that we render toothless the most powerful tool we have for holding lawless, demented, and dangerous officials to account.

There have to instances in which impeachment by the House of Representatives, trial by the Senate, and removal of the reprehensible are warranted.

Rarely in our history have they been more warranted than in the case of Jeff Sessions, the attorney general who lies, and lies, and lies to Congress.

Sessions is a famously dishonest, and destructive, political careerist.

In the 1980s, when he tried to convince the Senate Judiciary Committee that he wasn’t a racist who had abused his position as a US Attorney in Alabama to prosecute voting-rights activists, the Republican-controlled committee saw through his claims of impartiality and personal decency and rejected him as a nominee for a federal judgeship.

Richard Heckler 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The shift to colder, winter weather often makes us feel lethargic and deters our motivation to go outside.

But before you pull over the blankets or curl up by the fire to watch your favorite show, you should consider the potential benefits of cold-weather workouts.

Aside from helping to ease fears of potential winter weight gain, exercising outdoors in colder weather has numerous health benefits. The average winter weight gain ranges from 5-10 pounds according to Senior Director of Clinical Nutrition at Mt. Sinai.

The Hot Press Coverage overlooking indictments should provide warmth once we return from 3 miles walking outside in colder air. Plenty of discussion as we go merrily along ......










Michael Kort 5 months, 2 weeks ago

If Manafort manages to get out from under federal house arrest he won't need 3 passports or a burner phone to escape American justice .

He probably knows where the nearest Russian or Ukrane Embassies are......and he will walk thru their front or back doors....... and right out of American custody !

His silence is worth millions to some and he won't miss the money that some foriegn government will gladly replace .

He will just hang low in some embassy until Trump pardons him on the way out of the White House .

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