After Paul Manafort was indicted Monday on 12 counts related to money laundering, conspiracy and other offenses, rumors surfaced that the investigation could potentially move toward Trump himself, and to his private affairs.
The New York Times reported that Manafort pleaded not guilty to the charges of laundering millions of dollars through overseas shell companies—money he used to buy luxury cars real estate, antique rugs and expensive clothing. Gates, having been charged as well, turned himself in along with Manafort. The two agreed to home detention.
The more damaging turn of events came when George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. after federal investigators alleged that he was corresponding with Russian intermediaries to gain an advantage during the campaign by discussing “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
Monday’s affairs suggest that the investigation may be far from over. Papadopoulos’s guilty plea may be a small sliver in a much larger and comprehensive investigation, said The Times.
“There’s a large-scale, ongoing investigation of which this case is a small part,” said Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, a prosecutor on special counsel for Robert Mueller’s investigative panel.
The concern is whether this investigation will lead to Trump himself. If Trump tried to stop it, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News there would be “holy hell to pay.”
Graham added, “I’ve heard nothing from the White House to suggest that the president’s going to try to replace Mr. Mueller. Zero evidence from anybody I’ve talked to. It would be wrong to do so unless there were cause,” he said.
According to Fox News, those close to Trump say that the president has become increasingly concerned that the investigation could be moving into his private affairs. Senator Graham said that this should not be alarming.
“No politician should ever be afraid of the American legal system working its will,” he said.
Whatever the results of the Russian investigation, lawmakers believe that it won’t ultimately affect other policy being discussed, such as health care and tax reform. Senator John Kenney said that multitasking is a common practice for Americans.
“Most Americans [multitask], and I don’t see why we can’t,” he told Fox News.
But the allegations swarming around Manafort have forced Trump to distance himself from him and Gates, as well as Papadopoulos. The indictment against Manafort, which was unsealed Monday, read that he spent more than $1.3 million in expensive clothing and luxury items in a four-year period, between June 2008 to December 2012 from a vendor known simply as Vendor H. He also spent $849,215 at an unnamed men’s clothing store in New York, according to Fox News.
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