For the third time in two weeks, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued new charges against Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort. Following close on the heels of a plea deal reached today with Manafort’s long time partner Rick Gates, Manafort issued a statement.
"Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence. I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise. This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me."
But Manafort had barely expressed his defiance, before Mueller delivered a fresh blow with a newly unsealed indictment that appears to have been filed a week ago. This indictment matches the previous superseding indictment, except that it:
- Removes the charges against Gates.
- Removes four bank fraud charges (the reason isn’t immediately clear)
- Adds much more detail about Manafort’s schemes to support the Russian-backed “Party of Regions” by secretly hiring European politicians to take pro-Ukraine positions, including lobbying in the United States.
- Details on the Skadden-related report are covered here, tying this indictment back to that of Alex Van der Zwaan
The charges against Manafort break down into the categories of Conspiracy against the United States, Conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, making false statements on a FARA application, and making false statements to the FBI and the special counsel.
Also new to this indictment: A long list of items for which Mueller is demanding forfeiture. This includes at least four houses or apartments, bank accounts, and even a life insurance policy.
More when I’ve had a chance to read it all in detail.