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Tag: paul manafort

Feds Reveal Alleged Direct Link Between Trump Campaign & Russia

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation now has what appears to be a direct link between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Former campaign aide Rick Gates, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s team, was “directly communicating” in the final months of the presidential election in 2016 with a person who the FBI believes has ties to Russian intelligence, the USA Today reports.

The contacts were revealed in court documents in the upcoming sentencing of Alex van der Zwaan, a London attorney who had pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Gates and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is expected to face trial this fall on numerous fraud, conspiracy and tax charges.

Prosectors allege van der Zwaan knew about the contacts with “Person A,” who appears to be a former Ukraine-based aide who had worked with Gates and Manafort and has close ties to Russian intelligence.

“Gates told him ‘Person A’ was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU (the intelligence arm of the Russian military),” the court documents state.

The White House did not respond to direct questions about the latest revelations but offered a blanket denial of wrongdoing.

“There was no collusion and we’re confident in that,” White House spokeswoman Sanders said.

Trump Lawyer Reportedly Offered Pardons to Two Top Trump Campaign Aides

Trump’s former lead attorney John Dowd.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of Donald Trump’s lawyers floated the idea of pardoning two of the president’s former advisers who have been charged in the special counsel investigation of Russia and Trump’s campaign, The New York Times first reported Wednesday

According to three people with knowledge of the discussions, the lawyer, John Dowd, who resigned last week, broached the possibility of pardons while the special counsel was building cases against the top campaign aides, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort.

The timing of the pardon discussions with the men’s attorneys raise questions about whether the White House was trying to influence Flynn and Manafort to plead not guilty. It’s unclear whether the president was aware of the discussions.

Down denied having the pardon discussions with the advisers’ lawyers.

“There were no discussions. Period,” Dowd said. “As far as I know, no discussions.”

Trump attorney Ty Cobb also denied the report.

“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” he said.

Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty and could face trial as early as this fall.

Manafort Seeks Dismissal of Charges, Arguing Mueller Overstepped His Authority

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is facing up to 305 years in prison, urged a federal judge Wednesday to dismiss the charges against him because they exceed the legal authority of the special counsel appointed to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In a motion to dismiss the charges, Manafort’s attorneys argued the alleged crimes predate Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign and therefore fall outside of the jurisdiction of special counsel Robert Mueller.

His attorneys contend Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein overstepped his authority by giving Mueller permission to prosecute any unrelated crimes that are discovered during the investigation of Russia.

“It is a blank check the special counsel has cashed, repeatedly,” Manafort’s filing read.

Manafort made a similar argument for a separate batch of charges file against him by the special counsel team.

Unless Manafort strikes a deal with prosecutors, the former high-paid political consultant is on track to become the first person to be tried in connection with Robert Mueller’s investigation

Manafort’s longtime business partner, Rick Gates, is among three former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty to assortment of charges and have agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Gates, who also served on Trump’s campaign, is expected to provide information about crimes he said he and Manafort committed as business partners.

Gates and Manafort were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, tax fraud and money laundering stemming from lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Protester Hurls Russian Flag at Manafort After He Pleads Not Guilty in Special Counsel Case

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A protester threw a Russian flag at former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Thursday as he was leaving a courthouse after pleading not guilty to tax and fraud charges in the second case brought against him by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The protester, standing outside of a federal court building in Alexandria, Va., held a sign that read “blood money” and shouted “Traitor!” as Manafort left the courthouse, NBC News reports

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III placed Manafort on home confinement and required him to wear a GPS bracelet pending his trial date of July 10.

In a related case, Manafort last week pleaded not guilty and is set for a Sept. 17 trial.

Because of his age, Manafort faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison on numerous charges related to his business dealing in eastern Europe.

Unless Manafort strikes a deal with prosecutors, the former high-paid political consultant is on track to become the first person to be tried in connection with Robert Mueller’s investigation

Manafort’s longtime business partner, Rick Gates, is among three former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty to assortment of charges and have agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Gates, who also served on Trump’s campaign, is expected to provide information about crimes he said he and Manafort committed as business partners.

Gates and Manafort were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, tax fraud and money laundering stemming from lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Two weeks ago, the men’s Russian-connected attorney Alex Van der Zwaan was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Last month, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. 

The other former Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

In May 2017, Mueller was appointed to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. So far, more than 100 charges have been filed against a 19 people and three companies.

Trump’s Ex-Campaign Chairman Manafort Faces Sept. 17 Trial After Pleading Not Guilty

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison on numerous charges related to his business dealing in eastern Europe, pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday and is scheduled for a trial beginning Sept. 17.

Unless Manafort strikes a deal with prosecutors, the former high-paid political consultant is expected to face the first trial to emerge from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort’s longtime business partner, Rick Gates, is among three former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty to assortment of charges and have agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Gates, who also served on Trump’s campaign, is expected to provide information about crimes he said he and Manafort committed as business partners.

Gates and Manafort were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, tax fraud and money laundering stemming from lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Because of his age, Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

On Friday, Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal tens of millions of dollars while working with Manafort.

The indictments do not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign, but Gates and Manafort played a prominent role in the campaign and have drawn suspicion because of their ties with pro-Russian factions in eastern Europe.

Last week, the men’s Russian-connected attorney Alex Van der Zwaan was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

About two weeks ago, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. 

The other former Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

In March 2017, Mueller was appointed to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, the former FBI director has broadened the scope of the probe to include Trump’s business dealings http://ticklethewire.com/2018/02/28/special-counsels-probe-focuses-trumps-business-ties-prior-presidential-run/ and his firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.

Trump, who suggested Russian election meddling was “a hoax” peddled by the “fake media,” claims the special counsel probe is a “witch hunt” by the upper ranks of the FBI and Justice Department to bring him down.

His attorneys are trying to find a legal argument to prevent Trump from being interviewed by Mueller because they fear he will lie and commit perjury.

Third Trump Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty in Special Counsel Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Trump campaign aide on Friday became the third associate of President Trump to plead guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators in connected to the quickly evolving special counsel investigation.

Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators as part of a deal to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors in exchange for leniency. Gates is believed to have incriminating evidence against his longtime business partner and former Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort, who has pledged to fight the charges.

Later Friday, Manafort was charged for a second time in one day, the latest charge claiming he was secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

Gates admitted he was part of a conspiracy to conceal tens of millions of dollars that he and Manafort received for lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Earlier in the day, Gates and Manafort were charged in a 32-count indictment that comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign, but Gates played a prominent role in the campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Last week, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. 

The other Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Gates will follow Mike Flynn, Trump’s short-tenured national security adviser, and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in pleading guilty to charges filed by Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump operation.

Prominent Trump Campaign Aides Charged Again by Special Counsel Mueller

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate Rick Gates are facing potentially steeper prison sentences after a grand jury on Thursday unveiled a 32-count indictment alleging numerous tax and bank fraud charges.

The 32-count indictment comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

In the latest charges, the longtime political consultants are accused of a multiyear scheme to evade taxes and commit bank fraud using money they acquired from a  pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Gates, who has gone through several different lawyers, was expected to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal for leniency, but it’s unclear whether he plans to still work with Mueller’s team.

Russia Probe: Attorney Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI about Trump Campaign Aide

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A prominent, Russian-connected attorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to misleading the FBI about his work with President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, marking the third conviction so far in the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Alex Van der Zwaan is accused of lying to federal investigators about communications he had with Rick Gates, a longtime business partner of Manafort and a former Trump campaign aide.

Prosecutors say Van der Zwaan made false statements about his work for a law firm accused of whitewashing abuses by the pro-Russian, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is accused of an $18 million money laundering scheme involving Manafort.

The scheme is part of the criminal case against Manafort and Gates, who were both indicted in October on 12 counts involving money laundering, conspiracy against the U.S. and tax fraud. They pleaded not guilty.

Van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan, worked in London for the prominent New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

After pleading guilty, he admitted to lying to investigators about past communications with Gates and someone identified as “Personal A.”

The case centered around Van der Zwaan’s work for Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice, which hired him to put together a report about the trial of Tymoshenko.

BuzzFeed News reported Monday that Tymoshenko was the focus of an FBI investigation as part of a failed operation to tackle international kleptocracy in 2014 and 2015. During the probe, investigators identified $40 million in “suspicious transactions” to and from Manafort’s companies. 

But the under-resourced task force dropped the investigation and never charged Manafort or Tymoshenko, according to current and former law enforcement officials who worked on the case.

Gates is expected to plead guilty as early as this week to money laundering as part of a deal with prosecutors to testify against Manafort, who continues to maintain his innocence.

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