Money laundering, tax evasion and conspiracy against the United States

The first indictments have come down, and the targets are Paul Manafort and his crony, Richard Gates. I suspect it’s the money charges — money laundering and tax evasion — that are really going to hurt Manafort and Gates. If conspiracy and treason could get you in trouble, we’d have to arrest most of the members of the Republican party.

Let’s hope these two are just the start.


  1. doubtthat says

    Manafort was first on my list. Didn’t know anything about Gates before today.

    This is where it gets interesting. The same fishy business deals that Mueller went after with Manafort are the foundation of the Trump-Kushner empire. There’s way more evidence about collusion with Russia than I ever imagined, but money laundering and illegal transactions are still the real scandal.

    Also interesting that failing to disclose accounts and business ties was a charge. Mannequin-come-to-life Jared has already been exposed on that a half dozen different times…

  2. rpjohnston says

    Seconded #2.

    Whole thing’s going to be really fragile in the coming hours. Watch what Trump does, and what he incites his rats to do. From what I’m seeing on twitter, Fox is silent now, but I expect that will only last until they decide on the message. Remember, this is a network that had people on calling for Clinton’s execution recently. The fantasy world they live in has been disconnected from reality and they can fabricate literally anything they want to use as marching orders for the swarm. This is the time I would most expect the Right to abandon the corruption of our country and engage an all-out coup against our society, laws, and democratic government. And their aim is not simply to destroy our institutions – as horrifying as even that thought is – to be to destroy the PEOPLE as well, including all of us on the Left. Do not be complacent about how far they will go.

  3. archangelospumoni says

    Let’s hope the top generals have agreed not to do anything too Drumpfh-like, such as bomb somebody. Just like the last couple of days of the Nixon presidency.

  4. doubtthat says


    Yep. I can’t believe a significant number of people would fall for that idiotic Uranium story, but hey, Trump’s president.

    I completely agree that we have just entered a VERY interesting time period in United States history. Nixon was obviously smarter and more genius evil than Trump, but Trump’s ignorance and instability means anything is on the table in a way it wasn’t with Nixon.

    Also, the right wing media infrastructure is so much more advanced that it was under Nixon. It’s terrifying.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    If they don’t settle for blaming a conspiracy by liberals/UN/the Bilderberg Group there is always ze joos.
    The idea of their side being “guilty” of something is not even on the map. So when some kook loads his assault rifle, he will be convinced he is acting in defence of the nation against a conspiracy.

  6. says


    They had a hard-hitting piece on Google’s hamburger emoji –the cheese is in the wrong place!

    I read that this morning. I don’t have enough eyeroll. I can’t imagine why anyone would give a fuck.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    They are blaming the emoji for the conspiracy against America!
    It is an obvious clue that an evil AI has taken control of Google….and is probably controlling the libruls and the traitors who accuse Trump.
    The only way to save the nation is to burn down all power plants and/or libraries!

  8. cartomancer says

    I have recently discovered microwaveable burgers. They’re actually rather good. But I have noticed that when you take them out of the microwave the hottest part is always underneath the burger, because the meat traps the steam and prevents it from escaping. Perhaps the under-burger cheese is an attempt to melt the cheese as rapidly as possible by locating it in the hottest region of the stack?

    Also, fuck Trump and all his odious minions.

  9. robro says

    I suppose everyone one saw the photo of the woman on a bike being passed by Trump’s motorcade leaving Trump’s trip to Trump’s gold course outside Washington.

    Manafort’s indictment comes as zero surprise. Gates is a relatively minor player…perhaps the kind of minor player that doesn’t want to go to jail for other peoples crimes? I suppose Trump will really go ballistic when Don Jr. and Jared get the call.

    Meanwhile, the Guardian posted this little ditty on Saturday about the relationship between other players in this dirty little game: Trump, Assange, Bannon, Farage, Cambridge Analytics, Mercer, Brexit, Calexit, Rep. Dana Roharbacher, et al.

  10. says

    One would think this is hitting very close to home for Donald based on his most recent Twitter meltdown and attempts to throw accusations at the Clintons, Obama, and the Democrats.

    One would think.

    Nah. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

  11. Larry says

    If they don’t settle for blaming a conspiracy by liberals/UN/the Bilderberg Group there is always ze joos

    And don’t forget there are still the NFL players out there who are still dissing ‘murica by taking a knee during the anthem. The number of news stories has fallen documenting how the inmates, er, thugs, players are being naughty. This needs to be ratcheted up to drown out the trump indictments!

  12. robro says

    Washington Post is reporting “breaking news” that “Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal investigators.” No details and the linked story is about Manafort and Gates. Papadopoulos is the sort of small fry that might cook the bigger fish. He’s already plead guilty to a write off charge so he can talk, talk, talk.

    Interestingly, WP notes that Manafort/Gates indictment says nothing about the Trump campaign. It’s all about their long relationship with pro-Putin elements in Ukraine.

  13. says

    Manafort/Gates indictment says nothing about the Trump campaign.

    We must not forget that the FBI (which is what’s behind Mueller’s investigation) has not necessarily stopped playing politics. They couldn’t quite pick which side they were on during the election, which is why Comey kept doing his weird floppings-around. Mueller is not necessarily a friend of the public – we don’t know if we’re going to see a Benghaaaaazi!-style endless raking-over of testimony, or if we’ll see an aggressive and honest investigation. We shouldn’t be surprised if this turns into one of those “sure, the video shows the guy running away from the cop, and the cop shooting him 3 times in the back, but – the cop was totally threatened, so: not guilty” kind of cases.

    I’d like to get my hopes up, but at this time, in this place, I think hope is probably not appropriate.

  14. blf says

    More on George Papadopoulos’ gulity plea from the Grauniad’s live blog (14:44 mark, Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Separate from the Manafort indictment, George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty earlier this month to making false statements to FBI agents, according to the office of the US special prosecutor Bob Mueller.

    The indictment, which was unsealed on Monday, says that Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with an influential “overseas professor” who had “substantial connections to Russian government officials”. The professor, according to the statement, told Papadopoulos that he had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails”.

    Papadopoulos had told agents repeatedly that he learned of this information before becoming involved with the Trump campaign. In fact, he met with the professor days after becoming a campaign adviser.

    He also initially told investigators that the professor was a “nothing” and just a guy talk{ing} up connections or something” when in truth he understood that the professor had “substantial connections to Russian government officials,” the document says.

    That document can be found here.

    Also, from Paul Manafort turns himself in as Trump-Russia inquiry heats up is this tidbit;

    Both Manafort and Gates were involved in extensive business dealings with a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who is close to Vladimir Putin. Deripaska sued them both in the Cayman Islands in 2014, claiming they had taken nearly $19m intended for investments and then failed to account for the money.

    Manafort’s relations with Deripaska appeared to revive when the lobbyist was hired by Trump in March 2016. Leaked emails show Manafort offering to provide Deripaska with private briefings on the campaign in July 2016, less than two weeks before Trump accepted the Republican nomination.

    Manafort’s indictment is not about the Deripaska sleaze.

  15. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also worth noting: the released indictment is marked “INDICTMENT (B).” If that means there was an indictment that came before this, where is it?

  16. Hj Hornbeck says

    As usual, Salty Current has been doing a fab job collating additional information. Check out the four comments starting here. A quick summary:

    – Possible collusion between Trump and the Kremlin has been pushed back to April 2016, three months before WikiLeaks published any Clinton emails and over a month before that fateful Trump Tower meeting. Papadopoulos actually got an email on May 21st, 2016 with the subject line “Request from Russia to meet Trump!” And that isn’t the first time a meeting was discussed!

    – Papadopoulos’ indictment has the following quote in a footnote on page 8: “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

    – Another quote, this time from the document itself: “The Government agrees to bring to the Court’s attention at sentencing the defendent’s efforts to cooperate with the Government …” In other words, prosecutors are saying to go easy on Papadopoulos, as he’s a key witness. Which means he’ll be put on the stand to explain just what the last two bullet points mean.

    Yeah, this isn’t anywhere close to over, and it’s looking scary for Team Trump.

  17. robro says

    Marcus Ranum @ #13

    We must not forget that the FBI (which is what’s behind Mueller’s investigation) has not necessarily stopped playing politics.

    Yes, that’s a possibility. It’s also possible that Mueller’s team is starting small to build from there. These charges against Manafort and Gates are relatively easy to get indictments for…their involvement with pro-Putin Ukrainians has been well documented and everyone knew there was money involved, so “money laundering” gives the investigation a wedge. What they could be looking for is a lever to get someone talking to cover their own ass. This strategy has been speculated about in the media.

    Incidentally, one of the charges is “false and misleading FARA statements,” the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Could be a prelude to going after Kushner who had to amend his SF-86 forms numerous times to disclose contacts with foreign representatives. As far as I can tell, he never registered with FARA. Similarly with Flynn.

    Hj Hornbeck @#19 — Could Indictment A was a pending indictment against Papadopoulos?

  18. brett says

    Good news. Here’s hoping they can flip one or the other of them (or somebody else), and pry open who else was involved in this. I don’t think it will lead to the impeachment and removal of Trump, but who knows?

    Speaking of Mueller, apparently his investigation into Enron was a good case example on how to go after corporate crime:

    Beginning in 2002, the well-funded, well-staffed Enron Task Force engaged in five years of “pick and shovel work,” unearthing every aspect of the failed energy trader’s accounting scandal. They flipped lower-level employees to reach the bad actors above; they even interviewed one subject three times to break him down. To get to the chief financial officer, Andrew Fastow, they indicted his wife for tax fraud. And the task force didn’t confine the investigation to Enron but attempted to track down every Wall Street banker and accountant who facilitated the deception. In the end, their diligence led to convictions for nearly every top executive at the firm, including the chairman, Ken Lay (who died before sentencing), and CEO Jeffrey Skilling. Persistent pressure and solid lawyering proved that you could take on corporate crime and win.

    That gives me some confidence regarding the investigation into this. Although sooner or later, Trump might finally try and see if he actually can fire Mueller (it’s not clear if he can, or if only Sessions can do that).

  19. Hj Hornbeck says

    robro @21:

    Could Indictment A was a pending indictment against Papadopoulos?

    Papadopoulos was never indicted, check out the Special Council’s page. It sounds like he was a cooperating witness right out of the gate, in fact. So if there is an “INDICTMENT (A),” it’s gotta be someone else. I’ve seen Flynn’s name get floated, but from my (VERY limited) understanding this possible indictment should be similar to the one made public. Think more “money laundering” than “person X talked with the Kremlin.”

  20. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    “”money laundering and tax evasion””

    Was the only way they could “get” Al Capone. All his crimes glossed over while IRS took him in. Money talks, BOTH ways :-)

  21. F.O. says

    If Enron is any lesson, I eagerly await the US going to some war to distract we-the-people from this investigation.

  22. rpjohnston says

    Lots of laughter about Hannity and Fox accidentally referring to “the Clinton Administration” and “President Clinton”.
    I’m not sure, but the last couple of years have taught me to examine all possibilities and expect the worst one, especially when it comes to treasonous rightwing propaganda.
    Remember all the lies they pushed about Obama during his presidency – that he was an unamerican usuper preparing to take over and destroy the United States using Jade Helm and a million Isis fighters in Yellowstone, etc.
    After the election that morphed into rumors of a “shadow government” run by him and Clinton that simmered just beneath the surface, a rumor that has popped up from time to time in their propaganda.
    Hannity, Fox, and the other propagandists may be in the beginning stages of pushing this narrative to the forefront, that the “Legitimate Patriotic American Government of Donald J Trump” is under siege from an illegal shadow government run by Clinton and Obama and financed by Soros, and composed of the evil, treasonous Left and Democrats, who, as the NRA ads say, are “taking over are institutions and must be opposed with a clenched fist”.
    In this narrative Trump will be the underdog, heroically holding on against the onslaught of Evil, but always in danger of imminent failure unless PATRIOTIC ANGRY AMERICANS “oppose the enemy in the streets”.
    In other words, expect these “accidental” slips of the tongue to turn into a declaration of war by the Right, by the Trumpists, against the Institutions and the People of the United States. This may be the end of the slow corruption of our society and the beginning of an outright coup against the nation by Trumpists.
    Be prepared. If it comes down to it, we MUST win, or the life of our nation as we’ve known it for almost 300 years, and the lives of all of us who aren’t Trumpists, will be over.

  23. Ichthyic says

    This may be the end of the slow corruption of our society and the beginning of an outright coup against the nation by Trumpists.

    just remember what the neoliberal narcissists have forgotten:

    you outnumber them by over 3:1

    this is the thing authoritarians are inherently incapable of understanding. they are now, and have always been, a severe minority within human populations.

    inevitably, you have to smack them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and tell them to go think about what they did in the corner.

    maybe we can pre-empt this cycle someday, but it’s too late for that now.