Mueller’s Special Counsel Picks Its First Targets

On October 30th Robert Mueller’s special counsel executed its first indictments. The Mueller investigation began on May 17th 2017 when Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to head a investigation on  any interference in the 2016 elections by Russia or Russian officials, although in August 2017 the investigation began to include several lobbying firms and other financial doings. On the 27th of October it was revealed that their were indictments scheduled for Monday of the next week, the names were withheld.

 

That brings us to October 30th 2017. Paul Manafort surrendered to the FBI after being indicted on 6 charges: including, 1 count of engaging in a conspiracy against the United States, 1 count of conspiracy to launder money and 4 counts of failure to file reports of foreign banks and financial accounts.  These charges stem from Manaforts long time lobbying for foreign governments such as Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych, the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos and Congo’s Mobutu Sese Seko. However, in order to be lobbying for foreign governments you must be registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, Manafort was not registered until June 2017. Thus making all lobbying activities before registering a violation of the 1938 act. Also placed on the same charges as Manafort was his business partner Rick Gates who had worked with him on the Trump campaign. Manafort and Gates both entered a plea of not guilty on Monday and are awaiting trial.

 

Next up was George Papadopoulos, he was arrested on July 27th, but the details of his arrest were released along with Manaforts on the 30th. On October 5th he pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about contacts he had in the Russian government. Since the arrest Papadopoulos has been cooperating fully with the Mueller investigation and his guilty plea was said to be apart of his assistance in the investigation. Perhaps the most confusing point surrounding Papadopoulos’s arrest is the president’s reaction, Trump originally praised Papadopoulos and was said to be one of the five foreign policy advisors. Since Papadopoulos arrest however Trump has said “ he was a young, low level volunteer named George, who has already been proven to be a liar.” This has confused people who think Trump is trying to deny that Papadopoulos didn’t play a part in Trump’s campaign when past statements proved contrary to that.

 

Now, only time will tell what will happen next in the Mueller special investigation, rumors of enough evidence to prosecute Michael Flynn have been surfacing which some say could lead to a obstruction of justice case against Trump himself. After all, this is all speculation but the investigation will continue and no doubt stir up more debate for what the future of American politics holds.

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