Key members of President Donald Trump’s political team are now facing federal charges for their part in a series of international scandals.
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller announced that former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and two other political advisers are now facing official accusations that they helped launder millions of dollars through overseas shell companies. All three men have placed not guilty pleas, but the evidence against them is extremely strong.
This announcement is certain to be a major turning point in the effort to take down the Trump presidency. Even though the current charges are limited to three individuals, experts say there are clues that more charges are coming.
Earlier this year, we learned that Manafort hosted a secret meeting between Trump operatives and the Russians during the campaign. Notes from that meeting strongly suggest Manafort was orchestrating a cash donation from the Russians to the Republican party.
Manafort’s notes from the Russia meeting say that he wrote something about a donation to the Republican National Committee.
Paul Manafort’s notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included a mention of political contributions near a reference to the Republican National Committee, two sources briefed on the evidence told NBC News.
The contents of the note, which have not been previously disclosed, elevated the significance of the June 2016 meeting for congressional investigators, who are focused on determining whether it included any discussion of donations from Russian sources to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party.
It is illegal for foreigners to donate to American elections. The meeting happened just as Trump had secured the Republican nomination for president, and he was considered a longshot to win. Manafort was the campaign chairman at the time.
Manafort is finding himself right in the middle of all the legal scandals and controversies facing the Trump campaign and the White House administration. All along, he has tried to avoid taking accountability.
Early on in the investigation, Manafort was subpoenaed by the U.S. Senate, after he previously tried to slip up investigators.
BREAKING: Senate Judiciary Committee issues subpoena for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to testify.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 25, 2017
“Mr. Manafort, through his attorney, said that he would be willing to provide only a single transcribed interview to Congress, which would not be available to the Judiciary Committee members or staff,” the two senators said. “While the Judiciary Committee was willing to cooperate on equal terms with any other committee to accommodate Mr. Manafort’s request, ultimately that was not possible,” Senate Judiciary Committee leader Dianne Feinstein said, according to the Washington Times.