Washington is in turmoil today after Donald Trump’s former campaign manager was forced to surrender to the FBI. The newswires are buzzing with the story that Paul Manafort and a former business associate, Rick Gates, are the first people to be indicted by the Mueller investigation over alleged links between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. According to Politico, Manafort and Gates will face 12 charges linked to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election campaign.
No details of the charges have yet emerged, and as reported by the Inquisitr earlier today, President Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade yesterday denying any wrongdoing. There can be little doubt that Manafort’s arrest is a blow to the Trump administration. Even if there is no evidence to tie Trump directly to the allegations against Manafort and Gates, the president’s troubles may not end there.
As reported by CNN, the Mueller investigation’s actions against Manafort may be just the beginning. They claim that “the charges could be the first step in a series of actions by the special counsel that strike at the heart of Trump’s inner political and family circle.” These actions could even put Trump’s presidency in jeopardy, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, could be next in the firing line.
As reported by Vox, Kushner was present with Manafort during a meeting with Russian officials who had told Donald Trump Jr. that they had “incriminating information on Hillary Clinton.” Manafort and Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9, 2016, and although the parties claimed that the information led nowhere, this meeting is likely to be put under intense scrutiny by the Mueller investigation.
Shortly after that meeting, the Clinton campaign was rocked when WikiLeaks released thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee. The U.S. intelligence agencies later claimed that this hack was the work of the Russian government. The Mueller investigation into Trump’s campaign will clearly be looking at whether Manafort and Kushner conspired with the Russian government to hurt the Clinton campaign.
As reported by the New York Daily News, the Mueller investigation has been looking into Kushner’s finances and his support for Trump’s firing of former FBI chief James Comey. Kushner has also been linked to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Trump forced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to resign after it was revealed that he had met with Kislyak and lied to Vice President Pence about the meetings.
President Trump’s family troubles do not end with Kushner. Donald Trump Jr. is also being investigated by Mueller over the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya. It is alleged that Trump Jr. initially lied about that meeting and that Trump may have colluded with Trump Jr. to cover it up. Mueller is also believed to be investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice over his sacking of FBI Director James Comey.
One thing is certain: The Mueller investigation is far from over and the Trump family are right at its heart. Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. may well be the next to be indicted in a political scandal that goes to the very heart of the Trump administration.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]