Monday, October 30, 2017, has already been dubbed “indictment day,” the day that sent Washington into a tailspin and proved beyond doubt that members of Donald Trump’s campaign team had contact with Russian officials seeking to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As reported by the Inquisitr, speculation had been running wild over the weekend after information leaked suggesting that the Mueller investigation team had indicted sources close to President Trump. As dawn broke over Washington, it was revealed that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his business associate Rick Gates had been ordered to surrender to the FBI.
As reported by the New York Times, Manafort and Gates were charged with 12 offenses and later entered a not guilty plea in a Washington courtroom. The charges against Manafort and Gates included conspiring against the United States, tax evasion, and money laundering. The charges against Manafort and Gates show that the Mueller investigation uncovered clear links between the two men and Russia.
It’s fair to say that the charges against Manafort and Gates relate mostly to their business dealings in Russia and the Ukraine. Whilst they are not the “smoking gun” many thought they would be, they do show that high ranking members of the Trump campaign team had extensive contacts in Russia. They also call Trump’s judgment into question.
Almost unbelievably, the Mueller investigation’s charges against Manafort and Gates were not the most damaging revelations of the day.
Is George Papadopoulos The “Smoking Gun” That Will Bring Down Trump?
Whilst the media was in a frenzy over Manafort and Gates, information emerged about a third Trump aid, George Papadopoulos, who had been a foreign policy advisor on the Trump campaign team. As reported by the Independent, court documents were unsealed showing that Papadopoulos had entered a guilty plea admitting that he had lied to the FBI about his links to Russian officials whilst part of team Trump.
Those documents will have made very uncomfortable reading for President Trump. They state that, as a member of the Trump campaign team, Papadopoulos had substantial contact with Russian officials who had indicated that they had information that would damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Papadopoulos admits that he worked with a man identified as “the professor” to arrange “a meeting between us [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S. – Russia ties under President Trump.” According to Axios, “the professor” is “Joseph Mifsud, the director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, who promised ‘dirt’ from the Russians on Hillary Clinton.”
Papadopoulos’ admissions claim that he kept senior advisors in the Trump campaign team fully informed of his activities and contacts with Russia. It would seem that Papadopoulos facilitated the meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Paul Manafort, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
As reported by CNN, Papadopoulos’ guilty plea is much more significant than the charges against Manafort and Gates. The reason for this, they claim, is simple. Papadopoulos has cut a deal with the Mueller investigation, pleading guilty to a relatively minor charge in exchange for information on the Trump campaigns contacts with Russia.
It appears that Papadopoulos has been cooperating with the Mueller investigation, and the court documents point to his facilitating meetings between senior members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Papadopoulos’ admissions expose the breadth of the Mueller investigation team’s inquiries into team Trump and suggest that the charges against Manafort and Gates are just the beginning.
Monday, October 30, 2017, was a sensational day in the presidency of Donald Trump. It may prove to be the day that marks the beginning of the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]