Following a first act that involved having his home raided by federal authorities, the inevitable political thriller based on Paul Manafort’s alleged money laundering and tax lobbying schemes reached its second phase with the former Trump campaign manager surrendering to the FBI Monday morning. As The New York Times reports, Manafort was initially told to surrender before the charges were formally released against himself and his longtime business associate Rick Gates. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s acquired a serious Reddit following in his position as head of the Russian interference investigations, tells the Times that Manafort “laundered more than $18 million to buy properties and services.”
The charges are elaborated on here, though the part of the Times’ website that hosts them is currently overloaded with visitors. But the gist is that Manafort squirreled away “hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income.” As for the laundering part, to protect their ill-gotten gainsManafort and Gates made all kinds of false statements to “financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others.”
Speaking of false statements, Ty Cobb, a lawyer for Donald Trump, recently told the Times that the president isn’t worried about the Manafort allegations affecting him. Trump is very confident his former aides have nothing on him, and unhinged intermediary Roger Stone has said that Manafort would never lie about the president, which means there’s almost certainly nothing to see here, right? Even though Manafort was fired by the current administration for accepting millions of dollars in undisclosed payments from his one-time boss, former Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych?
The indictments against Manafort and Gates are just the tip of the investigation iceberg, as more shit is expected to roll downhill in the coming days.