Few things in life give me the same satisfaction as a frustrated Republican Party and a distraught Donald Trump. What a week for me! On top of the usual stupidity and inaction, we were graced with a new surprise this weekend from the ongoing Russian Investigation.
Late Friday evening, news broke that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and his team had issued the first charges related to the investigation. Of course, we were teased with the idea all weekend knowing that we wouldn’t find out until Monday. The charges were approved by a federal grand jury on Friday and sources close to the investigation promised indictments after the weekend.
Speculation on the targets and reasons behind the indictment drove everyone (mostly newscasters and nerds like me) crazy. I knew that we weren’t going to be gifted the image of Donald Trump in handcuffs, but a boy can dream. I figured it would be some low-level assistant no one’s ever heard of being charged with something like accepting too many shampoos as a Russian hotel. I was wrong.
I made sure to set my alarm early Monday morning to be one of the first to read about the charges and it was well worth it. Former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted Monday morning on 12 charges by a federal grand jury. Both surrendered to law enforcement that morning and were brought to court later that day. Charges against Manafort and Gates include conspiracy, money laundering, being an unregistered foreign agent and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
No one really cares who Rick Gates is (he doesn’t fight zombies), but Paul Manafort is close enough to Trump and his campaign where connections can be made. Most of the charges focus on their work and association with Ukraine. It is alleged that Manafort and Gates received tens of millions of dollars while consulting and lobbying for the eastern European country. They (allegedly) tried to hide this income by cycling it through “scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.”
The two (alleged) criminals worked together with lobbying projects in the Ukraine under Manafort’s consulting firm. Their work was focused on pro-Russia political parties and agendas, including getting a Russian-friendly president elected (whom later fled to Russia four years later (no big deal)). The main issue the FBI has with the two and their work over the years was their refusal to file reports of their activities and income from their ventures in Ukraine. THEN, when questioned about it, in typical Trump fashion, they lied about it.
Our thirst is finally being quenched, as we’ve be waiting almost a year for something to happen in this investigation. The timing was good for most, but not for President Trump and the Republican Party. We all could predict that Trump wasn’t going to accept anything that went against his best friends or colleagues. I have effectively ignored his Twitter rants over the last week because I just don’t need that kind of negativity in my life right now. Coincidentally (most likely), the charges were announced and filed just as Congressional Republicans were about to announce their Tax Reform plan. They don’t like sharing news headlines, duh. Hopefully, now we can just skip to the part where the Republican Party shoots itself in the leg and fails to get anything done. At least Trump hasn’t tried to fire Mueller yet (I give it two weeks).
Written By: CJ Wilcox (@CJWilcox7)
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed by this writer are solely his own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Couch Guy Sports, affiliates, or other contributors. Yeah, I’m surprised I can get away with it too.