Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office moved to officially dismiss recent charges against Rick Gates Tuesday afternoon, after the former deputy chairman to President Trump’s 2016 campaign pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and tax fraud, reports the Washington Post.
Both Gates and Manafort were previously indicted with multiple counts of conspiracy to launder money, acting as unregistered agents on behalf of foreign governments, making false statements, and failure to disclose financial records.
The special counsel’s office decision to drop the charges signals Gates may be offering to cooperate with Mueller’s probe into Manafort’s finances; further suggesting the ongoing investigation into Russian “collusion” centers on the former campaign chairman’s foreign investments and financial ties.
Rick Gates joined the Trump campaign in the early months of 2016 after Manafort was hired as chairman, and worked under him as his deputy in the run-up to the US presidential election.
Paul Manafort has maintained his innocence throughout Mueller’s probe, vowing to fight the allegations in court since his initial indictment last October.
MANAFORT STRIKES BACK: Former Trump Aide SUES DOJ, Mueller, Rosenstein
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is fighting back against the Department of Justice and the special counsel’s office; suing the DOJ, Robert Mueller, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over allegations they overstepped their boundaries while investigating whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
The paperwork claims that the special counsel’s office intentionally targeted Manafort, eventually indicting him on charges that are completely unrelated to allegations the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.
“The investigation of Mr. Manafort is completely unmoored from the Special Counsel’s original jurisdiction to investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,’” the complaint states.
“It has instead focused on unrelated, decade-old business dealings—specifically, Ukraine political campaign consulting activities of Mr. Manafort.”
“The actions of DOJ and Mr. Rosenstein in issuing the Appointment Order, and Mr. Mueller’s actions pursuant to the authority the Order granted him, were arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law,” adds the court filings.
The former campaign chairman was indicted in late October on a dozen counts related to illegal financial transfers and business dealings, and have yielded zero connections to the President or those closest to him.
h/t The Hill
MUELLER STRIKES: Special Counsel INDICTS PAUL MANAFORT… Again
Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for a second time Thursday, charging the one-time presidential insider with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for his work relating to the Ukrainian government.
The new indictment was filed in Northern Virginia and accuses Manafort and associate Rick Gates of acting as “unregistered agents of a foreign government and foreign political parties. Specifically, they represented the Government of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine.”
Court filings go on to say Manafort and Gates “generated tens of millions of dollars” through the Ukrainian government but failed to disclose their work to federal authorities.
“Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income. Manafort, without reporting the income to his tax preparer or the United States, spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to United States vendors,” adds the indictment.
Read the full indictment here.