After a long weekend of waiting, the first indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller relating to his ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia were unsealed. After a no-knock raid over the summer, it was not too surprising that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates were indicted on charges ranging from conspiracy against the United States to money laundering.
Showing a little more clarity than his tweets from over the weekend did, President Trump took to Twitter to respond to the news that his former campaign chairman was an unregistered foreign agent in the trademark Trump style.
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????? ….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!,” Trump wrote.
Unfortunately for Trump, the opening of the indictment against Manafort — and Gates, who the President didn’t mention — lays out a timeline of when Manafort committed his alleged crimes.
The indictment reads, in part (emphasis added):
From in or about and between 2006 and 2017, both dates being approximate and inclusive, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants, Paul J. Manafort, Jr., and Richard W. Gates III, together with others, knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of a government agency, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury, to commit offenses against the United States.
While the crimes do date back to “years ago,” the period of time “between 2006 and 2017” covers the time Manafort ran the Trump campaign, too.
So who might those “others” who also conspired against the United States be? Former foreign advisor George Papadopoulos, previously known to have attempted to set up meetings between the campaign and Russian officials, pleaded guilty earlier in October to lying to the FBI. However, in more bad news for everyone under Mueller’s microscope, it appears that Papadopoulos is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.