#MuellerMonday began bright and early at Paul Manafort’s condominium in Alexandria, Virginia, where the former Trump campaign chair was seen departing after being ordered to surrender to federal authorities on Monday. Manafort and his former associate, Rick Gates, were the first to be indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury in the Russia collusion probe. The resulting perp walk was largely uneventful, but the 12 charges levied against Manafort and Gates are of the utmost seriousness and include the following:
The indictment against the two men contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
While eyebrows have immediately raised regarding the “conspiracy against the United States” count (which can’t possibly turn out well and includes accusations of conspiring to defraud the U.S. Treasury) and its relevancy to the Russia probe, the dollar amounts surrounding the money laundering charges are equally mind boggling.
Per the New York Times, Manafort reportedly laundered $18 million to purchase luxury properties and fund his “lavish lifestyle,” all while neglecting to pay taxes on this income. Further, Gates allegedly laundered $3 million from various offshore accounts. Both men are also accused of making false statements to federal prosecutors regarding these amounts. In addition, Manafort apparently purchased a $934,350 antique rug with his stash.
As some have noted on Twitter, the “conspiracy against the United States” charge does encompass the time that Manafort spent as Trump campaign chair.
UPDATE – 3:55pm EST: Manafort and Gates have been placed under house arrest due to the “nature of the charges and their seriousness.” Manafort’s considered to be a flight risk, as he could serve up to 181 months in prison if convicted (while Gates could serve up to 151 months). Further, Manafort’s bond was set at $10 million (while Gates’ bond was set at $5 million). Both men surrendered their passports, although neither party had to put up collateral before going on house arrest.