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12 counts: Will Manafort also turn in Democrat super-lobbyist Tony Podesta?

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As CNN reported, based on a leak from Robert Mueller’s special counsel office, there was an indictment in the Russia probe unsealed today. And to nobody’s surprise, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, one a former Trump campaign manager, the other a political and business associate of Trump’s, were ordered to surrender to federal authorities.

What’s next?

Certainly, investigators will interview and take depositions from both men. They will present the men (and their lawyers) with the indictment and the charges against them. A federal prosecutor will set the time for an arraignment with a judge, and the case will proceed with pleas and opening motions. The wheels of justice churn like a grist mill.

The charges

The 12 counts include two conspiracy charges, money laundering, acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign banks and financial accounts. These are all financial crimes for the most part, and they have little bearing on the Trump campaign’s Russia ties.

Paul Manafort, Rick Gates indicted by federal grand jury in Russia probe | Fox News

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/30/report-paul-manafort-rick-gates-to-surrender-to-special-counsel.htmlFormer Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates have been indicted by a federal grand jury Monday on 12 counts, according to the special counsel’s office. Manafort and Gates face the first charges in the special counsel’s investigation. This is also the first time the special counsel’s office has confirmed that a grand jury has been impaneled.

Tony Podesta’s problem

Manafort may provide ammunition for Mueller in his expanded investigation of Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta, who has ties to various congressional Democrats and Bill Clinton.

The very charges against Manafort go to the heart of the Podesta link. In his work for the Ukraine, Manafort set up a group called European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which used Podesta’s lobbying group. These bear directly on the indictments, and could spell trouble for Democrats. Of course, the DNC, neck-deep in every part of the Russia connection, from the “dossier” to “fake news” and lying about it, denies any knowledge of anything.

Reports

Manafort To Turn Himself In To Feds | The Daily Caller

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/30/paul-manafort-told-to-turn-himself-in-to-feds/Manafort walked into the FBI’s field office in Washington, D.C. Gates is a longtime associate of Manafort and serves as his junior partner at his firm. Gates became a point of interest in the investigation into Mueller after investigators found Gates name on documents linking Manafort’s firm to offshore companies that received payments from Eastern European politicians and businessmen.

Mueller Now Investigating Democratic Lobbyist Tony Podesta – NBC News

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mueller-now-investigating-democratic-lobbyist-tony-podesta-n812776Under FARA, people who lobby on behalf of foreign governments, leaders or political parties must file detailed disclosures about their spending and activities with the Justice Department. Willful failure to file the forms is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison, though such prosecutions are rare.

The Podesta Group amended its FARA registration to accurately reflect its work with ECMU only after the payments were reported by the media. Manafort’s firm also filed a FARA registration after media reports in June disclosed its work in Ukraine from 2012 through 2014.

Are Dems As In-The-Dark As They Claim? | The Daily Caller

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/29/what-did-dems-know-about-dossier-their-handling-of-imran-awan-affair-is-instructive/The denial is reminiscent of Ellison’s claims to have not heard of Democratic IT aide Imran Awan, despite being repeatedly informed of the major investigation involving him. In both the Awan and dossier affairs, Democratic leaders have said they did not have knowledge of major events that greatly concern them. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi professed unfamiliarity with the Awan investigation despite playing an important role in the handling of the case months ago as one of the House leaders who determined it warranted a criminal probe.

Final thoughts

This is just the beginning. But a few thoughts here.

For one thing, as Erick Erickson notes, we need to be careful in our assumptions. At this point, it doesn’t appear that the charges against Manafort are directly related to anything he did with the Trump campaign. Though the investigation was spurred on by the president’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, that angle led to these charges against Manafort, who we all knew had Russian problems before he was hired by Trump. (I’m sure Manafort will pass his exceeding thanks for the jail sentence on to Trump, if he’s not pardoned.)

Another thing, is that we know the Democrats and the swamp-rats all over K-street have their paw prints on this whole Russia thing. If Mueller is just making his mark with these two indictments and then closing shop, Trumpists will hail it as exoneration (but it’s not really), while Democrats will howl that there’s no justice but in fact be relieved and use it to raise badly-needed cash.

But if more Trump-related charges come forth, without anything on the Democrat side, then perhaps Joe Cunningham has a point. Mueller could be either a Democrat operative or a Republican hack. If the investigation drones on without any further findings (a la Ken Starr), that might do more to exonerate Trump than anything (plus Republicans can raise funds off it).

What this ultimately does teach us is that both Democrats and Republicans are as swampy and dirty on this as they can get. And the Russians are laughing at us.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. eric

    October 30, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Yes, the Russians are laughing at us.

  2. Pingback: Tony Podesta’s Ass Could Soon Be Grass, And That’s Not Good For The Clintons

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Foreign Affairs

Netanyahu to push for town in Golan Heights to be named after President Trump

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Netanyahu to push for town in Golan Heights to be named after President Trump

The relationship between the leaders of Israel and the United States is at its strongest point in decades, possibly ever. President Trump has fulfilled his promise to reverse the damage done by his predecessor in foreign affairs, particularly with certain allies like Israel. Now, the Prime Minister of Israel is calling for a nice tribute.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video Tuesday detailing his desire to honor the President following the Passover holiday.

Opinion

When the President announced the need for America and the rest of the world to recognize the Golan Heights as a sovereign part of Israel, most on the right in both countries cheered. It was a departure from a long-standing policy, one that has been overdue in need of changing.

This gesture should not be dismissed. It’s significant because the United States has been one of the few allies for the Jewish state, but that status was put in jeopardy by President Obama who called for a return to the pre-1967 borders. Such a move would put Israel in a strategically untenable position, making it practically impossible for it to defend itself against attacks from the north.

Settlements in the region have been greatly misunderstood, mostly due to United Nations propaganda. These settlements are not intended as a middle finger of sorts towards the U.N. and all the nations calling for the land to be returned. It’s a strategic maneuver that empowers Israel to protect its vulnerable borders.

By naming a settlement after President Trump, Israel will help solidify the relationship for at least another two years and possibly much longer than that.

Quote

“Therefore, after the Passover holiday, I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights named after President Donald J. Trump.” – Benjamin Netanyahu

Final Thoughts

Israel is the one true democracy in the Middle East and the only ally in the region that shares our values. Our future is as tied to them as their future is tied to ours. It’s imperative that this relationship remains strong.

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Immigration

Cracking down on visa overstays addresses the other side of the problem

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Cracking down on visa overstays addresses the other side of the problem

President Trump signed a memo yesterday alerting State and Homeland Security they have 120 days to come up with measures to address visa overstays, a large part of the illegal immigration problem facing the country. Within the frameworks of the current system, there’s no viable way to prevent people from staying in the country often they travel here on a temporary basis.

“We have laws that need to be followed to keep Americans safe and to protect the integrity of a system where, right now, there are millions of people who are waiting in line to come to America to seek the American Dream,” Trump said.

In 2018 alone, an estimate 415,000 people have remained in the country beyond what their visas allowed.

Opinion

The problem with a leaky dam is that you have to plug all the holes or the problem will keep getting worse. All of the focus for the past few months has been on the southern border because it’s the most visible hole in the system, but an argument can be made that the less visible visa overstay problem is actually bigger.

While a majority of those crossing the southern border illegally are from Mexico and Central America, there are people from across the world who use the porous border to sneak into the country. But with the visa program, a larger percentage of the people coming in and never leaving are from countries that have people who pose real threats to our security. It can be argued that from a terrorism-prevention perspective, addressing the visa overstay aspect of the problem is more important.

There’s another important angle to consider politically. As long as the focus by the administration is on the southern border, detractors of plans for the border wall and other security measures will point to visa overstays as an issue that remains unaddressed. They often argue that the President wants his “big, beautiful wall” as a symbolic tribute to bigotry but won’t look at the other aspects of the issue. Now, those arguments can be debunked.

Quote

“Officials will target nations that have overstay rates greater than 10%. Those include Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burundi, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Georgia, Laos, Liberia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen, according to the most recent Department of Homeland Security data.” – Rob Crilly

Final Thoughts

Illegal immigration is a huge problem for America and it’s getting worse. It must be addressed holistically, and visa overstays have been ignored for far too long. This is a powerful move by the administration to fix the problem.

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Democrats

Rep. Seth Moulton enters the Democratic nomination race

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Rep Seth Moulton enters the Democratic nomination race

The clown car continues to fill up as a new Democrat announces their presidential campaign seemingly every week. This time, it’s Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), marking the third politician from Massachusetts to vie for the top spot. He joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Republican governor Bill Weld as hopefuls from The Bay State.

An Iraq War veteran from the U.S. Marines, Moulton led efforts to replace Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi once the Democrats won back control of the House last year. His politics are pretty much indistinguishable from other candidates as he favors Medicare-for-All, gun control, and other common leftist notions.

Moulton has a tall mountain to climb on the fundraising side if he hopes to make it to the main debate stage. There’s still time, but he’ll need to get some heavy attention very quickly to be able to make a serious run.

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