You can read Guy’s take here, but Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, probably had the worst Monday you can imagine: being indicted by the FBI. Yet, this isn’t related to the Trump collusion hysteria that’s been festering within Democratic circles that are desperate to find a smoking gun linking the Trump White House to the Russians. With multiple investigations ongoing for months, we still have zero evidence that proves the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. But wait—what about this George Papadopoulos fella? Didn’t he do all this stuff supposedly with the Russians? Oh, and he’s been charged with lying to the FBI. He’s a cooperating witness, which had some wondering whether the next event will be some sort of solid evidence that Trump and the Russians formed this unholy alliance that has so permeated liberal media outlets. Well, as it turns out, the dude was a low-level, unpaid intern who was probably boasting of such ties to impress the higher-ups in the Trump campaign (via NY Post):
In the 14-page document, Robert Mueller’s prosecutors maintain that Papadopoulos, a twentysomething think-tank nerd who jumped ship from the Ben Carson campaign, met with individuals posing as Russian officials who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
There was nothing illegal about what Papadopoulos did. The only crime alleged in the indictment is that he lied to federal agents when they asked him about the contacts last January.
It is fairly plain from the indictment that the young campaign volunteer was trying to impress higher-ups in the campaign, perhaps with a White House assignment in mind, but was played for a sucker by con artists who approached him masquerading as Russian honchos tied to Vladimir Putin. (The contact portrayed as “Putin’s niece,” for example, turned out to be nothing of the kind.)
The initial Russia offer by Papadopoulos went nowhere, as other members of the foreign policy team rejected the suggestion, according to a Washington Post story published in August (yes, this is old news, new media huffing-and-puffing notwithstanding). But Papadopoulos persisted, e-mailing then-campaign manager Lewandowski in April 2016 that “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right.”
The Washington Post further reported that Papadopoulos also forwarded campaign officials an e-mail from a senior official in the Russian International Affairs Council about coordinating a Trump visit to Moscow. But once again, senior campaign officials rejected the suggestion. Proposed trips to Moscow “did not take place,” the indictment confirms.
All this information was contained in internal e-mails the FBI obtained and started reviewing last year, indicating investigators have had possession of the private communications of top officials serving in the Trump campaign for several months. And yet the best case of criminal wrongdoing they can come up with is inconsistent statements by a no-doubt very nervous young campaign volunteer?
At the same time, Paul Sperry, who wrote the article, also said whatever crimes are unearthed during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation are worth prosecuting, especially tax fraud and money laundering, but added that we’re still in neutral on this whole issue. By the way, the Manafort indictment was based on his alleged illegal activities between 2006-2014, long before the 2016 election in which Hillary Clinton took her place next to Ross Perot, Adlai Stevenson, and Thomas Dewey in the two-time presidential loser club. So, there you have it—one of the biggest talked about news items so far with this Russia story is that the FBI caught a campaign volunteer who lied to them.