Trump’s trou­bles just be­gin­ning

Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 31, 2017 Cam­paign boss charged as aide ad­mits to ly­ing, flips into wit­ness World

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - CANADA - Daniel dale Alex BRAn­Don/The AS­So­Ci­ATeD pReSS

Two top of­fi­cials from Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign were charged Mon­day with se­ri­ous crimes: al­legedly laun­der­ing more than $20 mil­lion from a pro-Rus­sia Ukrainian po­lit­i­cal party they il­le­gally failed to re­veal they were rep­re­sent­ing.

And that wasn’t the worst news of Trump’s worst day in of­fice.

The sen­sa­tional in­dict­ments of for­mer cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort and deputy Rick Gates would have rep­re­sented a ma­jor prob­lem for the “Amer­ica First” White House no mat­ter what spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller did next.

But what Mueller did was throw a hay­maker that de­stroyed Trump’s fee­ble early at­tempt at a self-de­fence, showed that his in­ves­ti­ga­tion has pen­e­trated deep into the cam­paign’s deal­ings with Rus­sia, and strongly sug­gested far more dam­age to come — pos­si­bly on the very al­le­ga­tion Trump has most stren­u­ously in­sisted is phoney.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s go­ing right for the jugu­lar: col­lu­sion,” said Nick Ak­er­man, a part­ner at law firm Dorsey and Whit­ney and for­mer as­sis­tant pros­e­cu­tor on the Water­gate scan­dal. “They’re go­ing right to the heart of the thing, not wast­ing any time. And they’re go­ing for the peo­ple that know the most, and they’re go­ing right to the top.”

Just two hours af­ter Manafort and Gates turned them­selves in at an FBI of­fice in Wash­ing­ton — both later pleaded not guilty — Mueller dis­closed that he had se­cured a guilty plea from Ge­orge Pa­padopou­los, a for­mer for­eign pol­icy ad­viser to the cam­paign who ad­mit­ted to ly­ing to the FBI.

Ly­ing to the FBI, that is, about his deal­ings with Rus­sia. Deal­ings with Rus­sia re­lated to Hil­lary Clin­ton’s stolen emails.

There was still noth­ing close to a smok­ing gun on the pres­i­dent him­self. By noon, though, you could see the smoul­der­ing wreck­age of Trump’s fre­quent claim that Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion was a “witch hunt.” The probe was in­dis­putably real, and what re­mains of the pres­i­dent’s rep­u­ta­tion, at least, was not go­ing to sur­vive un­scathed.

Trump him­self re­mained largely quiet through the day, say­ing noth­ing for hours af­ter tweet­ing “there is NO COL­LU­SION!”

The story out­lined in the prose­cu­tors’ “state­ment of of­fence,” which Pa­padopou­los signed, pro­vided the most di­rect ev­i­dence un­veiled to date of an at­tempt by some­one in the Trump cam­paign to work with Rus­sia.

leaves Fed­eral District Court in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on Mon­day. Don­ald Trump’s for­mer cam­paign chair­man and his busi­ness as­so­ciate Rick Gates have pleaded not guilty to felony charges of con­spir­acy against the United States and other counts.

It was also the first ev­i­dence that some­one in the cam­paign knew of the hacked Clin­ton emails three months be­fore they were re­leased. Per­haps worst of all for Trump, the state­ment re­vealed that Pa­padopou­los has be­come a “proac­tive co-op­er­a­tor” in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion: Mueller’s team turned him into a wit­ness af­ter ar­rest­ing him at a Wash­ing­ton-area air­port in July.

Paul Manafort

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