Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena, Sunday, July 17, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Careful on this Paul Manafort Thing

Yes, it looks like the former campaign manager of Trump 2016, Paul Manafort, is getting indicted along with an associate, Rick Gates. Just be careful with this. I know a lot of people on the left are cheering that this is the beginning of the end for Trump, but the charges may be unrelated to the Trump campaign.

Manafort is, at a minimum, a dubious figure in international politics and is one of Moscow’s favorite political consultants. He has had suspicious deals with lots of bad people around the world. BuzzFeed notes that the feds had been looking at wire transfers going back to 2012.

These transactions — which have not been previously reported — drew the attention of federal law enforcement officials as far back as 2012, when they began to examine wire transfers to determine if Manafort hid money from tax authorities or helped the Ukrainian regime close to Russian President Vladimir Putin launder some of the millions it plundered through corrupt dealings. The new revelations come as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is tightening, with reports that an indictment may already have been issued. It is not known if Manafort has been charged, or if he ever will be. Manafort has been the subject of multiple law enforcement and congressional inquiries. A spokesperson for Manafort would not comment for this story about the investigation or any of the specific transactions, but Manafort has previously denied wrongdoing.

As often happens in these types of investigations, the feds find that there was nothing chargeable related to the initial investigation, but that initial investigation then turns up something else. Yes, this may be used to bring pressure on Manafort to rat out the President, but it may also be just what it appears. In investigating Manafort’s dealings with Russia related to the Trump campaign, the feds found no there, there, but they did find a whole lot of something else.

Proceed carefully.

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Erick Erickson

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