Friday, November 24, 2017
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White House Not Fazed by Latest Russia Indictments  
By  Kimberlee Buck, Staff Writer 
Published November 2, 2017

In this July 21, 2016, photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, as Rick Gates watches. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)`

Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential reign, the FBI’s Russia investigation and Trump’s ties to the country have been a major concern of many political figures, as well as the American people.

On Monday, October 30, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to making false statements and material omissions to the FBI in January to investigators, “probing interference” in the 2016 presidential election in relation to his interactions and correspondence with foreign officials who were close to the Russian government.

According to the unsealed court records and CNN, the FBI stated Papadopoulos “falsely described his interactions with a certain foreign contact, who discussed ‘dirt’ related to emails concerning Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

As of press time, Papadopoulos’ attorneys did not release a detailed response on the matter but stated they, “look forward to telling all of the details of [Papadopoulos’] story.”

Papadopoulos’ guilty plea was announced shortly after Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner and deputy Rick Gates were indicted on charges, making them the first officials in Trump’s orbit to be charged in connection with the special counsel investigation.

The indictment includes 12 counts involving conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the U.S., unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading statements surrounding the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), false statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

According to Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, there was no evidence of collusion between Manafort and Russia. ABC News stated that attorney Downing, “labeled the indictment ‘ridiculous’ for claiming that offshore accounts were used as part of a ‘scheme’ to conceal funds from the government.”

On Monday (October 30) afternoon, Glenn Selig, spokesman for Gates, said he “welcomes the opportunity to confront these charges in court” but would not be providing additional comment until he and his legal team reviews the indictment. “The fight is just beginning,” read the statement.

Later that day, both Manafort and Gates were released to home confinement on $10 million and $5 million “unsecured appearance bonds.” As part of their release, both men were forced to turn in their passports and are only allowed to leave their homes for meetings with their attorneys and medical appointments.

As a response to the latest Russia investigation update, Trump took to Twitter.

“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????,” read the tweet.

He then wrote a second tweet that read, “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

What does this mean for Trump’s presidency?

During a White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Manafort and Gates announcements had, “nothing to do with the president and nothing to do with the president’s campaign or campaign activity.”

As a response to Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, Sanders said that he served in an “extremely limited volunteer position.” Sanders went on to say that Papadopoulos’ actions were not done in an “official capacity on behalf of the campaign.”

“He reached out and nothing happened beyond that. That shows one, his level of importance in the campaign, and two, shows what little role he had within coordinating anything officially for the campaign,” she said.

The White House expects Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to come to an end soon. Sanders said she doesn’t believe Mueller’s Russia probe, “is at all affecting” Trump’s ability to do his job and claims the media is “obsessed” with the story.

However, court transcripts show Mueller’s indictments are a small part of his larger investigation regarding his Russia probe.

Categories: National | News | Political
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