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Mueller’s new indictment of Manafort and Gates debunks White House talking points

The alleged crimes tied to Trump's campaign manager and his associate run through last fall.

Paul Manafort. CREDIT: GETTY / CHIP SOMODEVILLA
Paul Manafort. CREDIT: GETTY / CHIP SOMODEVILLA

The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued its latest series of indictments on Thursday afternoon, this time accusing Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, and Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime associate, of a range of crimes, including laundering some $30 million and working as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine.

The details expand upon an earlier indictment against Manafort — with one notable difference. In Thursday’s indictments, Manafort and Gates apparently continued hiding their scheme, via offshore accounts in places like Cyprus and the Seychelles, through late 2017. Indeed, per the indictment, Gates was lying to his tax preparer about foreign bank accounts as recently as October.

The indictment adds that Manafort, “with the assistance” of Gates, laundered some $30 million — “income that [Manafort] concealed” from the Treasury and Justice Departments. Gates, per the indictment, also obtained some $3 million via the offshore accounts.

The new timeline flies in the face of White House officials’ previous attempts to distance themselves from the allegations facing Manafort, which centered primarily on the fact that the illegal activity preceded Manafort joining Trump’s campaign. As the president tweeted last October — around the same time Gates was allegedly lying to his tax preparer — Manafort’s crimes took place “years ago.”

Many of the details in the new indictment are shared with those in the October indictment, including the usage of offshore accounts. However, the new indictment goes into greater detail regarding how both Manafort and Gates allegedly worked around financial safeguards, including how they swapped and edited PDFs and Word documents.

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Earlier this week, Gates had reportedly agreed to a plea deal with Mueller regarding his work with Manafort — much of which involved the regime of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was officially ousted from power four years ago today. The new indictment, however, appears to throw cold water on the likelihood of a plea deal in the immediate future.

The latest development follows a flurry of indictments handed down from the special counsel’s office, including another indictment on Tuesday issued against Alex Van Der Zwaan, who was charged with lying to both the special counsel’s office and FBI agents regarding his communications with Gates.

Van Der Zwaan pleaded guilty to the charge.