Citing unnamed sources, Reuters put out a damning report Saturday suggesting that President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort may have been involved in a money-laundering scheme.
Noting that it has no independent evidence, the Reuters report states, “Between 2006 and 2013, Manafort bought three New York properties, including one in Trump Tower in Manhattan. He paid for them in full and later took out mortgages against them. A former senior U.S. law enforcement official said that tactic is often used as a means to hide the origin of funds gained illegally. Reuters has no independent evidence that Manafort did this.”
The report goes on to say that the unfounded accusation is possibly being used to threaten Paul Manafort into cooperating with the Russian probe. “If Mueller’s team can threaten criminal charges against Manafort, they could use that as leverage to convince him to cooperate,” said one of their anonymous sources.
According to Reuters, “The sources also did not say whether Mueller has uncovered any evidence to charge Manafort with money laundering, but they said doing so is seen by investigators as critical in getting his full cooperation in their investigation.”
Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, said, “Paul Manafort is not a cooperating witness. Once again there is no truth to the disinformation put forth by anonymous sources and leakers.”
The Wall Street Journal is also reporting on the story, stating that “Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible money laundering by Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, as part of his criminal investigation into what U.S. intelligence agencies say was a Kremlin-backed campaign to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, according to a person familiar with the matter.” Again, they do not use any credible, named sources.
Fox News reported Friday that Paul Manafort and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. had cut a deal with the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid appearing at a public hearing. Allegedly scheduled for this coming next week, it’s been reported that the meeting with be held behind closed doors.
About Paul Manafort:
Paul John Manafort Jr. (born April 1, 1949) is an American lawyer, lobbyist and political consultant. He served as campaign manager for the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in 2016. He was previously an adviser to the U.S. presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole. In 1980 Manafort co-founded the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone. In 1984 it was renamed Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK) & associates, after Peter G. Kelly was recruited.
Manafort often lobbied on behalf of controversial foreign leaders such as Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych; Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of the Philippines; Mobutu Sese Seko, dictator of the former Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Angolan guerrillaleader Jonas Savimbi. Lobbying to serve the interests of foreign governments requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act(FARA); however, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not registered. On June 27 he retroactively registered as a foreign agent.
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