Kirsters Baish| Now that the Manafort tax evasion and bank fraud trial is underway, Robert Mueller finally has the chance to prove that he is able to convict someone. So far, things are looking pretty good for Mueller. One of Paul Manafort’s former business associates, Rick Gates, took the stand to testify, claiming that he helped Manafort break the law years ago.
Manafort is being accused of multiple crimes, which include money laundering as well as failure to file financial reports of accounts held overseas. He is also being charged with acting as an “unregistered foreign agent.” Most of his crimes took place during the time that he worked for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was a pro-Russia candidate.
Mueller’s prosecution team has been trying to use the former Trump campaign adviser’s Russian links to make a campaign innuendo in open court. Judge T.S. Ellis was clearly unhappy with the tactic.
Conservative Tribune reports:
Among the things brought up by the prosecution are a loan from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and financial accounts abroad controlled by Konstantin V. Kilimnik, who prosecutors allege has ties with Russian intelligence.
All of this, mind you, took place before Manafort became involved in the Trump campaign, where his tenure was roughly the amount of time it takes an avocado to get ripe. Let’s also note that Manafort — a former Reagan campaign worker and lobbyist — was mostly foisted upon Trump by the Republican establishment after the two sides came to the uncomfortable realization, at a late point in the primary process, that they were stuck with one another.
President Trump quickly decided that Manafort wasn’t the right guy for the job. He then hired Kellyanne Conway, who has been doing a great job as a part of the Trump administration. Conway doesn’t have the Washington attitude and take on things that Manafort does.
It boils down to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
For anyone who believes that Trump has ties to the Russian Kremlin, Yanukovych comes into play. Conservative Tribune explains, “In terms of the satellite regimes Vladimir Putin has tried to set up in post-Soviet states, Yanukovych’s was one of the most transparent. Before he was deposed as part of the Ukrainian revolution in 2014 he was as reliable a pro-Russia politician as any.”
It’s interesting that Mueller is the one prosecuting this case.
Robert Mueller is prosecuting Manfort for doing work in Ukraine for Viktor Yanukovych back in 2013
Here is Robert Mueller hanging out in Ukraine with Viktor Yanukovych back in 2013
What is going on here? pic.twitter.com/ZPey2k72UE
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) August 6, 2018
It doesn’t matter how you view Posobiec and his conspiracy theories, it still holds true that Mueller worked alongside Yanukovych while he was Director of the FBI.
Two months after the Boston Marathon bombing, the Kiev meeting took place, as reported by the Daily Beast.
“Ukrainian-American cooperation efficiently develops in many spheres of mutual interest,” Yanukovych stated during Mueller’s visit, as reported by a Facebook post by the Ukraine Embassy.
The post went on, “Your visit is very interesting for Ukraine and relations between our law enforcement bodies have established good traditions of cooperation and communication in the course of 20 years. I am confident that there is a potential for further broadening of cooperation.”
During the meeting, Yanukovych explained that he was coming close to signing the European Union agreement.
The Daily Beast reports that he said during the meeting, “There are some preparations left but I hope that we will fulfill everything and sign the agreement.” The Daily Beast called the agreement “a key focus of Paul Manafort’s lobbying work for Yanukovych,” which was never actually signed.
During the time, Robert Mueller was the Director of the FBI. Ukraine played a part in anti-terror efforts, but keep in mind that this is Washington, where corrupt dealings with pro-Russia politicians is normal.
Conservative Tribune writes:
The optics for the Democrats here are terrible, though. After all, this is the guy who Manafort’s being charged with lobbying for in a case many Trump supporters feel is being used to try and tie the administration to the Kremlin. Yet, just five years ago — long after it was apparent to every single person who cared to know the fact that he was a Kremlin stooge — Yanukovych was okay to meet with for the director of the FBI under President Barack Obama.
This is just going to galvanize Trump supporters who believe that these charges are nothing more than a Hail Mary pass by a thoroughly bankrupt investigation.