The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

What’s happening in the Russian investigation

Robert Mueller brought the first charges in the Russia investigation. Here is what you need to know about those charges.

What is the Russian investigation?

The Russia probe was opened about a year ago after President Donald Trump took office in order to investigate President Trump’s campaign ties to the foreign country. This Justice Department investigation is led by Robert Mueller. Mueller was a former head of the FBI appointed by former president George W. Bush and was later reappointed and continued to work under former president Obama. There have recently been major developments in the investigation into Russian meddling and involvement in the 2016 election.

Who is involved?

On Oct. 30 this investigation issued indictments, actions by the government to formally charge individuals with crimes, including two major players: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Manafort was a former Trump campaign chair manager. Manafort surrendered three days after Mueller issued the first indictment. Gates was Manafort’s long time business associate. This pair has been working together since 2006 and joined the Trump campaign at the same time.

The investigation continues with the indictment of George Papadopoulos, the former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. He will be a witness against Manafort and others. Papadopoulos also admitted to lying to federal investigators regarding interactions with Russia as well as attempting to set up a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What are they being accused of?

Both are being accused of acting as “unregistered agents of the government of Ukraine.” Manafort and Gates were charged with 12 counts relating to tax evasion, money laundering and making false statements. Breaking this down even further, they received foreign money and tried to hide $75 million in offshore accounts. All charges against the two are related to Manafort’s business dealings in Ukraine. Since Ukraine is in close proximity to Russia, this raised red flags.

How has President Trump responded?

President Trump tweeted on Oct. 30, “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?????” as well as “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

President Trump tweeted on Oct. 31,“The Fake News is working overtime. Paul Manaforts lawyer said there was ‘no collusion’ and events mentioned took place long before he came to the campaign. Few people also knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar. Check the DEMS!”

How does this relate to St. Joe’s?

Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin M. Downing ’88, graduated from St. Joe’s with a B.S. degree in accounting. He served with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Tax Division for 15 years handling cases involving tax evasion via offshore financial vehicles and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.

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