Andrew McCarthy, writing from the conservative viewpoint in The National Review, states that the indictment against Paul Manafort is “much ado about nothing.” This is an interesting statement considering Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller hit Manafort with a 12-count indictment including, among other things, “conspiracy against the United States,” failure to pay taxes on tens of millions of dollars, conspiring to hide from the U.S. government about $75 million made as an unregistered foreign agent for Russian-backed agents in Ukraine, and money-laundering.

Worse, Manafort and his assistant, Richard Gates, were acting as consultants for, as even McCarthy admits, “an unsavory Ukrainian political faction that is doing the Kremlin’s bidding” against the foreign policy and interests of the United States. No wonder, then, that during a review of the Republican platform before the Republican National Convention in 2016, Manafort removed a statement condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Manafort and Gates were looking out for the best interests of Russia, not America.


For some, taking a knee during the national anthem is unAmerican, but getting paid tens of millions of dollars to work with Russian agents against the foreign policy of the United States is “much ado about nothing.”

Americans who have money in foreign banks are required to file a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) when the account exceeds $10,000, and these funds must be reported on annual income-tax returns. According to the indictments, Manafort and Gates failed to file reports on multiple accounts involving millions of dollars, over multiple years, including the time he served as campaign manager for Donald Trump, and failed to register as foreign agents to the countries paying him. Still, McCarthy wants to make the argument that their friends are being indicted for minor offenses that are being blown out of proportion.

The second argument being made regarding these indictments, as verbalized by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is that they have “nothing to do with the president.” Manafort was selected by Trump to serve as his presidential campaign manager, and served as manager of the Republican Party’s National Convention. Other than that, Manafort’s legal troubles have “nothing to do with the president.”

For a campaign that wants us to believe that it did not collude with Russia’s efforts to undermine the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, isn’t it interesting how many of Trump’s family and campaign members have had meetings with Russian officials or agents? Isn’t it amazing that so many of them forgot about these meetings when asked about them or when they were required to report them on federal disclosure forms? The Huffington Post documented 37 times during the presidential campaign that Trump or his campaign officials, including Manafort, denied any “contact” or “communication” with Russian officials. Of course, now we know that at least some of these meetings, including one with Trump’s son and son-in-law, were for the purpose of receiving “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” which “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Other than that, Trump insists that there was “no collusion.” If there wasn’t collusion, it was not for a lack of effort.

During his confirmation hearings, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath, if he communicated with the Russians or if he was aware of anyone in the Trump campaign who had “communicated with the Russians?” Session replied, “I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else who did.” But last week it was reported that two members of the Trump campaign have testified — Carter Page to Congress and George Papadopoulos to the FBI — that they told Sessions about meetings with the Russians. In addition, we now know that Sessions himself met twice during the campaign with Sergey Kislyak, who at the time was the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

NBC News reported this past weekend that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has “business interests with Putin’s son-in-law, a connection that he failed to disclose” during his confirmation hearing. Trump has surrounded himself with people who have Russian connections; connections they have tried to hide.

Nevertheless, Trump refuses to admit that the Russians tried to influence the outcome of the presidential election. He has criticized everyone from our allies to the pope, from Republican members of Congress to members of his own Cabinet. Yet, he will not say a negative word about Russia’s behavior in the world or Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Why is that?