The investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election continues to move forward on multiple fronts, and it now sounds as if a former top associate in the Trump campaign may be on the verge of facing numerous criminal counts, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Post quotes Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as saying that onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort is in serious legal jeopardy. Blumenthal commented that while Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to testify before his committee, Manafort has been extremely reticent, adding:
“Manafort has been resistant, to be very blunt. Certainly much more resistant than Trump. Perhaps surprisingly but not really so much because Manafort probably is confronting some fairly serious criminal charges.”
Blumenthal added that his committee could offer immunity to Manafort in exchange for his testimony, but that protection will not be afforded the former campaign chief.
Asked about Donald Trump Jr. and what he light he may be able to shed on the Judiciary Committee’s investigation, Blumenthal would only comment:
“It’s all about following the money . . . financial dealings and how that entangled the Trump Organization.”
When Trump Jr. testifies to committee staff members today, he will most certainly be asked about the meeting he, Jared Kushner, and Manafort had with a Russian attorney and former Russian intelligence officer. That meeting was reportedly arranged to discuss damaging information the Russians might have on Hillary Clinton.
If Manafort is now looking at multiple felony charges, it’s possible that he will agree to provide information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in exchange for leniency. If Manafort, who has had extensive ties to Russia for decades, does tell everything he knows about possible collusion between Trump associates and Russian agents, it could prove to be the turning point in the investigation.
One thing is certain: Manafort is one of the keys to the entire investigation. What he tells investigators will be essential to better understanding just how high the scandal reaches.
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