MANAFORT ATTORNEY: Trump Did Not Collude With The Russians

Kevin Downing, attorney for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, issued a statement late Monday, claiming that President Donald Trump's Twitter statements are correct, and that Trump himself was not involved in any collusion with the Russian government.

Downing's statement also claims that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team used the indictment as a "very novel" way of prosecuting Manafort for failing to file proper paperwork in line with the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Dowling's full statement, provided to The Daily Wire:

President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russia government.

Mr. Manafort represented pro-European Union campaigns for the Ukrainians and in the course of that representation he was seeking to further democracy and to help the Ukrainians come closer to the United States and to the EU. Those activities ended in 2014, two years before Mr. Manafort served in the Trump Campaign.

Today you see an indictment brought by the Office of Special Counsel that is using a very novel theory to prosecute Mr. Manafort regarding a FARA filing. The United States government has only used that offense six times since 1966 and only resulted in one conviction.

The second thing about this indictment that I, myself, find most ridiculous is a claim that maintaining offshore accounts to bring all your funds into the United States, as a scheme to conceal from the United States government, is ridiculous.

Thank you.

Manafort and his business partner, Rick Grant, have both pleaded not guilty to charges they conspired against the American government by lobbying on behalf of a pro-Putin Ukranian official. The indictment also claims that Manafort and Grant used offshore accounts and purchased luxury items in order to hide an estimated $75 million in foreign funds.

Trump was quick to distance himself from Manafort's activities, telling media Monday afternoon that Manafort's involvement with Russian officials concluded more than a year before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.

Some mainstream media outlets, including CBS News, have already pointed out that if Monday's indictments are Mueller's most high-profile charges, the White House has won "a limited victory." The charges, even as filed, fail to show the Trump campaign colluding in any manner with the Russian government to alter the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

The more significant indictment happens to be that of low-level Trump staffer, George Papadopoulos, who claimed to have direct interaction with Russian officials, and, according to the charging documents, attempted to set up meetings between high-level Trump officials and high-level Russians in order to get "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

But Papadopoulos was only a junior staffer and his suggestion that Trump travel to Moscow was met with apparent derision. The meeting never happened. But it does seem more significant than Manafort's situation.

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