If nothing else comes from the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, we do now know that Donald Trump committed a financial crime that had previously only been speculated about.
And rest assured Special Counsel Robert Mueller is well aware of it, too.
Rick Gates, who was Manafort’s longtime business partner, has been testifying for the prosecution the past couple of days, but it was something he revealed Tuesday that has added a new charge to the growing list of felonies being compiled against the president.
Gates wasn’t just Manafort’s deputy during the 2016 race. Long after Manafort had been forced to resign his post as head of the campaign because of his ties to Russia, Gates was also named deputy chairman of the Trump inaugural committee. That committee raised an astounding $106.7 million, twice as much as Barack Obama raised in 2009. But lots of that money has never been accounted for.
So what happened to the missing millions from the inauguration? Some have speculated it was funneled into multiple private accounts to help pay Trump’s legal expenses. Then again, it might just as well have gone directly to the Trump Organization. Since we still haven’t seen his taxes, Trump could be hiding anything there.
But something Gates said in his testimony adds a new layer of intrigue to the case of the inaugural loot. Asked if he might have submitted his own expenses to the inaugural committee for payment, Gates admitted he might have; he simply couldn’t recall, he added.
What this tells us is that someone close to Trump used inaugural money for paying expenses, but they may also have steered millions into the Trump reelection effort or to help cover leftover costs from the 2016 race. And if any of those things that transpired, Trump is guilty of a campaign finance violation that could also include money laundering since much of the money for the inauguration came from foreign sources, including Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The list of felonies committed by this president and his retinue of flunkies is at least a mile long. And Mueller plans to add each of them to his indictments, along with the report he issues at the end of his investigation.
High crimes and misdemeanors? Oh yes! And then some.