Mueller targets Manafort
U.S. investigators examining money laundering accusations against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort hope to push him to cooperate with their probe into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia, two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation said.If the allegations against Manafort were true why would the Russians need to lure Donald Trump, Jr. to a meeting with the Russian lawyer on the pretext of dirt on Hillary Clinton. That seems illogical. Then there is the fact that Clinton's policies were much more to Putin's liking than Trump. He would have favored Clinton's energy policy that tried to harm the US fossil fuel business which has become a direct competitor of Russia. Trump is also promising a military build up while Clinton worked in an administration that reduced the potency of the US military.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is examining Manafort's financial and real estate records in New York as well as his involvement in Ukrainian politics, the officials said.
Between 2006 and 2013, Manafort bought three New York properties, including one in Trump Tower in Manhattan. He paid for them in full and later took out mortgages against them. A former senior U.S. law enforcement official said that tactic is often used as a means to hide the origin of funds gained illegally. Reuters has no independent evidence that Manafort did this.
The sources also did not say whether Mueller has uncovered any evidence to charge Manafort with money laundering, but they said doing so is seen by investigators as critical in getting his full cooperation in their investigation.
"If Mueller's team can threaten criminal charges against Manafort, they could use that as leverage to convince him to cooperate," said one of the sources.
Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, said, “Paul Manafort is not a cooperating witness. Once again there is no truth to the disinformation put forth by anonymous sources and leakers.”