An attorney for Paul Manafort -- the former Trump campaign manager who was indicted on multiple federal charges on Monday -- issued a statement to the effect that President Donald Trump was not involved in any alleged collusion with the Russian government during last year's presidential race. Attorney Kevin Downing's statement also claimed that the indictment of his client by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a "very novel" way of prosecuting Manafort for failing to file proper paperwork in order to comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Manfort and his associate, Rick Gates, have both pleaded not guilty.

Dowling's full statement, according 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."

The indictment against Manafort and Grant claims that they used offshore accounts and purchased luxury items in order to hide an estimated $75,000,000 in foreign funds. 

President Trump wrote several tweets over the weekend and on Monday about the investigation. On Monday afternoon, Trump noted that Manafort's involvement involvement with Russian figures came to an end more than 12 months before Manafort joined the Trump team. Some establishment media, including CBS News, have reported that if the indictments against Manafort are the worst of the Russia-related charges, the White House has thus won "a limited victory." The charges fail to show the Trump campaign colluding, in any manner, with the Russian government, to alter the outcome of the 2016  election. Trump himself is not mentioned in the indictment.

There has been media focus on George Papadopoulos, a low-level Trump campaign staffer who consulted on foreign affairs. The 30-year-old pleaded guilty two weeks ago, according to an unsealed plea that was revealed on Monday. He had sought to arrange for meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russian dignataries in order to expose "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. The meeting never happened. 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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