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MANAFORT AND GATES

October 30, 2017

MANAFORT AND GATES

I was half-right in my prediction that Flynn and Manafort would be the first two indicted by Mueller, but Flynn’s time is coming. Apparently Mueller had a statute of limitations problem and needed to charge Manafort and Gates in timely fashion to remove such a defense. Other indictments may enjoy the luxury of time, so it may be weeks before another day like today, or not, since I cannot know as I am not privy to Mueller’s strategy in bringing recalcitrant potential defendants to the dock.

I have long maintained and still maintain that one of the keys to the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia ran through the Bank of Cyprus, a well-known money-laundering site for Putin and Russian oligarchs to launder rubles into other currencies and invest in Western assets such as real estate, one of which may have been Trump’s sale of a piece of property here in Florida to a Russian for some 80 million dollars, property for which Trump paid some 40 million dollars not long before – the initial  purchase with perhaps leveraged funds from the Bank of Cyprus (speaking of possible money laundering and tax fraud), one item perhaps in a pattern which would explain Trump’s reluctance to give us his tax returns, assuming he did not lie on his return for the year in which such known transaction occurred). If I were advising Mueller, I would tell him to have his prosecutors obtain possession of Trump’s tax returns for the last several years, study them closely and then take a trip to Cyprus to see if Trump himself is a money launderer. I am thinking of indictment of Trump under relevant provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and perhaps the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We will then see if Trump can pardon himself.

Why my emphasis on the Bank of Cyprus connection? Well, consider this: The Bank of Cyprus was co-managed by a Russian with close ties to Putin and, guess who? Wilbur Ross, Wall Street banking magnate currently serving as Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, whose job, among others, is to enforce sanctions against foreign governments. Could that have been why Trump chose Ross for the job, i.e., to put a damper on sanctions against Russia and his own money laundering, Mr. Mueller?

You will recall that the Congress passed a sanctions bill against Russia for interfering with our elections by a veto-proof bipartisan vote after rejecting the Trump administration’s heavy lobbying for changes in the act. You will recall that the act required that sanctions be enforced by October 1, 2017. You will recall that the Trump administration did nothing until just last week when they tepidly set the machinery of enforcement of sanctions against Russia in the administrative trough of slow motion.

Why the foot-dragging? Why the delay in defending our democracy? Will this administration really enforce such sanctions or will they do so half-heartedly because of their connection with money laundering and other such activities through the Bank of Cyprus? The job of the president is not to make the law but to enforce the law in both spirit and letter, and I think that a failure to do so is a violation of a president’s constitutional oath since, after all, what good is it to have a law if you are not going to enforce it? Law is policy, Donald, not some show time or photo op that can be ignored like in The Apprentice.

So have I joined the ranks of the conspiracy theorists? Not quite. I can connect dots from known evidence and speculate that further investigation might well lead to solid evidence to support my preliminary conclusions, one of which is that the money-laundering Bank of Cyprus is key to collusion of the Trump campaign with Russia and very possibly with Trump himself, one that certainly bears further investigation.

I hope that Mr. Mueller is giving a hard look at some of the connections I have outlined here and connects the dots with admissible evidence from those in the know – and goes from there.     GERALD       E

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