Dems: Manafort, Cohen prove that Mueller’s probe is not a witch hunt

Dems: Manafort, Cohen prove that Mueller’s probe is not a witch hunt
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The top Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence committees were among those saying the Tuesday conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortWebb: Questions for Robert Mueller Top Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller MORE proves the seriousness of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's Russia probe.

Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of bank and tax fraud in the first criminal trial to come out of Mueller's investigation. Multiple other subjects have already pleaded guilty to charges brought by Mueller's team.

“Today’s guilty verdict makes it absolutely clear that the Mueller probe is a serious investigation that is rooting out corruption and Russian influence on our political system at the highest levels,” Senate Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency at hearing MORE (Va.) tweeted Tuesday.

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Warner continued, “The President’s campaign manager was just convicted of serious federal crimes by a jury of his peers, despite the President’s continued attempts to undermine the investigation which has brought Mr. Manafort to justice.”

“Any attempt by the President to pardon Mr. Manfort or interfere in the investigation into his campaign would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress,” he concluded.

Manafort was convicted in Northern Virginia of five charges of filing false income tax returns, one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud, with the jury deadlocked over 10 other charges.

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE brought a culture of corruption from his campaign to the White House,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said in a statement. “The special counsel’s investigation has never been a ‘witch hunt,’ and today’s verdict proves it. Paul Manafort wasn’t just Trump’s campaign chair, he was one of his most trusted advisors; the two have known each other for nearly four decades and reportedly spoke to each other nearly 20 times a day.”

Almost simultaneous with Manafort’s conviction, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in New York to breaking campaign finance law, saying he did so at the behest of the president.

House Intelligence panel ranking member Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCourt filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments House passes annual intelligence bill Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement Tuesday, “These convictions demonstrate that Mueller’s investigation is far from a ‘witch hunt,’ as the President falsely repeats as a mantra.”

“Instead, it shows that Mueller and prosecutors in New York are conducting a professional investigation, following the facts where they lead, and obtaining serious felony convictions,” Schiff continued.

Other Democrats took to Twitter to express similar views.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) tweeted, "Manafort's conviction is just the latest evidence that Mueller is doing his job - and doing it pretty damn well." 

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Overnight Energy: USDA expected to lose two-thirds of research staff in move west | EPA hails Trump's work on reducing air pollution | Agency eyes reducing inspections of nuclear reactors Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE (D-N.J.) tweeted that Tuesday was a "shameful day for Trump world as its upending corruption continues to be exposed."

He continued, "This is just the beginning, we need to protect the Mueller investigation and ensure that Trump and his cronies are held accountable."