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
© UPI Photo

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 ManafortLobbyist Tony Podesta returns to work for Huawei Former bank CEO convicted of bribery in scheme to land Trump admin job Trial begins for Chicago banker who exchanged loans with Manafort for Trump job MORE proves the seriousness of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 WarnerSenate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session Senate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (Va.) tweeted Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
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 TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE brought a culture of corruption from his campaign to the White House,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas 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 SchiffOfficers offer harrowing accounts at first Jan. 6 committee hearing Live coverage: House panel holds first hearing on Jan. 6 probe Five things to watch as Jan. 6 panel begins its work 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 PalloneIntercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 House Democrats criticize Texas's 'shortcomings in preparations' on winter storms 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."