Reuters legal reporter Jan Wolfe revealed Monday evening that two Republican Party operatives have been indicted after helping Russians donate to political campaigns in 2016.
The Justice Department revealed in a statement that Kentucky's Jesse Benton and Florida's Roy Douglas "Doug" Wead were "charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution, and cause false records to be filed with the FEC, one count of contribution by a foreign national, one count of contribution in the name of another and three counts of making false entries in an official record."
Benton was just pardoned by former President Donald Trump for a bribery scandal while working for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Iowa in 2012. In that scheme, Benton and colleague John Tate bribed state officials to change their endorsements to Paul for the Iowa Caucus.
After being pardoned for that, Benton is now being indicted again along with Wead for arranging for a Russian National who wanted to donate to a 2016 presidential campaign to be able to meet with the candidate.
Developing: Two longtime GOP operatives have been indicted. They allegedly helped a Russian make a campaign contrib… https://t.co/pWOcezMw9U— Jan Wolfe (@Jan Wolfe) 1632178809.0
"Benton reached out to individuals at Political Committee B, the national party committee for Political Candidate 1's political party," the indictment explains. "He then arranged for Foreign National 1 to attend a political fundraising event and get a photograph with Political Candidate 1, in exchange for a political contribution to Political Committee C, a joint fundraising committee comprised of the campaign committee for Political Candidate 1, Political Committee B, and related state committees. Foreign National 1 ultimately wired $100,000 to Company A, a political consulting firm owned by Benton."
He then tried to disguise the wire transfer by labeling it "consulting services" and crafted a "cover story."
Wead went to the fundraiser with the foreign national Sept. 22, 2016 with a translator (Foreign National 2). They all three had their photos taken with the candidate.
"Following the event, Benton repeatedly represented to a consultant working for Political Committee B and Political Committee C that he had already sent the promised contribution for the event, but in actuality he delayed sending the contribution," said the DOJ. "Benton ultimately filled out a contributor form, indicated that he was the contributor, and used a personal credit card to make a $25,000 contribution. Benton retained the remaining $75,000 of Foreign National 1's money. Because Benton falsely claimed to have given the contribution himself, three different political committees unwittingly filed reports with the FEC that inaccurately reported Benton, rather than Foreign National 1, as the source of the funds."
Trump lawyer says former president didn't commit tax fraud because 'the guy's a billionaire -- it's pennies' to him
On Monday, Business Insider reported that former President Donald Trump's attorney is publicly confident that the former president will not be indicted as part of the New York tax case.
The case centers on benefits awarded by the Trump Organization to high-ranking officials, possibly as a means of avoiding tax liability on their compensation.
"Trump's lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, told Insider that the mention had no bearing on the former president's personal legal exposure in the DA's investigation. He said that Trump paid the tuition bills personally, rather than through corporate accounts, and took 'no deductions' on them," reported Jacob Shamsian.
Furthermore, said Fischetti, Trump couldn't be involved because "This guy's a billionaire. What's he going to get out of this? It's f**king pennies! It's ridiculous. They have nothing on the president. Absolutely nothing."
The chief official currently indicted as part of the scheme is longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Experts also suspect an indictment will be pursued against Matthew Calamari, Trump's former bodyguard and another executive at the organization.
'He must know that he lost': Georgia secretary of state blows off Trump's request to 'decertify' election
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday responded to former President Donald Trump's call to "decertify" the results of the 2020 presidential election in his state.
Trump sent Raffensperger a letter on Friday asking him to start "decertifying" the election, and the Georgia Republican went on CNN to directly shoot down the president's request.
What's more, he said that Trump himself likely knew he didn't win Georgia last year.
"I think at some level he must know that he did lose the election because his advisers, his lawyers told him that he lost the election," he said. "In fact, books are coming out that told him where the polling was coming into the election. But people use elections and this narrative to really disrupt and destroy confidence in the election process."
Raffensperger then outlined all of the double-and-triple-checking his office did to make sure the results of the election in his state were correct.
"We've done three counts on this: The initial count, the 100 percent hand recount, and then did a final scan count, and all three results were very close. At the end of the day, President Trump came up short in Georgia."
Watch the video below.
Georgia secretary of state blows off Trump's request to 'decertify' election www.youtube.com
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