The much anticipated Russian probe investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has netted a 12-count indictment against former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
Manafort and Gates both plead not guilty to the charges, which include money laundering and conspiracy against the United States.
One thing to note here. The charges brought on the two men stem from their personal business dealings before now-President Trump decided to run for office.
Trump’s former campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos, has already pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI about contacts he appears to have had with Russian nationals.
As expected, Democratic lawmakers, who maybe smelling blood in the water, are besides themselves with joy over the Manafort, Gates, and Papadopoulos apparent fall from grace.
Republicans, event the ones that appear to be against Trump, are keeping the lips sealed, for the moment.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, this is what some within the Florida congressional delegation are saying about the ongoing Mueller investigation:
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton
“The Mueller investigation must be allowed to continue independently, without obstruction from the Administration and entirely free from any political influence. The fact that people are even asking about the firing of Mueller reminds us why we need to renew the independent counsel law, so we can have someone the President cannot fire. Progress in the Mueller investigation reminds us that the House Judiciary Committee has so far failed to do its job and conduct its own investigation into obstruction of justice.”
Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach
“The interference with our 2016 elections by Russia is a serious attack on our democracy and national security. We must give Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller full range and freedom to investigate all possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and other related matters including perjury and obstruction of justice. … Firing Mueller would be a blatant attempt at obstructing justice. If Mr. Trump fires Mueller, Congress should move quickly to ensure that the investigation continues unimpeded and consider impeachment charges.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston
“The federal investigation led by Robert Mueller is incredibly important for our democracy and our nation. As the special counsel’s criminal probe escalates, Congress must send a clear signal that we will not tolerate any interference by the President or his Administration.”
Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa
“After reading the guilty plea and indictments of Trump Campaign officials, it is more apparent than ever that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team must be given latitude to get to the bottom of the Trump Campaign coordination with Russia and Russian meddling in our elections. It is illegal for a foreign country and its agents to make political contributions to U.S. candidates and it is dangerous for a U.S. political campaign to conspire with a malign foreign power. Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort’s ‘pattern of illegal activity’ and apparent money laundering are outrageous. The guilty plea by a separate Trump Campaign foreign policy adviser for false statements relating to his ‘Russia updates’ raises many additional questions that the Special Counsel must pursue.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami
“Mr. Mueller has been entrusted with conducting an important investigation. I believe he will execute his job in a fair and impartial manner that will restore trust in our democratic institutions. The American people deserve no less.”
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami (via spokeswoman)
“Since the announcement of Director Mueller’s appointment, Congressman Curbelo has been supportive of the investigation. That has not changed and Congressman Curbelo believes Director Mueller should continue and finish his work.”
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor
“I support investigative efforts as we work to ensure that our democratic process is protected from external interference, but it’s important that we are not distracted from the important work at hand like tax reform. Rest assured though, that anyone who has violated the law should swiftly be brought to justice. To date, I have not seen proof that there was any wrongdoing by the President or collusion between his campaign and Russia.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D)
“These are very serious charges, and we should be united against any individual who helped further Russia’s interference in our elections. …
“It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, it should be clear: if you help an enemy of the United States meddle in our Democracy, you will be held accountable.
“Too often, here in this Senate and throughout the country as a whole, we find ourselves suddenly divided on issues because of party politics, but that shouldn’t be the case. There should be no disagreement when it comes to protecting America. Because we should be Americans first, not Democrats or Republicans first. We should be Americans first.
“We must continue to be patient with the Mueller investigation, and allow it to follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
If the investigation finds that Trump had nothing to do with Russia, will these same Democrats and Republican Trump detractors be singing the same tune about Mueller?