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The Schadenfreude Is Strong With the Indictment of Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort

Bonus: One Trump associate already pleaded guilty!
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On Friday, as big news so often does, news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team would indict at least one person in relation to their investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s relation to it. Word was that the indictment would come as soon as today, which may have been the first time quite so many people were looking forward to the end of a weekend. Today did not disappoint.

Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who left that job during the 2016 campaign after news reports of his shady dealings, has been indicted on several counts, including “conspiracy against the United States” and “conspiracy to launder money.” An important thing to note is that the charges (you can read the full indictment for yourself here) focus on Manafort’s business dealings, filings, and false statements about being a foreign agent—nothing we didn’t already know. However, it’s likely that the indictment is a step towards getting Manafort to “flip” on Trump and help the investigation on its way, and people are excited.

Also indicted was Richard Gates, a Manafort crony who continued working with the Trump team well after Manafort himself left, and there’s speculation going around that the indictment of both men at once means Mueller’s team is planning to use each of them to pressure the other into flipping. Still, expect the pro-Trump line to be that the lack of information in the indictment that’s incriminating for Trump is an indication that he’s being exonerated.

But that can’t rain on the internet’s parade, after last night had something of a Christmas Eve vibe, and everyone enjoys the feeling that time actually is moving forward, contrary to how this year feels, and the investigation along with it:

Especially since part of the Manafort indictment, involving the FBI raiding Manafort’s home, had to do with an email retention policy:

And of course, there was the predictable mocking of how Fox News decided to cover the events:

But wait! There’s more. In the time since I started writing this, the Special Counsel’s office revealed that, back on October 5, a Trump campaign Foreign Policy Adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI—specifically about meetings with Russia about the campaign:

That one’s going to be a lot harder to play off, but Trump is already on Twitter seizing upon the predictable spin about Manafort, so we’ll probably get to watch him try. It could also mean that Papadopoulos will assist the investigation. Grab your popcorn, folks.

(image: Ildar vector /

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.