Longtime GOP operatives charged with funneling Russian national’s money to Trump, RNC

The indictment does not mention Trump or his campaign. However, details in the 19-page document show that Trump was involved in the scheme to obtain a donation to support the Trump event.
The indictments refer to a $25,000 donation made on Oct. 27, 2016 to a Benton political committee. This is in line with a similar size and date donated to Trumps political team by a Jesse Bentor. Prosecutors claim this is a garbling of Bentons names.

The indictment does not indicate that Trump or his campaign aides knew that the money was from a Russian donor. Benton and Wead are accused of concealing the deal from Trump. The scheme also involved getting political committees unwittingly to file reports that indicated that Benton was the true source of the funds.

According to the indictment, Benton and Wead wanted to make money out of the scheme. They took $100,000 from Russia, but paid only $25,000 for Trump Victory, which was a joint venture between Trump campaign and Republican National Committee.

Benton, a Kentucky veteran and presidential politician, was previously charged with federal campaign finance violations for payments made to an Iowa state lawmaker. He switched endorsements from Michelle Bachman in 2012 to Ron Paul. Trump pardoned Benton just before he left office for the crimes he had been convicted of. Benton is also an ex-lawful adviser to Senator Rand Paul (R.Ky.), Ron Paul's son. Before taking over as the 2014 campaign leader for Sen. Mitch McConnell, Benton was under legal scrutiny.

Trump pardoned Benton and another associate and indicated that Rand Paul and Lee Goodman supported the move.

According to the new indictment, Benton was involved in the foreign-donation scheme during the time Benton was serving two years probation for his conviction in the Iowa-related case involving campaign finance.

Wead, a conservative commentator who is also an activist, co-authored a book together with George H.W. Bush published the book just before Bush was elected president in 1989. During his presidency, Wead had close contact with the Trump White House.

Jay Sekulow, and Jane Raskin, who were Trump's former attorneys when he was president respectively, represent Wead in this case.

Sekulow responded to questions about the charges by stating that Doug Wead was a well-respected author and supporter for charitable causes. Sekulow has pleaded not guilty and will continue to answer the court appropriately.

Judge Trevor McFadden has been appointed to the case against Benton & Wead. He is a Trump appointee.


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