Ryan Urges Investigation in Wake of Trump Bombshells

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – The latest developments in cases related to President Donald Trump’s inner circle merit congressional investigation, but U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan wasn’t confident Tuesday night that the Republican-led Congress would pursue any action.

The political world was rocked Tuesday by the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight criminal counts, including five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. A mistrial was declared on the 10 counts on which jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

At the same time, former Trump lawyer and ally Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to several counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud.

“This is always sad for the country to have to go through this, but it needs to be done. The investigation needs to happen,” Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said. However, he acknowledged he doesn’t see “any indication” that the Republican-controlled Congress is going to act. “We’ll see if more comes out,” Ryan said.

In his plea agreement, Cohen said that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” he concealed information that would have been harmful to the candidate and the campaign. The information appears to involve payments made to two women who alleged they had extramarital affairs with Trump.

Trump has denied the affairs took place.

Later in the day, news also broke that a federal grand jury has indicted U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-50 Calif., and his wife for allegedly misusing campaign funds and filing false campaign records with the Federal Election Commission.

“This is a really bad day for the president and a really bad day for the country, and unfortunately it’s the beginning of more to come,” Ryan predicted. “If Cohen starts talking, I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Ryan said he had not spoken to any of his colleagues yet. The House of Representatives is out of session until after Labor Day.

“It’s the president’s lawyer, and the president’s lawyer said that the president directed him to violate campaign finance law and do something that was directly going to affect the outcome of the election,” Ryan said. “By doing that, he exposes himself to potential criminal charges. If that’s enough to move Republicans, I don’t know. … If not, hopefully it’ll be a new Congress next year.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.