Professor: Russian meddling investigation ranks with Watergate, Whitewater scandals

DENVER -- On Monday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, surrendered to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and pleaded not guilty to several charges, including conspiracy against the U.S.

On this weekend’s Politics Unplugged, University of Denver Political Science professor Seth Masket says the charges are very serious.

“Particularly some of the material we’re hearing form Papadopoulos’ testimony,” Masket told Anne Trujillo. “These are the things that aren't really subject to spin. That is whether we’re focusing on this or not we’re talking about very serious legal accusations, very serious talks about corruption and other things that are tied very closely to the White House and the campaign.”

Masket is talking about the testimony of former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. When the Manafort and Gates indictments were announced, it was revealed that Papadopoulos had previously pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government.

The professor believes that when you talk about presidential scandals, this one will rank up there with Watergate and Whitewater.

“Scandal can cover a wide range of things, everything from an inappropriate tweet or comment to something that is potentially illegal or would subject someone to removal from office,” Masket said.  “This is up there with those very serious things like what happened during President Nixon or President Clinton's terms.” 

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7.

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