Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and one of his associates were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 charges as a result of the special prosecutor’s investigation into collusion with Russia during the period leading up to last year’s presidential election.
Manafort, 68, and his business partner, Rick Gates, 45, who served as deputy campaign manager, were indicted under seal on Friday.
Manafort turned himself in at the FBI’s Washington field office Monday morning and he is scheduled to make an initial court appearance before US District Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson.
The indictment against Manafort and Gates alleges conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to disclose foreign bank and financial accounts.
In a related story, George Papadopoulos, 30, a foreign policy adviser for Trump’s campaign pleaded guilty weeks ago to making false statements to the FBI as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
According to court documents released Monday, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making “material false statements and material omissions” during an interview with the FBI in January, according to records unsealed Monday.
Evidence of Manafort’s coverup of ties to hostile foreign governments and tax cheating came to light during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Papadopoulos “lied to special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, concerning a federal investigation … about the timing, extent, and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.”
President Trump sought Monday morning to distance himself from Manafort but there have been previous indications that Trump would issue a pardon to criminals involved in his campaign. Trump gave a pardon to 85-year-old Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was convicted criminal contempt by a federal judge for his illegal treatment of suspected immigrants.
Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation into possible Russian government collusion with members of Republican campaign team, potential obstruction of justice and suspected financial crimes is also exploring whether Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey amounts to obstruction of justice.
A June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort included an ex-Soviet military intelligence officer and lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, a translator and a representative of the Russian family who had asked publicist Rob Goldstone to set up the meeting.
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