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UPDATE: Trump's ex-campaign chairman, business associate surrender to feds

Associated Press • Updated Oct 30, 2017 at 9:28 AM

UPDATE 9:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a former business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted Monday on charges of conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and several other financial charges.

The charges were the first stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The indictment filed in federal court in Washington accused both men of funneling tens of millions of dollars in payments through foreign companies and bank accounts.

Manafort and Gates surrendered to federal authorities, and were expected in court later Monday to face charges brought by Mueller’s team.

The indictment lays out 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent and several charges related to failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts. The indictment alleges that they moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles. In total, more than $75 million flowed through the offshore accounts. Manafort is accused of laundering more than $18 million, according to the indictment.

Manafort, 68, was fired as Trump’s campaign chairman in August after word surfaced that he had orchestrated a covert lobbying operation on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. The Associated Press reported that Manafort also represented a Russian billionaire a decade ago with the goal of advancing the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House declined to comment. A spokesman for Manafort did not immediately return calls or text messages requesting comment.

Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to tip the 2016 presidential election.

The appointment came one week after the firing James Comey, who as FBI director led the investigation, and also followed the recusal months earlier of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the probe.

Investigators have focused on associates including Manafort, whose home was raided in July by agents searching for tax and international banking records, and ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after White House officials said he had misled them about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Manafort joined Trump’s campaign in March 2016 and oversaw the convention delegate strategy. Trump pushed him out in August amid a steady stream of negative headlines about Manafort’s foreign consulting work.

Trump’s middle son, Eric Trump, said in an interview at the time that his father was concerned that questions about Manafort’s past were taking attention away from the billionaire’s presidential bid.

Manafort has been a subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych. That investigation was incorporated into Mueller’s broader probe.

Previously, he denied any wrongdoing related to his Ukrainian work, saying through a spokesman that it “was totally open and appropriate.”

Manafort also recently registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for parts of Ukrainian work that occurred in Washington. The filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act came retroactively, a tacit acknowledgment that he operated in Washington in violation of the federal transparency law.

Mueller’s investigation has also reached into the White House, as he examines the circumstances of Comey’s firing. Investigators have requested extensive documents from the White House about key actions since Trump took office and have interviewed multiple current and former officials.

Mueller’s grand jury has also heard testimony about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by a Russian lawyer as well as Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

In Gates, Mueller brings in not just Manafort’s chief deputy, but a key player from Trump’s campaign who survived past Manafort’s ouster last summer. As of two weeks ago, Gates was still working for Tom Barrack, a Trump confidant, helping with the closeout of the inauguration committee’s campaign account.

 

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UPDATE: 9 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a former business associate, Rick Gates, surrendered to federal authorities Monday. That’s according to people familiar with the matter.

The charges are the first in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. Details on the charges have not been released.

Manafort and Gates surrendered to federal authorities in Washington. They are expected in court later Monday to face charges brought by Mueller’s team. That’s according to one person familiar with the investigation. A second person said that Gates had worked out an arrangement to turn himself in on Monday.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss publicly an ongoing federal probe.

8:35 a.m.

The White House is declining comment on a New York Times report that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a former business associate, Rick Gates, have been told to surrender to authorities.

Administration officials did not comment on the report Monday.

Those are the first charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. The Times on Monday cited an anonymous person involved in the case.

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WASHINGTON — The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a former business associate, Rick Gates, have been told to surrender to authorities.

Those are the first charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. The Times on Monday cited an anonymous person involved in the case.

Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to tip the 2016 presidential election.

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump expressed renewed frustration Sunday over the investigations into alleged ties between his campaign associates and Russian government officials, saying on Twitter that the “facts are pouring out” about links to Russia by his former presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“DO SOMETHING!” Trump urged in one of five morning tweets.

Trump’s tweets followed a CNN report late Friday that a federal grand jury in Washington has approved the first charges in a criminal investigation into Russia ties led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The Associated Press has not confirmed the CNN report.

Ty Cobb, a member of Trump’s legal team, said the president was not referring to CNN’s reporting.

“Contrary to what many have suggested, the president’s comments today are unrelated to the activities of the special counsel, with whom he continues to cooperate,” Cobb said in a statement.

Trump and the White House insist there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia. Both have pointed a finger at Clinton and have suggested that the real story of collusion with Russia is the sale of uranium to Moscow when Clinton was secretary of state.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered with the election to benefit Trump, a finding that Trump has not fully accepted. Mueller and Congress are looking into allegations of ties between Trump associates and Russia.

In the tweets, Trump referenced the fact that Clinton’s presidential campaign helped fund political research into Trump that ultimately produced a dossier of allegations about his ties to Russia. He also pointed to the uranium sale, the tens of thousands of emails from Clinton’s time at the State Department that she later deleted from a private email server, and the decision by then-FBI Director Jim Comey to not bring criminal charges against Clinton for possible mishandling of classified information.

“Instead they look at phony Trump/Russia ‘collusion,‘ which doesn’t exist. The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R’s are now fighting back like never before,” Trump says across several tweets. “There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”

In a final tweet on the subject, Trump suggests that Russia’s re-emergence into the conversation is no accident.

“All of this ‘Russia’ talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform. Is this coincidental? NOT!”

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers are scheduled to release a tax cut bill being pushed by the GOP lawmakers and Trump.

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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