Paul Manafort, former chairman of President Trump’s campaign, turned himself into the FBI on Monday morning after being indicted on 12 different counts including conspiracy against the United States. He and his associate, Rick Gates, plead not guilty on all counts.
This indictment appears to be the first charges brought about by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the ties between Russia and the 2016 presidential election. Along with conspiracy against the United States, other counts in the indictment include false statements, multiple failures to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, and conspiracy to launder money.
The charges filed against Manafort and Gates are unrelated to the Trump campaign.
Reportedly, these indictments were returned by a grand jury on Friday. They were unsealed after defendants were permitted to surrender themselves, according to an FBI statement.
Separately, George Papadopoulos, who was an early foreign policy advisor to President Donald Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a professor who had ties with the Russian government.
With a political career that started back in the 1970s, Manafort helped manage the convention floor for candidates such as Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. He was also the senior advisor to Viktor F. Yanukovych, a pro-Russia Ukrainian president, from 2010 to 2014.
Manafort joined the Donald Trump for President campaign in March of 2016, gaining the campaign chairman position three months later. On August 14th, an expose piece from The New York Times listed Manafort as having received $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party. Trump replaced him three days after the piece ran with Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, and Manafort officially resigned on August 19th.
Beginning with that revelation and leading up to the indictment, Manafort’s foreign ties have been under scrutiny. His interests span the globe, and he is known for his foreign lobbying and pro-Russia work in Ukraine. Manafort was also present at a Trump Tower meeting in 2016 between Trump campaign officials and a Kremlin-linked Russian attorney.
An indictment as part of Mueller’s investigation has been expected since July when FBI agents raided Manafort’s home with a search warrant to seize certain materials. Speculation has pointed to him cutting a deal to avoid prosecution. However, White House lawyer Ty Cobb stated last week that President Trump is confident that Manafort has no damaging information about him:
“The president has no concerns in terms of any impact, as to what happens to them, on his campaign or on the White House,” Cobb said in an interview for The New York Times’ podcast.