Washington, DC, USA: Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for US President Donald Trump, surrendered to federal authorities on Monday in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, according to media reports. Manafort arrived at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Washington field office to surrender to federal authorities.
The charges against Manafort would be the first arising from the investigation by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to look into alleged Russian meddling to sway the election in favor of Trump.
The charges against Manafort would include tax fraud, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A federal grand jury issued the indictment on Friday and a federal judge ordered it sealed, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters, adding it could be unsealed as soon as Monday.
Manafort associate Rick Gates would also surrender.
Manafort, 68, served the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 before resigning amid reports he may have received millions in illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
Mueller has been investigating Manafort’s financial and real estate dealings and his prior work for that political group, the Party of Regions, which backed former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovich, sources have told Reuters.
Investigators also examined potential money laundering by Manafort and other possible financial crimes, according to the sources.
Gates was a long-time business partner of Manafort and has ties to many of the same Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. He also served as deputy to Manafort during his brief tenure as Trump’s campaign chairman.
Trump has denied any allegations of collusion with the Russians and called the probe “a witch hunt.” The Kremlin also has denied the allegations.
Just before the Manafort report came out, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway insisted any charges would not necessarily implicate Trump or his campaign.
“Whatever happens today with the Mueller investigation, we don’t even know that it has anything to do with the campaign …,” Conway said on Fox.
The Russia investigation has cast a shadow over Trump’s 9-month-old presidency and widened the partisan rift between Republicans and Democrats.
US intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russia interfered in the election to try to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton by hacking and releasing embarrassing emails and disseminating propaganda via social media to discredit her.
Mueller is also investigating whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the Russian efforts.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) on Monday said Republicans need to continue to support special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian election interference.
“Months ago I & many other Republicans vowed to support Mueller investigation & allow it to work its way through process to get the facts,” Banks tweeted Monday.
“In light of today’s indictments we must continue to support and allow the integrity of the process to work.”
President Trump has in the past called the Russia probe a “witch hunt” and denied any collusion with Russia.
Democrats have warned that the country would be thrust into a constitutional situation if he were to fire Mueller.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy Harold on Sunday similarly said Republicans need to let Mueller do his job.
“I would encourage my Republican friends — give the guy a chance to do his job,” Gowdy said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“The result will be known by the facts, by what he uncovers. The personalities involved are much less important to me than the underlying facts. So, I would — I would say give the guy a chance to do his job.”
The former campaign manager for US President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, was told to surrender to federal authorities on Monday, according to two media reports, in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Manafort served the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 before resigning amid reports he may have received millions in illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine
The charges would be the first from the investigation of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to look into alleged Russian meddling