Paul Manafort and Rick Gates Charged With Conspiracy

The former campaign chairman for then presidential candidate Donald Trump Paul Manafort and a former campaign official for Trump Rick Gates surrendered on Monday to Robert Mueller the special counsel at the Justice Department.

Gates, who is 45, is a long time Manafort business associate, as the two have worked together dating back to the mid-2000s.

Gates served as the deputy for Manafort during the campaign. The two were indicted Friday, but the indictment was sealed and no names released until early Monday.

The indictment of the two contains 12 counts. The counts included conspiracy against the U.S.; conspiracy of laundering money; false statements; unregistered agent for a foreign principal; misleading and false U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act or FARA statements; as well as another seven counts of not filing reports of foreign financial and bank accounts.

Early Monday morning Manafort could be seen entering the Washington field office of the FBI. The two will be processed separately, said one law enforcement officer. The two later will be transported to a Washington federal district court.

Both have been scheduled to make initial court appearances Monday at 1:30 p.m.

The charges filed against two of the top officials from the campaign for President Donald Trump signals a big start to a new phase of the investigation by Mueller into the possibility of collusion between the government of Russia and members of the campaign for Trump.

A spokesperson from the White House said that President Trump’s administration might not have any response to the charges.

Manafort worked for the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and that has been scrutinized by federal investigators, but he has denied previously any financial wrongdoing related to his payments from Ukraine, his offshore bank accounts in tax shelters and his many transactions involving real estate over the past few years.

Gates, who also had denied any wrongdoing, was a longtime associate of Manafort in his firm that specialized in lobbying prior to being picked to be Manafort’s deputy on the campaign of Trump.

The two are the first officials in the Trump circle that have been charged in relation to the investigation by the special counsel, which is exploring if actions by Trump surrounding his firing of James Comey the former director of the FBI amount to the obstruction of justice.

A broad approach has bene taken by Mueller to his mandate which include focusing on the financial dealings of the campaign of Trump.

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