Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates have been charged with conspiracy against the United States stemming from Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. The two men surrendered themselves to the FBI this morning.
CNN reports that the indictments against the men contain 12 counts:
“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 file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.”
Although these charges do not involve campaign activity, Mueller may still add charges as the investigation continues.
For President Trump, who has maintained the investigation is a witch hunt, the development is damaging. Mueller has an outstanding reputation in Washington on both sides of the aisle. These charges have to be giving the White House some concern. Even if Trump and his campaign were not directly involved in any illegal activity, the fact that Gates and Manafort were is not good for Trump’s credibility.
The charges against two top officials from President Donald Trump’s campaign signals a dramatic new phase of Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes.A White House spokesman told CNN the Trump administration “may not have a response at all” regarding the charges. But a source close to the White House said, “today has zero to do with the White House,” noting that the charges pertain to Manafort and Gates’ business dealings.