Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are first indictments in Special Counsel probe (updated)

CNN posted a cryptic report on Friday that Robert Mueller’s grand jury had issued its first sealed indictment(s), and that an arrest could come as early as Monday, or not. Not much more than this to the reporting.

This touched off a weekend of wild media speculation trying to confirm the CNN report, who had been indicted, and what are the charges.

Monday has arrived, and the New York Times reports that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and his former business associate Rick Gates, were told to surrender to the FBI on Monday. Manafort has reported to the FBI this morning. Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Surrenders to F.B.I.:

Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities Monday morning, after a person close to the case said the first charges were filed in a special counsel investigation.

The charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office. Also charged was Mr. Manafort’s former business associate Rick Gates, who was also told to surrender on Monday, the person said.

Mr. Manafort walked into the F.B.I.’s field office in Washington at about 8:15 a.m. with his lawyer.

Mr. Gates is a longtime protégé and junior partner of Mr. Manafort. His name appears on documents linked to companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.

Mr. Manafort had been under investigation for violations of federal tax law, money laundering and whether he appropriately disclosed his foreign lobbying.

Attempts to reach Mr. Gates on Monday were not successful. A spokesman for Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Manafort has expected charges since this summer, when F.B.I. agents raided his home and prosecutors warned him that they planned to indict him. That warning raised speculation that Mr. Manafort might try to cut a deal to avoid prosecution.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, said there were no concernsthat Mr. Manafort would offer damaging information about the president in exchange for a deal.

And why is that, Ty? Does he already have the promise of a presidential pardon in his back pocket? “Just keep your mouth shut and don’t say anything. I’ll pardon you when the time is right.”

Mr. Manafort, a veteran Republican strategist, joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 to help keep delegates from breaking with Mr. Trump in favor of establishment Republican candidates. Mr. Trump soon promoted him to chairman and chief strategist, a job that gave him control over day-to-day operations of the campaign.

But Mr. Trump fired Mr. Manafort just months later, after reports that he received more than $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a pro-Russia politician. Mr. Manafort spent years as a political consultant for Mr. Yanukovych.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia launched a stealth campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to damage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win the election. The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel in May to lead the investigation into the Russian operations and to determine whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved.

The New York Times revealed in July that Mr. Manafort and others close to Mr. Trump met with Russians last year, on the promise of receiving damaging political information about Mrs. Clinton.

The Washington Post adds, Manafort and former business partner asked to surrender in connection with special counsel probe:

The precise charges the men face were not immediately clear. Gates did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort. Manafort was spotted walking into the FBI’s Washington Field Office Monday morning.

Washington — especially those in political and media circles — had been anxiously anticipating the charges since CNN reported Friday night that a grand jury had approved the first charges in Mueller’s investigation. That report was soon matched by others, including Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, though affiliates of many involved said they were in the dark as to what was about to come. About a dozen reporters staked out the entrance to the federal courthouse in downtown D.C. Monday morning, waiting for any glimpse of prosecutors or possible defendants.

Spokespeople for Mueller and the Justice Department declined to comment over the weekend. They did not immediately return messages Monday.

Prosecutors have been probing Manafort’s work as a political consultant in Ukraine, where he advised a Russia-friendly political party for years before his work with Trump. They have also been examining Manafort’s personal finances.

While the probe has focused acutely on Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, investigators have shown interest in a broad array of other topics.

Those include meetings the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow in December, and a June 2016 meeting at Trump tower involving the president’s son, Donald Jr., and a Russian lawyer. Mueller’s team has requested extensive records from the White House, covering areas including the president’s private discussions about firing James B. Comey as FBI director and his response to news that Flynn was under investigation, according to two people briefed on the requests.

Mueller is also investigating whether Trump obstructed justice leading up to Comey’s firing. His team has been actively presenting records and bringing witnesses before the grand jury in D.C. for the last three months.

Any grand jury indictment would be shared with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who is acting as the attorney general because Jeff Sessions, having served as a surrogate for the Trump campaign, recused himself from the matter.

* * *

FBI agents working for Mueller raided Manafort’s home in Alexandria in late July, armed with a search warrant that allowed them to enter at dawn without warning the occupants. Such an invasive search is only allowed after prosecutors have persuaded a federal judge that they have evidence of a crime and they have reasonable concern that key evidence could be destroyed or withheld.

Prosecutors also warned Manafort they planned to indict him, according to two people familiar with the exchange. Manafort associates had said Friday evening, though, they had no indication that Manafort has been or would be indicted.

Wayne Holland, a McEnearney Associates real estate agent who helped Manafort buy the condo in Alexandria, Va., that was raided by the FBI this summer, testified Oct. 20 before the grand jury in Mueller’s probe after he and his firm were unsuccessful in an effort to quash subpoenas, Holland said Friday.

Holland declined to discuss his testimony, first reported by Politico, but confirmed that an opinion unsealed Friday by Howell denied his and his firm’s motion to quash a subpoena by claiming real estate broker records are confidential under Virginia and District laws.

This is what the cable jockeys will be speculating about all day on your TV.

UPDATE: The Times now has a copy of the indictment. Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Indicted on Money Laundering and Tax Charges:

Paul Manafort and his former business associate were indicted on Monday on money laundering, tax and foreign lobbying charges, a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over President Trump’s first year in office.

“Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income,” the indictment reads.

Mr. Gates is accused of transferring more than $3 million from offshore accounts. The two are also charged with making false statements.

“As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others,” the indictment read.

Read the Charges Against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

25 responses to “Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are first indictments in Special Counsel probe (updated)

  1. while these charges were going on, one of his client was john podesta, (pedestal group) clintons campaign chairman. no russian trump collusion. general flynn will be next.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      The evidence we know about for collusion is overwhelming and overwhelmingly not reported on Fox News, Cap.

      And I’ve been saying for months that some Dems are going to get swept up, Russia cast a big net.

  2. A guilty plea from a former Trump campaign aide
    By Jennifer Rubin October 30 at 12:08 PM

    The Post reports that former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI investigators in the Robert S. Mueller III probe. That is a big deal, bigger perhaps than the announced indictments of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, whose alleged crimes did not directly implicate anyone in the campaign, let alone President Trump.

    We see for the first time the words “Donald J. Trump” in a federal criminal plea bargain. As detailed in the plea, Papadopoulos was a junior foreign policy adviser to the campaign. According to the plea, he lied to the FBI when he said he knowingly communicated with a Russian “professor” with “substantial connections” to the Kremlin before Papadopoulos joined the campaign. In fact, he did so during his employment by the campaign. The Russian told Papadopoulos that he had “thousands” of Hillary Clinton’s emails and later that he had “dirt” on Clinton.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/10/30/a-guilty-plea-from-a-junior-campaign-staffer/?utm_term=.99ed93801ddf

  3. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha

  4. Seth Abramson, @SethAbramson, is up to 76 tweets already. Very good commentary and analysis. Scroll down to 1/ and read upward.

    https://twitter.com/SethAbramson

  5. For Sure Not Tom

    This is just the beginning. Remember, Watergate produced 69 indictments and took nearly two years to clear out.

    This is far, far worse than Watergate.

    Legal scholars have been saying for months that Manafort would be the most likely first to fall so he can be leveraged to testify against others.

    Tick tock tick tock…

  6. There’s lots going on here but one thing is very clear—Donald Trump is really lousy at recruiting and hiring people.

  7. Woo hoo. Trollin’ Trump and he’s already started on Twitter. Here’s your first installment from the Grifter-in-Chief:

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 44s45 seconds ago

    ….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 4m4 minutes ago

    Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 3h3 hours ago

    Great job by MichaelCaputo on @foxandfriends.
    13,079 replies 3,880 retweets 19,569 likes

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 3h3 hours ago

    Report out that Obama Campaign paid $972,000 to Fusion GPS. The firm also got $12,400,000 (really?) from DNC. Nobody knows who OK’d!

    • This is why Trump likes Michael Caputo…

      That Michael Caputo‏Verified account
      @MichaelRCaputo

      The only collusion I see is between the Democrats and Russian spies. @foxandfriends @foxnews

      6:50 AM – 30 Oct 2017

      • I’m not going to troll this clown but I think he might end up being Trump’s self-appointed defender on Fox.

    • Y’all, Trump is quiet. Do you think they sedated him?

  8. Happy First Indictments Day, everyone!!

    I don’t think anyone is surprised that Paul Manafort is first.

    Keep ’em coming, Mr. Mueller…

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Allow me to preempt Trump and Fox News and the local fake conservative trolls….

      The Manafort crimes in the indictment occurred prior to his involvement in the Trump campaign, Mueller had to file charges now because the statute of limitations on those crimes expires in a month.

      The right will try to say none of this applies to Trump to show the Trump campaign and Trump/Kushner’s families innocence, it does not show that at all.

      What this does it give Mueller leverage over Manafort, who is dirty as hell and deep in with Russia.

      This is just the beginning, expect more attacks on Mueller (a war hero, LEO hero, Republican) by the shameless right wing echo chamber.