The first indictment in special investigator Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia was leaked Friday and announced Monday. Paul Manafort, longtime lobbyist to foreign governments and Donald Trump’s campaign manager from March through August of 2016, was indicted on 12 counts including money laundering and tax evasion.
Of note, the indictment does not relate to the original suspicion of collusion with Russia and none of the alleged money laundering or tax evasion happened during the campaign.
“The first indictment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Russia Investigation” was unveiled Monday morning against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s campaign manager from March to August of 2016, and his partner Richard Gates.
The charges, first teased Friday, bear no immediate connection to the Trump campaign or the 2016 presidential race more broadly. Instead, the charges stem from Manafort’s work as a consultant and lobbyist for Ukrainian President Victor Yanokovych and his “Party of Regions,” the country’s pro-Russia party that lost power in the 2014 Euromaidan Revolt.
The heart of the charges against Manafort and Gates, laid out in a 31-page indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, are best described as money laundering. The two men, 68 and 45 respectively, are alleged to have used a bevy of entities to launder millions of dollars over a decade and failed to properly disclose the nature of their work for Yanokovych.
The pair are alleged to have maintained foreign accounts in at least three countries, into which millions of dollars of payments were made, and then failed to disclose these accounts to federal authorities in accordance with laws that regulate agents of foreign governments. Manafort in particular is alleged to have avoided paying taxes on much of these earnings.
In exchange for the payments, Manafort and Gates are alleged to have lobbied on behalf of Yanokovych and his government without registering a foreign agents, a federal felony.
The indictment lists twelve counts, first among which is “conspiracy against the United States.” This charge, despite its treasonous grandiose air, refers to the illegal agreement between the two men to commit criminal acts the defrauded the government, not collusion with a foreign power to attack the United States.
Manafort surrendered to the FBI at their Washington field office Monday morning. Gates is expected to do the same. The men will make their initial appearance together at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Monday, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson at the Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, DC.”
See the 12 individual counts here.