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Paul Manafort Indicted In Mueller Russia Probe, Surrenders To FBI
President Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort's former business associate Rick Gates were indicted and told to surrender to federal authorities on Oct. 30.
Manafort walked into the FBI's field office with his lawyer Kevin Downing in Washington, DC, at about 8:15 a.m. on Oct. 30. An FBI agent greeted him and his lawyer as they entered the building.
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) October 30, 2017
The indictment was unsealed Monday morning, and it contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
Manafort has been at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Moscow before the 2016 election. The indictments against Manafort and Gates are the first since James Comey launched the investigation over a year ago. Mueller took over the investigation after Comey was fired as FBI director in May.
Manafort was forced to step down as Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016, but Gates stayed and worked on Trump's transition team. He was ousted from a pro-Trump lobbying group in April amid questions about Russia's election interference, but he continued to visit the White House as late as June, according to The Daily Beast.
Legal experts speculated over the weekend, after news of the sealed indictments broke Friday, that Mueller would arrest Manafort in an effort to get him to "flip" against Trump.
Trump tweeted on Oct. 30 that the allegations came "years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????"
"Also, there is NO COLLUSION!" he added in a follow-up tweet.
The FBI conducted a predawn raid on Manafort's home in July. Manafort was told at the time that he would be indicted, according to his longtime friend Roger Stone. Investigators were looking for tax documents and foreign banking records that are typically sought when investigating violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
Manafort has been associated with at least 15 bank accounts and 10 companies in Cyprus, dating back to 2007, NBC News reported in March, and the FBI has issued grand-jury subpoenas to several banks for Manafort's records. Gates' name appears on documents linked to many of those Cyprus companies, according to The New York Times.
BuzzFeed News reported on Oct. 29 that the FBI was looking at 13 suspicious wire transfers made by Manafort-linked offshore companies from 2012 to 2013.
Manafort's representatives have said he has been cooperating with investigators' requests for relevant documents. But the search warrant obtained by the FBI in July indicated that Mueller managed to convince a federal judge that Manafort would try to conceal or destroy documents subpoenaed by a grand jury.
The indictments issued Oct. 27 were sealed, and Manafort's attorneys did not receive a target letter, raising similar questions about whether Mueller thought Manafort would try to flee or destroy evidence if he were notified of his impending arrest three days beforehand.
Legal experts saw the July raid as a sign that something very serious was coming.
A former Department of Justice spokesman, Matthew Miller, said a raid coming months into an investigation in which the subject's attorneys had been speaking with, and presumably cooperating with, the DOJ "suggests something serious."
"Manafort's representatives have been insisting for months that he is cooperating with these investigations, and if you are really cooperating, DOJ typically doesn't need to raid your house — they'll trust you to respond fully to a subpoena," a former Department of Justice spokesman, Matthew Miller, said at the time.
Paul Manafort appears on stage ahead of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, in New York.Photo via Associated Press
Manafort's ties to Russia came under scrutiny in August of last year, when The New York Times discovered that a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine designated him $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments. Manafort, a longtime Republican operative, had advised the party and its former leader Viktor Yanukovych for nearly a decade.
On March 22, the Associated Press reported that Manafort was paid $10 million from 2006 to 2009 to lobby on behalf of the Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, using a strategic "model" that the AP said Manafort wrote would "greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success."
Manafort has insisted that he has never received any illicit cash payments. But he has a "pattern" of using shell companies to purchase homes "in all-cash deals," as WNYC has reported, and then transferring those properties into his name for no money and taking out large mortgages against them.
Manafort's tendency to form shell companies to purchase real estate is not illegal. But it has raised questions about how much and by whom Manafort has been paid throughout his decades as a political consultant.
New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, was recruited last month to help investigate Manafort for possible financial crimes and money laundering, and the IRS' criminal investigations unit joined the investigation to examine similar issues.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Manafort was the subject of a new money-laundering investigation in New York.
Manafort also attended a meeting last year at Trump Tower with Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as two Russian lobbyists who were said to have offered dirt on Hillary Clinton.
More from Business Insider:
- Early Trump campaign adviser pleaded guilty to making false statements about Russia contacts to FBI
- Paul Manafort was just charged with 'conspiracy against the United States' — here's what that means
- Meet Rick Gates — the Trump ally indicted in the Russia probe and charged with conspiracy against the US
- Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was just indicted — here's what you need to know about him
- Read the indictment of Paul Manafort
While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban's deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.
"The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand," Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.
In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.
Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.
Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"
The next day was different.
"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."
A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.
Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.
While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.