Washington: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former business partner Rick Gates have been told to surrender to federal authorities on Monday on charges related to an inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in 2016 US Presidential election, a senior US official said.
Manafort and Gates were indicted under seal on Friday, it is reported. The indictments were expected to be unsealed later on Monday. The extent of the charges was not immediately known.
The charges against two top officials from President Donald Trump’s campaign signalled a dramatic new phase of special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team to influence the 2016 election, the report said.
A White House spokesman told CNN the Trump administration “may not have a response at all” regarding the charges.
Manafort, whose work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych attracted scrutiny from federal investigators, previously denied financial wrongdoing regarding his Ukraine-related payments, his bank accounts in offshore tax shelters and his various real-estate transactions over the years.
Gates, who also denied wrongdoing, was Manafort’s longtime business associate in his lobbying firm before being tapped as his deputy on the Trump campaign.
They are the first two officials in Trump’s orbit charged in connection with the special counsel investigation, which was exploring whether Trump’s actions surrounding the firing of then FBI Director James Comey amounted to obstruction of justice.
Mueller took a broad approach to his mandate that included a focus on the financial dealings of Trump’s team.
Before the indictment, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in July executed a so-called no-knock search warrant with guns drawn at Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, seizing financial and tax documents, including some that had already been provided to congressional investigators.