President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered Monday to the FBI on charges of conspiracy against the U.S., money laundering, and more in a 12-count indictment produced by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election according to a report in Newsmax.
In a statement, Mueller said:
“Paul J. Manafort, Jr., 68, of Alexandria, Va., and Richard W. Gates III, 45, of Richmond, Va., have been indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 27, 2017, in the District of Columbia. The indictment 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.”
“We expect that Paul Manafort will turn himself in to the FBI, and we’ll learn more about the charges,” CNN‘s Evan Perez said earlier Monday during the network’s “New Day” program shortly before Manafort was spotted entering the FBI field office in Washington, D.C
Citing an unnamed source close to the investigation, CNN’s Perez said, “At this point, we do not know the charges. They are still under seal, as we previously reported.”
The indictments were approved by a grand jury convened in the investigation on Friday, leading to a weekend of speculation about who would be the first arrest in the widening investigation according to reports.
“We had expected that today, at least today we’d see some court action, perhaps the indictments being unsealed and the arrests being made, so now we know that he is planning to turn himself into the FBI,’ said Perez during the CNN program. “Now we also are told that there may be at least one other indictment that will be unsealed later today.”
The New York Times reported Monday that Manafort and his former business associate, Rick Gates, had been told to surrender to face the first charges filed in Mueller’s investigation.
Gates also surrendered Monday morning, according to news reports.
Gates, one of Manafort’s junior partners, had his name appearing on several documents linked to companies that Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus, through which he was receiving payments from foreign interests.
Manafort’s investigation includes whether he had disclosed his foreign lobbying activities properly, as well as for violations of tax law and money laundering.
Manafort’s home was raided in July, when FBI agents removed financial and tax records filed in 2011 for 2010. The statute of limitations on tax charges were to expire in October, so charges would have had to be filed before the end of the month.
“You have to look at this event today as possibly a down payment on a much bigger story,” said Perez. “This is — the way prosecutors work, especially if they’re facing some kind of deadline, you can file charges and then do a superseding indictment and add additional charges.”
CNN reported on Saturday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight over the Russian investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, would have been told of charges before they were presented to the grand jury.
The investigation is looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, as well as whether Trump himself obstructed justice by interfering with the case’s investigation through his actions, including by firing FBI Director James Comey.
Lobbying efforts done by Manafort, Flynn, and others have come under scrutiny, and Mueller’s teams have subpoenaed documents and testimony from many sources, including people close to Manafort.