Correction: This article previously stated that Manafort and Gates are the first Trump campaign officials to be indicted as part of Mueller’s probe. Reports emerging Monday morning indicate that Trump’s foriegn policy advisor George Papadopoulos actually pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI earlier this past summer. More details forthcoming.
The FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling with the 2016 election, helmed by veteran lawman Robert Mueller, thrust back into the spotlight last week when it emerged that officials would announce their first indictments.
This morning, the nation discovered who the FBI is charging: former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates.
While the specifics behind the charges are uncertain, the Wall Street Journal reports that tax fraud is among the charges levied against Manafort, who was fired from the Trump campaign in August 2016 after his undisclosed business dealings with pro-Kremlin politicians in the Ukraine came to light.
While the Trump campaign parted ways with Manafort several months before the 2016 election, The Daily Beast reports that Gates – an associate of Manafort’s – has visited the White House regularly since Trump’s inauguration.
In June, The Daily Beast reported that Rick Gates was “still making multiple visits to the White House.” https://t.co/k6V1ROU2qH
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 30, 2017
Gates is suspected of setting up shady shell companies in Cyprus to funnel money into the United States. The finer details behind these allegations are, as of now, unclear.
As far as federal investigations of this sort go, the FBI’s Russia-Trump investigation is proceeding at a fast clip. Legal experts suggest that these first indictments are most likely part of a plan to flip smaller fish in an attempt to build a case against more prominent individuals who colluded with foreign authorities for electoral gain.
More to come as this story unfolds.