Paul Manafort, former presidential campaign manager for Donald Trump, has pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy against the U.S. Both Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether members of Trump’s campaign cooperated with Russian officials seeking to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
On Oct. 30, Manafort and Gates surrendered themselves to the FBI after a federal grand jury indicted them, according to NPR. Both denied the charges while appearing in federal court in the District of Columbia, CNN reports.
Manafort and Gates only stated their names and did not speak further before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. The judge ordered the men to house arrest and set Manafort’s bond at $10 million and Gates' bond at $5 million.
The indictment against Manafort and Gates accused the two associates of illegally lobbying on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Manafort allegedly transferred $18 million through offshore accounts that he did not report in his taxes. Gates allegedly transferred $3 million through offshore accounts, according to The Associated Press.
"MANAFORT used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income," the indictment states, according to The Washington Post.
"As part of the scheme, MANAFORT and GATES repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants, and legal counsel, among others," the indictment continues.
Manafort was a GOP strategist before he joined Trump's presidential campaign in March 2016. He was later dismissed as campaign chairman in August 2016 amid media reports that he had allegedly received more than $12 million illicit payments from former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych, CNN notes.
On Oct. 30, the same day Manafort and Gates were indicted, the U.S. Department of Justice disclosed that former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with two sources connected to the Russian government.
Papadopoulos, who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, was told by a foreign professor with connections to the Kremlin that the Russian government possessed emails that were damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in April 2016, months before the hacking of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee became public.
Papadopoulos also attempted to arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian officials through an unnamed woman who claimed to have ties to the Kremlin. He had falsely told the FBI he only communicated with the two contacts before joining the Trump campaign.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asserted during an Oct. 30 press conference that Papadopoulos only had a minimal role on the Trump campaign.
"He was not paid by the campaign ... Any actions that he took would have been on his own," said Sanders, according to The White House
Meanwhile, Trump took to social media to assert that Manafort and Gates' indictment did not reflect on his presidential campaign.
"Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign," Trump tweeted out. "But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????"
Sources: AP via Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, The White House, Donald J. Trump/Twitter / Feature Image: William Gallo/Twitter / Embedded Images: Face the Nation/YouTube, Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Disney | ABC Television Group/Flickr