Latest: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates plead not guilty to all charges

Update 6.30pm: Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a former Manafort business associate, Rick Gates, have been indicted on felony charges including conspiracy against the US.

They have pleaded not guilty to all charges, which also include acting as an unregistered foreign agent and several financial counts involving tens of millions of dollars routed through offshore accounts.

Manafort and Gates appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The first indictments arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's sprawling investigation into possible co-ordination between Russia and Mr Trump's 2016 election effort bring the probe into a new phase and pose the threat of a years-long prison sentence for the man who once led the president's campaign.

And on a dramatic day in Washington, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

Update 2.45pm: Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a former Manafort business associate, Rick Gates, have been indicted on felony charges including conspiracy against the US.

Other charges include acting as an unregistered foreign agent and several financial counts involving tens of millions of dollars routed through offshore accounts.

The first indictments arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's sprawling investigation into possible co-ordination between Russia and Mr Trump's 2016 election effort bring the probe into a new phase and pose the threat of a years-long prison sentence for the man who once led the president's campaign.

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But the indictment does not reference the Trump campaign or make any allegations about co-ordination between the Kremlin and the president's aides to influence the outcome of the election in his favour. The indictment does allege a criminal conspiracy was continuing until February this year.

The president reacted by tweeting: "Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????"

He added: "Also, there is NO COLLUSION!"

Meanwhile, a former campaign aide to Donald Trump has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents working for special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into possible co-ordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of lying to FBI agents about the nature of his interactions with "foreign nationals" who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials.

He pleaded guilty on October 5, and the plea was unsealed on Monday.

He is the first person to face criminal charges that cite interactions between Trump campaign associates and Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Papadopoulos was a member of the campaign's foreign policy team, but Trump aides have said he played a limited role in the campaign and had no access to the candidate.

Latest: Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy against the US and other felony charges.

The indictments contain 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts.

Manafort, of Alexandria, Virginia, and Gates, of Richmond, Virginia, turned themselves in to the FBI on Monday.

The charges are the first stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible ties between Mr Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.

The indictment filed in federal court in Washington accused both men of funnelling tens of millions of dollars in payments through foreign companies and bank accounts.

Manafort and Gates surrendered to federal authorities, and are expected in court to face the charges.

The indictment alleges that they moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

In total, more than 75 million dollars (£57 million) flowed through the offshore accounts. Manafort is accused of laundering more than 18 million dollars (£13 million), according to the indictment.

The 68-year-old was fired as Mr Trump's campaign chairman in August after word surfaced that he had orchestrated a covert lobbying operation on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

The Associated Press reported that he also represented a Russian billionaire a decade ago with the goal of advancing the interests of President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department's investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The appointment came a week after the firing of James Comey, who as FBI director led the investigation, and also followed the recusal months earlier of attorney general Jeff Sessions from the probe.

Investigators have focused on associates including Manafort, whose home was raided in July by agents searching for tax and international banking records, and ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after White House officials said he had misled them about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US.

Manafort joined Mr Trump's campaign in March last year and oversaw the convention delegate strategy. Mr Trump pushed him out in August amid a stream of negative headlines about Manafort's foreign consulting work.

Mr Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, said in an interview at the time that his father was concerned that questions about Manafort's past were taking attention away from the billionaire's presidential bid.

Manafort has been a subject of a long-standing FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych. That investigation was incorporated into Mr Mueller's broader probe.

Previously, he denied any wrongdoing related to his Ukrainian work, saying through a spokesman that it "was totally open and appropriate".

Mr Mueller's investigation has also reached into the White House, as he examines the circumstances of Mr Comey's firing. Investigators have requested extensive documents from the White House about key actions since Mr Trump took office and have interviewed multiple current and former officials.

Mr Mueller's grand jury has also heard evidence about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by a Russian lawyer as well as Manafort, Donald Trump Jr, and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Gates was Manafort's chief deputy and a key player from Mr Trump's campaign who survived Manafort's removal last summer. Two weeks ago, he was still working for Tom Barrack, a Trump confidant, helping with the inauguration committee's campaign account.

* AP

Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort leaves his home in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Update 1.15pm: Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman and a former business associate have surrendered to federal authorities over the first charges stemming from the investigation into possible Russian links to Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates surrendered to federal authorities in Washington, and are expected in court later on Monday to face charges brought by Robert Mueller's investigation team, according to sources.

Mr Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department's investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to influence the presidential election last year.

The appointment came a week after the firing of James Comey, who as FBI director led the investigation, and also followed the recusal months earlier of attorney general Jeff Sessions from the probe.

Investigators have focused on associates including Manafort, whose home was raided in July by agents searching for tax and international banking records, and ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after White House officials said he had misled them about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US.

Manafort joined Mr Trump's campaign in March last year and oversaw the convention delegate strategy. Mr Trump pushed him out in August amid a steady stream of negative headlines about his foreign consulting work.

Mr Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, said in an interview at the time that his father was concerned that questions about Manafort's past were taking attention away from the billionaire's presidential bid.

Manafort has been a subject of a long-standing FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych. That investigation was incorporated into Mr Mueller's broader probe.

The investigation has also reached into the White House, as Mr Mueller examines the circumstances of Mr Comey's firing. Investigators have requested extensive documents from the White House about key actions since Mr Trump took office and have interviewed multiple current and former officials.

Mr Mueller's grand jury has also heard evidence about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by a Russian lawyer as well as Manafort, Donald Trump Jr, and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Gates was Manafort's chief deputy and a key player from Mr Trump's campaign who survived Manafort's removal last summer. Two weeks ago, he was still working for Tom Barrack, a Trump confidant, helping with the inauguration committee's campaign account.

Earlier: Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an ex-business associate, Rick Gates, have surrendered to federal authorities, according to sources.

They face the first charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential co-ordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. The Times cited an anonymous person involved in the case.

Mr Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to influence the presidential election last year.

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway shrugged off recent developments as speculation, saying the White House is not aware of what will happen next.

Ms Conway said of earlier reports that charges were coming: "We don’t even know that it has anything to do with the campaign."

She added that the Trump administration is fully co-operating with the probe, but noted that the president has dismissed it as a "hoax".


 

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