Paul Manafort, ex-associate Richard Gates indicted on 12 counts, plead not guilty

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WASHINGTON — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates surrendered Monday to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Gates, 45, is a longtime business associate of Manafort, 68, having worked together since the mid-2000s, and served as his deputy on the campaign.

The two were indicted under seal on Friday.

RELATED: Manafort and Gates indictments

A third Trump ally, George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty in a separate case for making false statements to the FBI, according to records unsealed Monday.

The indictment against the Manafort and Gates contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

The charges do not cover any activities related to the campaign, though it’s possible Mueller could add additional charges.

President Donald Trump distanced himself from Manafort on Monday morning, asking why his general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, wasn’t being investigated.

“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 soon added: “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

Manafort arrived at the FBI’s Washington field office Monday morning. He and Gates are being processed separately, according to a law enforcement official.

They will then be transported to federal district court in Washington later Monday morning.

The two made their initial court appearances before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson on Monday afternoon. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The charges against two top officials from Trump’s campaign signals a dramatic new phase of Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes.

They are the first two officials in Trump’s orbit charged in connection with the special counsel investigation, which is exploring whether Trump’s actions surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey amount to obstruction of justice.

Mueller has taken a broad approach to his mandate that includes a focus on the financial dealings of Trump’s team.

Trump has been briefed on the charges, a source close to the president said.

The source said Trump will likely say later Monday that he feels badly for Manafort and his family, but that his legal issues have nothing to do with his administration or campaign.

The source added that Monday’s developments had been predicted and are completely unrelated to Trump.

A White House spokesman said the Trump administration “may not have a response at all” regarding the charges.

A source close to the White House said “today has zero to do with the White House,” noting the charges pertain to Manafort and Gates’ business dealings.

“These guys were bad guys when they started, they were bad guys when they left,” said another source close to the White House.

Asked how Trump will receive the news, the second source said, “I think he takes it on its face” because “it has nothing to do with him.”

This source added that Trump is still not planning to try to fire Mueller.

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s general election opponent during last year’s presidential contest, has no comment on the charges, a spokesman said.

Manafort, whose work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has attracted scrutiny from federal investigators, has 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 has also denied wrongdoing, was Manafort’s longtime business associate in his lobbying firm before being tapped as his deputy on the Trump campaign.

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