Donald Trump while he was still the presidential candidate, pictured with his then advisor Paul Manafort doing a walk through of the stage prior to addressing the Repliblican National Convention in July 2016. Image: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been taken into custody.
Manafort, a 68-year-old veteran political operative who has done extensive work overseas, joined the Trump team in March 2016 and resigned months later, in August 2016, amid questions about his past consulting work for Ukrainian political figures.
He is now facing 12 charges, including conspiracy against the US and that he laundered more than $US18 million in funds from his work for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine through offshore accounts.
Manafort and his associate Rick Gates both surrendered to federal authorities late on Monday (US time), and appeared in court overnight to face the charges brought by Mueller’s team. Both have pleaded not guilty.
President Trump moved quickly to distance himself and the White House from the events, saying Manafort’s alleged misdeeds occurred “years ago” and insisting there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump put this comment on Twitter:
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?????
So far there’s been no official comment from the White House, nor from the lawyers for Manafort and Gates. That hasn’t stopped the Twitterverse having their say though.
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Donald Trump's day so far:
– Manafort and Gates arrested – Trump tweets "no collusion!" – Papadopoulos admits collusion – Trump has all-caps meltdown – Flynn about to be arrested – Ivanka having worst birthday ever – It's still only noon 🍿