After a weekend of speculation about the possibility of indictments, the New York Times was the first to report that former chairman of President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign Paul Manafort, along with his former business associate and top deputy Rick Gates, were ordered to surrender themselves to federal authorities on Monday.
The specific charges against Manafort and Gates contained in the indictment include 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.
And while nothing in the indictment appears to be directly related to collusion with Russia or activities with the Trump campaign, the Times reports that these are the first charges under the direction of Robert Mueller III and "represent a significant escalation in [his] special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president's first year in office."
Breaking: Mueller indicts Manafort on 12 counts including money laundering conspiracy, false statements and conspiracy against US: pic.twitter.com/svKNbjhNP0— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) October 30, 2017
According to Times journalist Matt Apuzzo, speaking with MSNBC this morning after the frontpage broke, Manafort agreed to turn himself in. In its reporting, the Associated Press has confirmed that Gates will also submit to authorities.
Subsequently, Manafort and his attorney were seen entering the FBI field office in Washington, DC:
The AP reports:
Manafort has been one of Mueller's prime targets. Earlier this year, FBI agents raided Manafort's home, searching for tax and international banking records. Manafort has been a subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych. That investigation was incorporated into Mueller’s broader probe.
In Gates, Mueller brings in not just Manafort's chief deputy, but a key player from Trump's campaign who survived past Manafort's ouster last summer. As of two weeks ago, Gates was still working for Tom Barrack, a Trump confidant, helping with the closeout of the inauguration committee’s campaign account.
Offering his perspective, MSNBC's legal analyst Ari Melber posted this analysis on Facebook, which included:
Indictments can mark the end or the beginning of an investigation. These look like a beginning.
That is because we know Mueller is not done with his interviews, and has apparently not finished interviewing the highest level people in the White House, or all the people who attended the Trump Tower meeting.
Indictments in the middle of an investigation can also put other targets on notice, if they have reason to believe the investigation will focus on them next.
On social media, the reaction was swift, with many noting that Manafort, despite the White House's attempt to downplay it, played a central role in the Trump campaign and that Gates, though he lacks the same kind of name recognition, was also a key player in GOP politics in 2016.
So! Few things. Paul Manafort joined Team Trump in spring 2016 - and while Sean Spicer tried to say he had "limited role," that's not true.— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) October 30, 2017
Obvious but important reminder: As Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort was a central player in Trump's campaign. https://t.co/pxElGJmudc— CREDO Mobile (@CREDOMobile) October 30, 2017
Manafort is (rightfully) getting a lot of attention right now. Rick Gates was also ordered to turn himself in. https://t.co/JSxCJZIByP— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) October 30, 2017
Others pointed out that this should be considered a pivotal moment in Mueller's Trump-Russia probe, but certainly not the end of the story:
The first of many— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) October 30, 2017
Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Surrenders to F.B.I. https://t.co/2DfniboODr