The Latest: Indictment marks a new phase in Russia probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Russia probe (all times local):
Special counsel Robert Muller’s charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and two other aides mark a new phase in his sprawling investigation into Russia and President Donald Trump.
The charges underscore the ongoing threat Mueller poses to the president.
Trump immediately sought to distance himself after Manafort and Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment alleging money laundering, conspiracy and other offenses. Another former aide was revealed to be cooperating with authorities after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.
White House officials were publicly optimistic about Mueller’s investigation wrapping up swiftly, but the probe is far from over.
Two people familiar with Trump’s thinking say the president has become increasingly concerned that the Mueller probe could be moving to an investigation into his personal dealings.
President Donald Trump says alleged misdeeds by his former campaign chairman were “years ago” and insists there was “NO COLLUSION” between his 2016 campaign and Russia.
Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted Friday on money laundering and conspiracy charges. The indictment says money laundering occurred through “at least 2016.”
Trump reacted on Twitter Monday. He says “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 then added: “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
The indictments are the first arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election effort.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is shrugging off developments in the Russia probe as speculation, saying the White House isn’t aware of what will happen next.
Conway spoke on “Fox and Friends” Monday morning shortly before The New York Times reported that Trump’s ex-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a former business associate have been told to surrender to federal authorities.
Conway said of earlier reports that charges were coming: “we don’t even know that it has anything to do with the campaign.”
Conway added that the administration is fully cooperating with the probe, but noted that the president has dismissed it as a “hoax.”
President Donald Trump is expressing renewed frustration over the investigations into alleged ties between his campaign associates and Russian government officials. He said on Twitter Sunday that the “facts are pouring out” about links to Russia by his former presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s tweets followed a CNN report late Friday that a federal grand jury in Washington has approved the first charges in a criminal investigation into Russia ties led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The Associated Press has not confirmed the CNN report. Ty Cobb, a member of Trump’s legal team, said the president was not referring to CNN’s reporting.