Washington D.C.(CNBC, Oct 30,2017):President Donald Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, surrendered Monday to face charges in the Russia election probe, authorities said.
Manafort’s former longtime business partner, Rick Gates, also was charged and told to surrender.
Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News that Manafort’s charge or charges are likely tax related and that there was a statute of limitations issue in play that may have helped drive Monday’s action.
The Wall Street Journal reported that indictments had been returned on Friday on charges including tax fraud.
News that Manafort and Gates had been charged was first reported by The New York Times.
Following the news, a White House source told NBC News that the charges had not come as a surprise. “The White House has been saying for weeks the special counsel is moving far more quickly and deliberatively than people have been reporting. The fact that the special counsel is actively performing its duties does not come as a surprise to the White House,” the source said.
Manafort’s surrender marks a new phase in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
The indictment follows a year of escalating legal problems for Manafort and Gates, who worked with Manafort for years on many of his foreign lobbying contracts. In late July, FBI agents under Mueller’s direction raided Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, and seized documents and other materials related to the probe. In September, the Times reported that lawyers working for Mueller told Manafort that they planned to indict him.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign as an adviser in March 2016 and was promoted to chairman three months later. At the time, he was credited with helping Trump’s campaign recover from a bruising primary battle and move on to a formal nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
While Manafort was well known in Washington circles for his controversial lobbying clients, it wasn’t until August 2016 that his past work became an issue for Trump.