3 Trump aides, including former campaign chairman, charged in Russia investigation
Manafort and Rick Gates face 12 charges, while George Papadopoulos pled guilty of lying to the FBI
President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities Monday morning to face 12 charges, including "conspiracy against the United States," stemming from a special counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to the New York Times and CNN.
Rick Gates, a former business associate of Manafort who also worked for the Trump campaign, was also charged in the sealed indictment revealed Monday morning. You can read the full indictment here.
George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser during the Trump campaign, has also pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about the nature of contacts he had within Russia, according to documents made public Monday morning by the Justice Department. In March 2016, Papadopoulos attempted to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian leadership.
The investigation has been led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, and these are the first charges issued in his investigation into the possible collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. Mueller was appointed as special counsel back in May by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein following Trump's decision to fire then-FBI director James Comey.
Here is how the news unfolded throughout the day:
2:08 p.m. – Manafort and Gates plead not guilty
Both Manafort and Gates entered not guilty pleas before a federal magistrate judge in Washington D.C. Monday afternoon. Bail for Manafort was set at $10 million, while Gates' bail was set as $5 million. The government has asked for both to be placed under house arrest.
According to CNN's Evan Perez, Gates was represented by a public defender, who told the judge his client plans to hire private representation.
2:05 p.m. – Manafort’s alleged lavish spending
1:54 p.m. – Sarah Huckabee Sanders won’t rule out pardons
During Monday's press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to rule out pardons for Manafort, Gates or Papadopoulos.
"I haven't had any conversations with him about that," Sanders told reporters, speaking of President Trump. "I think we should let the process play through."
1:45 p.m. – Sarah Huckabee Sanders: This has ‘nothing to do with the president’
After opening Monday's press conference with a lengthy parable about tax reform, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today's news involving the Russia investigation has nothing to do with President Trump.
"Today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, his campaign or campaign activity," Sanders told reporters.
Sanders also said the president has no intention to "make any changes" regarding special counsel Mueller's investigation, and referred to Papadopoulos a low-level "volunteer" on a foreign advisor council "that literally met one time."
"We still expect this to conclude soon," Sanders said of Mueller's investigation.
1:32 p.m. – Powerful Democratic lobbyist steps down
Tony Podesta, a powerful Democratic lobbyist and the founder of the Podesta Group, is stepping down after coming under investigation by special counsel Mueller, according to Politico.
Podesta announced his decision Monday morning following a NBC News report that Mueller's investigation was looking into the Podesta Group over its involvement in a Ukrainian promotional campaign organized by Manafort.
Podesta is the brother of former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta, who is not currently affiliated with the Podesta Group.
12:55 p.m. – New Fox News host Laura Ingraham to interview John Kelly
Tonight at 10 p.m., conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham will debut her new show, The Ingraham Angle, on Fox News with a timely guest – White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Kelly is expected to discuss the fallout surrounding Manafort's indictment and Mueller's continued investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Earlier on Monday morning, President Trump wrote on Twitter there was "no collusion" between his campaign and figures within the Russian government. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Trump is cooperating with Mueller's probe even though he considers the investigation "a hoax."
12:38 p.m. – Fox News judicial analyst warns of ‘many dominoes to fall’
Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said the indictment of Manafort and Gates and the guilty plea of Papadopoulos are just "the first of many dominoes to fall" in Mueller's investigation of Russia's influence in the 2016 election.
"Bob Mueller is following the standard M.O. of federal prosecutors," Napolitano said on America's Newsroom Monday morning. "You've got a totem pole, you've got somebody at the top of the totem pole, that's your big prize: no surprise, it's the president of the United States."
12:08 p.m. – Trump campaign officials were careful ‘not to send any signals’ about Russia
According to documents released as part of Papadopoulos' case, the FBI said Trump campaign officials considered acting on an invitation from Russian officials to meet during the 2016 election.
In May 2016, Papadopoulos sent an email to an unnamed campaign official described by the FBI add "high-ranking" with the subject line, "Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump."
Papadopoulos said Russian officials were eager to meet with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but campaign officials suggested "low level" staff should travel to Russia instead "so as not to send any signals."
The FBI did not identify the campaign officials Papadopoulos communicated with, though the Washington Post reported back in August that Papadopoulos was communicating with Manafort:
11:58 a.m. – Ex-U.S. attorney expects ‘more charges to come’
Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by President Trump after refusing to resign from his post in overseeing the Southern District of New York, thinks there are more charges to come from special counsel Mueller's investigation.
"Special Counsel Mueller already has one criminal conviction. And this plea portends more charges to come," Bharara tweeted.
Bharara included part of the court filing which outlines that Papadopoulos "impeded the FBI's ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government's attempts to influence the 2016 election.
11:37 a.m. – How Fox News is covering the news
It's been a challenging day for Fox News, which President Trump consistently rates his favorite cable news network.
"Will you please tell us what else is happening in the news?" Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade asked as news of the indictment of Manafort broke Monday morning.
According to CNN media reporter Tom Kludt, Kilmeade and his Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt did not ignore the news, but he also wrote they "didn't abandon their role as Trump boosters, either"
As of late Monday morning, while both CNN and MSNBC focused their coverage on the breaking news revolving around the Russia investigation, Fox News continued to weave in and out of other stories and topics.
11:34 a.m. – Papadopoulos said he met with Putin’s niece
According to the unsealed documents, George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, told the heads of Trump's campaign that he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin's niece.
In March 2016, Papadopoulos meet with a professor with Russian ties who brought with him a woman he introduced as a relative of Putin, who he claimed had connections to senior Russian government officials. Following the meeting, Papadopoulos emailed Trump's campaign supervisors and stated he met with "Putin's niece."
"He believed she had connections to Russian government officials; and he sought to use her Russian connections over a period of months in an effort to arrange a meeting between the campaign and Russian government officials," the Justice Department filing said.
An unnamed campaign supervisor responded that he would "work it through the campaign," but that no commitments should be made at that point. The campaign supervisor added: "Great work."
11:30 a.m. – White House adviser says ‘this is nothing’
A White House aid tells Reuters that the charges stemming from Mueller's investigation have nothing to do with President Trump
"As it relates to the president, this is nothing," a Trump adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. "It had nothing to do with their tenure at the campaign as far as I can tell."
10:33 a.m. – Another former Trump campaign aide pleads guilty
Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty of lying to FBI agents, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
During the campaign, Papadopoulos, who acted as a foreign policy adviser, offered to set up "a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump," telling seven campaign officials that his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity, according to internal campaign emails read to The Washington Post.
According to the documents unsealed by the Justice Department, Papadopoulos claimed a professor with "substantial connections to Russian government officials" was "a nothing" and "just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something." The Justice Department also says Papadopoulos attempted to use the professor's Russian connections in a effort to arrange a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials.
Papadopoulos was arrested at Dulles International Airport on July 27, and has been cooperating with investigators, meeting with them on "numerous occasions" to provide information and answer questions.
10:25 a.m. – Trump weighs in
President Trump falsely claimed on Twitter Monday morning that the indictment covers events that occurred prior to Manafort joining his election campaign.
"Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign," Trump wrote on Twitter. "But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????"
The indictment covers incidents ranging from 2006 to 2017, during which time both Manafort and Gates worked on Trump's president campaign.
"It's just not true," CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said of Trump's comment.
10:15 a.m. – Schumer warns Trump against interfering with Russia probe
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned President Trump to uphold the rule of law and not interfere with Mueller's investigation
"The President must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel's work in any way," Schumer said in a statement Monday morning. "If he does so, Congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues."
9:47 a.m. – Kellyanne Conway says Trump is ‘focused on other things’
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said President Trump was "focused on other things" when asked about the indictment of Manafort and Gates Monday morning on Fox News.
"The president is very focused on other things. What he said yesterday in his tweets is no different than what he said all along," Conway said on Fox & Friends. "I just want to tell you that the president continues to focus on what matters to people."
Conway also added that while the president is cooperating with Mueller's investigation, "he considered this a hoax."
9:32 a.m.: – Republican says GOP should support probe
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) said on Twitter that Republicans should continue to support Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.
"Months ago I & many other Republicans vowed to support Mueller investigation & allow it to work its way through process to get the facts," Banks tweeted Monday. "In light of today's indictments we must continue to support and allow the integrity of the process to work."
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, who has close ties to President Trump, called for Mueller to be fired during her Saturday night show. The Wall Street Journal's editorial board also called for Mueller to resign.
9:16 a.m. – Manafort and Gates face 12 counts, including ‘conspiracy against the United States’
Among the charges both Manafort and Gates face are "conspiracy against the United States."
According to a statement issued by the special counsel's office, Manafort and Gates face 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, false and misleading FARA statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
8:56 a.m. – Former top ranking DOJ attorney calls charges ‘serious’
Matthew Axelrod, a former top-ranking U.S. Department of Justice attorney, said the news of indictments makes it harder for President Trump and Republicans to claim Muller's investigation is a "witch hunt."
"The charges make it harder going forward to credibly allege this is come witch hunt or waste of taxpayer resources," Axelrod said on CNN Monday morning. "If it's an indictment, it's a felony charge, and that's serious."
Axelrod exited the agency after Trump fired acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to support the president's controversial travel ban.
8:50 a.m. – No word yet from Trump
President Trump, who issued several tweets about Russia over the weekend, has not weighed in yet on the news of Manafort's decision to turn himself in.
On Sunday, Trump suggested that any possible charges could be timed to make it harder for Republicans to pass an overhaul of the tax code.
8:45 a.m. – Wall Street Journal reports tax fraud among charges against Manafort
Tax fraud will be among the charges Manafort will face, sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
Manafort is scheduled to appear in a Washington, D.C. federal court on Monday, where the indictments are expected to be unsealed.
8:15 a.m. – Manafort walks into FBI field office
Manafort was spotted by CNN entering the FBI field office in Washington, D.C., Monday morning.
This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates.