Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments – Washington Post

President Trump woke before dawn on Monday and burrowed in at the White House residence to wait for the Russia bombshell he knew was coming.

Separated from most of his West Wing staff — who fretted over why he was late getting to the Oval Office — Trump clicked on the television and spent the morning playing fuming media critic, legal analyst and crisis communications strategist, according to several people close to him.

The president digested the news of the first indictments in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe with exasperation and disgust, these people said. He called his lawyers repeatedly. He listened intently to cable news commentary. And, with rising irritation, he watched live footage of his onetime campaign adviser and confidant, Paul Manafort, turning himself in to the FBI.

Initially, Trump felt vindicated. Though frustrated that the media were linking him to the indictment and tarnishing his presidency, he cheered that the charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were focused primarily on activities that began before his campaign. Trump tweeted at 10:28 a.m., “there is NO COLLUSION!”

But the president’s celebration was short-lived. A few minutes later, court documents were unsealed showing that George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his efforts to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

For a president who revels in chaos — and in orchestrating it himself — Monday brought a political storm that Trump could not control. White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, along with lawyers Ty Cobb, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, advised Trump to be cautious with his public responses, but they were a private sounding board for his grievances, advisers said.

“This has not been a cause of great agita or angst or activity at the White House,” said Cobb, the White House lawyer overseeing Russia matters. He added that Trump is “spending all of his time on presidential work.”

[Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel]

But Trump’s anger Monday was visible to those who interacted with him, and the mood in the corridors of the White House was one of weariness and fear of the unknown. As the president groused upstairs, many staffers — some of whom have hired lawyers to help them navigate Mueller’s investigation — privately speculated about where the special counsel might turn next.

“The walls are closing in,” said one senior Republican in close contact with top staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Everyone is freaking out.”

Trump is also increasingly agitated by the expansion of Mueller’s probe into financial issues beyond the 2016 campaign and about the potential damage to him and his family.

This portrait of Trump and his White House on a day of crisis is based on interviews with 20 senior administration officials, Trump friends and key outside allies, many of whom insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters.

Trump and his aides were frustrated that, yet again, Russia steamrolled the start of a carefully planned week of policy news. Trump is preparing to nominate a new chairman of the Federal Reserve and is scheduled to depart Friday for a high-stakes, 12-day trip across Asia, and House Republicans are planning to unveil their tax overhaul bill.

“I’d like to start the briefing today by addressing a topic that I know all of you are preparing to ask me about, and that’s tax reform,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Monday afternoon’s news briefing. It was a lighthearted prelude to a question-and-answer session immediately overtaken by queries about the indictments.

Away from the podium, Trump staffers fretted privately over whether Manafort or Gates might share with Mueller’s team damaging information about other colleagues. They expressed concern in particular about Gates because he has a young family, may be more stretched financially than Manafort, and continued to be involved in Trump’s political operation and had access to the White House, including attending West Wing meetings after Trump was sworn in.

Some White House advisers are unhappy with Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Trump’s longtime friend and chair of his inauguration, whom they hold responsible for keeping Gates in the Trump orbit long after Manafort resigned as campaign chairman in August 2016, according to people familiar with the situation. Barrack has been Gates’s patron of late, steering political work to him and, until Monday, employing him as director of the Washington office of his real estate investment company.

Trump and his aides tried to shrug off the ominous headlines, decorating the South Portico of the White House in black bats and faux spider webs to welcome costumed children for Halloween trick-or-treating. As the sun set on Monday, the president and first lady Melania Trump handed out goody bags to little princesses and pirates.

[Mueller’s moves send message to other potential targets: Beware, I’m coming]

The Russia drama has been distracting and damaging for Trump — from a public relations perspective if not, eventually, a legal one. The president’s inner circle on Russia matters has tightened in recent months. In addition to his lawyers, Trump has been talking mostly with Kelly and members of his family, including Melania, as well as daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both senior White House advisers. Trump also leans on two senior aides, counselor Kellyanne Conway and communications director Hope Hicks, as well as some outside friends for advice.

Still, Trump has little ability to influence the ongoing Russia probe save for firing Mueller — the sort of rash decision that his lawyers insisted Monday he is not considering.

“Nothing about today’s events alters anything related to our engagement with the special counsel, with whom we continue to cooperate,” Cobb said. “There are no discussions and there is no consideration being given to terminating Mueller.”

Sekulow, one of Trump’s outside lawyers, said: “There’s no firing-Robert-Mueller discussions.”

Asked whether Trump is considering pardons for Manafort or Gates, Cobb said, “No, no, no. That’s never come up and won’t come up.”

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, some of Trump’s allies are privately revving up their own version of a counterattack against Mueller. Several top Republican legislators plan to raise questions in the coming days about the FBI’s handling of a “dossier” detailing alleged ties between Trump and Russian interests. They intend to argue that Mueller’s team has become overly reliant on a document that was funded in part by Democrats, according to two people involved in the discussions. Mueller does not appear to have relied on the dossier for the cases revealed on Monday, however.

For Trump and his team, the bad news began as disconcerting drips last Friday, when CNN first reported that indictments were probably coming Monday. The only question: of whom?

The White House had no inside information beyond what was public in news reports, officials said, and were left to scramble and speculate as to what might happen. Reliable information was hard to come by, as Trump’s team was scattered. Cobb was at his home in South Carolina until Monday afternoon, while Trump spent much of Saturday at his private golf club in Virginia and went out to dinner with Melania and their son, Barron, at the Trump International Hotel’s steakhouse in Washington.

Among the many unknowns, the Trump team arrived at an educated guess that Manafort was likely to be indicted — in part, according to one White House aide, because they heard that television news crews were preparing to stake out Manafort’s Virginia home.

“This wasn’t a shocking development,” Sekulow said.

[As Russia case unfolds, Trump and Republicans go to battle with Clinton and Democrats]

When the first pair of indictments came naming Manafort and Gates, there was palpable relief inside the West Wing. The 31-page document did not name Trump, nor did it address any possible collusion between Russia and the president’s campaign.

Moreover, aides were simply happy that the initial batch of indictments did not include Michael Flynn, Trump’s former and controversial national security adviser, who was fired from his top White House perch after misleading Vice President Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. Flynn had been intimately involved in both the campaign and the early days of the administration, and a Flynn indictment, most staff believed, would have been far more damaging.

The indictment of Gates — who had played a quiet, behind-the-scenes role in Trump’s orbit — was more of a surprise, though he had served as Manafort’s campaign deputy and protege. Trump’s team quickly settled on a messaging plan: The duo’s alleged misdeeds, the White House argued, had nothing to do with the president or his campaign.

Privately, aides and allies acknowledged that the campaign had perhaps not sufficiently vetted the two men before bringing them on board.

Michael Caputo, a former campaign adviser who Trump praised on Twitter Monday morning for his appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” later called the indictments “one big, huge fail.”

“Rick and Paul, I would consider them friends of the president because they worked so closely with him,” Caputo said. “The president’s watching closely and he should be concerned for his friends’ welfare, but he has absolutely no concern about collusion with Russia because there was none.”

On Sunday, Trump had attempted to seek refuge from the political squall with another round of golf at his Virginia club. Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) were set to join him, according to two people briefed on the plans — an afternoon of camaraderie and talk about his tax proposal.

It was not to be. Rainy weather forced the White House to cancel the outing — yet another disappointment, beyond the president’s control.

John Wagner contributed to this report.

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Paul Manafort, Once of Trump Campaign, Indicted as an Adviser Admits to Lying About Ties to Russia – New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was indicted Monday on charges that he funneled millions of dollars through overseas shell companies and used the money to buy luxury cars, real estate, antiques and expensive suits.

The charges against Mr. Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over Mr. Trump’s first year in office.

The two men appeared in the Federal District Court in Washington on Monday afternoon and pleaded “not guilty” to all charges.

The Run-Up

The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.

Separately, one of the early foreign policy advisers to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about a contact with a professor with ties to Kremlin officials, prosecutors said on Monday.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was assigned in May to investigate whether anyone close to Mr. Trump participated in a Russian government effort to influence last year’s presidential election. Monday’s indictments indicate that Mr. Mueller has taken an expansive view of his mandate.

The indictment of Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates makes no mention of Mr. Trump or election meddling. Instead, it describes in granular detail Mr. Manafort’s lobbying work in Ukraine and what prosecutors said was a scheme to hide that money from tax collectors and the public. The authorities said Mr. Manafort laundered more than $18 million.

“Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income,” the indictment reads.

Mr. Gates is accused of transferring more than $3 million from offshore accounts. The two are also charged with making false statements.

“As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others,” the indictment read.

Mr. Papadopoulos admitted that in a January interview with the F.B.I., he lied about his contacts with a Russian professor, whom he knew to have “substantial connections to Russian government officials,” according to court documents. Mr. Papadopoulos told the authorities that the conversation occurred before he became an adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign. In fact, he met the professor days after joining the campaign.

The professor took interest in Mr. Papadopoulos “because of his status with the campaign,” the court documents said.

Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates surrendered to the F.B.I. early on Monday and, through their lawyers, pleaded not guilty to all charges on Monday. The two men, wearing dark blue suits, entered the courtroom with their hands held behind their backs. Money laundering, the most serious of the charges, carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Mr. Manafort has expected charges since this summer, when F.B.I. agents raided his home and prosecutors warned him that they planned to indict him. That warning raised speculation that Mr. Manafort might try to cut a deal to avoid prosecution. A senior White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, said last week that the president was confident that Mr. Manafort had no damaging information about him.

People close to Mr. Manafort, including his former business partner Roger J. Stone Jr., have said he had nothing to offer that would help prosecutors build a case against Mr. Trump.

“He’s not going to lie,” Mr. Stone said in September.

Mr. Gates is a longtime protégé and junior partner of Mr. Manafort. His name appears on documents linked to companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.

Attempts to reach Mr. Gates on Monday were not successful. A spokesman for Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Manafort, a veteran Republican strategist, joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 to help keep delegates from breaking with Mr. Trump in favor of establishment Republican candidates. Mr. Trump soon promoted him to chairman and chief strategist, a job that gave him control over day-to-day operations of the campaign.

But Mr. Trump fired Mr. Manafort just months later, after reports that he received more than $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a pro-Russia politician. Mr. Manafort spent years as a political consultant for Mr. Yanukovych.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia launched a stealth campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to damage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win the election. The Justice Department appointed Mr. Mueller III as special counsel in May to lead the investigation into the Russian operations and to determine whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved.

Mr. Trump has denied any such collusion, and no evidence has surfaced publicly to contradict him. At the same time, Mr. Trump and his advisers this year repeatedly denied any contacts with Russians during the campaign, only to have journalists uncover one undisclosed meeting after another.

The New York Times revealed in July that Mr. Manafort and others close to Mr. Trump met with Russians last year, on the promise of receiving damaging political information about Mrs. Clinton.

Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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Court partially blocks Trump’s transgender military ban – The Hill

A federal court has blocked President Trump in part from changing the military’s transgender policy as a case against his ban works its way through court.

A judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Monday that Trump’s directive changing the transgender policy back to what it was before June 2016 and banning new transgender recruits from enlisting cannot be enforced while the case is being reviewed in court.

However, the judge denied the plaintiff’s motion to block the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery.

In a 76-page memo accompanying the ruling, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their case arguing the transgender ban violates their Fifth Amendment right to due process.

“The court finds that a number of factors—including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself — strongly suggest that Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious,” she wrote.

In July, Trump tweeted that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military in any capacity.

He made good on the tweets in August, signing a presidential memo that prohibits the military from enlisting transgender people and from using funds to pay for gender transition-related surgery. The memo also gave Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPence to visit ICBM baseMcAfee stops allowing governments to review source codeTerror designation for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a necessary first stepMORE six months to determine what to do with transgender troops who are currently serving.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) sued in August on behalf of six unnamed service members and two recruits.

The government asked for the case to be dismissed, arguing that because Mattis is in the midst of the six-month review and has said no service member will be discharged in the interim, the plaintiffs have not been affected by the policy yet.

But Kollar-Kotelly ruled that while “perhaps compelling in the abstract,” the government’s arguments for dismissal “wither away under scrutiny.”

“The memorandum unequivocally directs the military to prohibit indefinitely the accession of transgender individuals and to authorize their discharge,” she wrote. “This decision has already been made. These directives must be executed by a date certain, and there is no reason to believe that they will not be executed. Plaintiffs have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender.”

But the plaintiffs did not establish that they would by harmed by the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery, Kollar-Kotelly ruled. Therefore, she said, the court does not have jurisdiction to enjoin the aspect of Trump’s policy.

Still, she wrote, the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their case against the accession and retention policies because the government’s arguments for the ban “appear to be hypothetical and extremely overbroad.”

“As far as the court is aware at this preliminary stage, all of the reasons proffered by the president for excluding transgender individuals from the military in this case were not merely unsupported, but were actually contradicted by the studies, conclusions and judgment of the military itself,” she added, referring to the military’s 2016 study done during the Obama administration that led to allowing open service by transgender troops.

Kollar-Kotelly also said the court has to consider the circumstances of Trump’s announcement — that is, the fact that it was made abruptly on Twitter.

“The President abruptly announced, via Twitter—without any of the formality or deliberative processes that generally accompany the development and announcement of major policy changes that will gravely affect the lives of many Americans—that all transgender individuals would be precluded from participating in the military in any capacity,” she wrote. “These circumstances provide additional support for plaintiffs’ claim that the decision to exclude transgender individuals was not driven by genuine concerns regarding military efficacy.”

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Towson University grad killed after boy jumps from overpass onto car in Virginia – Baltimore Sun

Police say a 12-year-old boy jumped from an overpass above Interstate 66 in northern Virginia and fell onto a car, killing the driver.

The incident took place Saturday afternoon in Fairfax County. Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in a statement Sunday afternoon that the boy landed on a Ford Escape and the impact incapacitated the vehicle’s driver.

Geller says the driver of the Ford, 22-year-old Marisa W. Harris of Olney, died at the scene.

The statement says the front-seat passenger steered the vehicle off the interstate and the car came to a stop on the left shoulder. The front-seat passenger wasn’t hurt.

The boy was taken to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

In a statement, Towson University spokesman Ray Feldmann said: “The entire Towson University family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our alumna, Marisa Harris. Marisa was a caring, giving person who intended to devote her life to helping children in crisis. We also send our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the injured 12-year-old boy. This is a horrific tragedy that will forever impact the lives of everyone who knew, loved and admired Marisa.”

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Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel – Washington Post

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Monday revealed charges against three former Trump campaign officials — former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his longtime business partner Rick Gates and former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos — marking the first criminal allegations to come from probes into possible Russian influence in U.S. political affairs.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to making a false statement to FBI investigators who asked about his contacts with a foreigner connected to Russian officials, and the agreement was unsealed Monday.

Manafort and Gates were charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and other charges stemming from probes into possible Russian influence in U.S. political affairs.

Manafort and Gates are expected to make their first court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson at 1:30 p.m. The special counsel revealed Papadopoulos’s plea shortly after the indictment was unsealed. He has been cooperating with investigators for months, according to a court filing.

The charges against Manafort and Gates did not reference the Trump campaign, a point President Trump noted on Twitter Monday. “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?????” Trump wrote.

“….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” he said in a follow-up tweet.

The indictment of Manafort and Gates focused on their work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine. But the Papadopoulos matter relates to his time working on the campaign and involved alleged efforts to set up a meeting with Russian officials.

[Read the Manafort and Gates indictment]

The special counsel alleged that for nearly a decade Manafort and Gates laundered money through scores of U.S. and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts, and gave false statements to the Justice Department and others when asked about their work on behalf of a foreign entity.

All told, more than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts, the special counsel alleged. Manafort, the special counsel said, laundered more than $18 million, using his wealth acquired overseas to “enjoy a lavish lifestyle” in the United States, purchasing multi-million dollar properties and paying for home renovation.

Gates did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort. Manafort was spotted walking into the FBI’s Washington Field Office Monday morning.

Washington — especially those in political and media circles — had been anxiously anticipating the charges since CNN reported Friday night that a grand jury had approved the first charges in Mueller’s investigation.

Spokespeople for Mueller and the Justice Department declined to comment over the weekend. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment Monday, and a spokesman for the special counsel’s office did not return messages seeking comment.

According to the indictment, Manafort and Gates arranged to hire two Washington-based lobbying firms to work on behalf of their Ukrainian clients, arranging meetings with U.S. officials and boosting their public image in the United States.

Prosecutors say, however, that Manafort and Gates arranged for a Brussels-based nonprofit to nominally hire the companies to hide the fact that their work was for Ukrainian government officials and would otherwise require registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

In fact, prosecutors allege, Manafort was communicating directly with then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych about the effort, promising in 2012 to provide him weekly updates about the effort.

To further obscure Ukrainian involvement in the lobbying effort, prosecutors say payments to the Washington firms were routed through obscure offshore companies. Prosecutors say that when the Department of Justice approached Manafort and Gates in 2016 and 2017 about whether they should have registered as foreign agents for the work, they responded with false and misleading letters, indicating they had not directed the lobbying effort and asserting they did not hold records reflecting their work, even though later searches showed they did, according to the indictment.

Manafort and Gates also were accused of willfully and intentionally trying to hide monies kept in foreign bank accounts — Manafort from 2011 to 2014 and Gates from 2012 to 2014 . And Manafort was accused of filing fraudulent tax returns — stating on tax forms he filed from 2008 to 2014 that he controlled no foreign bank accounts.

The men made tens of millions of dollars for themselves, the special counsel alleged. From 2008 to 2014, according to the indictment, Manafort arranged to wire $12 million from offshore accounts to pay for personal expenses – including $5 million to a home renovation contractor in the Hamptons, more than $1.3 million to a home entertainment and lighting vendor based in Florida, $934,000 to an antique rug dealer in Alexandria, and $849,000 to a men’s clothier in New York.

While the men were set to first appear before a magistrate judge — as is normal — the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, 63, a 2011 Barack Obama appointee.

Jackson worked as federal prosecutor in the District after graduating from Harvard Law School and specialized in complex criminal and civil trials and appeals at Trout Cacheris. While at the firm, she represented former Democratic congressman William J. Jefferson at his corruption trial, made famous by the $90,000 in bribe money stuffed into his freezer and a legal battle over the raid of his Washington office.

Jackson contributed $1,000 to Bill Clinton’s 1992 Democratic campaign.

Mueller was appointed in May to oversee the probe of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, taking over work that the FBI had begun in July 2016. Their interest in Manafort, though, dates back to at least 2014 — long before Mueller was appointed or Manafort was connected to the Trump campaign.

While Mueller’s probe has focused on Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, investigators have shown interest in a broad array of other topics.

Those include meetings the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow in December, and a June 2016 meeting at Trump tower involving the president’s son, Donald Jr., and a Russian lawyer. Mueller’s team has requested extensive records from the White House, covering areas including the president’s private discussions about firing James B. Comey as FBI director and his response to news that Flynn was under investigation, according to two people briefed on the requests.

Mueller is also investigating whether Trump obstructed justice leading up to Comey’s firing. His team has been actively presenting records and bringing witnesses before the grand jury in D.C. for the last three months.

[Special Counsel Mueller using grand jury in federal court in Washington as part of Russia investigation]

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, and Trump tapped him to serve as campaign chairman in May of that year. He left in August 2016, but Gates, his business partner and protege, continued to play an important role with the campaign even after Manafort’s departure. After the election Gates directed the inauguration plans, including fundraising, under Tom Barrack, Trump’s close friend and adviser.

FBI agents working for Mueller raided Manafort’s home in Alexandria in late July, armed with a search warrant that allowed them to enter at dawn without warning the occupants. Such an invasive search is only allowed after prosecutors have persuaded a federal judge that they have evidence of a crime and they have reasonable concern that key evidence could be destroyed or withheld.

Prosecutors also warned Manafort they planned to indict him, according to two people familiar with the exchange. People close to Manafort and Gates, though, said the indictment came as a surprise to both.

Though both men knew Mueller had been closely scrutinizing their behavior, they had expected some kind of alert when an indictment was imminent. Even over the weekend, they were telling people close to them that they had received no such notification and did not believe they were the subject of the seal charges.

The tactic might suggest Mueller hoped to use the element of surprise against the two men to potentially stun them into a desire to cooperate against other members of Trump’s team.

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, said late Friday, “we are not commenting tonight.” A person familiar with Flynn’s defense said he, too, had received no notice of pending indictment.

Wayne Holland, a McEnearney Associates real estate agent who helped Manafort buy the condo in Alexandria, Va., that was raided by the FBI this summer, testified Oct. 20 before the grand jury in Mueller’s probe after he and his firm were unsuccessful in an effort to quash subpoenas, Holland said Friday.

Holland declined to discuss his testimony, first reported by Politico, but confirmed that an opinion unsealed Friday denied his and his firm’s motion to quash a subpoena by claiming real estate broker records are confidential under Virginia and District laws.

Devlin Barrett, Carol D. Leonnig, Sari Horwitz, Spencer S. Hsu, Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller and Adam Entous contributed to this report.

Read more:

Paul Manafort: A FAQ about Trump’s indicted former campaign chairman

With money laundering charges against Paul Manafort, Trump’s ‘fake news’ claim is harder to defend

As Russia case unfolds, Trump and Republicans go to battle with Clinton and Democrats

Who’s who in the government’s investigation into Russia ties

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Manafort, Gates charged with conspiracy against US – CNN

Gates, 45, is a longtime business associate of Manafort, 68, having worked together since the mid-2000s, and served as his deputy on the campaign. The two were indicted under seal on Friday, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The indictment against the two men contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
The charges do not cover any activities related to the campaign, though it’s possible Mueller could add additional charges.
Manafort arrived at the FBI’s Washington field office Monday morning. The two are being processed separately, according to a law enforcement official. They will later be transported to federal district court in Washington later Monday morning.
The two are scheduled to make their initial court appearances before US District Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson at 1:30 p.m. ET Monday.
CNN has reached out to lawyers for Manafort and Gates.

Dramatic new development

The charges against two top officials from President Donald Trump’s campaign signals a dramatic new phase of Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes.
A White House spokesman told CNN the Trump administration “may not have a response at all” regarding the charges. But a source close to the White House said, “today has zero to do with the White House,” noting that the charges pertain to Manafort and Gates’ business dealings.
Gates, according to a source, accompanied Trump ally Tom Barrack to the White House several times this year.
Manafort, whose work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has attracted scrutiny from federal investigators, has previously denied financial wrongdoing regarding his Ukraine-related payments, his bank accounts in offshore tax shelters and his various real-estate transactions over the years. Gates, who has also denied wrongdoing, was Manafort’s longtime business associate in his lobbying firm before being tapped as his deputy on the Trump campaign.
They are the first two officials in Trump’s orbit charged in connection with the special counsel investigation, which is exploring whether Trump’s actions surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey amount to obstruction of justice. Mueller has taken a broad approach to his mandate that includes a focus on the financial dealings of Trump’s team.
Before the indictment, the FBI in July executed a so-called no-knock search warrant with guns drawn at Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, seizing financial and tax documents, including some that had already been provided to congressional investigators.

Manafort’s Ukraine work scrutinized

Federal investigators’ interest in Manafort and Gates goes back well before the special counsel was appointed. For about a decade, Manafort worked for Yanukovych and his Russia-friendly Party of Regions. Manafort’s work spurred a separate federal investigation in 2014, which examined whether he and other Washington-based lobbying firms failed to register as foreign agents for the Yanukovych regime.
Gates joined Manafort’s lobbying firm in the mid-2000s and handled projects in Eastern Europe, which later included work for Yanukovych.
Yanukovych was ousted amid street protests in 2014, and his pro-Russian Party of Regions was accused of corruption and laundering millions of dollars out of Ukraine. The FBI sought to learn whether those who worked for Yanukovych — Manafort’s firm, as well as Washington lobbying firms Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group — played a role. The Podesta Group is headed by Tony Podesta, the brother of John Podesta, the former chief of staff of the Obama White House.
At the time, the case hinged on the failure by the US firms to register under the FARA, a law the Justice Department rarely uses to bring charges. Earlier this year, all three firms filed retroactively with the Justice Department.
Gates once became involved in a failed business venture with Manafort and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to legal filings. The plan was for Deripaska to invest $100 million in a private equity company that Manafort and Gates would manage.
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The project fell apart, and Deripaska sued Manafort and Gates in the Cayman Islands for mishandling his money. Deripaska, a Russian citizen, has offered to cooperate with Capitol Hill investigations in exchange for immunity.
A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014, sources previously told CNN. But the surveillance was discontinued last year due to lack of evidence.
Later in 2016, however, the FBI restarted the surveillance as part of its investigation into Russian meddling. Investigators’ interest in Manafort was reignited due to intercepted communications between Manafort and suspected Russian operatives, and among the Russians themselves, CNN has reported.
The investigation into Manafort intensified after Mueller was named as special counsel in May. Mueller has hired a team of prosecutors who have examined Manafort’s financial and tax history stretching back 11 years to January 2006, while he was working in Ukraine.

Running the Trump campaign

Manafort entered the Trump campaign orbit in early 2016, when he reached out to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner and offered to work for free, according to The New York Times.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 to help with delegate counting ahead of the Republican National Convention, as some Republicans hoped to use arcane delegate procedures to wrest the nomination from Trump at the convention in Cleveland.
He soon was promoted to campaign chairman, and he became the top official on the campaign after then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was fired in June 2016.
His tenure didn’t last long.
The Times reported in August 2016 that Ukrainian investigators found Manafort’s name in an off-the-books, handwritten ledger detailing secret payments — including $12.7 million to Manafort from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.
Manafort denied he had received any such payment and claims the ledger was forged. But just days later, he resigned from the campaign as the accusations swirling around him became a major distraction for Trump.
In addition to Manafort’s Ukraine business dealings, his real estate dealings, overseas business ventures and bank accounts in offshore havens like Cyprus have also come under scrutiny.
This story is breaking and will be updated.

CNN’s Pamela Brown, Jim Acosta, Jeremy Diamond and Joe Johns contributed to this report.

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Paul Manafort, Who Once Ran Trump Campaign, Surrenders to FBI – New York Times

WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities Monday morning, after a person close to the case said the first charges were filed in a special counsel investigation.

The charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office. Also charged was Mr. Manafort’s former business associate Rick Gates, who was also told to surrender on Monday, the person said.

Mr. Manafort walked into the F.B.I.’s field office in Washington at about 8:15 a.m. with his lawyer.

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Mr. Gates is a longtime protégé and junior partner of Mr. Manafort. His name appears on documents linked to companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.

Mr. Manafort had been under investigation for violations of federal tax law, money laundering and whether he appropriately disclosed his foreign lobbying.

Attempts to reach Mr. Gates on Monday were not successful. A spokesman for Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Manafort has expected charges since this summer, when F.B.I. agents raided his home and prosecutors warned him that they planned to indict him. That warning raised speculation that Mr. Manafort might try to cut a deal to avoid prosecution.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, said there were no concerns that Mr. Manafort would offer damaging information about the president in exchange for a deal.

Some close to Mr. Manafort, including his former business partner Roger J. Stone Jr., have said he had nothing to offer that would help prosecutors build a case against Mr. Trump.

“He’s not going to lie,” Mr. Stone said in September.

Mr. Manafort, a veteran Republican strategist, joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 to help keep delegates from breaking with Mr. Trump in favor of establishment Republican candidates. Mr. Trump soon promoted him to chairman and chief strategist, a job that gave him control over day-to-day operations of the campaign.

But Mr. Trump fired Mr. Manafort just months later, after reports that he received more than $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a pro-Russia politician. Mr. Manafort spent years as a political consultant for Mr. Yanukovych.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia launched a stealth campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to damage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win the election. The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel in May to lead the investigation into the Russian operations and to determine whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved.

Mr. Trump has denied any such collusion, and no evidence has surfaced publicly to contradict him. At the same time, Mr. Trump and his advisers this year repeatedly denied any contacts with Russians during the campaign, only to have journalists uncover one undisclosed meeting after another.

The New York Times revealed in July that Mr. Manafort and others close to Mr. Trump met with Russians last year, on the promise of receiving damaging political information about Mrs. Clinton.

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Indictment expected from Mueller’s probe into Trump campaign aides – Los Angeles Times

One of two former top strategists for the Trump campaign is “likely” to face indictment as early as Monday, a senior Democrat said Sunday, previewing what would be the first criminal charges in the intensifying probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into current and former members of President Trump’s inner orbit.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said a federal judge could unseal an indictment against either Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, or Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security advisor in the White House.

Schiff’s comments came amid intense speculation at the White House and on Capitol Hill over media reports that a federal grand jury in Washington has approved its first indictment in the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether members of Trump’s campaign actively colluded with Moscow.

Schiff, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, said he was reacting to press reports and could not confirm the target or whether it involved Russia. “We haven’t been told who it is,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Representatives of Flynn and Manafort could not be reached for comment on Sunday, and some reports suggested other individuals might be the focus of the sealed indictment.

Trump did not specifically react to the expected indictment, but in an angry series of tweets, he denounced what he called “phony Trump/Russia… ‘collusion,’ which doesn’t exist.”

As in the past, he sought to blame partisan politics for the widening scandal, accusing rival Hillary Clinton and Democrats of orchestrating the FBI investigations, the grand jury probe and multiple congressional inquiries in an effort to undermine his administration.

“The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R’s…are now fighting back like never before. There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”

He added, “All of this ‘Russia’ talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform. Is this coincidental? NOT!”

Manafort, a political consultant, has long been active in Republican circles in Washington even as he developed major business deals in Russia and Ukraine. Manafort was paid tens of millions of dollars for his work on behalf of the former Russian-backed government in Ukraine.

He has been a target of an FBI counterintelligence investigation since at least 2014, two years before he joined Trump’s campaign, although he was never charged.

In 2014, federal authorities obtained a special warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to secretly eavesdrop on Manafort’s communications. The warrant was renewed in early 2016 before lapsing last October, according to lawyers familiar with the matter.

This summer, on July 26, a team of FBI agents armed with a “no knock” warrant raided Manafort’s residence in Alexandria, Va., to collect digital records and other evidence. In August, the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors had informed Manafort’s lawyers of their intention to secure his indictment.

Flynn, a retired Army three-star general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, served as a senior national security advisor to Trump during the campaign and spoke on his behalf at the Republican National Convention.

He was named national security advisor after Trump won the election but resigned after just 24 days following news reports of his telephone and personal contacts with Russia’s ambassador to Washington. Flynn subsequently amended personal-financial disclosure forms to report previously unacknowledged income from foreign clients.

The expected indictment — and whether it focuses on criminal activity during the 2016 presidential race or from business dealings prior to or separate from the campaign — dominated Sunday TV talk shows.

“It’s going to be really important whether or not this indictment involves 15-year-old business transactions or 15-day-old conversations with Russia,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on Fox News Sunday.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, decried the apparent leak of a sealed grand jury indictment, which he said was illegal. But he declined to impugn Mueller’s leadership of the investigation and said he saw no grounds for Mueller to resign.

“I readily concede I’m in an increasingly small group of Republicans,” Gowdy said. “I think Bob Mueller has a really distinguished career of service to our country.… I would encourage my Republican friends: Give the guy a chance to do his job.”

Sen. Susan Collins, (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of four congressional panels conducting investigations separate from Mueller’s criminal probe, was asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation’’ about any sign of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“I have not yet seen any definitive evidence of collusion,” Collins responded. “I have seen lots of evidence that the Russians were very active in trying to influence the election.”

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government purposefully sought to meddle in the U.S. election, notably through hacking of Democratic Party emails and targeted postings on social media sites, to discredit American democracy and to help Trump beat Clinton.

Trump has consistently denied any improper ties to Russia, and has said he is not a target of the FBI investigation.

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Somalia Mogadishu: Deadly attacks rock capital – BBC News

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Security forces in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, have ended a 15-hour siege of a hotel stormed by armed militants.

The gunmen entered the building after two bombs were detonated in the area. At least 20 people were killed, and it is feared more bodies will be found as security forces search the hotel.

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab said it had carried out the bombings.

Two weeks ago, 358 people died in the worst attack in Somalia since the group launched its offensive in 2007.

The al-Qaeda-linked group denies having any involvement with the 14 October attack, from which another 56 people are still missing.

The militants said they had chosen the popular Nasahablod Two hotel for Saturday’s attack because it had been frequented by security officials and politicians.

Provincial leaders, police and intelligence officials were gathering for a meeting with the government to agree on a joint strategy against al-Shabab, due to take place on Sunday.

The siege started in the afternoon after a car bomb was driven into the hotel. A few minutes later, a second explosion happened near the former parliament house nearby.

The victims included several policemen who had been stationed close to the hotel’s gate, police officer Ali Nur told Reuters news agency.

Many more people were injured, according to reports. Sporadic gunfire continued inside the hotel throughout the night, witnesses said.

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All of the women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment are lying, White House says – Chicago Tribune

All the women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment are lying, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday when asked for the official White House position on the issue.

The question was posed during a White House briefing at a time when numerous men in high-profile positions have been undercut of late by allegations of sexual misconduct, including journalist Mark Halperin, who faced accusations this week from former colleagues.

“Obviously, sexual harassment has been in the news,” Jacqueline Alemany of CBS News asked Sanders. “At least 16 women accused the president of sexually harassing them throughout the course of the campaign. Last week, during a press conference in the Rose Garden, the president called these accusations ‘fake news.’ Is the official White House position that all of these women are lying?”

“Yeah, we’ve been clear on that from the beginning, and the president’s spoken on it,” Sanders said, before quickly pivoting to another reporter to ask a question.

During the Rose Garden news conference that Alemany referenced, Trump was asked about allegations made by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on his television show, “The Apprentice.” She has accused Trump of forcibly kissing her and touching her breast.

“All I can say is it’s totally fake news. It’s just fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful, what happens, but that happens in the – that happens in the world of politics,” Trump told reporters.

Eleven women came forward during the 2016 campaign to accuse the then-Republican presidential candidate of unwanted touching or kissing. Other women accused Trump of walking in on them when they were undressing at beauty pageants he owned.

Besides Halperin, other men whose behavior has been called into question in recent weeks include Bill O’Reilly, the star Fox News anchor who was ousted less than a year after Roger Ailes, the network’s co-founder; and Harvey Weinstein, once regarded as one of the most influential figures in the entertainment business.

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