Manafort hit with third superseding indictment by Mueller; former associate also charged

Manafort hit with third superseding indictment by Mueller; former associate also charged

US President Donald Trump's former election campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort's associate, who has been linked to Russian intelligence, have been charged with two obstruction of justice counts after prosecutors said they interfered with witnesses in an investigation. Gates told investigators that he understood Kilimnik to be a former officer with the Russian military intelligence service, and others who worked with Manafort in Ukraine said that Kilimnik did not hide his intelligence background.

Mueller and his team took over the FBI investigation in May 2017.

Asked on Friday if he would pardon Manafort, Trump refused to answer.

What kind of foreign work did Manafort do?

The latest Manafort indictment comes as President Trump and his top attorney, Rudy Giuliani, continue to attack the Mueller investigation, blasting it as a partisan "witch hunt".

Lobbying records filed a year ago by the firm show that it paid $531,000 to Kilimnik in 2013 and 2014, but that covers only a fraction of the time he worked for Manafort.

Eventually, Manafort was hired by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a controversial pro-Russia politician who was ousted from power twice. "I have made clear that they worked in Europe". In 2005, Manafort allegedly came up with a plan to influence USA politics, business dealings and the media in order to "greatly benefit the Putin government", according to The Associated Press.

Both the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general and the House intelligence committee are now probing the officials involved and why they launched the operation.

Financial records obtained by The New York Times indicated that Manafort was in debt to pro-Russian interests by up to $17 million prior to joining Trump's campaign.

How was Manafort involved with Trump's campaign?

Prosecutors have previously said Manafort and Gates secretly coordinated an extensive lobbying campaign in the U.S.to benefit Yanukovych before he fled to Moscow in 2014.

The two remained close while Manafort was working for Trump's campaign.

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In addition, one of the officials said, Kilimnik's reported trips to the U.S.in May and August 2016 during Trump's campaign have "attracted attention" as to whether Manafort and Kilimnik tried to capitalize on Manafort's campaign role by offering Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska private briefings. Trump wrote on Twitter on June 3.

Mr Trump only this morning calling for the reinstatement of Russian Federation into the G-7.

What has Manafort been charged with?

"The indictment serves a strategic objective in raising public awareness about the connections that those who worked on Trump's campaign had with Russians, and it serves a legal goal by putting more pressure on Manafort to become a cooperating witness", the story says.

Mueller previously charged Manafort in two separate lawsuits with conspiring to launder money, lying to investigators, committing tax and bank fraud, and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Prosecutors have said Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he denies.

According to an indictment unsealed Friday, Mueller slapped Manafort and a longtime Russian associate named Konstantin Kilimnik with obstruction of justice charges for allegedly trying to tamper with a witness.

Authorities charge that the conduct of Manafort and Kilimnik amounts to witness tampering and have asked a judge to revise or revoke Manafort's bail package.

But Kilimnik directly communicated with another Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, a month before the election in 2016, according to a legal filing by Mueller in March. Manafort pleaded not guilty and is fighting the charges in court.

Prosecutors have used superseding indictments before to add new charges on Manafort. Mueller's team is asking a judge to review his house arrest and to consider jailing him. He gave it to Manafort via an intermediary: Kilimnik.

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