Former Austrian chancellor appears to have lobbied as part of Manafort scheme

Former Austrian chancellor appears to have lobbied as part of Manafort scheme

Rick Gates, a top adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign and close aide of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is expected to plead guilty in the ongoing Russian Federation probe being led by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to a person close to Gates. Then on Friday, Gates signed a plea deal that admitted to two charges: conspiracy against the United States, relating to seven counts from the October indictment on conspiring to obstruct the Justice and Treasury departments, and the charge of "false statement", for making willful misrepresentations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mr Gates, who was a deputy campaign manager for Mr Trump, is being investigated by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which is probing alleged Russian meddling in the United States election.

A new indictment against Manafort accuses him of having secretly paid a group of former senior European politicians more than two million euros ($2.5 million) to lobby for the government of Ukraine's former pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych.

"It has nothing to do with the White House or the 2016 presidential campaign", said an official with direct knowledge of the case.

Gates and Manafort were originally charged on October 30 with multiple counts of laundering $75 million and tax evasion related to their work from 2006 to 2014 for Yanukovych.

In a statement following Gates' guilty plea, Manafort said it does not change his commitment to defend himself against what he calls untrue piled-up charges.

"I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence".

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The other Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump's former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

During a hearing in federal court, Gates said he was aware that as part of the agreement, he must cooperate with the Mueller investigation on "all matters" they deem relevant. In fact, Manafort and Gates had retained the lobbyist to do Ukraine's bidding in the U.S.as made overtures about joining the European Union.

George Papadopoulos, a former campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty to lying past year.

That charge is included in the new indictment released Friday. This is after a plea bargain for a lighter punishment as he now faces up to six years in prison. Papadopoulous advised the Trump campaign about foreign policy.

Gates had access at the highest levels of the campaign at the same time that Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner met with a team of Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016.

After charges of tax and bank fraud, fresh trouble arose for US President Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. After Trump's election win, Gates was on Trump's presidential transition team and his inaugural committee. Pinedo was accused of opening up bank accounts in his name and then selling them, with at least some of the buyers Russians engaged in interfering in the 2016 election.

The indictment claims Manafort first sent a PDF version of the real P&L statement to Gates and asked for his help in converting the file to a Word document so it could be edited. The indictments so far have not indicated that either Mr Gates or Mr Manafort had information about the central question of Mr Mueller's investigation, whether Mr Trump or his aides co-ordinated with the Russian government's efforts to disrupt the 2016 election.

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