Russia Investigation: Trump tweets 'NO COLLUSION' - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Russia Investigation: Trump tweets 'NO COLLUSION'

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(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy against the United States and other felony charges.

The indictments unsealed Monday in Washington contain 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts.

Manafort, of Alexandria, Virginia, and Gates, of Richmond, Virginia, both turned themselves in to the FBI on Monday.

President Donald Trump says alleged misdeeds by his former campaign chairman were "years ago" and insists there was "NO COLLUSION" between his 2016 campaign and Russia.

Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted Friday on money laundering and conspiracy charges. The indictment says money laundering occurred through "at least 2016."

Trump reacted on Twitter Monday. He says,

He then added:

The indictments are the first arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's sprawling investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump's 2016 election effort.

The top Democrat in the House is pressing for an "outside, fully independent investigation" to expose Russia's meddling in the election and the involvement of Trump officials.

That's the word from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. In a statement Monday shortly after indictments were unsealed, Pelosi said that even with the accelerating special counsel probe and congressional investigations, another inquiry was warranted.

Pelosi said that defending the integrity of the country's democracy "demands that Congress look forward to counter Russian aggression and prevent future meddling with our elections."

Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department's investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to tip the 2016 presidential election.

The appointment came one week after the firing James Comey, who as FBI director led the investigation, and also followed the recusal months earlier of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the probe.

Investigators have focused on associates including Manafort, whose home was raided in July by agents searching for tax and international banking records, and ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after White House officials said he had misled them about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Manafort joined Trump's campaign in March 2016 and oversaw the convention delegate strategy. Trump pushed him out in August amid a steady stream of negative headlines about Manafort's foreign consulting work.

Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, said in an interview at the time that his father was concerned that questions about Manafort's past were taking attention away from the billionaire's presidential bid.

Manafort has been a subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych. That investigation was incorporated into Mueller's broader probe.

The investigation has also reached into the White House, as Mueller examines the circumstances of Comey's firing. Investigators have requested extensive documents from the White House about key actions since Trump took office and have interviewed multiple current and former officials.

Mueller's grand jury has also heard testimony about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by a Russian lawyer as well as Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

In Gates, Mueller brings in not just Manafort's chief deputy, but a key player from Trump's campaign who survived past Manafort's ouster last summer. As of two weeks ago, Gates was still working for Tom Barrack, a Trump confidant, helping with the closeout of the inauguration committee's campaign account.