On Oct. 30, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s associate Richard Gates were charged with 12 crimes, including money laundering and conspiracy against the United States.
Both Manafort and Gates plead not guilty to the charges after turning themselves in to the FBI, The New York Times reported. A federal judge ordered them to surrender their passports and were placed under house arrest.
The charges against Manafort and Gates did not mention Russia or alleged collusion with the Trump campaign. But another former advisor has been charged with lying to the FBI and this charge connects the Trump campaign to Russia, according to NPR.
According to NPR, a third former Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about talking with a professor connected to Russian officials about finding “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
According to the court documents, the meeting between Papadopoulos and the professor took place in 2016.
Papadopoulos lied to the FBI, telling them he met with the professor before he joined the Trump campaign. The court documents stated the only reason the professor wanted to meet with Papadopoulos was due to his position as a foreign campaign advisor to then-candidate Trump.
According to court documents, Papadopoulos also tried to coordinate a meeting between Russian officials and Trump campaign officials multiple times throughout 2016, but it never took place. Papadopoulos’ lies prevented the Justice Department from fully doing their job.
The documents said, “Through his false statements and omissions, defendant Papadopoulos impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”
According to The New York Times, Papadopoulos was arrested in July of this year and has since been cooperating with Mueller in his investigation, signing a plea deal with the counsel.
Trump responded to the news with tweets distancing himself from the accused. The moment news broke of the charges against Manafort and Gates, Trump calimed in a tweet the crimes Manafort allegedly committed happened before he joined the campaign.
According to the court documents, the alleged crimes Manafort and Gates committed took place before, during and after Manafort’s time at the Trump campaign.
Trump later tried to minimize the importance Papadopoulos had in the campaign, tweeting Papadopoulos was just a low-level volunteer, according to CNN.
Trump allies tried to minimize Papadopoulos’ importance as well. Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign advisor, went on CNN and called him a coffee boy.
In an interview with Frederick Ryan, Trump named his foreign policy advisors by name, including Papadopoulos, saying he was an excellent guy. Papadopoulos also took part in a national security meeting during the campaign with Trump and other campaign officials, according to a picture from Trump‘s own twitter account.
The New York Times reported with news of Papadopoulos‘ guilty plea, there are now two confirmed attempts of the Trump campaign trying to get information from Russia on their opponent, Hillary Clinton. The first confirmable attempt was when Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in June of 2016.