Former Trump Campaign Manager Manafort Charged with Conspiracy

Donald Trump's former campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Donald Trump's former campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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Former Trump Campaign Manager Manafort Charged with Conspiracy

Donald Trump's former campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Donald Trump's former campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort surrendered to the FBI on Monday and another ex-aide pleaded guilty to lying to agents in the most serious steps yet of a federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort, 68, a longtime Republican operative, arrived at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington field office to hand himself in after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including money laundering and conspiracy against the United States.

In a separate announcement on Monday, the office of Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller said former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to making false statements to FBI agents in the Russia probe. Papadopoulos is an international energy lawyer.

According to Reuters, Manafort associate Rick Gates was named alongside Manafort in the 12-count indictment, which was the first from Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in last year’s campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump’s favor.

Neither Trump nor his campaign were mentioned in the indictment and many of the charges, some of which go back more than a decade, appear related to Manafort’s work for Ukraine’s pro-Russian government and political figures there.

Russia investigations by Mueller and several congressional panels have cast a shadow over the Republican president’s first nine months in office and have widened the rift between Republicans and Democrats.

Manafort ran the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 before resigning amid reports he might have received millions in illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Lawyers for Gates and Manafort did not immediately return calls for comment.

An initial court appearance and arraignment for the two men was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday in Washington before Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson, a court spokeswoman said.

Trump, who has denied any allegations of collusion with the Russians, reiterated on Monday his public frustration with the Mueller probe, which he has called “a witch hunt.”

“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 said in a Twitter post on Monday morning, referring to his Democratic presidential rival last year, Hillary Clinton.

Legal experts said the indictment could just be an opening salvo by Mueller. It put pressure on Manafort to cooperate with Mueller’s Russia investigation, said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago. “If I were the defense lawyer I’d be looking into cooperating,” he said.



Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)
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Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)

A fire broke out at a hospital in Iran's north, killing nine patients, state media reported Tuesday.

The blaze started at 1:30 local time (2200GMT) at Qaem Hospital in the city of Rasht, some 330 kilometers (about 205 miles) northwest of the capital Tehran, state TV said, leaving six women and three men dead.

Chief of the city fire department, Shahram Momeni, said on state TV that an electric short circuit in the basement — which harbors the intensive care unit — malfunctioned, causing the fire.

Momeni said emergency workers rescued more than 140 people, patients and hospital staff, after being trapped because of the smoke, and that 120 of them were hospitalized in other medical facilities. He added that an investigation has been ordered.

A video posted online appeared to show smoke billowing from the hospital in the middle of the night.

Iranian media occasionally report on fires in hospitals and clinics that are mainly blamed on technical issues.

In 2020, an explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people.