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.
Mr. Manafort's longtime associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, was added to the case, and was charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors have previously said Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he denies.
They also say the allegations that he and an associate tampered with witnesses involved in his criminal case are based on "scant" evidence. The charges stemmed from his PR and campaign work for former pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
Years after his work for Yanukovych ended, Manafort joined the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump in March 2016 and served briefly as the campaign manager from June to August that year.
Earlier this week, Trump tweeted that Manafort "came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time".
Paul Manafort's legal headaches just intensified. Gates has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller's investigation. Manafort maintains that the firm's work was confined to the European Union, but his actions between February and April belie that claim.
The conspiracy charges were added as courts six and seven to the indictment in federal district court in Washington, D.C. Manafort's response begins by rubbishing the basis of Mueller's witness tampering charges as "dubious" and "very specious".
Paul Manafort President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman leaves the federal courthouse in Washington
Manafort had been close to getting court approval for a $10 million bail deal that would have freed him from home detention.
Prosecutors already claimed that Manafort misled federal authorities for years about his lobbying work in the U.S. for Ukrainian politicians before he joined the Trump campaign.
"This could obviously put additional pressure on Manafort that could lead him to flip", Mariotti said.
Manafort also faces trial on related tax and bank fraud in Alexandria, Va.
Kilimnik, 47, was formerly a Russian military interpreter, according to The Times, and worked at at a non-profit group called International Republican Institute, in Moscow.
Emails show that during the middle of the campaign, Manafort told Kilimnik he was willing to provide "private briefings" about Trump's presidential run to a billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also downplayed Manafort's involvement with the campaign in a press briefing.
Author information: Devlin Barrett writes about national security and law enforcement for The Washington Post.
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