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How Paul Manafort is connected to the Trump, Russia investigation

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Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been hit with new charges. 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a 32-count indictment Thursday against Manafort and former aide Rick Gates with fresh charges of tax evasion and bank fraud. 

Prosecutors claim Manafort and Gates doctored documents to inflate the income of their businesses and then used those fraudulent documents to obtain loans. They also accuse Manafort of evading taxes from 2010 through 2014 and, in some of those years, of concealing his foreign bank accounts.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, one focus of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, hides behind his car visor as he leaves his home in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC1F89D175A0

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, one focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, hides behind a car visor as he leaves his home in Alexandria, Va., after being asked to surrender to federal authorities.

 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

The charges against Manafort and Gates don’t relate to any allegations of misconduct related to Trump’s campaign.

The two men were initially charged in a 12-count indictment last October that accused them of a multimillion-dollar money-laundering conspiracy tied to their foreign lobbying work. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to the initial charges.

The additional charges involve much of the same conduct Manafort and Gates were initially charged with, but increase the amount of money Manafort is accused of laundering through offshore accounts to $30 million.

Manafort has been the subject of a longstanding investigation over his dealings in Ukraine several years ago – for which he didn’t file as a foreign agent until June 2017. But Mueller has incorporated that investigation into his own probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates.

What kind of foreign work did Manafort do?

A GOP operative who worked for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Manafort reportedly began his work in Republican politics in the 1970s.

Eventually, Manafort was hired by controversial former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russia politician who was ousted from power twice. After Yanukovych was elected president in 2010, Manafort reportedly stayed on as an adviser and worked with other projects in Eastern Europe, including the Party of Regions political party.

Manafort also worked for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. In 2005, Manafort allegedly came up with a plan to influence U.S. politics, business dealings and the media in order to “greatly benefit the Putin Government,” according to The Associated Press.

TRUMP AND THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: WHAT TO KNOW

Deripaska, 49, is a close Vladimir Putin ally and signed a $10 million annual contract with Manafort in 2006. They maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, The Associated Press reported.

Financial records obtained by The New York Times indicated that Manafort was in debt to pro-Russian interests by up to $17 million prior to joining Trump’s campaign.

He also took at least 18 trips to Moscow and frequently talked to Putin allies for about 10 years, McClatchy reported. He also traveled to Kiev at least 19 times in 20 months after the February 2014 removal of Ukraine’s pro-Russia leader.

How was Manafort involved with Trump’s campaign?

Manafort joined then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign in March 2016 to help wrangle delegates ahead of the Republican National Convention in Ohio, something he successfully did for former President Gerald Ford.

Just two months later, Manafort became campaign chairman. 

Manafort’s resignation from the campaign was announced on August 19, 2016, after the New York Times reported that he received $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party between 2007 and 2012.

MANAFORT FACES NEW MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE

Along with Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s elder son, Manafort met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016. She reportedly was said to have damaging information on Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, which was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

What has the White House said?

Manafort’s alleged actions took place before he joined the Trump campaign, the president said on Twitter.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also downplayed Manafort’s involvement with the campaign in a press briefing. 

Could he help investigators discover if Trump associates colluded with Russia?

Mueller took over the criminal investigation into Manafort’s financial dealings as he looks into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the White House.

Manafort has turned over documents to congressional committees investigating election interference. Judiciary committee leaders have been in talks with Manafort regarding private interviews.

Manafort’s house was raided last summer by FBI investigators, and he was reportedly wiretapped by investigators – before and after the election.

A secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court order authorized the wiretapping of Manafort in 2014. It was discontinued in 2016, but investigators obtained another warrant that lasted until early 2017, CNN reported.

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.



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Uptick in minors crossing border may result in Biden administration building more shelters

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WASHINGTON — A recent increase in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border means a new temporary shelter can only house 10 percent of the 7,070 unaccompanied minors held by the U.S., according to new data obtained by NBC News, which may force the Biden administration to build more such shelters.

In January 2021, 5,871 unaccompanied immigrants under the age of 18 crossed the border, up from 4,995 in December 2020, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

The number of migrants crossing the border often goes up during the transition between U.S. presidential administrations, but a Health and Human Services official who spoke on the condition of anonymity also attributed the uptick to the Biden administration allowing migrants to enter the U.S. who had otherwise been kept out by the Trump administration.

The number of unaccompanied asylum seekers who wind up in shelters run by HHS is expected to keep climbing. Advocates and some members of Congress say the administration should find alternatives to care for them instead of building more temporary facilities.

“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay — no matter the administration or party,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y., said in a tweet reacting to the news of Monday’s opening of the Carrizo Springs facility for migrant children between ages 13 and 17. The Texas facility is the first of its kind to be opened under the Biden administration.

According to the data obtained by NBC News, as of Sunday, one day before the opening of Carrizo Springs, HHS’s child migrant shelters were at 93 percent of their operational capacity but only 53 percent of the capacity funded by Congress. They were receiving an average of 252 new children per day last week, while they were only able to discharge 97.

The HHS official who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity attributed much of the current backlog to the winter weather emergency in Texas, which delayed flights for children to get to sponsors.

The official also said the agency’s capacity at permanent facilities has been reduced 40 percent due to Covid-19 measures and reopening some of those facilities could take more than a year. The official said HHS would like to reopen more of those permanent facilities, but has not ruled out opening other temporary influx shelters like Carrizo Springs.

“None of us want to open influx facilities, but even more so, none of us want kids in CBP custody for longer than they have to be,” the HHS official said. “So this is a short-term immediate stopgap until we can continue to build the licensed facility care provider network…and to release them to proper sponsors as well.”

The Miami Herald reported that the Biden administration already plans to reopen what was previously known as the Homestead Detention Center in Florida, now known as the Biscayne Influx Care Facility, as a temporary shelter to take in migrant children. The HHS official said nothing has been decided on whether to reopen this facility.

The data, however, suggests the Biden administration may need to expand beyond Homestead and Carrizo Springs, at least under existing rules governing the treatment of unaccompanied migrant children who arrive at the border.

While the number of children arriving at the border without parents or legal guardians is rising, so is the amount of time it takes HHS to find relatives or other sponsors to house the children in the U.S. while they wait for an asylum hearing.

According to the data obtained by NBC News, as of Sunday, one day before the opening of Carrizo Springs, HHS’s child migrant shelters were at 93 percent of their operational capacity but only 53 percent of the capacity funded by Congress. They were receiving an average of 252 new children per day last week, while they were only able to discharge 97.

The lag between children coming into the facilities and those able to be sent to live with sponsors is due to a rigorous vetting process by HHS. In 2014, during an influx in unaccompanied migrant children, HHS sent eight Guatemalan children to work in poor conditions on an Ohio egg farm, according to court documents. The incident triggered calls for sponsors to be more fully vetted before taking in migrant children.

Of particular concern is the amount of time children spend in CBP processing facilities. Under federal law, they should not be held more than 72 hours, but when HHS facilities became overcrowded during an immigration surge in mid-2019, more than 1,400 children were waiting longer than that as of May 31, causing some to go without baths or beds.

As of Sunday, according to the new data, only nine children had been waiting in CBP facilities over 72 hours, while a total of 709 were awaiting transfer to HHS.

Temporary government influx shelters on federal property are not governed by the same child welfare regulations that apply to permanent shelters.

These facilities were first used during the Obama administration, but at the height of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, after dozens of permanent facilities reached capacity, the administration relied on the Homestead, Florida facility and a second tent city in Tornillo, Texas.

Both facilities were criticized during the Trump administration for their treatment of migrant children during and after the family separation crisis in 2018.

The Carrizo Springs facility was opened in 2019 during the Trump administration to house minors but was closed after a month.

The migrant child advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense said in a statement that the temporary shelters should “only be used when truly necessary and unavoidable, and must be bound by minimum standards that provide for children’s safety and appropriate care, and that limit the use of such facilities to the briefest duration possible.”

Other groups, however, have called for the Biden administration to rush resources to the border so that they do not have to use the temporary facilities for children.

“It really should be an absolutely last resort,” said Lisa Koop, associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center. “We’re probably pivoting to the influx facilities more quickly than we need to, and it comes at the expense of some of the alternatives,” including surging child welfare experts to border facilities to vet children and families soon after their arrival.

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Rishi Sunak snubs Nicola Sturgeon as he ignores SNP and hands millions directly to Scots

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RISHI SUNAK has snubbed the SNP as a new financial fund will be given to Scots directly and not sent to the Scottish Government, it can be revealed tonight.

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Misery for holidaymakers! EU insiders hint bloc may BAN UK tourists due to OWN jab fiasco

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BRITISH holidaymakers face being banned from the continent this summer because of the European Union’s bungled vaccine scheme.

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