Russia Probe: Paul Manafort Indicted on Obstruction Charges

Robert Mueller hits ex Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with third indictment that also charges Russian operative

In court papers filed on Monday, the special counsel Robert Mueller accused Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, of attempting to tamper with potential witnesses in the Russian Federation investigation. Prosecutors said that while Manafort was on house arrest following a slew of charges filed against him in February, he got right to work breaking the law again.

The new indictment charges Manafort and Kilimnik with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice related to contacts they had with two witnesses earlier this year. Those charges remain unchanged int he new indictment.

The office of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted Russians before in its Russia investigation, but so far none of them have been extradited to face the charges inside the United States.

An Atlantic profile earlier this week portrays Kilimnik as Manafort's long-time "aide-de-camp" in Eastern Europe. It involved claims that he acted as an unregistered agent of the government of Ukraine and its leader, Victor Yanukovych, who was president from 2010 to 2014. The longtime Manafort associate once worked for the American's consulting firm in Kiev and has been described as "Manafort's Manafort".

He added: "That evidence would likely be extremely damaging to Manafort at trial-if he was innocent, why would he try to engage in witness tampering?" It appears Mueller was able to quickly convince a grand jury to approve the charges, and prosecutors have put on a full court press to pressure Manafort to cooperate on the probe.

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Manafort has pleaded not guilty in both his Washington and Virginia cases.

Besides the president or his family, there is perhaps no bigger fish in the Russian Federation investigation than Manafort.

If there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia - the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton shows, at minimum, a willingness to collude - then Manafort might be privy to it.

The indictment includes two new charges against both Manafort and Kilimnik: a count of obstruction of justice and a count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, meaning the two allegedly worked together to tamper with witnesses.

"He was a student of a military school in Russian Federation", lawmaker Volodymyr Ariev told The Times.

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