Robert Mueller, the special counsel of the Justice Department tasked with investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election of 2016, has indicted Paul Manafort. Manafort served as campaign manager for Donald Trump from early June until August 17 of last year.
The indictment does not directly concern the Trump campaign and indeed never mentions President Trump. It concerns work that Manafort performed as a lobbyist for pro-Russia political factions within the Ukraine, a former Soviet republic which has been a sovereign nation since the fall of the USSR in 1991.
Beginning in 2004, Manafort advised, among others, the Ukrainian politician (and sometime President) Viktor Yanukovych. After a popular uprising, Yanukovych fled to exile in Russia and the Ukraine had a new pro-independence government as of February 22, 2014. But there remain important pro-Russia factions in the Ukraine today.
The Thing to Know:
On October 30, 2017, Manafort pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all criminal charges.