By Karen Freifeld and Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) –
CONSPIRACY AGAINST U.S.
U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia interfered in the election to try to help Trump defeat Clinton, by hacking and releasing embarrassing emails and disseminating propaganda via social media to discredit her. The Kremlin has denied any meddling.
The indictment contains counts of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine’s government, false and misleading statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, the special counsel said.
The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer called for the Trump administration to avoid interfering with Mueller’s probe.
“The rule of law is paramount in America and the investigation must be allowed to proceed unimpeded. The president must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel’s work in any way,” Schumer said.
Trump reiterated his denial of any collusion in a Twitter post on Monday.
Wall Street opened lower on Monday, pulling back from a strong rally last week, as investors assessed the fallout of the indictment.
Mueller has been investigating Manafort’s financial and real estate dealings and his prior work for that political group, the Party of Regions, which backed former pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.
A federal grand jury issued the indictment on Friday and a federal judge ordered it sealed, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters.
Gates was a longtime business partner of Manafort and has ties to many of the same Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. He also served as deputy to Manafort during his brief tenure as Trump’s campaign chairman.
Manafort was indicted on nine counts and Gates was indicted on eight counts.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Sarah N. Lynch; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Steve Holland and Mark Hosenball; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Frances Kerry)