A court artist drawing shows Trump’s former campaign chairman, Manafort, center standing and associate Gates, in federal court.
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WASHINGTON: Special counsel Robert Mueller is warning everyone in President Donald Trump's orbit: If they lie about contacts between his election campaign and Russians, they could end up on the wrong end of federal criminal charges. With the disclosure of the first criminal cases in his investigation, Mueller also has shown that he will not hesitate to bring charges against people who were close to the campaign even if the allegations don't specifically pertain to Russian election interference and possible collusion with the Trump camp.Court papers unsealed Monday revealed an indictment against Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea by another adviser, who admitted to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian intermediaries.At Papadopoulos' plea hearing earlier this month, one of Mueller's prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky, hinted at the possibility of more charges to come.The developments, including the unexpected unsealing of the guilty plea, usher Mueller's investigation into a new, more serious phase. And the revelations in the plea about an adviser's Russian contacts could complicate the president's assertions that his campaign had never coordinated with the Russian government to tip the 2016 presidential election in his favor, the central issue behind Mueller's mandate.
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