Mueller Files New Charges in Manafort Case Following Bribery Rumors

| FEB 21, 2018 | 9:28 PM

Special counsel Robert Mueller filed new sealed charges in the case against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates on Wednesday following reports that Manafort may have offered a banker a position within the White House to secure home loans worth $16 million.

The new charges could be a superseding indictment or additional charges, or they could add new defendants to the charges filed last year.

The Associated Press first reported the development and stated there is currently no information available regarding who the charges are against or if they are part of a plea deal.

Just before news broke regarding the new charging document, NBC reported Mueller's team is investigating whether Manafort offered Stephen Calk, the president of Federal Savings Bank, a position within the White House in exchange for three home loans worth $16 million.

Calk was a member of then-candidate Donald Trump's Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016. He was not, however, offered a job within the administration.

The loans, which Manafort received in December 2016 and January 2017, were previously examined by Mueller's team, according to NBC's report, but were directed to prosecutors in New York when no connection was found between them and the Russia investigation. Mueller indicated further interest in the loans on Friday, however, in court documents filed in relation to Manafort's bail.

“At the next bail hearing, we can proffer to the Court additional evidence related to this and the other bank frauds and conspiracies, which the Court may find relevant to the bail risk posed by Manafort,” the document said.

Neither Calk nor Manafort responded to NBC's questions regarding the loans.

The White House also did not respond to NBC's request for comment.

Manafort and his business associate, Gates, were indicted late last year on multiple charges, including money laundering, tax fraud, foreign lobbying violations, and conspiracy against the United States. The charges against Manafort and Gates are not directly linked to Mueller's investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gates may take a plea deal and testify against Manafort regarding last year's charges. If he were to plead guilty to one of the counts in that indictment, it would not be necessary to file a new charge or charges.