Top Dems React To Charges Against Manafort: Probe Is ‘Very Serious’

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II on October 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

Top Democrats on Monday said charges against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort show the importance of investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the seriousness of the meddling.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said charges against Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates “show that the special counsel’s probe is ongoing in a very serious way.”

“The rule of law is paramount in America and the investigation must be allowed to proceed unimpeded,” Schumer said in a statement. “The President must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel’s work in any way. If he does so, Congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for “an outside, fully independent investigation” into Russian election meddling “and the involvement of Trump officials.”

“Even with an accelerating Special Counsel investigation inside the Justice Department, and investigations inside the Republican Congress, we still need an outside, fully independent investigation,” she said in a statement. “Defending the integrity of our democracy demands that Congress look forward to counter Russian aggression and prevent future meddling with our elections.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the federal investigation into Russian interference and any potential involvement by members of Trump’s campaign, on Friday filed the first official charges in his probe.

Manafort and Gates on Monday surrendered to the FBI. They face 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements, false and misleading FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.