Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Paul Manafort. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Alex van der Zwaan, who was charged in Special Counsel Bob Mueller's probe Friday with making false statements to the FBI, has ties to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates.

The links: According to the New York Times, Manafort arranged five years ago for a New York-based law firm to draft a report on how Manafort's client, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, was justified in his prosecution of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Manafort was tasked with recruiting van der Zwaan to write that report, and van der Zwaan worked for Skadden at the time it was drafting the report, per Bloomberg.

  • Note: At the time, critics said the prosecution of Tymoshenko was based on political motives and without sufficient evidence.

Why it matters, per the NYT: "The request comes at a time when Mr. Manafort, his work for Mr. Yanukovych’s party and for Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs as well as the handling of payments for that work have become focal points" in Mueller's Russia probe.

Other details, as outlined in the NYT:

  • In 2012, the Justice Department began requesting information about Skadden’s Ukrainian work. The requests "came after Ukrainian prosecutors asked their American counterparts for assistance in pursuing an inquiry into alleged illegal spending by Mr. Yanukovych’s government."
  • "That inquiry included payments to Skadden, though the Ukrainians have not accused the firm of any crime."
  • "The Ukrainians nonetheless requested that the Justice Department question Mr. Manafort and Skadden’s lead lawyer on the case, Gregory B. Craig, who had served as President Barack Obama’s White House counsel."
  • Less than a year after the report was filed, Yanukovych fled Ukraine.
  • Ukraine's general prosecutor's office requested the FBI and DOJ in the U.S. aid in investigating Yanukovych's justice minister, Oleksandr Lavrynovych, although "neither the Justice Department nor the F.B.I. had responded to the requests as recently as March" last year.

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has left the White House en route to a farewell event at Andrews Air Force Base, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.