Oct 30, 2017

Manafort, Gates appear in court

Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort leaves his home in Alexandria, Va. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates will appear at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson at the D.C. federal courthouse, per the Special Counsel's office. Manafort is reportedly surrendering in Special Counsel Bob Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, facing charges including conspiracy against the U.S. and tax fraud.

Be smart: Manafort's charges don't include Russian collusion — in fact, all of the charges he's facing come from before his Trump campaign days — but it's a legal development that makes Trump's claim of a "witch hunt" harder to believe. Mueller is likely trying to use these charges to leverage Manafort to reveal information about the Trump campaign, which could lead to future indictments.

Although the charges against Manafort don't appear to relate to Russian interference in the presidential election, Mueller has been given authority to investigate other allegations that "arise" from that investigation.

What's next:

  • Manafort is likely to plead "not guilty," according to former deputy secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, Paul Rosenzweig.
  • Then it will go quiet until Manafort's trial, which would be at least six months from now, even with the fastest docketing.
  • Behind the scenes, Manafort's lawyers and Mueller's lawyers will be doing a lot of talking and bargaining, figuring out what Manafort can say and what he's willing to say. This is where Mueller can offer Manafort a sentencing deal in exchange for providing information on the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia.
  • Manafort's fate lies in how much evidence he has and how useful it can be to Mueller's probe.

Why now: Lawyers will try to offer information on behalf of their client before an indictment. While little is known, and much is left to speculation, Rosenzweig gave Axios three hypothetical reasons for the timing of Manafort's surrender.

  1. Manafort's lawyers don't think he has good enough information to get him out of a longer sentence.
  2. Manafort might not believe he'll actually have to pay for his actions.
  3. There's always the slim chance that Manafort is banking on Trump pardoning him, as the President has already shown an interest in his power to pardon.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

Go deeperArrow5 hours ago - Health