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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

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

For CEOs, social media has lost its fun

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CEO Jack Dorsey's departure from Twitter shows that, in Silicon Valley today, social media is becoming a field to flee.

Why it matters: Coming on the heels of Facebook's name change and new metaverse focus, Dorsey's resignation is another sign that the industry now views the massive social networks it built over the last two decades as buggy "legacy applications" mired in annoying social problems.