As President Donald Trump continues his relentless effort to discredit the investigation into his campaign ties to the Kremlin, special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly hiring additional prosecutors to expedite the work on the expanding investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Several current and former U.S. officials said Mueller is adding prosecutors from U.S. attorney’s offices and the Justice Department headquarters, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Mueller’s team, currently composed of 17 federal prosecutors, is handling a large amount of casework associated with the year-long investigation into Russian meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
The special counsel has already issued 20 indictments and secured five guilty pleas from individuals.
One of the most notable defendants is former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whom Mueller hit with a superseding indictment last month.
Manafort and his longtime aide Konstantin Kilimnik were accused of trying to coach or prevent two witnesses from testifying.
A federal judge revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail in June.
He is charged with multiple financial crimes, including obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The allegations came from Mueller’s investigation. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
His trial is set to begin later this month.
Special counsel Robert Mueller will present evidence that a bank executive allegedly helped former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort obtain more than $6 million in loans while that executive was in talks for a position in the Trump campaign.
Prosecutors for Mueller revealed the plans in a filing Friday for Manafort’s trial on fraud charges in Virginia that will begin later this month. According to the filings, a senior executive at “Lender D” — an unnamed bank — approved Manafort’s loan applications.
The bank executive “sought the defendant’s assistance to obtain a position advising the Trump campaign (which he obtained) and later in the administration of President Trump, the court document states.
“The government intends to present evidence that although various Lender D employees identified serious issues with the defendant’s loan application, the senior executive at Lender D interceded in the process and approved the loan,” the filing reads.
The executive, who is unnamed in the filing “expressed interest in working on the Trump campaign, told [Manafort] about his interest, and eventually secured a position advising the Trump campaign,” according to the court document.
The executive also “expressed an interest in serving in the administration of President Trump, but did not secure such a position,” the filing reads.
The development marks the first sign that Manafort’s role as Trump campaign chairman will be mentioned in this month’s trial.
Manafort’s lawyers had previously requested that any mention of Trump be kept out of the trial, over concerns that it could influence jurors who already have a strong opinion of the president.
The prosecutors also pushed back against Manafort’s attorneys’ claims that mentioning the Trump campaign in the trial could prejudice jurors. The special counsel wrote that Manafort’s attorneys did “not articulate how ‘strong views’ about the President are prejudicial to him or would impact how a juror would view the defendant’s prior work on the campaign.”
Manafort is facing charges of bank fraud, money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department for his work as a lobbyist for pro-Russia political parties in Ukraine ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
He was ordered to jail last month after Mueller alleged that he attempted to tamper with a witness.