White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the indictment of three former Trump advisers will not distract Republicans from passing tax legislation by the end of the year, a day after President Trump suggested the indictments would be used to change the subject away from taxes.
"We are not worried about it distracting because it doesn't have anything to do with us," Sanders told reporters. She spoke just hours after former Trump campaign hands Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos were indicted by a grand jury on charges ranging from tax fraud and conspiracy against the U.S. to making false statements to federal investigators.
Unsealed court documents revealed Monday alleged that Manafort and Gates laundered more than $21 million between 2008 to 2016, and engaged in several other activities aimed at defrauding various financial institutions.
Separately, Papadopoulos pled guilty to misleading FBI officials during an interview in January related to the agency's investigation of potential ties between Trump associates and Moscow.
The day before the charges were announced, Trump suggested the forthcoming news was meant to distract Americans from GOP-led efforts to overhaul the tax system.
"All of this 'Russia' talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform. Is this coincidental? NOT!" Trump tweeted.
Multiple outlets had reported late Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller planned to make his first arrests as part of the Russia probe on Monday, two days before House Republicans are expected to reveal a sweeping tax bill.