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Trump responds to charges against Paul Manafort

  • President Donald Trump on Monday emphasized that the alleged crimes in the 12 count indictment occurred years before Paul Manafort joined the Trump campaign in 2016.
  • The onetime chairman of the Trump campaign was indicted on charges related to money laundering, including "conspiracy against the United States."
  • Trump has remained defiant throughout the five month investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

President Donald Trump on Monday responded to news that his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort had been charged with 12 counts of money laundering and conspiracy by arguing that the alleged crimes occurred long before Manafort took over the Trump campaign, in June of 2016.

Manafort's former longtime business partner, Rick Gates, also was charged in the 31 page indictment, made public on Monday. Gates and Manafort both surrendered to authorities on Monday morning.

Following news of the indictments, a White House source told NBC News that the charges had not come as a surprise to the Trump administration.

"The White House has been saying for weeks the special counsel is moving far more quickly and deliberatively than people have been reporting. The fact that the special counsel is actively performing its duties does not come as a surprise to the White House," the source said.

Since the appointment in May of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Trump has repeatedly dismissed the probe as a "witch hunt" and a "hoax" cooked up by Democrats unwilling to accept the 2016 election's results.

WATCH: Manafort indicted as part of Russia election probe