NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) released the following statement after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered to law enforcement and following news that a Trump-campaign adviser has pleaded guilty for making a false statement to the FBI relating to Russian contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump proclaimed that he hires ‘only the best people’ and would surround himself ‘only with the best and most serious people’,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10). “The indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for conspiracy against the United States and eleven other federal crimes is an indictment of Trump’s judgment. The Manafort case raises an obvious question: Did Donald Trump negligently hire a foreign agent to run his campaign for President of the United States?

“The guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, a Trump-campaign foreign policy adviser, for lying to the FBI about knowingly contacting a Russian professor with ‘substantial connections to high-level Russian government officials’ is a punch in the gut for America’s electoral integrity and raises an obvious question: What did the President know, and when did he know it?

“Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, has served the United States honorably as a U.S. Marine, federal prosecutor, and FBI Director. I fully support his thorough investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The American people have a right to hear the story of what happened. We must learn from our mistakes and endeavor not to repeat them. Democracy depends on a full airing of the truth.”