>> President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to stepped up charges, as special counsel Robert Mueller dials up the pressure in the Russia probe.>> Sarah Lynch is covering the story.>> Special counsel Robert Mueller is upping the ante here against Manafort.
He's now charging him with even more serious charges, such as bank fraud and filing false tax returns.>> The federal judge set a September 17th trial date for Manafort, putting it in the think of the 2018 midterm elections. Mannafort is accused of money laundering, bank fraud, and secret lobbying for pro Russian interests.
Prosecutors allege that Manafort, with the aid of former business partner Richard Gates, laundered more than $30 million, and duped banks into lending him money for home mortgages. Mueller brought new charges last Friday, alleging that Manafort covertly paid former European politicians more than 2 million euros to work on behalf of Ukraine's government.
So far, none of the indictments relate directly to Manafort's work in the 2016 race.>> The new charges, what's interesting about those is they do not get into anything related to the campaign. But, they include alleged misconduct related to bank fraud and filing false tax returns during his time working for the campaign.
So we are now moving the timeline up closer and closer into the campaign time frame.>> Gates, who also worked on Trump's campaign, struck a deal last week to cooperate with Mueller's probe and pleaded guilty to reduced charges. That brings more pressure on Manafort to cut a deal himself.
But he has remained defiant, saying he's gonna fight to clear his name. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. In recent weeks, Mueller's probe has also returned indictments against 13 Russian nationals for interfering in the 2016 elections. President Trump has denied any collusion with Russia in the 2016 race, slamming the probe again this week as a quote, witch hunt.