U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election as part of a plea deal, prosecutors said on Friday.
Manafort, 69, pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to two criminal counts, becoming the most prominent former Trump campaign official to strike a plea deal in Mueller’s investigation.
Trump has denied any collusion with Russian officials by his campaign and has long denounced the investigation as a political witch hunt. Moscow denies U.S. intelligence agency allegations that it interfered in the political process.
Mueller told Trump’s attorneys in March he was continuing to investigate the Republican president but did not consider him a criminal target “at this point,” the Washington Post reported in early April.
The following is a list of people who have been indicted or convicted or are being investigated:
** On Sept. 7, George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser to Trump, was sentenced to 14 days in prison. He had pleaded guilty in October to lying to FBI agents about the timing and significance of his contacts, including a professor who told him the Russians had “dirt” on Trump’s Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.
According to documents released with his guilty plea, Papadopoulos offered to help set up a meeting with then-candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
** On Aug. 31, Samuel Patten, 47, an American who is the business partner of a Russian national accused by the special counsel’s office of having ties to Russian intelligence, pleaded guilty to unregistered lobbying for a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine. He also agreed to cooperate with investigators.
** On Aug. 21, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to campaign finance violations and other charges, saying he made payments to influence the 2016 election at the direction of a candidate for federal office. The deal included a possible prison sentence of up to five years and three months.
** Also on Aug. 21, a jury in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, found former Trump campaign chairman Manafort guilty on eight of 18 charges of filing false tax returns, failing to disclose his offshore bank accounts and bank fraud. The judge declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 counts, which were dismissed as part of Manafort’s plea deal on Sept. 14 in a second case against him in Washington.
** Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to Trump who was also a close campaign aide, pleaded guilty in December to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. Mueller and Flynn’s defense team last month asked for more time before Flynn is sentenced.
** Rick Gates, a former deputy campaign chairman for Trump, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators, and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.
** Alex Van der Zwaan, a lawyer who once worked closely with Manafort and Gates, pleaded guilty in February to lying to Mueller’s investigators about contacts with an official in the Trump election campaign. Van der Zwaan, the Dutch son-in-law of one of Russia’s richest men, was sentenced on April 3 to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000.
** Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 13, accused of hacking Democratic Party computer networks in 2016, in the most detailed U.S. accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the presidential election to help Trump. The Russian government has repeatedly denied meddling in the election.
** Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities were indicted in Mueller’s investigation in February, accused of tampering in the 2016 election to support Trump.
** Richard Pinedo, who was not involved with the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty in a case related to the Mueller probe in February to aiding and abetting interstate and foreign identity fraud by creating, buying and stealing hundreds of bank account numbers that he sold to individuals to use with large digital payment companies. Pinedo “made a mistake” but “had absolutely no knowledge” about who was buying the information or their motivations, his lawyer said. Sources familiar with the indictment said Pinedo was named as helping Russian conspirators launder money as well as purchase Facebook ads and pay for rally supplies.
** Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort aide in Ukraine and political operative with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, was charged on June 8 with tampering with witnesses about their past lobbying for Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.
Compiled by Frances Kerry, Cynthia Osterman, Mohammad Zargham and Susan Heavey; editing by Grant McCool
GOP senator admits she’s hoping Trump’s Ukraine scheme successfully sinks Biden
In a press conference with reporters on Monday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) gave the game away by implying she hopes that President Donald Trump's scheme to dig up foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden successfully sinks his candidacy and causes him to lose the Democratic caucuses in her state.
"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"
The remarks came after White House lawyers spent hours trying to change the subject from Trump's attempts to extort the president of Ukraine with military aid, to the conspiracy theory surrounding Biden's son's work in Ukraine that he had been demanding they pursue.
Republicans defended ‘a vile scoundrel’ who is ‘racist’ and ‘a petty tyrant’ — and it wasn’t Donald Trump
President Donald Trump's defense attorneys were blasted for their defense of a different president on Tuesday.
"I mean, of course Trump's lawyers are defending Andrew Johnson. Of course," noted MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.
"Johnson was a vile scoundrel and a drunk and a racist and a petty tyrant whose presidency brought blood and shame upon this nation," Hayes continued. "That's the kindest characterization I could muster."
The host linked to a 2019 piece on Johnson that he wrote for The New York Times as a book review of "The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple.
Trump lawyer cites former GOP senator to discredit impeachment — but leaves out he supports convicting the president
During the Senate impeachment trial on Monday, White House lawyer Robert Ray attempted to contrast the impeachment of President Donald Trump with that of President Richard Nixon, by arguing that unlike in the former case, Republicans came together with Democrats to call for removing Nixon. As part of the comparison, he brought up then-Rep. William Cohen, who went on to become a U.S. senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense for President Bill Clinton.
"Together these six Republicans made history," said Ray. "They did so with no sense of triumph and no fist bumps."
What Ray chose not to mention, however, is that Cohen has specifically weighed in on the Trump case, and said that he should be impeached and removed over the Ukraine scheme.