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Tracking the Mueller investigation into how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign and the Republican Party and conspired with the Trump campaign to help get Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States of America. The Mueller investigation has exposed illegal schemes across international borders and produced more than 190 criminal charges. So far Mueller has indicted 34 people (26 are Russian nationals), three Russian companies and 6 former Trump advisers, 7 people (six former Trump advisers) have pleaded guilty. It not a witch hunt it’s a mole hunt. What we do not know about the Trump-Russia Affair is far worse than the information that is available to the public, Americans should be very worried that Donald J. Trump is a Russian asset and the Russians may have infiltrated our government at the highest level. Get the latest on the investigation mueller investigation. The Robert Mueller Russia Investigation in to how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign and the Republican Party and colluded with the Trump campaign to help get Donald J. Trump elected president. Trump maybe a Russian mole that Putin controls. The Trump Russia affair is worst that Watergate. Trump and Putin maybe working against American interest find out more. Find more about Robert Mueller, Donald J. Trump, Putin and Russia.

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN
Federal prosecutors and Democratic committees are just getting started. Even if special counsel Robert Mueller finishes his work without filing new charges, President Donald Trump and his associates won’t be in the clear. In recent weeks, several prominent figures close to Trump have insisted that they’ll survive Mueller’s probe unscathed. Trump himself maintains that Justice Department officials have told his lawyers he is not a target of the special counsel’s investigation. And his family members have sent similar signs. Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, recently told ABC News that she has “zero concern” about the investigation. Her brother, Donald Trump Jr., told Fox News on Monday that he wasn’t worried because “we know there’s nothing there.” But Mueller is far from the only threat to the president, his family and aides. Federal prosecutors in New York are examining Trump’s 2016 campaign, inauguration and businesses. Congress has given the Justice Department dozens of hearing transcripts that could contain lies told under oath. State and local prosecutors have reportedly prepped new charges that can’t be erased with a presidential pardon. And a slate of sealed indictments sit in the Washington, D.C., federal courthouse, raising the prospect that some in Trump’s circle may have already been indicted and just don’t know it. “If anyone in Trump world is breathing easy right now, I’d say they are very foolish,” said Shanlon Wu, a defense lawyer who previously represented Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates. “Even if Mueller’s report were to appear and didn’t implicate the president, all these other criminal investigations will continue. That’s not going to be the magic bullet that solves everything. I’d be very concerned if I was a lawyer or a potential target in that world right now.”

By Allan Smith
"We are going to get to the bottom of this," Schiff told ABC's "This Week." "We are going to share this information with the public." House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says he's got a plan ready if special counsel Robert Mueller's full report isn't made public. And it includes bringing Mueller himself before his committee. On Sunday, Schiff, a California Democrat, was asked on ABC's "This Week" about what Democrats will do should Attorney General William Barr decide to keep the highly anticipated report mostly under wraps. "Well we will obviously subpoena the report, we will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress, we will take it to court if necessary," Schiff said. "And in the end, I think the department understands they're going to have to make this public. I think Barr will ultimately understand that as well." Schiff said that if Barr, who was recently confirmed as attorney general, tried "to withhold, to try to bury any part of this report, that will be his legacy, and it will be a tarnished legacy." "So I think there’ll be immense pressure not only on the department, but on the attorney general to be forthcoming," he said.

By CHAD DAY and ERIC TUCKER
Indictment by indictment, special counsel Robert Mueller has stitched together a Russia report in plain view. Donald Trump was in full deflection mode. The Democrats had blamed Russia for the hacking and release of damaging material on his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump wasn't buying it. But on July 27, 2016, midway through a news conference in Florida, Trump decided to entertain the thought for a moment. "Russia, if you're listening," said Trump, looking directly into a television camera, "I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing" — messages Clinton was reported to have deleted from her private email server. Actually, Russia was doing more than listening: It had been trying to help Republican Trump for months. That very day, hackers working with Russia's military intelligence tried to break into email accounts associated with Clinton's personal office. It was just one small part of a sophisticated election interference operation carried out by the Kremlin — and meticulously chronicled by special counsel Robert Mueller. We know this, though Mueller has made not a single public comment since his appointment in May 2017. We know this, though the full, final report on the investigation, believed to be in its final stages, may never be made public. It's up to Attorney General William Barr. We know this because Mueller has spoken loudly, if indirectly, in court — indictment by indictment, guilty plea by guilty plea. In doing so, he tracked an elaborate Russian operation that injected chaos into a U.S. presidential election and tried to help Trump win the White House. He followed a GOP campaign that embraced the Kremlin's help and championed stolen material to hurt a political foe. And ultimately, he revealed layers of lies, deception, self-enrichment and hubris that followed.

By Shannon Van Sant
Prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller say they take no position on what Paul Manafort's prison sentence should be, but say President Trump's former campaign chairman acted in "bold" fashion to commit a multitude of crimes. Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced next month after pleading guilty in a Washington, D.C. court last year to charges of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. In a sentencing memo submitted to the court on Friday but made public on Saturday, prosecutors told Judge Amy Berman Jackson that Manafort "brazenly violated the law." "Manafort chose repeatedly and knowingly to violate the law— whether the laws proscribed garden-variety crimes such as tax fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and bank fraud, or more esoteric laws that he nevertheless was intimately familiar with, such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)," they wrote in the filing. Manafort shows a "hardened adherence to committing crimes," the memo said. "His criminal actions were bold, some of which were committed while under a spotlight due to his work as the campaign chairman and, later, while he was on bail from this Court." Manafort had agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation after initially pleading guilty. But the plea deal fell apart after Jackson ruled earlier this month that he intentionally lied to Mueller's office, the FBI and the grand jury in his case. The ruling meant prosecutors were no longer bound by the plea deal.

By Greg Farrell
New York state prosecutors have put together a criminal case against Paul Manafort that they could file quickly if the former chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign receives a presidential pardon. New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is ready to file an array of tax and other charges against Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter, something seen as an insurance policy should the president exercise his power to free the former aide. Skirting laws that protect defendants from being charged twice for the same offense has been one of Vance’s challenges. Manafort was convicted of eight felonies, pleaded guilty to two more and is scheduled to be sentenced next month for those federal crimes. Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have recommended as long as 24 years, a virtual life sentence, for the 69-year-old political consultant. The president, who has bemoaned Manafort’s treatment at the hands of Mueller, said in November that he has not ruled out a pardon. He has frequently talked of his broad pardon power, possibly extending even to himself, and acted to liberate two political allies previously. A spokesman for Vance’s office declined to comment, as did Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort. The White House didn’t respond to a request to comment. Prosecutors in Vance’s office began investigating Manafort in 2017, months before Mueller charged him with conspiracy, failure to file reports of foreign bank accounts and failure to register as an agent of a foreign country, activities stemming from his earlier work for Ukraine. Mueller’s team followed up with more charges of bank fraud, filing false tax returns and failure to file reports of foreign bank accounts in early 2018.

By JOSH GERSTEIN
In a court filing, his team said Stone’s sealed indictment was properly released minutes after the GOP operative’s arrest. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is formally denying Roger Stone’s claims that journalists got early access to his indictment last month, allowing CNN to film the GOP operative’s arrest. In a court filing Friday, Mueller prosecutors said Stone’s sealed indictment was ordered to be automatically unsealed upon Stone’s arrest on charges of lying to congressional investigators and intimidating a witness. In accordance with that order, Mueller’s office notified reporters of the indictment and posted it on the office’s website shortly after the FBI raided Stone’s South Florida home and took him into custody just after 6 a.m. on Jan. 25, prosecutors said. “The government’s public release of the indictment shortly after the defendant’s arrest was consistent with the order sealing the indictment,” Mueller attorneys and lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington argued in their submission Friday. “The order does not state, as many unsealing orders do, that the indictment shall remain sealed until further order of the Court. Rather, the order conditioned the unsealing of the indictment on one event: the defendant’s arrest,” prosecutors wrote. Stone’s lawyers have objected to the release of the charges, arguing that the indictment should have remained under seal until someone in the court clerk’s office unsealed it and that prosecutors breached grand jury secrecy by releasing it before that time.

By Ryan Lucas
A federal judge on Thursday barred Roger Stone from talking publicly about his case after an inflammatory photo was posted on his Instagram account of the judge that included what appeared to be a crosshairs. Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected apologies offered by Stone, both in writing and in person at a hearing in Washington, D.C. If Stone violates the order, Jackson warned him, she would be "compelled to adjust your environment." She then spelled out what that meant — she would revoke his bond and order him to be detained ahead of his trial. The judge's decision adds Stone to an existing gag order that prohibits attorneys from speaking about the case and bars any of the parties from talking about it in the vicinity of the courthouse. Stone, 66, has been charged with obstruction, false statements and witness tampering as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The obstruction and false statements charges relate to testimony he gave to Congress about the role he allegedly played in 2016 as an intermediary between Donald Trump's campaign and WikiLeaks. Stone has pleaded not guilty and says he did nothing wrong. He and supporters also have leveled intense criticism at the government before and since his arrest, including of the FBI, the Justice Department and then Jackson herself. Stone's Instagram post on Monday suggested that conspirators within the "deep state" had schemed to put his case before an ostensibly unfair Jackson so she could preside over a "show trial." A shape like the crosshairs of a rifle scope appeared in the backdrop of the photo. The post was then deleted.

By Andrew Prokop
Court filings about Cohen, Manafort, and Stone have alleged scandalous activities during the 2016 campaign.
President Trump keeps insisting that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has found “no collusion” between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. But a close read of what we already know about what Mueller’s been doing suggests at the very least, some very questionable things were going on during the campaign. Mueller’s team has already laid out a startling story in indictments, plea deals, and other court documents that are full of new revelations about the Trump team’s contacts with Russia that year — contacts that have moved from suspicious to downright scandalous. The special counsel has not alleged any sinister, high-level election interference conspiracy involving Trump himself and the Russian government. But, particularly in recent filings, he has laid out damaging facts on three major matters that certainly seem at least collusion-adjacent. 1) The business opportunity for Trump: The Trump Organization was secretly in talks for a potentially very lucrative Moscow real estate deal during the campaign, and Russian government officials were involved. Trump and members of his family were briefed several times on the project. 2) A key figure with shady Russia connections: Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort had a history of illegal work for pro-Russian interests and was in debt to a Russian oligarch. Then, during the campaign, he allegedly handed over Trump polling data to a Russian intelligence-tied associate. 3) The hacked — and leaked — emails: Russian intelligence officers hacked leading Democrats’ emails, and WikiLeaks eventually posted many of those stolen emails publicly. Trump associates like George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone seem to have had at least some advance knowledge of this. These revelations are all significant, and greatly change what we know about what happened in 2016. They tell us that while Trump was praising Putin on the campaign trail, he and his family were trying to make massive amounts of money in Russia. Meanwhile, Manafort was handing out his polling data for unknown reasons, and Stone was at least trying to get an inside line on the emails criminally stolen from Democrats. We don’t yet know whether there’s more to be revealed about any of these. Mueller also hasn’t indicated how these pieces fit together to form a larger story, and he hasn’t yet assessed how much, exactly, the president knew about each. And there are other incidents, like the infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, that the special counsel has not yet said a single word about. But the bigger picture is that, however you define “collusion,” we’ve learned a great deal more about just what top figures in Trumpworld were doing regarding Russia during the election — and it’s far from being a “nothingburger.”

By Stephen Collinson
Washington (CNN) Robert Mueller's report could land within days, yet rather than offering definitive answers, his hotly anticipated filing might only ignite a new controversy -- over how much of the special counsel's conclusions most Americans get to see. Sources told CNN on Wednesday that the Justice Department is preparing for Mueller to report to Attorney General Bill Barr as soon as next week after an investigation that started as an attempt to find out whether Trump campaign members conspired with a Russian election meddling effort. But the big question is how much of what the special counsel concludes -- after an investigation repeatedly blasted as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt" by the President -- will be made public or even sent to Congress. Whenever it is filed, Mueller's report will mark a critical point in the Trump presidency, given the gravity of the accusations against his team, and offer the theoretical possibility of conclusive answers about the last White House race. The reclusive former FBI director's findings could also put the United States on the road to a new and divisive impeachment saga, if he finds collusion with Russia and an attempt by the President to obstruct justice to cover it up. If there is no case for Trump to answer, Mueller could at least partially lift a cloud that has haunted the White House every day of his presidency, though a flurry of spin-off cases mean the President's legal exposure is far from over. It will be a fraught political time, since so many Americans have invested so much emotion in the outcome, whether they are liberals who dream of Trump being ousted from power or supporters who buy his claims of a huge "hoax." Yet key players in Washington and many Americans beyond, transfixed by the barely believable drama leading up to the final report, at least at first, may be let down. Mueller's endgame is obscured because no one really knows exactly what he will report and the information that Barr will choose -- or feel compelled -- to share with Congress and the public on a scandal that has polarized the nation. The uncertainty is almost certain to spark a new struggle between Congress, the White House and the Justice Department that could lead to litigation and has every chance of reaching all the way up to the Supreme Court. Mueller's filing could also herald the reclusive prosecutor's own exit from the stage -- likely after not speaking to the American people from the beginning to the end of his investigation. That old fashioned reticence, as well as a stellar career in law enforcement, is one reason why Mueller's conclusions will carry such weight -- whether his report is ultimately critical of the President or leaves him in the clear.

By Kevin Breuninger
A federal judge will decide Thursday whether to change — or revoke — bond for Republican trickster Roger Stone for posting an Instagram photo of the judge next to an apparent rifle scope's crosshair. Stone is accused of lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks regarding internal Democratic emails allegedly stolen by Russian agents. Judge Amy Berman Jackson last year revoked the release bond of Stone's former business associate, Paul Manafort. Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson is set to decide Thursday whether to stiffen — or revoke — the release bond of Republican trickster Roger Stone for posting an Instagram photo of the judge next to an apparent rifle scope's crosshair. The abruptly scheduled hearing in Washington federal court, set for 2:30 p.m. ET, doesn't bode well for Stone, a longtime friend and advisor of President Donald Trump. The 66-year-old defendant could see his recent partial gag order expanded or his $250,000 signature bond modified by requiring him to actually put up that dollar amount with the court, or even more money to retain his liberty. At the very least, Stone is likely to face a serious dressing down by Jackson for his recent conduct. Stone's bail could be revoked, which would put him in jail pending trial.

By John Bowden
FBI officials enacted a plan to save evidence gathered in its probe of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign in 2017 after President Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey. A source with knowledge of the discussions at the top of the FBI told The Associated Press that Andrew McCabe, then the deputy FBI director, ordered officials to preserve information obtained as part of the investigation in the event that McCabe or other officials were fired by the president in the wake of Comey's ouster. That source told the AP that a plan was created to preserve the evidence after McCabe became acting FBI director, and a second source confirmed to the AP that FBI officials discussed preserving evidence during that time so as to avoid the investigation being stifled by the president's actions. The report comes after McCabe told "60 Minutes" in an interview that he worked to ensure that the Russia probe would endure beyond his possible firing by Trump in the wake of his appointment to acting FBI director. “I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion. That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace," McCabe told CBS News. “I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they made that decision," the former deputy FBI chief added. McCabe added during his interview with CBS that the president "may have committed" a crime by firing Comey, which he suggested could constitute obstruction of justice. “And the idea is, if the president committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia’s malign activity and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, “Why would a president of the United States do that?” McCabe told CBS.

By Lydia Wheeler
The federal judge overseeing Roger Stone's criminal case in Washington, D.C. has ordered him to appear in court on Thursday to explain why the gag order she issued last week and his condition of release shouldn't be modified. The order comes after Stone, an informal adviser of President Trump, shared and quickly deleted a photo of Judge Amy Berman Jackson on his Instagram account over the weekend with what appeared to be small crosshairs next to her head.

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN
For starters, they have jurisdiction over the president’s political operation and businesses — subjects that executive privilege doesn't cover. Even as speculation mounts that special counsel Robert Mueller might be winding down his investigation, a parallel threat to President Donald Trump only seems to be growing within his own Justice Department: the Southern District of New York. Manhattan-based federal prosecutors can challenge Trump in ways Mueller can’t. They have jurisdiction over the president’s political operation and businesses — subjects that aren’t protected by executive privilege, a tool Trump is considering invoking to block portions of Mueller’s report. From a PR perspective, Trump has been unable to run the same playbook on SDNY that he’s used to erode conservatives’ faith in Mueller, the former George W. Bush-appointed FBI director. Legal circles are also buzzing over whether SDNY might buck DOJ guidance and seek to indict a sitting president. The threat was highlighted when SDNY prosecutors ordered officials from Trump’s inaugural committee to hand over donor and financial records. It was the latest aggressive move from an office that has launched investigations into the president’s company, former lawyer and campaign finance practices. New York prosecutors have even implicated Trump in a crime. Add it all up and the result is a spate of hard-to-stymie, legally perilous probes that appears on track to drag on well into Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. SDNY stands poised to carry on Mueller’s efforts whenever the special counsel’s office closes shop, and it’s likely to draw even more attention if freshly confirmed Attorney General William Barr — who now oversees the Russia probe as DOJ head — clamps down on the public release of Mueller’s findings.

By Morgan Chalfant
William Barr was sworn in as President Trump’s second attorney general on Thursday, putting a new face atop the Justice Department who will assume oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Senate confirmed Barr in a largely party-line vote amid intense speculation that Mueller’s probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russia is wrapping up. The investigation — and Barr’s oversight of it — is likely to dominate his first weeks and possibly months as attorney general, depending on when Mueller submits his final report. Here are five things to watch. Mueller investigation: Barr, who already served a stint as attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration, is taking over a sprawling agency with multiple divisions and more than 110,000 employees. However, Mueller’s investigation is by far the most high-profile issue he will contend with in the immediate term. During his confirmation hearing, Barr described it as “vitally important” that Mueller be allowed to complete his investigation and pledged not to allow “partisan politics” to interfere with it. Barr also said he would release as much information about Mueller’s final conclusions as possible consistent with the law — but he was careful not to commit to releasing the report in its entirety. It remains an open question how Barr’s oversight of the probe will play out. His predecessor, Jeff Sessions, faced tremendous pressure from Trump over the probe, which the president regularly derides as a partisan “witch hunt.”

By MATTHEW CHOI
The details of the sit-down are not publicly known, but Mueller likely has interest in Sanders’ role crafting statements about the Trump team’s interactions with Russian nationals. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Friday that she met with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. “The President urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel. I was happy to voluntarily sit down with them,” Sanders said in a statement. The details and topic of the interview are not publicly known, but Mueller is likely interested in Sanders’ role crafting the official narrative about the Trump team’s interactions with Russian nationals. Mueller is also investigating any possible efforts by Trump’s team to obstruct a law enforcement probe of the 2016 campaign. The meeting occurred around the time Muellers team interviewed then-White House chief of staff John Kelly, CNN reported. CNN first reported the Sanders-Mueller interview on Friday.

Mueller's team also released a filing in the case that suggested federal prosecutors might have obtained 'Stone's communications' with WikiLeaks. Roger Stone remains free to talk about Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation, just not in and around the Washington, D.C., courthouse where the longtime Donald Trump associate is fighting the special counsel’s charges he lied to Congress and obstructed its Russia investigation. That’s the end result from a four-page order issued Friday from a federal judge who had been considering a complete gag order on Stone in the wake of his full-on media blitz since his arrest last month in south Florida. Also Friday, Mueller's team released a filing in the case that included a tantalizing nugget suggesting federal prosecutors might have obtained "Stone's communications" with WikiLeaks, the website that dumped stolen Democratic emails during the election. While the language was somewhat vague, legal watchers quickly noted that it might represent a jarring new revelation, as previously Stone had only conceded to trying to connect with WikiLeaks via intermediaries. The double-barrel developments in Stone's case came amid a flurry of activity late on Friday, marking the busiest day yet in a court battle that still remains in a preliminary stage. First, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that attorneys for Stone, Mueller and any witnesses in the case “must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”

(CNN) Paul Manafort defrauded banks, the IRS and other federal authorities out of greed, and thus should spend perhaps all his remaining years alive behind bars, special counsel Robert Mueller's office said Friday night. In a 26-page outline of his crimes and convictions for financial crimes, prosecutors make plain how high-flying Manafort believed he was, lifted for years by millions of dollars in secret income and a lifestyle of excessive spending. The penalty should be severe, they write. Thus, the former Trump campaign chairman deserves 19.5 years to 24.5 years in prison for his conviction for eight financial crimes, Mueller's office said. Manafort, 69, was convicted by a Virginia jury last August for bank fraud, tax fraud and other financial crimes related to the money he earned working for Ukrainian politicians. "In the end, Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars," prosecutors wrote. "The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes, and serve to both deter Manafort and others from engaging in such conduct." Manafort's age should not help him receive a reduced sentence, Mueller's office said. "Manafort's age does not eliminate the risk of recidivism he poses -- particularly given that his pattern of criminal activity has occurred over more than a decade and that the most recent crimes he pled guilty to occurred from February to April 2018, when he conspired to tamper with witnesses at a time when he was under indictment in two separate districts," prosecutors wrote. The sentence will be up to the judge alone. Judge T.S. Ellis hasn't set a sentencing date. Manafort has also pleaded guilty in a Washington, DC, federal court, where he will be sentenced next month.

(CNN) Paul Manafort's latest legal debacle deepened the core intrigue underlying special counsel Robert Mueller's probe: Why have so many of President Donald Trump's associates been caught lying about contacts with Russians? In a significant new twist in the 2016 election saga, a judge ruled Wednesday that Trump's ex-campaign chairman "intentionally" lied to investigators, breaking a deal he had reached as a cooperating witness. The lies, including about meetings with a suspected Russian intelligence asset, were about issues intimately linked to Mueller's wider inquiry, which includes a look into whether there were any links or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian election interference effort. How Team Trump has changed its story in the Russia probe. Taken in isolation, the new Manafort bombshell would have rocked any presidency, given his senior role in the Trump campaign. But for a White House as cloaked in suspicion as this one, after two years of stunning revelations about Moscow's election interference, it is yet more bad news that will fuel a feverish atmosphere and further crank up pressure on Trump's inner circle. Like many of the stunning reveals from Mueller, the latest Manafort drama also offered tantalizing glimpses into the special counsel's web of investigation but provided no resolution to the long-running Russia puzzle. Mueller has yet to provide any proof of a conspiracy or cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russians, despite obtaining convictions and guilty pleas from a string of the President's former associates.

The 2016 nominating conventions had recently concluded and the presidential race was hitting a new level of intensity when Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, ducked into an unusual dinner meeting at a private cigar room a few blocks away from the campaign’s Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan. Court records show that Manafort was joined at some point by his campaign deputy, Rick Gates, at the session at the Grand Havana Room, a mahogany-paneled space with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city. The two Americans met with an overseas guest, a longtime employee of their international consulting business who had flown to the United States for the gathering: a Russian political operative named Konstantin Kilimnik. The Aug. 2, 2016, encounter between the senior Trump campaign officials and Kilimnik, who prosecutors allege has ties to Russian intelligence, has emerged in recent days as a potential fulcrum in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. It was at that meeting that prosecutors believe Manafort and Kilimnik may have exchanged key information relevant to Russia and Trump’s presidential bid. The encounter goes “very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told a federal judge in a sealed hearing last week. One subject the men discussed was a proposed resolution to the conflict over Ukraine, an issue of great interest to the Russian government, according to a partially redacted transcript of the Feb. 4 hearing. During the hearing, the judge also appeared to allude to another possible interaction at the Havana Room gathering: a handoff by Manafort of internal polling data from Trump’s presidential campaign to his Russian associate.

CNN)Paul Manafort "intentionally" lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's office, breaking the plea agreement that made him the star cooperator in the Russia probe, a federal judge found on Wednesday. Manafort "made multiple false statements to the FBI, the OSC and the grand jury concerning matters that were material to the investigation," including his contacts with his Russian associate during the campaign and later, Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote on Wednesday. Jackson's ruling is another stunning turn in Mueller's efforts to uncover Russian interference in the 2016 election, as the first man the special counsel indicted then pursued as a potential cooperator for a year sees the end of any benefits he tried to gain through a guilty plea.Manafort was convicted of various financial crimes in August, and then cut the deal to plead guilty to two charges of conspiracy and witness tampering in September.
In all, Jackson determined Manafort intentionally lied about $125,000 he received for the legal bills, about another unnamed Justice Department criminal investigation and about his interactions with his longtime Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik while he was campaign chairman and later. Jackson noted twice in her order that two of the topics Paul Manafort lied about, Kilimnik and payments he received for his legal bills were "material to the investigation." Manafort is still bound by what he agreed to in the plea, so he will not be able to retract his guilty pleas. But the finding frees Mueller's office from its contractual obligations in the plea, like asking for a reduced sentence for him because of his cooperation. Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment. Manafort's lawyers have maintained that he did not intentionally lie. The judge reviewed extensive transcripts and evidence that would give her a window into Mueller's work, and her ruling shows that Manafort's lies were serious enough to disrupt his cooperation.

The network has said it merely was monitoring Stone's house when the ex-Trump aide was arrested after piecing together clues from its reporting. Roger Stone urged a federal judge Wednesday to make special counsel Robert Mueller’s office explain why it shouldn’t be held in contempt for violating the seal on the longtime Donald Trump aide’s indictment by allegedly leaking it to the press. Stone has repeatedly criticized the dramatic arrest at his home in January, which was caught on film by a CNN camera crew staking out his South Florida house. Stone claims CNN was tipped off about the arrest to film the raid, violating court orders. The network has said it merely was monitoring the house after piecing together clues from its reporting. In its motion, Stone’s team argues that CNN presented it with a copy of the indictment without a time stamp from the court records database, known as PACER, which it says is a sign the network had the document ahead of time. "A person with privileged access to a 'draft' of Roger Stone’s Indictment, identical to that which had been filed under seal ... had — in violation of the Court’s Order — publicly distributed the Indictment prior to its release from the sealing ordered by the Court," the filing says. However, the special counsel’s public release announcing the indictment was sent out minutes before Stone’s arrest, and it included a link to the same copy of the indictment without a PACER time stamp. Later that morning, Mueller’s office updated its link to an indictment with the PACER markings. Mueller’s office declined comment on Stone’s complaint. CNN’s reporting relied on a number of factors: The special counsel's team had blocked off Jan. 25, the day of the arrest, while scheduling a court hearing for another case. Stone's indictment had also been seen as a looming inevitability, and CNN said it pieced two and two together and deduced that could be the day of the arrest.

An August 2016 meeting between President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and an associate with ties to Russian intelligence goes to the “heart” of the Russia investigation, according to a court transcript unsealed Thursday. The transcript from a sealed hearing in Paul Manafort’s case provides further insight into what special counsel Robert Mueller considers significant in his wide-ranging probe of the Kremlin’s efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election and the ties between Trump associates and Russia. It makes clear that prosecutors have honed in on the repeated contacts between Manafort and his longtime associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI says has ties to the Russia’s military intelligence agency. Still, it’s unclear what specifically has piqued prosecutors’ interests and whether it has any direct connection to any conspiracy related to election interference. The transcript of the hearing, which took place Monday, was released by court order Thursday but much of it was redacted to protect the ongoing investigation including several key portions about Manafort and Kilimnik. According to the transcript, prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said the substance of the meeting, which took place in New York just weeks after the Republican National Convention, goes to the “larger view of what we think is going on” and what “we think the motive here is.” “This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel’s Office is investigating,” Weissmann said, noting Kilimnik’s past intelligence ties and Manafort’s position at the top of the Trump campaign at the time. “That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the special counsel,” he added later.

A global New York-based law firm has agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle a Justice Department investigation into whether its work for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian government violated lobbying laws. The investigation stems from work that the firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, did with Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman. The case overlaps with the investigation of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. As part of the settlement, the law firm agreed to register retroactively as a foreign agent for Ukraine in addition to paying the government $4.6 million, representing the money it earned from its work in Ukraine. The settlement between the firm and the Justice Department, which was made public on Thursday, is the latest indication that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry and related investigations are fundamentally challenging the lucrative but shadowy foreign-lobbying industry that has thrived in Washington. For decades, lobbyists and lawyers have collected millions of dollars to burnish the images of sometimes unsavory foreign interests in Congress and the news media, often skirting requirements that they disclose the work under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The Justice Department, which is charged with enforcing the 80-year-old act, had largely turned a blind eye until Mr. Mueller began charging Mr. Trump’s associates, including Mr. Manafort, who had built a lucrative business advising Russia-aligned politicians and wealthy business executives in Ukraine.

Federal prosecutors told a judge this week that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, might have lied to them about “an extremely sensitive issue” in hopes of increasing the chances that he would be pardoned for his crimes, according to a transcript of the hearing unsealed Thursday. The heavily redacted document leaves unclear what issue Mr. Manafort was being questioned about. Prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are accusing Mr. Manafort of lying to them repeatedly last year after he agreed to cooperate with their investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race and the Trump campaign in exchange for a possibly lighter sentence. The discussion of whether Mr. Manafort could have been angling for a presidential pardon came during a closed session Monday in Federal District Court in Washington before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Judge Jackson is exploring the prosecution’s claims that Mr. Manafort lied before she sentences Mr. Manafort for two felonies to which he pleaded guilty in her court. During the hearing, the prosecutors also detailed how they believed Mr. Manafort deceived them about his contacts with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a longtime business partner in Ukraine who prosecutors say has contacts with Russian intelligence. One meeting between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kilimnik in New York after Mr. Trump had won the Republican presidential nomination “goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating,” said Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor on Mr. Mueller’s team. The prosecution’s statement about a potential pardon was misattributed in the transcript to a lawyer for Mr. Manafort, Richard Westling, but was actually made by Mr. Weissmann, according to a spokesman for the special counsel.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has accused Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, of continuing to try to minimize the conduct of an associate with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, even after Manafort agreed last year to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors, according to a newly released court transcript. The partially redacted transcript, of a lengthy hearing that took place behind closed doors on Monday, shows that Mueller’s team contended that when Manafort was debriefed by prosecutors and FBI agents, he seemed to be trying to avoid providing information that could be damaging to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian national who was deeply involved in Manafort’s political consulting work in Ukraine. “I think Mr. Manafort went out of his way in this instance … to not want to provide any evidence that could be used with respect to Mr. Kilimnik,” deputy special counsel Andrew Weissmann told U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the court session, which spanned more than four hours, including a lunch break. Prosecutors have accused Manafort of breaching his plea deal by repeatedly lying during debriefing sessions and during appearances before a grand jury late last year. Manafort’s attorneys say any misstatements were the result of confusion or foggy memory, rather than a deliberate effort to mislead.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's office is alleging former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort continued work related to Ukraine after his 2017 indictment, according to a redacted transcript from Manafort's hearing with federal prosecutors on Monday. The hearing focused on whether Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying to investigators, including about his meetings with Konstantin Kilimnik, who is suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence. Prosecutors allege Manafort was talking about a redacted issue related to Ukraine as late as 2018. "This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel's Office is investigating," prosecutor Andrew Weissman said, according to the transcript, about Manafort continuing to work with Kilimnik on Ukrainian issues. Manafort's attorneys submitted a poorly redacted filing in January revealing Manafort shared polling data with Kilimnik during the campaign. In their response to Mueller claiming Manafort breached his plea deal, Manafort's attorneys inadvertently revealed the special counsel alleges Manafort "lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign." Manafort and Rick Gates, his former business associate, were indicted by a federal grand jury in late 2017. He was found guilty on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud, in August.

Donald Trump Jr. will be indicted and used by special counsel Robert Mueller to ensnare his father President Donald Trump, a former prosecutor predicted. During a segment on MSNBC’s AM Joy on Saturday, Paul Butler, a former Department of Justice public corruption prosecutor, and host Joy Reid discussed the latest developments in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign team and Moscow officials. “Does Mueller have to indict Trump in order to put the proper coda at the end of the long symphony?” Reid asked the ex-prosecutor. “Mueller is not going to indict Trump, because he’s going to follow the DOJ employee handbook, but he has leverage over the president in terms of Donald Trump, Jr.,” Butler explained. “We’ve seen Mueller use people’s kids to get to folks in the past. He could do this with Donald Trump, Jr.” He continued: “Trump, Jr. went into the Senate Intelligence Committee, took an oath to tell the truth, and lied his butt off.” “You think he will get indicted?” Reid asked. “If Roger Stone and Michael Cohen get indicted for lying to the Intelligence Committee and Donald, Jr. lied, then he gets indicted too,” Butler responded.


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