- The special counsel Robert Mueller said in his final report in the Russia probe that his team made 14 criminal referrals to other prosecutors for issues that Mueller believed were outside his scope.
- But only two of those cases so far are publicly known.
- The two criminal referrals we know of are those dealing with President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and of former White House counsel Gregory Craig, who served under President Barack Obama.
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The special counsel Robert Mueller’s team made 14 criminal referrals to other prosecutors, but only two of those cases are publicly known, according to Mueller’s final report in the Russia investigation.
“During the course of the investigation, the Office periodically identified evidence of potential criminal activity that was outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction established by the Acting Attorney General,” Mueller wrote. “After consultation with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office referred that evidence to appropriate law enforcement authorities, principally other components of the Department of Justice and the FBI.”
The two criminal investigations we know of that were referred by Mueller are those dealing with Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, and Gregory Craig, the former White House counsel under former President Barack Obama.
During the course of the Russia investigation, Mueller’s team uncovered evidence of hush-money payments Cohen had facilitated to two women who alleged affairs with Trump. The payments were made shortly before Election Day 2016, and investigators believed that if they were done to protect Trump’s candidacy, they could be in violation of federal campaign-finance laws.
The special counsel apparently believed the matter fell outside the scope of his mandate and referred the case to the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
Last year, Cohen struck a plea deal and admitted to five counts of campaign-finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud in the SDNY’s investigation. In a court filing late last year, investigators said Cohen told them he had broken election law “at the direction” of “Individual-1,” who is widely believed to be Trump.
Cohen has also implicated Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and the Trump Organisation CFO, Allen Weisselberg, in financial crimes related to the hush-money payments.
Cohen separately pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress as part of the Mueller probe last year. In a charging document, prosecutors said Cohen admitted that he misled lawmakers about the extent of the Trump Organisation’s involvement in trying to secure a Trump Tower Moscow deal at the height of the election.
Cohen also said that while Trump did not explicitly direct him to lie to Congress, the president spoke to him in “coded” language that prompted Cohen to understand that he was expected to tell lawmakers Trump had no financial or business interests in Russia.
Meanwhile, Craig was indicted earlier this month by the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC, for making false statements to investigators.
The indictment is connected to lobbying work Craig’s former law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom did with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for the Ukrainian government in 2012.
Craig’s lawyers say he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
- Read more:
- Here’s everyone who has been charged and convicted in the Russia probe so far
- Here’s a glimpse at Trump’s decades-long history of business ties to Russia
- Mueller’s report didn’t charge any members of the Trump campaign with conspiracy to influence the 2016 election – here’s what ‘collusion’ actually means
- Meet the man behind the Trump-Russia investigation: the special counsel Robert Mueller
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