On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office announced the indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities involved in interference operations targeting the US political system and the 2016 presidential election.
The indictments are the latest charges in Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian in their interference efforts. Mueller is also investigating whether Trump has obstructed justice during the course of the probe.
The Justice Department appointed Mueller as special counsel in May after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who had been looking into the president and his potential connections with Russians.
Since taking over the investigation, Mueller’s team has charged four Americans once affiliated with the Trump campaign or administration, and 13 Russians and three Russian companies involved in US election interference.
Here’s everyone charged so far in the Mueller probe:
Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities on October 30, 2017, after he was indicted, along with his business associate Rick Gates, on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the US and money laundering.
Manafort, who pleaded not guilty, had been a key figure in Mueller’s investigation.
Manafort was forced to step down as Trump’s campaign chairman in May 2016 after coming under fire for his connections to Russian oligarchs and his past lobbying efforts abroad.
Manafort was also associated with at least 15 bank accounts and 10 companies in Cyprus, dating back to 2007, NBC News reported in March, and the FBI has issued grand-jury subpoenas to several banks for Manafort’s records.
Rick Gates, one of Manafort’s business partners
In October, Gates was indicted along with Manafort on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the US, making false statements, and failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.
Gates joined Trump election efforts in the spring of 2016, working as Manafort’s deputy. He travelled with Trump and grew close with many top campaign officials.
After Manafort was ousted as Trump’s campaign chief in August 2016, Gates continued working on behalf of the soon-to-be president, helping fundraise $US25 million for the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies and working on Trump’s inaugural committee. As Mueller’s probe intensified in the early months of the Trump administration, Gates left the nonprofit altogether.
But as recently as June, The Daily Beast reported that Gates was still visiting the White House and working under Tom Barrack, who has remained one of Trump’s most trusted advisers.
George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser
On the same day Mueller’s office announced the indictments of Manafort and Gates, it was revealed that George Papadopoulos, a 30-year-old former Trump adviser, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.
According to documents that were unsealed by the Mueller investigation, Papadopoulos had made at least six attempts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian representatives throughout the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, using a London-based professor named Joseph Mifsud and a female Russian national as conduits.
He was arrested October 5, 2017, and subsequently cooperated with Mueller’s team.
Trump has described Papadopoulos as a low-level volunteer.
“Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar,” Trump tweeted following news of the guilty plea. “Check the DEMS!”
Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser
Flynn, who has reportedly been at the center of Mueller’s investigation for months, is perhaps the most high-profile person to be indicted to date. On December 1, 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations last December with Russia’s ambassador to the US at the time, Sergey Kislyak.
An indictment filed by Mueller’s office said Flynn “falsely stated” on December 29, 2016, that he did not ask Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,” and that Flynn did not recall Kislyak “subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
Trump fired Flynn in February, citing an “evolving and eroding level of trust” after the former national security adviser lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Kislyak.
The firing was “not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue,” Sean Spicer, who was then the White House press secretary, said at the time.
Flynn had been on the job for just 25 days.
13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies
On February 16, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russian citizens and three companies allegedly involved in meddling in the US political system.
“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called ‘information warfare against the United States’ with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Rosenstein said.
The charges focused on the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a notorious Russian “troll factory” that focused on sowing political discord during the 2016 US election by using internet bots to spread fake news and pro-Donald Trump propaganda on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a prominent businessman and associate of President Vladimir Putin who helped fund the IRA, was charged along with two of his businesses.
The defendants included 12 other Russian citizens, all of whom were identified as former IRA employees who played a role in Russian influence operations before, during, and after the 2016 election.
They are: Mikhail Bystrov, Mikhail Burchik, Aleksandra Krylova, Sergey Polozov, Anna Bogacheva, Maria Bovda, Robert Bovda, Dzheykhun Aslanov, Vadim Podkopaev, Gleb Vasilchenko, Irina Kaverzina, and Vladimir Venkov.
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