Mueller Indicts Russian Individuals and Entities
Mueller indicts 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities, including the Internet Research Agency, for allegedly embarking on an “information warfare” scheme through which they attempted to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in order to assist in electing Donald Trump as president. The special counsel also charged an individual by the name of Richard Pinedo with identity fraud, to which he pleaded guilty.
On March 22, 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted a confidential report on his findings from a 2+ year investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential coordination with Donald Trump’s campaign.
In total, the Special Counsel investigation resulted in 199 criminal charges, 37 indictments, five prison sentences and over 270 documented contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia-linked operatives.
- On October 5, 2017, Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian-linked individuals during the campaign. Papadopoulos allegedly pursued these contacts with the intention of connecting the Trump team to Russian government officials.
- On October 13, 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team interviewed Trump’s former chief of staff Reince Priebus.
- On October 17, 2017, Mueller’s team interviewed Trump’s former press secretary, Sean Spicer, on the firing of FBI director James Comey and Trump’s meetings with Russians officials including one with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office.
- On October 27, 2017, Mueller indicted Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate and senior Trump aide Rick Gates on charges of conspiracy against the United States for their work with pro-Russian parties in Ukraine. Manafort and Gates were indicted on twelve charges, including counts of conspiracy and money laundering that link to Manafort’s lobbying work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician. Both men pleaded not guilty and were placed under house arrest.
- On November 1, 2017, Mueller and his team questioned Stephen Miller a senior policy advisor in the White House. The questions were reportedly related to Miller’s role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey and possible obstruction of justice in regard to the Comey firing.
- On November 30, 2017, after appearing in court, Michael Flynn signed a plea agreement indicating his cooperation with Robert Mueller.
- On December 1, 2017, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts he had with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition period. Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak represented “a coordinated effort by Mr. Trump’s aides to create foreign policy before they were in power.”
- On January 16, 2018, former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon was subpoenaed by the special counsel and asked to testify before a grand jury. Bannon later received a second subpoena from a House panel. He did eventually appear before the House panel and was subsequently excused from the grand jury subpoena. During the closed door questioning by the House panel, Bannon reportedly refused to answer a significant portion of the questions.
- In late January 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned by Special Counsel Mueller, making him the first member of Trump’s cabinet to be interviewed.
- On February 16, 2018, the Special Counsel indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities, including the Internet Research Agency, for their participation in an “information warfare” scheme to assist the Trump campaign in the 2016 election. The indictment details how the Russian trolls carried out an extensive social-media operation costing more than $1 million per month and including outreach to American grassroots organizations and at least one local chapter of the official Trump campaign. The Special Counsel also charged an individual named Richard Pinedo with identity fraud in relation to the scheme; he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in prison on October 10, 2018.
- On February 20, 2018, the Special Counsel indicted the London-based lawyer Alex van der Zwaan for allegedly lying to investigators about his work with Manafort and Gates in Ukraine. Van der Zwaan reportedly assisted Manafort and Gates with a report accusing the former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko of corruption. Van der Zwaan pled guilty to the charges.
- On February 22, 2018, Mueller filed additional charges against Manafort and Gates; Gates pleaded guilty the next day, after which Mueller filed a superseding indictment of charges against Manafort alleging that Manafort had “secretly retained a group of former senior European politicians to take positions favorable to Ukraine, including by lobbying in the United States.”
- On February 23, 2018, Special Counsel Mueller released a superseding indictment on Paul Manafort, which alleged that Manafort had, “secretly retained a group of former senior European politicians to take positions favorable to Ukraine, including by lobbying in the United States.”
- On March 15, 2018, The New York Times reported that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed the Trump Organization.
- On March 27, 2018, the Justice Department filed a sentencing memorandum in the case against van der Zwaan, which alleged that Rick Gates was in contact with an individual tied to the Russian intelligence service while he was working on the campaign. On April 3, van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in prison, and will reportedly pay a $20,000 fine.
- On March 28, 2018, Ted Malloch, who had claimed to be a consultant for the Trump campaign during the transition, subpoenaed by the Special Counsel’s office. He was reportedly questioned about his connection to Roger Stone and WikiLeaks
- On May 4, 2018, the New York Times reported that Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian billionaire businessman, had been questioned by Special Counsel Mueller at some point in 2018. Vekselberg had attended Trump’s inauguration as well as a December 2015 dinner in Russia at which Michael Flynn and Putin were known to have sat next to each other.
- On May 9, 2019, Erik Prince, a security contactor connected to the Trump administration, was questioned by Mueller’s team.
- On May 14, 2019, Andriy Artimenko, a Ukrainian politician involved in delivering a plan to Cohen and Felix Sater to broker peace between Ukraine and Russia, confirmed that he would appear before a grand jury connected to the Special Counsel investigation. On June 8, 2018, Artemenko appeared in Washington, DC and later confirmed that he was questioned on issues related to Michael Cohen.
- On June 4, 2018, Mueller accused Manafort of attempted witness tampering, which, shortly thereafter, resulted in Manafort’s bail being revoked. On June 8, Mueller filed another superseding indictment against Manafort, adding charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. That indictment also included Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate of Manafort purported to have connections to Russian intelligence.
- On July 13, 2018, the Special Counsel indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers who carried out cyber operations related to Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. Mueller alleged that the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC, DCCC, and the Clinton campaign, as well as staging an elaborate scheme by which the documents they stole would be released. That allegedly included creating the DCLeaks and Guccifer personas, which were used to disseminate documents, as well as passing them on to other entities, such as WikiLeaks.
- On August 21, 2018, a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, found Paul Manafort guilty on eight charges, including tax fraud, hiding foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud. The judge declared a mistrial on 10 other charges. Additionally, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, also pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court to eight criminal counts, including tax fraud and campaign finance violations. It appears that these charges are unconnected to the Special Counsel investigation.
- On December 4, 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed his sentencing memo for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. In the memo Mueller assessed Flynn’s cooperation as “substantial,” and wrote that “a sentence at the low end of the guideline range—including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration—is appropriate and warranted.”
- On December 7, 2018 the Special Counsel’s office filed a sentencing memo on Michael Cohen. He was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to the charges brought by both the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel’s office.
- On December 7, 2018, the Special Counsel’s office also filed an update on Paul Manafort’s case, following allegations that he breached his plea deal with the federal government. Mueller later released a sentencing memo for Manafort, with hundreds of pages of attachments detailing the charges and their recommendations on February 23, 2019.
- On January 25, 2019, the Special Counsel’s office indicted Roger Stone for allegedly communicating with WikiLeaks at the direction of a senior Trump campaign official. The indictment also alleges that Stone lied to Congress about the communications, to which Stone pleaded not guilty.
- On March 12, 2019, following Michael Flynn’s change in legal counsel, a joint status report was filed by the Special Counsel’s office and Flynn’s personal counsel requesting a two-month delay in sentencing to allow Flynn time to testify in the trial of his former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian.
- On March 13, 2019, Manafort was sentenced to 43 months in prison in addition to his original 47-month sentence from a federal judge in DC for conspiracy and fraud.