Special Counsel Investigation
Robert S. Mueller III was appointed as Special Counsel to oversee the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia on May 17, 2017. Calls for a Special Counsel began after Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigation into the 2016 election, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stepped in to oversee the investigation and appointed Mueller as Special Counsel. Despite attempts by Republican leaders in Congress to discredit the Mueller investigation, the results of Mueller’s effort speak volumes. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have been indicted on numerous charges, including counts of money laundering and conspiracy, to which they have pleaded not guilty. George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn have both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
In February 2018, 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities were indicted 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. No pleas have been reported for these defendants. The special counsel also charged an individual by the name of Richard Pinedo with identity fraud, to which he pleaded guilty. Alex van der Zwaan was also charged by Mueller for allegedly lying to investigators looking into Rick Gates’ work in Ukraine. Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to this charge.