US Attorney General Could Summarize Russia Probe Report on Sunday

U.S. Attorney General William Barr could release his first summary as early as Sunday of special counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether Donald Trump, after assuming power, then sought to obstruct the investigation.

Barr and his aides spent hours Saturday poring over the report Mueller handed them late Friday after his 22-month investigation. Barr aides say that he hopes to hand top lawmakers an initial summary after more review on Sunday and could also publicly release the same summary.

Key lawmakers, opposition Democrats and some of Trump’s Republican allies, have all called for release of the full report, but it is not clear whether Barr will do so. President Trump said last week he did not object to the full release to the public but also has said it is up to Barr, whom he appointed as the country’s top law enforcement official, to decide how much of it is disclosed.

White House aides say Trump has not been briefed on the outcome of Mueller’s investigation, a probe that has clouded almost the entirety of his 26-month presidency. The U.S. leader has dozens of times derided Mueller’s investigation as unwarranted and a “witch hunt,” while rejecting accusations that he colluded with Russia or that he tried to thwart the probe.

He is spending the weekend at his Atlantic oceanfront retreat Mar-a-Lago in Florida, playing golf, and uncharacteristically not commenting on Twitter about Mueller. On Sunday, he tweeted, “Good Morning, Have A Great Day!”

White House aides were relieved to learn one aspect of Mueller’s conclusions, that he was not recommending any further indictments that might have ensnared White House officials or Trump family members.

Mueller has already secured guilty pleas or convictions from five key figures in Trump’s orbit and indicted a sixth for a variety of offenses, including some for lying about their contacts with Russia during the election campaign or just before Trump took office in January 2017.

Trump’s one-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has been ordered to prison to start a three-year term in May for financial crimes and lying to Congress about Trump’s efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort has already been imprisoned for a 7 1/2-year term for financial crimes related to his long-time lobbying efforts for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts just before Trump took office with Russia’s then-ambassador to Washington.

Under long-standing Justice Department policy, U.S. presidents cannot be indicted while serving in office, but can face charges once they leave office. Trump’s term in the White House ends in January 2021, but he is running for re-election next year for another four-year term.

In addition to the Mueller investigation, Trump is facing numerous investigations brought by Democrats in the House of Representatives, along with federal criminal probes in New York of his business affairs as a real estate mogul before he ran for president and the financing of his inaugural committee as he took power.

If the full Mueller report, and underlying investigative evidence, is not turned over to Congress, Democrats who control the House have vowed to subpoena it and possibly call Mueller to testify about his findings. Some lawmakers have called for Trump’s impeachment, but top leaders cautioned that any possible impeachment proceedings should wait until Mueller’s conclusions are known.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes that Barr will “provide as much information as possible” on the findings, “with as much openness and transparency as possible.”

Democratic presidential hopefuls also joined the chorus of calls for the report’s release.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a frequent critic of the president, requested that Barr disclose the report “to the American public. Now.”

Kamala Harris, a senator from California, not only demanded “total transparency,” but said Barr “must publicly testify under oath about the investigation’s findings.”

The Democratic heads of six House committees wrote a joint letter to Barr Friday, saying, “If the Special Counsel has reason to believe that the president has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct, then the Justice Department has an obligation not to conceal such information. The president must be subject to accountability.”

Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has won wide acclaim in Washington for his impartiality, but his report is landing at a time of widespread political division in the United States, with polls showing a sharp split among Americans about Trump’s performance in office and whether he should be re-elected.

 More than a dozen Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination to oppose him in the November 2020 election. Any negative conclusions drawn by Mueller are sure to become a key talking point to voters to oust Trump after a single term in the White House.


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Blair House: A look Inside the US President’s Guest House

The U.S. President’s Guest House, commonly known as Blair House, has played a significant role in the history of American diplomacy. Milena Gjorgjievska visited the unique place and learned more about whom it has hosted and what events it has witnessed since it was built in 1824.

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Mueller Report Draws No Immediate Reaction From Moscow

It was late Saturday evening in Moscow and almost 24 hours since the news that special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his long-awaited report to the U.S. attorney general had reached Russia’s capital. But both the Kremlin and the country’s Foreign Ministry were quiet.  


While no details of the inquiry were made public, a single commentary by an unnamed Justice Department official could be viewed in Moscow as a preliminary victory: Mueller and his team, investigating alleged collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, did not recommend any further indictments.  


Russian officials for months have been denying any interference in the U.S. elections, despite dozens of charges brought by Mueller and his team against 25 Russian nationals,  mostly military officers and trolls,  for their role in alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. 


The people VOA interviewed on the streets of Moscow seemed uninterested in Mueller himself and the line of work he does.  

‘It never happened’


And a few, who were familiar with the inquiry he had led, stood firmly by their government, denying Moscow’s interference in the U.S. elections or any other malign activity abroad. 


“We didn’t need any such interference and it never happened,” said one unnamed Moscovite to VOA. “Russia didn’t have either desire or resources to influence the will of the American people,” echoed another. 


Independent experts are not surprised by such reaction by fellow countrymen. 


“The majority will tell you that you have to deny everything by default. We are in the state of information war, and it’s the right tactics,” said Denis Volkov from Levada Center, a Russian independent polling organization. 


Volkov has been studying public opinion in Russia for more than 10 years. He said that typically, at the beginning of surveys, Russians avoid answering questions about Moscow’s malevolent behavior abroad by just saying “it could have been anyone.” 

WATCH: Interference in Elections? The View From Moscow 

The researcher said that with such responses people almost subconsciously repeat the ever-changing interpretation of Russia’s involvement abroad by state-controlled TV. 


“It’s just like we [Russians] were rejecting the idea of Russian troops being in Crimea until Putin said, ‘Yes, those were our soldiers.’ But previously, he denied it,” Volkov said.

Old grudges

Experts believe many Russians also tend to accept the government’s interpretation of global events because of sociohistoric grudges stemming from lost glory.

The ongoing conflict between Moscow and the West doesn’t help, either. 


“I’d say it’s almost some kind of envy toward a country that is No. 1. Because just recently, there was a parity and 30 years ago it all ended,” Volkov said. 


The head of the Russian International Affairs Council, Andrey Kortunov, disagrees with Volkov. By siding with the government on issues like this, Russians simply seek affirmation of their new place in the world today. 


“I think for an average Russian it’s a mechanism of attracting American attention. Russia means something and you cannot write it off. You cannot call it Upper Volta with missiles, or a gas station that pretends to be a country,” Kortunov said. 


But studies show that Russians are not the only people who accept the mainstream position for ultimate truth.

In a series of coordinated surveys conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Center in Moscow, sociologists asked Americans and Russians a variety of questions on foreign policy. The results somewhat surprised them. 


“It amused me quite a bit. The answers were mirror images of each other. The Russians said: ‘It’s not us, it’s them who interferes in our affairs.’ The exact opposite was true for the U.S.,” Volkov said. 

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Spinoff Trump Cases Will Continue Long After Mueller Report 

The nearly 2-year-old probe into potential ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian election interference has come to an end.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday submitted his confidential report to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

But will Mueller’s report be the end of the story?

Hardly. Prosecutors from outside the special counsel’s office, including the U.S. attorney’s offices in New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are all pursuing cases that have spun off from the Mueller investigation.

State investigators in New York and Maryland have ongoing Trump-related investigations. And in Congress, the House and Senate intelligence and other committees are actively looking into Trump’s finances, potential Russia-Trump ties and other matters.

Besides Mueller, here’s a rundown of who’s investigating what:

​Violations of federal campaign finance law. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is investigating Trump’s role in silencing former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels with hush payments in August and October 2016, respectively. The two women have previously claimed to have had affairs with President Trump.

Inauguration funding. Trump’s inaugural committee received a subpoena in February 2019 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Federal prosecutors are looking into where the money raised and spent by the Trump inauguration committee, $107 million, came from and where it went.

​Paul Manafort’s activity. In March, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on 16 counts of mortgage fraud and conspiracy. The state-level indictment came after Manafort was sentenced in federal court in Alexandria and Washington, D.C., to more than seven years in prison for a host of crimes.

Trump Super PAC Funding. Federal prosecutors are examining whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to the pro-Trump super PAC “Rebuilding America Now.” U.S. law prohibits foreign nationals from giving to federal campaigns, PACs and inaugural funds.

Russian Accountant Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Khusyaynova in October 2018 for conspiracy to defraud the United States by interfering in the 2016 presidential elections and 2018 midterm elections.

Turkish Influence. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is cooperating with federal prosecutors in eastern Virginia in a criminal case against two former associates. The two worked on behalf of a Turkish entrepreneur who financed a campaign to discredit Fethullah Gülen, the cleric accused by the Turkish government of helping instigate a failed coup. Flynn pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2017, to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and his plea agreement includes some details of the Turkish case.

Trump Foundation Tax Case. The New York Attorney General’s Office is collaborating with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to look into possible criminal charges against the now-defunct Donald J. Trump Foundation for alleged tax evasion and aggressive pursuit of tax breaks. Trump agreed to dissolve the charity in December 2018.

​Emoluments Lawsuit. The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia have sued President Trump for allegedly violating two anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs say Trump has violated the so-called Domestic Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from accepting gifts from states and the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which bans him from accepting payments from foreign governments.

Roger Stone and WikiLeaks. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Mueller’s office are jointly prosecuting the case against Trump’s longtime adviser and confidante, Roger Stone. Stone was charged with witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to Congress about Democrats’ emails stolen by Russian hackers and published by the website WikiLeaks before 2016 election. Stone, now under a judge’s gag order, has pleaded not guilty.

Masood Farivar contributed to this report.

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Trump to Nominate Stephen Moore for Fed Board

President Donald Trump said Friday that he will nominate Stephen Moore, a conservative economic analyst, to fill a vacancy on the Federal Reserve’s seven-member board.

Moore, a well-known and often polarizing figure in Washington political circles, served as an economic adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. In that role, he helped draft Trump’s tax cut plan.

Trump has been harshly critical of the Fed’s rate increases last year even after the central bank this week announced that it foresees no hikes this year. Moore, who has served as chief economist for the conservative Heritage Foundation, has also been critical of policy moves made by Chairman Jerome Powell, who was hand-picked by Trump to be Fed chairman.

An ardent defender of tax cuts, Moore is close to Larry Kudlow, head of the White House National Economic Council. The two collaborated in shaping the tax overhaul that Trump signed into law at the end of 2017, leading to changes that largely favored tax cuts for corporations and wealthier Americans with the idea of spurring investment and faster growth.

Reshaping Central Bank

Trump in his first two years in office has been able to reshape the central bank. He nominated four of the current five members. And he tapped Powell, a Republican who had been chosen for the Fed board by President Barack Obama, to succeed Janet Yellen as chairman. If confirmed by the Senate, Moore would fill one of two vacancies on the Fed’s board.

The selection of Moore marks a deviation from Trump’s previous selections for the Fed’s board to a highly visible public figure who has long pushed conservative economic ideology. In a March editorial in The Wall Street Journal, Moore estimated that Fed rate policies had reduced inflation-adjusted economic growth by as much as 1.5 percentage points in the past six months. Moore proposed that the Fed set short-term rates with an eye toward stabilizing commodity prices, rather than solely on overall inflation.

This approach, Moore has argued, would have prevented the Fed from raising rates as much as it has. And he contended that the approach, if adopted, would help accelerate economic growth above 3 percent, compared with the longer-run average of 1.9 percent that Fed officials have forecast.

Moore has frequently praised the administration on television, and he co-wrote the 2018 book “Trumponomics.” His partner on that book was Art Laffer, who pioneered the Republican doctrine that lower tax rates would accelerate economic growth in ways that could minimize debt. Federal debt has jumped since Trump’s overhaul to the tax code, surging nearly 77 percent through the first four months of fiscal 2019 compared with the previous year.

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Lawmakers Call for Release of Full Report on Russia Investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller has completed a long-awaited report on his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election and any potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump, drawing calls from lawmakers for the report to be released.

Mueller handed the report Friday to the Justice Department, headed by Attorney General William Barr, who is now reviewing it.


WATCH: After Months of Anticipation, Mueller Probe Concludes

The results of the report are still confidential, but the Justice Department confirmed that it includes no new indictments.

Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, said he could update Congress as early as this weekend about the findings in the report, which concluded Mueller’s nearly two-year-long investigation.

It is not clear how much of the report will be provided to Congress or how much will become public.

​Congressional Democrats

Top congressional Democrats said it was “imperative” to make the full report public. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, “The American people have a right to the truth.”

They also said that Barr must not give Trump any “sneak preview” of the findings or evidence.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the White House had not received or been briefed on the report and that “we look forward to the process taking its course.’’ She said the next steps were “up to Attorney General Barr.”

The Associated Press reported that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had requested an early look at the findings before they are made public, but had not received any assurances that the Trump legal team would get a preview.

​Congressional Republicans

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hoped that Barr would “provide as much information as possible” on the findings, “with as much openness and transparency as possible.”

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said he expected the Justice Department to release the report to the committee without delay “and to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

Another top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said the findings must be made public to end the “speculation and innuendo” that hangs over Trump’s administration.

​34 people have been charged

It is not known whether Mueller found what he deemed to be criminal conduct by Trump or any of his staff, beyond the charges already brought against several aides. So far, Mueller has brought charges against 34 people, including Russian intelligence officers, and three Russian companies. Charges have also been filed against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The Democratic heads of five House committees wrote a joint letter Friday to Barr, saying, “If the special counsel has reason to believe that the president has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct, then the Justice Department has an obligation not to conceal such information. The president must be subject to accountability.”

In a letter to Congress, Barr said that the Justice Department did not block Mueller from taking any action during the investigation. Barr is required to report to Congress any instance in which the Justice Department overruled a requested action by Mueller.

Trump’s lawyers, Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, issued joint statements Friday saying they were “pleased” that Mueller had delivered his report on the Russia investigation.

A spokesman for Mueller said he would be concluding his services as special counsel in the coming days and that a small number of staff would remain to assist in closing the office’s operations.

The central questions that Mueller, a former FBI director, has been examining are whether Trump or his aides colluded with the Russians to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and whether the president attempted to obstruct the subsequent investigation to protect himself and his political advisers and aides.

Trump has denied any collusion and obstruction, and has called the investigation a “witch hunt.” Russia has denied interfering in the election.

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Mueller Concludes Russia Probe, Submits Report

The wait is over. But the political parlor game has just begun. 


Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Russian investigation, on Friday afternoon delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr, concluding a wide-ranging probe that has sharply divided Americans and cast a long shadow over President Donald Trump’s first two years in office.

Barr informed congressional leaders by letter that he had received Mueller’s confidential report and that “I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”

The central question that Mueller, a former FBI director, set out to answer: Did Trump or his aides collude with the Russians to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 with embarrassing emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman? Or was Trump merely the fortunate beneficiary of Russia’s malicious tactics? And did the president attempt to torpedo the subsequent investigation to protect himself and his political advisers and aides? 

The probe has led to the indictments of 37 individuals and entities, mostly Russian operatives who remain at large. Seven people, including five former Trump associates, have pleaded guilty and five have been sentenced to prison. 


Among high-profile cases, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador, and Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, was recently sentenced for a host of crimes. 


Ahead of the report’s delivery, speculation was rife that the special counsel would bring additional indictments, but there was no additional legal action before the report was released to the Justice Department. 


With the report’s delivery, the Mueller investigation is effectively over, but not the president’s legal troubles. In recent months, Mueller has farmed out parts of his investigation to U.S. attorney’s offices, including the Southern District of New York, where prosecutors have opened separate investigations into the Trump Organization and other Trump entities.  

WATCH: After Months of Anticipation, Mueller Probe Concludes 

​Where the case stands 


Whether Mueller’s report will lead to vindication for the president, his impeachment, or some sort of messy, in-between alternative is unknowable for now. 


By law, Barr decides what parts — if any — of the document to disclose to Congress and the public. 


Trump has repeatedly called the special counsel investigation a “witch hunt” and insists there is no evidence of his collusion with the Russians. While the president has said  “I don’t mind” if the report is made public, there is likely to be considerable legal wrangling between the White House, the Justice Department, Trump’s personal lawyer and Congress before portions or all of the report are released.  


Justice Department regulations require Mueller to submit a “confidential report” of his findings to the attorney general, and the attorney general  to “notify” Congress about it. There are no requirements for Mueller to make his findings public. 


White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday, “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the special counsel’s report.” 


Wherever the report takes the United States as a country, understanding where it began and the route it followed will be every bit as important as recognizing the final destination.  

​The beginning 


The special counsel investigation began on May 17, 2017, with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s announcement that he had appointed Mueller to take over an ongoing FBI investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russian election interference. 


At the time, Rosenstein stressed that the appointment should not be seen as confirmation that there had actually been any illegal coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, and said that transferring day-to-day control of the investigation to Mueller was meant to assure the public that the inquiry was free of political bias. 


Mueller was not starting from scratch. The investigation he inherited had begun nearly a year before, on July 31, 2016, after the FBI learned of possible collusion between a Trump campaign adviser and Russia. 


‘Dirt’ on Clinton 


The tip that initially led investigators to open the case came from Australia’s top diplomat in the United Kingdom, who had encountered Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos at a bar in London months earlier.  


The diplomat revealed Papadopoulos, while drinking, said he had reason to believe Russian officials were in possession of “dirt” that could damage the candidacy of Clinton, the former secretary of state and front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. 


On July 22, 2016, when the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks published about 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, the Australian government reached out to the FBI and took the highly unusual step of allowing the official who encountered Papadopoulos — High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer — to be interviewed by investigators. 

U.S. intelligence officials were already convinced that Russia was behind the DNC hacking and other efforts to influence the presidential election. But the Downer interview added a new and possibly explosive angle.  

The diplomat presented the FBI with credible evidence that a Trump campaign official had specific information about Russian interference in the U.S. elections months before that interference was made public. That forced the agency to open an urgent counterintelligence investigation examining whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia. 


An investigation in the public eye 


By September 2016, intelligence officials had briefed members of Congress on Russian election interference, but it wasn’t until after Nov. 8, when Trump unexpectedly captured the Oval Office, that some of the most important details about Russian intentions became public. 


By that time, further leaks of emails stolen from the account of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and posted online by WikiLeaks reinforced suspicions that the hacking efforts weren’t just meant to sow chaos by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government  but were aimed at aiding the Trump campaign. The intelligence community confirmed as much in a closed-door meeting with select lawmakers in November, and would make that conclusion public in early January 2017. 


Meanwhile, FBI investigators working on the probe were monitoring a large number of interactions between members of the Trump transition team and Russian officials.  

Within a few weeks of Trump’s inauguration, those interactions would cost a prominent member of the Trump administration his job. National security adviser Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, was forced to resign after it was revealed he had lied to the FBI about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. 


Flynn’s fate led, albeit indirectly, to the Russia investigation being handed over to Mueller in spring 2017. 


Trump’s choice for attorney general, former Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, recused himself from supervising the Russian investigation because he had served as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, which posed a conflict of interest. That decision angered Trump, and left the Justice Department’s second-in-command, Rosenstein, in charge of the investigation. FBI Director James Comey disclosed the existence of the investigation during a testimony before Congress in March. 


In private meetings with Comey, Trump demanded “loyalty” from the career law enforcement officer, and pressed him to drop the investigation into Flynn, Comey later testified. Comey refused the president’s request. 


By May, Trump fired Comey, saying later in a TV interview that he did so largely because of the Russia investigation, to which he strongly objected.  


To insulate the investigation from political interference, Rosenstein on May 17 appointed Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation. 


In his letter appointing Mueller, Rosenstein authorized the special counsel to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”  


Mueller’s mandate was later expanded to include whether Trump had obstructed justice. 


Following Comey’s firing, Andrew McCabe, then the bureau’s acting director, quietly ordered two separate investigations to examine whether Trump had obstructed justice and whether he was acting as an agent of Russia.  

​Stream of indictments, guilty pleas 


In the months after Mueller took over, the public began to see the fruits of an investigation that had, at that point, been ongoing for nearly a year. 


In July, Papadopoulos was arrested and charged with lying to the FBI. He later pleaded guilty and received a two-week prison sentence. 


In October, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were both indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges dating back to work they had done for Russian-supported politicians in Ukraine years earlier.  


The indictments had nothing to do with the Trump campaign specifically, but were widely seen as providing prosecutors with leverage over Manafort and Gates, who would likely have been privy to any collusion that might have occurred during the election. 


The next month, Flynn entered a guilty plea to a charge of lying to the FBI, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in multiple investigations. 


In February 2018, Mueller’s office unsealed an indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies, charging them with conspiracy to interfere with U.S. elections. Months later, 12 other Russians were indicted and charged with hacking the email system of the Democratic National Committee and others.  


The following months marked a series of major events in the investigation. 


In late February, Gates pleaded guilty and promised to assist in further investigations. In April, FBI agents raided the home and office of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. 


In June, Mueller expanded the charges against Manafort to include witness tampering and obstruction of justice, and also named suspected Russian intelligence officer and Manafort business partner Konstantin Kilimnik in an indictment. 


By August, Manafort was convicted in the first of two trials for his illicit business practices, and Cohen pleaded guilty of campaign finance violations — implicating Trump in at least one crime — in a case handed off by Mueller to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Notably, though, neither of the convictions touched on Russian election interference. 


Manafort later pleaded guilty of additional crimes and  agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for leniency. He would lose that consideration after Mueller and a federal judge determined that he had continued lying to investigators after striking his plea deal.  

Cohen pleaded guilty to a further charge of lying to Congress and was sentenced to three years in prison.  


An agreement and another arrest 


After more than a year of sparring over whether Trump would consent to be interviewed by the special counsel’s office, an agreement was reached in late November 2018 in which the president instead submitted written answers to a series of questions from investigators. 


In January 2019, Trump associate Roger Stone was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to Congress, and one count of witness tampering. Investigators had been interested in his potential communication with Russian hackers and their associates during the 2016 election. 


‘Racist, cheat, con man’  


During three days of testimony on Capitol Hill in late February, Cohen lashed out at Trump, his former boss.  


During his opening statement to lawmakers, Cohen called Trump, among other things, a “racist,” “cheat” and “con man.” He also produced documentary evidence that allegedly proved the president’s participation in a criminal conspiracy to conceal illicit campaign contributions in the form of payment of hush money to prevent adult-film star Stormy Daniels from going public with her allegation that she and Trump had a sexual liaison years earlier. 


Cohen also said, “Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear.”  


He did say, though, that he had “suspicions” about connections between the Trump family and Russians who worked to influence the election.  

​Changing cast members 


Today, as the investigation concludes, it is operating under the direction of a different set of presidential appointees. 


Trump’s frustration with Sessions finally boiled over in late 2018, resulting in Sessions’ forced resignation. He was replaced on a temporary basis by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker. After a delay, Trump appointed William Barr to fill the role. 


Barr, in his confirmation hearing, told senators he would commit to allowing the Mueller probe to run its course. He was less forthcoming when asked to guarantee that the results would be made public. 


“My goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law,” he said. 

Masood Farivar contributed to this report.

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Долар опустився нижче від 27 гривень – НБУ

Національний банк України оприлюднив довідкове значення курсу гривні до долара США станом на 12:00. Регулятор відобразив тенденції міжбанківського ринку, зафіксувавши значення 26 гривень 98 копійок за долар.

На міжбанку зміцнення гривні триває: опівдні торги відбуваються на рівні 26 гривень 91 – 94 копійки, повідомляє сайт «Мінфін».

«Після масованого розігріву ринку за минулий тиждень і позиційних курсових війн першої половини цього тижня в останні два дні ринок активно розгортають у бік падіння котирувань. Спекулянти також грають «на пониження», і навіть готівковий ринок теж пішов на обережне зниження», – інформували аналітики перед початком торговельної сесії.

Офіційний курс на 22 березня НБУ встановив на рівні 27 гривень 25 копійок за долар.

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