Poll: Because Of The Ukrainian Scandal Who Will Get Fired, Resign or Quit Next?
U.S. president didn’t mention foreign aid on July call with Volodymyr Zelensky.
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.
Kurt Volker, resigned late Friday as the special envoy for Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter, after playing a role in arranging a meeting between Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and an aide to Ukraine’s president.
The Full List Of Mueller Indictments And Plea Deals
1) George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, was arrested in July 2017 and pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI. He got a 14-day sentence.
2) Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, was indicted on a total of 25 different counts by Mueller’s team, related mainly to his past work for Ukrainian politicians and his finances. He had two trials scheduled, and the first ended in a conviction on eight counts of financial crimes. To avert the second trial, Manafort struck a plea deal with Mueller in September 2018 (though Mueller’s team said in November that he breached that agreement by lying to them). He was sentenced to a combined seven and a half years in prison.
3) Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, was indicted on similar charges to Manafort. But in February 2018 he agreed to a plea deal with Mueller’s team, pleading guilty to just one false statements charge and one conspiracy charge. He was sentenced to 45 days in prison and 3 years of probation.
4) Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.
5-20) 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies were indicted on conspiracy charges, with some also being accused of identity theft. The charges related to a Russian propaganda effort designed to interfere with the 2016 campaign. The companies involved are the Internet Research Agency, often described as a “Russian troll farm,” and two other companies that helped finance it. The Russian nationals indicted include 12 of the agency’s employees and its alleged financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
21) Richard Pinedo: This California man pleaded guilty to an identity theft charge in connection with the Russian indictments, and has agreed to cooperate with Mueller. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 6 months of home detention in October 2018.
22) Alex van der Zwaan: This London lawyer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Rick Gates and another unnamed person based in Ukraine. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and has completed his sentence.
23) Konstantin Kilimnik: This longtime business associate of Manafort and Gates, who’s currently based in Russia, was charged alongside Manafort with attempting to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses in Manafort’s pending case last year.
24-35) 12 Russian GRU officers: These officers of Russia’s military intelligence service were charged with crimes related to the hacking and leaking of leading Democrats’ emails in 2016.
36) Michael Cohen: In August 2018, Trump’s former lawyer pleaded guilty to 8 counts — tax and bank charges, related to his finances and taxi business, and campaign finance violations — related to hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with Donald Trump, as part of a separate investigation in New York (that Mueller had handed off). But in November, he made a plea deal with Mueller too, for lying to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
37) Roger Stone: In January 2019, Mueller indicted longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone on 7 counts. He accused Stone of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his efforts to get in touch with WikiLeaks during the campaign, and tampering with a witness who could have debunked his story. He was convicted on all counts after a November 2019 trial.
Finally, there is one other person Mueller initially investigated, but handed over to others in the Justice Department to charge: Sam Patten. This Republican operative and lobbyist pleaded guilty to not registering as a foreign agent with his work for Ukrainian political bigwigs, and agreed to cooperate with the government.
The Five Ex-Trump Aides Who Struck Plea Deals With Mueller
So far, no Trump associates have been specifically charged with any crimes relating to helping Russia interfere with the 2016 election.
Yet five have pleaded guilty to other crimes. Manafort and Gates were charged with a series of offenses related to their past work for Ukrainian politicians and their finances. Papadopoulos and Flynn both admitted making false statements to investigators to hide their contacts with Russians, and Cohen admitted making false statements to Congress.
Papadopoulos: Back in April 2016, Papadopoulos got a tip from a foreign professor he understood to have Russian government connections that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” He then proceeded to have extensive contacts with the professor and two Russian nationals, during which he tried to plan a Trump campaign trip to Russia.
But when the FBI interviewed Papadopoulos about all this in January 2017, he repeatedly lied about what happened, he now admits. So he was arrested in July 2017, and later agreed to plead guilty to a false statements charge, which was dramatically unsealed in October 2017.
Initially, it seemed as if Papadopoulos was cooperating with Mueller’s probe. But we later learned that the special counsel cut off contact with him in late 2017, after he talked to the press. In the end, he didn’t provide much information of note, Mueller’s team said in court filing. His involvement with the investigation now appears to be over, and in September 2018, he was sentenced to 14 days incarceration.
Flynn: In December 2016, during the transition, Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions that President Barack Obama had just placed on Russia, and about a planned United Nations Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements.
But when FBI agents interviewed him about all this in January 2017, Flynn lied to them about what his talks with Kislyak entailed, he now admits. In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to a false statements charge and began cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. We haven’t seen the fruits of his cooperation yet, and he has not yet been sentenced.
Government Asks for Up to Six Months in Prison for Former Trump Adviser Michael Flynn
Sentence request for former national-security adviser is reversal from 2018 no jail time recommendation.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday asked a court to sentence former national-security adviser Michael Flynn to up to six months in prison, a reversal of their request for leniency for the ex-Trump aide one year ago.
Mr. Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to investigators about his contact with the Russian ambassador, had been a cooperating witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation until he fired his longtime legal team and hired a conservative lawyer to defend him.
In making their new sentencing recommendation, prosecutors cited “the serious nature of the defendant’s offense, his apparent failure to accept responsibility, his failure to complete his cooperation in—and his affirmative efforts to undermine—the prosecution” of Mr. Flynn’s former business associate Bijan Rafiekian.
Relations between Mr. Flynn and the government grew acrimonious last year after Mr. Flynn’s sentencing was delayed, and then prosecutors decided not to call him in Mr. Rafiekian’s trial, saying they didn’t believe he would tell the truth on the stand.
Mr. Mueller’s team had initially said Mr. Flynn provided investigators with “substantial assistance” and recommended no incarceration in December 2018. But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan encouraged him to first complete his cooperation—and testify at the trial—before receiving his sentence.
At the time, Mr. Mueller’s team asked Judge Sullivan to credit Mr. Flynn’s “substantial assistance” and give him credit for accepting responsibility. In the Tuesday filing, prosecutors said the government “now withdraws both requests.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington is now handling the case after Mr. Mueller’s investigation wrapped up and handed off its pending cases.
After the initial sentencing hearing, Mr. Flynn replaced his longtime law firm and retained Sidney Powell, a conservative lawyer and television commentator, who accused the government of withholding evidence from the defense and asked for the case against Mr. Flynn to be dismissed, even though he had pleaded guilty.
Judge Sullivan rejected that effort last month, saying that it was “undisputed” that Mr. Flynn had made false statements to both Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and senior White House officials.
In his 92-page ruling, Judge Sullivan divided Ms. Powell’s requests for new information from the government into categories that included “information that does not exist,” “information that Mr. Flynn concedes he is not entitled to,” and “information that the government has already provided to Mr. Flynn.”
Those combined actions appear to have soured prosecutors on Mr. Flynn.
“In light of the complete record, including actions subsequent to December 18, 2018, that negate the benefits of much of the defendant’s earlier cooperation, the government no longer deems the defendant’s assistance ‘substantial,’” they wrote in the filing.
Mr. Flynn’s attorneys have until Jan. 22 to respond with their own sentencing recommendation ahead of his Jan. 28 sentencing date.
The government’s request to sentence Mr. Flynn to jail time is a stark representation of the very public breach between prosecutors and their one-time star cooperating witness. Mr. Flynn sat for 19 interviews with investigators and provided documents in several criminal probes before the relationship soured.
“His early cooperation was particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation,” special-counsel prosecutors wrote in 2018.
Mr. Flynn is a former military intelligence officer who became close to President Trump after being fired from a top national-security post during the Obama administration. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he became a surrogate for Mr. Trump, providing national-security guidance to a first-time presidential candidate with no experience in foreign affairs.
After winning the presidency, Mr. Trump installed him as national-security adviser despite warnings from Mr. Obama not to hire him. His short tenure ended days later after he came under increasing fire over his conflicting statements about his contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Prosecutors underscored the unusual nature of the case against Mr. Flynn in their new filing. “The government is not aware of any case where such a high-ranking official failed to accept responsibility for his conduct, continued to lie to the government, and took steps to impair a criminal prosecution,” they wrote.
Manafort and Gates: This pair worked for Ukrainian politicians (and, eventually, the Ukrainian government) for several years prior to the Trump campaign, and made an enormous amount of money for it. Mueller charged them with hiding their lobbying work and the money they made from it from the government, as well as other financial crimes and attempts to interfere with the investigation.
Gates was the first to strike a plea deal. In February, Mueller dropped most of the charges he had brought against him. In exchange, Gates pleaded guilty to two counts — one conspiracy to defraud the United States charge encompassing the overall Ukrainian lobbying and money allegations, and a false statements charge. (With the latter, Gates admitted lying to Mueller’s team during a meeting this February. A Dutch lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI related to his Ukrainian work with Gates.)
Manafort, meanwhile, fought the charges in two venues, Washington, DC, and Virginia. His first trial was in Virginia, and in August, it ended with his conviction on eight counts — five counts of subscribing to false income tax returns, one count of failing to report his foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. The jury deadlocked on another 10 counts, so for those, the judge declared a mistrial.
The conviction finally brought Manafort to the table, and on September 14, he and Mueller’s team struck a plea deal requiring his cooperation. Manafort pleaded guilty to just two more counts — conspiracy to defraud the United States, and an attempted obstruction of justice charge. But he admitted that the other allegations Mueller previously made against him were true as well. The cooperation element of his plea deal fell apart in November, though, as Mueller’s team accused Manafort of lying to them. Manafort ended up being sentenced to a combined seven and a half years in prison. Gates got 45 days in prison and 3 years of probation.
Cohen: Mueller’s team was investigating Trump’s former attorney in 2017, but at some point, they referred the Cohen probe to the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). It was SDNY that authorized the FBI raid of Cohen’s residence and office in April.
In August, Cohen cut a deal with SDNY. He agreed to plead guilty to 8 counts. Six of them involved his own finances — 5 tax counts involving hiding various income related to his taxi medallion business and other financial transactions from the US government, and a bank fraud count. Cohen also admitted participating in a scheme to violate campaign finance laws in connection with hush money payments to women alleging affairs with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Then, in November, Cohen made his deal with Mueller. Here, he agreed to plead guilty to making false statements to Congress, to try and cover up his work on behalf of a Trump Tower Moscow project during the campaign.
Cohen had told Congress that the Trump Tower Moscow project ended early in the campaign, that he hadn’t discussed it much with others at Trump’s company, and that he hadn’t successfully gotten in touch with the Russian government about it.
In fact, he now admits, the project was still active months later, he’d talked about it with Trump more than he’d admitted (and with unnamed Trump family members), and he’d talked about it with an assistant for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary.
Roger Stone was the final Trump associate indicted in the investigation
Then, on January 25, another political operative with a decades-long history with Trump — Roger Stone — was indicted.
Various statements by Stone, including many public ones, raised questions about whether he had some sort of inside knowledge about WikiLeaks’s posting of Democrats’ hacked emails during the 2016 campaign.
Stone has long denied having any such knowledge — and claimed that anything he knew about WikiLeaks came through an intermediary, radio host Randy Credico. Mueller’s indictment alleges that this story was false — and that Stone’s telling it to the House Intelligence Committee was criminal.
Mueller’s indictment of Stone alleges that the GOP operative gave a false story to explain his knowledge about WikiLeaks.
Stone was accused of lying about this to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017, and trying to tamper with a witness — Credico — so that he would stick to that false story. And, after a November 2019 trial, Stone was found guilty on all counts.
About two dozen overseas Russians have been charged with election interference
Mueller has also filed two major indictments of Russian nationals and a few Russian companies for crimes related to alleged interference with the 2016 election: the troll farm indictment, and the email hacking indictment.
The troll farm indictment: In February, Mueller brought charges related to the propaganda efforts of one Russian group in particular: the Internet Research Agency. That group’s operations — which included social media posts, online ads, and organization of rallies in the US — were, the indictment alleges, often (but not exclusively) aimed at denigrating Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy and supporting Donald Trump’s.
Mueller indicted the Internet Research Agency, two other shell companies involved in financing the agency, its alleged financier (Yevgeny Prigozhin), and 12 other Russian nationals who allegedly worked for it.
The specific charges in the case include one broad “conspiracy to defraud the United States” count, but the rest are far narrower — one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and six counts of identity theft. It is highly unlikely that the indicted Russian individuals will ever come to the US to face trial, but one company involved, Concord Catering, is fighting back in court.
No Americans have been charged with being witting participants in this Russian election interference effort. However, one American, Richard Pinedo of California, pleaded guilty to an identity fraud charge, seemingly because he sold bank account numbers created with stolen identities to the Russians. Pinedo agreed to cooperate with the probe as part of his plea deal. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 6 months home detention in October.
The email hacking indictment: Brought in July, here Mueller charged 12 officers of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, with crimes committed to the high-profile hacking and leaking of leading Democrats’ emails during the 2016 campaign.
Specifically indicted were nine officers of the GRU’s “Unit 26165,” which Mueller alleges “had primary responsibility for hacking the DCCC and DNC, as well as the email accounts of individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign” like John Podesta. Three other GRU officers, Mueller alleges, “assisted in the release of stolen documents,” “the promotion of those releases,” “and the publication of anti-Clinton content on social media accounts operated by the GRU.”
A trial here is unlikely, since all of the people indicted live in Russia.
Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime Manafort associate, has been charged with obstruction of justice
Then, Konstantin Kilimnik — who worked with Manafort in Ukraine and is now based in Russia — was charged alongside Manafort with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, in June.
Mueller argued that, earlier in 2018, Manafort and Kilimnik worked together to contact potential witnesses against Manafort and encourage them to give false testimony. He argues that this is attempted witness tampering, and qualifies as obstruction of justice.
The alleged tampering relates to the “Hapsburg group”— a group of former senior European politicians Manafort paid to advocate for Ukraine’s interests.
Both Manafort and Kilimnik tried to contact witnesses to get them to claim the Hapsburg group only operated in Europe (where US foreign lobbying laws don’t apply). But Mueller says there’s ample evidence that the group did work in the US too, and the witnesses thought Manafort and Kilimnik were trying to get them to commit perjury.
In Manafort’s September plea deal, he admitted to this. Kilimnik, however, is in Russia, and will likely remain there rather than face charges.
Sam Patten struck a plea deal after Mueller referred his investigation elsewhere
There’re another instance in which where Mueller surfaced incriminating information about someone, but handed off the investigation to elsewhere in the Justice Department.
Sam Patten: A GOP lobbyist who had worked in some of the same Ukrainian circles as Manafort and alongside Konstantin Kilimnik, Mueller’s team began investigating Patten, but at some point handed him off to the DC US attorney’s office. However, the plea deal Patten eventually struck obligated him to cooperate with Mueller.
According to a criminal information document filed by the DC US attorney’s office, Patten and Kilimnik (who is not named but referred to as “Foreigner A”) founded a lobbying and consulting company together. They did campaign work in Ukraine and lobbying work in the US, and were paid over $1 million between 2015 and 2017.
Specifically, the document claims that Patten contacted members of Congress and their staffers, State Department officials, and members of the press on behalf of his Ukrainian clients — all without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, as required by law.
Patten also admits to helping his Ukrainian oligarch client get around the prohibition on foreign donations to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee. The oligarch sent $50,000 to Patten’s company, and then he gave that money to a US citizen, who bought the four tickets. The tickets were given to the oligarch, Kilimnik, another Ukrainian, and Patten himself.
Finally, Patten also admits to misleading the Senate Intelligence Committee and withholding documents from them during testimony this January. He pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Political Donor Faces Obstruction Charge Related to Trump Inaugural Probe
Accusation comes after Imaad Zuberi pleaded guilty last year to illegal campaign contributions, evading taxes and falsifying lobbying records.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday accused a major political donor of obstruction of justice in connection with a federal probe into the finances of President Trump’s inaugural celebration.
Imaad Zuberi, a California businessman who was a major Democratic donor before he pivoted to support Mr. Trump after the 2016 presidential election, was charged in New York federal court with impeding a federal grand jury investigation of a $900,000 donation he made to Mr. Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee in 2016.
The new charge against Mr. Zuberi alleges that he took $50,000 from an unnamed U.S. donor and then tried to conceal the source of the funds by reimbursing the donor with a backdated check and deleting email communications between the two.
The obstruction accusation comes on top of other charges against Mr. Zuberi, announced in October, for making illegal campaign contributions, evading taxes and falsifying lobbying records. He pleaded guilty to those counts in federal court in Los Angeles.
The first sign that Mr. Zuberi was in legal jeopardy came when he was named in a subpoena to the Trump inaugural committee as part of a probe into foreign donations. He has since been charged with numerous campaign finance and lobbying violations beyond his donations to the inaugural committee.
Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday filed what is called a “criminal information” outlining the new obstruction charge against Mr. Zuberi. The New York case is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles if a judge approves. Mr. Zuberi is also expected to plead guilty to the obstruction count, according to his attorney David Kelley.
Mr. Zuberi was a major campaign contributor to mostly Democratic candidates and causes before he began donating to Mr. Trump and Republicans after the 2016 presidential election. With his status as a major donor came access to politicians—including Hillary Clinton, President Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and others, according to photographs and court documents reviewed by the Journal and people familiar with the matter.
He used his access to politicians to drum up consulting and advocacy work from foreign governments such as Sri Lanka and Bahrain, according to prosecutors in Los Angeles. One of the earlier charges accuses him of failing to report that work to the Justice Department as required by law.
He was first named in a wide-ranging document subpoena issued on Feb. 4, 2019, to the Trump inaugural committee by prosecutors in New York City as part of a probe into possible foreign donations to that committee. Under federal law, only American citizens and permanent residents can contribute to most U.S. political organizations.
Mr. Zuberi’s case is large by the standards of campaign finance law and is the latest in a string of prosecutions related to illegal donations in the 2016 U.S. election to candidates of both parties, sometimes involving foreign funds or an effort to cultivate foreign leaders.
Lebanese-American businessman George Nader and several others were charged in December with a conspiracy to funnel millions to entities supporting Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. Like Mr. Zuberi, they pivoted to supporting Mr. Trump after the 2016 election.
Political consultant Sam Patten pleaded guilty in 2018 to funneling $50,000 from a Ukrainian oligarch into the Trump inaugural committee. Two businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were charged in October with engaging in political activities in the U.S. on behalf of one or more Ukrainian government officials, and have pleaded not guilty.
George Nader Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charges
Mr. Mueller’s report described Mr. Nader as a senior adviser to United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who served as a conduit to the crown prince for the Russian businessman. After Mr. Trump was elected president, the report said, Mr. Nader worked to connect his Russian contact with members of the incoming U.S. administration.
George Nader admits to lesser charges than he initially faced.
A Lebanese-American businessman agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges than those he initially faced, in one of the more unusual cases to stem from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
George Nader, who was a witness in Mr. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, admitted in federal court on Monday to possessing child pornography in 2012 and bringing a 14-year-old boy from Europe to Virginia in 2000 to engage in sex.
Those charges, which carry a mandatory 10-year sentence, weren’t as severe as the charges Mr. Nader faced last year, when he was also indicted on a charge of transporting child pornography into the U.S. in 2018. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told Mr. Nader he faced up to 30 years in prison as a repeat offender on one of the counts, but noted the government had agreed to recommend a 10-year sentence.
Standing in a green prison jumpsuit, flanked by his attorneys, the 60-year-old Mr. Nader was asked by the court how he wished to plead on both counts. “Guilty,” he responded.
Mr. Nader has found himself in the middle of multiple politically-sensitive inquiries. He first gained attention in early 2018 when he spoke at length with Mr. Mueller’s team about a meeting he arranged in the Seychelles in early 2017 between an ally of President Trump’s, Erik Prince, and a Russian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Nader also spent time earlier cultivating members of 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
In December, he was charged with conspiring with the chief executive of a California payment-processing company to funnel more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to political entities supporting Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.
According to the indictment, the two men sought to cultivate ties with Mrs. Clinton—with the executive, Andy Khawaja, acting as a front for millions in Mr. Nader’s money. Mr. Nader also kept an official from a foreign government apprised of his efforts to build a rapport with Mrs. Clinton and her senior advisers, according to the indictment. Mr. Nader has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Also in December, Mr. Nader dropped his long-time legal team at Latham & Watkins, which he shared with Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have been investigating whether Mr. Broidy sought to improperly profit from his connections to the Trump administration or violated foreign lobbying laws. In court on Monday, one of Mr. Nader’s current attorneys, Jonathan Jeffress, characterized the earlier involvement of Latham & Watkins as “a can of worms,” but he didn’t elaborate. An attorney with the Latham team couldn’t be reached for comment.
The investigation into Mr. Broidy covers activity in early 2017, The Wall Street Journal has reported, which was a time when he and Mr. Nader were working together on business in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. Mr. Nader’s decision to get his own lawyer indicates that his interests and Mr. Broidy’s may have diverged. Mr. Broidy has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. Nader previously pleaded guilty in the same Northern Virginia federal court for transporting child pornography in 1991, after he was caught with two reels of videotape hidden inside candy tins. In 2003, he was also convicted of sexual abuse of minors in the Czech Republic.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 10.
Indicted Giuliani Associate Parnas Says Trump Ordered Ukraine Ambassador’s Firing Several Times Before Recall