clear
Friday November 17th, 2017 12:32PM

What We Know: Indictments, hearings in Russia probe

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election jumped forward this week with a 12-count indictment against two former campaign advisers to President Donald Trump and a guilty plea from another adviser. Several congressional committees are also investigating the meddling, and whether there is any link to Trump's campaign.

Here's what we know now:

MUELLER'S MOVES

Mueller's investigation moved into a new, more serious phase Monday as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort's business associate Rick Gates, who also had a role in the campaign, were indicted on 12 counts. Those included conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, making false statements and several charges related to failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts. The indictment alleges they funneled payments through foreign companies and bank accounts as part of their private political work in Ukraine. They have both pleaded not guilty.

Manafort's indictment doesn't reference the Trump campaign or make any allegations about coordination between Russia and campaign aides. But it does allege a criminal conspiracy was continuing through February of this year, after Trump had taken office.

Attorneys for Manafort defended him in a court filing Thursday as a "successful, international political consultant" who, by nature of his work on behalf of foreign political parties, was necessarily involved in international financial transactions.

Separately, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is pleading guilty to lying to federal agents about his dealings with several Russians who were offering "dirt" on Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

CONGRESS CONTINUES, TOO

Several congressional committees are also investigating the meddling and if Trump's campaign was connected. While Mueller's investigation can result in criminal charges, lawmakers can only hold hearings, issue reports and propose legislation to try to prevent further interference from foreign actors.

Two of the committees investigating the interference and the Trump campaign's role have been plagued by partisan disagreement. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has started sending her own letters to witnesses after disagreements with the committee's Republican chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley. And in the House intelligence committee, Democrats have remained skeptical of the chairman, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who stepped back from the investigation due to his close ties with the White House but has continued to sign subpoenas.

The Senate intelligence committee's probe has been more bipartisan. And both the House and Senate intelligence committees have continued to interview witnesses weekly.

SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES GRILLED

In three exhaustive congressional hearings this week, executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google acknowledged their platforms were used by Russia to try to create division over such disparate issues as immigration, gun control and politics. House investigators released a trove of Facebook and Twitter ads that showed the extent of the cyber intrusion.

The few dozen ads are a sampling from more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads Facebook had turned over to the committee. Seen by millions of people, they encouraged street demonstrations against Trump and Clinton and fostered support and opposition to Bernie Sanders, Muslims, gays, blacks and the icons of the civil rights movement.

Lawmakers encouraged the companies to do more to prevent intervention in the future. Several senators have proposed legislation that would bring political ad rules from TV, radio and print to the internet, but the bill's future is uncertain.

OTHER TARGETS

The indictment has also cast shadows on several powerful Washington lobbying and legal firms, with Democratic as well as Republican ties. The Podesta Group, founded by Washington powerbroker Tony Podesta, was among the three firms cited by pseudonym or other references in the indictment, though none is charged with crimes. Prosecutors are implicating all three in covert work for pro-Russian Ukrainian interests, the heart of the criminal case.

Podesta stepped down from his namesake group following the indictment. His brother, John Podesta, ran the Clinton campaign.

REPUBLICAN RESPONSE

In Congress, Republican response to the ongoing investigation has ranged from tacit support for former FBI Director Mueller to attempts to shift the conversation. Nunes has opened a separate intelligence committee investigation into an Obama-era uranium deal, while two other House committees announced last week that they'd pursue new investigations into Clinton.

Trump himself said on Twitter that the alleged crimes were "years ago," and insisted there was "NO COLLUSION" between his campaign and Russia.

As he has before, he pointed instead to his Democratic rival in the election. He tweeted: "Why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????"

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
AP source: Mueller's probe draws in Democrat, Republican
AP source: Mueller's investigation looking at a Democratic lobbyist and a former GOP congressman for their involvement in an influence campaign on behalf of Ukrainian interests tied to Paul Manafort
3:52AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Week 10 preview: Bedlam at its best; Heisman RB rebounds
The first College Football Playoff rankings are out and seven games matching ranked teams this weekend have the potential to make the second rankings look much different
3:49AM ( 19 minutes ago )
US considering returning NKorea to list of terror sponsors
As Trump prepares for Asia trip, US considers returning North Korea to list of state sponsors of terrorism
3:36AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Despite tough talk, Trump follows Obama on terror suspects
President Donald Trump is backing away from his threat to send the suspect in the New York bike path attack to Guantanamo Bay
2:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ivanka Trump: Harassment of women at work can't be tolerated
Ivanka Trump says at a Tokyo conference on women's advancement that harassment of women in the workplace cannot be tolerated and workplaces need to make further efforts to respect women's values
2:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Trump tweets praise for GOP tax overhaul
President Donald Trump is praising the rollout of the GOP's tax reform plan Thursday
2:03AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Bill introduced allowing Hawaii's foreign fishermen onshore
Hawaii's lawmakers in DC introduce bill that would allow the 700 foreign fishermen to come onshore when boats are docked
8:00PM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: Tax plan provision stirs up abortion fight
A provision in the House Republican tax bill is igniting a battle over abortion
6:53PM ( 9 hours ago )
Big GOP tax bill would cut rates _ but also popular breaks
House Republicans have unfurled their plan for the most extensive rewrite of the nation's tax code in three decades
6:26PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Capitals' Alex Ovechkin voices support for Vladimir Putin
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has voiced his support for Vladimir Putin ahead of the upcoming Russian presidential elections
10:54PM ( 5 hours ago )
Russia hackers pursued Putin foes, not just US Democrats
The hackers who sowed havoc in the final stage of America's presidential contest had global ambitions that went well beyond Hillary Clinton's campaign
5:56PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump kisses Republican tax plan
President Donald Trump has planted a kiss on a symbol of the House Republican tax plan
3:26PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Elections
Newly disclosed Facebook ads show Russia's cyber intrusion
Lawmakers have released a trove of Facebook ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process and shape public opinion on divisive social issues
10:08PM ( 1 day ago )
Russia probe snags GOP, Democratic interests
Three powerful Washington lobbying and legal firms, with Democratic as well as Republican ties, are finding themselves under an intense spotlight _ thanks to special counsel Robert Mueller.
11:01AM ( 1 day ago )
10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Among 10 Things to Know: 8 killed in 'cowardly act of terror' in New York; tech giants address election meddling; filming of 'House of Cards' halted.
8:41PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
AP source: Mueller's probe draws in Democrat, Republican
AP source: Mueller's investigation looking at a Democratic lobbyist and a former GOP congressman for their involvement in an influence campaign on behalf of Ukrainian interests tied to Paul Manafort
3:52AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Week 10 preview: Bedlam at its best; Heisman RB rebounds
The first College Football Playoff rankings are out and seven games matching ranked teams this weekend have the potential to make the second rankings look much different
3:49AM ( 19 minutes ago )
US considering returning NKorea to list of terror sponsors
As Trump prepares for Asia trip, US considers returning North Korea to list of state sponsors of terrorism
3:36AM ( 31 minutes ago )
A look at women's advances over the years in Congress
A timeline of hard-won victories for women in Congress, as they've fought to achieve equal treatment and access
3:33AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Greece: 1 dead, several missing as boat with migrants sinks
Greek authorities say a woman drowned and several people are believed to be missing after a boat carrying migrants from nearby Turkey sank off the Greek island of Kalymnos.
3:27AM ( 41 minutes ago )