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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Mueller probes election

    By Ethan Tan

    Staff Writer


      On Oct. 30, Robert Mueller, special counsel for the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the investigation for Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, filed charges in United States District Court against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his business partner, Rick Gates, and Trump’s former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

      Mueller’s indictments against Manafort and Gates included charges of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, making false and misleading statements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and failing to file foreign bank financial records and reports. Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges.

      Political analysts note that the charges against Manafort and Gates are not directly related to Russian interference in the 2016 election, but rather financial crimes that investigations found. Both men were lobbyists with the Pro-Russian Ukrainian government but did not have direct ties to high level Russian officials.

      Charlie Savage, political author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, wrote for the New York Times that, most analysts predict that Mueller will persuade Gates and Manafort to enter a plea deal and become cooperating witnesses to fully investigate the central task of the investigation, the Trump campaign’s relationship and the Russian government.

      In relation to Papadopoulos, files released by the DOJ, indicated that he plead guilty, as part of a plea bargain, to charges of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while under oath. In exchange for the deal, Papadopoulos is now a cooperating witness.

      Court documents revealed that Papadopoulos, had advanced knowledge of the collection of emails that the Russians gathered via hacking on then candidate Hillary Clinton, these emails were later offered to him by Russian officials. Papadopoulos lied under oath about his connections to Russian officials and the timeline in which he learned that the Russians had emails.

      Papadopoulos’ charges and guilty plea are now what analysts call, “the most important” pieces of evidence that the investigation has against the campaign as further investigations and intelligence from Papadopoulos could lead to more connections and arrests.

      White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters that, “[Papadopoulos’ guilty plea] has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign, it has to do with his failure to tell the truth. It doesn’t have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign’s activities.”

      However, analysts disagree with Sanders due to the fact that specific lines in the court filing indicate that there is more the story than what meets the eye in terms of the campaign’s connections to Russia.

      John Kruzel, Politifact journalist, stated that, “the revelations against Papadopoulos and the campaign are less easily dismissed.”

      Over the next weeks and months, Mueller is expected to release more subpoenas and indictments against more high level Trump campaign officials as well as more court documents containing testimony from those accused.

      While this now casts doubt over the Trump administration in the world of politics, many now say that there is a lot of smoke, but no smoking gun yet.

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    Mueller probes election