- Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his final report into his nearly two-year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia on Friday.
- Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia led to the indictments of 34 people, including eight Americans affiliated with the Trump campaign or administration, and three Russian companies.
- Here are some of the major players in the Mueller probe.
Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his final report into his nearly two-year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia to Attorney General William Barr on March 22.
Mueller’s investigation led to the indictments of 34 people and three Russian companies. At least one person was convicted in court. Five individuals caught up in the investigation became cooperating witnesses — three of whom are from the Trump campaign.
The Mueller probe ensnared some of the most important people in President Donald Trump’s orbit, including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his longtime friend and occasional adviser Roger Stone, and his former personal lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen.
Here are some of the major players in the Mueller probe:
SEE ALSO: The Mueller report is out — here’s everyone who has been charged and convicted in the Russia probe so far
Donald Trump Jr.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, played a crucial role in the Russia saga at several key points in the campaign.
On May 21, Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator from Putin’s party and a current senior official at Russia’s central bank told Bloomberg he had dinner with Trump Jr., at the annual convention for the National Rifle Association.
In early June 2016, Donald Jr. was then contacted by Rob Goldstone, a music publicist, on behalf of one of his clients, the Russian pop artist Emin Agalarov, whose father is a prominent real-estate developer with ties to Putin.
Goldstone said Agalarov could provide “very high level and sensitive information” that would “incriminate Hillary” and was a part in “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
On June 7, Trump promised “a major speech about Hillary Clinton’s crimes.” Two days later on June 9, Trump Jr., along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a top Russian lawyer and lobbyist.
Shortly before the election, Wikileaks contacted Trump Jr. several times to request for him and his father to tweet out links to Wikileaks stories about Hillary Clinton and other topics, which they did.
Jared Kushner, a current top White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law, was involved in some of the crucial points of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.
Kushner was present for the 2016 Trump tower meeting. Additionally, during the presidential transition period, he engaged Russia’s ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak in an effort to create a secure communications backchannel between the Trump transition and the Kremlin.
Kushner reportedly proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities and resources to create the backchannel, which is not known to have actually materialized. Regardless, the meeting, which was also reportedly attended by Gen. Michael Flynn, has been probed by congressional investigators and the Mueller probe.
Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally and occasional campaign adviser, became a central figure in the Mueller probe over his extended contacts with Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0, and WikiLeaks, the self-styled transparency group accused of disseminating hacked emails to interfere in the 2016 election.
Stone was arrested and charged with one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to Congress, and one count of witness-tampering in January and plans to plead not guilty.
Stone sent out several tweets in the summer of 2016 that raised questions about whether he had prior knowledge about WikiLeaks’ plans to publish the hacked emails.
After The Washington Post reported that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Russian operatives, Stone responded by writing in Breitbart in July 2016 claiming that Guccifer, “a lone hacker,” and not the Russian government carried out the hacking.
In the weeks that followed, Stone and Guccifer exchanged several messages on Twitter in which Guccifer expressed admiration for Stone and offered to assist the Trump campaign.
US intelligence officials had long suspected that Guccifer was either a real person linked to Russian intelligence or a fake persona they had created. In March 2018, that suspicion was confirmed when Guccifer accidentally revealed himself to be Russian security officer.
In July 2018, the Russian intelligence officers who had created the Guccifer profile were charged by the special counsel for conspiracy against the United States, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering in relation to the hacks of the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Clinton campaign.
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