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Flynn and Manafort

The Russia investigation is one of the main talking points of the Trump Administration. The Russia investigation started to come to fruition around October 2017, when the FBI filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, looking for authority to secretly monitor Carter Page’s communications, according to ABC News. The application mentions George Papadopoulos, discusses Russian efforts to recruit Page in 2013, details Steele’s information about Page, cites news reports about Page and other Trump campaign staffers’ sympathetic tone toward Russia, and lays out 28 pages worth of statements that are still “classified”.

In May 2017,  Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel. Among other things, Mueller is, then, directed to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with Trump’s presidential campaign.” The Russia investigation began here. According to ABC News, in June 2018, Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democratic targets, including the DNC, and then releasing stolen information online. This is an important part of the investigation since it linked to Russians meddling with the 2016 presidential election, specifically with the Democratic party. A few months later, Papadopoulos, who was a former Trump campaign advisor, was sentenced on Friday, Sept. 7 to 14 days in prison. Papadopoulos was sentenced for, “lying to the F.B.I. about his contacts with Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential race,” according to the New York Times. Papadopoulos was the first Trump adviser to be sentenced in the investigation. Prosecutors argued that Papadopoulos’ repeated lies during a January 2017 interview with investigators hampered the Russia investigation at a critical moment.

Since Papadopoulos’ sentence was announced, two additional victories for Mueller and his team occurred. Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington D.C. to one count of conspiracy against the U.S., and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, due to his attempts to meddle with witnesses. This news broke on Sept. 14. Paul Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. The agreement between Paul Manafort and Mueller’s special counsel held that some of the charges against him would be dropped, but did not protect against any future charges. Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor under President Trump, is set to be sentenced on Dec. 18, following months of delay. The decision on Flynn’s sentence was given by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. Flynn’s sentence date was released on Sept. 19, just five days after Paul Manafort pleaded guilty. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials in December 2017 and was the first senior White House official to create a cooperation deal with Mueller. Manafort’s guilty plea and Flynn’s sentence date are both important moments in Mueller’s Russian investigation, and will, no doubt, help lead the investigation to more people connected to the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.