Robert Mueller | KERA News

Robert Mueller

This week in the Russia investigations: The collusion mystery may be insoluble, Mueller and his team fly around to the dark side — perhaps — and punishment for Papadopoulos.

Updated at 7:03 p.m. ET

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, has pleaded guilty to eight counts in federal court in New York, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday evening.

They include five counts of tax evasion, one count of falsifying submissions to a bank and two counts involving unlawful campaign contributions.

In a series of tweets over the weekend, President Trump responded to a story published in The New York Times that detailed extensive cooperation between White House counsel Donald McGahn and the inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller into obstruction of justice and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

This week in the Russia investigations: The White House is trying to burn the clock to get into a better political position to handle the Russia imbroglio. Why it might — or might not — work.

Time trouble

In the championship chess match that is the Russia imbroglio, President Trump and the White House are hoping that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has stumbled into what players call "time trouble."

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh shares one important view with President Trump: Both are deeply suspicious of any attempt to limit the president's power over executive branch officials.

That view could have important consequences for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, which includes allegations of collusion and possible obstruction of justice.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

The counteroffer submitted by President Trump to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller may be the "last, best chance" Mueller has to secure Trump's testimony, lawyer Rudy Giuliani told NPR on Wednesday.

That doesn't mean it's the White House's final offer or negotiations are closed, Giuliani said — but "if they said yes, we'd do it."

Updated at 8:03 a.m. ET

It was a tweet that set off a storm. Was President Trump admitting to collusion between his campaign and Russia? Was he stipulating that the now notorious June 2016 Trump Tower meeting arranged by his son Donald Trump Jr. really was all about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer and not adoption issues as President Trump had earlier claimed?

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

President Trump asked his attorney general to stop Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation Wednesday morning, as the first trial stemming from that investigation entered its second day.

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, is on trial in Alexandria, Va., for bank and tax fraud charges, not, as Trump noted in a Twitter thread Wednesday morning, for "collusion."

Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET

On the first day of Paul Manafort's trial, prosecutors sought to paint him as a man with absurdly extravagant taste who thought he was above the law, while the former Trump campaign manager's defense lawyers tossed blame onto one of his closest associates.

Most tax and bank fraud cases are built on stacks of bland business documents and Internal Revenue Service paperwork — hardly the stuff of international intrigue.

A federal judge set out a timeline on Tuesday that could mean Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, might be sentenced by late October.

Judge Emmet Sullivan called prosecutors and Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, into a hearing to meet with him about next steps in the case.

A different judge took Flynn's guilty plea for lying to the FBI last December. Sullivan said he had some "discomfort" at the thought of preparing a sentencing hearing for someone he had never met before.

Rudy Giuliani, the latest addition to President Trump's legal team, spent much of the weekend trying to clarify statements he made earlier concerning his client's legal troubles.

Updated at 10:34 a.m. ET

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller may have developed evidence that has not yet been made public about contacts between Donald Trump's campaign and the Russian government as it attacked the 2016 election, based on questions published Monday by The New York Times.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to approve a bipartisan bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, despite warnings from Senate leaders that the bill is unlikely to receive a vote in the full Senate.

Updated at 6:46 p.m. EDT

The Democratic National Committee filed an attention-grabbing lawsuit against the Russian government, WikiLeaks and Donald Trump's presidential campaign that says they conspired to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The suit — which faces legal obstacles because of the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's attack and the difficulties involved with suing a foreign government — develops a theory about alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., does not support a measure that would make it harder for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but that isn't stopping some Republicans from forcing the debate.

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis said Wednesday that he will continue working on a bill to allow Mueller access to speedy judicial review if Trump tries to force him out of his job leading the Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — with or without McConnell's support.

Updated at 9:58 p.m. ET

President Trump believes Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far in his probe of potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

Her statement to reporters did little to tamp down speculation that Trump may seek to fire Mueller — an authority that Sanders says Trump enjoys.

This week in the Russia investigations: Mueller sends the feds to meet some international arrivals; new sanctions on some powerful, wealthy Russians; and Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington.

Fade in:

A gleaming new Gulfstream G650 — or maybe it's a Sukhoi business jet — sweeps in for a landing at Teterboro Airport, the suburban New Jersey gateway to nearby Manhattan for elite fliers.

Special counsel Robert Mueller notified President Trump's lawyers last month that the president is being investigated as part of the Russia probe, but a source familiar with the situation says they were told Trump was not a criminal target at that time.

Not even a week has passed since it was announced that Fox News firebrand Joseph diGenova was joining President Trump's special counsel legal team to help address the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Fast forward five days and diGenova and his lawyer wife, Victoria Toensing, are out before they even got in.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

John Dowd, the veteran attorney leading President Trump's outside legal team, has tendered his resignation, marking a shakeup just as Trump had turned his Twitter ire on special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation.

Dowd declined to explain why he was leaving the team that is helping the president deal with the Russia investigation. But a source familiar with Dowd's thinking says he was tired and frustrated, in a draining job with not enough resources and with a client who was not taking his advice.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

House intelligence committee Republicans on Monday cleared President Trump's campaign of colluding with the Russians who attacked the 2016 U.S. election, concluding a probe that minority Democrats had long argued was focused on appeasing the White House.

Updated on March 6 at 11:45 a.m. ET

A former campaign aide to Donald Trump appears to have changed his mind and will not fight a subpoena he says he has received in the Russia investigation — after daring special counsel Robert Mueller to arrest him in multiple media appearances.

Sam Nunberg called reporters and TV news programs on Monday and said live that he'd gotten a grand jury subpoena as part of Mueller's investigation asking for communications with other people in the Trump orbit — but that he would not comply.

Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury unveiled new charges on Thursday against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, accusing them of a broader range of financial crimes.

Graphic by Emily Albracht for The Texas Tribune

Texas Republican voter opinion turned against the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller even before last week’s mass shooting in a Florida high school and indictments of Russian propagandists who tried to influence American elections, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities in connection with the attack on the 2016 presidential election.

The defendants are "accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes," according to a statement from the special counsel's office. The indictment charges them with "conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft."

Updated 5:35 a.m. ET Friday:

President Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller last summer — but McGahn refused and threatened to quit himself if the president went ahead, according to an explosive report in The New York Times.

Trump, in brief remarks as he entered the conference hall at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, dismissed the story in what has become his characteristic fashion.

Updated at 12:04 p.m. ET

Attorneys for President Trump are emphasizing how much they've cooperated with investigators as negotiations continue over how and when he might talk with Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Lawyers for the president on Thursday released a list that they said detailed the information and access the White House and Trump campaign have given to Mueller's Russia probe and congressional inquiries.

Americans are split on whether they think the Justice Department's Russia investigation is fair and are unsure of special counsel Robert Mueller, but they overwhelmingly believe he should be allowed to finish his investigation, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Fewer than half of Americans (48 percent) think the Russia probe has been fair, more than a quarter (28 percent) think it has not been and another quarter are unsure (23 percent).

President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is suing the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, alleging that Mueller has exceeded his mandate by investigating matters unrelated to the 2016 election.

Manafort and business associate Rick Gates face money laundering and other charges as part of the special counsel's investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

Members of Congress have not made life easy for the leaders of the Justice Department this month, and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was next in line on Tuesday.

McCabe testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

His appearance follows attacks by President Trump and Republican allies on him specifically, the FBI, the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, including accusations of political bias.

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