SAU Buzz

Trump campaign members investigated for Russian connections

by Beth Ann Koustas
Posted on Nov 30, 2017

After months of investigation, special counsel Robert S. Mueller brought his first charges Oct 30. Mueller was appointed in May to investigate any links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

According to the Washington Post, the charges were brought against three former Trump campaign officials. Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos admitted to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with foreigners who claimed to have high-level Russian connections. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates were charged with 12 counts. These counts included making false statements and conspiracy to launder money.

Papadopoulos took a plea agreement. The Washington Post reports that the plea agreement described Papadopoulos’s efforts to make a connection with Russia officials and arrange a meeting between the officials and the Trump campaign.

Manafort and Gates pled not guilty during an appearance in a federal court on Oct. 30. The two men have been put on home confinement and have surrendered their passports to the FBI.

The White House responded to the charges during a press briefing on Oct. 30, saying that Papadopoulos was a volunteer for the campaign and never did any official activity for the campaign.

President Trump tweeted that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party should be the focus of the investigation, later adding “there is NO COLLUSION.”

On Nov 13, the Washington Post reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

On Nov. 14, Sessions testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on oversights of the Department of Justice. The Washington Post reported that Sessions said he has “always told the truth” about his knowledge of the Trump Campaign.

However, Sessions also acknowledged that he now remembers an interaction with a low-level Trump advisor who said he could arrange a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. He had previously stated that he was not aware of this meeting and that he didn’t believe it had happened.