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Republicans fought bitterly Thursday with FBI agent Peter Strzok at a congressional hearing that frequently devolved into shouting matches about political bias between supporters of President Trump and defenders of the agency investigating him.
The mutual contempt felt between Republicans on one side and Democrats and the star witness on the other was palpable from the very first question put to Strzok, whose conduct as the lead agent on FBI probes of Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign has been sharply criticized by internal Justice Department investigators.
The day-long hearing, which featured far more heated accusations than new information, was a naked display of the animus and agitation in Washington that surrounds the ongoing investigation into whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election. by Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian July 12, 2018 The Washington Post
The full list of known indictments and plea deals in Mueller’s probe
1) George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty in October to making false statements to the FBI.
2) Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December to making false statements to the FBI.
3) Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, was indicted in October in Washington, DC on charges of conspiracy, money laundering, and false statements — all related to his work for Ukrainian politicians before he joined the Trump campaign. He’s pleaded not guilty on all counts. Then, in February, Mueller filed a new case against him in Virginia, with tax, financial, and bank fraud charges.
4) Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, was indicted on similar charges to Manafort. But in February he agreed to a plea deal with Mueller’s team, pleading guilty to just one false statements charge and one conspiracy charge.
5-20) 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies were indicted on conspiracy charges, with some also being accused of identity theft. The charges related to a Russian propaganda effort designed to interfere with the 2016 campaign. The companies involved are the Internet Research Agency, often described as a “Russian troll farm,” and two other companies that helped finance it. The Russian nationals indicted include 12 of the agency’s employees and its alleged financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
21) Richard Pinedo: This California man pleaded guilty to an identity theft charge in connection with the Russian indictments, and has agreed to cooperate with Mueller.
22) Alex van der Zwaan: This London lawyer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Rick Gates and another unnamed person based in Ukraine.
23) Konstantin Kilimnik: This longtime business associate of Manafort and Gates, who’s currently based in Russia, was charged alongside Manafort with attempting to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses in Manafort’s pending case this year.
24-35) 12 Russian GRU officers: These officers of Russia’s military intelligence service were charged with crimes related to the hacking and leaking of leading Democrats’ emails in 2016.
Two ex-Trump advisers lied to the FBI about their contacts with Russians
So far, no Trump associates have been specifically charged with any crimes relating to helping Russia interfere with the 2016 election.
The closest we’ve come to that is that both Papadopoulos and Flynn both now admit that they lied to the FBI about their contacts with people connected to the Russian government. (Papadopoulos’s contacts took place before the election, and Flynn’s after it.) By Andrew Prokop VOX
Over the past year, Russian hackers have become the stuff of legend in the United States. According to U.S. intelligence assessments and media investigations, they were responsible for breaching the servers of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They spread the information they filched through friendly outlets such as WikiLeaks, to devastating effect. With President Vladimir Putin’s blessing, they probed the voting infrastructure of various U.S. states. They quietly bought divisive ads and organized political events on Facebook, acting as the bellows in America’s raging culture wars.
declining—but the insecurities of decline present their own risks to America. The United States intelligence community is unanimous in its assessment not only that Russians interfered in the U.S. election but that, in the words of former FBI Director James Comey, “they will be back.” It is a stunning escalation of hostilities for a troubled country whose elites still have only a tenuous grasp of American politics. And it is classically Putin, and classically Russian: using daring aggression to mask weakness, to avenge deep resentments, and, at all costs, to survive.
Julia Ioffe, The Atlantic