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FBI on the Hunt

Russia Trump Investigations

Ricky Rodas, Investigative Reporter

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Robert S. Mueller’s FBI investigation into the possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russia is heating up, as new developments continue to command headlines.

The New York Times recently reported that the FBI special counsel learned of two conversations the president had with two key witnesses. Trump had allegedly discussed portions of the investigation with them, according to three people acquainted with the rendezvous.

One such encounter was with a white house aid. The president reportedly told the aid that Donald F. McGahn II, White House Counsel, should deny claims made in a previous New York Times Article. The news outlet reported that Trump attempted to fire Mueller but retracted his decision after the White House Counsel threatened to resign.

He purportedly questioned Mueller’s ability to remain impartial while leading the investigation. Trump cited three conflicts of interest, one of which was a conflict over fees at a Trump National Golf Course which caused Mueller to resign his membership.

This revelation comes after Mueller’s team landed a major victory regarding Richard Gates, who served as deputy chair of the Trump Campaign. Gates plead guilty to conspiracy against the United States and lying to federal agents, The LA Times reported. Gates lied to federal agents about a 2013 meeting that he initially said did not occur between Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, an unnamed “senior lobbyist”, and an unnamed member of congress.

Mueller has hit both Manafort and Gates with numerous charges, and they are currently accused of laundering and hiding money from the IRS and other crimes, NPR reported. Manafort continues to deny these claims, and addressed Gates’ guilty plea in a written statement published by NPR:

“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence. I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence.”

Apart from Gates and Manafort, Mueller has tirelessly led the Russia-Trump investigation, charging 19 people with wrongdoing in his first 9 months as Special Counsel. Scholars following the Russia probe have taken notice of the historical weight of Mueller’s efforts.

Ken Gormley, author of two books on special prosecutors, said, “Robert Mueller’s pace in this investigation really is very similar to some of the best special prosecutors in modern history.”

As the FBI continues to investigate into the potential collusion between Trump’s administration and Russia, one thing is clear: Mueller isn’t easing up.

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