WASHINGTON — On Friday, Attorney General Bill Barr alerted Congress that special counsel Robert Mueller was done with his investigation into the Trump campaign. The much-awaited announcement was light on details, but the string of criminal cases that Mueller’s office pursued as the probe unfolded over the last year and a half offers insight into what they’ve been doing.
The charges filed by Mueller’s team touched members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle: his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, his former deputy campaign chair Rick Gates, his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, and his longtime adviser Roger Stone. There were no charges alleging collusion between the Russians and Trump’s campaign, but there were allegations that Russians actively sought to boost the campaign and communicate with people working on it.
A senior Justice Department official said Friday that Mueller is not recommending any further indictments.
The prosecutions in the Mueller probe covered diverse ground, reflecting the range of experience Mueller brought to his team — complex financial crimes, cybercrime, international schemes, and illegal conduct by high-ranking government officials and politically connected individuals. They recovered millions of dollars in forfeited property from Manafort’s case (although much of that will go to the financial institutions Manafort still owes) and secured broad cooperation agreements that reached beyond Mueller’s probe.
And while Mueller is finished, some of the criminal cases he brought are still open. Most of the Russian nationals whom Mueller charged with interfering in the election have refused to participate in the US court proceedings, delaying those cases indefinitely. Gates and Flynn haven’t been sentenced yet and are still bound by cooperation agreements that require them to work with any law enforcement agency that needs them.
Here’s everyone Mueller charged:
George PapadopoulosCharged: July 28, 2017
Status: Sentenced and served 14 days in prison
The former Trump campaign adviser was the first person charged out of Mueller’s investigation, but no one found out about it until months after his arrest in July 2017 — the charges, and his plea deal, were kept secret until they were unsealed three months later. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with a London professor in the spring of 2016 about the Russians having “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Mueller also found that Papadopoulos had tried several times to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, but that he was unsuccessful. Papadopoulos agreed to cooperate with investigators as part of his plea deal, although he later unsuccessfully tried to raise a challenge to Mueller’s authority.
Papadopoulos was sentenced on Sept. 7, 2018, and has already served his 14-day sentence.
Paul ManafortCharged: Oct. 30, 2017
Status: Sentenced and serving nearly seven years in prison
Trump’s former campaign chair was hit with not one, but two indictments from Mueller’s office. Both cases stemmed from his years as a political consultant for the Ukrainian government and his failure to pay taxes on the millions he earned, report the foreign bank accounts he used to stash that money, and report his work to the US government. In his second case in federal court in Virginia, he was also charged with committing bank fraud to boost his assets when the Ukraine work dried up. After losing an early legal challenge to Mueller’s authority, Manafort went to trial in Virginia, where a jury found him guilty of eight counts. He took a plea deal in his other case in Washington, DC, only to lose any benefit from that agreement when a judge found he had intentionally given false information to investigators and the grand jury.
Between the two cases, Manafort was sentenced to serve 90 months in prison — minus the roughly nine months he’s already spent in jail while his cases were pending — which means he’ll spend at least another six years and nine months behind bars. His legal woes aren’t over, though — the same day as his final sentencing in Mueller’s cases, he was indicted on new fraud charges by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Rick GatesCharged: Oct. 30, 2017
Status: Cooperating and awaiting sentencing
Gates was indicted at the same time as his former boss Paul Manafort, but Gates flipped and became the government’s star witness at Manafort’s trial in Virginia. Gates was charged with the same tax- and foreign agent registration–related crimes as Manafort, and in February 2018 he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States — a count that encompassed many of the financial crimes he was charged with — and lying to the FBI about a 2013 meeting between Manafort, an unnamed lobbyist, and an unnamed member of Congress, later confirmed as Dana Rohrabacher, who lost his reelection last year.
Gates agreed to cooperate as part of his plea deal in February 2018, and he hasn’t been sentenced yet. His agreement required him to cooperate not only with Mueller’s office, but any other law enforcement office that needed him. Given his role as deputy campaign chair and his later involvement in planning Trump’s inauguration, he’s seen as an important witness. In a court filing on March 15, prosecutors said that Gates “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations.”
Michael FlynnCharged: Nov. 30, 2017
Status: Cooperating and awaiting sentencing
Trump’s short-lived national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts in December 2016 — during the presidential transition period — with then–Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn agreed to cooperate as part of his plea deal and hasn’t been sentenced yet. He came before a judge for sentencing in December, but after the judge repeatedly asked if Flynn was sure he wanted to proceed, given that his cooperation might not be completely finished and he might not get the full benefit of it until it was, Flynn backed out and decided to wait.
Flynn has been cooperating with prosecutors in a criminal case against his former business partner Bijan Kian, who is charged with failing to register his work on behalf of the Turkish government in the United States. In a court filing in Flynn’s case on March 12, his lawyers asked to delay sentencing at least until Kian’s case is finished. Mueller’s office didn’t take a position on the request — the judge granted it — but said that although it was true Flynn might testify in Kian’s case or provide other assistance, in their opinion his cooperation was “otherwise complete.”
Alex van der ZwaanCharged: Feb. 16, 2018
Status: Sentenced and served 30 days in prison
The Dutch lawyer was the first person charged in Mueller’s investigation who didn’t have a direct connection to Trump. Van der Zwaan was in Manafort and Gates’s orbit — van der Zwaan’s now-former law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, had been hired to do a report about the trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Manafort and Gates were accused of secretly paying millions of dollars for the report, at the behest of Tymoshenko’s political rivals who were in power at the time, using offshore funds. Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with Gates and an unnamed person about the Tymoshenko report.
Van der Zwaan’s deal with Mueller’s office was unusual in that it didn’t include a cooperation agreement. He was sentenced on April 3, 2018, to 30 days in prison, and served his time. After his release from federal custody, he was turned over to US immigration officials and left the country.
Internet Research AgencyCharged: Feb. 16, 2018
Status: One defendant fighting the charges
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, held a press conference last February to announce the indictment of the Russian-based Internet Research Agency, two other Russian entities, and 13 Russian individuals charged with trying to interfere in the 2016 election through social media campaigns and contacts with political organizers in the United States. According to the indictment, Russians communicated with people associated with Trump’s campaign and other political groups, but Rosenstein noted there was no accusation that any American was a “knowing participant” in the alleged criminal activity. Trump jumped on the case as proof there was no collusion with his campaign.
To date, only the Internet Research Agency has participated in the case, and has aggressively fought the indictment, to the point of ticking off the judge.
Richard PinedoCharged: Feb. 7, 2018
Status: Sentenced and serving six months in prison
Pinedo was charged with one count of identify fraud — he was accused of running a company designed to circumvent the security features of online payment sites such as PayPal. Although prosecutors alleged that the Russians charged with election interference bought credit card and bank account numbers from online sellers to evade security measures at PayPal, there was no claim that Pinedo knew he was aiding the alleged election interference campaign. Mueller’s office never explicitly accused Pinedo of facilitating the sales to the Russians, but his criminal case was unsealed the same day that Rosenstein announced the indictment against Russian entities and individuals charged with interfering in the election.
Pinedo agreed to cooperate with investigators and is serving a six-month prison sentence; he is due for release in May, according to federal Bureau of Prisons records.
Konstantin KilimnikCharged: June 8, 2018
Status: Charges pending, never participated in court
Manafort’s longtime Russian Ukrainian associate was added to Manafort’s case in DC as a codefendant in June. He was charged with conspiring with Manafort to try to tamper with potential witnesses — they were accused of trying to direct members of a public relations group they had worked with to lie to investigators about the extent of lobbying efforts in the United States by a group of former European officials on behalf of Ukraine. Prosecutors have said US intelligence believes Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence; Kilimnik has denied that. Manafort pleaded guilty to the witness tampering conspiracy.
Kilimnik is not believed to be in the United States and has not participated in the US court proceedings.
Viktor Netyksho et al.Charged: July 13, 2018
Status: Charges pending, never participated in court
Rosenstein held a press conference in July to announce charges against 12 members of the Russian intelligence agency GRU accused of orchestrating hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chair John Podesta, and releasing those stolen emails to interfere with the election. Although the indictment alleged that the defendants, through an online persona known as Guccifer 2.0, communicated with an unidentified person regularly in contact with senior Trump campaign officials, there was again no claim that the campaign was in on the alleged scheme. According to the indictment, the Russian agents used Guccifer 2.0 to release stolen documents through “Organization 1,” which, based on reporting, is a reference to WikiLeaks.
None of the defendants are believed to be in the United States and none have participated in the case so far.
Michael CohenCharged: Nov. 29, 2018
Status: Sentenced and about to serve three years in prison
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had charged Trump’s former personal attorney in August 2018 with campaign finance law violations, tax evasion, and bank-related charges, a case that had been built based on some information referred by Mueller’s office. In November, the special counsel’s office brought a case of its own against Cohen, charging him with lying to Congress about the timeline of the Trump Organization’s efforts in 2016 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen pleaded guilty in both cases and agreed to cooperate with the government. Unlike Manafort, who managed to stay in Trump’s good graces even after he had agreed to cooperate, Cohen’s deal with the government marked a public break with the president, who at one point called Cohen a “rat.”
Between the two cases, Cohen was sentenced to spend three years in prison. Before turning himself in to the Bureau of Prisons, however, Cohen made multiple trips to Capitol Hill to testify. During a blockbuster public hearing before the House Oversight Committee in February, Cohen told lawmakers that Trump “in his way” told him to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower deal — an account that BuzzFeed News had reported in January. Cohen is due to begin serving his sentence in May.
Roger StoneCharged: Jan. 24, 2019
Status: Fighting the charges
Mueller’s final case was against Trump’s longtime adviser. Stone is charged with lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks and also witness tampering. According to his indictment, Stone directed associates to contact WikiLeaks and told senior Trump campaign officials about information obtained by the site. Cohen also told Congress in February that Stone had personally told Trump in July 2016 that WikiLeaks would soon release emails that would damage the Clinton campaign; Stone told BuzzFeed News that Cohen’s statement was untrue, but did not specify what was inaccurate.
Stone pleaded not guilty and vowed to fight the charges against him, but already suffered a setback when the judge imposed a gag order that largely prohibits him from talking about the case or Mueller’s investigation. The judge had originally given Stone room to publicly comment on his case, but she changed her mind after Stone posted a photo of the judge on Instagram with a symbol that resembled crosshairs. The judge is mulling whether Stone violated her order with the rerelease of a book he wrote that includes a new introduction slamming the special counsel.
Images: Getty Images (7); Zoe Tillman / BuzzFeed News