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Russia Probe: Identities of Two Foreign Contacts of Former Trump’s Campaign Adviser Confirmed, AP Says

Court papers unsealed Monday revealed an indictment against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea by another adviser

The Latest on President Donald Trump and the Russia investigation:

 

 

The Associated Press has confirmed the identities of two foreign nationals at the center of contacts between Russia and a former adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Emails obtained by the AP show that George Papadopoulos’ conversations, cited in court papers, were with Joseph Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev.

Mifsud is a professor and honorary director of the London Academy of Diplomacy. Ivan Timofeev is director of programs at the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow.

Court papers filed by special counsel Robert Mueller did not name the men. They say a professor told Papadopoulos in April 2016 that the Russians had “dirt” on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the form of emails. They also say Papadopoulos had discussions with the other man, described as having connections to the Russian foreign ministry.

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President Donald Trump is tweeting that the “biggest story” out of the charges announced Monday in the Russia investigation is the resignation of Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta from his eponymous firm.

Podesta, the elder brother of former Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta, announced that he would step aside from powerhouse Democratic firm ‘The Podesta Group’ after coming under investigation by Robert Mueller.

“The biggest story yesterday, the one that has the Dems in a dither, is Podesta running from his firm,” Trump wrote in a two-part tweet that contained grammatical errors. “What he know about Crooked Dems is….earth shattering,” he tweeted.

The president added, “He and his brother could Drain The Swamp, which would be yet another campaign promise fulfilled. Fake News weak!”

Court papers unsealed Monday revealed an indictment against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea by another adviser, who admitted to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian intermediaries.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he sees nothing wrong with a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump reaching out to a Kremlin-linked think tank.

Court papers unsealed on Monday revealed that George Papadopoulos who worked on the Trump campaign had reached out to a Russian he believed to have links to the Russian foreign ministry to arrange a meeting between the Trump team and Russian officials.

The Russian International Relations Council has confirmed contact with Papadopoulos, but said a meeting never took place. The council insisted that it was an independent advisory body and that it hosts many politicians at various public meetings.

Asked about the man mentioned in the indictment, Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday that he “does not see anything illegal” in the interaction.

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President Donald Trump says a campaign adviser who has admitted to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian intermediaries was a “low level volunteer” who was “proven to be a liar.”

Trump on Twitter Tuesday sought to distance himself from George Papadopoulos: “Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.”

Court documents say Papadopoulos was approached by people claiming ties to Russia and offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about the conversations.

Court papers unsealed Monday also revealed an indictment against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Trump said the allegations happened “long before” he joined the campaign. But the indictment details allegations stretching from 2006 to 2017.

In this July 17, 2016 file photo, Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland as Rick Gates listens at back left. Emails obtained by The Associated Press shed new light on the activities of a firm run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman. They show it directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.
In this July 17, 2016 file photo, Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland as Rick Gates listens at back left. Emails obtained by The Associated Press shed new light on the activities of a firm run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman. They show it directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.

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A personal lawyer for President Donald Trump says the president is not planning to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia probe. And, Jay Sekulow (SEHK’-yoo-loh) says, pardons for his former campaign aides facing federal charges “are not on the table.”

Sekulow’s comments to ABC’s “Good Morning America” come a day after a former Trump aide admitted lying to the FBI about meeting with Russian intermediaries and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy charges.

Sekulow says: “The president has not indicated to me or to anyone else that I work with that he has any intent on terminating Robert Mueller.”

On pardons, Sekulow says: “I have not had a conversation with the president regarding pardons. And pardons are not on the table.”

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The Kremlin says Russia is not implicated by the first criminal cases against associates of President Donald Trump.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that “so far Russia doesn’t figure in any way in these charges which have been made” and that Russia hopes that they do not feed “hysteria.”

Peskov adds that accusations of Russian meddling in the election remain “unfounded,” and “we are observing (the situation) with interest.”

Peskov also says that connections between former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and a man he believed to have links to the Russian Foreign Ministry did not prove any complicity by the Russian government.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller has sent a warning to individuals in President Donald Trump’s orbit: If they lie about contacts between the president’s campaign and Russians, they’ll end up on the wrong end of federal criminal charges.

With the disclosure of the first criminal cases in his investigation, Mueller also showed that he will not hesitate to bring charges against people close to the campaign even if they don’t specifically pertain to Russian election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Court papers unsealed Monday revealed an indictment against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea by another adviser, who admitted to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian intermediaries.

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