The Justice Department is abandoning plans for a looming criminal trial focused on claims of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
With jury selection set to begin in just over two weeks, prosecutors asked a federal judge to permanently dismiss the charges special counsel Robert Mueller brought two years ago against two Russian firms linked to a St. Petersburg businessman known as Putin’s chef, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The move scuttles a trial that could have drawn the ire of President Donald Trump: a high-profile showcase of U.S. intelligence agencies’ evidence that Russian trolls sought to stir up support for him in the 2016 presidential election while fighting against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee who oversaw the case, formally dismissed the charge against the two Russian firms Monday night. […]
Trump appeared to celebrate the dropping of the charges and the scuttling of the trial as more evidence of the flaws of Mueller’s operation. Late Monday night, the president retweeted another user’s comment about the developments: “How embarrassing for Team Mueller.”
March 16, 2020
U.S. prosecutors say they have a witness who will directly implicate a Russian businessman known as “Putin’s chef” in schemes to carry out election interference overseas.
The mystery witness is prepared to testify at a criminal trial set to open in Washington next month in a case special counsel Robert Mueller brought accusing three Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a prosecutor declared at a recent court hearing.
The anticipated testimony will focus on the most prominent Russian national charged in the indictment, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg restaurateur who enjoys close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and who has expanded his business empire to become a key contractor for the Russian military.
Prosecutors say Prigozhin ran the Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm that allegedly sponsored and coordinated online troll activity during the 2016 U.S. election.
March 4, 2020
Former California Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher confirmed in a new interview that during a three-hour meeting at the Ecuadorian Embassy in August 2017, he told Julian Assange he would get President Trump to give him a pardon if he turned over information proving the Russians had not been the source of internal Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks.
In a phone interview with Yahoo News, Rohrabacher said his goal during the meeting was to find proof for a widely debunked conspiracy theory: that WikiLeaks’ real source for the DNC emails was not Russian intelligence agents, as U.S. officials have since concluded, but former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered on the streets of Washington in July 2016 in what police believe was a botched robbery.
February 20, 2020