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article imageIn the headlights: Key targets of the Russia interference probe

By AFP     Nov 8, 2017 in World

One year after Donald Trump stunned the United States by winning the presidential election, the probe into whether his campaign colluded with Russian meddling continues to cloud that victory.

Investigations by special prosecutor Robert Mueller and three congressional committees have unveiled many more links between the campaign and Russia than were originally known, and charges against three figures at the end of October raised expectations of more revelations.

Where the investigation's key targets stand:

- Donald Trump -

Nothing yet has linked the president directly to the Russians. But his firing of FBI director James Comey smells like obstruction of justice to investigators. Analysts expect Mueller won't go after Trump until he has finished with most everyone else on his radar.

- Paul Manafort -

Trump's one-time campaign chairman was arrested on October 30 on money laundering and tax-related charges in relation to his work for Moscow-backed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort could be looking at a heavy jail sentence, unless he cooperates with Mueller on the Russia side of the investigation.

- Rick Gates -

Manafort's partner in Ukraine and a Trump campaign deputy chair  Rick Gates was also arrested o...
Manafort's partner in Ukraine and a Trump campaign deputy chair, Rick Gates was also arrested on October 30
CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Manafort's partner in Ukraine and a Trump campaign deputy chair, Gates was also arrested on October 30. Analysts say he could be expected to offer evidence against others related to Russia collusion in exchange for lighter treatment.

- George Papadopoulos -

The first person convicted in special counsel Mueller's investigation  Papadopoulos was one of ...
The first person convicted in special counsel Mueller's investigation, Papadopoulos was one of the campaign's foreign policy advisors
-, LINKEDIN/AFP/File

The first person convicted in Mueller's investigation, Papadopoulos was one of the campaign's foreign policy advisors. He developed his official Russian contacts and tried to arrange a Trump trip to Russia or a meeting with Putin. He also told his supervisors that he was offered "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. Emails indicate his work drew the attention and support of top campaign officials. In a deal that made clear Papadopoulos is actively assisting Mueller, he pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI.

- Michael Flynn -

Former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn and his son  Mike Flynn  Jr  could be Mue...
Former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn and his son, Mike Flynn, Jr, could be Mueller's next targets
MANDEL NGAN, AFP/File

According to NBC, the former White House national security advisor and his son, Mike Flynn, Jr, could be Mueller's next targets. Flynn drew suspicion for his repeated discussions with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, his paid appearances for Russian firms and his unreported lobbying for Turkey. NBC said initial charges could be linked to the lobbying and money laundering.

- Carter Page -

Carter Page  who was part of the campaign's foreign policy team  has a long association with Ru...
Carter Page, who was part of the campaign's foreign policy team, has a long association with Russia that raises suspicions
MARK WILSON, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Another member of the campaign's foreign policy team, Page has a long association with Russia that raises suspicions. He says trips he made to Moscow before and after the election were for personal and academic reasons. But in a July 2016 email to top campaign officials, he indicated he had contacts with Russian legislators and senior members of President Vladimir Putin's administration. He also proposed a Trump trip to Moscow.

- Jared Kushner -

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner  a senior advisor to the president  is believed to be a major ...
Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to the president, is believed to be a major target of the Mueller probe
MANDEL NGAN, AFP

Trump's son-in-law is believed to be a major target of the Mueller probe for his contacts with Kislyak, with a powerful Russian banker and with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton. His possible role in firing Comey and other White House moves also likely interest investigators chasing obstruction suspicions.

- Donald Trump, Jr -

Donald Trump Jr  son of US President Donald Trump
Donald Trump Jr, son of US President Donald Trump
SAUL LOEB, AFP/File

Trump's son helped arrange and then attended the Veselnitskaya meeting and has been involved in the Trump organization's Russia-related real estate projects.

- Jeff Sessions -

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has aroused suspicion with his lack of candor about meetings with the...
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has aroused suspicion with his lack of candor about meetings with the Russian ambassador to the US
SPENCER PLATT, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

The former senator and now attorney general has aroused suspicion with his lack of candor about meetings with Kislyak. He was also responsible for the Trump campaign's foreign policy advisors, whose Russian contacts and meeting proposals likely came to his attention.

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