1/ Robert Mueller’s federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes.” Mueller’s office said that the government accuses all the defendants of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. The indictment charges that a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency, waged “information warfare” against the U.S. by using social media platforms and fictitious American personas for “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton.” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said this “information warfare” didn’t affect the outcome of the presidential election. (CNBC / ABC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

  • A California man charged with identity theft pleaded guilty in Mueller’s probe. Richard Pinedo is cooperating with prosecutors. (Bloomberg / CNN)

  • 🔗 Read the Internet Research Agency indictment. (Justice Department)

2/ Mueller’s investigation into collusion and potential obstruction of justice by Trump and his campaign is expected to continue for months. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that the Russian indictments are vindication that there was “No collusion!” Rod Rosenstein said during his press conference today that there is “no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant” in the alleged scheme to interfere with the 2016 election. Mueller could still indict Americans for knowingly helping Russia. (Bloomberg)

3/ Rick Gates is close to a plea deal with Robert Mueller. The former Trump campaign adviser has been involved in plea negotiations for about a month, and people familiar with the case say he is poised to cooperate with the investigation. If Gates agrees to a plea deal, he will be the third known cooperator in the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (CNN)

4/ The FCC is investigating whether its chairman “improperly coordinated with Sinclair” on rule changes that benefited the broadcaster. Ajit Pai is under investigation by the agency’s independent watchdog for his role in the FCC’s adopting new rules that allowed television broadcasters to increase the number of stations they own. The rules were adopted weeks before Sinclair announced a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media. The deal would not have been possible without the new rules. The investigation into Pai’s relationship with Sinclair began at the end of last year. (New York Times / Ars Technica)

  • The Justice Department wants to prevent AT&T from using Trump’s criticism of its merger with Time Warner in its arguments. AT&T intends to argue that politics played a role in government’s decision to stop the merger. (Reuters)

5/ The FBI acknowledged that it failed to act on a tip in January that Nikolas Cruz had the potential of “conducting a school shooting.” The tipster said Cruz had a “desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts.” The FBI said some “protocols were not followed.” (Politico / New York Times)

  • Paul Ryan doesn’t think the time is right to wage political battles over the issue of guns in America. “This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings,” Ryan said, adding: “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together.” (CNN)

  • The vice mayor of Florida’s Broward County called Trump visit with the victims of the school shooting “absolutely absurd.” Trump “coming here, to me, is absurd. Him coming here is absolutely absurd, and he’s a hypocrite,” Mark Bogen said. (CNN)

  • Florida’s governor called on the FBI director to resign. In a statement, Rick Scott said: “The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable … We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act. ‘See something, say something’ is an incredibly important tool and people must have confidence in the follow through from law enforcement. The FBI director needs to resign.” (ABC News)

  • Russia-linked bots are promoting pro-gun messages on Twitter in an attempt to sow discord in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting. (CNN)


  1. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-5 in favor of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, despite protests from Jeff Sessions that the bill would increase violent crime and hamstring federal law enforcement. The bill would reduce some federal sentencing rules along with implementing reforms in the federal prison system. (CNN)

  2. Mitt Romney announced that he is running for the Senate seat being vacated by seven-term GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. During the 2016 campaign, Romney called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.” (NPR)

  3. Trump set the record for the longest period of time without a formal press conference in the last 50 years. The last time a president went more than a year between press conferences was during Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration. By the end of his first year in office, Obama had held 11 solo press conferences; George W. Bush had held five. (The Daily Beast)

  4. Jared Kushner filed a new addendum to his personal financial disclosure form last month, revealing previously undisclosed business interests. (Talking Points Memo)

  5. Scott Pruitt’s security team recommended he fly first class because somebody yelled at him: “You’re f—ing up the environment.” (Politico)

  6. Steve Bannon told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday that he had been instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of Trump and declined to answer questions pertinent to the Russia investigation. Lawmakers are considering whether to hold him in contempt. (CNN)

  7. 40% of Trump’s first Cabinet-level picks have faced ethical or other controversies. Nine out of the 22 people Trump initially picked for Cabinet-level posts have found themselves facing scrutiny over their actions. (Washington Post)

  8. John Kelly approved an overhaul for how the White House manages security clearance investigations. The onus is now on the FBI and the Justice Department to now hand-deliver updates and provide more information. (Washington Post)

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