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Mueller probe's latest indictment: Alex Van Der Zwaan

Robert Mueller
Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged Dutch lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan with making false statements to FBI investigators. Van Der Zwaan, who was officially charged on Feb. 16 in a federal court in Washington, has a plea hearing scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. EST.

The details: According to the indictment, the false statements came when Mueller's team probed Van Der Zwaan's work for the Ukraine Ministry of Justice, and include lying about his interactions with Rick Gates, the Paul Manafort associate and former Trump campaign adviser who was indicted by Mueller last fall.

  • Van Der Zwaan was charged with lying to investigators about conversations related to a report his law firm prepared on the trial of a Ukrainian politician, Yulia Tymoshenko.
  • The lawyer also reportedly lied about his talks with someone else, named "Person A” in the indictment.
  • Prosecutors said Van Der Zwaan also deleted and failed to turn over emails requested by the special counsel and a law firm.

Timing: Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for violating criminal laws to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election on Friday. He also struck a plea deal that same day with Richard Pinedo, who was charged with identity fraud.

Why it matters: As Axios' Mike Allen wrote this morning, Mueller's moving fast. "The indictment is a sneak peek at the level of sweep and color we can expect in a final report, and is a mammoth accomplishment just nine months after Mueller was appointed."

What's next: Gates is expected to plead guilty in the coming days on fraud-related charges.

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Why Trump added a streetfighter to his legal team

Screenshot via Fox News

A new addition to President Trump's legal team — Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney who is well-known in Washington and has argued for the president on Fox News — reflects three White House realities.

The state of play: (1) The White House is digging in for a fight that looks to be longer and messier than officials had expected. (2) This is another example of the president responding to televised cues. Trump has spent most of his adult life in litigation, and obsesses about legal positioning in the same way that he is consumed by his press coverage. (3) It's another pugilistic voice at the table, and suggests that this weekend's attacks on Mueller won't be the last.

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Facebook reaches a tipping point

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Of all the news crises Facebook has faced during the past year, the Cambridge Analytica scandal is playing out to be the worst and most damaging.

Why it matters: It's not that the reports reveal anything particularly new about how Facebook's back end works — developers have understood the vulnerabilities of Facebook's interface for years. But stakeholders crucial to the company's success — as well as the public seem less willing to listen to its side of the story this time around.