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Mueller strikes one more plea deal

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In addition to the 13 Russian nationals indicted earlier this afternoon, court filings from the Special Counsel's office indicate that Robert Mueller has struck a plea deal with Richard Pinedo, 28, of Santa Paula, Calif.

According to the statement of offense:

  • From approximately 2014 through December 2017, Pinedo operated an online service called "Auction Essistance" designed to "circumvent the security features of a large online digital payment companies."
  • Pinedo sold bank account numbers over the internet that he purchased using stolen identities.
  • The people who bought the bank account numbers, at least one of whom Pinedo knew to be outside the U.S., sought to use them to defeat the security measures of a company (referred to as Company #1 in the court filing)
  • In total, Pinedo made tens of thousands of dollars by knowingly transferring hundreds of bank account numbers that were ultimately used to commit wire fraud.

It is not immediately clear from the filings how Pinedo fits into the larger context of the Russia investigation.

Dave Lawler 4 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.

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Some self-driving car companies hit brakes on tests after fatality

A nuTonomy test vehicle in Boston.
A nuTonomy test vehicle in Boston. Photo: nuTonomy

Following the death on Monday of a pedestrian struck by an Uber self-driving car, some companies are halting their own autonomous vehicle testing, Among those who is halting testing is nuTonomy, which says it did so at the request of the city of Boston. Uber also halted its testing, as has Toyota, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The first death caused by a self-driving car was sure to shake up the industry, despite arguments that self-driving cars are significantly safer than humans behind the wheel.