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The Trump staffers charged by the Russia probe

From left: Rick Gates, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos. Photos: AP

Michael Flynn pleaded guilty today to "willfully and knowingly" lying to the FBI about his conversations with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, making him the fourth former Trump staffer to be charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

Why it matters: President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the Russia probe is a "political witch hunt" and that there was no collusion among his staffers and the Russians.

The others charged in Mueller's investigation:

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates

Manafort, Trump's former campaign advisor, and Gates, his business partner/protégé, were indicted in late October by a federal grand jury on 12 separate charges:

  • Conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration Act statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
  • Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Manafort faces up to about 15 years in prison, while Gates faces up to about 10 years.
  • State of play: The men have largely remained under court-ordered house arrest since the charges were filed. Their expected to begin trial in the spring of 2018.
  • Go deeper: How the Russia probe closed in on Paul Manafort; Meet Rick Gates

George Papadopoulos

The former Trump campaign advisor was named in the same indictments against Manafort and Gates. But Papadopoulos' charges were explicitly linked to attempts at collusion with Russia.

  • He was arrested in July and cut a deal with Mueller in October. He allegedly attempted to contact Russian officials in order to facilitate a meeting between Trump and high-level Russians.
  • On Oct. 30, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russians.
  • State of play: Papadopoulos' sentence hearing will be set for a later date, per the Special Counsel's Office. He will face up to six months in prison (though the max for this charge could be 5 years) and $500 to $9,500 in fines, according to the DOJ plea agreement.
  • Go deeper: The big questions surrounding George Papadopoulos; Papadopoulos claims he misled FBI to protect Trump
Steve LeVine 13 hours ago
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Self-driving lab head urges freeze after "nightmare" fatality

Uber self-driving car in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen / Getty

Carmakers and technology companies should freeze their race to field autonomous vehicles because "clearly the technology is not where it needs to be," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory.

What he said: Speaking a few hours after a self-driven vehicle ran over and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Rajkumar said, "This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet. We need to keep people in the loop."

Khorri Atkinson 7 hours ago
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Brother of Florida shooter arrested for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas High

Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the Florida schol school massacre. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett, Pool / Getty Images

Zachary Cruz, the brother of Nikolas Cruz who confessed to carrying out last month's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was arrested Monday after authorities say he trespassed on the site where the shooting took place, per the Miami Herald.

Situational awareness: The arrest comes just over a month after his brother shot and killed 14 students and 3 staff members to which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.