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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

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

11 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.