Special counsel Robert Mueller has now won or assisted in guilty pleas or convictions against a number of figures in the president’s inner circle during the 2016 campaign — but has yet to prove a more fundamental case of Russia-Trump collusion.
The successful prosecutions have become a powerful retort for the president’s opponents, who say the conviction of Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman on eight counts Tuesday and guilty pleas from his former national security adviser, personal attorney and two campaign advisers all undercut claims that Mr. Mueller’s investigation is a witch hunt.
In one of those cases, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a campaign finance violation in paying off a porn actress to prevent her from going public during the campaign about a sexual encounter. Mr. Cohen implicated Mr. Trump in illegal activity, saying he made the payments at the direction of the candidate.
That case, while prosecuted by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, grew out of information developed by Mr. Mueller.