American GovernmentThe Presidency

The Special Counsel Investigation

Posted on in American Government · The Presidency


The Special Counsel investigation of associates of President Donald Trump resulted in a successful prosecution of the former Trump campaign chair, Paul Manafort. On the same day, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen plead guilty to campaign finance violations.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for The Special Counsel Investigation


“Paul Manafort Trial Verdict: Inside the Courtroom”

“Paul Manafort trial tested Mueller, Trump: What to know about the case”

“Michael Cohen admits violating campaign finance laws in plea deal, agrees to 3-5 year sentence”

“Mueller can’t afford to lose the Manafort trial”

“Can Michael Cohen Bring Down Trump?”

“Maybe Mueller should be investigated”

Politico provides a useful update to the latest in the Mueller investigation here:


  • Writing: What is the status of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller?
  • Debate: The special counsel should not be focused on anything other other than Russian collusion.
  • Poll: Should a sitting president be subject to a criminal indictment?
  • Short Answer: Why do some scholars believe a sitting president cannot be subject to a criminal trial?

Current events quiz:

1) Paul Manafort was found guilty of campaign finance fraud, conspiracy against the United States, and conspiracy to launder money. (T/F)

2) Two women were paid over $130,000 by Michael Cohen while he was the lawyer to President Donald Trump. (T/F)

3) Paul Manafort’s legal team rested their case in court without calling a single witness. (T/F)

4) The investigation of Michael Cohen ______.

a. was initially begun under former President Obama’s Justice Department
b. was conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller
c. lasted less than one week
d. took over two years

5) Paul Manafort served as President Donald Trump’s ______.

  1. Senior Policy Advisor
  2. Secretary of Defense
  3. Campaign Chairman
  4. personal lawyer
  5. National Security Advisor

6) Some believe that a President cannot be criminally prosecuted in office because the ______.

  1. Constitution forbids it
  2. Constitution has an impeachment and removal clause
  3. Constitution gives Presidents unlimited power
  4. Framers of the Constitution thought a President should be above the law


1) False

2) True

3) True

4) B

5) C

6) B

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