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Archive for April, 2018

Ultimate Loyalty Test for Cohen Who Said He Would ‘Take a Bullet’ for Trump

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal attorney and self-described “fix-it-guy,” said he would “take a bullet” for Donald Trump and “never walk away.”

But that was five months ago. Now Cohen’s loyalty is being put to the real test after FBI agents earlier this month raided his office, house and hotel room, seizing business records, emails and other documents, including correspondence with Trump. Federal investigators also are investigating a $130,000 payment that Cohen said he made to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump in 2006. 

The president’s lawyers and advisers fears there is the “strong possibility” that Cohen, who has a wife and two children, will flip on Trump. His cooperation could be very valuable to prosecutors, including special counsel Robert Mueller, because few people, if any, know the inner-workings of Trump’s businesses and finances like Cohen, the New York Times reports. 

On Saturday, Trump lashed out at the New York Times on Twitter and said, “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”

Trump Wanted to Know Why Two FBI Officials Still Had Their Jobs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

President Trump pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to explain why two FBI officials still have their jobs after it was revealed they made disparaging remarks about him in text messages to each other.

During the same meeting at the White House on Jan. 22, Trump urged his attorney general and FBI director to dig up dirt on the senior officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, to discredit them as part of a broader campaign to delegitimize Robert Mueller’s investigation, which has cast a dark shadow over the White House, Vox reports. 

In a private meeting with Sessions the next day, the president was more blunt: Fire Strzok and Page, who were removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation months before the text messages were disclosed. The texts also poked fun at Hillary Clinton.

Some legal scholars cautioned that Trump is treading on dangerous territory because he’s already under investigation for obstruction of justice for firing then-FBI Director James Comey in May promoted.

Last summer, Trump’s attorney advised him that Page was likely to be a witness against him in the special counsel probe.

Democrats and some Republicans fear Trump is trying to justify firing Mueller by discrediting those involved in the 11-month-old investigation, which so far has netted indictments against more than 20 people and entities.

 

Weekend Series on Crime: The Latin Kings Gang

Giuliani Joins Trump’s Legal Team to ‘Negotiate an End’ to Mueller Probe

Rudolph Giuliani

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a longtime friend of President Trump, joined the president’s legal team on Thursday to “negotiate an end” to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that has cast a long shadow over the White House.

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said in an interview Thursday with the Washington Post. 

Trump also brought on former federal prosecutors Jane Serene Raskin and Martin R. Raskin to help “quickly” put an end to the 11-month-old investigation, which has netted indictment against more than 20 people and entities.

Giuliani will be tasked with negotiating the conditions of an interview between Trump and Mueller.

Trump on Whether He Plans to Fire Mueller or Rosenstein: ‘They’re Still There’

President Trump, via the White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump wouldn’t say Wednesday whether he planned to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein but indicated he has cooperated with the probe.

When asked if he had “concluded it is not worth the political fallout” to fire his way out of the special counsel investigation, Trump responded by calling the probe a “hoax” and said neither he nor his campaign did anything wrong.

“They’ve been saying I’m going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they’re still here. We want to get the investigations over with, done with, behind us,” the president said at a joint press conference in Florida with the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Earlier this month, when asked whether he had plans to fire Mueller, Trump responded, “I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. We’ll see what happens. Many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing. And in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.”

Democrats and some Republicans have pledged to impeach Trump if he fires Mueller.

Trump, Allies Fear Cohen May Flip on President Under Pressure

President Trump at the White House, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump and his outside advisers are growing more concerned that Trump’s longtime attorney and loyal ally, Michael Cohen, may cooperate with federal prosecutors if he’s charged with a crime.

Two sources close to the president told Politico that White House officials are openly questioning whether Cohen would flip if he is facing jail time. 

“That’s what they’ll threaten him with: life imprisonment,” said Alan Dershowitz, a frequent Trump defender who met with the president and his staff at the White House last week. “They’re going to threaten him with a long prison term and try to turn him into a canary that sings.”

FBI agents raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room, seizing computers, phones and documents, including correspondence with his clients.

Investigators are scrutinizing, among other things, a $130,000 payment that Cohen said he gave adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

“When anybody is faced with spending a long time in jail, they start to re-evaluate their priorities, and cooperation can’t be ruled out,” said one Trump ally who knows Cohen.

Trump and his advisers are more fearful of the Cohen investigation that the special counsel one, the sources said.

Pittsburgh Orders Police to Prepare for Riot If Trump Fires Mueller

Pittsburgh police

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Pittsburgh Police Department has ordered its officers to bring riot gear to work over fears that President Trump will soon fire special counsel Robert Mueller, sparking civil unrest.

Pittsburgh police sent an email to officers on Wednesday, warning that the department has “received information of a potential large protest in the Central Business District” and police should prepare for a riot “until further notice,” according to an internal email first obtained by WTAE-TV, the ABC station in Pittsburgh. 

“We have received information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District,” read the internal email from Victor Joseph, commander of major crimes.

“There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller,” the email continued. “This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice.”

He added, “We may be needed to assist in the event that there is a large scale protest.”

Trump has ramped up his criticism of Mueller, who is investigating the president and his campaign, prompting fears that he could soon fire the special counsel.

On Wednesday, Trump wouldn’t confirm reports that he planned to soon fire Mueller, but said his administration has been transparent and cooperative with the probe.

Ex-FBI Agent Pleads Guilt to Leaking Secrets to Media

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent has pleaded guilty to leaking confidential documents to a news organization, becoming the first federal employee convicted as part of the Justice Department’s crackdown on government leaks.

Terry James Albury, 39, who previously was a special agent in the Minneapolis division, faces up to 20 years in prison on two counts of retaining and disclosing defense information.

“As this prosecution demonstrates, we will not waiver in our commitment to pursue and hold accountable government officials who violate their obligations to protect our nation’s secrets,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.

Albury has said he was exposing “systemic biases” within the bureau when he allegedly gave a national reporter documents relating to assessing confidential informants and “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

An outline of the charges doesn’t mention the reporter or the news organization, but the timing of the alleged leaks coincide with an Intercept story published on Jan. 31, 2017, that accuses the FBI of aggressively investigating people deemed to have valuable sources. 

Federal prosecutors said they will continue to aggressively pursue government leakers.

“Terry Albury betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the United States,” U.S. Attorney Doherty-McCormick said in a statement.  “Today’s guilty plea should serve as a reminder to those who are entrusted with classified information that the Justice Department will hold them accountable.”