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News Story

USA Today to Mueller: Force Trump’s Testimony with Subpoena After He Lied about Hush Money

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s stunning admission that he reimbursed his attorney for a $130,000 hush payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels is “monumental” because Trump acknowledged he lied a month ago when he denied any knowledge of the payout, the USA Today wrote in an editorial Thursday night.

The lie “undermines his credibility at a time when special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is reaching a crucial juncture.”

“The Daniels disclosure exposes Trump’s willingness to lie publicly about pending legal matters,” the editorial board wrote. “(Presumably, he is coming clean now because he knows that information seized by authorities from attorney Michael Cohen will reveal the Daniels-related reimbursements.) That only reinforces the urgent need to have him testify under oath in the Russia matter.”

The USA Today argues Mueller should subpoena Trump if he refuses to testify, noting that President Clinton relented and finally testified following a subpoena.

Other Stories of Interest

Feds Wiretapped Phone Lines of Trump’s Longtime Attorney Cohen

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators wiretapped the phones lines of President Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, in the weeks leading up to the raids on his office, home and hotel room, according to a new report.

At least one of those intercepted phone calls was from the White House, NBC reported Thursday afternoon.

The FBI raided Cohen’s properties last month and seized emails and records related to his clients, two of whom are the president and television personality Sean Hannity.

After the raid, Trump’s attorneys advised him to contact Cohen, who, among other things, is under investigation for a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

On Thursday, in an extraordinary admission that contradicts previous statements, Trump tweeted that he reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

Since the case is being investigated by New York prosecutors, Trump can’t stop the probe by firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading up the Russia investigation and trying to determine whether the president obstructed justice.

Ty Cobb, Who Is Leaving Trump’s Legal Team, Says Interview Between President, Mueller ‘Not Off the Table’

White House attorney Ty Cobb, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

White House Attorney Ty Cobb, who announced he’s resigning at the end of the month, said the legal team has not ruled out an interview between President Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller.

“It’s certainly not off the table and people are working hard to make decisions and work towards an interview,” Cobb told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Kleinon ABC’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast.

“And assuming that can be concluded favorably, there’ll be an interview,” he said. “Assuming it can’t be… assuming an agreement can’t be reached, you know then it’ll go a different route.”

Cobb, who joined the legal team in July, said he plans to leave at the end of the month.

Trump plans to replace Cobb with Emmet Flood, who advised then-President Bill Clinton during his impeachment.

“For several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Trump Admits He Reimbursed Cohen for Payment to Stormy Daniels After Insisting He Knew Nothing About It

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump confirmed Thursday morning that he reimbursed his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

It was an extraordinary admission on Twitter because Trump insisted last month that he was unaware of the payment, which the FBI is investigating. 

Trump’s explanation comes after Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who recently joined the president’s legal team, acknowledged for the first time that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

Trump stressed that no campaign funds were used.

“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA,” Trump tweeted. “These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels).”

Trump said the payment “was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair, despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair.”

Trump continued, “Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.”

On Fox News, Giuliani told Sean Hannity that Trump “didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know.”

Giuliani added, “But he did know the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this, like I take care of things like this with my clients. I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.’’

Trio Posed As FBI Agents, Conned Man out of Car, Jewelry, Tools, Gift Cards

Douglas Depugh and Alexander Serrano

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A trio of men posing as FBI agents conned a Pennsylvania out of cars, jewelry, gift cards and power tools.

The con began in August, police said, when the suspects convinced the victim they were part of an FBI operation in Reading, Pa.

The suspects stole the man’s car, crashed one of his rental cars, extorted money and forced him to buy $11,000 worth of gift cards, according to WFMZ.

Douglas Depugh, 49, is in jail awaiting trial on charges of impersonating a public servant, conspiracy, and theft by deception.

Michael Cortez, 34, of Kansas City, Missouri, faces charges include theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, theft by deception, impersonating a public servant and conspiracy.

Those men posed as FBI agents, police said.

Andrew Serrano, 46, who posed as an FBI informant, is in jail awaiting jail on charges of impersonating a public servant, conspiracy, and theft by deception.

FBI Warns of Soaring Cases of Sexual Assaults on Airplanes

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is warning flyers that sexual assaults on airplanes are soaring.

The bureau, which handles criminal activity aboard domestic airplanes, said sexual assaults jump from 38 in 2014 to 63 in 2017.

It wasn’t clear what caused the spike in sexual assaults, but the FBI said most of the victims were women and children.

Sexual assaults also are more likely to occur on long flights, especially when the victim is sleeping or has been drinking.

The FBI is encouraging victims to immediately report sexual assaults so that agents can respond in time to investigate and make an arrest.

Defiant Deputy AG Rosenstein Says Justice Department Won’t ‘Be Extorted’ with GOP Threats

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of overseeing the special counsel investigation of Russian election interference, said Tuesday he is not intimidated by conservative Republican lawmakers who are threatening to impeach him.

“There have been people that have been making threats, publicly and privately, against me for quite some time, and I think they should understand by now: The Department of Justice is not going to be extorted,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at the Newseum in Washington. “Any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job. We have a responsibility and we take an oath. That’s the whole point.”

Rosenstein, who has been in President Trump’s crosshairs, struck a defiant and resolute tone as he fielded questions from the audience and even criticized lawmakers who drafted legislation to potentially impeach him.

“They can’t even resist leaking their own drafts,” the deputy attorney general said. “I saw that draft. I mean, I don’t know who wrote it. It really does illustrate, though, a really important distinction between the way we operate in the Department of Justice — if we’re going to accuse somebody of wrongdoing, we have to have admissible evidence and credible witnesses. We need to be prepared to prove our case in court. … We have people who are accountable. And so I just don’t have anything to say about documents like that that nobody has the courage to put their name on.”

An Off-Duty FBI Agent Distracted by His Cell Phone Triggered a Deadly Chain of Events

FBI Agent Carlos Wolff.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An off-duty FBI agent distracted by his cell phone crashed his car on a highway north of Washington D.C., triggering a series of tragic events that claimed his life and that of another off-duty law enforcement officer who stopped to help.

Agent Carlos Wolff, a 36-year-old husband and father of two young children, lost control of his Acura SUV in December when he began reaching for his cell phone, according to newly disclosed police reports obtained by the Washington Post.

The documents had been withheld pending the outcome of an accident investigation. 

According to police, Wolff’s SUV veered across at least three lanes and struck a median wall, coming to rest while still partially blocking the fast lane.

Arson investigator Sander Cohen, 33, who happened to be driving on the same stretch of highway, stopped to help.

Both men got out of their vehicles and were on the shoulder of the road when another car struck them, hurling their bodies over the median and into the opposing lane.

Lane was pronounced dead at the scene. Wolf died soon after being rushed to the hospital.

None of the drivers involved in the accident had been drinking, police said.