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Updated: Trump Directed Cohen to Obstruct Probe by Lying to Congress about Trump Tower in Russia

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

Update: 1:11 p.m. Saturday — The Office of the Special Counsel disputed the BuzzFeed report, and issued the following statement:

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.

BuzzFeed responded by saying that it stands by its story and asked the Office of Special Counsel to clarify what in its report is inaccurate.

_________________________

Report from Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump told his long-time attorney and fixer Michael Cohen lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a bombshell report by BuzzFeed.

If true, Trump and his attorneys would have a hard time arguing the president didn’t attempt to obstruct justice.

But it gets worse for Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has learned that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents,” BuzzFeed reports, citing two federal law enforcement sources involved in the investigation of what happened during and after the 2016 presidential election.    

It’s likely the most damning public finding yet against the president, who continues to insist the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.”

While Trump repeatedly told the public he had no business projects in Russia, he supported a plan for Cohen to visit the country during the presidential campaign and even personally meet with President Putin to get the Trump Tower moving, according to the sources.

“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly told Cohen.

According to BuzzFeed sources, Cohen received help preparing his testimony from attorneys close to the administration. Whether the attorneys knew Cohen planned to lie wasn’t not immediately clear.

After his testimony, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

Seven Years of FBI Records Exposed in Massive Government Data Leak

FBI cyber crime agents, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A massive data leak exposed millions of sensitive files, including records of FBI investigations, emails and bank transaction histories.

Three terabytes of unprotected data from the Oklahoma Securities Commission was available to anyone with the internet because they contained no passwords, Forbes reports.

“It represents a compromise of the entire integrity of the Oklahoma department of securities’ network,” said Chris Vickery, head of research at UpGuard, which discovered the leak. “It affects an entire state level agency. … It’s massively noteworthy.”

Vickery said “all sorts of archive enforcement actions” from the FBI were exposed.

Included was detailed information on subjects and witnesses of FBI investigations over the past seven years.

Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani Flip-Flops on Question about Collusion with Russia

Rudy Giuliani previously on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is now claiming he “never said” the Trump campaign didn’t collude with Russia.

In an extraordinary interview on CNN on Wednesday night, Giuliani acknowledged there may have been “collusion” between the campaign and Russia, but Trump was not involved.

“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign. Or between people in the campaign,” Giuliani told CNN host Chris Cuomo on live television. “I have no idea.”

Truth is, Giuliani and Trump have both denied collusion.

“I have not,” Giuliani insisted. “I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

In previous interviews, Giuliani denied anyone in the campaign colluded with Russia. He told Fox News in July that there was “no collusion” and then maintained that “collusion is not a crime.”

Trump has repeatedly insisted no one in his campaign colluded with Russia.

“There was nobody to collude with,” Trump said at a press conference with Vladimir Putin at his side last summer. “There was no collusion with the campaign.”

In previous tweets, including one as recent as December, Trump exclaimed, “No collusion!”

Giuliani’s latest rhetoric comes as Robert Mueller begins collecting more evidence of links between Trump, his campaign and Russia.

Last week, a court filing error by Paul Manafort’s attorneys showed that Manafort, Trump’s former champaign boss, met with Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilmnik and shared polling data with him. At one point, Manafort urged Kilimnik to pass the data to Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, according to the court filing.

Right-Wing Media Gets Whackier, Calling for Abolishment of FBI

Fox News’ Sean Hannity interviews President Trump, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s most stubborn defenders in the right-wing media have taken their attacks on the FBI to another whacky level.

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett called for scrapping the FBI because, he insisted, it’s part of a deep state conspiracy to bring down the president.

“This is an all-powerful, out of control agency,” Jarrett said on Sean Hannity’s show Monday. “Rogue agency. And frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks and reorganized and replaced with a new organization that has legal restraints imposed upon it and accountable to somebody. When the boss of the FBI Rod Rosenstein is in bed with his subordinates, inventing a counter-intelligence case against the President with no probable cause, no reasonable suspicion, no credible evidence. It is time that the FBI be halted.”

Fox legal analyst Gregg Jarrett just called for the FBI to be disbanded over reports that they are investigating Trump

“Frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks, reorganized and replaced” pic.twitter.com/szhaOSLOve

— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 15, 2019

A day earlier, Joel Pollak from the far right-wing site Breitbart, wrote that it’s “time to scrap the FBI and start over fresh with a reorganized agency under a new name and with an improved commitment to neutrality and accountability.”

Never mind that most of the top FBI officials who have been accused of a running a rogue bureau are lifelong Republicans. Or that fired FBI Director James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency by suggesting he was reopening the investigation into her email server just days before the election.

The accusations and suggestions have gotten so bizarre and devoid of evidence that some Republicans are speaking out against the feverish right-wing media.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, of Tennessee, recently said Trump has ushered in the “tyranny of the right-wing media” and must be stopped before propaganda replaces facts.

Not So Fast! Mueller Signals Investigation of Russian Meddling Is Far from Over

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

It appears special counsel Robert Mueller is not ready to close his 20-month investigation into Russia’s election interference.

A judge Tuesday agreed to delay the sentencing of former Trump campaign official Rick Gates because he “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations,” according to a joint statement by his defense attorneys and Mueller’s team.

Gates, whose attorneys asked for a two-month delay, is a key witness in investigations involving the Trump campaign and inauguration.

In another development reported by ABC News, Mueller’s team has subpoenaed three new witnesses connected to Jerome Corsi, a Roger Stone associate and the former Washington D.C. bureau chief for the far right-wing internet site Infowars. They will be required to testify before a grand jury about Russian election meddling.

Mueller was said to be preparing a final report to the Justice Department about his findings in the investigation. But the latest developments indicate Mueller’s team is far from done and is aggressively pursuing several different cases related to Russian interference.

AG Nominee Barr Was Influential in Removing Former FBI Director William Sessions

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, knows a thing or two about firing an FBI director.

As attorney general during the final years of George W.H. Bush’s presidency, Barr laid out a case for removing William Sessions as FBI director, The Wall Street Journal reports.  

His report detailed Sessions’ lapses in judgment and ethics in hopes that Sessions would resign. But Sessions refused, so Barr’s  successor, Janet Reno, affirmed the report’s findings, prompting President Clinton to fire Sessions in July 1993.

After some lawmakers alleged Trump’s May 201y termination of Comey amounted to obstruction of justice, Barr responded in a memo in June 2018 that the argument was “fatally misconceived.”

Trump Declines Sit-Down Interview with Mueller After Responding to Limited Written Questions

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s legal team recently rejected Robert Mueller’s request for a sit-down interview with Trump after the special counsel said he was “not satisfied” with the president’s initial written response, CNN reports.

The chances of an in-person interview with Trump are slim at best. The president’s legal team firmly responded that Mueller has no cause for a follow-up interview, and Rudy Giuliani told a reporter it would happen “over my dead body.”

Just before Thanksgiving, Trump turned over written responses to limited questions about collusion with Russia before he was inaugurated. But his legal team has declined to answer questions about obstruction allegations since Trump became president.

There has been no indication that Mueller will subpoena Trump for grand jury testimony because of the murky legal questions of forcing a sitting president to testify under oath.

Trump said last year he was eager to sit down with Mueller, but his legal team expressed concerns about perjury and discouraged the president from answering questions on the fly.

Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his 20-month investigation and file his findings in a report to the Justice Department.

Secret Service Agents Who Sacrifice Their Lives to Protect the President Are Working without Pay

Photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The men and women who have sworn to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president are not receiving paychecks under the government shutdown.

The 7,000 Secret Service employees, including those on protective details and uniformed officers, missed their first paycheck of the new year.

“These are the people who are closest to him and clearly put their lives on the line for him every single day,” Rick Tyler, a Republican political consultant, told Huffington Post. “He has demonstrated no empathy for them over this situation.” 

Trump has been virtually mum on the tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials who have been forced to work without pay. They include TSA screeners and FBI, DEA, ATF and Border Patrol agents who are considered “essential” employees.

Thousands of TSA screeners have been calling in sick in protest, causing snarls and security concerns at airports.

The irony is that the shutdown over border protection could make the country more unsafe.