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Tag: donald trump

Evidence Presented to Separate Grand Juries in Cases against Trump

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

Grand juries are hearing evidence in two cases against former President Donald Trump, an extraordinary development that could lay the groundwork for criminal charges. 

In the case involving Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential election, the Manhattan district attorney is beginning to present evidence to a grand jury, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, gave adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to hide her extramarital affair with Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating campaign finance law in 2018. 

Cohen said he made the payments “in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for federal office.” Cohen said he was reimbursed by Trump, and the payment was recorded as legal fees. 

In a separate case, a federal grand jury last week heard testimony from two people who found classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, CNN reports.

They were hired to search four of Trump’s properties last fall. 

Each was interviewed for about three hours. 

Last year, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate Trump’s handling of classified documents. 

Conservatives Try to Undermine Credibility of Special Counsel Robert Hur, Despite His GOP Background

Special Counsel Robert Hur

By Steve Neavling

Republicans are already attacking the credibility of the special counsel appointed to investigate classified documents found at President Biden’s home in Delaware and a think tank office in Washington D.C. 

But the attacks don’t add up. 

Robert Hur has a Republican background and was appointed to serve as U.S. attorney by former President Trump, MSNBC points out. Hur also clerked for late Supreme Court Justice William Rhenquist, a Federal Society conservative.

Hur also contributed to the campaigns of Republican candidates over the past 15 years. 

But that didn’t stop conservatives, like Kash Patel, a member of Trump’s inner circle, from characterizing Hur as “a swamp monster of the tier-one level.”

“He’s a government gangster,” Patel said during a conservative media appearance. “He’s now in charge of the continued crime-scene cover-up.”

Republicans also raised concerns that Hur previously worked as counsel for FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by Trump. 

“The Special Counsel that AG Merrick Garland just appointed is FBI Director Christopher Wray’s former assistant,” U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, tweeted. “They’re all in on it.”

Attorney Garland Merrick Garland appointed Hur to investigate the discovery of the classified documents last week.

House Republicans Gear Up for Politicized Investigation of FBI, DOJ

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

House Republicans are preparing a heavily politicized investigation of the FBI and Justice Department, setting the stage for potential clashes with the Biden administration over access to sensitive information. 

The GOP-led House is drawing up a resolution to create a special Judiciary subcommittee to investigate the so-called “weaponization of the federal government,” The New York Times reports

The probe comes amid an ongoing investigation into former President Trump, who has falsely accused the FBI and Justice Department of leading “a political witch hunt” against him.

Republican Jim Jordan, of Ohio, would oversee the panel. 

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told Fox News that the panel is part of an agreement that hard-right lawmakers struck for their support of Kevin McCarthy as speaker.

“So we got more resources, more specificity, more power to go after this recalcitrant Biden administration,” Roy said. “That’s really important.”

In his first remarks as a speaker, McCarthy mentioned the FBI. 

“We will hold the swamp accountable, from the withdrawal of Afghanistan, to the origins of COVID and to the weaponization of the F.B.I.,” McCarthy said. “Let me be very clear: We will use the power of the purse and the power of the subpoena to get the job done.”

Outgoing GOP Congressman Calls on DOJ to Prosecute Trump for Sake of Country

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

If former President Donald Trump isn’t prosecuted for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, then outgoing Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he’s worried “for the future of this country.”

The Illinois congressman, one of two Republicans to sit on the House Select Committee to investigate the Capitol riot, made the statement in an interview with CNN.

Kinzinger called on the Justice Department to prosecute Trump, saying if he is not considered a criminal, then “I don’t know what is.”

Kinzinger said the Justice Department should follow through on the committee’s recommendation to charge Trump with four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and inciting an insurrection. 

“If a president can incite an insurrection and not be held accountable, then really there’s no limit to what a president can do or can’t do,” he said. 

Kinzinger said he has confidence the Justice Department will prosecute Trump. 

“If he is not guilty of a crime, then I frankly fear for the future of this country,” he said.

He added, “Because now, every future president can say ‘hey, here’s the bar,’ and the bar is: do everything you can to stay in power.”

FBI Worried about ‘Blue on Blue’ Confrontation with Secret Service in Mar-a-Lago Search

By Steve Neavling

Before deciding to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence for evidence that he illegally possessed classified documents, the FBI was worried about a “blue on blue” confrontation with Secret Service agents. 

That’s among the revelations in a Washington Post story that details numerous concerns the FBI had about searching one of the former president’s home.

One of the concerns was the remote possibility of a confrontation between FBI agents searching the home and the Secret Service agents who guard Trump. 

“Executing a search like that is sensational enough. Doing it without the former president there is probably the best good-faith effort you can make to reducing the probability of it becoming even more sensationalized,” Jeffrey Cortese, a former FBI supervisor, told the Washington Post. “They would want to get in and get out without any complications.”

Luckily for the FBI, Trump was not home, and there was no confrontation. 

House Panel Urges Justice Department to Charge Trump for Role in Jan. 6 Riot

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol on Monday recommended that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against former President Donald Trump. 

The panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans unanimously voted in favor of a criminal referral during its final public hearing.

Nearly two years after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the panel concluded that the former president was criminally responsible for inciting the violence that occurred. 

In predictable fashion, Trump called the investigation a partisan “witch hunt” and said he did nothing wrong.

“Republicans and Patriots all over the land must stand strong and united against the Thugs and Scoundrels of the Unselect Committee,” Trump said on Truth Social Sunday. “It will be a dark period in American history, but with darkness comes light!!!”

Ultimately, the decision to charge Trump belongs to the Justice Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland named Jack Smith as special counsel to investigate Trump’s role in the insurrection and the theft of sensitive government documents. 

Justice Department Asks Judge to Hold Trump’s Team in Contempt over Documents

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has asked a judge to hold former President Donald Trump’s team in contempt for failing to honor a subpoena in May to return all classified documents in his possession, The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the investigation.

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell has not yet ruled on the request. A hearing is scheduled for Friday. 

The request comes after the FBI gathered evidence suggesting that not all of the classified material has been returned. 

The Trump team has still not designated a custodian of records to sign a document attesting that all classified materials have been returned to the federal government. 

Trump’s team has suggested that such a request is unreasonable. 

Authorities are investigating Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents, obstruction and destruction of government records. 

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung told The Washington Post that the former president’s lawyers “continue to be cooperative and transparent,” adding, “This is a political witch hunt unlike anything this country has ever scene.”

The Justice Department declined to comment. 

Appeals Court Orders End to Special Master Review of Trump Documents

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

A federal appeals court on Thursday terminated the special master review of documents seized during the FBI’s raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in August. 

The unanimous decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit reversed a lower court’s ruling that granted Trump’s request for the review, The New York Times reports.

The review had slowed the investigation for nearly three months. 

The court ruled that Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee, lacked legitimate jurisdiction to order the review. 

“It is indeed extraordinary for a warrant to be executed at the home of a former president — but not in a way that affects our legal analysis or otherwise gives the judiciary license to interfere in an ongoing investigation,” the court wrote.

Barring an immediate appeal, the review by the special master, Raymond J Dearie, would end. 

It wasn’t clear whether Trump planned to appeal. 

In September, Cannon granted Trump’s request for a special master to review the documents, which prevented investigators from reviewing the highly-sensitive material that was found at former President Trump’s house in Florida.