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Tag: donald trump

Trump Pardons 2 More Ex-Aides, Associates Convicted in Mueller Probe

Paul Manafort jail mugshot.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump has pardoned two more former aides and associates ensnared in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation of Russian election inference. 

Trump on Wednesday issued pardons to his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime adviser Roger Stone. Both were convicted in the Mueller probe. 

Stone, whose sentence Trump commuted earlier this year, was convicted in November 2019 of lying to the House Intelligence Committee. Manafort was convicted of financial crimes in connection with his overseas lobbying work and was sentenced to more than seven years in prison. 

On Tuesday, Trump pardoned his former foreign policu adviser George Papadopoulos and Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, both of whom were convicted of lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation. 

Among those not pardoned in connection with the Mueller probe were Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates, who was sentenced last year to 45 days in prison after cooperating with prosecutors, and Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who pleaded guilty to campaign finance laws. 

“The pardons from this President are what you would expect to get if you gave the pardon power to a mob boss,” tweeted Andrew Weissmann, a Mueller team member who helped prosecute Manafort.

Jeffrey Rosen to Replace William Barr As Attorney General

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will succeed outgoing Attorney General William Barr after President Trump announced Barr’s resignation in a tweet  Monday afternoon.

In his letter to Trump, Barr said he was “greatly honored” to serve in the administration and would step down on Dec. 23.

The resignation came amid escalating tensions between Barr and Trump, who accused his attorney general of disloyalty for failing to publicly disclose the Justice Department’s investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of President-elect Joe Biden. Trump also criticized Barr for refusing to parrot baseless claims of widespread election fraud. 

In a tweet, Trump called Rosen “an outstanding person.”

Rosen, who has no prior experience as a prosecutor, was confirmed along party lines to the No. 2 spot in May 2019. Before joining the Justice Department, Rosen, 62, spent much of his career in the private sector but also worked for government agencies, including the Transportation Department and Office of Management and Budget. 

During his time as deputy attorney general, Rosen took leading roles in cases against Google and Purdue Pharma LP. 

In 1979, Rosen graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of arts degree in economics. In 1982, he graduated from Harvard Law School. 

Judge Dismisses Flynn’s Case, But Was Not Happy About It

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the three-year-old criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, following  Trump’s pardon last month. 

But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan took a parting shot, saying the pardon doesn’t make Flynn innocent, The Washington Post reports.

“President Trump’s decision to pardon Mr. Flynn is a political decision, not a legal one,” Sullivan wrote. “Because the law recognizes the President’s political power to pardon, the appropriate course is to dismiss this case as moot.”

“However,” Sullivan added, “the pardon ‘does not, standing alone, render [Flynn] innocent of the alleged violation.’ ”

Flynn was the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. But he later fired his attorneys and asked to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was entrapped by the FBI and Justice Department.

Sullivan also said he “likely” would have rejected the Justice Department’s efforts to dismiss the case, saying the federal government’s intervention was “dubious to say the least.”

Trump celebrated the dismissal on Twitter. 

“Thank you and congratulations to General Flynn,” Trump tweeted. “He and his incredible family have suffered greatly!”

Flynn responded, “You and your family & our entire nation have suffered greatly and it has to stop. The American people deserve far greater respect from the institutions of our own Government and the Media!”

Barr Contradicts Trump on Election, Saying No Evidence of Widespread Fraud

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday that the Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would alter the 2020 presidential election results. 

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told The Associated Press

Barr’s statement counters President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, which have led to lawsuits and hearings. 

In a statement, Trump’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani Jenna Ellis, discounted Barr’s comments.

“With all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been a semblance of a Department of Justice investigation,” they said. “We have gathered ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”

Sen. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer responded, “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”

Last month, Barr directed U.S. attorneys nationwide to investigate any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities or fraud. Since then, Barr said, no evidence has surfaced.  

Ex-Trump Aide Carter Page Files Lawsuit Against FBI, DOJ, Claiming ‘Unlawful Spying’

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling

Carter Page, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, filed a federal lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department, claiming he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”

The lawsuit filed in Washington’s federal court alleges multiple violations of Page’s “Constitutional and other legal rights in connection with unlawful surveillance ad investigation of him by the United State Government,” USA Today reports

Page was subjected to secret surveillance during the FBI’s Russia investigation. 

Among the claims are that the FBI eavesdropped on Page based on a series of “false and misleading” information in the applications through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

In a report last year, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found at least 17 errors in Page’s FISA application, but concluded the FBI was justified in opening the investigation. 

The lawsuit also alleges the FBI relied excessively on former British spy Christopher Steele for information and failed to inform the surveillance court that information had come from Steele. 

The lawsuit also names as defendants former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Trump Baselessly Claims FBI, DOJ May Have Helped Rig Election for Biden

Flie photo

By Steve Neavling

President Trump’s relentless attempts to undermine the election now includes baseless claims that his own FBI and Justice Department may have been involved in a conspiracy to rig the election in favor of Joe Biden. 

“This is total fraud,” Trump said Sunday on Fox News, his first television interview since the election. “And how the FBI and Department of Justice — I don’t know, maybe they’re involved. But how people are allowed to get away with this stuff is unbelievable.”

“With all of the fraud that has taken place, nobody’s come to me and said, ‘Oh, the FBI has nabbed the people that are doing this scheme,’” Trump said.

There’s no evidence to support Trump’s claims of widespread fraud, nor has he provided any proof that his own FBI and Justice Department were involved. 

Biden has won the election, with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump. Biden also garnered more than 80 million votes nationwide, compared to Trump’s more than 73 million. 

Trump also said the FBI and DOJ have been “missing in action” and failed to properly investigate election fraud allegations. 

“You would think if you’re in the FBI or Department of Justice, this is the biggest thing you could be looking at. Where are they?” he asked. “I’ve not seen anything.”

Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department has responded to Trump’s baseless claims as of Monday morning. 

Trump’s claims drew criticism from some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois.

“The @FBI did not rig the election,” Kinzinger wrote. “If you find yourself believing they did, please stop, and say it out loud, and you will realize how silly it sounds. “@realDonaldTrump simply flooding the zone with baseless conspiracies again.”

Flynn Says He Can ‘Breathe Freedom and Liberty’ After Trump Pardons Him

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Thursday he can “breathe freedom and liberty” a day after President Trump pardoned him. 

“For the first time in more than four years and because of my fearless attorney, Sidney Powell, the Guardian Angel of American Justice, and thousands of good people with endless energy rallying together on my behalf, I breathe freedom and liberty today,” Flynn said in a lengthy statement.

Flynn, 61-year-old retired lieutenant general, is Trump’s first national security advisor and was the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. But he later fired his attorneys and asked to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was entrapped by the FBI and Justice Department. 

“Never again should any family or individual be so viciously targeted, maligned, smeared, and threatened such has been the experience of my family and I. Not you and your loved ones, not me nor President Trump, our First Lady, and the Trump children,” he said.

“Stand with me today in renouncing this betrayal of trust that has burdened our nation and proclaim with one united voice across this land that we will never again allow the rightful power of the citizens of this country to be uprooted, undercut, usurped, or held hostage by a coup against our nation, a duly elected President or any future president of these United States.”

Trump is expected to issue more pardons before leaving office. 

Update: Trump Pardons Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

Update: 5:12 p.m. Wednesday: As expected, President Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

On late Wednesday afternoon he tweeted:

It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!


From Wednesday Morning

President Trump plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn before leaving office, according to Axios and The New York Times

Flynn, 61-year-old retired lieutenant general, is among a number of people that Trump plans to pardon before his team ends, sources told the news outlets. 

Flynn is Trump’s first national security advisor and also was the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. But he later fired his attorneys and asked to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was entrapped by the FBI and Justice Department. 

Attorney General William Barr, who has intervened in cases involving the president’s allies, has asked Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the case in May. Sullivan has not made a decision

In April, weeks before the Justice Department intervened, Trump tweeted, “What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!”

When asked about a potential pardon of Flynn in July, Trump said “I don’t have a decision to make” about a potential pardon for Flynn “until I find out what’s going to happen” with Flynn’s attempt to get his conviction tossed.

“I think he’s doing very well with respect to his case,” Trump told reporters at the time. “I hope that he’s going to be able to win it.”