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Tag: Robert Mueller

FBI Hid Copies of Russia Probe Documents to Prevent Trump from Interfering

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Worried that President Trump would interfere with the FBI investigation into Russia, former FBI Director Andrew McCabe took steps to preserve documents related to the case in case he was ousted, CNN first reported.

McCabe instructed agents to make three copies of key documents and place them in remote locations around the FBI, according to an excerpt from CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s book, “True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump.”

Former FBI Director James Comey’s memos about his conversations with Trump were placed in SENTINEL, the bureau’s case management system.

“McCabe knew that once documents were inside the system, they were virtually impossible to remove,” CNN reported. “With Comey’s memos in the system, the investigators were certain to have access to them – even if McCabe himself would eventually be gone.”

The documents were eventually turned over to Robert Mueller, who was appointed special counsel to oversee the investigation. Those documents proved to be critical to the investigation.

After Trump Commuted Roger Stone’s Prison Term, Is Michael Flynn Next?

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Now that President Trump has commuted the prison term of Roger Stone, many are wondering if Michael Flynn is next.

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.

When it comes to a potential pardon of Flynn, who was convicted of lying to FBI agents, Trump said Monday, “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, CNBC reports.

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

The Justice Department is asking Judge Emmett Sullivan to dismiss the conviction. After he was ordered to dismiss the case by a federal appeals court panel, Sullivan requested the court’s full line-up to reconsider the decision.

Trump has long insisted that the Mueller investigation was a hoax, even though numerous people have been convicted as a result of the probe.

Sen. Graham to Invite Mueller to Testify After Ex-Special Counsel Wrote Op-Ed about Roger Stone

Robert S. Mueller III testifies before Congress last summer.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to invite former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee after Mueller penned a rare op-ed in response to President Trump’s decision to commute Roger Stone’s prison sentence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have long called for Mueller to testify, but Graham has denied the request – until now.

“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham tweeted. “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation. That request will be granted.”

A spokesman for Graham told NBC News that a “formal invivtation to Mr. Mueller is in the works.”

In The Washington Post op-ed, Mueller wrote that he was “compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office.”

“The Russia investigation was of paramount importance,” he said. “Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Trump drew criticism from Democrats and some Republicans after commuting Stone’s prison sentence on Friday.

Robert S. Mueller III: Roger Stone Was Not A Victim of Our Office

The author is the former FBI director and served as special counsel for the Justice Department from 2017 to 2019.

By Robert S. Mueller III
For the Washington Post

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before congress.

The work of the special counsel’s office — its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions — should speak for itself. But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office. The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.

Russia’s actions were a threat to America’s democracy. It was critical that they be investigated and understood. By late 2016, the FBI had evidence that the Russians had signaled to a Trump campaign adviser that they could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to the Democratic candidate. And the FBI knew that the Russians had done just that: Beginning in July 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen by Russian military intelligence officers from the Clinton campaign. Other online personas using false names — fronts for Russian military intelligence — also released Clinton campaign emails.

Following FBI Director James B. Comey’s termination in May 2017, the acting attorney general named me as special counsel and directed the special counsel’s office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The order specified lines of investigation for us to pursue, including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. One of our cases involved Stone, an official on the campaign until mid-2015 and a supporter of the campaign throughout 2016. Stone became a central figure in our investigation for two key reasons: He communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers.

To read the full column click here.

Supreme Court to Consider Dispute Over Secret Grand Jury Materials from Mueller Probe

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The dispute between House Democrats and the Trump administration over releasing secret grand jury materials from Robert Mueller’s investigation will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court on Thursday said it will take up the case as the House Judiciary Committee seeks secret grand jury information, CBS News reports.

But it’s unlikely court will make a decision before the November election.

The case centers around the August 2019 release of Mueller’s report, which was heavily redacted.

The Justice Department has refused to give congressional leaders access to the grand jury documents in the case.

Democrats say they need the information to determine whether the president committed impeachable offenses.

Former DOJ Official Claims Barr Twisted Her Words to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

McCord, who oversaw the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the charges largely hinged on her account about what led up to the bureau’s interview with Flynn, who was President Trump’s first national security adviser.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does,” McCord wrote. “What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with (Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Those apparent lies prompted Mr. Pence and others to convey inaccurate statements about the nature of the conversations in public news conferences and interviews.”

McCord acknowledged the FBI should have coordinated Flynn’s interview with the Justice Department, but said she does not believe the agencies lacked a reason to suspect Flynn may have violated crimes.

“It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious,” she concluded.

McCord concluded, “In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

Justice Department Moves to Drop Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn, Drawing Criticism

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, citing documents detailing how FBI officials planned to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn.

The decision to recommend that a judge dismiss the case drew immediate criticism from legal experts and Democrats, who raised serious questions about the motivations of the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

In documents filed Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C., the Justice Department said, “The Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” NBC News reports.

“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the filing said.

The decision follows the release of an internal review into the handling of the case. Flynn’s lawyers claimed the review shows Flynn had been entrapped into lying when FBI agents interviewed him.

Trump applauded the DOJ’s recommendation.

“I didn’t know that was happening at this moment. I felt it was going to happen just by watching and seeing like everybody else does,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“He was an innocent man,” he said of Flynn. “He is a great gentleman.”

The move was “outrageous,” chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said.

“The evidence against General Flynn is overwhelming. He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. And now a politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the President’s crony simply walk away,” Nadler said in a statement.

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who responded to the DOJ’s actions by saying “This is not justice,” urged Justice Department lawyers not to resign.

“DOJ lawyers of integrity will be tempted to resign over today’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case,” McQuade tweeted. “My advice is to please stay. We need you instead of those who might replace you.”

The recommendation still needs to be approved by Judge Emmet Sullivan.

DOJ Moves to Dismiss Charges Against Russians Accused of Running Troll Farms

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department filed a motion Monday to dismiss charges against two shell companies involved in Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election.

The move comes just two weeks before jury selection was to begin in the case against Concord Management and Concord Consulting, which were charged in 2018 as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller probe.

Prosecutors say the companies were using the case to try to gain access to sensitive information that could harm U.S. national security, The New York Times reports.

“Concord has been eager and aggressive in using the judicial system to gather information about how the United States detects and prevents foreign election interference,” prosecutors said in a motion filed in court on Monday.