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Tag: Robert Mueller

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.

Appeals Court: DOJ Must Disclose Grand Jury Material to Democrats on House Committee

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to give House lawmakers secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, The Washington Post reported.

The 2-1 decision is a partial victory for House Democrats who have been trying to obtain the grand jury material. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld a district court ruling a year ago, can be appealed to the full court or the Supreme Court.

That means the secret material from the investigation does not yet have to be disclosed.

Michael Flynn Wants to Withdraw His 2017 Guilty Plea in Mueller Probe

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn wants to withdraw his guilty plea to lying to the FBI during the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, his lawyers said in a court filing obtained by Reuters.

Flynn’s change of heart comes after federal prosecutors reversed course and called for up to six months in prison for Flynn, the only member of the Trump administration to plead guilty in the Robert Mueller probe.

The prosecutors called for the stiffer sentence after Flynn began arguing that prosecutors violated his rights.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Federal Prosecutors Reverse Course, Call for 6 Months in Jail for Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are now calling for up to six months in prison for Michael Flynn, saying the former Trump national security adviser shows no signs of remorse after embracing a combative defense strategy.

The Justice Department initially suggested it was open to probation for Flynn, the only member of the Trump administration to plead guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation. At the time Flynn was cooperating with investigators. But after that, Flynn took a different course and tried in vein to get the case dismissed.

“Far from accepting the consequences of his unlawful actions, he has sought to blame almost every other person and entity involved in his case, including his former counsel,” federal prosecutors wrote in a memo to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. “Most blatantly, the defendant now professes his innocence.”

The sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 28.

Rick Gates Sentenced to 45 Days in Jail for Lying to FBI, Conspiring to Conceal Money

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in jail and three years probation for lying to the FBI and conspiring to conceal tens of millions of dollars.

Gates, 47, had faced up to six years in prison, but a federal judge in Washington D.C. showed leniency because of Gates’ help providing information for the special counsel probe.

“He’s had to testify, be identified as a known cooperator in the glare of public attention at a time of deep political division in our society, when people are demonized for being on the other side, and he was seen as turning on his own side,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, The New York Times reports. “Gates’ information alone warranted, even demanded further investigation from the standpoint of national security, the integrity of our elections and enforcing criminal laws.”

Gates, who pleaded guilty in February 2018, will be able to serve his sentence on weekends, the judge said. Gates also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service.

“I greatly regret the mistakes that I have made, and I have worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends,” Gates said in a prepared statement.

In a sentencing recommendation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston complimented Gates for his assistance in the investigation.

“Under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement,” Gaston wrote this month.

Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, asked for probation and community service for his client.