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Tag: Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller Makes Short List for Times’s Person of the Year 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia and Trump’s campaign, made the short list for Time’s Person of the Year 2018.

The magazine ran a lengthy, insightful piece about how the often silent prosecutor has continued his investigation in spite of constant attacks by President Trump and his backers, who claim Mueller is on a “witch hunt.”

Just this year, Mueller charged 34 people and entities with crimes, often convincing them to cooperate as the investigation balloons and begins to focus on the president.

Time wrote:

Mueller’s silence has invited noisy speculation from partisans. To critics on the right, he is an overzealous prosecutor drunk on power and roaming beyond his mandate in a bid to drum Trump out of office. To liberals, he is a crusading hero who won’t quit until he brings the President to justice. The public narrative of Mueller’s investigation this year has often described its central character more as myth than man.

So it is instructive to hear friends and former colleagues talk about Robert Swan Mueller III. Not because they portray a perfect person, but because they describe a complicated one: relentless but circumspect, impatient but thorough, difficult but respected. Mueller, they say, is the kind of man who flicks the lights off and on at his home to inform guests that it’s time to leave a social gathering, and who is so keenly aware of any appearance of impropriety that he won’t even enter the same room as friends who are working on the other side of the Russia case. As FBI director, he twice threatened to resign over matters of legal principle, winning the standoff both times, and was infamous for eviscerating ill-prepared underlings. “If indicting his own mother was the right thing to do,” says former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, “he would do it.”

These qualities, manifest in Mueller’s work this year, are why many believe he was ideally suited to oversee the biggest test to the American system of justice since Watergate. As the nation awaits Mueller’s report and the political pressure intensifies, he has led the investigation with the same rigor and sense of duty that has marked his life. “He likes to follow procedures,” says David Kris, former Assistant Attorney General in the national-security division of the Department of Justice. “And those procedures he sees as a safe harbor against the stormy seas of politicization.”

Time placed Mueller on the “short list,” as the No. 3 person of the year for 2018.

Time named a group of journalists it referred to as “The Guardians” as the 2018 Person of the Year, referring to the reporters “who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths.”

Mueller: Flynn Provided ‘Substantial Assistance’ in Russia Probe, Recommending No Jail Time

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller recommended no jail time for Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, saying he provided “substantial assistance” to several ongoing investigations.

Flynn cooperated during 19 interviews with federal investigators, providing early insight into the Russia investigation and possibly helping encourage others to cooperate, a court filing states.

Flynn, who was pressured to abandoned his post as national security adviser for misleading administration officials, is among five Trump aides who have pleaded guilty in the special counsel investigation.

The sentencing memo provided the first description from prosecutors about the extent of Flynn’s cooperation.

But for now, it’s unclear what information Flynn provided because the memo is heavily redacted.

Flynn was among Trump’s early supporters who led “Lock her up!” chants targeting Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s Tweetstorm May Be Considered Obstruction And Witness-Tampering

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s habit of firing off incendiary tweets without consulting with White House attorneys may have landed him in hot water.

As special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigates whether Trump obstructed justice in connection with his 2016 presidential campaign, he “edged closer to an open display of obstruction of justice and witness tampering,” The Washington Post reports

In a series tweet Monday, Trump urged former aides aim to refuse to cooperate with the federal investigators and even appeared to imply threats against those who do.

It began with an attack on his former attorney Michael Cohen, suggesting he should receive no deals for cooperating with investigators.

“‘Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? … He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence,” Trump tweeted.

Subjects of criminal investigations are prohibited from retaliating against people who testify against them. 

Trump followed up the tweet with a quote from Stone: “I will never testify against Trump.”

Trump added, “This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’ ”

The Washington Post wrote:

So where he threatened a stick against Cohen, Trump offered a carrot to Stone, signaling where their allegiances should lie. This proof of potential witness tampering and obstruction of justice is made even stronger by the fact that the messaging is from the person who holds the most powerful get-out-of-jail-free card: a presidential pardon.”

Taken together, Trump’s statements Monday are a message not only to Cohen and Stone, but also to anyone else who may be considering testifying or cooperating against the president or any of his associates. And the message is quite clear: Those who cooperate with law enforcement and agree to be witnesses against Trump will be punished, while those who keep his secrets will be protected.

The tweets Monday are not, alas, isolated incidents. The president has tweeted before that he is being persecuted by the special counsel’s office, purportedly threatened those in a position to preserve the Mueller investigation, asked for loyalty of those who might prosecute his confederates and engaged in a host of additional conduct evincing an intent to block Mueller’s work, as well as committing overt acts seemingly directed at obstructing the investigation.

Trump’s Company Offered Putin a $50M Penthouse in Planned Tower in Russia

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Trump Organization offered Russian President Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse as the company negotiated the luxury real estate development during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to several media outlets.

“If we have Putin in the penthouse every oligarch in Russia would want to live in that building,” Felix Sater, a businessman who worked on the project and suggested the idea, told the Washington Post.

The revelations came as Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney and confidant, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Russia. 

According to BuzzFeed News, Cohen discussed the plan with a representative of Putin’s press secretary.

The Trump Tower in Russia has become a target of Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Trump was aware of the Penthouse plan.

Trump’s Former Lawyer Cohen Pleads Guilty to Lying to Congress about Russia

Trump Tower in New York City.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former lawyer and longtime confidant Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Russia, according to multiple news reports.

Cohen has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in what could be a big break for Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

The guilty plea came just a few hours after Trump slammed Mueller in another tweetstorm.

“When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever?” Trump tweeted.

The timing of the plea coincides with Trump’s plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 nations summit in Argentina.

Here’s How Trump Responded to 2 Questions from Mueller

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump responded in writing to the special counsel team that he was not notified of a meeting at the Trump Tower between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The president also denied that his former political adviser Roger Stone told him about Wikileaks’ plan to release hacked emails from the Democratic Party that were damaging to Clinton.

That’s according to CNN, which obtained two of the president’s written responses to Robert Mueller’s team investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Trump has refused an in-person interview with Mueller’s team and only agreed to answer questions about collision with Russia.

Manafort Reportedly Met Secretly with Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

Julian Assange on Fox News

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, met secretly with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Sources told the Guardian that Manafort met Assange in 2013, 2015 and in the spring of 2016, which is when Manafort joined the Trump campaign.

Manafort denied the meetings took place.

“I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him,” Manafort said in a statement. “I have never been contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or WikiLeaks on any matter.”

Special counsel prosecutors are likely to be interested in the 2016 meeting because several months later Wikileaks dumped a trove of damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

What’s unclear is what the meetings involved.

Manafort, who is in solitary confinement at a prison in Virginia, could receive more time behind bars after Robert Mueller’s special counsel team said he repeatedly lied to the FBI, even after striking a deal to cooperate with prosecutors.

Manafort’s Attorney Leaked Information to Trump’s Legal Team

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Paul Manafort’s attorney provided the president’s legal team with updates and details about interviews with federal prosecutors, even after the former Trump campaign boss pledged to cooperate with authorities.

Special prosecutors for Robert Mueller were enraged to discover the discussions were taking place, and some authorities are speculating the secret briefings were Manafort’s way of gaining a presidential pardon, the New York Times reports

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed the discussions with the Times.

Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, told Giuliani that Manafort was questioned in-depth about the Trump Tower meeting in which a Russian lawyer secretly gathered with Manafort, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Manafort also was asked whether the president was aware of the meeting.

“He wants Manafort to incriminate Trump,” Giuliani said.

On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted that “at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief.”

“This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!”

As is usual with Trump’s Twitter tirades, Trump provided no names or any more detail to back up his claims.