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Tag: Robert Mueller

Trump Calls Special Counsel Team ‘Thugs’ Who Are ‘Looking for Trouble’

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued to lash out this morning about a New York York Times story that revealed his White House counsel, Don McGahn, has been cooperating with the special counsel team investigating potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign. 

In a series of increasingly “incendiary tweets, Trump suggested special counsel Robert Mueller is “looking for trouble” for spending more than 30 hours interviewing McGahn.

“Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russia Collusion is just someone looking for trouble,” Trump tweeted. “They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side – the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more!”

Trump called Mueller’s team “thugs” and a “National Disgrace.”

The Times reported Sunday that McGahan provided new “detailed accounts” that may help Mueller’s team determine whether Trump obstructed justice.

On Sunday, Trump called the authors of the Times piece “two fake reporters” who falsely claimed the White House counsel “TURNED on the President.”

“This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!”

Jury Reconvenes Today After Asking Judge to Clarify Meaning of ‘Reasonable Doubt’

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A jury will reconvene Friday morning after failing to reach a verdict during its full day of  deliberations in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Just before the jury said it wanted to go home at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the panel asked Judge T.S. Ellis to clarify the meaning of “reasonable doubt,” the threshold for acquittal. The judge clarified that the prosecution must prove their case beyond “doubt based on reason,” not “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The jury also asked three other questions, including the legal requirements to disclose foreign bank accounts and the definition of “shelf” companies.

Ellis provided no insight, except to say the jury should rely on their “collective recollection.”

The jury will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Friday to determine whether Manafort is guilty of 18 counts of tax and bank fraud, which prosecutors said the Republican consultant committed to indulge in an excessive lifestyle that included more than $6 million on seven homes, $820,000 ons manicure the lawns, a $21,000 black titanium and crystal watch, a $15,000 ostrich jacket and an $18,000 python jacket. 

If convicted, Mueller could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The jury’s decision in the first trial brought forward by special counsel Robert Mueller carries a lot of weight for special counsel Robert Mueller and President Trump, who has long complained that the investigation is a “witch hunt” designed to force him out of office.

Whatever the case, Manafort faces a second trial in several months on money laundering charges, and prosecutors are expected to have even more evidence in that case.

Trump Legal Team Preparing for Potential Supreme Court Showdown If President Is Subpoened

Rudy Giuliani, president Trump’s attorney.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s legal team is preparing for what could be a dramatic showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court if Robert Mueller subpoenas the president for a sit-down interview. 

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been negotiating terms for an interview between the president and special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors, told the Washington Post that his legal team would “move to quash” a subpoena. 

Mueller’s team has tried for months to reach an agreement with Trump’s lawyers for an interview with the president over allegations obstruction of justice during the Russia probe. Mueller has said he is prepared to issue a subpoena if Trump won’t voluntarily sit down for an interview, which could include questions about obstruction of justice and collusion with Russia during the presidential campaign.

The case would be unprecedented because no high court has determined whether a president can be forced to be interviewed about a criminal investigation.

Jury Begins Deciding Fate of Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Just two years ago, Paul Manafort was lavishly dressed, owned six luxury homes and was leading the improbable presidential campaign for Donald Trump.

Today, the 69-year-old’s life is reduced to a jail cell, prison garb and anxiety about whether he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars.

His fate is in the hands of a jury today as they determine whether one of the GOP’s most successful, if shady, operatives is guilty of bank and tax fraud in order to sustain an extravagant, excessive lifestyle.

In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors argued they presented plenty of evidence that Manafort concealed millions of dollars in foreign banks accounts to dodge tax penalties from money he made working for a Ukrainian political party and that he lied about his income to receive tens of millions of dollars in loans that he otherwise wasn’t eligible for.

His defense team blamed the people who testified against him and admitted they violated the law. That includes his longtime business partner and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who testified against Manafort as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

The jury’s decision in the first trial brought forward by special counsel Robert Mueller carries a lot of wieght for special counsel Robert Mueller and President Trump, who has long complained that the investigation is a “witch hunt” designed to force him out of office.

Whatever the case, Manafort faces a second trial in several months on money laundering charges.

Check back for updates.

Jury to Deliberate on Fate of Manafort After Closing Arguments Today in 10-Day Trial

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lawyers rested their case in the two-week fraud trial, presenting no evidence and calling no witnesses Tuesday.

Today, both sides will deliver closing arguments that summarize the 10 days of testimony in the first trial stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia.

This jacket was among many pieces of clothing used to show Manafort’s lavish lifestyle.

Then, the fate of the 69-year-old Republican operative will land in the hands of a jury, who will determine whether Manafort is guilty of bank and tax fraud. A conviction could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

During closing arguments, prosecutors will try to convince the jury that Manafort hid millions of dollars he made lobbying for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party in foreign bank accounts to avoid paying taxes. They’ll also point to evidence that he received millions of dollars in loans by hiding his true income after he lost his consulting job.

The prosecution said Manafort was motivated by financing an extravagant lifestyle that included lavish clothes and six homes.

His defense team likely will place blame on people who testified against Manafort and admitted wrongdoing, including his former business partner Rick Gates.

No matter what verdict the jury hands down, Manafort’s troubles are far from over. He faces a second criminal trial in a case that alleges lobbying crimes and money laundering.

Manafort has refused to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for more information that could reveal more about Trump and his campaign’s role in working with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

A lot is at stake for Mueller, who continues to be attacked by Trump as heading a politically connected “witch hunt.” The lack of a conviction during Mueller’s first trial would surely be used by Trump to continue to undermine the special counsel, the FBI and Justice Department.

But a conviction would give the president less ammunition to continue undermining the credibility of the investigation, which began in May 2017 after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Jury May Decide Fate of Manafort This Week Before He Faces Another Trial

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A verdict in the bank and tax fraud case against Paul Manafort could come as early as this week, and a guilty verdict could has the potential of putting President Trump’s former campaign chairman in prison for the rest of his life.

Robert Mueller’s prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case today, depending on what the defense does, the case could go to the jury by midweek.

A lot is at stake in the first trial since Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russia’s meddling in the election. A victory could restore faith in the investigation, while a defeat could give Trump more ammunition to claim the probe is part of a “witch hunt,” a far-fetched claim that nonetheless has gained traction among many Republicans.

Monday marks the 10th day in Alexandria, Va., federal court.

When the trial resumes Monday afternoon, prosecutes are expected to call to the stand James Brennan, an executive at the Federal Savings Bank.

What’s unclear is whether Manafort’s lawyers plan to call their own witnesses.

Whatever the case, not even an acquittal ends the legal troubles of Manafort, a longtime GOP operative accused of concealing millions of dollars he made from Russian-friendly Ukrainian officials by depositing the money into foreign bank accounts to avoid taxes.

A second Manafort trial is scheduled for mid-September in Washington D.C., a case that alleges Manafort laundered money and failed to register as a lobbyist while working for the Ukrainian government.

Giuliani Backtracks, Says Trump Never Discussed Flynn with Ex-FBI Director Comey

Rudy Giuliani on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of the key obstruction of justice allegations against President Trump is that he urged then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into one-time National Security Director Michael Flynn.

The president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani is now saying that Trump will deny he ever encouraged Comey to fire Flynn, contradicting past statements he made to the media.

“There was no conversation about Michael Flynn,” Trump’s personal attorney said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “That is what he will testify to if he’s asked that question.”

Giuliani denied that he told ABC’s “This Week” last month that Trump had asked Comey to give Flynn “a break.”

Giuliana backtracked, maintaining that he “said that is what Comey is saying.”

Confused yet? 

In the ABC interview in early July, Giuliani denied that Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation, saying, “He didn’t direct him to do that. What he said to him was, ‘Can you give him a break?’”

Comey testified that Trump told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”

Trump reluctantly fired Flynn when news surfaced that the retired Army general had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with a Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.

In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the Russian contacts.

During Sunday’s interview, Giuliani said that if Trump is forced to testify before Robert Mueller’s investigators, the president will deny he told Comey to “let this go.”

Mueller was appointed to investigate Russia after Trump fired Comey in May 2017.

So far, the president’s lawyers are refusing an interview between Trump and Mueller’s team. The fear is that Trump will perjure himself. 

Constitutional Law Expert: Enough Is Enough. Time to Subpoena President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump and his lawyers have stalled long enough, and the time has come to subpoena the president.

So says Harry Litman, a constructional law professor at the University of California at San Diego.

“Enough is enough. It’s time to subpoena the president,” Litman argued in a column for the Washington Post

Litman said special counsel Robert Mueller has been “patient while Trump and his representative engaged in scarcely credible gamesmanship.”

Trump continues to call the special counsel investigation “a witch hunt” as he tries to chip away at the credibility of the FBI and Justice Department, an effort that appears to be paying off as most of the president’s most ardent supporters agree with his calculated remarks about federal law enforcement.

“It has become increasingly apparent that neither Trump nor anyone in his orbit has any interest in his answering Mueller’s questions,” Litman wrote. “In a word, they are playing Mueller, and in the process, playing the country.”