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Tag: Robert Mueller

Comey Slams House Intel Report on Collusion, Says Trump Has No Credibility

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed a House intelligence Committee report by Republicans that concluded President Trump’s campaign didn’t collude with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017, also said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the president should avoid an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I have serious doubts about his credibility,” Comey said.

Comey, who is doing a round of interviews to publicize his new memoir, added: “Sometimes people who have serious credibility problems can tell the truth when they realise that the consequences of not telling the truth in an interview or in the grand jury would be dire, But you’d have to go in with a healthy sense that he might lie to you.”

Comey called the GOP-authored report on its Russia investigation “a political document,” saying the probe “wrecked the committee.”

Trump hailed the 253-page report Friday as vindication that the special counsel investigation is a “total Witch Hunt.”

Comey accused the president of “an effort to undermine the credibility of the investigation that the special counsel’s conducting.”

Senate Committee Approves Bill to Protect Mueller’s Firing

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fire by President Trump.

The committee advanced the measure with a 14-7 vote, putting pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow the full Senate to vote.

Four Republicans joined Democrats to pass the legislation: Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

McConnell pledged last week to prevent the bill from reaching the Senate floor for a vote, saying there was “no indication” that Trump would fire Mueller and it was unlikely he would approve the measure.    

Grassley said Thursday “this bill should be considered by the full Senate,” despite the objections of McConnell, The USA Today reports.

“Because special counsel investigations only occur where there is a conflict of interest within the executive branch, special counsel investigations are usually matters of great national concern,” Grassley said. “And Congress, by exercising its oversight powers, can help the American people to have confidence that these investigations are conducted efficiently and independently.”

Mueller Confirms Manafort Raid Targeted Records on Trump Tower Meeting, Russian Oligarch

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When FBI agents raided the home of Paul Manafort, the former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, last summer, a judge signed off on seizing records related to a previously undisclosed meeting between the campaign and Russian lobbyists at the Trump Tower in June 2016.

Agents walked out with tens of thousands of records, including documents related to a civil lawsuit over a drawn-out dispute with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Bloomberg reports.

The scope of the search was revealed Monday in a court filing by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team that is investigating possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The disclosure is significant because it means Mueller is focusing on a potential collusion case against members of Trump’s campaign.

Deripaska, who is believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, hired Manafort as a political consultant and invested $18.9 million with Manafort’s cable-television venture. Deripaska, the billionaire founder and majority shareholder of En+ Group, also paid Manafort $7.35 million in management fees.

When the deal went sour, Deripaska sued.

Deripaska was among the Russians penalized with sanctions last month by the Trump administration.

Manafort, who faces trial on numerous charges related to conspiracy and fraud in connection with his business relationship with pro-Russia, Ukrainian officials. Manafort has pleaded not guilty, while his longtime business partner has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation as part of a leniency deal in exchange for pleading guilty to some charges.

Trump Wanted to Know Why Two FBI Officials Still Had Their Jobs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

President Trump pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to explain why two FBI officials still have their jobs after it was revealed they made disparaging remarks about him in text messages to each other.

During the same meeting at the White House on Jan. 22, Trump urged his attorney general and FBI director to dig up dirt on the senior officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, to discredit them as part of a broader campaign to delegitimize Robert Mueller’s investigation, which has cast a dark shadow over the White House, Vox reports. 

In a private meeting with Sessions the next day, the president was more blunt: Fire Strzok and Page, who were removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation months before the text messages were disclosed. The texts also poked fun at Hillary Clinton.

Some legal scholars cautioned that Trump is treading on dangerous territory because he’s already under investigation for obstruction of justice for firing then-FBI Director James Comey in May promoted.

Last summer, Trump’s attorney advised him that Page was likely to be a witness against him in the special counsel probe.

Democrats and some Republicans fear Trump is trying to justify firing Mueller by discrediting those involved in the 11-month-old investigation, which so far has netted indictments against more than 20 people and entities.

 

Giuliani Joins Trump’s Legal Team to ‘Negotiate an End’ to Mueller Probe

Rudolph Giuliani

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a longtime friend of President Trump, joined the president’s legal team on Thursday to “negotiate an end” to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that has cast a long shadow over the White House.

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said in an interview Thursday with the Washington Post. 

Trump also brought on former federal prosecutors Jane Serene Raskin and Martin R. Raskin to help “quickly” put an end to the 11-month-old investigation, which has netted indictment against more than 20 people and entities.

Giuliani will be tasked with negotiating the conditions of an interview between Trump and Mueller.

Trump on Whether He Plans to Fire Mueller or Rosenstein: ‘They’re Still There’

President Trump, via the White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump wouldn’t say Wednesday whether he planned to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein but indicated he has cooperated with the probe.

When asked if he had “concluded it is not worth the political fallout” to fire his way out of the special counsel investigation, Trump responded by calling the probe a “hoax” and said neither he nor his campaign did anything wrong.

“They’ve been saying I’m going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they’re still here. We want to get the investigations over with, done with, behind us,” the president said at a joint press conference in Florida with the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Earlier this month, when asked whether he had plans to fire Mueller, Trump responded, “I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. We’ll see what happens. Many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing. And in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.”

Democrats and some Republicans have pledged to impeach Trump if he fires Mueller.

Trump, Allies Fear Cohen May Flip on President Under Pressure

President Trump at the White House, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump and his outside advisers are growing more concerned that Trump’s longtime attorney and loyal ally, Michael Cohen, may cooperate with federal prosecutors if he’s charged with a crime.

Two sources close to the president told Politico that White House officials are openly questioning whether Cohen would flip if he is facing jail time. 

“That’s what they’ll threaten him with: life imprisonment,” said Alan Dershowitz, a frequent Trump defender who met with the president and his staff at the White House last week. “They’re going to threaten him with a long prison term and try to turn him into a canary that sings.”

FBI agents raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room, seizing computers, phones and documents, including correspondence with his clients.

Investigators are scrutinizing, among other things, a $130,000 payment that Cohen said he gave adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

“When anybody is faced with spending a long time in jail, they start to re-evaluate their priorities, and cooperation can’t be ruled out,” said one Trump ally who knows Cohen.

Trump and his advisers are more fearful of the Cohen investigation that the special counsel one, the sources said.

Pittsburgh Orders Police to Prepare for Riot If Trump Fires Mueller

Pittsburgh police

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Pittsburgh Police Department has ordered its officers to bring riot gear to work over fears that President Trump will soon fire special counsel Robert Mueller, sparking civil unrest.

Pittsburgh police sent an email to officers on Wednesday, warning that the department has “received information of a potential large protest in the Central Business District” and police should prepare for a riot “until further notice,” according to an internal email first obtained by WTAE-TV, the ABC station in Pittsburgh. 

“We have received information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District,” read the internal email from Victor Joseph, commander of major crimes.

“There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller,” the email continued. “This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice.”

He added, “We may be needed to assist in the event that there is a large scale protest.”

Trump has ramped up his criticism of Mueller, who is investigating the president and his campaign, prompting fears that he could soon fire the special counsel.

On Wednesday, Trump wouldn’t confirm reports that he planned to soon fire Mueller, but said his administration has been transparent and cooperative with the probe.