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Tag: Robert Mueller

FBI’s General Counsel Turns Over Notes to Mueller About Comey and Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dana Boente, the FBI’s general counsel and former acting attorney general, has been interviewed by Robert Mueller and turned over notes that appear to corroborate fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony that President Trump pressured him to end the Russia probe.

The news indicates Mueller is actively investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey.

TheWashington Post reports that Mueller interviewed Boente, who was involved in the early part of the FBI’s investigation into Russian wedding during the election, “some months ago … on a wide range of topics, including his recollections of what former FBI Director James Comey told him about troubling interactions with Trump.”

Trump has claimed Comey was lying about the conversations, but the former FBI director’s notes – and now handwritten notes from Boente – cast doubt over the president’s claims.

 

Bi-Partisan Group to Craft Legislation to Protect Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s suggestion that he may fire Robert Mueller has prompted a bipartisan group to craft legislation that is expected to be introduced Wednesday that would protect the special counsel’s job.

The bill, crafted by Republican Sens Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Cory Booker of New Jersey, would give any special counsel 10 days to seek an expired judicial review if he or she is fired, CBS News and the Associated Press

The two Republicans introduced seminary bills in August, but the legislation went nowhere because the lawmakers said they didn’t believe Trump would move to fire Mueller. But that has changed since Trump’s latest tirade over the FBI’s raid of the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

The legislation calls for an expedited review to determine whether there was good cause to fire the special counsel. In addition, records from the investigation would be preserved.

But moving the bill through the House and Senate would be difficult because Republicans control both legislative bodies and many have indicated they are confident Trump won’t move to fire Mueller.

“I don’t think he’s going to be removed,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “I think he’ll be allowed to finish his job.”

Nevertheless, some Republicans warned that firing Mueller would lead to consequences for Trump.

“There would be serious repercussions,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. “I’ve shared with the president what a massive mistake it would be for him to do this. I’ve done that in person.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, added Tuesday on Fox Business News: “It would be suicide for the president to want to talk about firing Mueller. The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be.”

Trump Publicly Floats Idea of Firing Mueller After Agents Raid Attorney

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump raised the possibility of firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the presidential election, after the FBI raided the office, home and hotel room of the president’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen.

“I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on,” Trump said during a meeting with military officials Monday. “We’ll see what happens but I think it’s a really sad situation when you look at what happened.”

Trump added, “Many people have said, ‘You should fire him.’”

Democrats and some Republicans said they would vote to impeach Trump if he fired Mueller, who was appointed in May by Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Trump again slammed Sessions for the decision to recuse himself.

“The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this,” the president said. “He certainly should have let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have put a different attorney general in. So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.”

It’s unclear how Trump would fire Mueller, who reports directly to Rosenstein. Legal experts said he would have to fire Sessions and replace him with an attorney general who would terminate Mueller.

Trump again dismissed the probe as a “witch hunt” and even “an attack on our country in a true sense.”

“It’s an attack on what we all stand for,” he added.

In a series of tweets Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Trump against meddling in the probe.

“If [the president] is thinking of using the FBI raid to fire Special Counsel Mueller or otherwise interfere with the chain of command in the Russia probe, we Democrats have one simple message for him: don’t,” Schumer wrote. “Mueller, a Republican, has uncovered a deep & detailed pattern of Russian interference in our elections that led to indictments & guilty pleas. It also led to the Trump admin itself leveling sanctions against Russian individuals, proof that it’s not a so-called ‘witch-hunt.’”

Muller Investigating Ukrainian Oligarch’s $150,000 Donation to Trump Foundation

Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 donation that a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch made to the Trump Foundation.

Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk allegedly donated the money in exchange for Trump delivering a 20-minute speech via video to a conference in Kiev, the New York Times reports

Trump was one of several Republican candidates for president at the time.

The speech was set up in August 2015 by Doug Schoen, a political consultant who works for Pinchuk, a steel magnate.

According to the Times, Schoen personally contact Trump to deliver the speech but did not broach the subject of a payment. But Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is believed to have contacted Schoen a day after the speech to request a $150,000 payment in exchange for the speech.

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel on Tuesday, seizing e-mail, tax records and communications between his clients.

Mueller is investigating foreign money that Trump’s campaign accepted and whether any of it benefits his personal finances.

FBI Raids Office of Longtime Trump Attorney Michael Cohen, Seizes Records

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and confidant Michael Cohen, seizing emails, tax documents and records involving payments to an adult film actress.

Cohen’s lawyer Stephen Ryan confirmed on Monday that federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained a search warrant after receiving a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times first reported

Among the documents seized was information related to porn actress Stormy Daniels, whom Cohen paid $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement to keep quiet about an affair she had with Trump in 2006.

The New York Times reports that the payment is just one of “many topics” being scrutinized by the FBI and does not appear to be directly related to Mueller’s investigation. Other documents include business records and communications between Trump and Cohen.

Ryan called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”

Cohen’s payment to Daniels has raised eyebrows because it came just days before the 2016 election. While Cohen acknowledged paying Daniels, he insisted the payment didn’t violate campaign finance laws.

Last week, Trump said he knew nothing about the payment.

Roger Stone: Manafort Will Never ‘Roll Over’ on President Trump

Roger Stone on CBS4.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone said the president’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort will not plead guilty or “roll over” on Trump.

Stone told CBS4 that Manafort, who has been charged on numerous counts, including conspiracy and bank fraud, told him he has no plans to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign to undermine the 2016 presidential election. 

“He’s feisty and combative and he’s not going to plead guilty,” Stone said. “And he’s not going to roll over on this president.”

Manafort’s longtime business associate, Rick Gates, has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team and pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy against the U.S. and making false statements to the FBI.

Manafort is expected to face a trial as early as September on one set of charges.

Other Stories of Interest

Memo Reveals Scope of Mueller’s Investigation Against Trump’s ex-Campaign manager Manafort

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was explicitly authorized by the Justice Department to investigate allegations that President Trump’s former campaign manager colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election, according to a newly revealed memo.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave Mueller the green light in a classified, Aug. 2 memo that was included in a court filing Monday aimed at defending the special counsel’s scope of the probe, which so far has netted indictments against 19 people and three Russian companies. 

The memo authorized Mueller to look into allegations that the former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked with the Kremlin to meddle in the election “in violation of United States law.” The memo authorized Mueller to look into “a crime or crimes arising out of payments [Manafort] received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych.”

Manafort and his business partner, another former Trump campaign aide, were first indicted in October with money-laundering and other charges related to work they did for a pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine. They were charged with additional crimes earlier this year, and Gates has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Dutch Attorney to Become First Person Sentenced in Russia Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Dutch attorney accused of lying to federal law enforcement about his work with two indicted, former leaders of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is expected to become the first person today to be sentenced as part of the 11-month-old special counsel investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors and the FBI about the Russia probe, faces an estimated zero to six months in jail, according to sentencing guidelines.

Mueller’s team plans to urge a judge to impose jail time. But prosecutors didn’t indicate how much time van der Zwaan should be sent to jail, but the attorney is asking for no time behind bars because his wife, who lives in London, is pregnant and due to deliver their child in August.

“To the extent the Court seeks to take into account the circumstances of van der Zwaan’s wife’s pregnancy, consideration of that circumstance would not preclude a term of incarceration,” the special counsel’s office wrote. “In any event, a sentence that ensured van der Zwaan’s return to the United Kingdom for the birth of his child in August 2018 would be within the recommended Guidelines’ range.”

Van der Zwaan admitted he lied to prosecutors and the FBI about work he did with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former business partner, Rick Gates, who also played a key role in the president’s campaign.

Four others who have pleaded guilty so far – including former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. But their sentencing hearings have been placed on hold while they cooperate with Mueller’s team.