Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2021
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Robert Mueller

Third Trump Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty in Special Counsel Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Trump campaign aide on Friday became the third associate of President Trump to plead guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators in connected to the quickly evolving special counsel investigation.

Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators as part of a deal to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors in exchange for leniency. Gates is believed to have incriminating evidence against his longtime business partner and former Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort, who has pledged to fight the charges.

Later Friday, Manafort was charged for a second time in one day, the latest charge claiming he was secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

Gates admitted he was part of a conspiracy to conceal tens of millions of dollars that he and Manafort received for lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Earlier in the day, Gates and Manafort were charged in a 32-count indictment that comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign, but Gates played a prominent role in the campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Last week, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. 

The other Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Gates will follow Mike Flynn, Trump’s short-tenured national security adviser, and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in pleading guilty to charges filed by Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump operation.

Prominent Trump Campaign Aides Charged Again by Special Counsel Mueller

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate Rick Gates are facing potentially steeper prison sentences after a grand jury on Thursday unveiled a 32-count indictment alleging numerous tax and bank fraud charges.

The 32-count indictment comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

In the latest charges, the longtime political consultants are accused of a multiyear scheme to evade taxes and commit bank fraud using money they acquired from a  pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Gates, who has gone through several different lawyers, was expected to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal for leniency, but it’s unclear whether he plans to still work with Mueller’s team.

Trump Supporters Fumed over Twitter’s Purge of Suspected Bots

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Conservative Twitter users are fuming Wednesday after the social media company purged suspected malicious bots – the same automated accounts Russian agents are accused of using to wage an unprecedented propaganda campaign to help Donald Trump win the election.

The purge comes amid mounting pressure from lawmakers calling on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to eliminate fake accounts that peddle fake news.

Far-right Twitter users vented, under the trending hashtag, #TwitttertLockOut, that they lost hundreds and even thousands of followers and accused the social media giant of waging a leftist purge to silence conservatives and Trump supporters. 

“The Words of Day Are ‘Twitter Purge’ On Tuesday Night, Most of Us Lost Thousand of Followers. As #Deplorables & #Trump Supporters, ‘We Must Help Each Other,’” a Trump supporter tweeted. “Lets Follow & Follow Back Everyday. The #Trump Agenda Must Be Pushed Forward.#TwitterLockOut.”

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Twitter responded that its “tools are apolitical” and that it periodically culls accounts suspected of being fake.

“As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse,” Twitter’s statement said. “We also take action on any accounts we find that violate our terms of service, including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it. That’s why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks.”

Twitter didn’t indicate how many suspicious users were removed. 

Thirteen Russians were charged last week on charges of using bots and social media advertising as part of an unprecedented propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to spread disinformation.

Russia Probe: Attorney Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI about Trump Campaign Aide

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A prominent, Russian-connected attorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to misleading the FBI about his work with President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, marking the third conviction so far in the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Alex Van der Zwaan is accused of lying to federal investigators about communications he had with Rick Gates, a longtime business partner of Manafort and a former Trump campaign aide.

Prosecutors say Van der Zwaan made false statements about his work for a law firm accused of whitewashing abuses by the pro-Russian, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is accused of an $18 million money laundering scheme involving Manafort.

The scheme is part of the criminal case against Manafort and Gates, who were both indicted in October on 12 counts involving money laundering, conspiracy against the U.S. and tax fraud. They pleaded not guilty.

Van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan, worked in London for the prominent New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

After pleading guilty, he admitted to lying to investigators about past communications with Gates and someone identified as “Personal A.”

The case centered around Van der Zwaan’s work for Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice, which hired him to put together a report about the trial of Tymoshenko.

BuzzFeed News reported Monday that Tymoshenko was the focus of an FBI investigation as part of a failed operation to tackle international kleptocracy in 2014 and 2015. During the probe, investigators identified $40 million in “suspicious transactions” to and from Manafort’s companies. 

But the under-resourced task force dropped the investigation and never charged Manafort or Tymoshenko, according to current and former law enforcement officials who worked on the case.

Gates is expected to plead guilty as early as this week to money laundering as part of a deal with prosecutors to testify against Manafort, who continues to maintain his innocence.

Manafort Faces Renewed Scrutiny over $40M in ‘Suspicious Transactions’

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is facing renewed scrutiny after special counsel Robert Mueller resurrected a shelved federal investigation that previously identified $40 million in “suspicious transactions” to and from Manafort’s companies, according to BuzzFeed News. 

The discovery indicates the scope of Manafort’s alleged crimes are much broader than initially when he was indicted in October 2017 for an alleged $18 million money laundering scheme involving pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

The FBI uncovered the transactions primarily in 2014 and 2015 as part of an investigation to tackle international kleptocracy, and agents interviewed Manafort at his attorney’s office in Washington D.C. At the time, Manafort denied wrongdoing and said he knew nothing of Yanukovych’s government reportedly stealing money, according to internal FBI emails. Although Manafort pledged to disclose documents to the bureau, he never did.

The probe fizzled, according to two former federal law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation, because FBI leaders determined Manafort’s crimes weren’t significant enough to warrant charges.

“We had him in 2014,” one of the former officials said. “In hindsight, we could have nailed him then.”

The officials said a lack of resources made it too difficult to build a complex case against the former Ukrainian president, so the investigation petered out.

In the meantime, banks continued to alert federal officials of suspicious transactions involving Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges related to his work with eastern European countries. The charges include money laundering, conspiracy against the U.S. and tax fraud. 

Mueller reopened the investigation in September and used some of the findings to help indict Manafort. Mueller is considering leveling new charges against Manafort as investigators comb through the suspicious transactions.

His business partner, Rick Gates, plans to plead guilty to fraud charges in exchange for a reduced sentence and his testimony against Manafort.

Special Counsel Investigating Trump’s Son-in-Law Kushner over Business Dealings

President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The special counsel team investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election is now scrutinizing the president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, over his business dealings during the presidential transition.

The news, first reported by CNN, indicates that Robert Mueller’s investigation has expanded from Kushner’s contacts with Russia to his interactions with Chinese and Qatari investors. 

Over the past two months, investigators have been probing Kushner’s solicitation of financial support for 666 Fifth Ave., a debt-ridden Manhattan property that Kushner Companies purchased in 2007.

In January 2017, Kushner divested from the property, which is more than $1.4 billion in debt.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Mueller’s team was looking for. Neither Kushner nor his company has received requests for interviews, people familiar with the matter told CNN.

In a statement to congressional investigators, Kushner said he was the lead contact for foreign governments and spoke to more than 50 businesses from more than 15 countries during the presidential transition.

Read: 37-Page Indictment of Russians Interfering with U.S. Elections

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

The Justice Department on Friday announced the indictments of 13 Russians and three Russian groups accused of waging a sophisticated, covert propaganda campaign to help get Donald Trump elected.

Special counsel Robert Mueller unveiled the 37-page indictment, which you can read here. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller

The indictment alleges the Russians stole the identities of Americans, spread falsehoods on social media, staged political rallies and exploited flashpoint issues, such as race, immigration and religion, to sow divisions.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” Rod  Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the investigation, said in a brief news conference announcing the charges. “We must not allow them to succeed.”

The indictment amounted to a detailed rebuttal of President Trump’s claims that Russian interference was a “hoax” peddled by the “fake news.”

Former Trump Aide Gates to Testify Against Manafort in Forthcoming Plea Deal

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates will plead guilty to charges related to fraud in exchange for testifying against his longtime business partner, Paul Manafort, in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Gates and Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign manager, were indicted in October on 12 counts involving money laundering, conspiracy against the U.S. and tax fraud. They pleaded not guilty.

Gates is expected to change his plea to guilty and will likely serve 18 months in prison in exchange for his cooperation, the Los Angeles Times reports

The special counsel probe so far has turned two defendants – former national security adviser Michael Flynn and foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos – into cooperating witnesses.

The charges against Gates and Manafort stem from work they did with Ukrainian politicians who are allies with Russia. They are accused of laundering tens of millions of dollars from the work through U.S. and foreign companies and bank accounts.

Manafort, who is under house arrest and faces up to 15 years in prison, has pledged to fight the charges and even sued Mueller and the Justice Department, claiming the special counsel probe overreached its authority.

It’s not yet clear what information Gates is offering to prosecutors.