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Tag: Robert Mueller

Colbert Taunts Trump, Suggesting He’s Too ‘Chicken’ for Mueller Interview

Late Show host Stephen Colbert.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert taunted Donald Trump on Tuesday night, suggesting the president was too “chicken” to sit down face-to-face Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia investigation.

“I know Trump watches this show, because it’s on TV, so right now I’ve got a special message for him,” Colbert said. “Mr. President, ignore your lawyers, sir. You follow your instincts and you sit down with Robert Mueller. Otherwise, everyone’s going to think that you’re scared. But we know that you’re not — oh, oh, your fried chicken has arrived,” he quipped, holding up an empty KFC bucket. “Where is that — oh, I think I know where the chicken is. Bawk bawk-aw.”

Trump’s lawyers are trying to discourage the president from meeting the special counsel team that is now investigating whether the president obstructed justice by interfering with the probe.

Trump boasted last week during an impromptu press conference that he was “looking forward” to the interview because he did nothing wrong, but the president’s lawyers worry he will commit perjury.

Worried Trump Will Lie, President’s Attorneys Urge Him to Decline Mueller Interview

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Worried that President Trump will commit perjury in a proposed sit-down interview with Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, the president’s attorneys are urging him to avoid the perilous encounter.

Just last month, Trump boasted at an impromptu press conference that he was “looking forward” to the interview because he did nothing wrong.

Mueller’s team, which began investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, has turned its attention on the president following accusations that he obstructed justice by trying to interfere with the probe.

His lawyers are worried that Trump, who has a habit of fabricating information to suit his purpose, could be charged with lying to investigators, The New York Times reports

Trump is expected to decide in the coming whether he will agree to the interview. If he doesn’t, Mueller may compel the testimony with a subpoena.

Trump’s Legal Team Explores Appointment of Second Special Counsel to Probe FBI, DOJ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s relentless, unsubstantiated claims that the FBI and Justice Department are conducing a “witch hunt” to purge him from office may get new muscle in the form of a second special prosecutor.

The president’s legal team supports the appointment of another counsel to investigate unfounded allegations that the Robert Mueller probe has been tainted by an anti-Trump bias among investigators and the top ranks of the FBI and Justice Department, Axios reported Monday

To make that happen, the Justice Department would have to appoint a special prosecutor, who would examine claims trumpeted by the president that the investigation has been compromised by law enforcement with a vendetta.

It’s not yet clear whether the Justice Department, which Trump has repeatedly claimed is out to get him, would be open to appointing a second counsel.

Trump’s Tough Choice: Release Memo Rebuttal Or Risk Perilous Standoff

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously Monday to publicly disclose a classified, Democratic rebuttal of the much-disputed GOP memo that set off a political firestorm that continued to rage this week.

Now Donald Trump has five days to decide whether he wants to block the document’s release. If he objects to the disclosure, the full House has the option of accepting the decision or trying to override the president in what certainly would set the stage for an ugly, high-stakes standoff with Democrats, some Republicans and federal law enforcement agencies.

The Democratic rebuttal disputes the GOP memo, which alleges the FBI and Justice Department abused their powers to spy on former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being a Russian agent.

The president and his congressional allies contend the alleged surveillance abuses demonstrate an anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department, which are overseeing the special counsel investigation of Trump and Russia.

As the investigation heats up and is focusing on whether the president obstructed justice by interfering in the probe, Trump’s strategy has been to cast himself as the victim of the “single biggest witch hunt” in U.S. history. The Republican memo provided the president with ammunition to ramp up his assault on the agencies’ reputations.

But the release of the Democratic memo could undermine Trump’s narrative, which has been dismissed by congressional members from both parties and the FBI and DOJ as a reckless, shameless campaign to cast doubts about any conclusions drawn during the probe.

A White House official told the New York Times that it would review the memo before deciding whether to block it. 

“We will consider it along the same terms that we considered the Nunes memo — which is to allow for a legal review — national security review — led by the White House Counsel’s Office,” spokesman Raj Shah told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Trump Slams Leading Memo Critic Ahead of Push to Release Democrats’ Rebuttal

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump woke up this morning ready for war.

Two days after he claimed a much-disputed memo “totally vindicates” him in the special counsel investigation, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee plan to fight tonight for the release of their rebuttal memo, which strongly disputes the Republican-drafted document. 

At stake is a Trump-driven narrative, fueled by the memo’s release last week, that claims the FBI and Justice Department are bent on destroying the president and therefore cannot be trusted to oversee Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the president obstructed justice or his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The argument stems from the committee’s GOP-drafted memo, which Republicans released last week over the strong objections of the FBI and DOJ. The narrative is vital to shed doubt on the integrity of the special counsel probe, which is picking up steam and has reached the doors of the White House.

Some committee Republicans, including Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, have expressed a willingness to release the rebuttal once it’s properly vetted.

On Twitter this morning, Trump launched a preemptive strike at Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, the committee’s most vocal critic of the Republican memo, which suggests the FBI and DOJ abused their authority to spy on former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being a Russian agent.

“Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!” Trump tweeted. “Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!”

The president didn’t elaborate.

Even if the committee approves the release of the rebuttal, Trump would have five days to review the document and decide whether it should be declassified and released.

If the president objects, the committee has the option of sending the memo to the full House for another vote.

Priebus: ‘Never Felt’ Trump Was Planning to Fire Special Counsel Mueller

Former White chief of staff Reince Priebus on “Meet the Press.”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former White chief of staff Reince Priebus disputed reports Sunday that Donald Trump tried to fire the special counsel appointed to investigate his administration’s ties to Russia.

“Of all the things that we went through in the West Wing, I never felt that the president was going to fire the special counsel,” Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” in his first interview since leaving the White House last summer. “I would know the difference between a level-ten situation as reported in that story and what was reality, and to me that wasn’t reality.” 

The New York Times reported in January that Trump ordered the termination of Robert Mueller but backed off after the White Counsel threatened to quit to avoid following the directive.

Priebus also denied a Washington Post report that cited sources saying he was “incredibly concerned” that Trump would try to fire Mueller, who now is investigating whether the president obstructed justice.

“I think it was very clear by the president’s own words that he was concerned about the conflicts of interest that he felt that the special counsel had. And he made that very clear,” Priebus said. “Perhaps someone interpreted that to mean something else. But I know the difference between fire that person, why isn’t that person gone, to what I read in that New York Times’ piece. So when I read that I’m just telling you I didn’t feel that when I was there.”

GOP Releases Secret Memo But Fails to Show Anti-Trump Bias in Mueller Probe

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Intelligence Committee publicly released a disputed, Republican-drafted memo on Friday that claims the FBI and Justice Department abused their authority to spy on former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being a Russian agent.

The unprecedented and controversial release of the memo was approved today by President Trump, setting off a political firestorm after he and his Republican allies ignored strong objections from the FBI and DOJ to keep the document classified.

The memo takes aim at what Republicans say is a glaring, suspicious omission in the application for a warrant to wire tap Page. Intelligence officials never mentioned in the application that some of the evidence relies on information by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was financed by the Democratic National Committee and lawyers for Hillary Clinton’s campaign to investigate ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Trump and some of his allies claim the memo supports their repeated assertions that the FBI and DOJ harbor an anti-Trump bias that taints the special counsel investigation that is now focusing on whether the president obstructed justice by interfering wth the nine-month probe. Four former Trump aides have beeb indicted so far as part of the Robert Mueller investigation.

“The Committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust, and the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said in a statement. 

The memo claims the allegations of surveillance abuse “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”

In a rare move, the FBI on Wednesday released a statement expressing “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Democrats slammed the memo as a partisan, misleading campaign to undermine confidence in the special counsel investigation, which could determine the fate of Trump’s presidency. Democrats also pointed out that the memo fails to provide evidence to cast doubt on the Mueller probe.

Attorneys in Trump-Russia Probe Believe Mueller Could Indict Trump

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At least two lawyers representing key Donald Trump associates believe special counsel Robert Mueller may be leading the probe to a historic first – indicting a sitting president.

Legal experts have debated whether Robert Mueller has the authority to bring criminal charges against Trump, who has repeatedly been accused of obstructing justice by interfering with the investigation and those overseeing it.

But two attorneys whose clients were targeted by the widening investigation told Politico they believe Mueller may indict the president of obstruction of Justice. 

The lawyers emphasized they’re unaware of specific plans to charge Trump, but based on their legal experience, they think an obstruction of justice case wend its way through criminal court.

“If I were a betting man, I’d bet against the president,” one of the lawyers told the publication.

Even though the legal standards for indicting a president are limited, a second lawyer representing a senior Trump official said Mueller could show how seriously he’s taking the case with an indictment against the sitting president, which has ever happened in the U.S.

“It’s entirely possible that Mueller may go that route on the theory that, as an open question, it should be for the courts to decide,” the lawyer told Politico.

“Even if the indictment is dismissed, it puts maximum pressure on Congress to treat this with the independence and intellectual honesty that it will never, ever get,” the lawyer continued.

Other lawyers are skeptical that Mueller can bring charges to Trump because it likely would create major constitutional questions.

A boastful and confident Trump said last week he wanted to sit down for a face-to-face interview with Mueller’s team, but his attorneys quickly tried to prevent that encounter from happening.

Trump aides have privately expressed fears that Trump, who is often loose with the facts to fit his narratives, will perjure himself under pressure.

The special counsel investigation has so far produced indictments against four former Trump associates, two of whom have agreed to plead guilty in exchange for helping prosecutors with the case.