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Tag: Robert Mueller

NYT: Behind the Desperate Propaganda to Discredit Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia Probe

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Editorial Board
New York Times

And then they came for Robert Mueller.

If there were any remaining hope that Republicans would accept the precise, methodical work of this veteran, highly respected, Republican-appointed law enforcement official — the man Newt Gingrich once called a “superb choice to be special counsel” — it has evaporated in a fog of propaganda and delirious conspiracy theories.

In the real world, Mr. Mueller, appointed as special counsel after President Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James Comey, in May, is doing the job he was hired to do — smoke out any and all links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government officials who assaulted American sovereignty in 2016 in an effort to get Mr. Trump elected. These days, the most serious attacks on American governance are coming not from abroad, but from Mr. Trump’s aides and his allies in the right-wing media and Congress. As ludicrous as these attacks seem, they could yet lead to a constitutional crisis.

Reading the increasingly outlandish theories cooked up by Mr. Trump’s defenders and apologists is like entering an alternate, upside-down universe where Hillary Clinton remains Public Enemy No. 1.

In these irrelevant tales, Mrs. Clinton (or, as Sean Hannity called her on Monday, “President Clinton”) is the real colluder, working stealthily with the Russians to — stay with us here — destroy her own candidacy. Also, she and Bill Clinton once sold American uranium to the Russians. Also, Robert Mueller failed to fully investigate that sale when he led the F.B.I., so he’s complicit in it, too, not to mention he has ties to Mr. Comey, who also led the F.B.I. Also, some of his investigators donated to Democratic candidates.

These efforts at obfuscation and misdirection would be laughable, but they are linked to a very real and dangerous move by Trump allies throughout right-wing media and the government to shut down the Russia investigation for good.

To read more click here.

Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Charge Former Trump Official Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just one week after Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced charges against three former Donald Trump aides in connection with an investigation into alleged collusion with Russia, the investigative team has enough evidence for criminal charges against the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Former FBI Director James Comey has claimed he was fired after being pressured by Trump to drop the investigation against Flynn, who is now under fire for his lobbying work for foreign governments, the Independent reports.

In February, Flynn resigned from the administration after lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian government officials.

Last week, Mueller announced money laundering charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. The former FBI director, who was appointed by the Justice Department, also announced he secured a guilty plea from George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for Trump, for lying to the FBI about trying to arrange a meeting between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

If charged, Flynn would become the first member of Trump’s administration to face prosecution in the growing, wide-ranging investigation into whether the president’s campaign team colluded with Russia to damage the reputation of Hillary Clinton.

Conservative Republicans Call for Mueller’s Resignation over ‘Conflicts of Interest’

Special counsel Robert Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three House Republicans introduced legislation calling on Special Counsel Robert Mueller to resign over what they called “obvious conflicts of interest.”

The measure by Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) comes on the same week Mueller announced money laundering charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. The former FBI director, who was appointed by the Justice Department, also announced he secured a guilty plea from George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for Trump, for lying to the FBI about trying to arrange a meeting between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

Gaetz, who wrote the legislation, insists Mueller has a conflict of interest because he was the FBI director in 2010 when several U.S. government agencies approved the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian energy company, to a Russian nuclear-energy firm. 

Republicans launched two congressional investigations into the sale last month.

“These deeply troubling events took place when Mr. Mueller was the Director of the FBI. As such, his impartiality is hopelessly compromised,” Gaetz said in a statement, according to Business Insider. “He must step down immediately.” 

It wasn’t immediately clear whether other Republicans will support the resolution calling for Mueller’s firing.

Bannon Pushes Trump to Dump Mueller Before Probe Gets Hotter

Steve Bannon on 60 Minutes.

Steve Bannon on 60 Minutes.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A special counsel investigation that President Trump has dismissed as a “witch hunt” fueled by “fake news” has suddenly become very real.

On Monday, Robert Mueller’s legal team dropped bombshells: Two Trump campaign aides have been charged with federal crimes and another has cooperated and admitted he tried to set up a clandestine meeting between the future president and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

As the legal heat turns up on the Trump administration, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is urging Trump to dump Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Politico reports

Bannon, who now is the executive chairman of the right-wing Breitbart News, advised the president to defund Mueller’s office to avoid officially firing him. 

CNN’s Dana Bash reported Bannon even told Trump he should withhold documents requested by investigators.

“I’m told Bannon pushing trump to be more aggressive against Mueller: urge gop to cut funding, withhold document production and more,” Bash wrote on Twitter.

Rush Limbaugh on Indictments: ‘None of This is Real’

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The conservative media, including radio host Rush Limbaugh, is pushing back, trying to discredit special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the indictments announced on Monday.

“None of this is real,” Limbaugh told his radio on Monday, according to a report by NPR.

When a listener suggested Mueller had “gone rogue” and might be aiming to sink Trump, Limbaugh responded: “This is the coup. If Hillary had been elected, none of this would be happening, other than they still put Trump in jail as a message to the outsider: Don’t dare try this.”

Conservative media outlets have echoed Limbaugh’s sentiments and tried to focus on Hillary Clinton and the need to investigate her.

 

Convicted Trump Aide Admits Trying to Securing Clandestine Trump-Putin Meeting

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to President Trump, is the first campaign aide to plead guilty as part of the special counsel’s widening investigation into possible collusion between the president’s associates and the Russian government.

Papadopoulos, 30, who admitted to lying to FBI agents, is also the first aide reach a plea agreement in exchange for cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The young Greek-American, whom Trump called an “excellent guy” in a March 2016 interview with the Washington Post, was part of a plot to secure a meeting between the future president and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Guardian reports

In April 2016, Papadopoulos met with a mysterious London professor who claimed to have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”

The potentially game-changing development was announced on the same day Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Rick Gates surrendered to the FBI and were indicted on numerous charges, including conspiracy, money-laundering and foreign lobbying violations.

Special Counsel Probe of Trump, Russia Ties Nets First Criminal Charges

Special counsel Robert Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel appointed to investigate possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia has produced its first charges in the early stages of what has become a wide-ranging inquiry, CNN reports.

A grand jury in Washington D.C. approved the charges Friday, and an arrest could come as early as Monday.

Details were still murky Friday because the charges are still sealed by judge’s order. It wasn’t immediately clear, for example, who is being charged and what crimes were allegedly committed.

As of late Friday evening, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has declined to respond to questions about the charges, but top lawyers in the probe were seen entering the grand jury room earlier in the day. 

In May, was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to lead the investigation into escalating questions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The appointment came shortly after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who testified before Congress that the president pressured him to end the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. 

The special counsel probe has broadened in scope and includes inquiries into whether Trump obstructed justice or whether some of his campaign team violated foreign lobbying laws or had financial ties to Russia.  

Special Counsel Investigation Now Focusing on Left-Leaning Podesta Group

John Podesta

John Podesta

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election now includes the Democratic-leaning Podesta Group.

The group is led by Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta.

Mueller is looking at the group’s dealings with a Ukrainian-linked firm, NBC reports

The focus on the Podesta Group stems from Mueller’s investigation of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

NBC wrote:

Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta’s company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine’s image in the West.

The sources said the investigation into Podesta and his company began as more of a fact-finding mission about the ECMU and Manafort’s role in the campaign, but has now morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.

Under FARA, people who lobby on behalf of foreign governments, leaders or political parties must file detailed disclosures about their spending and activities with the Justice Department. Willful failure to file the forms is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison, though such prosecutions are rare.

The Podesta Group filed a FARA registration for its work with ECMU only after the payments were reported by the media. Manafort’s firm also filed a FARA registration after media reports in June disclosed its work in Ukraine from 2012 through 2014.