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Tag: Robert Mueller

FBI’s Ex-Top Lawyer Blasts Trump for Claiming Mueller Broke the Law without Evidence

President Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s former top lawyer blasted President Trump for claiming without evidence that Robert Mueller committed a crime by deleting text messages between two FBI employees.

James Baker, who was the FBI’s general counsel during the Russia investigation, said Trump’s accusations were “unacceptable.”

“Accusing Americans of crimes without a factual basis and having him just pronounce this is just unacceptable,” Baker said on CNN. “If the president thinks that Robert Mueller committed a crime, then he should direct the attorney general to conduct an investigation and then not talk about it.”

The accusations come less than 24 hours after Mueller agreed to testify before two House committees. Mueller was reluctant but said he would after receiving subpoenas.

“Mueller terminated them illegally. He terminated all of the emails,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business. “Robert Mueller terminated their text messages together. He terminated them. They’re gone. And that’s illegal. That’s a crime.”

Trump was referring to text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who were involved in a romantic relationship and swapped disparaging remarks about the president.

Insider points out that thousands of those text messages were released last year by the Justice Department’s Inspector General. A technical glitch resulted in an additional 19,000 text messages being erased.

Reluctant Mueller to Testify Before House Committees; Trump Declares ‘Presidential Harassment’

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former special counsel Robert Mueller has reluctantly agreed to testify in open session before Congress on July 17.

Mueller will appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees after being issued a subpoena to discuss the Russia investigation.

Mueller undoubtedly will be questioned about evidence that President Trump obstructed justice. In his final report, Mueller documented 10 instances of Trump trying to thwart the investigation. But Mueller did not conclude whether the president’s actions amounted to a crime, citing a Justice Department policy preventing the indictment of a sitting president.

The decision to press forward belongs to Congress.

Last month, Mueller insisted he would not testify.

“Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report,” Mueller said on May 29. “It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

In a letter to Mueller on Tuesday, Reps. Jarrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the committees, addressed the special counsel’s reluctance to testify.

“The American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions,” the chairmen wrote. “We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our committees as scheduled.”

After the announcement of Mueller’s plans to testify, Trump tweeted, “Presidential Harassment.”

The hearings could accelerate impeachment proceedings in the House.

AG Barr: Mueller ‘Could’ve Reached a Decision’ on Whether Trump Obstructed Justice

AG William Barr speaks with CBS News.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Even though Robert Mueller said a Justice Department policy prevents charging a sitting president, Attorney General William Barr said the former special counsel could have declared whether President Trump broke the law.

In a CBS interview aired Thursday evening, Barr said nothing stopped Mueller from deciding whether Trump obstructed justice.

“I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” Barr said. “He could’ve reached a conclusion.”

Barr made the comments a day after Mueller spoke publicly for the first time since the two-year special counsel investigation began in 2017. Democrats in Congress believed Mueller had suggested during the press conference that Congress should investigate the special counsel’s findings.

Barr said he wasn’t so sure that’s what Mueller was saying.

“I’m not sure what he was suggesting, but the Justice Department doesn’t use our powers to investigate crimes as an adjunct to Congress,” Barr said.
Mueller said he didn’t reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice because “a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.”

Mueller Breaks Silence After 2-year Special Counsel Investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller made his first public statement on the Russia investigation Wednesday, saying the inquiry is officially closed and he’s retiring from the Justice Department.

“I have not spoken publicly during our investigation,” Mueller, a Republican, said. “I’m speaking out today because our investigation is complete.”

Mueller, who was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, reiterated his main findings, including insufficient evidence to prove Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Mueller also said he did not make a decision on whether Trump obstructed the investigation, citing a Justice Department law that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. He said “charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”

During the two-year investigation, numerous people were indicted and convicted of crimes.

Mueller said he had no plans on elaborating on the report he issued.

“I hope and expect that this will be the only time I will speak to you about this matter,” Mueller told reporters.

Democrats have wanted Mueller to testify about his findings.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said it’s time for Congress to “respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump – and we will do so.”

“No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law,” Nadler tweeted.

Comey Blasts Trump for ‘Dumb Lies’ about FBI, Defends Bureau’s Handling of Case

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed President Trump as “a liar” for “ranting about treason and corruption at the FBI” and defended the bureau’s decision to investigate the Trump campaign.

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post, Comey denounced Trump’s claims as empty rhetoric and “dumb lies.”

“There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup,” Comey wrote. “Those are lies, and dumb lies at that.”

Comey said the “stubborn facts” are that seven weeks before the FBI discovered Russia was interfering in the presidential election in mid-June 2016, one of Trump’s key advisers told “an allied ambassador” that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton “in the form of thousands of emails.” In addition, the bureau learned “that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign through the animus release of information damaging to Clinton.”

“When we finally learned of it in late July, what should the FBI have done? Let it go? Go tell the Trump campaign? Tell the press? No. Investigate, to see what the facts were,” Comey wrote. “We didn’t know what was true. Maybe there was nothing to it, or maybe Americans were actively conspiring with the Russians. To find out, the FBI would live up to its name and investigate.”

And so the FBI did to investigate, “carefully, professionally and discreetly,” Comey wrote.

“If there was nothing to it, we didn’t want to smear Americans. If there was something to it, we didn’t want to let corrupt Americans know we were onto them. So, we kept it secret. That’s how the FBI approaches all counterintelligence cases.”

Comey said the FBI investigated “to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help.”

“We didn’t gather information about the campaign’s strategy,” Comey wrote. “We didn’t ‘spy’ on anyone’s campaign.”

Comey denounced Trump’s campaign of illegal spying as a “conspiracy theory that makes no sense.”

But Comey didn’t make a case for not investigating the FBI’s role in the campaign because he said he’s confident “the work was done appropriately and focused only on discovering the truth of very serious allegations.”

Newly Unsealed Court Documents Reveal Suspicious Ties Between Cohen And Russian-Linked Firm

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and so-called fixer Michael Cohen exchanged hundreds of phone calls and text messages with a Russian-linked firm beginning on Election Day in 2016, according to newly unsealed court documents obtained by several news outlets.

The FBI also discovered that Cohen, who is now serving a three-year prison sentence, received $500,000 for consulting work from Columbus Nova, which is connected to the influential Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. The company’s CEO Andrew Intrater introduced Cohen to Vekselberg. Vekselberg and Intrater are cousins and business associates.

After the FBI began investigating what appeared to be suspicious emails and bank transfers from Cohen’s accounts, special counsel Robert Mueller followed up with search warrants between July and November 2017 to determine whether the exchanges violated any laws, including wire fraud and money laundering.

The new records also reveal that Cohen received more than $280,000 from Trump since February 2017.

The revelations are important because they show how early Mueller and the FBI were aware of suspicious activity involving Cohen.

Roger Stone Mulls Lawsuit to Determine If He Was Under FBI Surveillance

Roger Stone on ABC’s “This Week.”

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Conservative provocateur Roger Stone is threatening to file a federal lawsuit to determine whether he was under FBI surveillance during the Trump campaign.

“We have strong reason to believe that Mr. Stone was among three advisors to candidate Trump who was under surveillance by the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign,” Stone’s attorney Paul Jensen wrote in a May 20 letter to the federal government, The Hill reports.

Jensen’s assertion is based on a January 2017 story by The New York Times, which revealed that the FBI had been monitoring Donald Trump associates and the Russian government during the presidential election.

“Having exhausted our administrative remedies we are now contemplating a tort lawsuit as a means to force the government to disclose the facts in this serious matter and to determine if Mr. Stone’s 4th amendment rights were violated,” Jensen’s letter continued.

Stone, who was unable to substantiate his claims, has been charged with seven counts, including making false statements to Congress, obstruction a government investigation and tampering with a witness. He is awaiting trial.

Trump Jr. Reaches Deal to Testify Before Senate Intelligence Committee Again

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump Jr. has reached an agreement with the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify before the panel in mid-June.

As part of the deal, Trump Jr.’s interview will be limited to four hours and will take place behind closed doors.

Trump Jr. is expected to be questioned about a proposed Trump Tower Moscow project and his involvement in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Some Democrats suspect Trump Jr. may have lied to congressional investigators when he said he never told his father about the June 2016 meeting. According to Robert Mueller’s report, Michael Cohen recalled Trump Jr. telling his father over the phone about a meeting to collect “adverse information” on Clinton.

It will be Trump Jr.’s second closed-door interview.