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Tag: Robert Mueller

Trump Says Special Counsel Should Not Delve into His Personal Finances

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump said it would be “a violation” for the Justice Department’s special counsel to delve into his personal finances.

When asked by the New York Times if Robert Mueller would cross a “red line” by investigating the president’s personal finances, Trump said the special counsel would, before seeming to dare Mueller to try it. 

“I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia,” Trump said.

He added: ”I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievable successful company.”

Trump declined to say whether he’d try to get Mueller fired if the investigation included the president’s finances.

Trump also told the Times that a special counsel “should never have been appointed.”

Ultimately, Trump said, he doesn’t believe Mueller will delve into his personal tax filings and other financial documents.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he told the Times.

Eighth Person to Meet Trump Jr. Identified As Employee of Russian Company

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The eighth person to take part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. was a senior vice president of a Russian real estate company run by an oligarch.

Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president at Crocus Group, which is operated by Azerbaijani-Russian oligarchs and father-and-son Russian developers Aras and Emin Agalarov, the Washington Post reports

The Agalarovs hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

Special counsel Robert Mueller requested an interview with Kaveladze, who has agreed to cooperate, his attorney confirmed.

The Post wrote:

The request is the first public indication that Mueller’s team is investigating the meeting.

The presence of Kaveladze at the Trump Tower meeting introduces a new and intriguing figure into the increasingly complex Trump-Russia drama. A native of the Soviet republic of Georgia who came to the United States in 1991, Kaveladze was the subject nearly two decades ago of a congressional inquiry into Russian money laundering in U.S. banks, although he was never charged with a crime and Balber said there was never any sign of wrongdoing by Kaveladze.

Special Counsel Taps FBI Official Who Oversaw Hillary Clinton Investigation

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The senior FBI official who oversaw the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation has been tapped to help manage the special counsel probe into Russia’s suspected meddling in the presidential election.

Peter Strzok will join a 25-member team assembled by special counsel Robert Mueller, CNN reports

Strzok played a major role in the beginning of the Russia investigation last summer.

The team, which includes attorneys and FBI employees, have moved to southwest D.C., about a mile from the Justice Department headquarters.

Special Investigation of Russia Likely to Focus on Organized Crime in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference with the presidential election is expected to cast light on the criminal underbelly of Moscow.

U.S. officials have long worried that organized crime in Russia posed a threat to democratic institutions.

“Those concerns, ever-present if not necessarily always top priorities, are front and center once more,” Time reports. 

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is heading the special investigation, has a powerful legal team that includes lawyers with experience fighting organized crime. Russian intelligence services have been accused of working with criminal operatives to undermine business competition for years.

As the team of investigators explores election meddling, it’s likely the focus will include the devastating cyberattacks of Democratic email accounts.

“It’s not an easy thing to kind of grasp or understand, but it’s very dangerous to our country because they have so many different aspects, unlike a traditional cartel,” said Robert Anderson, a retired FBI executive assistant director who worked counterintelligence cases and oversaw the criminal and cyber branch.

“You have to know where to look, which makes it more complicated,” he added. “And you have to understand what you’re looking for.”

Hard For Robert S. Mueller to Avoid the Limelight

download

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Robert S. Mueller III, the stoic former director of the FBI, never seemed like the kind of guy who enjoyed basking in the glow of the limelight. His successor, James Comey, seemed far more comfortable testifying on the Hill, holding press conferences.

But these days, as Mueller takes on the job of special counsel, bumping up against a president who’s not shy about speaking up and trash talking, it’s hard to avoid the limelight.

The latest comes in the form of a Time magazine cover with Mueller’s G-Man looking photo and the words: “The Lie Detector. Someone’s not telling the truth.”

Time magazine’s David Von Drehle writes:

Trump has traded the anguished Hamlet Comey for the adamantine Marine Robert Mueller, the Justice Department ramrod who remade the FBI after 9/11. As special counsel appointed in the wake of the Comey firing, Mueller has one job, no deadline and bottomless resources, and he is assembling an all-star team of veteran prosecutors whose expert backgrounds go beyond counterintelligence to include money laundering, corporate fraud and the limits of Executive Branch power.

Sensing the trouble he had dug himself into, Trump tweeted, “You are witnessing the single greatest Witch hunt in American political history.” Perhaps all Presidents feel the same way if they find themselves under the withering gaze of a high-profile investigator. Whether called a “special prosecutor” in the Richard Nixon era or “independent counsel” in the Bill Clinton years or “special counsel” today, the specific powers change, but the overall effect is quite the same. Trump’s predecessors could tell him that such investigations are sometimes survivable, but they are not controllable. Trump is at the front end of political cancer treatment: live or die, it will be a draining, miserable experience.

The thing is, Trump can tweet about Mueller and the investigation all he wants. Mueller won’t tweet back and isn’t likely to engage in any public dialogue contesting anything the president says.

Mueller, 72, the former Marine, is on a mission.

And only one thing, short of illness or death, will stop him: Getting fired.

Trump Allies Launch Propaganda War Against Special Probe of Russia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of high-powered attorneys begin digging deeper into Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 election, President Trump and his supporters are doing everything they can to smear and undermine one of the most important political investigations since Watergate.

Over the past few days, Trump apologists and allies have stepped up their attacks on the intelligence community and Mueller, a former FBI director who earned an impeccable reputation as a nonpartisan, fair-minded investigator. The idea is to discredit the probe by calling it a “witch hunt” before any conclusions have even been drawn by the special counsel and his team.

Greater America Alliance, a nonprofit ally of Trump, has begun a propaganda campaign in a 45-second ad.

Greater America Alliance, a nonprofit ally of Trump, has begun a propaganda campaign in a 45-second ad.

Take the pro-Trump nonprofit, Greater America Alliance, which has raised nearly $29 million for the campaigns 0f Republican House and Senate candidates and Trump during last year’s campaign, Newsweek reports

The nonprofit in May hired conservative commentator and YouTube provocateur Tomi Lahren to “execute communications and messaging strategies.”

Lahren stars in a political ad entitled “Witch Hunt,” which targets Mueller and his team of investigators. She suggests they are part of “the Washington establishment” that will do anything to take down Trump, who has been accused of colluding with Russians and obstruction of justice for firing former FBI Director James Comey after he refused to drop Russia-related investigations.

“Only in Washington could a rigged game like this be called independent,” Lahren concludes.

Lahren is just one example of a high-profile Trump supporter attempting to undermine the special investigation as biased and agenda-driven.

Analysts: Robert Mueller’s Team Could Become Targets of Cyberattacks

cyberattack-hackers-fbiBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s high-powered team assembled to investigate the extent of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election may become targets of cyberattacks by the very people they are investigating, analysts told the Washington Times.

That may help explain why some of the 13 attorneys on the team have yet to be identified. 

Intelligence agencies have said Russian operatives penetrated the system of the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and targeted state election systems. So it’s no stretch to fear the hackers may try the same thing with Mueller’s team.

“There is no question that anyone involved in a matter this high profile is going to be a target for some sort of attempted cybersurveillance,” said R. David Edelman, director of the Project on Technology, Economy and National Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former director of international cyberpolicy at the White House National Security Council.

Mueller is expected to add “several more” attorneys to his team. So far, officials have confirmed the identities of eight members of the team.

Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to say what precautions that team is taking to head off a cyberattack.

“Naming these individuals publicly makes them targets,” Edelman said. “Every day you can delay, that helps protect them from adversaries — foreign and domestic.”

Trump’s Newest Strategy to Undermine Investigation: Mueller Can’t Be Trusted

donald trump rallyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fake news. Bitter Democrats. Witch hunt.

Those are President Trump’s go-to ways of trying to undermine accusations that he obstructed justice when he allegedly told then-FBI Director James to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Now Trump is zeroing in on special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department to investigate Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.

Suggesting that Mueller is “very, very good friends” with fired FBI Director James Comey, Trump told Fox News that it’s “bothersome” for Mueller to be involved.

Without a shred of evidence, Trump also suggested that Mueller’s team of lawyers are “all Hillary Clinton supporters.”

Mueller, by the way, is a register Republican and is known for his fierce independence when it comes to investigating politicians.