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Tag: special counsel

FBI Hid Copies of Russia Probe Documents to Prevent Trump from Interfering

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Worried that President Trump would interfere with the FBI investigation into Russia, former FBI Director Andrew McCabe took steps to preserve documents related to the case in case he was ousted, CNN first reported.

McCabe instructed agents to make three copies of key documents and place them in remote locations around the FBI, according to an excerpt from CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s book, “True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump.”

Former FBI Director James Comey’s memos about his conversations with Trump were placed in SENTINEL, the bureau’s case management system.

“McCabe knew that once documents were inside the system, they were virtually impossible to remove,” CNN reported. “With Comey’s memos in the system, the investigators were certain to have access to them – even if McCabe himself would eventually be gone.”

The documents were eventually turned over to Robert Mueller, who was appointed special counsel to oversee the investigation. Those documents proved to be critical to the investigation.

After Trump Commuted Roger Stone’s Prison Term, Is Michael Flynn Next?

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Now that President Trump has commuted the prison term of Roger Stone, many are wondering if Michael Flynn is next.

Flynn is Trump’s first national security advisor and also was the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

When it comes to a potential pardon of Flynn, who was convicted of lying to FBI agents, Trump said Monday, “I don’t have a decision to make” about a potential pardon for Flynn “until I find out what’s going to happen” with Flynn’s attempt to get his conviction tossed, CNBC reports.

“I think he’s doing very well with respect to his case,” Trump told reporters. “I hope that he’s going to be able to win it.”

The Justice Department is asking Judge Emmett Sullivan to dismiss the conviction. After he was ordered to dismiss the case by a federal appeals court panel, Sullivan requested the court’s full line-up to reconsider the decision.

Trump has long insisted that the Mueller investigation was a hoax, even though numerous people have been convicted as a result of the probe.

Sen. Graham to Invite Mueller to Testify After Ex-Special Counsel Wrote Op-Ed about Roger Stone

Robert S. Mueller III testifies before Congress last summer.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to invite former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee after Mueller penned a rare op-ed in response to President Trump’s decision to commute Roger Stone’s prison sentence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have long called for Mueller to testify, but Graham has denied the request – until now.

“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham tweeted. “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation. That request will be granted.”

A spokesman for Graham told NBC News that a “formal invivtation to Mr. Mueller is in the works.”

In The Washington Post op-ed, Mueller wrote that he was “compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office.”

“The Russia investigation was of paramount importance,” he said. “Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Trump drew criticism from Democrats and some Republicans after commuting Stone’s prison sentence on Friday.

Justice Department Moves to Drop Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn, Drawing Criticism

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, citing documents detailing how FBI officials planned to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn.

The decision to recommend that a judge dismiss the case drew immediate criticism from legal experts and Democrats, who raised serious questions about the motivations of the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

In documents filed Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C., the Justice Department said, “The Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” NBC News reports.

“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the filing said.

The decision follows the release of an internal review into the handling of the case. Flynn’s lawyers claimed the review shows Flynn had been entrapped into lying when FBI agents interviewed him.

Trump applauded the DOJ’s recommendation.

“I didn’t know that was happening at this moment. I felt it was going to happen just by watching and seeing like everybody else does,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“He was an innocent man,” he said of Flynn. “He is a great gentleman.”

The move was “outrageous,” chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said.

“The evidence against General Flynn is overwhelming. He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. And now a politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the President’s crony simply walk away,” Nadler said in a statement.

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who responded to the DOJ’s actions by saying “This is not justice,” urged Justice Department lawyers not to resign.

“DOJ lawyers of integrity will be tempted to resign over today’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case,” McQuade tweeted. “My advice is to please stay. We need you instead of those who might replace you.”

The recommendation still needs to be approved by Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Appeals Court: DOJ Must Disclose Grand Jury Material to Democrats on House Committee

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to give House lawmakers secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, The Washington Post reported.

The 2-1 decision is a partial victory for House Democrats who have been trying to obtain the grand jury material. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld a district court ruling a year ago, can be appealed to the full court or the Supreme Court.

That means the secret material from the investigation does not yet have to be disclosed.

Rick Gates Sentenced to 45 Days in Jail for Lying to FBI, Conspiring to Conceal Money

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in jail and three years probation for lying to the FBI and conspiring to conceal tens of millions of dollars.

Gates, 47, had faced up to six years in prison, but a federal judge in Washington D.C. showed leniency because of Gates’ help providing information for the special counsel probe.

“He’s had to testify, be identified as a known cooperator in the glare of public attention at a time of deep political division in our society, when people are demonized for being on the other side, and he was seen as turning on his own side,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, The New York Times reports. “Gates’ information alone warranted, even demanded further investigation from the standpoint of national security, the integrity of our elections and enforcing criminal laws.”

Gates, who pleaded guilty in February 2018, will be able to serve his sentence on weekends, the judge said. Gates also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service.

“I greatly regret the mistakes that I have made, and I have worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends,” Gates said in a prepared statement.

In a sentencing recommendation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston complimented Gates for his assistance in the investigation.

“Under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement,” Gaston wrote this month.

Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, asked for probation and community service for his client.

Former Trump Campaign Aide Rick Gates May Dodge Prison Time Today

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning in federal court in Washington D.C.

Gates, 47, who pleaded guilty in February 2018 to lying to the FBI and conspiring to conceal tens of millions of dollars, had faced possible jail time.

Gates had been facing up to six years in prison, but he may get no time behind bars because of what federal prosecutors said was his “extraordinary assistance” in the special counsel investigation, The Washington Post reports.

“Under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston wrote in a sentencing recommendation this month.

Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, asked for probation and community service for his client.

“We submit that Richard Gates has accepted responsibility for his misconduct in every way possible,” Green wrote.

Rod Rosenstein Was ‘Angry, Ashamed, Horrified’ by Trump’s Abrupt Firing of Comey

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the FBI he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” about the abrupt firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, according to the latest release of documents related to the Robert Mueller investigation.

The documents shed more light on Rosenstein, who called for a special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, since his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had recused himself.

Rosenstein said he met with White House officials on May 8, 2017, and came under the impression that Comey was going to be fired. Rosenstein was told to write a memo criticizing the FBI director.

That day, Rosenstein wrote a memo outlining Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Mueller report, via Buzzfeed.

Expecting that he or Sessions would be tasked with firing Comey, Rosenstein asked to speak with Comey the next day. But he quickly discovered that Comey had been fired via email.

He told the FBI that he was surprised that media accounts of the firing claimed it was Rosenstein’s idea to terminate the FBI director.

Rosenstein said he was asked to attend a press conference about Comey’s firing, but he refused, telling a Justice Department spokeswoman that he “cannot participate in putting out a false story.”

A few days later, Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel, a decision that made Trump “angry, surprised, and frustrated,” according to Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides.