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Archive for June 16th, 2017

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Mongols and Law Enforcement

Putin Jokingly Offers Comey Asylum in Russia, Comparing ex-FBI Boss to Snowden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin joked Thursday that he’s willing to grant asylum to fired FBI Director James Comey, comparing him to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Speaking at a question-and-answer session with Russian voters, Putin asked, “What’s the difference then between the FBI director and Mr. Snowden?”

“In this case, he (Comey) is not the head of a special service but a human rights activist who defends a certain position,” Putin said.

Putin added, “If he is subject to any sort of persecution in connection with this, we will be ready to give him political asylum in Russia. And he should know about this.”

But don’t confuse Putin’s trademark sardonic humor with support for Comey.

During the same session, Putin criticized the former FBI director for suggesting Russia was meddling in the presidential election, saying Comey “gave no evidence” of his allegations.

Putin said Russia was not involved in “any sort of underground, subversive activity.”

Other Stories of Interest

Special Counsel Mueller Adds 13 Attorneys to Team Investigating Russia, Trump

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Russia investigation and President Trump, has added 13 lawyers as part of a high-powered team to help with the wide-ranging probe.

Among the seasoned attorneys are James Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, both of whom work for Mueller’s old law firm, WilmerHale, CNN reports.  Mueller also brought on Andrew Weissmann, who led the Enron investigation.

“That is a great, great team of complete professionals, so let’s let him do his job,” former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, told ABC News.

Not everyone agrees. Quarles, Rhee and Weissmann are heavy political donors, contributing almost exclusively to Democrats. Records show the trio spent at least $53,000 supporting Democratic candidates since 1998.

Only five of the 13 lawyers have been identified so far.

Mueller’s investigation of possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia has expanded to an inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice after suggesting to then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Friday morning, Trump attacked the allegations in a tweet, saying “nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!”

Trump, Nixon Both Described Obstruction of Justice Probes As ‘Witch Hunt’

Illustration of a witch hunt, via Wikipedia.

Illustration of a witch hunt, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump continues to insist he is the victim of a “witch hunt” in attempt to discredit the numerous federal investigations targeting him and his inner circle.

But he’s not the first president to claim he’s the victim of a political witch hunt.

photo-jun-15-1-18-34-pmFormer president Richard Nixon used the same phrase to describe the Senate Watergate hearings that led to his resignation. A Washington Post headline on July 22, 1973 read, “Nixon Sees ‘Witch-Hunt,’ Insiders Say.” 

Like Trump, Nixon was accused of obstruction of justice for trying to disrupt the investigation.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Here’s a look at Trump’s other tweets in which he insists he’s the victim of a witch hunt:

Trump’s Son-in-Law Kushner Is Subject of Special Counsel’s Russia Probe

Jared Kushner. Photo by Lori Berkowitz Photography, via Wikipedia

Jared Kushner. Photo by Lori Berkowitz Photography, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s son-in-law and key aide Jared Kushner is the subject of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The Washington Post reported that Kushner’s business dealings have cast suspicions around the political newcomer who has become an integral part of Trump’s administration.   

Kushner’s attorney, Jamie Gorelick, suggested the inquiry is just “standard practice.”

“We do not know what this report refers to,” Jamie Gorelick, Kushner’s attorney, said in a statement to CNN. “It would be standard practice for the special counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russia. Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”

Kushner is expected to be the latest high-profile member of Trump’s administration to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, though no date has been selected yet.

CNN reported in March that Kushner met secretly with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the same official that Attorney General Jeff Sessions eventually acknowledged he met with at least two times during the presidential campaign. CNN also reported last month that Kushner may have tried to create a secret channel of communications between Trump’s transition team and top Russian officials, including Kislyak. 

Sessions failed to disclose his meetings with Kislyak, but later acknowledged that he had met with the ambassador twice. During a Senate hearing this week, Sessions said it’s possible he met a third time with the ambassador at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C., but the attorney general insisted under oath that he couldn’t recall.