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Archive for February 7th, 2018

Bannon Agrees to Mueller Interview, But May Face Contempt for Defying Congressional Subpoena

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is facing threats of contempt charges for defying a subpoena ordering him to testify before a House committee’s investigation of President Trump and Russia, plans to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller next week and answer all of his questions.

The former Breitbart News chief agreed last week to meet with Robert Mueller’s team and fully cooperate as part of a deal to avoid testifying before a grand jury.

But Bannon continues to defy a subpoena compelling him to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, prompting U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff on Tuesday to pledge to “enforce the subpoena on Bannon” by beginning contempt proceedings, The Hill reports

“Testifying before the special counsel does not obviate Mr. Bannon’s obligations under the subpoena issued by the committee. Should Bannon maintain his refusal to return and testify fully to all questions, the committee should begin contempt proceedings to compel his testimony,” Schiff said in a statement.

Schiff said Bannon’s attorney informed the committee that his client does not plan to testify during a committee hearing next week.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski also plans to skip out on the hearing.

“Neither Bannon nor Lewandowski have articulated legitimate grounds for refusing to appear and answer questions before Congress, and we fully expect them to return,” Schiff said.

Bannon, who resigned in August, is considered a key witness in the investigation because he was a close confident of Trump and played key roles in both the campaign and the presidential administration.

In an explosive book published last month, Bannon blasted the campaign’s handling of Russia and suggested the Mueller investigation will focus on money laundering. He also said it was “treasonous” for some in the Trump campaign, including the president’s son, to meet with a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016.

Star Tribune: Partisan Attacks on FBI Have No Place in Mueller Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Editorial Board
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

When U.S. House Republicans opted to release the now infamous Nunes memo, which attempted to discredit the FBI on the Russia investigation, fairness demanded they simultaneously vote to release the Democratic response. That they did not made clear their true motive: to allow U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, to have the field to himself for a while, setting the narrative that the FBI was part of a nefarious “deep state” attempt to take down President Donald Trump.

The memo, of course, showed nothing of the kind and instead offered a surprisingly weak assortment of information and innuendo that led FBI Director Christopher Wray — a Trump appointee — to voice grave concernsover mischaracterizations and lack of context that he said presented an inaccurate picture. Trump declassified the memo anyway and crowed that it vindicated him on the Russia investigation. It did not.

Now after the Nunes memo has dominated headlines for days, in the name of “transparency” Intelligence Committee Republicans have joined Democrats in voting to release a Democratic rebuttal that next goes to Trump for final declassification. Trump should make it public at once, although we have little hope that he will. He already has attacked the ranking Democrat on the committee, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, calling him “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington,” saying — without proof — that Schiff left closed hearings “to illegally leak confidential information” and closing ominously by saying that “Little Adam Schiff … must be stopped.”

It’s clear that the Nunes memo is part of a multilayered attempt to undermine and discredit the results of Robert Mueller’s investigation before findings are even released. Mueller, a former FBI director himself, has led a disciplined and wide-ranging investigation into alleged foreign influence in the U.S. election. That investigation must proceed, unimpeded, without interference in the release of its findings — least of all by the man who may have been the direct beneficiary of foreign actions.

Click here to read more. 

Colbert Taunts Trump, Suggesting He’s Too ‘Chicken’ for Mueller Interview

Late Show host Stephen Colbert.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert taunted Donald Trump on Tuesday night, suggesting the president was too “chicken” to sit down face-to-face Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia investigation.

“I know Trump watches this show, because it’s on TV, so right now I’ve got a special message for him,” Colbert said. “Mr. President, ignore your lawyers, sir. You follow your instincts and you sit down with Robert Mueller. Otherwise, everyone’s going to think that you’re scared. But we know that you’re not — oh, oh, your fried chicken has arrived,” he quipped, holding up an empty KFC bucket. “Where is that — oh, I think I know where the chicken is. Bawk bawk-aw.”

Trump’s lawyers are trying to discourage the president from meeting the special counsel team that is now investigating whether the president obstructed justice by interfering with the probe.

Trump boasted last week during an impromptu press conference that he was “looking forward” to the interview because he did nothing wrong, but the president’s lawyers worry he will commit perjury.