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Archive for February 23rd, 2018

Third Trump Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty in Special Counsel Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Trump campaign aide on Friday became the third associate of President Trump to plead guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators in connected to the quickly evolving special counsel investigation.

Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators as part of a deal to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors in exchange for leniency. Gates is believed to have incriminating evidence against his longtime business partner and former Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort, who has pledged to fight the charges.

Later Friday, Manafort was charged for a second time in one day, the latest charge claiming he was secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

Gates admitted he was part of a conspiracy to conceal tens of millions of dollars that he and Manafort received for lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Earlier in the day, Gates and Manafort were charged in a 32-count indictment that comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign, but Gates played a prominent role in the campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Last week, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. 

The other Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Gates will follow Mike Flynn, Trump’s short-tenured national security adviser, and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in pleading guilty to charges filed by Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump operation.

Weekend Series on Crime History: A Documentary on Watergate

Prominent Trump Campaign Aides Charged Again by Special Counsel Mueller

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate Rick Gates are facing potentially steeper prison sentences after a grand jury on Thursday unveiled a 32-count indictment alleging numerous tax and bank fraud charges.

The 32-count indictment comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

In the latest charges, the longtime political consultants are accused of a multiyear scheme to evade taxes and commit bank fraud using money they acquired from a  pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Gates, who has gone through several different lawyers, was expected to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal for leniency, but it’s unclear whether he plans to still work with Mueller’s team.

Top Trump Advisers Mull Departure over Lingering Feud with President

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Two top advisers to Donald Trump may soon resign from the White House amid longstanding tensions with the president. 

National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly have grown increasingly frustrated with Trump and are considering leaving the administration, four senior administration officials told Reuters

But if the past is any indication, the administration officials said the tensions could blow over. 

The most recent sign of conflict arose over the weekend, when Trump criticized the three-star general for saying the special counsel investigation shows “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

McCaster is considering returning to the Pentagon, officials said. 

A rift between Trump and Kelly grew over the chief of staff’s handling of the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was accused by two-ex wives of domestic violence. 

Turnover has plagued Trump’s administration since he became president in January 2017. 

Former FBI Employee Charged with Stealing from Bureau

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Gus Lee Moore, a former staff member in the FBI’s Charlotte office, was indicted Thursday on charges of stealing from the bureau.

The indictment alleges Moore stole “only and other things of value” in excess of $1,000 between August 2016 and January 2017, the Charlotte Observer reports

A federal warrant was issued for Moore’s arrest.

Details behind the allegations have not yet been publicly disclosed.

In a separate case in July 2017, Moore was arrested on three counts of shoplifting in South Carolina.

Trump Threatens to Pull ICE from California over ‘Lousy Management Job’

An ICE agent.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump threatened to withdraw Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents from California for what he claimed was a “lousy management job” in combatting illegal immigration.

“You know what, I’m thinking about doing it,” Trump said at a roundtable to address gun violence after last week’s Florida school shooting, CNN reported. 

“We’re getting no help from the state of California. Frankly, if I pulled our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say ‘ICE, Border Patrol, leave California alone,'” he said during meeting with local and state officials at the White House.

“You would see crime like nobody has ever seen crime in this country. And yet we get no help from the state of California. They are doing a lousy management job,” Trump continued. “They have the highest taxes in the nation. And they don’t know what’s happening out there. Frankly it’s a disgrace.”

Some cities in California have refused to work with ICE over Trump’s crackdown on immigration.

It’s unclear whether Trump plans to follow through on his threat, which would leave a key border state without federal protection.

Homeland Security did not publicly respond to Trump’s threat.

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