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Archive for March 15th, 2018

Manafort Seeks Dismissal of Charges, Arguing Mueller Overstepped His Authority

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is facing up to 305 years in prison, urged a federal judge Wednesday to dismiss the charges against him because they exceed the legal authority of the special counsel appointed to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In a motion to dismiss the charges, Manafort’s attorneys argued the alleged crimes predate Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign and therefore fall outside of the jurisdiction of special counsel Robert Mueller.

His attorneys contend Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein overstepped his authority by giving Mueller permission to prosecute any unrelated crimes that are discovered during the investigation of Russia.

“It is a blank check the special counsel has cashed, repeatedly,” Manafort’s filing read.

Manafort made a similar argument for a separate batch of charges file against him by the special counsel team.

Unless Manafort strikes a deal with prosecutors, the former high-paid political consultant is on track to become the first person to be tried in connection with Robert Mueller’s investigation

Manafort’s longtime business partner, Rick Gates, is among three former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty to assortment of charges and have agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Gates, who also served on Trump’s campaign, is expected to provide information about crimes he said he and Manafort committed as business partners.

Gates and Manafort were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, tax fraud and money laundering stemming from lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Columnist: Trump’s Pledge to Build 2,000-Mile Border Wall Is Pure Theater’

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s visit to California to inspect prototypes for a border wall was “pure theater” by a “performance artist.”

So wrote Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman, who argues Trump won’t come close to fulfilling his campaign pledge to build an impenetrable, 2,000-mile wall along the border and get Mexico to pay for it.

The length of the wall has already been cut in half – to 1,000 miles with large gaps.

“The cost would be enormous,” Chapman wrote. “An internal report by the Department of Homeland Security put the price at $21.6 billion. A study by the Democratic staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee calculaIted it at $70 billion, not counting maintenance.That’s more than $200 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — and zero dollars for every man, woman and child in Mexico.”

Chapman said Trump’s claim that the wall would be “99%” effective “is enough to make a lizard laugh.”

The Congressional Research Service concluded the “primary fence” but in San Diego “by itself, did not have a discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens coming across the border in San Diego.”

The Coast Guard also reported that 95% of drugs smuggled from Mexico to the U.S. come in container ships or other boats. And when there is a fence, drug dealers dig a tunnel to cross.