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Archive for March 28th, 2018

Poll: Majority of Americans Support Special Counsel Probe Trump Testifying Under Oath

President Trump, via the White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of Americans believe the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election should be fully investigated, according to a new poll.

The CNN poll found that 58% of those surveyed support a full investigation of Russian meddling, while 36% believe the probe is intended primarily to discredit Donald Trump’s presidency. The findings are virtually identical to previous polls dating back to February, despite Trump’s ramped-up assault on Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The poll also found that 55% of Americans believe the president is not cooperating enough with the investigation, while 40% support his level of cooperation.

Among Democrats, only 6% says Trump’s cooperation is sufficient, while 77% of Republicans say it is not.

Of those surveyed, 75% say Trump should testify under oath in an interview with Mueller and his team.

Special Counsel Team Seeks Jail Time Against First Person to Be Sentenced in Russia Probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is urging a judge to impose jail time against Alex van der Zwaan, the first person to be sentenced as part of the probe into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors and the FBI about the Russia probe, faces an estimated zero to six months in jail, according to sentencing guidelines, BuzzFeed News reports

Mueller’s team didn’t indicate how much time van der Zwaan should be sent to jail, but the attorney is asking for no jail time because his wife, who lives in London is pregnant and due to deliver their child in August.

“To the extent the Court seeks to take into account the circumstances of van der Zwaan’s wife’s pregnancy, consideration of that circumstance would not preclude a term of incarceration,” the special counsel’s office wrote. “In any event, a sentence that ensured van der Zwaan’s return to the United Kingdom for the birth of his child in August 2018 would be within the recommended Guidelines’ range.”

Prosecutors added, ““The defendant was expressly warned by the government that it is a crime to lie to the Special Counsel’s Office, that lying could constitute a federal crime, and that such conduct would carry with it the possibility of going to jail if he were convicted. van der Zwaan stated that he understood. He thereafter deliberately and repeatedly lied.”

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 3.

Four others who have pleaded guilty so far – including former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. But their sentencing hearings have been placed on hold while they cooperate with Mueller’s team.

Democratic Senators Urge DOJ to Protect Mueller from Being Fired

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democratic senators, unable to gain enough support from Republicans to pass a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, are now reaching out to the Justice Department for help. 

Nine Democratic senators sent a letter to the Justice Department, urging top officials to publicly defend Mueller as President Trump escalates his smear campaign against Mueller and his investigation, Huffington Post reports.

“We have significant concerns that the president or his White House could order individuals at the Department of Justice with the authority to oversee Special Counsel Mueller’s probe to interfere with the probe or shut it down,” the letter, released Tuesday, reads. “You fall in the line of succession at the Department of Justice … We write to request that you provide a written and public commitment that you will not interfere.”

The senators are Richard Blumenthal, of Conn., Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, Dick Durbin, of Ill.,  Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, Dianne Feinstein, of Calif., Chris Coons, of Del., Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, Cory Booker, of N.J., and Kamala Harris, of Calif.

The senators point to Trump’s attacks against the Justice Department and FBI and reports that the president ordered the firing of Mueller last summer until his attorney pressed back.

“You have an oath to uphold the rule of law and protect the Constitution,” the senators wrote. “This includes refusing to take part in any effort to deny the American public access to the truth and refusing to participate in any attempt by the president to interfere with a legitimate and critical investigation of national importance.”