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Archive for April 11th, 2018

FBI’s General Counsel Turns Over Notes to Mueller About Comey and Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dana Boente, the FBI’s general counsel and former acting attorney general, has been interviewed by Robert Mueller and turned over notes that appear to corroborate fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony that President Trump pressured him to end the Russia probe.

The news indicates Mueller is actively investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey.

TheWashington Post reports that Mueller interviewed Boente, who was involved in the early part of the FBI’s investigation into Russian wedding during the election, “some months ago … on a wide range of topics, including his recollections of what former FBI Director James Comey told him about troubling interactions with Trump.”

Trump has claimed Comey was lying about the conversations, but the former FBI director’s notes – and now handwritten notes from Boente – cast doubt over the president’s claims.

 

Firing Mueller Won’t Make Everything Go Away For Trump Confidants

President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Even if President Trump figures out a way to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, it won’t end the legal problems of some of his closest confidants.

That’s because Mueller isn’t handling all of the cases. For example, federal prosecutors in New York are handling the cases against his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Vox reports. Because those probes are separate from Mueller’s investigation, firing the special counsel won’t end the potential legal problems for people like Kushner and Cohen.

Even though Trump attacked the special counsel’s investigation again as a “witch hunt” after Cohen’s office was raided by the FBI, Mueller did not sign off on the probe.

The investigation into Kushner’s business dealings involves another set of prosecutors separate from Mueller, and they’re looking into a $285 million bank loan from Deutsche Bank.

In these cases, Trump won’t be able to end the investigations with firings.

Bi-Partisan Group to Craft Legislation to Protect Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s suggestion that he may fire Robert Mueller has prompted a bipartisan group to craft legislation that is expected to be introduced Wednesday that would protect the special counsel’s job.

The bill, crafted by Republican Sens Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Cory Booker of New Jersey, would give any special counsel 10 days to seek an expired judicial review if he or she is fired, CBS News and the Associated Press

The two Republicans introduced seminary bills in August, but the legislation went nowhere because the lawmakers said they didn’t believe Trump would move to fire Mueller. But that has changed since Trump’s latest tirade over the FBI’s raid of the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

The legislation calls for an expedited review to determine whether there was good cause to fire the special counsel. In addition, records from the investigation would be preserved.

But moving the bill through the House and Senate would be difficult because Republicans control both legislative bodies and many have indicated they are confident Trump won’t move to fire Mueller.

“I don’t think he’s going to be removed,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “I think he’ll be allowed to finish his job.”

Nevertheless, some Republicans warned that firing Mueller would lead to consequences for Trump.

“There would be serious repercussions,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. “I’ve shared with the president what a massive mistake it would be for him to do this. I’ve done that in person.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, added Tuesday on Fox Business News: “It would be suicide for the president to want to talk about firing Mueller. The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be.”

Trump Thinks He Has the Authority to Give Mueller the Ax

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump, who continues to call the special counsel investigation a “witch hunt,” believes he has the authority to fire Robert Mueller, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday. 

Sanders’ assertion, which has been disputed by legal experts, comes a day after the FBI’s raid on the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. 

When asked about the president’s power to fire Mueller, Sanders responded: “We’ve been advised the president certainly has the power to make that decision.”

But regulations covering the Justice Department’s appointment of a special counsel clearly indicate only the attorney general can dismiss Mueller for “good cause.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself because of lingering questions about his conversations with Russians during the Trump campaign, leaving the power over the special counsel to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

So how does Trump get around this? He likely would have to fire Rosenstein and replace him with someone willing to carry out Trumps orders – a move that echoes the SaturdayNight Massacre during the Watergate scandal. 

According to the New York Times, Trump sought to fire Mueller in December following news reports about a new round of subpoenas from the special counsel’s office.