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Tag: Attorney General

AG: Mueller Wrapping Up Investigation of Collusion, Russian Election Interference

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robbert Mueller’s 19-month investigation into collusion and Russian interference is nearing completion, the acting attorney general said Monday.

“The investigation is, I think, close to being completed, and I hope that we can get the report from director Mueller as soon we — as possible,” acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said during a news conference, news outlets reported.  “I hope we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible.”

“I have been fully briefed on the investigation, and I look forward to director Mueller delivering the report, and I really am not going to talk about an open and ongoing investigation otherwise,” he added.

The special counsel investigation, which President Trump continues to call a “witch hunt,” has resulted in criminal charges against numerous aides and associates of Trump.

But when the investigation will end is an open question. The probe is still ongoing. Last week, for example, the FBI raided the home of Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime loyalist, on charges of lying to Congress.

Mueller’s office has not commented on Whitaker’s statement.

Mueller is Close ‘Personal Friends’ with His Likely New Boss, William Barr

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long complained that special counsel Robert Mueller and his former FBI director, James Comey, were “Best friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest.” 

Turns out, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, has “been personal friends for over 20 years,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, Newsday reports.

“I didn’t know that they were that close personally,” Graham said after meeting privately with Barr on Wednesday.

Not only did Barr and Mueller work together at the Justice Department, Mueller attended the weddings of two of Barr’s daughters, and both men’s wives attend a Bible school together.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Trump knows about the relationship.

Rod Rosenstein, Overseeing Russia Probe, Plans to Leave His Post

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who hired Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference during the election, is preparing to leave his post.

The career prosecutor’s departure comes as the Senate prepares to confirm President Trump’s pick for attorney general, William Barr. The hearing is set to begin Jan. 15, and it could take a month or more before he is confirmed.

There are no signs that Rosenstein is being forced out by Trump, ABC reports.

Speculation mounted that Trump would fire Rosenstein in September after The New York Times reported the deputy AG considered secretly recording the president and invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

Trump has called the Mueller investigation a witch hunt, even as the special counsel secured convictions of some of the president’s former top aides.

Rosenstein had the authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate election interference because then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from any inquiries into Russia’s contacts with the Trump campaign team. Rosenstein appointed Mueller after Trump fired his FBI director, James Comey, who told lawmakers the president pressured him to stop investigating his national security director, Michael Flynn, who was later indicted.

 

Trump’s Pick for AG Has Long History of Defending Corporations, Telecommunications Companies

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

William Barr, President Trump’s choice for attorney general, has a long history in the corporate world, often fighting the Justice Department that he could be leading for a second time.

Critics told The Wall Street Journal that Barr’s defense of large corporations and telecommunications companies for 25 years could create a bias as the top law enforcement official in the nation.

Barr, however, previously served as attorney general under President H.S. Bush and was known for being tough on crime.

Republicans scheduled Barr’s confirmation hearing for Jan. 15.

If confirmed, Barr would replace Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has been criticized for refusing to step away from Robert Mueller’s investigation.

After Barr stopped serving as attorney general, he spent most of his time defending large companies, including telecommunications giant GTE.

Acting AG Whitaker Raked in $904K from Conservative Nonprofit

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker received more than $900,000 from a conservative nonprofit that attacks Democrats on ethical grounds.

The discovery is part of the financial disclosure forms that Whitaker is required to disclose after replacing Jeff Sessions.

Whitaker served as executive director of a nonprofit called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT, from 2016 to 2017.

Whitaker also disclosed $15,000 in income from CNN, where made appearances and criticized the special counsel investigation that he may try to take over.

In addition, Whitaker received $103,400 from his own law firm and $1,875 in legal fees from the controversial, Florida-based World Patent Market, which is accused of bilking consumers out of millions of dollars.

Mueller’s Team Defends Its Authority to Investigate Russian Meddling

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team argued that the appointment of Matthew Whitaker to acting attorney general won’t affect the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Mueller’s top attorney made the assertion in response to a case filed Andrew Miller, an associate of Roger Stone, who is under investigation for his role in the leaks of Hillary Clinton emails, the Washington Post reports

Miller is challenging the constitutionality of Mueller’s authority to investigate Russia.

“The designation has no effect on the case,” Mueller’s team said of Whitaker’s new position. “The validity of the Special Counsel’s appointment” in May 2017 “cannot be retroactively affected by a change in the official who is serving as the Acting Attorney General.”

Miller’s lawsuit is aimed at blocking a grand jury subpoena from Mueller.

Mueller Expected to Issue New Indictments As New AG Weighs His Options

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue indictments as early this week as acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker weighs whether he should recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

It has been widely speculated that the next two months will be busy for Mueller after going silent during the midterm elections.

But the fate of Mueller’s investigation hangs in the balance after President Trump replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Whitaker, a loyalist who has contended that the special counsel probe is illegal.

Whitaker plans to meet with Justice Department ethics officials this week about whether he should take over the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The state of Maryland took legal action Tuesday, arguing that Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office.” Maryland officials believe Rosenstein should have been appointed to replace Sessions as a matter of law. 

Meanwhile, it’s unclear who could be indicted by Mueller’s team after CBS reported that new inducements are expected soon. 

Among those facing potential indictments are GOP strategist and longtime Trump supporter Roger Stone and far-right commentator Jerome Corsi, who said earlier this week that Mueller’s team told him he would be indicted.

So far, Mueller’s team has indicted four people once connected to Trump’s campaign or administration, 12 Russian intelligence officers, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies and three other people.

State of Maryland Challenges Whitaker’s Appointment as AG

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s appointment of a loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing a court challenge.

The state of Maryland plans to ask a federal judge Tuesday to declare that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should be the acting attorney general, not Whitaker, as a matter of law, the New York Times reports. 

In a draft filing, the state says Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office.”

The request by Maryland is part of a lawsuit in which the state sued Sessions in his official capacity. Ellen L. Hollander, a 2010 Obama appointee to the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, must identify Sessions’ successor as a defendant in the litigation.

A lot is at stake. The supervision of Robert Mueller as special counsel investigating Russia and Trump’s campaign and administration belongs to the head of the Justice Department, which is the acting attorney general.

Whitaker has long criticized Mueller’s position as illegal. Rosenstein, on the other hand, appointed Mueller in April 2017 to investigate Russia and the role Trump’s campaign played in election meddling.