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Tag: collusion

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.”

Why Mueller’s Likely Building Collusion Case Against Trump Campaign

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When Donald Trump’s former campaign deputy Rick Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel team last month, most legal observers assumed Robert Mueller wanted Gates to provide information on his former business partner, Paul Manafort.

Both were charged with dozens of counts related to tax and bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy against the U.S. 

But a surprising detail emerged Thursday that indicates Mueller is looking far beyond the case against Manafort, the former head of Trump’s campaign.

Mueller’s team told Gates they wanted information, not so much on Manafort, but on the Trump’s campaign’s contacts with Russia during the 2016 election, CNN first reported.

The discovery indicates Mueller is building a case that the campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the presidential election.

It’s unclear what Gates has told investigators.

House Republicans Abruptly Conclude There Was No Collusion with Russia

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Even as special counsel Robert Mueller delves deeper into secret meetings between Trump and Russian associates, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee abruptly concluded they found no evidence of collusion between the president’s campaign and the Kremlin.

The GOP-dominated committee, with no input from Democrats, drafted a 150-page report that concedes Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election but disputes the intelligence community’s findings that the meddling was intended to help Trump win. One committee Republican, Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, didn’t agree, telling CNN “there is evidence” that Russia’s goal was to help shift the election in favor of Trump.

Rep. Mike Conaway, who headed the committee’s investigation, told reporters Monday that the report was based on the testimony of more than 70 witnesses and 300,000 documents. 

“We found no evidence of collusion. We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings,” the Texas Republican said. “But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings, whatever, and weave that into a some sort of fictional page-turner spy thriller.”

Trump responded on Twitter: Trump responded to the announcement on Twitter on Monday night, writing in all capital letters “THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.”

Trump didn’t mention that Democrats, who are expected to issue their own conclusions, were quick to dismiss the committee’s report as partisan-driven and premature.

“By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the majority has placed the interests of protecting the president over protecting the country,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff, of Calif., the top Democrat on the committee. “And history will judge its actions harshly.”

Schiff, who suggested last month there was “ample evidence” of collusion, said the committee’s investigation was closed before key witnesses have been interviewed and important documents have been procured.

Just last week, sources revealed Mueller is investigating whether an early 2017 meeting in Seychelles was an effort to establish a back channel between Russia and the Trump administration.

Thirteen Russians Charged with Interfering in Election to Help Trump Win

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian organizations have been criminally charged Friday on allegations of interfering in the 2016 presidential election to help Donald Trump win.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the election, announced a grand jury in Washington D.C. has indicted the Russian nationals and organizations.

The sweeping, 37-page indictment alleges the Russian operation “included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

They are accused of using social media to pose as Americans by operating bogus social media accounts, buying advertisements and even staging political rallies. The indictment alleges they stole the identity of real Americans to wage a propaganda campaign on social media and built computer systems in the U.S. to conceal Russia’s participation.

Trump has dismissed his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Russia interfered in the election.

Schiff: House Committee Presented with ‘Ample Evidence’ Trump Campaign Colluded with Russia

Rep. Adam Schiff.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said there is “ample evidence” that the public has not yet seen to show Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia and that the president obstructed justice.

“There is already, in my view, ample evidence in the public domain on the issue of collusion if you’re willing to see it,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, told reporters, USA Today reports.  “If you want to blind yourself, then you can look the other way.”

Schiff said the House committee has been provided with an “abundance” of classified information in closed-door meetings to indicate Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Schiff pointed to various meetings between Trump’s campaign and people with ties to Russia who pledged to provide “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

“All of this is evidence of collusion,” said Schiff, a former federal prosecutor. “Now, I’ve never said that there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s for Bob Mueller to decide. But to say there’s no evidence of collusion, you’d have to ignore all this.”

Other Stories of Interest

George W. Bush: ‘There’s pretty clear evidence’ That Russia Interfered in 2016 Election

Former President George W. Bush

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Former President George W. Bush said Thursday “there’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 presidential election, an apparent rebuke of President Trump and his refusal to accept the findings of his intelligence agencies.

“Whether [Russia] affected the outcome is another question,” Bush said at a conference in Abu Dhabi, the USA Today reported. “It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”

While the former president never mentioned Trump by name, Bush pointedly and very publicly countered the president as he and his allies continue to attack the credibility of the FBI and Justice Department, the two departments overseeing the special counsel investigation into Russia’s campaign to undermine the presidential election.  

The White House didn’t immediately respond to Bush’s statements.

President Trump Asked Top Intelligence Officials to Help End FBI Investigation of His Campaign

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After President Trump repeatedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to swear loyalty to the president during a one-on-one meeting in the White House in February, the Republican is accused of trying to get two top intelligence officials to intervene.

The Washington Post reports that Trump asked the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency to help him stop a FBI investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. 

Trump wanted the top intelligence officials to public deny the existence of evidence of collusion during the 2016 presidential election.

The requests, which were denied by both men, happened during two separate meetings that could be used to help build the case that Trump was obstructing justice.

Justice Department Defends Suit Against Apple, Publishers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Department of Justice defended its suit against Apple and book publishers, saying they colluded to raise e-book prices, the New York Times reports.

The government sued Apple and five publishers and reached settlement with the Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins in an attempt to reduce e-book prices.

But Apple and the remaining publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, refused to settle and will face trial next summer.

The Justice Department defended its actions after 868 comments during a 60-day comment period and dismissed claims that the lawsuits would narrow the field of retailers.

The idea is to reduce prices, feds said.