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Tag: collusion

Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani Flip-Flops on Question about Collusion with Russia

Rudy Giuliani previously on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is now claiming he “never said” the Trump campaign didn’t collude with Russia.

In an extraordinary interview on CNN on Wednesday night, Giuliani acknowledged there may have been “collusion” between the campaign and Russia, but Trump was not involved.

“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign. Or between people in the campaign,” Giuliani told CNN host Chris Cuomo on live television. “I have no idea.”

Truth is, Giuliani and Trump have both denied collusion.

“I have not,” Giuliani insisted. “I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

In previous interviews, Giuliani denied anyone in the campaign colluded with Russia. He told Fox News in July that there was “no collusion” and then maintained that “collusion is not a crime.”

Trump has repeatedly insisted no one in his campaign colluded with Russia.

“There was nobody to collude with,” Trump said at a press conference with Vladimir Putin at his side last summer. “There was no collusion with the campaign.”

In previous tweets, including one as recent as December, Trump exclaimed, “No collusion!”

Giuliani’s latest rhetoric comes as Robert Mueller begins collecting more evidence of links between Trump, his campaign and Russia.

Last week, a court filing error by Paul Manafort’s attorneys showed that Manafort, Trump’s former champaign boss, met with Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilmnik and shared polling data with him. At one point, Manafort urged Kilimnik to pass the data to Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, according to the court filing.

Trump Declines Sit-Down Interview with Mueller After Responding to Limited Written Questions

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s legal team recently rejected Robert Mueller’s request for a sit-down interview with Trump after the special counsel said he was “not satisfied” with the president’s initial written response, CNN reports.

The chances of an in-person interview with Trump are slim at best. The president’s legal team firmly responded that Mueller has no cause for a follow-up interview, and Rudy Giuliani told a reporter it would happen “over my dead body.”

Just before Thanksgiving, Trump turned over written responses to limited questions about collusion with Russia before he was inaugurated. But his legal team has declined to answer questions about obstruction allegations since Trump became president.

There has been no indication that Mueller will subpoena Trump for grand jury testimony because of the murky legal questions of forcing a sitting president to testify under oath.

Trump said last year he was eager to sit down with Mueller, but his legal team expressed concerns about perjury and discouraged the president from answering questions on the fly.

Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his 20-month investigation and file his findings in a report to the Justice Department.

Carl Bernstein: Mueller’s Report Will Allege Trump helped Kremlin ‘destabilize’ the U.S.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference will allege that President Trump helped the Kremlin “destabilize the United States,” according to famed journalist Carl Bernstein.

Bernstein, known for his coverage of Watergate, told CNN on Sunday that Mueller will reveal that Trump played a significant role in Russia’s propaganda campaign during the presidential election.

“This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,’” Bernstein said CNN’s Reliable Sources.

“From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” the journalist added. He then explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.

“And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about,” he said. “We know there has been collusion by [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by [Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort. The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it?”

Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his investigation that began in May 2017 following the president’s termination of then-FBI Director James Comey. Mueller will then reveal what he has found in a report to the Justice Department.

Trump denied the allegations and suggested he has been “maybe tougher (on Russia) than any other President,” a claim widely disputed by historians and political analysts.

“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!” Trump tweeted.

Accidental Reveal of Manafort’s Interactions with Russians Raises Prospect of Collusion

Paul Manafort’s mugshot

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of the most revealing details of Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia was made public this week by accident.

In a court filing, lawyers for Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign boss, made a redaction error that revealed their client’s relationship with a Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilimnik.

During the campaign, Manafort met with Kilimnik and discussed “a Ukraine peace plan” and shared inside polling data.   

So what’s the big deal?

It’s the first strong indication that Mueller’s team has evidence of possible collision between Russia and Trump’s campaign. As the head of Trump’s campaign, Manafort was communicating with Kilimnik, a suspected Russian intelligence agent who was indicted by Mueller’s team on obstruction of justice charges.

Manafort also urged Kilimnik to pass the data to Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, who has claimed Manafort was in debt to him over a failed business, The New York Times reported

Just this month, the Department of Treasury lifted sanctions against Deripaska’s aluminum company.

The poorly redacted documents also contradict Trump’s repeated claims that Mueller has no proof of possible collusion.

Only time will tell whether Mueller has enough evidence of collusion.

Here’s How Trump Responded to 2 Questions from Mueller

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump responded in writing to the special counsel team that he was not notified of a meeting at the Trump Tower between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The president also denied that his former political adviser Roger Stone told him about Wikileaks’ plan to release hacked emails from the Democratic Party that were damaging to Clinton.

That’s according to CNN, which obtained two of the president’s written responses to Robert Mueller’s team investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Trump has refused an in-person interview with Mueller’s team and only agreed to answer questions about collision with Russia.

Mueller Delivers Good & Bad News to Trump’s Lawyers about Federal Probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller delivered both good and bad news to President Trump’s lawyers, who for months have been trying to prevent an interview between prosecutors and Trump over of concerns that he will perjure himself.

In a letter to the president’s lawyers Friday, Mueller said he will accept – for now – written answers to questions about whether Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential election in 2016, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times report, citing people familiar with the correspondence. 

But calls by the president’s attorneys to end the special counsel investigation before mid-term elections appeared to be nothing more than fantasy. The letter indicates that Mueller plans to continue investigating Russian collision and may still seek an in-person interview over allegations that Trump obstructed justice by interfering with the federal probe.

“He said he’d assess it down the road,” one person familiar with the letter about Mueller, the Los Angeles Times reported. “They’re essentially saying, ‘We’ll deal with this at a later date.’”

In other words, Mueller’s team is keeping open the investigation until some unspecified time, without acquiescing to White House demands.

Giuliani Says Collusion Is Not a Crime; But Legal Experts Say Conspiracy Is

President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump has fervently denied colluding with Russia to undermine the 2017 election.

Now his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, says the issue is irrelevant because collusion likely is not a crime. 

“I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding with Russia,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN on Monday. “You start analyzing the crime – the hacking is the crime. … The President didn’t hack.”

While some legal experts agree that collusion itself is not a crime, conspiracy to undermine an election is. Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump, said at a CNN town hall in Apri that collusion “is not actually a thing that exists under the federal laws of the United States.”

Comey said the issue is whether anyone conspired with a foreign government to commit crimes against the U.S., which he and other legal experts said is a crime.

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.”