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Tag: donald trump jr.

Trump Changes Story, Admits His Son Met with Russian Operative at Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump last summer cried “fake news” and “witch hunt” when the media first reported that his campaign team, including his son Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower to get dirt on Hillary Clinton in June 2016.

When the New York Times broke the story in July 2017, the Trump administration released a statement suggesting the gathering was about an obscure Russian adoption policy, not a meeting to get information obtain damaging information on his Democratic opponent.

In a series of tweets Sunday, the president acknowledged the meeting “was to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere.”

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower,” Trump tweeted.

It has been widely reported that special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating whether the meeting constituted collusion with Russia. 

The question becomes: Was it illegal to meet with a foreign political operative to get dirt on a political opponent?

NPR reports that campaign finance laws prohibits foreign nationals from “directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value.” 

“Hard to see how there is not a serious case here of solicitation. Trump Jr. appears to have knowledge of the foreign source and is asking to see it,” Rick Hasen, a campaign finance law expert wrote on his blog last year. “Such information can be considered a ‘thing of value’ for purposes of the campaign finance law.”

NPR’s Brian Naylor reported that if Trump was aware of the meeting in advance, “or cast doubt on denials by Trump and Trump Jr., it would be a dramatic addition to Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential race and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.”

Secret Service Watching Over Donald Trump Jr.’s Date Nights in New York

Donald Trump Jr. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The New York Daily News reports that witnesses have seen what appears to be a black U.S. Secret Service car parked outside Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Central Park West apartment.  She’s dating Donald Trump Jr.

The Daily News reports:

For the fourth straight Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. enjoyed a date night with Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, according to a source on the scene. The 40-year-old scion’s secret service detail dropped them both off outside the 49-year-old TV host’s Central Park West apartment for a nightcap.

Passersby have noticed the black SUV’s with out of state plates parked near Guilfoyle’s building every Tuesday since early May.

 

Mueller Crosses Red Line with Intensifying Probe of Trump, Family

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump cautioned last summer that Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference should not include scrutinizing his family’s finances.

“I think it’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia,” Trump said in July 2017

That red line clearly has been crossed after a series of recent revelations that Mueller is investigating Trump’s business dealings with Russia before his presidential run and whether Moscow had compromising information about him.

Mueller also is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing then-FBI Director James Comey and by threatening to remove Attorney General Sessions and others in the administration.

Trump even reportedly discussed ways to terminate Mueller, who was appointed by the deputy attorney general after Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe.

Mueller must decide whether the president’s goal to remove officials close to the investigation was an attempt to exercise control of the probe, which could amount to obstruction of justice.

This week, NBC reported Mueller was questioning witnesses whether Trump knew about Russian hacking of Democratic emails before the discovery was made public. Trump has claimed that Russia interfering in the election is a “hoax” peddled by the “fake news” and top officials out to get him in the FBI and DOJ.

Also this week, CNN reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was unable to obtain a security clearance because of the Russia investigation. A day earlier, CNN reported that Mueller was investigating Kushner over his business dealings during the presidential transitions. Among the inquiries are Kushner’s contacts with Russia, China and Qatari investors.

At the center of the collusion investigation is a meeting between Kushner, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer who pledged to provide “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. 

Manafort faces trial in September after Mueller charged him with numberous counts of conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering.

The president’s attorneys are trying to prevent him from being interviewed by Mueller for fear that Trump will lie under oath and be charged with perjury.

Trump continues to call the investigation a “witch hunt.”

Secret Service Joins Probe of White Powder Scare Involving Trump Jr.’s Wife

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has launched an investigation into an unidentified white powder that Venessa Tump, the wife of Donald Trump Jr., came into contact with while opening a piece of mail.

Venessa Trump  and two other people who may have been exposed were taken to a New York hospital, where they later learned the substance was non-hazardous, Reuters reports.

“The substance had arrived by mail and it was addressed to Donald Trump Jr.,” said New York Police Department spokesman Carlos Nieves.

The Secret Service and other agencies have taken white powder seriously since 2001, when anthrax-laced envelopes were sent to media outlets and U.S. lawmakers, killing five people. 

Most cases since then have been hoaxes.

Authorities said the packages had a Boston postmark, but law enforcement officials have declined to discuss it.

“Thankful that Vanessa & my children are safe and unharmed after the incredibly scary situation that occurred this morning,” Trump Jr. said on Twitter. “Truly disgusting that certain individuals choose to express their opposing views with such disturbing behavior.”

Former Trump Spokesman to Testify about Suspected Obstruction of Justice in Trump Administration

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia is zeroing in on a meeting at Trump Tower between top campaign aides, including family members, and Russian officials who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team, has agreed to an interview with the special counsel team and plans to reveal a previously undisclosed conference call with Trump and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, three people familiar with the situation told the New York Times. The call left Corallo with the impression that Hicks was planning to obstruct justice.

During the call, Hicks insisted that potentially incriminating emails written by Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., “will never get out,” according to sources close to Corallo.

The emails are significant because they show the president’s son and his top campaign officials communicated with a Russian lawyer who wanted to help Trump win the election by providing dirt on Clinton.

When the New York Times broke a story in July 2017 about the previously undisclosed meeting at Trump Tower, the Trump administration released a statement suggesting the gathering was about an obscure Russian adoption policy.

Robert Mueller’s special counsel team is now focusing on the statement, how it was drafted and whether the president was involved in writing it. In recent months, Mueller’s team has questioned numerous White House officials about the statement and recently notified Trump’s attorneys that prosecutors want to address the issue during a face-to-face interview that his lawyers have begun to resist.

Turns out, the president helped write the misleading response, which was attributed to Trump Jr. – to the Times while aboard the Air Force One with Hicks, according to sources familiar with the discussion.

“It was a short introductory meeting,” the response read. “I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up.”

Corallo insisted the response would backfire because investigators would obtain emails that show the real reason behind the meeting with Russians – to obtain dirt on Clinton. That’s when he said Hicks responded that the emails “will never get out.”

Corallo, who declined to comment for the Times story, did not dispute the contents of the article.

So far the Mueller investigation has produced indictments against four former Trump campaign associates. The probe also is focusing on whether the president obstructed justice by interfering with the investigation, including when he fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who testified at a congressional hearing that Trump demanded loyalist and pressured the bureau boss to end the Russia investigation.

The firing prompted Trump’s Justice Department to appoint Mueller in May to investigate ties between the campaign and Russia.

Bannon Slams Trump, Campaign for Relationship with Russia

Former top aide to President Trump, Steve Bannon.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s long-time ally and former White House chief adviser Steve Bannon slammed the president, his family and top campaign aides over their relationship with Russia and said the special counsel investigation may reveal some serious, sloppy crimes.

The snarky, candid and explosive remarks were revealed in excerpts of the forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” a scathing account based on more than 200 interviews with the president and his administration.

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

Bannon, who also served as chief executive of Trump’s presidential election, said it was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for Trump’s son Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to meet with a Russian lawyer at the Trump Tower during the 2016 election. 

Just hours after the Guardian posted the story about Bannon’s comments Wednesday, Trump blasted his former confidant, saying he “lost his mind” and had “very little to do with our historic victory.”

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Trump said in a combative statement. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.”

Trump’s dismissive comments and suggestions that Bannon is lying contradict fawning statements the president made about his former top adviser when he was forced out of the White House after seven months and returned to the right-wing Breitbart News.

In an interview with the book’s author, Michael Wolff, Bannon described some of Trump’s top campaign aides as naive, unethical and clumsy, seemingly unaware of the repercussions of meeting with a Russian attorney who pledged to provide documents that would “incriminate” Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Bannon said he was dumbfounded.

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers.

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

Bannon even suggested Trump was aware of the Trump Tower meeting.

“The chance that Don Jr did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”

Bannon, who previously criticized the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, said he doesn’t expect a conclusion to the special counsel investigation anytime soon. He added that the probe into alleged collision with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering, saying, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

Since Robert Mueller was appointed in May to lead the Russia-Trump investigation, four members of Trump’s inner circle have been indicted – and two have already pleaded guilty and plan to cooperate with the special counsel’s team.

Bannon’s surprising candor undermines claims by Trump and his conservative allies that the investigation is a “witch hunt” perpetuated by a biased FBI bent on destroying the president. 

Bannon used a hurricane metaphor to describe the mood in the White House: “They’re sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.”

Russian Lawyer: Trump Jr. Offered to Review Sanctions in Exchange for Dirt on Clinton

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the presidential election campaign last year said the president’s son offered to re-examine sanctions and travel bans imposed on Russian officials in exchange for dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya offered new details in an interview with Bloomberg about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower involving Trump Jr., Jared Kushner’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Paul Manafort, who then was Trump’s senior campaign manager. 

The meeting has become a target of the special counsel investigation of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia to meddle in the election.

Veselnitskaya said she was lobbying against the so-called 2012 Magnitsky law that imposed travel bans and sanctions on Russian officials accused of plotting to murder an accountant, Sergey Magnitsky.

In the Bloomberg interview, Veselnitskaya quoted what Trump Jr. allegedly said during the meeting: “Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it.”

It’s unclear whether Russia ever passed on information about Clinton.

KellyAnne Conway, Donald Trump Jr. No Longer Receiving Secret Service Protection

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s eldest son and another top White House official will no longer be protected by the Secret Service, the New York Times reports.

Saying he wants more privacy, Donald Trump Jr. elected to forgo Secret Service protection.

It’s unclear whether the rest of his family has elected to forgo protection.

Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, also will no longer be protected by the Secret Service, which has been run over budget because of the president and his family’s penchant for traveling and going on vacations.

The Times reports:

Like other members of his family, Mr. Trump’s personal and business travel — often to far-flung Trump properties and projects around the world — has triggered frequent criticism and careful documentation by Democrats and other watchdog groups. Those groups argue that taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the agency’s highly trained agents to accompany the younger Mr. Trump. The size of the first family had forced the Secret Service to shift agents who would otherwise be working on criminal cases or investigations into protective duty.

The Secret Service does not decide who falls under its protection. In the case of the president’s immediate family, the agency is required by law to provide round-the-clock security unless it is told not to and typically errs on the side of caution.

Ms. Conway’s protection is not covered by statute. The president approved her protection after Ms. Conway received several threats in the administration’s early days. That threat assessment has since changed, the official briefed on the decision said.

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