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Tag: donald trump

Michael Flynn Faces Potential Prison Time Today When He Is Sentenced

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former national security director, Michael Flynn, will learn today whether he will be sent to prison for lying to the FBI.

The sentencing of Flynn comes just one day after unsealed court records showed two of his former associates have been charged with conspiracy to violate federal lobbying rules.

On Monday, prosecutors provided new details of how Flynn lied to federal investigator about conversations in December 2016  with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak. According to the documents, Flynn admitted he lied when he told the FBI that he had not urged Kislyak to restrain from escalating tension with the U.S. after the outgoing Obama administration imposed sanctions against Russia.

Flynn, who faces up to six months in prison, has urged for leniency, saying he cooperated with special counsel prosecutors who are investigating Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Former FBI Director Comey Slams Republicans, Fox News After Congressional Hearing

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey walked out of his closed-door testimony to the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee and slammed House Republicans and Fox News.

“At some point, someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth,” Comey, a longtime Republican, said. “I find it frustrating to be here answering questions about things that are far less important than the values this country is built upon.”

Comey also said the failure of House Republicans to defend the FBI from Trump’s drumbeat of criticism is “to their everlasting shame.”

“Their silence is shameful,” Comey said. “Someday, they gotta explain to their grandchildren what they did today.”

During the closed-door session, Comey said he was barraged with questions about Hillary Clinton’s email server and Christopher Steele’s dossier.

Since Democrats are taking over the House in January, Monday was likely their last time to control hearings involving Comey.

Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 was quickly followed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointing  special counsel Robert Mueller.

Feds: Were Middle Easterners Promised Influence over American Policy Through Trump Donations?

President Trump’s inauguration, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether highly influential businessmen from the Middle East tried to buy influence over American policy by donating to President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC.

The investigation is examining whether people from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates used straw donors – or American intermediaries – to donate to the funds since federal law bars foreigners from contributing to political campaigns, The New York Times reports.  

Trump friend and billionaire Thomas Barrack

One of Trump’s closest friends, billionaire financier Thomas J. Barrack Jr., raised a significant amount of money for the funds. He’s known for having an extensive network of business connections in the Persian Gulf.

The PAC, Rebuilding America Now, was created in the summer of 2016 when Trump was struggling to raise money for his presidential run. Such PACs can raise an unlimited amount of money, but only if they’re not closely coordinated with the campaign.

Barrack told investigators a year ago that Trump’s campaign boss, Paul Manafort, treated the PAC as a fundraising arm of the campaign.

The PAC raised $23 million, primarily from big donors such as Linda McMahon, a professional wrestling executive whom Trump later appointed to head the Small Business Administration. She donated $6 million.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Barrack and Manafort went on a Mediterranean cruise together in August 2016, just three months before the presidential election. On the cruise, the pair met with several influential Middle Easterners, including Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar and one of the world’s wealthiest men.

Barrack denied any wrongdoing.

“Tom has never talked with any foreign individual or entity for the purposes of raising money for or obtaining donations related to either the campaign, the inauguration or any such political activity,” said Owen Blicksilver, a spokesman for Barrack.

Prosecutors also are investigating whether Middle Easterners and others funneled money into Trump’s $107 million inaugural fund in exchange for access to the new presidential administration, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Federal law prohibits the exchange of money for political favors.

Trump raised more money for his inauguration than any previous president. The donations largely came from billionaires and corporations, including casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, AT&T Inc. and Boeing Co. 

Another donor was billionaire Dan Gilbert, whose Quicken Loans company has been under investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly targeting, among others, lower-income African Americans for mortgages, many of which went belly up.

Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison, Blaming Blind Loyalty to Trump

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former longtime attorney and self-described fixer was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to nine federal charges, including making secret payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

The charges also included lying to congress about his involvement with a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow and failing to report millions of dollars in income.

Cohen, 52, told Judge William Pauley that his loyalty to Trump led him “to choose darkness over light.”

“Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,” Cohen said.

Cohen apologized to his family and U.S. citizens.

“I am truly sorry and I promise I will be better,” he said.

Cohen pleaded guilty as part of an agreement to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Mueller wrote in a sentencing memo that Cohen provided “relevant and useful.”

It’s not year clear what information Cohen has provided.

Manafort May No Longer Challenge Mueller’s Allegations That He Lied to Prosecutors

Paul Manafort’s mugshot

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

After insisting Paul Manafort did not lie to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of a plea deal, attorneys for the former campaign chief for Donald Trump may no longer contest allegations that Manafort provided false information.

Manafort’s attorney Richard Westling met with Mueller’s team Tuesday before saying in federal court that “the certainty of the hearing is less clear,” Huffington Post and other media outlets reported.

Mueller rescinded the plea deal with Manafort in late November, saying he violated the plea deal by lying to prosecutors.

Manafort has until Jan. 7 to decide whether to contest the allegations that he lied. 

Manafort, who was found guilty in August of eight criminal charges lodged by Mueller, is set to be sentenced on March 5.

He faces more jail time for allegedly lying to prosecutors.

Michael Flynn Asks for No Prison for Cooperating with Mueller’s Team

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn is asking a judge to spare him prison time for cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Instead, Flynn is requesting to be sentenced to one year of probation, his attorneys wrote in a memo in advance of his Dec. 18 sentencing date.

“His cooperation was not grudging or delayed,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote, according to The New York Times.

Flynn’s lawyers also cited the Army general’s lengthy military service.

But his lawyers also suggested he was tricked into lying by the FBI, repeating a narrative often used by Trump.

Trump Picks William Barr for Attorney General Nomination

William barr

President Trump announced Friday he plans to nominate William P. Barr to serve for a second time to as attorney general.

“He was my choice since Day 1,” Trump told reporters. “He’ll be nominated.”

Barr, who served as attorney general during the Bush administration from 1991-1993, supports the strong executive powers of a president and is a conservative attorney.

That also appeared to be the case for interim Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who replaced Jeff Sessions for what likely will be a brief, turbulent time.

In an interview with reporters on Friday, Trump described Barr as a “highly respected lawyer” and a “terrific man,” BBC reports.

During the nomination hearing, Barr is likely to be asked a lot of questions about the special counsel investigation, which he likely will inherit.

Mueller: Flynn Provided ‘Substantial Assistance’ in Russia Probe, Recommending No Jail Time

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller recommended no jail time for Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, saying he provided “substantial assistance” to several ongoing investigations.

Flynn cooperated during 19 interviews with federal investigators, providing early insight into the Russia investigation and possibly helping encourage others to cooperate, a court filing states.

Flynn, who was pressured to abandoned his post as national security adviser for misleading administration officials, is among five Trump aides who have pleaded guilty in the special counsel investigation.

The sentencing memo provided the first description from prosecutors about the extent of Flynn’s cooperation.

But for now, it’s unclear what information Flynn provided because the memo is heavily redacted.

Flynn was among Trump’s early supporters who led “Lock her up!” chants targeting Hillary Clinton.