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Tag: donald trump

Trump to Submit Written Answers to Mueller’s Questions about Russian Interference

President Trump at Indiana rally.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s legal team may submit written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller as early as this week.

The answers are limited to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and do not involve obstruction of justice allegations, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC News

Trump’s legal team has insisted the obstruction of justice questions are off limits because they involve the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey. Trump’s lawyers argue the president has the authority to hire and fire under Article 2 of the Constitution.

Trump has met at least once this week with his legal team to discuss Mueller’s request for written answers.

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.

Democratic-Controlled House to Probe Trump’s New AG Matt Whitaker

Rep. Jerry Nadler

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

With Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives, President Trump’s pick for interim attorney general, Matt Whitaker, is likely to face tough scrutiny in the form of hearings.

Rep.  Jerry Nadler, the presumed chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Whitaker will be summoned early next year as part of the ongoing Russia investigation.

“Our very first witness after January 3, we will summon, if necessary subpoena, Mr. Whitaker,” Nadler told CNN.  

“The very first thing, obviously, is to protect the Mueller investigation,” Nadler said. “The president’s dismissal of Attorney General Sessions and his appointment of Whitaker, who’s a complete political lackey, is a real threat to the integrity of that investigation.” 

The president last week forced the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him Whitaker, a loyalist and critic of the special counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

“He’s totally unqualified, and his only qualification seems to be that the President wants him to be the hatchet man to destroy the Mueller investigation,” Nadler said.

Ex-West Wing Official: I’m Worried About Donald Trump Jr. Getting Indicted

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

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The rumblings involving the Robert Mueller  probe declined quite a bit before the Nov. 6 election.

Now, they’re revving up again.

Gabriel Sherman writes in Vanity Fair that some folks are concerned Donald Trump Jr. may have perjured himself with investigators when he said he never told his father in advance of the infamous June 16 Trump Tower meeting to gather dirt on Hillary Clinton.

“I’m very worried about Don Jr.,” a former West Wing official who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells Sherman. .

Mueller Foes Urge Federal Court to End Special Counsel Probe of Russia, Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The legality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling and possible collision by Trump’s campaign is facing its most significant challenge since he was appointed in April 2017.

Lawyers for witness Andrew Miller, an associate of Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone, asked a federal appeals court on Thursday to end the investigation on the basis that it has no legal authority.

It’s the first challenge to Mueller’s authority that has reached a federal court of appeals.

Mueller’s job was made even more precarious this week when the president replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Trump loyalist Matthew Whitaker, who could take over the special counsel investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Miller’s lawyer, Paul Kamenar, argued that Mueller’s power is excessive and outside the bounds of law because the special counsel position was created in regulation, not by a congressional statute.

“The special counsel does exercise extraordinary prosecutorial and governmental powers,” Kamenar told the judges, Politico reports. “He can bring indictments in multiple jurisdictions. He’s like a U.S. attorney at large.” 

Trump has long called the investigation a “witch hunt,” even as some of his allies have pleaded guilty to numerous charges and even have cooperated with federal prosecutors.

Mueller’s office has argued that a special counsel’s authority has long been upheld by both federal law and the courts have

Fate of Mueller Investigation Hangs in the Balance After Sessions’ Resignation

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday presented President Trump with his best opportunity yet to end the special counsel investigation that he has repeatedly dismissed as a “witch hunt.”

Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist and harsh critic of Robert Mueller’s handling of the probe, has been tapped to replace Sessions on at least a temporary basis.

As attorney general, Whitaker could seize control of the special counsel investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who hired Mueller in April 2017 after Sessions recused himself.

Whitaker, a former college football player and U.S. attorney in Iowa, wrote in a column for CNN last year that Mueller would overstep his authority if he investigated the Trump family’s finances.

“This would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt,” Whitaker wrote, repeating the president’s go-to conspiratorial phrase.

Whitaker has not yet responded to media questions about what he plans to do about the Mueller investigation.

“I am committed to leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards that upholds the rule of law and seeks justice for all Americans,” Whitaker said  Wednesday in a statement, calling Sessions “a man of integrity.”

Democrats wasted no time demanding that Whitaker stay away from the probe because his previous comments indicate he is far too biased to handle it fairly.

“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement to the New York Times

If Trump’s administration interferes with the investigation, Democrats could use their new majority in the House to impeach the president. But the bold measure would almost certainly die in the Senate, which needs two-thirds of the vote to impeach.

Read Sessions’ Resignation Letter to ‘Mr. President’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

President Trump wasted no time dumping Attorney General Jeff Sessions, just one day after the midterm elections.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, was routinely criticized by Trump for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, a decision that allowed his deputy to hire special counsel Robert Mueller to probe connections between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign.

Here is his resignation letter, dated Wednesday.

Dear Mr. President:

At your request I am submitting my resignation.

Since the day I was honored to be sworn in as Attorney General of the United States , I came to work at the Department of Justice every day determined to do my duty and serve my country. I have done so to the best of my ability, working to support the fundamental legal processes that are the foundation of justice.

The team we assembled embraced your directive to be a law and order department of Justice. We prosecuted the largest number of violent offenders and firearms’ defendants in our country’s history. We took on transnational gangs that are bringing violence and death across our borders and protected national security. We did our part to restore immigration enforcement. We targeted the opioid epidemic by prosecuting doctors, pharmacists, and anyone else who contributes to this crisis with ne w law enforcement tools and determination. And we have seen results. After two years of rising violent crime and homicides prior to this administration, those trends have reversed—thanks to the hard work of our prosecutors and law enforcement around the country.

I am particularly grateful to the fabulous men and women in aw enforcement all over this country with whom I have served. I have had no greater honor than to work alongside them. As I have said many times, they have my thanks and I will always have their backs.

Most importantly, in my time as Attorney General we have restored and upheld the rule of law—a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard. We have operated with integrity and lawfully and aggressively advanced the policy agenda of this administration.

I have been honored to serve as Attorney General and have worked to implement the law enforcement agenda based on the rule of law that formed a central part of your campaign for the Presidency.

Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. President.

Sincerely,

Jeff B. Session III

Attorney General

Democrats’ Control of the House Affords Protections to Mueller

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democrats’ takeover of the House of Representatives is good news for special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation of Russia and President’s Trump’s campaign.

The House only need a simple majority to impeach Trump, a maneuver that political observers believe is unlikely unless Trump tries to interfere with the election or is later found guilty of committing crimes. 

Democrats have tiptoed around the issue because of the political ramifications, especially since a vote of two-thirds of the Senate is required.

Trump has hinted that he may take bold steps after the midterm elections, such as firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation.

With control of the House, Democrats also have subpoena power, which could become critical if Trump tries to interfere with the investigation.

While the House cannot issue criminal charges, it can hold public hearings and refer issues to the Justice Department for investigation.