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Tag: donald trump

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.

Roger Stone Denies Alleged Role in Wikileaks Dirt on Clinton

Roger Stone on CNN

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Roger Stone, a Republican strategist and long-time confidant of President Trump, said his excitement over Wikileaks dirt on Hillary Clinton was nothing more than politics.

Stone, in an interview with CNN on Saturday, distanced himself from connections he reportedly had to email leaks, saying he never colluded with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Stone said he had “no advance notice” of Wikileaks information and simply learned from the media that the hacked emails were going to be leaked.

In October 2016, Stone tweeted that Clinton’s campaign “is done” and that he has “total confidence” in Assange, whom he called a “hero.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Stone’s role in the Trump campaign.

In the CNN interview, Stone said he “testified truthfully” to the House Intelligence Committee and “never had any direct contact” with Wikileaks or Assange.

“What I have done here is perfectly legal,” Stone said Saturday. “I took a solid tip and entirely public information that could be gleaned from the Wikileaks’ Twitter feed and by setting a Google News alert on Julian Assange and reading every interview to hype and punk and promote and posture and bluff the Democrats. That’s politics, but it’s not collusion.”

Watchdog: Trump’s Intervention in FBI Headquarters Violates Emoluments Clauses of Constitution

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s bold decision to intervene in a plan to move the FBI headquarters, which is across the street from his hotel, may be a violation of the Emoluments Clauses of the constitution.

NBC News reports that it’s “the strongest evidence yet that the president of the United States is tampering with American security to avoid disadvantaging his businesses.” 

TickletheWire.com previously reported that administration officials, under “direction from the White House,” plotted to end a long-planned project to relocate the FBI to a new suburban campus.

“We cannot have the most powerful person in the world making national and domestic security decisions based on how his business might be impacted,?” wrote Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has already filed multiple lawsuits challenging the president’s “flagrant violation of the Emoluments Clause.”

Since 2005, the federal government has been planning to move the FBI out of its cramped, squalid headquarters to the suburbs. But doing so would put the current space up for sale to a possible hotel competitor.

“Were the bureau to relocate, its old space would be sold off to developers to cover some of the cost of the relocation, Bookbinder and Eisen wrote. “And that sale and redevelopment could mean competition for President Trump’s hotel or the restaurants inside of it, and correspondingly less money flowing into his presidential pockets.”

Mueller Asks FBI to Investigate Allegations That Women Were Offered Money to Accuse Him of Sexual Assault

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is asking the FBI to investigate a scheme in which women were allegedly offered money to accuse him of sexual assault.

If true, it’s an ugly exploitation of the #MeToo movement and threatens to undermine legitimate claims of sexual harassment and assault.

Journalists uncovered the alleged hoax when they began receiving telephone call from someone making the offer, The USA Today reports

“When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said.

Mueller has been the subject of constant criticism from President Trump, who claims the special counsel is conducting a “witch hunt” by investigating Trump’s campaign and whether it colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

A correspondent from HillReporter.com wrote about the offer, saying a man proposed to pay off her credit card debt and issuing a $20,000 check. The caller asked the reporter to use an encrypted communications application to receive more information about the proposal.

“Reluctantly, I downloaded the app and he called me on that app a few minutes later,” the person said in the email to the reporter. “He said (and I will never forget exactly what it was) ‘I want you to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller, and I want you to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect.’”

WikiLeaks Faces Extradition to U.S. in What Could Become Major Break in Mueller Case

Julian Assange on Fox News

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be extradited to the U.S. from an Ecuadoran embassy in London in what could become a major victory for special counsel Robert Mueller.

Assange said Monday that Ecuador could soon end his six-year asylum, Reuters reports

Assange, known for releasing sensitive documents through WikiLeaks, could be a big witness in Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia’s interference during the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller has struck plea deals with others tied to Trump in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors.

Assange likely knows more than anyone whether the Trump campaign was involved with leaking hacked emails that hurt Hillary Clinton during the election.

Longtime Trump supporter Roger Stone originally claimed he was in contact with Assange, but he has since walked back those statements.

Updated: Fingerprint Match and Misspellings Lead to Arrest of Man Sending Bombs

One of the devices with a return address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Updated: 4:16 p.m. Sat.  — The Washington Post reports: A Florida man with a criminal history and a fervor for President Donald Trump sent at least 13 mail bombs to prominent Democrats, Justice Department officials said, crediting DNA, a fingerprint match and misspellings for the key break in a case that spread fear of election-season violence with little precedent in the U.S.

Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, faces five federal charges in connection with a mail bomb plot that spurred a weeklong, coast-to-coast investigation that continued even after he was taken into custody Friday as investigators scrutinized additional suspicious packages.

______________________________

Federal authorities’ hunt for a serial mail bomber who targeted critics of President Trump is honing in on Florida, where at least some of the 10 packages originated.

Bomb squad, canine units and federal investigators examined a U.S. mail distribution center at Opa-Locka,  northwest of Opa-Locka, where authorities believe some of the packages were passed through.

“Some of the packages went through the mail. They originated, some of them, from Florida,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielse said during an interview with Fox News. “I am confident that this person or people will be brought to justice.”

Florida became a focal point after a device addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder was discovered en route to the return address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

So far, no suspects have been identified.

Each package consisted of a manila envelope with bubble wrap, a computer-printed address label and six “forever” postage stamps. Stuffed inside each envelope was a tape-wrapped device assembled with pieces of plastic PVC pipe that included black powder and shards of shrapnel, perhaps glass. Each pipe had a timing-like mechanism.

Trump initially called for “unity” and civility Wednesday, but at 3:15 a.m. Friday, he slammed CNN, where one of the bombs was sent.

“Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!’” Trump tweeted.

The bombs have been sent to Bill and Hillary Clinton, former California Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former President Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former attorney general Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan, billionaire philanthropist George Soros and CNN’s New York headquarters.