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Tag: obstruction of justice

Comic Publisher to Transform Mueller Report into a Graphic Novel

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s not easy getting Americans to read Robert Mueller’s dense, 450-page report.

A San Diego-based comic publisher may have found a way to make it more digestible – turning the dense report into a graphic novel half its size.

IDW Publishing is planning to publish an illustrated version of the report, which is the result of a two-year investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Spoiler alert: Mueller does not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice.

Shannon Wheeler, an award-winning New Yorker cartoonist, is drawing the illustrations. The graphic novel is being written by veteran journalist Steve Duin.

IDW Publishing brands the graphic novel as “a comprehensive, understandable, and readable graphic novel version of the book every patriot needs.”

“Shannon and Steve have done an incredible job taking the rotten ingredients catalogued by Robert Mueller and turning them into a delicious satirical feast,” the book’s editor, Justin Eisinger, said. “It’s funny. It’s maddening. But it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to be informed about the findings of the most important law enforcement document created in our lifetime.”

Here’s how the publisher describes the book:

See Trump berate his Attorney General. Watch a petulant Commander-in-Chief lob insults at the White House counsel. Witness the “witch hunt” as it happened, cataloged as only the top lawman in the country could!

This staggering laundry list of questionable contacts, misleading statements, unreported engagements, and possible coordination — enough to stun any student of the U.S. Constitution — is laid bare with a cold, satirical edge.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You may Tweet in anger. But most importantly, you will be reading the report for yourself!

AG Barr: Mueller ‘Could’ve Reached a Decision’ on Whether Trump Obstructed Justice

AG William Barr speaks with CBS News.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Even though Robert Mueller said a Justice Department policy prevents charging a sitting president, Attorney General William Barr said the former special counsel could have declared whether President Trump broke the law.

In a CBS interview aired Thursday evening, Barr said nothing stopped Mueller from deciding whether Trump obstructed justice.

“I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” Barr said. “He could’ve reached a conclusion.”

Barr made the comments a day after Mueller spoke publicly for the first time since the two-year special counsel investigation began in 2017. Democrats in Congress believed Mueller had suggested during the press conference that Congress should investigate the special counsel’s findings.

Barr said he wasn’t so sure that’s what Mueller was saying.

“I’m not sure what he was suggesting, but the Justice Department doesn’t use our powers to investigate crimes as an adjunct to Congress,” Barr said.
Mueller said he didn’t reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice because “a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.”

FBI Translator Arrested on Charges of Lying to Investigators about Terrorism Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A translator working for the FBI has been arrested on charges of lying to investigators about having contact with a suspect in a terrorism investigation.

Abdirizak Jaji Raghe Wehelie, 66, of Burke, Virginia, was arrested Saturday and charged with obstructing an investigation and making false statements to the FBI, the Justice Department wrote in a news release.

The Justice Department  accused Wehelie of having a personal relationship with a terrorism suspect, who had left a voicemail on Wehelie’s phone. When Wehelie translated the call, he failed to disclose the connection or reveal that it was his phone that the suspect had called.

The terrorism suspect’s phone was under court-ordered surveillance.

According to federal prosecutors, Wehelie later disclosed that he had been friends with the suspect for years.

Wehelie faces up to 25 years in prison.

Updated: Trump Directed Cohen to Obstruct Probe by Lying to Congress about Trump Tower in Russia

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

Update: 1:11 p.m. Saturday — The Office of the Special Counsel disputed the BuzzFeed report, and issued the following statement:

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.

BuzzFeed responded by saying that it stands by its story and asked the Office of Special Counsel to clarify what in its report is inaccurate.

_________________________

Report from Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump told his long-time attorney and fixer Michael Cohen lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a bombshell report by BuzzFeed.

If true, Trump and his attorneys would have a hard time arguing the president didn’t attempt to obstruct justice.

But it gets worse for Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has learned that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents,” BuzzFeed reports, citing two federal law enforcement sources involved in the investigation of what happened during and after the 2016 presidential election.    

It’s likely the most damning public finding yet against the president, who continues to insist the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.”

While Trump repeatedly told the public he had no business projects in Russia, he supported a plan for Cohen to visit the country during the presidential campaign and even personally meet with President Putin to get the Trump Tower moving, according to the sources.

“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly told Cohen.

According to BuzzFeed sources, Cohen received help preparing his testimony from attorneys close to the administration. Whether the attorneys knew Cohen planned to lie wasn’t not immediately clear.

After his testimony, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

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.

Russian in Trump Tower Meeting Charged in Case That Reveals Close Ties to Kremlin

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Russian lawyer who met with top Trump campaign aides at Trump Tower in 2016 was charged Tuesday in a money-laundering case that reveals her close ties to the Kremlin.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Natalia V. Veselnitskaya with obstruction of justice in a U.S. money-laundering case involving Yury Chaika, a wealthy Russian businessman connected to the Trump Tower meeting, The New York Times and Guardian report.

The June 2016 meeting was prompted by a representative close to the Kremlin who told Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., that Chaika could provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

The meeting has become a focus of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. Attending the meeting were top campaign aides, Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who has been convicted of crimes in unrelated cases.

Although the case against Veselnitskaya is unrelated to the Trump Tower meeting, the indictment reveals how closely she is connected to the Russian government.

Trump’s Tweetstorm May Be Considered Obstruction And Witness-Tampering

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s habit of firing off incendiary tweets without consulting with White House attorneys may have landed him in hot water.

As special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigates whether Trump obstructed justice in connection with his 2016 presidential campaign, he “edged closer to an open display of obstruction of justice and witness tampering,” The Washington Post reports

In a series tweet Monday, Trump urged former aides aim to refuse to cooperate with the federal investigators and even appeared to imply threats against those who do.

It began with an attack on his former attorney Michael Cohen, suggesting he should receive no deals for cooperating with investigators.

“‘Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? … He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence,” Trump tweeted.

Subjects of criminal investigations are prohibited from retaliating against people who testify against them. 

Trump followed up the tweet with a quote from Stone: “I will never testify against Trump.”

Trump added, “This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’ ”

The Washington Post wrote:

So where he threatened a stick against Cohen, Trump offered a carrot to Stone, signaling where their allegiances should lie. This proof of potential witness tampering and obstruction of justice is made even stronger by the fact that the messaging is from the person who holds the most powerful get-out-of-jail-free card: a presidential pardon.”

Taken together, Trump’s statements Monday are a message not only to Cohen and Stone, but also to anyone else who may be considering testifying or cooperating against the president or any of his associates. And the message is quite clear: Those who cooperate with law enforcement and agree to be witnesses against Trump will be punished, while those who keep his secrets will be protected.

The tweets Monday are not, alas, isolated incidents. The president has tweeted before that he is being persecuted by the special counsel’s office, purportedly threatened those in a position to preserve the Mueller investigation, asked for loyalty of those who might prosecute his confederates and engaged in a host of additional conduct evincing an intent to block Mueller’s work, as well as committing overt acts seemingly directed at obstructing the investigation.

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.