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Tag: obstruction of justice

Special Counsel Mueller Adds 13 Attorneys to Team Investigating Russia, Trump

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Russia investigation and President Trump, has added 13 lawyers as part of a high-powered team to help with the wide-ranging probe.

Among the seasoned attorneys are James Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, both of whom work for Mueller’s old law firm, WilmerHale, CNN reports.  Mueller also brought on Andrew Weissmann, who led the Enron investigation.

“That is a great, great team of complete professionals, so let’s let him do his job,” former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, told ABC News.

Not everyone agrees. Quarles, Rhee and Weissmann are heavy political donors, contributing almost exclusively to Democrats. Records show the trio spent at least $53,000 supporting Democratic candidates since 1998.

Only five of the 13 lawyers have been identified so far.

Mueller’s investigation of possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia has expanded to an inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice after suggesting to then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Friday morning, Trump attacked the allegations in a tweet, saying “nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!”

Trump, Nixon Both Described Obstruction of Justice Probes As ‘Witch Hunt’

Illustration of a witch hunt, via Wikipedia.

Illustration of a witch hunt, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump continues to insist he is the victim of a “witch hunt” in attempt to discredit the numerous federal investigations targeting him and his inner circle.

But he’s not the first president to claim he’s the victim of a political witch hunt.

photo-jun-15-1-18-34-pmFormer president Richard Nixon used the same phrase to describe the Senate Watergate hearings that led to his resignation. A Washington Post headline on July 22, 1973 read, “Nixon Sees ‘Witch-Hunt,’ Insiders Say.” 

Like Trump, Nixon was accused of obstruction of justice for trying to disrupt the investigation.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Here’s a look at Trump’s other tweets in which he insists he’s the victim of a witch hunt:

Mueller’s Investigation of Trump Expands to Obstruction of Justice Probe

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign to interfere with the 2016 election has expanded to include a probe into whether the president attempted to obstruct justice.

Just days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9 in the midst of the bureau’s Russia probe, federal authorities began investigating whether the president terminated Comey over concerns of the probe.

The Washington Post, citing officials, reported that Mueller plans to examine whether the termination amounted to obstruction of justice. 

To dig deeper, Mueller also scheduled interviews as early as this week with Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett. 

After Trump originally said Comey was fired for his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, the president later conceded: “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”

At a Senate hearing last week, Comey said he believed Trump fired him for refusing to end the Russia investigation and a related probe into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “I was fired, in some way, to change — or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”

A spokesman for Trump’s personal attorney lambasted the FBI, but not on the substance of the allegations.

“The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz.

President Trump Asked Top Intelligence Officials to Help End FBI Investigation of His Campaign

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After President Trump repeatedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to swear loyalty to the president during a one-on-one meeting in the White House in February, the Republican is accused of trying to get two top intelligence officials to intervene.

The Washington Post reports that Trump asked the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency to help him stop a FBI investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. 

Trump wanted the top intelligence officials to public deny the existence of evidence of collusion during the 2016 presidential election.

The requests, which were denied by both men, happened during two separate meetings that could be used to help build the case that Trump was obstructing justice.

Former FBI Agent Charged with Lying Under Oath During ‘Whitey’ Bulger Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent accused of lying under oath during the 2013 James “Whitey” Bulger trial has pleaded not guilty, Boston.com reports.

Retired FBI supervisor Robert Fitzpatrick, 75, is charged with six counts of perjury and six counts of obstruction of justice.

Boston.com wrote that Fitzpatrick worked for the FBI from 1965 to 1986 and supervised the organized crime department in the late 1980s.

While investigating organized crime, Fitzpatrick used Bulger as an informant, according to the indictment.

Bulger was convicted in November 2013 and sentenced to life in prison.

The indictment alleges Fitzpatrick made “false material declarations designed to aid Bulger’s defense” while testifying in Bulger’s trial in late July 2013.

Retired FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Obstruction in Case of $54M Military Contract

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice after prosecutors say he tried to derail an investigation into a $54 million military contract, the Associated Press reports.

Robert Lustyik Jr. was expected to start trail Monday in federal court but decided to please guilty at the last moment.

The 52-year-old, however, declined a plea bargain because he doesn’t want to implicate anyone.

Federal prosecutors say Lustyik was helping a company started by former soldiers. They are accused of using insider information to win a $54 million contract with the U.S. government.

Lustyik agreed to take a cut of the contract in exchange for disrupting the investigation by fabricating interviews.

Friend of Suspected Boston Marathon Bombers Was Followed by FBI Last Year

Khairullozhon MatanovSteve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI was closely monitoring a friend of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers last year and even urged him to avoid Boston’s Fourth of July fireworks, the Boston Globe reports.

The agents were ordered to “make sure they stay with Mr. [Khairullozhon] Matanov, and don’t lose him,” Special Agent Timothy McElroy told US Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in court.

Prosecutors said the 23-year-old Matanov, who was charged with obstruction of justice last week, lied about interacting with the brothers on the week of the attack.

The FBI told Matanov to stay away from the fireworks and the Boston Marathon to avoid alarming people.

Matanov, a native of Kyrgyzstan, faces up to 20 years in prison.

FBI Agent Defends Use of Troubled Inmate in L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The lead FBI agent on the sweeping corruptions case involving the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies testified Thursday that it was important to document inmate abuse by smuggling a cell phone to a prisoner with a history of violence and lying.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the defendant Deputy James Sexton is accused of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for trying to hide inmate Anthony Brown from FBI handlers.

Sexton’s attorney grilled Agent Leah Marx about the wisdom of giving a contraband cellphone to an image with a checkered past.

“Did it concern you, Agent Marx, at that point that Mr. Brown … had been convicted of 15 felonies and sentenced to more than 400 years?” O’Brien asked.

Marx responded that criminal histories among informants is always a concern but in this case it was important to work with the inmate because of the seriousness of the corruption and abuse allegations against deputies in the L.A. County jails.

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