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Tag: Robert Mueller

Mueller Taps Additional Justice Department Resources for His Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Where this all ends, and when it ends, is anyone’s guess.

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III is tapping additional Justice Department resources for help with new legal battles as his year-old investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election continues to expand, Bloomberg reports, adding:

As Mueller pursues his probe, he’s making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents — a sign that he may be laying the groundwork to hand off parts of his investigation eventually, several current and former U.S. officials said.

Mueller and his team of 17 federal prosecutors are coping with a higher-then-expected volume of court challenges that has added complexity in recent months, but there’s no political appetite at this time to increase the size of his staff, the officials said.

Mueller Team Could Produce Indictments Addressing Collusion By Fall, Bloomberg News Reports

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Do folks in the Trump camp need to keep worrying about the Robert Mueller probe?

Bloomberg News, citing a “person familiar with the probe,” reports that Mueller is preparing to accelerate his probe into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians in the 2016 election.

The source tells Bloomberg that the Mueller team hopes to possibly produce indictments related to collusion by fall.  Mueller, the source says, hopes to soon turn his full attention to the issue, including whether  Trump obstructed justice.

 

The #3 Spot in Justice Department Remains Open, and For Good Reason

Rachel Brand (Doj photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The number three position at the Justice Department remains vacant, and for good reason, writes New York Magazine:

The Trump administration can’t seem to fill it, probably because the president has made it clear there’s a good risk of becoming the next target of his ire.

As President Trump continues to denigrate Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, and his allies in Congress lay the groundwork for him to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the number-three position at Justice Department has been vacant since Rachel Brand stepped down in February. The official reason given for her departure was that she could not pass up the top legal position at Walmart, but NBC News reported that she told friends she felt “overwhelmed and unsupported” in the job, and feared she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration has put filling the associate attorney general position on the back burner after several candidates expressed similar concerns. Since Sessions has recused himself, if Rosenstein were to do the same oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe would fall to the associate AG. In a Saturday Night Massacre situation, the number-three official could easily wind up as acting attorney general.

In Manafort Case, Encrypted Messages Don’t Mean Much if People Involved in the Conversation Are Snitches

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

How did special counsel Robert Mueller’s people get Paul Manafort’s encrypted messages that suggested he was tampering with witnesses?

In a court filing, Mueller writes that FBI investigators obtained messages that Manafort—who was indicted for money laundering, tax fraud, and other charges in October—sent to witnesses in his case in an attempt to convince them to lie about lobbying work they performed for him, reports Slate magazine.

Manafort allegedly used WhatsApp and Telegram, two security-focused messaging apps that boast end-to-end encryption, Slate notes, adding that ” end-to-end encryption isn’t that useful if one of the people in the conversation is a snitch. The court filing claims that two of the witnesses Manafort were trying to contact simply handed all of his Telegram messages over to the authorities.”

 

Digging A Deeper Hole: Mueller Accuses Paul Manafort of Witness Tampering

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manfort is getting himself in more trouble.

Federal prosecutors on the Robert S. Mueller III team are accusing him of witness tampering and want the judge to consider revoking or revising his release, the Washington Post reports.

Prosecutors accuse Manafort and a longtime associate they linked to Russian intelligence of repeatedly contacting two members of a public relations firm and asking them to falsely testify about secret lobbying they did at Manafort’s behest.

The Post reports:

In court documents, prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III allege that Manafort and his associate — referred to only as Person A — tried to contact the two witnesses by phone and through encrypted messaging apps. The description of Person A matches his longtime business colleague in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik.

 

Lengel: Rudy Giuliani’s Fear of a Perjury Trap With the President Is Pure B.S.

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former N.Y. Mayor and Rudy Giuliani, who served as U.S. Attorney from 1983-89, is going around telling everyone who will listen that he fears Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III is trying to set a perjury trap for President Donald Trump.

“The reality is we’re not going to sit him down if it’s a trap for perjury,” Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, tells Fox News.  “And until we’re convinced of that … we’re just going to have to say no.”

“Let me emphasize,” Giuliani added, “he wants to explain that he did nothing wrong.”

Let’s simply say this: You can’t be guilty of perjury if you tell the truth.

The truth is that Trump has had a problem at times distinguishing between truth and alternative facts.

All the president has to do is tell the truth.

Simple as that.

Perjury is charge for people who lie.

The truth is a great defense against perjury.

Donald Trump’s Persistent Campaign Against Federal Law Enforcement and the Intelligence Agencies

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump’s attacks on federal law enforcement and the intelligence agencies have been persistent and consistent since taking office.

Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic writes:  

In the 22 months since the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia, Trump has attacked his own intelligence and law-enforcement communities far more often than he has condemned Moscow for its election interference. The president has chided the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller, the Russia “witch hunt,” and the “deep state” in more than four dozen tweets since April alone. He used Twitter to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first and only time on April 8. On March 21, Trump tweeted: “Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.” On April 2, he called the FBI and Justice Department’s desire to withhold sensitive information related to the ongoing investigation “an embarrassment to our country.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan—a frequent Trump critic who saw early intelligence about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election and has landed in the president’s crosshairs—told me that this administration’s posture toward the intelligence community stands in “stark contrast” to what he experienced while working under former Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. “They looked upon me as representing the views and concerns of the intelligence community,” Brennan said of the former presidents. “I was frequently challenged, but it was always done respectfully. That stands in stark contrast to what I’ve seen of this administration from the outside, and during the campaign.”

Giuliani Says Mueller Agrees to Narrow Scope in Trump Investigation

Trump attorney and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rudy Giuliani says special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with President Donald Trump from five topics to two, CNN reports.

Giuliani, who has become Trump’s latest TV attorney,  tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” that Mueller is not considering asking the President about his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who’s under investigation in New York over his business dealings.
Giuliani said Friday said the “the main focus we want is Russia.”
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