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Tag: Robert Mueller

Update: Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Paul Manafort Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Cooperate

Paul Manafort

Update: 4:02 p.m. Friday —  In a move that could certainly spell more trouble for President Donald Trump, former campaign chief Paul Manafort pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the Robert Mueller probe.

Manfort pleaded guilty to two charges — conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice.

“I plead guilty,” Manafort told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson at a hearing Friday morning hearing in federal court in the District, according to the Washington Post.

Manafort admitted committing years of financial crimes to hide his money from the IRS and promised to tell the government about “his participation in and knowledge of all criminal activities.”


From Friday Morning

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reached a tentative plea deal ahead of his second trial, sources familiar with the negotiations told ABC News

Details of the plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to be revealed in court today.

If approved, the tentative deal will head off Manafort’s second trial after a jury found him guilty of eight criminal counts in his first trial last month.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Manafort reached the deal in exchange for cooperation or just to avoid the stress and costs of another trial.

The second trial primarily involves work he did for pro-Russia politicians in the Ukraine and accusations of money laundering.

Check back for updates.

Ex-Trump Aide Papadopoulos Said He Lied to FBI to Protect the President

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison, said he lied to the FBI to protect the president.

“At the time of my interview with the FBI, I think around three or four days before that, I was at the inauguration attending parties with senior-level transition officials,” Papadopoulos told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “I understood that there was an incipient investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

He continued, “And I found myself as somebody who worked incredibly hard over the past year with the campaign to actually have the candidate Trump be elected. And then I found myself pinned between the Department of Justice and the sitting president and having probing questions that I thought might incriminate the sitting president.”

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about meetings in London he had with a Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud, who claimed to have troves of emails related to the Clinton campaign.

“He sat me down and he was quite giddy,” Papadopoulos said. “And he told me, ‘I have information that the Russians have thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.’”

When asked whether be believed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation had enough evidence to demonstrate coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, Papadopoulos responded, “I have no idea.”

“All I can say is that my testimony might have helped move something towards that, but I have no idea.”

Woodward Book: Trump’s Meltdown Over Mueller And Failed Mock Interview

Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Bob Woodward’s new tell-all book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” offers revealing, behind-the-scenes glimpses of the president’s reaction to the ongoing special counsel investigation of possible Russian collision and obstruction of Justice.

According to the new book, Trump believed Mueller had too many conflicts to be special counsel, including his past membership to Trump National Golf Club and his firm’s former relationship with his son-in-law. 

The appointment of Mueller in May 2017 incensed the president, according to the book.

“The president erupted into uncontrollable anger, visibly agitated to a degree that no one in his inner circle had witnessed before. It was a harrowing experience,” Woodward wrote.

The book also suggests Trump failed a mock interview to prepare for a possible sit-down with Mueller.

The president initially told the public he wanted to sit for an interview with Mueller. But during a practice interview with his former personal attorney, John Dowd, Trump performed miserably, at times contradicting himself and lying, sources told Woodward.

“Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit,” Dowd told the president.

According to the book, which is scheduled for a Sept. 11 release, Dowd told Mueller’s team that the president did not perform well.

“I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot,” Dowd told Mueller. “And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a [expletive] dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?'”

Down decided to step down shortly after, telling Trump, “You’re not a good witness.”

He continued, “Mr. President, I’m afraid I just can’t help you.”

Supreme Court Nominee Stumbled Over Question about Mueller Probe

Sen. Kamala Harris and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a Senate confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was caught off guard and stumbled with his response when asked if he had discussed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation with an attorney at President Trump’s attorney’s law firm.

The question by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., came nearly 12 hours after the confirmation hearing began Wednesday.

“Be sure about your answer, sir,” Harris told Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh didn’t answer the question directly, asking, “Is there a person you’re talking about? I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm.”

“I’m not remembering,” any conversation, he said.

Harris, a former prosecutor, shot back, “How can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm? This investigation has only been going on for so long.”

Kavanaugh asked if Harris was questioning him on a specific attorney.

“I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us,” Harris replied.

Kavanaugh never answered the questions, insisting he would need a “roster of people” who worked at the firm.

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.

Papadopoulos Ends Weeks of Uncertainty by Accepting Plea Deal with Mueller

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who was considering withdrawing his plea deal after special counsel prosecutors recommended a six-month jail sentence, has decided to stick with the agreement after all, his wife told ABC News

“George will take responsibility for some inaccuracies during the interview with the FBI,” Mangiante Papadopoulos said in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday, adding that she hopes the judge will not send her husband to jail.

Mueller’s prosecutors recommended jail time because they said Papadopoulos “caused damage” to the investigation by misleading investigators.

In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with a professor, identified in news reports as Joseph Mifsud, who said he had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

White House Lawyer Who May have Incriminated Trump May Soon Resign

White House counsel Don McGahn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A White House lawyer who cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia and President Trump may leave the administration this fall, according to the news site Axios.

Trump supporters fear White House counsel Don McGahn may have incriminated the president during 3o hours of interviews with Mueller’s team. 

McGahn is said to have expressed interest in leaving the White House after the Senate confirms the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Several news outlets reported that McGahn clashed with the president over plans to potentially pardon Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman who was convicted last week on numerous counts of tax and bank fraud.

When the New York Times broke the story about McGahn meeting extensively with Mueller team, Trump lashed out in several tweets, suggesting the special counsel is “asking for trouble.”

Mueller Ended Plea Deal Talks with Manafort Before Second Trial in September

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller put an end to negotiations for a last-minute plea deal between his prosecutors and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Manafort’s legal team began plea discussions while jurors were deliberating after closing arguments in their client’s fraud case in which he ultimately was convicted of eight of 18 counts tax and bank fraud, the Wall Street Journal reports

The plea talks involved Manafort’s upcoming Washington D.C. trial, but they fell apart after Mueller expressed unknown concerns and objected to a potential deal.

The specifics of the potential deal were unclear.

Manafort’s convictions last week came about a month before his second trial is set to begin Sept. 17 on charges of lying to federal investigators and failing to register as a foreign agent.

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