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Tag: Robert Mueller

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.

Not So Fast! Mueller Signals Investigation of Russian Meddling Is Far from Over

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

It appears special counsel Robert Mueller is not ready to close his 20-month investigation into Russia’s election interference.

A judge Tuesday agreed to delay the sentencing of former Trump campaign official Rick Gates because he “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations,” according to a joint statement by his defense attorneys and Mueller’s team.

Gates, whose attorneys asked for a two-month delay, is a key witness in investigations involving the Trump campaign and inauguration.

In another development reported by ABC News, Mueller’s team has subpoenaed three new witnesses connected to Jerome Corsi, a Roger Stone associate and the former Washington D.C. bureau chief for the far right-wing internet site Infowars. They will be required to testify before a grand jury about Russian election meddling.

Mueller was said to be preparing a final report to the Justice Department about his findings in the investigation. But the latest developments indicate Mueller’s team is far from done and is aggressively pursuing several different cases related to Russian interference.

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.

Carl Bernstein: Mueller’s Report Will Allege Trump helped Kremlin ‘destabilize’ the U.S.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference will allege that President Trump helped the Kremlin “destabilize the United States,” according to famed journalist Carl Bernstein.

Bernstein, known for his coverage of Watergate, told CNN on Sunday that Mueller will reveal that Trump played a significant role in Russia’s propaganda campaign during the presidential election.

“This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,’” Bernstein said CNN’s Reliable Sources.

“From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” the journalist added. He then explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.

“And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about,” he said. “We know there has been collusion by [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by [Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort. The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it?”

Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his investigation that began in May 2017 following the president’s termination of then-FBI Director James Comey. Mueller will then reveal what he has found in a report to the Justice Department.

Trump denied the allegations and suggested he has been “maybe tougher (on Russia) than any other President,” a claim widely disputed by historians and political analysts.

“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!” Trump tweeted.

Mueller is Close ‘Personal Friends’ with His Likely New Boss, William Barr

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long complained that special counsel Robert Mueller and his former FBI director, James Comey, were “Best friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest.” 

Turns out, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, has “been personal friends for over 20 years,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, Newsday reports.

“I didn’t know that they were that close personally,” Graham said after meeting privately with Barr on Wednesday.

Not only did Barr and Mueller work together at the Justice Department, Mueller attended the weddings of two of Barr’s daughters, and both men’s wives attend a Bible school together.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Trump knows about the relationship.

Rod Rosenstein, Overseeing Russia Probe, Plans to Leave His Post

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who hired Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference during the election, is preparing to leave his post.

The career prosecutor’s departure comes as the Senate prepares to confirm President Trump’s pick for attorney general, William Barr. The hearing is set to begin Jan. 15, and it could take a month or more before he is confirmed.

There are no signs that Rosenstein is being forced out by Trump, ABC reports.

Speculation mounted that Trump would fire Rosenstein in September after The New York Times reported the deputy AG considered secretly recording the president and invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

Trump has called the Mueller investigation a witch hunt, even as the special counsel secured convictions of some of the president’s former top aides.

Rosenstein had the authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate election interference because then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from any inquiries into Russia’s contacts with the Trump campaign team. Rosenstein appointed Mueller after Trump fired his FBI director, James Comey, who told lawmakers the president pressured him to stop investigating his national security director, Michael Flynn, who was later indicted.

 

Trump Aides Face Potential Perjury Charges As House Democrats Help Mueller with Records

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Democratic takeover of the U.S. House could spell trouble for current and former aides of the president, including his son Donald Trump Jr. and his long-time aide Roger Stone.

Democrats plan to hand Mueller all evidence the House collected during its investigation of Russian interference, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

That increases the chances of perjury charges against Trump Jr. and Stone if they lied to Congress during closed-door interviews with the House intelligence committee.

Schiff said Sunday that he plans to soon provide special counsel with transcripts of the congressional testimony, “including for the bringing of perjury charges, if necessary, against any of the witnesses ,but also to see the evidence that they contain.”

“I don’t want to go into enumerating particularly who I have concerns about, but I do have concerns about certainly multiple witnesses,” Schiff told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Bob Mueller, by virtue of the fact that he has been able to conduct this investigation using tools that we didn’t have in our committee, meaning compulsion, is in a better position to determine, OK, who was telling the truth?” Schiff said. “Who wasn’t? And who can I make a case against in terms of perjury?”

Schiff said some witnesses felt like they had “some kind of immunity” when Republicans controlled the committee.

“There’s no reason to protect these witnesses,” Schiff said. “There’s every reason to validate Congress’ interest in not having people come before it and lie.”

Democrat-Controlled House to Re-Introduce Bill to Protect Special Counsel Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

As Democrats take control of the U.S. House today, the new leaders are expected to introduce new legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.

Incoming House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, plans to re-introduce legislation that would allow Mueller and future special counsels to challenge their termination in the courts, CNN reports.

Nadler is the incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which would be in charge of any future impeachment proceedings.

But the legislation faces an uphill battle because Republicans still control the Senate, which defeated a similar bill last year.