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Tag: Robert Mueller

Donald Trump Squarely in Crosshairs of Special Counsel Investigation

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is turning his attention to President Trump’s actions in office, including the termination of his national security advisor and FBI director.

The New York Times also reports Mueller is honing in on an Oval Office meeting between Trump and Russian officials after the president said dismissing Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him.” 

Mueller is asking the White House for documents related to some of Trump’s most scrutinized actions while in office.

The news indicates that Trump is now squarely in the crosshairs of the investigation.

Manafort Offered to Provide Briefings of Presidential Race to Russian Tied to Kremlin

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Read more »

Deputy U.S. Attorney Rosenstein Interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller’s Office

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been interviewed by Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office about President Trump’s firing of former FBIU Director James Comey, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The interview, which occurred earlier this summer, creates the odd scenario of investigators questioning the officials directly overseeing the investigation. Mueller, for example, reports to Rosenstein after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation.

Mueller is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey in May.

The interview “could be a sign that Mr. Mueller’s team doesn’t view Mr. Rosenstein as a central witness in its probe, as the deputy attorney general hasn’t withdrawn himself from overseeing it since that interview,” the Journal reported.

The subject of the interview wasn’t immediately clear.

Special Counsel Mueller Taps Stephen Kelly to Serve As Liaison to Capitol Hill

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has added another expert to his team.

Stephen Kelly, who formerly served as the longtime congressional affairs chief for the FBI, has been brought on as liaison to Capitol Hill, The Daily Beast reports. 

“Stephen Kelly is exactly who I would hire if I wanted to share as little information with Congress as possible,” a Hill staffer said.

Kelly will serve an important role because several Capitol Hill committees are investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, and the similar probes have caused officials to butt heads now and again.

Not everyone is pleased.

“We think he’s an asshole,” said a source from a Capitol Hill committee that works closely with the Mueller probe. “It’s unfortunate because the relations with Mueller’s legal team are otherwise strong. The lawyers on each side have worked in the same space for years.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Interviews Former Sputnik Reporter To Determine If Agency Should Register as Foreign Agent

sputnik_logo-svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI suspects the Russian web-based media outlet Sputnik was a propaganda machine that spread misinformation during the 2016 election in an attempt to get Donald Trump elected.

To further understand the internal working of Sputnik, the FBI interviewed one of its former employees – an American journalist named Andrew Feinberg.

The FBI interviewed Feinberg for two hours on Sept. 1 in hopes of learning more about the inner workings of the suspected propaganda machine, CBS News reports

So what did the FBI want to know?

“They wanted to know how I ended up there, you know, who paid me, who signed my checks, what a typical day was like,” Feinberg told CBS News national security correspondent Jeff Pegues. “Who I took my orders from … they wanted to know everything.”

Agents believe Sputnik was involved in “covert intelligence operations” and “paid media trolls.”

Feinberg said he was fired after just four months for refusing to write a story that he believed was wrong.

“They only will run a story … when it meets a certain criteria that the angle that the story takes is one that meets their worldview,” he said.

“The worldview of Vladimir Putin?” Pegues asked.

“Well that’s where the money’s coming from,” Feinberg said.

Special Counsel’s Search Warrant Could Mark Turning Point in Russia Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller Mueller.

Special counsel Robert Mueller Mueller.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s search warrant for information related to Facebook accounts of suspected Russian operatives trying to meddle in the 2016 presidential election could be a turning point in the investigation.

Before news broke of the warrant, “it appeared that Mueller was focused on several discrete areas of inquiry, such as potentially false disclosures by former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, potential tax charges and alleged obstruction of justice related to President Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote for Newsweek

Mariotti said his main changed after reading news about the warrant.

“The importance of that development cannot be overstated,” Mariotti wrote. “It means that Mueller presented evidence to a federal magistrate judge who concluded there was good reason to believe that foreign individuals committed a crime by making a ‘contribution’ in connection with the election and that evidence of such a crime existed on Facebook.”

Democrats to Special Counsel Mueller: We Have Evidence Michael Flynn Broke Law

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Democrats say they have evidence that President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn broke the law by failing to disclose a trip that involved a potential business deal between the Saudi government and a Russian nuclear power agency.

House Democrats provided details in a letter to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating wether Trump campaign aides colluded with Russia to win the White House.

Rep. Elijah Commungs, D-Md., and Eliot Engel, D-New York, sent the letter, which was not signed by any Republicans.

CNN reported:

Democrats sought information from three American companies in June after Newsweek reported that Flynn traveled to the Middle East in the summer of 2015 to broker a $100 billion deal between the companies, Saudi Arabia and Russia’s nuclear power agency. In response, officials from the US companies provided statements to the Democrats, confirming Flynn’s trip in 2015.

When Flynn returned to the US several months later and reapplied for his security clearance, he never disclosed the trip or the contacts he had with foreign nationals as part of the trip, the Democrats say.

Steve Bannon: Firing of Comey Biggest Mistake ‘in Modern Political History’

Steve Bannon on 60 Minutes.

Steve Bannon on 60 Minutes.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former White House strategist Stephen Bannon said President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.”

Bannon made the extraordinary claim during an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired, we would not have a special counsel,” Bannon told interviewer Charlie Rose.

Bannon said the firing opened the door for the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether President Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to win the White House.

“We would not have the Mueller investigation in the breadth that clearly Mr. Mueller is going,” Bannon said.

Bannon described Washington as “a city of institutions, not individuals. And I think you have to look at it as institutions. The FBI is the institution. The speaker of the house is an institution. The majority leader is an institution. Okay? The Justice Department is an institution. They have an institutional logic of how they proceed and what they’re going to do. And you can’t get caught up in individuals.”

Bannon added that he didn’t learn of Comey’s firing until after it had happened.