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Tag: Russia

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 »

Lewandowski: If Anyone Colluded with Russia, They Should Be Jailed for Life

Corey Lewandowski

Corey Lewandowski

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s campaign team chairman, Corey Lewandowski, said if anyone colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election, they should be jailed for life.

Lewandowski, speaking at George Washington University, said democracy is sacred and should not be tampered with by outsiders.

“I think if anybody, and I’ve said this, if Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, or Rick Gates or Carter Page, or anybody else attempted to influence the outcome of the U.S. election through any means that’s inappropriate – through collusion, coordination or cooperation – I hope they go to jail for the rest of their lives,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner.

But Lewandowski defended Trump.

 “Never ever ever ever did I hear him say, utter, insinuate anything to do with Russia,” he said.

Other Stories of Interest

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 Wiretapped Trump Campaign Chair Manafort Beginning in 2014

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government may be closer to proving Donald Trump’s campaign was encouraging Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been under FBI surveillance beginning in 2014, CNN reports.

The surveillance included wiretapping and other types of searches that began in 2014, when Manafort was under investigation for work he did involving a group of Washington consulting firms for the former ruling party of Ukraine.

The wiretapping was permitted under a secret order authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.

The information collected prompted concerns by the FBI that Manafort was encouraging Russia to meddle in the election. In 2016, the FBI obtained a second warrant because of suspicions that Manafort was acting as an agent of a foreign power. That warrant involved the bureau’s investigation into suspected collision between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

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.”

FBI’s Probe of Sputnik Unlikely to Affect American Media Outlets, Despite Concerns

typewriter-muckBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Some American journalists are worried about the potential slippery slope of the FBI investigating a state-run news agencies Sputnik and RT.

Free press advocates believe the bureau’s probe could open the door to government intrusion in U.S. media outlets. They also worry the federal government could label some legitimate news companies as “propaganda.”

But according Columbia Journalism Review, “requiring Russian state-owned media to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, is not as ‘Big Brother’ as it sounds.

FARA, for one, isn’t planning on prohibiting any of Sputnik and RT’s activities.

“There is no concern about slippery slopes,” James Kirchick, a journalist and writer who has covered Russia and the former Soviet Union, tells CJR in an email. “Never mind their content (which is not news gathering in the traditional sense but disinformation aimed at influencing American politics), their opaque management structures starkly differentiate them from reputable outlets like the BBC, France 24, and Deutsche Welle, which operate independent of government control.”