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Tag: Russia

Trump: I Would Not Have Appointed Sessions If I Knew He’d Recuse Himself

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a stunning admission, President Trump said he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Trump complained to the New York Times that Sessions’ decision to recuse himself led to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate alleged collusion between the Republican’s campaign team and Russia. 

 “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.

The president didn’t stop there, criticizing former FBI Director James Comey, the deputy attorney general and special counsel Robert Mueller III.

Trump painted a picture that he was the victim of a malicious campaign to derail his presidency in a wide-ranging, revealing interview.

Still, Trump insisted, he’s not the focus of an investigation.

“I don’t think we’re under investigation,” he said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Trump Says Special Counsel Should Not Delve into His Personal Finances

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump said it would be “a violation” for the Justice Department’s special counsel to delve into his personal finances.

When asked by the New York Times if Robert Mueller would cross a “red line” by investigating the president’s personal finances, Trump said the special counsel would, before seeming to dare Mueller to try it. 

“I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia,” Trump said.

He added: ”I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievable successful company.”

Trump declined to say whether he’d try to get Mueller fired if the investigation included the president’s finances.

Trump also told the Times that a special counsel “should never have been appointed.”

Ultimately, Trump said, he doesn’t believe Mueller will delve into his personal tax filings and other financial documents.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he told the Times.

Eighth Person to Meet Trump Jr. Identified As Employee of Russian Company

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The eighth person to take part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. was a senior vice president of a Russian real estate company run by an oligarch.

Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president at Crocus Group, which is operated by Azerbaijani-Russian oligarchs and father-and-son Russian developers Aras and Emin Agalarov, the Washington Post reports

The Agalarovs hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

Special counsel Robert Mueller requested an interview with Kaveladze, who has agreed to cooperate, his attorney confirmed.

The Post wrote:

The request is the first public indication that Mueller’s team is investigating the meeting.

The presence of Kaveladze at the Trump Tower meeting introduces a new and intriguing figure into the increasingly complex Trump-Russia drama. A native of the Soviet republic of Georgia who came to the United States in 1991, Kaveladze was the subject nearly two decades ago of a congressional inquiry into Russian money laundering in U.S. banks, although he was never charged with a crime and Balber said there was never any sign of wrongdoing by Kaveladze.

Trump, Putin Met for Undisclosed, Private Discussion During G20 Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump secretly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a one-on-one discussion over dinner during the Group of 20 summit meeting earlier this month, the New York Times reports

The White House, which didn’t disclose the meeting until confronted by the secret discussion Tuesday, said there was nothing unusual about the meet-up.

Trump slammed media reports about the secret meeting as “sick,” saying the “Press knew!” about the dinner since world leaders and their spouses had been invited by Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Times wrote:

While the leaders-and-spouses dinner was on Mr. Trump’s public schedule, the news media was not allowed to witness any part of it, nor were reporters provided with an account of what transpired. Mr. Trump’s traveling press contingent did note, however, that his motorcade left the dinner four minutes after Mr. Putin’s did.

The dinner at which the private conversation took place stretched for more than three hours after a concert for the leaders and their spouses at the Elbphilharmonie, a concert hall on the banks of the Elbe River.

In the earlier, formal meeting, Mr. Trump said later, he asked the Russian president twice about his role in the American vote. Mr. Putin denied involvement, and the two men agreed to move beyond the dispute in the interest of finding common ground on other matters, including a limited cease-fire in Syria.

There is no official United States government record of the intimate dinner conversation, because no American official other than the president was involved.

Top Democrat Requests Secret Service Records on Trump Jr. Meeting

Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Elijah Cummings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is requesting documents that would reveal the vetting of who arrived and exited the Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.

Cummings’ request is intended to clear up “recent conflicting reports” on the Secret Service’s role in vetting the Russian-connected officials who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former campaign manager Paul Manafort at the Trump Tower in June 2016, Business Insider reports. 

On Sunday, President Trump’s lawyer suggested the Secret Service would not have permitted Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and former Soviet military intelligence officer Rinat Akhmetshin into the Trump Tower if anything nefarious was happening. The Secret Service responded that Trump Jr. was not under the agency’s protection at the time and therefore “would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at the time.”

Secret Service Fires Back at Trump Lawyer’s Claim about Russia Meeting

secret-servic-via-secret-serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service called out one of President Trump’s lawyers for suggesting Sunday that the agency should have stopped Russians from meeting last year with Donald Trump Jr.

“I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in,” attorney Jay Sekulow said on ABC News’ “This Week” of the meeting Trump’s eldest son had with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign. “The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.”

The Secret Service fired back in a statement to ABC News.

“Donald Trump Jr. was not under Secret Service protection in June 2016,” according to the statement. “Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time.”

Although the president had Secret Service protection, the agency is not responsible for vetting people who meet with members of the campaign staff.

Other Stories of Interest

Key Player in Russia Probe Cited for Misconduct As a Former Prosecutor

Greg Bower, FBI's top liaison for Congress during probe of Russia.

Greg Bower, FBI’s top liaison for Congress during probe of Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Greg Bower, a former top prosecutor who currently is the FBI’s top liaison with Congress during its investigation into Russian election meddling, has been cited for misconduct in an 8-year-old sex discrimination case.

While Bower was in charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada from January 2008 to October 2009, a former female prosecutor was subjected to sexual discrimination and retaliation, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

An administrative judge said Brower acted hostilely toward a prosecutor after she alleged he had made a sexist comment.

“While acts of discrimination and retaliation are no doubt common within the federal service, it is extremely rare to see such a finding against the U.S. attorney’s office, which is charged with upholding the laws of this country,” said Las Vegas attorney Adam Levine, who has represented clients in the federal equal employment opportunity process. “If any agency should be aware of the prohibition against retaliation, it is the U.S. attorney’s office.”

Then-FBI Director James Comey hired Bower as deputy counsel last year.

Ex-Soviet Intel Officer Also Met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Russian attorney who pledged to share dirt on Hillary Clinton during a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. last year was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist who previously worked in Soviet counterintelligence, according to NBC News.

The Russian-born lobbyist, who was unnamed, served in the military before emigrating to the U.S., where he has dual citizenship. Some U.S. officials believe he still has ties to Russian spy agencies.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, previously acknowledged she attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with at least one other man, whom she declined to identify. But Veselnitskaya denied she was working on Moscow’s behalf and told NBC that she met with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort to discuss sanctions.

Emails released by Trump Jr. suggest Veselnitskaya wanted to share damaging information about Clinton as part of a Russian plot to interfere with the presidential election.

After releasing the emails, Trump Jr. conceded he “probably would have done things a little differently.”

President Trump defended his son, saying “most people would have taken that meeting.”

“My son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer but a Russian lawyer,” Trump said Thursday in a joint press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron. “From a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research or research into your opponent.”