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Tag: Russia

Trump to Submit Written Answers to Mueller’s Questions about Russian Interference

President Trump at Indiana rally.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s legal team may submit written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller as early as this week.

The answers are limited to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and do not involve obstruction of justice allegations, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC News

Trump’s legal team has insisted the obstruction of justice questions are off limits because they involve the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey. Trump’s lawyers argue the president has the authority to hire and fire under Article 2 of the Constitution.

Trump has met at least once this week with his legal team to discuss Mueller’s request for written answers.

WikiLeaks Faces Extradition to U.S. in What Could Become Major Break in Mueller Case

Julian Assange on Fox News

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be extradited to the U.S. from an Ecuadoran embassy in London in what could become a major victory for special counsel Robert Mueller.

Assange said Monday that Ecuador could soon end his six-year asylum, Reuters reports

Assange, known for releasing sensitive documents through WikiLeaks, could be a big witness in Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia’s interference during the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller has struck plea deals with others tied to Trump in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors.

Assange likely knows more than anyone whether the Trump campaign was involved with leaking hacked emails that hurt Hillary Clinton during the election.

Longtime Trump supporter Roger Stone originally claimed he was in contact with Assange, but he has since walked back those statements.

Mueller’s Team Questioning Manafort, Others about Longtime Trump Supporter Roger Stone

Roger Stone

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been questioning former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others about Roger Stone.

Stone, who also worked on Trump’s campaign and previously was a partner at Manafort’s lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, has been the subject of Mueller’s investigation.

Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s probe into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.   

“I am highly confident Mr. Manafort is aware of no wrongdoing on my part during the 2016 campaign, or at any other time, and therefore there is no wrongdoing to know about,” Stone told ABC News. “Narratives to the contrary by some in the media are false and defamatory.” 

Mueller’s team wants to know whether Stone had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release Hillary Clinton’s emails, which Russian hackers had stolen. At the time, Stone publicly suggested he had been in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the emails, which were released to hurt Clinton’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.

Nearly a dozen people close to Stone – many of whom have appeared before a federal grand jury – have been questioned by Mueller’s team.

Trump’s Legal Team Drawing Up Answers to Mueller’s Questions about Collusion

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s lawyers are preparing to answer questions from special counsel Robert Mueller about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race.

A source familiar with the matter told several news outlets that Trump’s legal team was preparing answers to the written questions. 

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russia’s interference in the presidential election, leading to numerous indictments. But what remains unclear is whether Trump’s campaign played a direct role in the election meddling.

The written questions are not part of the bigger question over whether Trump will agree to a sit-down interview with Mueller’s team.

Trump has denied any collusion with Russia and repeatedly dismisses the investigation as a which hunt, despite the numerous indictments and guilty pleas since the probe began.

Once-Defiant Manafort Meets with Mueller’s Team As Part of Cooperation Agreement

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The once-defiant Paul Manafort met Monday with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team less than a month after he reached a cooperation agreement with prosecutors.

As part of a plea deal reached last month, Manafort agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort and his lawyers sat down with Mueller’s prosecutors, but neither side would comment on the substance of the meeting.

Under the plea deal, Manafort must cooperate “fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly…in any and all matters as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant.”

Manafort is expected to be sentenced after the November midterm elections. 

Manafort served as the Trump campaign chairman in the 2016 presidential election.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI, DOJ Plan to Propose Redactions to Russia Probe Amid Trump’s Calls for ‘Immediate Declassification’

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s demand for the “immediate declassification” of details of the Russia investigation are likely to be met with proposed redactions by the FBI and Justice Department, Bloomberg reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.

No timeline was been made as the FBI, DOJ and Office of the Director of National Intelligence come through sensitive materials.

On Monday, the White House demanded the declassification of all text messages related to the Russia investigation by Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and several other officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe.

Once the FBI and DOJ have identified their proposed redactions, the Office of Director of National Intelligence will review the material before handing it over to the White House.

As president, Trump has the authority to release the documents regardless of proposed redactions by the federal agencies.

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.”

Ex-Trump Campaign Adviser Papadopoulos Considers Withdrawing Guilty Plea in Russia Probe

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is strongly considering withdrawing his guilty plea after special counsel prosecutors recommended a six-month jail sentence, according to his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos struck a deal with prosecutors last year, pleading guilty to misleading FBI agents during the Russian election meddling investigation. In exchange for his cooperation, Robert Mueller’s team was going to recommend leniency.

But a six-month jail sentence is not what he was expecting.

His wife told ABC that “he will make his final decision” Tuesday.

“He needs a serious conversation with his attorney.”

On Monday, Papadopoulos tweeted, “Been a hell of a year. Decision.”

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.