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Tag: Russia

Russian in Trump Tower Meeting Charged in Case That Reveals Close Ties to Kremlin

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Russian lawyer who met with top Trump campaign aides at Trump Tower in 2016 was charged Tuesday in a money-laundering case that reveals her close ties to the Kremlin.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Natalia V. Veselnitskaya with obstruction of justice in a U.S. money-laundering case involving Yury Chaika, a wealthy Russian businessman connected to the Trump Tower meeting, The New York Times and Guardian report.

The June 2016 meeting was prompted by a representative close to the Kremlin who told Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., that Chaika could provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

The meeting has become a focus of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. Attending the meeting were top campaign aides, Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who has been convicted of crimes in unrelated cases.

Although the case against Veselnitskaya is unrelated to the Trump Tower meeting, the indictment reveals how closely she is connected to the Russian government.

Judge Blasts Plea Deal with Michael Flynn, Setting Sentencing in Limbo

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, went to court thinking he’d receive leniency for cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors Tuesday.

After all, Flynn struck a deal with prosecutors, who argued this month that he should not get prison time for his help with the Russia investigation.

But U.S. District judge Emmet Sullivan disagreed, causing a delay in sentencing on a charge of lying to the FBI.

“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,  Sullivan said, adding he is deviating from Mueller’s recommendation, The Washington Post reports.

The judge also was unhappy when Flynn’s attorneys suggested he was duped into lying to the FBI.

“All along you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country, while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States!” he said. “Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out!”

This means Flynn could serve substantial time in prison. ‘The judge requested a status report in 90 days before sentencing is scheduled.

Alleged Russian Agent Reaches Plea Deal with Federal Prosecutors

Maria Butina

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A gun rights activist and alleged Russian agent has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to several news outlets.

Defense attorneys and federal prosecutors indicated the case against Maria Butina is headed to a plea hearing.

“The parties have resolved this matter, and the Defendant Maria Butina remains in custody,” they wrote.

Butane was charged in July with conspiracy and acting as the agent of a federal government.

Both parties requested a plea hearing this week.

More details are expected to emerge from the hearing.

Ex-FBI Chief Comey Tries to Block Subpoena to Appear Before House Committee

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey is trying to block a subpoena to appear before the Republican-led House of Representatives on Monday, saying the motive behind the private interview was political.

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Comey, who was fired by Trump in April 2017, earlier this month to answer questions about the FBI in 2016, including why the bureau did not recommend an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private computer, Time reports.   

Last week, Comey said he would testify in a public hearing, but not a closed-door meeting.

Corey’s attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss the subpoena and delay his appearance before the House committee, which has been repeatedly accused of derailing an objective investigation.

Trump’s Company Offered Putin a $50M Penthouse in Planned Tower in Russia

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Trump Organization offered Russian President Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse as the company negotiated the luxury real estate development during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to several media outlets.

“If we have Putin in the penthouse every oligarch in Russia would want to live in that building,” Felix Sater, a businessman who worked on the project and suggested the idea, told the Washington Post.

The revelations came as Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney and confidant, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Russia. 

According to BuzzFeed News, Cohen discussed the plan with a representative of Putin’s press secretary.

The Trump Tower in Russia has become a target of Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Trump was aware of the Penthouse plan.

Trump’s Former Lawyer Cohen Pleads Guilty to Lying to Congress about Russia

Trump Tower in New York City.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former lawyer and longtime confidant Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Russia, according to multiple news reports.

Cohen has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in what could be a big break for Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

The guilty plea came just a few hours after Trump slammed Mueller in another tweetstorm.

“When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever?” Trump tweeted.

The timing of the plea coincides with Trump’s plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 nations summit in Argentina.

Here’s How Trump Responded to 2 Questions from Mueller

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump responded in writing to the special counsel team that he was not notified of a meeting at the Trump Tower between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The president also denied that his former political adviser Roger Stone told him about Wikileaks’ plan to release hacked emails from the Democratic Party that were damaging to Clinton.

That’s according to CNN, which obtained two of the president’s written responses to Robert Mueller’s team investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Trump has refused an in-person interview with Mueller’s team and only agreed to answer questions about collision with Russia.

Behind the Scenes: Trump Nearly Sat Down with Mueller for an Interview

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump came close to a sit-down interview under oath with special counsel Robert Mueller at Camp David on a Saturday in January 2018.

But as the interview approached and Mueller revealed the topics he wanted to discuss, the president’s lawyers hesitated. Trump attorney John Dowd questioned Mueller’s authority to interview the president in a letter, and just like that, the president’s administration canceled the Jan. 27 interview, according to a new report by the Associated Press

It has been nearly a year, and Trump has refused an in-person interview since.

Last week, the president turned over written answers to Mueller’s team, but the questions were limited to how much Trump’s campaign knew about Russia’s interference in the presidential election.

After Trump replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions with loyalist Matthew Whitaker a day after the midterm elections, the fate of Mueller’s 19-month investigation hangs in the balance.