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Tag: special counsel

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

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.

Post-Dispatch: Mueller May Find Smoking Gun in Cast of Bad Characters

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Editorial Board
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and agents of the Russian government has been remarkably discreet, as it should be. But other sources have leaked three names — Michael D. CohenFelix Sater and Eric Schneiderman — that indicate that Mueller’s team is probing very deeply. If there’s a smoking gun to be found, Mueller is getting closer to it.

Cohen is Trump’s longtime lawyer and executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Sater is a childhood friend of Cohen, a former business associate of Trump, and a onetime government informant with ties to all manner of unsavory people, including Russian oligarchs. Schneiderman, at the opposite end of the probity scale, is New York state’s attorney general.

Cohen and Sater are making big blips on Mueller’s radar screen, as well as those of congressional committees looking into possible election collusion. Last week, The New York Times reported that Cohen had written an eight-page letter to the House Intelligence Committee vehemently denying allegations that he was a central figure in contacts between the Trump campaign and agents of the Russian government.

The allegations were made in a controversial dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. That dossier identified Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the man in charge of a Kremlin operation to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and promote Trump’s.

To read more click here. 

Trump’s Lawyers Told Mueller the President Didn’t Commit Obstruction of Justice

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s legal team met with special counsel Robert Mueller and argued the president didn’t obstruct justice by firing then-FBI Director James Comey.   

Trump’s lawyers insisted the president has the constitutional right to fire the FBI director for any reason and that Mueller was an admitted leaker, the Wall Street Journal reports

Comey said he was fired after he refused to back off an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential election.

Mueller, New York AG Team up to Investigate Paul Manafort

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on the investigation into President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Politico reports

The news means the investigation is intensifying and that Trump won’t have the authority to pardon Manafort on any future state charges. As a result, Mueller will have more leverage to convince Manafort to cooperate with authorities on the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign.

In the past few weeks, the state and federal teams have shared information and discussed the case frequently.

Much of the focus is on potential financial crimes, including money laundering.

It’s too early to say whether charges will be filed.

 “Nothing is imminent,” said one of the people familiar with the case.

Special Counsel Mueller Subpoenas Manafort’s Spokesman, Former Attorney

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Paul Manafort’s spokesman and one of his former attorneys.

Manafort, who is Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, is under investigation for possible tax and financial crimes in connection with his work for the former ruling party in Ukraine, which had espoused pro-Russian policies.

The subpoena seeks documents and testimony from attorney Melissa Laurenza and Jason Maloni, who is Manafort’s spokesman.

Business Insider wrote:

Manafort is one of a handful of Trump campaign associates who have been a central focus of the Russia ongoing probe. The Trump campaign brought him on in March 2016 to help wrangle delegates ahead of the Republican National Convention, and he was promoted to campaign chairman in May that year.

Manafort resigned three months later amid scrutiny over millions of dollars in undisclosed payments for work he performed on behalf of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Since then, Manafort’s work as a foreign agent has remained under the microscope in the US’ Russia investigation, which led to an FBI raid at one of his homes in Alexandria, Virginia, last month.

Mueller Investigating Whether Trump Hid Knowledge of Russia Meeting

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Donald Trump tried to hide the purpose of a 2016 meeting between his son Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyers at Trump Tower.

The president initially denied knowledge of the meeting until it was revealed by the New York Times. The president helped his son draft a statement to address the meeting to the media.

“Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller’s team to show Trump’s conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges,” an unidentified source told NBC.

Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer after she pledged to provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

In early August, Mueller issued grand jury subpoenas related to the meeting.