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Tag: special counsel

Judge: Charged Trump Aide Gates Barred from Leaving House for Kids, Holidays

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A judge agreed with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday that Donald Trump aide Richard Gates is a flight risk and therefore should remain under house arrest and should not leave his home for Christmas or to pick up his children from school.

Gates and his business partner, Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Trump’s campaign, were indicted last month and are both facing a dozen federal charges, from conspiracy to money laundering.

Gates was placed under houser arrest and given a $5 million bond.

The judge denied Gates’ request to be allowed to take his children to school every day and to birthday parties and other extracurricular activities, Newsweek reports. The judge also said Gates could not leave, as requested, for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Poll: Most Americans Don’t Believe Mueller Probe Is ‘Witch Hunt’

PrintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Most Americans don’t buy President Trump’s repeated claims that the special counsel investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign team and Russia is a “witch hunt.”

Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that 60% of those surveyed believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the issue fairly. By contrast, only 27% people think the investigation is unfair.

Some Congressional Republicans recently introduced a non-binding measure that claims Mueller’s investigation amounts to a “coup” attempt.

The poll found that 47% of Americans believe Trump should be impeached if he fires Mueller, a former FBI director who has announced charges and one conviction against several Trump aides.

Clinton Compares Trump to a Dictator over Prosecution Threats of Uranium Deal

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hillary Clinton slammed President Trump and his administration for threatening to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her over the Uranium One deal, saying the threats are a dangerous slippery slope that could lead to authoritarianism.

“I regret deeply that this appears to be the politicization of the Justice Department and our justice system,” Clinton told Mother Jones during an interview Wednesday. “Taking myself out of it—this is such an abuse of power. And it goes right at the rule of law.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave the green light to the Justice Department to determine whether Clinton or her aides violated the law over allegations related to the Clinton Foundation and the sale of a uranium company. If so, the Justice Department must decide whether to appoint a special counsel to pursue potential charges.

“If they send a signal that we’re going to be like some dictatorship, like some authoritarian regime, where political opponents are going to be unfairly, fraudulently investigated, that rips at the fabric of the contract we have, that we can trust our justice system,” Clinton said. “It will be incredibly demoralizing to people who have served at the Justice Department, under both Republicans and Democrats, because they know better. But it will also send a terrible signal to our country and the world that somehow we are giving up on the kind of values that we used to live by and we used to promote worldwide.”

Appointment of Second Special Counsel to Probe Clinton Could Backfire

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former and current Justice Department officials are worried about the political fallout if Attorney General Jeff Sessions appoints a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.

During heated testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sessions appeared to back away from his public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel over an Obama-era uranium company deal and recent news that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

The appointment of a second prosecutor could stoke distrust of the Justice Department’s independence since President Trump and Republicans are looking to distract from the current special counsel investigation of the president’s associates and their ties to Russia. 

“To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election — it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former special counsel who investigated the FBI’s role in a violent standoff with a cult in Waco, Tex., according to the Washington Post. “The proliferation of special counsels in a political setting is very, very bad.”

Peter R. Zeidenberg, who once served as deputy special counsel in the probe of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter’’ Libby, said the appointment of a second special counsel will backfire.

I think the vast majority of people at DOJ would be completely disgusted and demoralized by it,’’ said Zeidenberg, referring to the Justice Department. “They don’t like feeling that they are political tools to be used by the president.’’

3 Takeaways from Sessions’ Testimony about Trump-Russia Contacts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said his hazy memory is to blame for any inconsistent responses he has given to Congress about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians.

Here are highlights of his testimony:

1. Sessions now remembers attending a March 2016 meeting with George Papadopoulos.

Under Oath in October, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no recollection of contacts between the Trump campaign and Kremlin-tied Russians.

But when he heard about the arrest of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos this month, Sessions said he suddenly remembered the aide proposing a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Frankly, I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Sessions told the committee, adding that he believes he advised Papadopuolos to scrap a Trump-Putin meeting. 

2. Sessions dismissed accusations that he committed perjury.

“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory,” Sessions testified. “But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.”

Sessions’ failure to recall key facts about ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials drew heavy criticism.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., listed numerous times Sessions said insisted “I do not recall” while testifying before Congress in the past.

Sessions said the “chaos” of running a presidential campaign makes it easy to forget details about certain events.

“All of you have been in a campaign, but most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign,” Sessions said.

3. Sessions shocked many Republicans when he refused to promise the appointment of a new special counsel to investigation Hillary Clinton and her foundation.

Sessions said there was “not enough basis” to appoint a special counsel, prompting a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who asked what it would take to make the appointment.

“You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are, and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires.”

Jordan said it “looks like” there was enough evidence for a special counsel, pointing to allegations that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

Sessions responded: “I would say ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”

DOJ Mulls Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is weighing whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigative Hillary Clinton.

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, the department said it would look into allegations that the Clinton Foundation received donations liked to a 2010 decision by the Obama administration to permit a Russian agency to buy Uranium One.

The records came in response to a formal request from congressional Republicans for the Justice Department to investigate Clinton.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from election-related issues, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, are responsible for oversight of the prosecutors’ decision on appointing a special counsel, according to the letter.

“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit a special counsel,” Stephen E. Boyd, an assistant attorney general, said in the letter to the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, blasted the letter.

Special Counsel Probe Focuses on How Much Trump Knew about Russia Contacts

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is trying to determine how much Donald Trump and his inner circle were aware of the campaign team’s contracts with Russia.

To get closer to the mystery, Mueller’s team questioned Sam Clovis, co-chairman of Trump’s election campaign, who testified before the grand jury in late October, two sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters

“The ultimate question Mueller is after is whether candidate Trump and then President-electTrump knew of the discussions going on with Russia, and who approved or even directed them,” said one source. “That is still just a question.”

The White House declined to comment.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a deal that involve testimony against the president and his inner circle.

“The investigators now know what Papadopoulos was doing on the Russian front, which he initially tried to conceal, and who he told that to,” said the other source. “Now want to know whether Clovis and others reported these activities and others related to Russia, and if so, to whom,” this source said.

Mueller Investigating Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plot to Deliver Cleric to Turkey

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is accused of plotting to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and delivering him to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the allegations involving Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who reportedly were paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to several reports

Flynn is accused of meeting with senior Turkish officials in December, a few weeks before Trump’s inauguration, to discuss the return of Gulen, who is a rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Flynn and others also are under investigation for allegedly plotting to free a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is jailed in the U.S.

Authorities said the meeting allegedly occurred at an upscale restaurant just a few blocks from Trump Tower.

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