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Tag: special counsel

Trump’s Lawyer, Spokesman Step Aside Amid Reshuffling of Legal Team

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of Donald Trump’s outside legal team appears to be stepping aside amid reports that Trump is reshuffling his circle of lawyers representing him in the Russia investigation.

News that Marc Kasowitz is “out” as Trump’s attorney was first tweeted by CBS News White Correspondent Major Garrett. 

It wasn’t immediately clear if the move was motivated by a series of profanity-laced email exchanges that Kasowitz had with a seeming stranger.

Mark Corallo, the spokesman for Trump’s legal team, also resigned Thursday.

Kasowitz, who represented Trump in several cases in the past, was hired by the president in late May to represent him in the ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between the president’s campaign team and Russia.

Trump Asks about Powers to Pardon Aides, Family, Even Himself

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The looming investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia has prompted the president’s lawyers to explore his powers to grand pardons to aides, family and even himself, the Washington Post reports.

Trump has been asking advisers about the extent of his constitutional power to grant pardons in connection with the investigation, according to an unnamed source familiar with the queries.

One of Trump’s attorney’s, John Down, called the allegations “nonsense.”

“The President’s lawyers are cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller on behalf of the President,” he said.

The Post wrote:

Other advisers said the president is also irritated by the notion that Mueller’s probe could reach into his and his family’s finances.

Trump has been fuming about the probe in recent weeks as he has been informed about the legal questions that he and his family could face. His primary frustration centers on why allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russia should spread into scrutinizing many years of Trump dealmaking. He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.

Trump Tests Limits of Power by Investigating Mueller’s High-Powered Team

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s administration has taken the extraordinary steps of  looking for ways to undermine the team hired by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate whether the Republican’s campaign team colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.

The New York Times reports that Trump’s legal team is examining potential conflicts of interest in what could be an attempt to fire Mueller or some members of his high-powered legal team.

The president’s lawyers and aides are reviewing the investigators’ donations to Democratic candidates, their past clients and Mueller’s relationship with fired FBI Director James Comey.   

It’s the latest sign that the White House appears to be headed to an inevitable showdown with the Justice Department-appointed special counsel.

The campaign to undermine special counsel is raising questions about the potential reach of presidential power and just how far Trump is willing to go to disrupt an investigation that some legal observers believe could jeopardize his inner circle or even the presidency.

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.

Special Counsel Taps FBI Official Who Oversaw Hillary Clinton Investigation

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The senior FBI official who oversaw the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation has been tapped to help manage the special counsel probe into Russia’s suspected meddling in the presidential election.

Peter Strzok will join a 25-member team assembled by special counsel Robert Mueller, CNN reports

Strzok played a major role in the beginning of the Russia investigation last summer.

The team, which includes attorneys and FBI employees, have moved to southwest D.C., about a mile from the Justice Department headquarters.

Trump Allies Launch Propaganda War Against Special Probe of Russia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of high-powered attorneys begin digging deeper into Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 election, President Trump and his supporters are doing everything they can to smear and undermine one of the most important political investigations since Watergate.

Over the past few days, Trump apologists and allies have stepped up their attacks on the intelligence community and Mueller, a former FBI director who earned an impeccable reputation as a nonpartisan, fair-minded investigator. The idea is to discredit the probe by calling it a “witch hunt” before any conclusions have even been drawn by the special counsel and his team.

Greater America Alliance, a nonprofit ally of Trump, has begun a propaganda campaign in a 45-second ad.

Greater America Alliance, a nonprofit ally of Trump, has begun a propaganda campaign in a 45-second ad.

Take the pro-Trump nonprofit, Greater America Alliance, which has raised nearly $29 million for the campaigns 0f Republican House and Senate candidates and Trump during last year’s campaign, Newsweek reports

The nonprofit in May hired conservative commentator and YouTube provocateur Tomi Lahren to “execute communications and messaging strategies.”

Lahren stars in a political ad entitled “Witch Hunt,” which targets Mueller and his team of investigators. She suggests they are part of “the Washington establishment” that will do anything to take down Trump, who has been accused of colluding with Russians and obstruction of justice for firing former FBI Director James Comey after he refused to drop Russia-related investigations.

“Only in Washington could a rigged game like this be called independent,” Lahren concludes.

Lahren is just one example of a high-profile Trump supporter attempting to undermine the special investigation as biased and agenda-driven.

Trump’s Shadowy Ties to Russian-Connected Firm Accused of Money Laundering

Felix Sater, via Twitter

Felix Sater, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special investigation into alleged ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia may now include serious criminal allegations about a dormant real-estate development firm accused of running a criminal operation while it was partnering with the future president and the Kremlin.

The Russian-connected Bayrock Group, which operated two floors below Trump’s office in the Trump Tower in New York, is accused in a lawsuit of serving as a front for money laundering while the company was partnering with Trump on a number of real estate projects. 

One of the influential partners was Felix Sater, a Russia-born career criminal with ties to the Kremlin and American organized crime groups, Bloomberg reports. 

The president has repeatedly claimed he barely knows Sater, but former Bayrock employees said Sater met frequently with Trump at his organization’s headquarters in New York and escorted Trump’s children around Moscow.

Sater also teamed up with Trump’s personal attorney to in a failed attempt to lobby National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on a Ukrainian peace proposal.

While testifying about Russian interference before the House Intelligence Committee in March, FBI Director James Comey declined to answer a question about Trump’s relationship with Sater, who was born in the Soviet Union in 1966 before emigrating with his parents to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, a heavily Russian enclave.

Sater had worked as a mob informant for the FBI before he fled to Russia to escape criminal charges.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Refuses to Release Comey’s Trump Memos to Media Because of Ongoing Probe

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has declined Freedom of Information Act requests from several media outlets asking for copies of the memos that fired FBI Director James Comey wrote following President Trump’s one-on-one meetings with the bureau boss before he was terminated.

Comey revealed the existence of the memos when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.

Those memos could be critical evidence to the special counsel team that is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey and allegedly directing him to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In denying the FOIA request, the FBI responded that the records were exempt from disclosure because of “pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to those responsive records, and the release of the information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”