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Tag: special counsel

How Trump Continues to Mislead the Public on the Mueller Investigation

Flie photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump continues to distort the truth about Robert Mueller’s investigation, falsely claiming he was fully exonerated from a report that was drawn up by “highly conflicted” prosecutors.

The Associated Press examined recent claims by Trump to determine whether he was being truthful.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, The Mueller Report … was written as nastily as possible by 13 (18) Angry Democrats who were true Trump Haters, including highly conflicted Bob Mueller himself.”

Even Trump’s own aides admit this isn’t true. The president’s assertions that Mueller is “highly conflicted” stem from Mueller interviewing for the FBI director position before he was appointed special counsel and Mueller’s dispute over membership fees at a Trump golf course.

According to the special counsel’s report, Trump’s closest aides said the president’s complaints don’t represent “true conflicts.”

Further, Mueller is a lifelong Republican appointed by a member of Trump’s administration, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

On Saturday, Trump also tweeted that “The Mueller Report should not have been authorized in the first place.”

That claim rests on the false assertion that the investigation was prompted by an anti-Trump dossier financed by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Truth is, as the Mueller report indicates, the FBI’s investigation “began months before it received the dossier,” the AP wrote.

“Within a week of the (WikiLeaks) release, a foreign government informed the FBI about its May 2016 interaction with Papadopoulos,” the report stated. “On July 31, 2016, based on the foreign government reporting, the FBI opened an investigation into potential coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign.”

On Thursday, Trump and several of his aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, claimed the report exonerated the president of any wrongdoing.

The report clearly stated the opposite.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mueller wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Further, the report cites 10 examples of possible obstruction by the president.

“The evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns,” the report states.

FBI Believes Russian Hackers Penetrated At Least One Florida County’s Computers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI concluded Russian hackers breached “at least one” Florida county government as part of an operation to infiltrate the state’s computer systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The findings were revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which was released Thursday.

Mueller reported that Russia’s military intelligence agency was able to “gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government.”

Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, attempted to breach other counties’ systems in Florda by sending spearphishing emails to more than 120 email accounts operated by Florida county election officials.

“We understand the FBI believes the operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” Mueller’s report states.

The report did not indicate whether any of Florida’s election results were compromised. Mueller said the FBI and Homeland Security were investigating the incidents.

Florida is a key swing state in presidential elections.

Mueller Report: Sarah Sanders Admitted She Made Up Claims about FBI Agents

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Sarah Sanders gathered in front of reporters the day after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, the White House deputy press secretary made a claim that became an ongoing narrative.

She asserted that “countless” FBI agents had confided in the White House that they no longer had confidence in Comey.

Turns out, she wasn’t telling the truth, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

In an interview with Mueller’s team, Sanders, who has been promoted to press secretary, said the assertion was a “slip of the tongue.”

“She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything,” the report stated.

5 Highlights of Robert Mueller’s Report on Russian Interference

William Barr speaks to reporters about the Robert Mueller report.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on Russian interfere during the presidential election.

Here are five highlights:

1. Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation was unable to clear Trump of obstruction of justice.

“The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment,” the report stated. “At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

2. Mueller’s team decided not to prosecute Donald Trump Jr. and other members of his campaign team for meeting with a Kremlin-linked source in July 2016.

“Taking into account the high burden to establish a culpable mental state in a campaign-finance prosecution and the difficulty in establishing the required valuation, the Office decided not to pursue criminal campaign-finance charges against Trump Jr. or other campaign officials for the events culminating in the June 9 meeting.” the report states, “The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law.”

3. When Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, Trump declared the appointment was the “end of my presidency.”

“According to notes written by Hunt, when Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel has been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked,’” the report states.

4. Mueller explained why he decided not to interview Trump.

“Ultimately, while we believed that we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the President’s testimony, we chose not to do so,” the report states. “We made that decision in view of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation. We also assessed that based on the significant body of evidence we had already obtained of the President’s actions and his public and private statements describing or explaining those actions, we had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.”

5. Mueller’s evidence of “numerous” connections between Trump’s campaign and Russians “was not sufficient to support criminal charges.” 

“While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges,” the report states. “Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeak’s release of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.”

READ REPORT

AG Barr to Release Long-Awaited Mueller Report on Thursday – with Redactions

AG William Barr testifies before U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Here it comes.

On Thursday morning, the long-awaiting report compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to become public.

Attorney General William P. Barr, who earlier released a controversial summary of the report, said he plans to deliver the document to Congress and the public on Thursday morning.

But the report will be redacted to conceal classified information, secret grand jury testimony, material involved in ongoing investigations and other sensitive information.

According to Barr’s summary of the report, Mueller found no collision between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. Mueller’s team also made no position on whether Trump obstructed justice, specifically saying the investigation did not exonerate the president, according to Barr.

But Democrats have expressed skepticism because Barr has shown unusual loyalty to his boss and before his appointment said he was opposed to the special counsel investigation.

Democrats to Press AG William Barr on Special Counsel Report During Hearing

AG William Barr

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr will take the hot seat Tuesday before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee to answer questions about the full report submitted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Democrats on the subcommittee are expected to grill Barr about the report and his decision to issue a slim summary that concluded he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, concluded President Trump’s actions did not amount to obstruction.

The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m.

Democrats are suspicious of the summary report, which indicated Mueller’s 22-month investigation found no crimes committed by the president.

Barr has said he expected to release a redacted version of the full report by mid-April.

Roger Stone Accuses Feds of ‘Gestapo Tactics’ But Leaves Door Open to Cooperate

Roger Stone on ABC’s “This Week.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Roger Stone, the longtime Trump loyalist and Republican strategist who was arrested last week on charges of lying to Congress, accused the FBI of engaging in “Gestapo tactics” to “depict me as public enemy No. 1.”

But during his appearance Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week,” he also left open the possibility of cooperating with Robert Mueller’s investigation.

When asked whether he would cooperate, the self-described “dirty trickster” responded, “You know, that’s a question I would have to — I have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion. If there’s wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is, I would certainly testify honestly.”

He added, “I’d also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president.” he

“It’s true that we spoke on the phone, but those communications are political in nature, they’re benign, and there is — there is certainly no conspiracy with Russia.”

Still, Stone questioned why FBI agents showed up with weapons during a pre-dawn raid at his home in Florida.

“This was an expensive show of force to try to depict me as public enemy number one … to attempt to poison the jury pool,” Stone said. “These are Gestapo tactics.”

At one point in the interview, Stone said, “They could have simply have called my lawyers and I would have turned myself in.”

Federal law enforcement has not yet said why they arrested Stone in such a dramatic fashion but indicated there was a legitimate reason that soon will be made public.

FBI Arrests Roger Stone on Charges of Lying about Communications with WikiLeaks

Roger Stone

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump loyalist and Republican strategist with a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, was arrested Friday by the FBI as part of the investigation over his communications with WikiLeaks.

The seven-count indictment alleges Stone lied to and obstructed the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference during the 2016 election, the New York Times and other media outlets report.

Before dawn today, FBI agents arrested Stone at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Stone is expected to appear at a federal courthouse today at 11 a.m., according to Mueller’s office.

The indictment alleges Stone misled lawmakers on the committee about his communications with WikiLeaks, which released stolen emails to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He’s also accused of intimidating a witness.

Stone’s attorney, Grant Smith, said the charges were “ridiculous” and that “this is all about a minor charge about lying to Congress about something that was apparently found later.”