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Tag: special counsel

Trump Claims Mueller Holds a Grudge, Calls Probe ‘Illegal Scam’

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued his tirade against special counsel Robert Mueller, suggesting again that the former FBI chief has “conflicts of interest,” citing a “very nasty and contentious business relationship.”

In a series of weekend tweets designed to erode the public’s confidence in the investigation over Russia meddling in the presidential election, Trump claimed Mueller also held a grudge because he was not appointed FBI director.

Sunday’s tweet was more specific than past claims of alleged conflicts of interest involving Mueller, who was appointed by the president’s own Justice Department after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Trump’s claim about a “contentious business relationship” appears to involve a dispute with Mueller over fees at Trump’s National Golf Club in Virginia.

Here are additional tweets from Sunday:

Rudy Giuliani Calls FBI Agents and Special Prosecutors ‘Wackadoodles’

Rudolph Giuliani

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the past year, some people have questioned Rudy Giuliani’s sanity.

On Saturday, he was questioning the sanity of  the FBI agents and special prosecutors investigating President Trump, saying they should go to the psychiatric ward at Bellevue, The Hill reports.

“Instead of investigating President Trump, they should go to Bellevue,” Giuliani said.

He also called the investigators “wackadoodles.”

The former U.S. Attorney and mayor of New York made the comments in Staten Island while campaigning for Republican Rep. Dan Donovan, who has been endorsed by Trump.

Giuliani said the special counsel’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia is “made up of a bunch of distorted human beings who cried” when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016, the Hills reports.

“Ahhhhh we want Hillary,” Giuliani said of the FBI. “What’s going to happen? I need a psychiatrist.”

Politico Tries To Provide a Snapshot of Robert Mueller’s FBI Investigators

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Politico’s Josh Gerstein tries to provide a snapshot of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s FBI team, writing that the group has a wide range of skills, with some specializing in financial frauds, others in counterintelligence or corruption, and still others adept at investigating computer hacking and other forms of cybercrime.

Politico reports:

Mueller’s FBI crew appears to be a combination of agents who were already working aspects of the investigation before the former FBI director took over a year ago, either because of their expertise or their location, and a set of volunteers who jumped aboard or were invited to join as the special counsel staffed up.

“The agents come two ways,” said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago, now with Berkeley Research Group. “One is geographic. But, as you’re constructing your perfect investigative team, if you have your druthers and there’s agents you’ve worked with in the past, wherever they are in the country, on a case like this you do reach out and say, ‘Would you like to be involved in this?’”

Judge Refuses to Toss Special Counsel Case Against Paul Manafort

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A D.C. federal judge has given special counsel Robert Mueller the green light to continue the case against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Business Insider reports.

U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson declined on Tuesday to toss the charges against  Manafort, who faces two indictments from the special counsel. Manafort is charged in Virginia and Washington with tax and bank fraud connected to his lobbying work for the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia interests in Ukraine.

The judge ruled the indictment “falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel,” the publication reports.

“Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest,” the ruling reads.

Majority of Republicans Believe FBI, DOJ Are ‘Framing’ Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of Republicans believe the FBI is conspiring to frame President Trump as part of the special counsel investigation into connections between his campaign and Russia, according to a new poll from YouGov released Wednesday

Participants were asked, “Do you believe Donald Trump is being framed by the FBI and the Department of Justice?”

The survey found that 61% of Republicans believe he is. Only 17% of Republicans think Trump is not being framed, while 21% are unsure.

Overall, though, only 29% of Americans believe the FBI and Justice Department are conspiring to frame the president.

The poll surveyed 1,500 American adults in early May.

The survey had a margin of error of 3%.

Business with Ties to Russian Oligarch Paid Cohen’s Shell Company $500,000

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An American company with connections to a Russian oligarch made a $500,000 payment to a shell company that President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, used to pay hush money to a porn film star.

The New York Times reports that the shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, had transactions of at least $4.4 million. The company was launched shortly before Trump was elected president in November 2016 and continued to operate until at least this January, according to records.

CNN and other news outlets reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the $500,000 payment from Columbus Nova, a New York-based investment firm whose biggest client is Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

A lawyer for the company told the New York times that the payment was unrelated to Vekselberg and was part of a consulting fee.

Fortune 500 companies that had business before the president also made payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Essential Consultants.

The Times reported:

References to the transactions first appeared in a document posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump. The lawyer’s seven-page document, titled “Preliminary Report of Findings,” does not explain the source of his information but describes in detail dates, dollar amounts and parties involved in various dealings by Mr. Cohen and his company. Most of the transactions involved two banks: First Republic Bank and City National Bank.

The Times’s review of financial records confirmed much of what was in Mr. Avenatti’s report. In addition, a review of documents and interviews shed additional light on Mr. Cohen’s dealings with the company connected to Mr. Vekselberg, who was stopped and questioned at an airport earlier this year by investigators for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Taken together, The Times’s findings and Mr. Avenatti’s report offer the most detailed picture yet on Mr. Cohen’s business dealings and financial entanglements in the run-up to the election and its aftermath. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud and election-law violations, among other matters, according to people briefed on the investigation. Stephen Ryan, a lawyer representing Mr. Cohen, declined to comment.

Trump Considers Sidelining Theatrical Giuliani from TV Interviews

Trump attorney and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Is President Trump having second thoughts about adding Rudy Giuliani to his legal team?

According to the Associated Press, the president “is growing increasingly irritated” with Giuliani’s “frequently off-message media blitz.” 

Giuliani, for example, recently revealed on national televise that Trump reimbursed his longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump is now considering removing Giuliani from the spotlight and forbidding him from doing television interviews, according to two people familiar with the president’s thinking. Among the president’s concerns is that Giuliani’s comments are elevating the media’s coverage of Daniels.

The AP wrote:

Giuliani, the newest addition to the president’s legal team, first rattled the White House last week when he sat for interviews on Fox News and seemed to contradict Trump by saying the president was aware of the $130,000 payout to Daniels from his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. He also suggested the October 2016 settlement had been made because Trump was in the stretch run of his presidential campaign.

After Trump chided Giuliani on Friday, saying the lawyer needed to “get his facts straight,” Giuliani put out a statement trying to clarify his remarks. But in weekend interviews, Giuliani appeared to dig himself a deeper hole by acknowledging that “Cohen takes care of situations like this, then gets paid for them sometimes.” He did not rule out the possibility that Cohen had paid off other women.

Trump, who has denied the affair with Daniels, was angry that Giuliani had given the impression that other women may have made similar charges of infidelity, according to the people familiar with his views.

Giuliani: Trump May Take Fifth Or Refuse to Testify Before Mueller

Rudy Giuliani, president Trump’s attorney.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Sunday he couldn’t rule out that Trump will assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the Russia investigation.

Giuliani also could say whether Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, made hush parents to other women on behalf of the president.

Giuliani’s bewildering statements came on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, choosing Trump’s preferred approach to taking the president’s arguments to the media. 

The former New York mayor and longtime supporter of the president said he would strong advice Trump against sitting down with special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I’m going to walk him into a prosecution for perjury like Martha Stewart?” Giuliani asked.

He said he couldn’t guarantee that Trump would assert his constitutional right to answer questions that could incriminate him.

“I’m going to walk him into a prosecution for perjury like Martha Stewart?”

If Trump is subpoenaed, Giuliani said the president may not comply, which could lead to a Supreme Court decision on whether presidents could be compelled to speak under oath.

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