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Tag: special counsel

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.

Other Stories of Interest

USA Today to Mueller: Force Trump’s Testimony with Subpoena After He Lied about Hush Money

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s stunning admission that he reimbursed his attorney for a $130,000 hush payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels is “monumental” because Trump acknowledged he lied a month ago when he denied any knowledge of the payout, the USA Today wrote in an editorial Thursday night.

The lie “undermines his credibility at a time when special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is reaching a crucial juncture.”

“The Daniels disclosure exposes Trump’s willingness to lie publicly about pending legal matters,” the editorial board wrote. “(Presumably, he is coming clean now because he knows that information seized by authorities from attorney Michael Cohen will reveal the Daniels-related reimbursements.) That only reinforces the urgent need to have him testify under oath in the Russia matter.”

The USA Today argues Mueller should subpoena Trump if he refuses to testify, noting that President Clinton relented and finally testified following a subpoena.

Other Stories of Interest

Ty Cobb, Who Is Leaving Trump’s Legal Team, Says Interview Between President, Mueller ‘Not Off the Table’

White House attorney Ty Cobb, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

White House Attorney Ty Cobb, who announced he’s resigning at the end of the month, said the legal team has not ruled out an interview between President Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller.

“It’s certainly not off the table and people are working hard to make decisions and work towards an interview,” Cobb told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Kleinon ABC’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast.

“And assuming that can be concluded favorably, there’ll be an interview,” he said. “Assuming it can’t be… assuming an agreement can’t be reached, you know then it’ll go a different route.”

Cobb, who joined the legal team in July, said he plans to leave at the end of the month.

Trump plans to replace Cobb with Emmet Flood, who advised then-President Bill Clinton during his impeachment.

“For several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Trump Lashes Out Over Leak of Questions in Mueller’s Russia Probe

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump called it “disgraceful” that someone leaked to the media more than four dozen questions that special counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask him as part Russia investigation.

The New York Times reported Monday night that it received a copy of the questions after they were turned over to Trump’s lawyers. The questions range from what Trump knew about contacts with Russia during the 2016 presidential election to why he fired FBI Director James Comey.

“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!”

In another tweet, Trump wrote, “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened. Witch hunt!”

It’s unclear how the New York Times acquired the questions, but the newspaper said they did not come from Trump’s current legal team.

 

 

Mueller Wants to Ask Trump 49 Questions on Collusion, Russian Ties

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s meddling during the election, has more than four dozens questions that he wants President Trump to answer to determine whether he interfered with the probe or colluded with Moscow to undermine the democratic process.

The New York Times received a copy of the questions, which provide the best insight yet into Mueller’s expanding investigation.

The special counsel team handed over the questions to Trump’s lawyers as Mueller tries to convince the president to sit down for an interview under oath. 

While many of the questions touch on topics that have already been reported, some have never been made public, such as whether Trump was aware of anyone outreach by his presidential campaign, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to Russia for help during the election.

The questions range from the president’s motivation for firing FBI Director James Comey to any discussions Trump had with his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, about a real estate deal in Moscow. Mueller also wants to ask Trump if he was aware if his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, tried to create a back channel to Russia.

One question focuses on whether Trump had any contacts with Roger Stone, a political adviser who suggested he had inside information about the hacking of Democratic emails.

Whether Mueller gets to ask those questions to Trump remains unknown. While the president said he wanted to sit down for an interview, his attorneys have advised him not to and privately expressed concern that he will commit perjury.

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