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Tag: trump tower

Trump Changes Story, Admits His Son Met with Russian Operative at Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump last summer cried “fake news” and “witch hunt” when the media first reported that his campaign team, including his son Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower to get dirt on Hillary Clinton in June 2016.

When the New York Times broke the story in July 2017, the Trump administration released a statement suggesting the gathering was about an obscure Russian adoption policy, not a meeting to get information obtain damaging information on his Democratic opponent.

In a series of tweets Sunday, the president acknowledged the meeting “was to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere.”

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower,” Trump tweeted.

It has been widely reported that special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating whether the meeting constituted collusion with Russia. 

The question becomes: Was it illegal to meet with a foreign political operative to get dirt on a political opponent?

NPR reports that campaign finance laws prohibits foreign nationals from “directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value.” 

“Hard to see how there is not a serious case here of solicitation. Trump Jr. appears to have knowledge of the foreign source and is asking to see it,” Rick Hasen, a campaign finance law expert wrote on his blog last year. “Such information can be considered a ‘thing of value’ for purposes of the campaign finance law.”

NPR’s Brian Naylor reported that if Trump was aware of the meeting in advance, “or cast doubt on denials by Trump and Trump Jr., it would be a dramatic addition to Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential race and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.”

Feds Investigating National Enquirer’s $30,000 Payment over Trump Love-Child Rumor

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators who raided the office and hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal attorney are zeroing in on the National Enquirer over payments to an ex-Playboy model and a former doorman who said he had juicy information on Trump having an illegitimate child with an employee at Trump World Tower.

The Associated Press reports that the Enquirer, the nation’s largest tabloid, paid $30,000 to ex-doorman Dino Sajudin for exclusive rights to the rumor about Trump fathering a child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper the president owns near the United Nations. 

The National Enquirer never ran the story, effectively keeping the rumor quiet. The penalty for revealing the rumor to anyone else would subject Sajudin to a $1 million payment to the National Enquirer.

The FBI raided the office and hotel room of Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen earlier this week over a $130,000 payment he said he made to porn star Stormey Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

The AP wrote:

On Wednesday, an Enquirer sister publication, RadarOnline, published details of the payment and the rumor that Sajudin was peddling. The website wrote that the Enquirer spent four weeks reporting the story but ultimately decided it wasn’t true. The company only released Sajudin from his contract after the 2016 election amid inquiries from the Journal about the payment. The site noted that the AP was among a group of publications that had been investigating the ex-doorman’s tip.

During AP’s reporting, AMI threatened legal action over reporters’ efforts to interview current and former employees and hired the New York law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, which challenged the accuracy of the AP’s reporting.

Asked about the payment last summer, Dylan Howard, the Enquirer’s top editor and an AMI executive, said he made the payment to secure the former Trump doorman’s exclusive cooperation because the tip, if true, would have sold “hundreds of thousands” of magazines. Ultimately, he said the information “lacked any credibility,” so he spiked the story on those merits.

“Unfortunately…Dino Sajudin is one fish that swam away,” Howard told RadarOnline on Wednesday.

But four longtime Enquirer staffers directly familiar with the episode challenged Howard’s version of events. They said they were ordered by top editors to stop pursuing the story before completing potentially promising reporting threads.

Special Counsel’s Probe Focuses on Trump’s Business Ties Prior to Presidential Run

President Trump, via the White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s business ties to Russia before he ran for president has come under the scope of the widening special counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow to help get him elected.

Witnesses in the probe are repeatedly being asked about when Trump decided to run, whether Russia has compromising information on the president and why efforts to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow fizzled, CNN reported

Mueller’s prosecutors are trying to determine whether Russians sought to influence Trump when he was negotiating business deals with Russia and considering a run for president. Several of Trump’s former campaign and administration aides have already been indicted and at least three have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Some of the questions are focused on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which Trump partnered with Russian property magnate Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov.

Emin’s publicist Rob Goldstone set up a meeting between Russian officials offering “dirt” on Russia and Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been indicted on numerous fraud and money laundering charges.

Investigators appear to be looking into allegations in a former British spy’s dossier that claims Russia had compromising information on Trump, making him vulnerable to blackmail.

Former Trump Spokesman to Testify about Suspected Obstruction of Justice in Trump Administration

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia is zeroing in on a meeting at Trump Tower between top campaign aides, including family members, and Russian officials who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team, has agreed to an interview with the special counsel team and plans to reveal a previously undisclosed conference call with Trump and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, three people familiar with the situation told the New York Times. The call left Corallo with the impression that Hicks was planning to obstruct justice.

During the call, Hicks insisted that potentially incriminating emails written by Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., “will never get out,” according to sources close to Corallo.

The emails are significant because they show the president’s son and his top campaign officials communicated with a Russian lawyer who wanted to help Trump win the election by providing dirt on Clinton.

When the New York Times broke a story in July 2017 about the previously undisclosed meeting at Trump Tower, the Trump administration released a statement suggesting the gathering was about an obscure Russian adoption policy.

Robert Mueller’s special counsel team is now focusing on the statement, how it was drafted and whether the president was involved in writing it. In recent months, Mueller’s team has questioned numerous White House officials about the statement and recently notified Trump’s attorneys that prosecutors want to address the issue during a face-to-face interview that his lawyers have begun to resist.

Turns out, the president helped write the misleading response, which was attributed to Trump Jr. – to the Times while aboard the Air Force One with Hicks, according to sources familiar with the discussion.

“It was a short introductory meeting,” the response read. “I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up.”

Corallo insisted the response would backfire because investigators would obtain emails that show the real reason behind the meeting with Russians – to obtain dirt on Clinton. That’s when he said Hicks responded that the emails “will never get out.”

Corallo, who declined to comment for the Times story, did not dispute the contents of the article.

So far the Mueller investigation has produced indictments against four former Trump campaign associates. The probe also is focusing on whether the president obstructed justice by interfering with the investigation, including when he fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who testified at a congressional hearing that Trump demanded loyalist and pressured the bureau boss to end the Russia investigation.

The firing prompted Trump’s Justice Department to appoint Mueller in May to investigate ties between the campaign and Russia.

Mueller Requests Documents Related to Trump Jr.’s Statements on Russia Meeting

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is requesting documents from the White House that are related to Donald Trump Jr.’s original statements on the suspicious meeting he had with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

The statement, which was later proven to be false, was drafted on Air Force One and approved by President Trump, the Hill reports

Mueller’s team also wants to interview staffers who were on Air Force One at the time the statement was written.

Trump Jr., who is the president’s eldest son, has become a target of the investigation as Mueller’s team digs deeper into alleged collusion between the president’s campaign staff and Russian operatives.

Earlier this month, Trump Jr. met with Senate investigators.

“Mueller’s investigation appears to be picking up steam as he continues to look into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with the Russians to sway the election in their favor,” the Hill reports.

Secret Service Vacates Trump Tower, Moves to the Sidewalk

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has abandoned its command post inside Trump Tower  and relocated to a trailer on a sidewalk outside the New York skyscraper because of a dispute over the terms of the lease.

The relocation, first reported by The Washington Post, follows failed negotiations between the GSA and the Trump organization over the price and other conditions of the lease. 

The sidewalk command post likely won’t change anytime soon.

“After much consideration, it was mutually determined that it would be more cost effective and logistically practical for the Secret Service to lease space elsewhere,” Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller wrote in an email to The Washington Post.

Still, the Secret Service hopes to regain space in Trump Tower.

The agency is working “to obtain permanent work space in an appropriate location,” said Catherine Milhoan, a Secret Service spokeswoman.

Milhoan added, “Throughout this process, there has been no impact to the security plan developed by the Secret Service.”

Other Stories of Interest

Fact-Checking Trump Jr.’s Shifting Statements on Meeting with Russian Lawyer

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CNN’s Jake Tapper and FactCheck.org released a fact-checking video in which they examined Donald Trump Jr.’s changing statements about a June 2o16 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

President Trump’s eldest son originally said the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya was a “short introductory meeting” where “we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government.” 

But the New York Times reported that Trump Jr. met with the attorney after being “promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton.”

A day later, Trump Jr. acknowledged that the lawyer said she had “information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton.”

But, he said, she provided no “supporting information” and that “her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense.”

Other Stories of Interest

Top Democrat Requests Secret Service Records on Trump Jr. Meeting

Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Elijah Cummings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is requesting documents that would reveal the vetting of who arrived and exited the Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.

Cummings’ request is intended to clear up “recent conflicting reports” on the Secret Service’s role in vetting the Russian-connected officials who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former campaign manager Paul Manafort at the Trump Tower in June 2016, Business Insider reports. 

On Sunday, President Trump’s lawyer suggested the Secret Service would not have permitted Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and former Soviet military intelligence officer Rinat Akhmetshin into the Trump Tower if anything nefarious was happening. The Secret Service responded that Trump Jr. was not under the agency’s protection at the time and therefore “would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at the time.”

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