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Tag: White House

Woodward Book: Trump’s Meltdown Over Mueller And Failed Mock Interview

Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Bob Woodward’s new tell-all book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” offers revealing, behind-the-scenes glimpses of the president’s reaction to the ongoing special counsel investigation of possible Russian collision and obstruction of Justice.

According to the new book, Trump believed Mueller had too many conflicts to be special counsel, including his past membership to Trump National Golf Club and his firm’s former relationship with his son-in-law. 

The appointment of Mueller in May 2017 incensed the president, according to the book.

“The president erupted into uncontrollable anger, visibly agitated to a degree that no one in his inner circle had witnessed before. It was a harrowing experience,” Woodward wrote.

The book also suggests Trump failed a mock interview to prepare for a possible sit-down with Mueller.

The president initially told the public he wanted to sit for an interview with Mueller. But during a practice interview with his former personal attorney, John Dowd, Trump performed miserably, at times contradicting himself and lying, sources told Woodward.

“Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit,” Dowd told the president.

According to the book, which is scheduled for a Sept. 11 release, Dowd told Mueller’s team that the president did not perform well.

“I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot,” Dowd told Mueller. “And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a [expletive] dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?'”

Down decided to step down shortly after, telling Trump, “You’re not a good witness.”

He continued, “Mr. President, I’m afraid I just can’t help you.”

White House Lawyer Who May have Incriminated Trump May Soon Resign

White House counsel Don McGahn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A White House lawyer who cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia and President Trump may leave the administration this fall, according to the news site Axios.

Trump supporters fear White House counsel Don McGahn may have incriminated the president during 3o hours of interviews with Mueller’s team. 

McGahn is said to have expressed interest in leaving the White House after the Senate confirms the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Several news outlets reported that McGahn clashed with the president over plans to potentially pardon Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman who was convicted last week on numerous counts of tax and bank fraud.

When the New York Times broke the story about McGahn meeting extensively with Mueller team, Trump lashed out in several tweets, suggesting the special counsel is “asking for trouble.”

Watchdog Group Confirms Trump’s Involvement in FBI Headquarters Project

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The GSA administrator who is overseeing the construction of a new FBI headquarters may have misled Congress about President Trump’s involvement in the debate over where to build a new campus, according to a government watchdog report released Monday.

The GSA inspector general report also claims officials understated the costs of building a new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C. by suggesting it would cost less than the original plan of erecting a new campus in the suburbs. 

The current headquarters sits near Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel.

The GSA last year scrapped a plan to build a new FBI headquarters in the suburbs in favor of building a smaller headquarters in downtown D.C., which would require some staff to relocate to Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia.

The inspector general’s report concluded that testimony by GSA Administrator Emily Murphy “was incomplete and may have left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the President or senior White House officials about the project.”

During the hearing, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., asked Murphy, “To your knowledge, was the president or anyone else at the White House involved in those discussions, either with your predecessors, people you’re working with now, or yourself?”

Murphy responded, “The direction that we got came from the FBI. It was the FBI that directed to GSA as to what its requirements would be. We obviously did coordinate, given that it is a substantial budget request, we coordinated that request with OMB to provide for funding but the requirements were generated by the FBI.”

The Post reports that Murphy had discussed the project with Trump, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and other White House officials

Some Congressional members accused Trump of intervening because his hotel is a stone’s throw from the FBI headquarters, and the president doesn’t want a competing hotel to replace the brutalist building.

White House Rebuffs Concerns About Access to Info About FBI Informants

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Is transparency best in this case or simply dangerous?

Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times reports:

The White House has rebuffed concerns among American intelligence and law enforcement officials and ordered that more lawmakers be given access to classified information about an informant the F.B.I. used in 2016 to investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to two American officials with knowledge of the decision.

Both the director of national intelligence and the director of the F.B.I. tried to keep the classified documents tightly restricted, fearing that a broader dissemination of operational reports and other sensitive material could lead to more leaks of detailed information about the role of the confidential F.B.I. informant.

Some American officials believe, in fact, the reason the White House made the decision was to provide political ammunition to President Trump’s Republican allies who have argued — without any evidence — that the F.B.I. investigation was opened in July 2016 as an effort to keep Mr. Trump from becoming president.

Sally Yates: Trump ‘Tearing Down the Legitimacy’ of the Justice Department

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General fired by President Donald Trump last year, says the president’s caustic tweets aimed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller are collectively “tearing down the legitimacy” of the Justice Department, Yahoo! News reports.

Yates, speaking at the 2018 Ideas Conference hosted by the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, urged the country not to ignore Trump’s attacks on the rule of law, Yahoo! News reports.

“What I worry about is the normalization of so much that is not normal,” said Yates.

“There is a time-honored tradition at the Department of Justice, at least since Watergate, that is nonpartisan,” Yates said. “There is a wall between the Department of Justice and the White House when it comes to criminal investigations and prosecutions.”

Trump has been hammering away at that wall so often and with such ferocity, she said, “nobody’s rolling their eyes anymore,” Yahoo! reports.

 

FBI Report Contradicts White House Timeline on Rob Porter Abuse

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI revealed that the White House was notified twice about accusations of violent abuse against then-staff secretary Rob Porter, casting serious doubt on the Trump administration’s insistence that it didn’t know about the allegations until much later.

The New York Times reports that FBI sent a detailed timeline to Congress that indicates the White House was twice told of “derogatory information” about Porter.

The FBI provided the timeline to the House Oversight Committee, saying the bureau first sent information on serious allegations of violent abuse to White House Counsel Don McGahn in March 2017.

In August 2017, the White House Personnel Security Office asked for Porter, his ex-wives and girlfriends to be re-interviewed.

Then in November 2017, the FBI said it sent a second, more detailed report to the White House Personnel Security.

The FBI report contradicts White House claims that it was never fully made aware of the allegations.

Trump Lawyer Reportedly Offered Pardons to Two Top Trump Campaign Aides

Trump’s former lead attorney John Dowd.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of Donald Trump’s lawyers floated the idea of pardoning two of the president’s former advisers who have been charged in the special counsel investigation of Russia and Trump’s campaign, The New York Times first reported Wednesday

According to three people with knowledge of the discussions, the lawyer, John Dowd, who resigned last week, broached the possibility of pardons while the special counsel was building cases against the top campaign aides, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort.

The timing of the pardon discussions with the men’s attorneys raise questions about whether the White House was trying to influence Flynn and Manafort to plead not guilty. It’s unclear whether the president was aware of the discussions.

Down denied having the pardon discussions with the advisers’ lawyers.

“There were no discussions. Period,” Dowd said. “As far as I know, no discussions.”

Trump attorney Ty Cobb also denied the report.

“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” he said.

Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty and could face trial as early as this fall.

Hope Hicks Refuses to Answer Questions in Congressional Probe of Russian Interference

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

White House communications director Hope Hicks became the latest former or current Trump aide to refuse to answer questions about the Trump administration as part of a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Saying she was acting on instructions from the White House, Trump’s longtime political aide declined many questions in a closed-door sessions of the House Intelligence Committee.

But under pressure, Hicks answered some questions about the tradition period, committee members told the Washington Post.

Hicks, the White House communications director who served as the spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, is considered a key witness because of her longstanding relationship with the president and his family.

“No one’s asserting privilege; they’re following the orders of the White House not to answer certain questions,” Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill, said after the interview.

“There’s no hope to get all our answers,” he added.

Democrats failed to get the GOP-led committee to serve Hick with a subpoena like was done with former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, who also refused to answer questions.

“There’s apparently one rule for Steve Bannon and another rule for everyone else,” the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), complained after the interview.

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