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As “metal bracelet day” for Donald Trump edges closer…


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Author Topic: As “metal bracelet day” for Donald Trump edges closer…  (Read 623 times)
Im2Sexy4MyPants
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« Reply #50 on: November 27, 2017, 02:42:34 am »

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« Reply #51 on: November 27, 2017, 10:19:24 am »


NEWSFLASH.....for the dim-witted.

The FBI thoroughly investigated Hillary....TWICE....and found there was no case to answer.

No doubt the FBI would have investigated Bill back in the day, and as he wasn't arrested, then there must have been no case to answer.

Whereas, so far, three of Trump's henchmen have been arrested and it appears that at least one other of his henchmen is singing like a bird.

And the investigation is ongoing.

The fact that Trump (and members of his family) have lawyered up tells us they have something to hide.

After all, if you aren't guilty of anything, then why the need to hire a shitload of lawyers?

That kinda says it all about Trump and his corrupt, bent family.
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Im2Sexy4MyPants
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« Reply #52 on: November 29, 2017, 07:45:12 pm »

you're a crackpot white trash commie shit for brains clown
do the world a favor drop dead because your self hating whiteness is blinding me Grin

JAIL HILLARY FOR BEING A DUMB WHITE BITCH LOL


clinton crimes
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 09:00:53 pm by Im2Sexy4MyPants » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #53 on: November 29, 2017, 10:42:54 pm »


Jeeezus....now we have the equivalent of a “me too” flea farting in the immediatly-previous comment.
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« Reply #54 on: December 01, 2017, 05:21:43 am »

i believe anybody who thinks communism is a good thing must be stupid it's the same with all the pc bullshit that is also totally insane

are you feeling ok white boy do you have a good supply of your meds

it might help with your trump syndrome

Creepy old uncle joe


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« Reply #55 on: December 01, 2017, 07:10:43 am »


Just ask Trump....he's a confessed sexual sicko.

There's even a tape in existance of him BOASTING about being a sexual sicko.

No wonder the rest of the world now regards the USA as being a JOKE to be laughed at.
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« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2017, 02:27:35 pm »

fact is trump never said he did it

but confessed lying sexual sicko ktj makes up another stupid bullshit story

trump said was when you are a star you can get away with anything even grab women by the pussy
if you wanted to and now holly wood is busy right at this moment proving him correct
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« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2017, 03:33:48 pm »


You're as much in denial and as fucked in the head as Donald J. Trump.

As you are making excuses for a sexual sicko, does this mean you are also a sexual sicko?
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« Reply #58 on: December 02, 2017, 09:43:17 am »


Excellent news about Michael Flynn being charged and put into the dock, eh?

He has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian agents on behalf of Trump and has plea-bargained with Mueller to keep the heat off his son.

I wonder who he has implicated while he is singing like a bird?

Watch this space....the metal bracelets are moving ever closer to Jared, Donald Jr and Ivanka.

Then on to Donald J. himself.

Oh happy days!!   Grin
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« Reply #59 on: December 02, 2017, 01:04:36 pm »

so you're saying he's being blackmailed by the fbi

i would advise trump to take the gloves off and destroy all the
globalist traitors.
He already has ten years of information on everyone in the us and most of the world stored on computers at the nsa
personally if he wants he can use it to expose them and then fuck them all up.
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« Reply #60 on: December 02, 2017, 01:54:14 pm »


Nope, Michael Flynn isn't being blackmailed by the FBI.

The special prosecutor appointed by Trump's assistant Secretary of Justice has arrested Michael Flynn and charged him with treasonable offences.

Michael Flynn's son is also implicated and in the firing line.

So Michael Flynn has plea-bargained with the special prosecutor and is singing like a bird in return for his son not being prosecuted, or being prosecuted for lessor offences.

And Michael Flynn knows ALL the details of Trump's treasonous dealings with Russian agents, because he was part of Trump's inner circle carrying out Trump's orders.

Notice how Trump has suddenly gone real quiet about it on Twitter.

Trump will be crapping himself over what can now come out.

I bet Trump is furiously consulting with his lawyers now.

And they will have told him to stop being a dickhead on Twitter and digging an even deeper hole for himself, for Ivanka, for Jared, and for Donald Jr.

Oh happy days!!
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aDjUsToR
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« Reply #61 on: December 02, 2017, 10:15:33 pm »

Notice there are no substantive allegations. Lefties are hanging feverishly onto the alleged "lie" Flynn told. Wake me if and when serious evidence of a substantive crime emerges.
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« Reply #62 on: December 03, 2017, 03:14:49 am »

you make one mistake talking to the fbi they fuck you up

the only reason flynn pleaded guilty is one they are going after him family he has no money and cannot afford the fight
hillary lied to the fbi and nothing happened to her
 
if i was trump  Mueller would vanish into a deep hole every now and then i would take a piss on him
it will come out that he's a dirty cop just wait and see


« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 03:37:33 am by Im2Sexy4MyPants » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #63 on: December 03, 2017, 09:18:37 am »

you make one mistake talking to the fbi they fuck you up


Message for the dim-witted....the FBI are NOT involved.

Investigations into collusion with Russian agents are being undertaken by special investigator Robert S. Mueller III and NOT the FBI.

It is Robert Mueller who has now charged four members of Trump's team with various offences.

And two of them have now pleaded guilty and are singing like birds to try to minimise the consequences to their miserable necks.

One of those two was right inside the inner circle.

No wonder Donald Trump was so desperate to stop the FBI investigating him.

Good job that the assistant Secretary of Justice got around Trump's interference and obstruction of justice (including sacking the head of the FBI) by appointing an independent investigator who is entirely separate from the FBI and therefore removed from Trump's control, to investigate the most corrupt president America has ever known, his family, and his campaign officials.
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« Reply #64 on: December 03, 2017, 02:31:07 pm »

you can't see that the criminals trying to overthrow trump are accusing him of things that they done themselves that are on record for any fool to research and see.

if you think trump doesn't have a plan to fuck them all up you are too dimwitted to understand the game

Obama's collusion with the russians




« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 02:39:31 pm by Im2Sexy4MyPants » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #65 on: December 03, 2017, 09:56:02 pm »




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« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2017, 02:35:51 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Trump's ‘No collusion!’ cry is getting increasingly desperate

If he says it enough times, will we believe him?

By PAUL WALDMAN | 9:44AM EST — Friday, December 29, 2017

Presidents Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin collude with each other. — Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Agence France-Presse.
Presidents Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin collude with each other. — Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Agence France-Presse.

YOU KNOW how if you repeat a word over and over, eventually it starts to sound strange to your ear, like merely a random collection of sounds? That is apparently what President Trump is doing with the word “collusion”. Say it often enough, and perhaps it will lose all meaning.

That's just one of the things that comes through in this bizarre and disturbing interview Trump conducted at the Trump International Golf Club with Michael Schmidt of The New York Times, apparently on the spur of the moment and with no aides there to protect him. As we've almost come to expect by now, when Trump speaks at length without a script, he skitters back and forth along the line that divides the comical from the terrifying, telling one obvious lie after another, making endless digressions that devolve into incomprehensible word salad, and generally sounding like someone with only the most tenuous grip on his faculties.

But there's one thing he's very clear about wanting everyone to know: He and his campaign did not collude with Russia during 2016. In fact, without being prompted he returned again and again to the topic, repeating the word “collusion” no fewer than 23 times:


Quote
“Frankly there is absolutely no collusion… Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. There is no collusion… I think it's been proven that there is no collusion… I can only tell you that there is absolutely no collusion… There's been no collusion… There was no collusion. None whatsoever… everybody knows that there was no collusion. I saw Dianne Feinstein the other day on television saying there is no collusion [note: not true]… The Republicans, in terms of the House committees, they come out, they're so angry because there is no collusion… there was collusion on behalf of the Democrats. There was collusion with the Russians and the Democrats. A lot of collusion… There was tremendous collusion on behalf of the Russians and the Democrats. There was no collusion with respect to my campaign… But there is tremendous collusion with the Russians and with the Democratic Party… I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, No.1, there is no collusion, No.2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion. And he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion… There is no collusion, and even if there was, it's not a crime. But there's no collusion… when you look at all of the tremendous, ah, real problems [Democrats] had, not made-up problems like Russian collusion.”

It should go without saying that no Democrats have said there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Some have said that we don't yet have definitive proof that there was a conspiracy at work, but none have proclaimed Trump exonerated in the way he's claiming. And Trump's claim that Democrats were the ones colluding with Russia is simply nonsensical, likely plucked from an attempt Republicans and the conservative media made a couple of months ago to execute an “I know you are but what am I” strategy on this scandal that was so ludicrous it isn't worth revisiting in any detail (you can read about it here if you care).

This is one of those moments when you are reminded that the president has the majestic resources of the U.S. government at his disposal, yet prefers to learn the truth of what's going on in the world from the trio manning the couch on “Fox & Friends”. So perhaps it's unsurprising that he thinks he can convince America of his innocence by merely repeating the words “There was no collusion” again and again. What is blindingly obvious is that Trump is very, very concerned that people might be thinking he and his campaign colluded with the Russians.

That doesn't necessarily mean they did and he's desperate to cover it up; it could also mean that he regards such collusion as a terrible betrayal of the country he loves and wants to make sure no one falsely concludes he would countenance such a thing. But we already know that officials on his campaign (and in his own family) had repeated contacts with representatives of the Russian government and others connected with the Russian government. That's not in question. We also know that the topic of many of those conversations was whether Russia would provide the Trump campaign with damaging information on Hillary Clinton (see here, here and here). The most generous interpretation of those contacts is that people on both sides were interested in colluding but the operation never got off the ground.

There are a hundred questions that need to be answered before this is all over (to take just one: If Michael Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador were routine and appropriate, why did he feel the need to lie to the FBI about them?). What we don't know is where Trump himself fits into this picture. So far, the only point at which we know of his involvement is that the president personally dictated the ham-handedly misleading statement Donald Trump Jr. released after the news broke of that fateful meeting that he, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had with a group of Russians.

Did every other contact the campaign had with Russia happen without Trump's knowledge? It might have. He may be so insistent that “There was no collusion” because he himself is utterly innocent. It's also possible that he sees the collusion question as his area of greatest political and legal danger, which it may or may not be; at the moment there's more evidence that he committed obstruction of justice, which is a separate question.

But there's something important to keep in mind when we're interpreting Trump's words and actions: For someone who fancies himself a genius, he is almost completely lacking in any real guile. He doesn't play eight-dimensional chess. His lies are obvious and straightforward, clearly false at the moment they leave his lips. His strategies require no deconstruction or disentanglement to understand. He's almost always doing exactly what he appears to be doing.

So if he sounds like a pathetic perp on “Law & Order”, crying “I don't know the guy! I wasn't there! I didn’t do it!,” and it looks as though he thinks if he just says he's innocent over and over then you'll believe him, that's probably what's happening. But sooner or later, we're going to find out the truth.


• Paul Waldman is a contributor to The Plum Line blog at The Washington Post, and a senior writer at The American Prospect.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Trump legal team readies attack on Flynn's credibility

 • Letters to the Editor: The GOP’s concerns about Mueller's investigation

 • VIDEO: Opinion | Fox News and Republican congressmen are plotting against Mueller


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/12/29/trumps-no-collusion-cry-is-getting-increasingly-desperate
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« Reply #67 on: January 07, 2018, 01:00:53 pm »


from The New York Times....

Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump's Struggle
to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation


The special counsel's investigation has uncovered several episodes involving
the president that raise questions about whether he obstructed justice.


By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT | Thursday, January 04, 2018

Jeff Sessions's recusal from the Russia investigation has been a source of friction with President Trump. — Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times.
Jeff Sessions's recusal from the Russia investigation has been a source of friction with President Trump.
 — Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON — President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House's top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department's investigation into whether Mr. Trump's associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.

Public pressure was building for Mr. Sessions, who had been a senior member of the Trump campaign, to step aside. But the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, carried out the president's orders and lobbied Mr. Sessions to remain in charge of the inquiry, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.

Mr. McGahn was unsuccessful, and the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. Mr. Trump said he had expected his top law enforcement official to safeguard him the way he believed Robert F. Kennedy, as attorney general, had done for his brother John F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr. had for Barack Obama.

Mr. Trump then asked, “Where's my Roy Cohn?” He was referring to his former personal lawyer and fixer, who had been Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's top aide during the investigations into communist activity in the 1950s and died in 1986.

The lobbying of Mr. Sessions is one of several previously unreported episodes that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has learned about as he investigates whether Mr. Trump obstructed the F.B.I.'s Russia inquiry. The events occurred during a two-month period — from when Mr. Sessions recused himself in March until the appointment of Mr. Mueller in May — when Mr. Trump believed he was losing control over the investigation.

Among the other episodes, Mr. Trump described the Russia investigation as “fabricated and politically motivated” in a letter that he intended to send to the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, but that White House aides stopped him from sending. Mr. Mueller has also substantiated claims that Mr. Comey made in a series of memos describing troubling interactions with the president before he was fired in May.


Legal experts said that of the two primary issues that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, appears to be investigating — whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice while in office and whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — there is currently a larger body of public evidence tying the president to a possible crime of obstruction. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Legal experts said that of the two primary issues that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, appears to be
investigating — whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice while in office and whether there was collusion between
the Trump campaign and Russia — there is currently a larger body of public evidence tying the president to
a possible crime of obstruction. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


The special counsel has received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump's former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation. The president's determination to fire Mr. Comey even led one White House lawyer to take the extraordinary step of misleading Mr. Trump about whether he had the authority to remove him.

The New York Times has also learned that four days before Mr. Comey was fired, one of Mr. Sessions's aides asked a congressional staff member whether he had damaging information about Mr. Comey, part of an apparent effort to undermine the F.B.I. director. It was not clear whether Mr. Mueller's investigators knew about this episode.

Mr. Mueller has also been examining a false statement that the president reportedly dictated on Air Force One in July in response to an article in The Times about a meeting that Trump campaign officials had with Russians in 2016. A new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, by Michael Wolff, says that the president's lawyers believed that the statement was “an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation's gears,” and that it led one of Mr. Trump's spokesmen to quit because he believed it was obstruction of justice.

Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer dealing with the special counsel's investigation, declined to comment.

Mr. Trump's lawyers have said the president has fully cooperated with the investigation, and they have expressed confidence that the inquiry will soon be coming to a close. They said that they believed the president would be exonerated, and that they hoped to have that conclusion made public.

Legal experts said that of the two primary issues Mr. Mueller appears to be investigating — whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice while in office and whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — there is currently a larger body of public evidence tying the president to a possible crime of obstruction.

But the experts are divided about whether the accumulated evidence is enough for Mr. Mueller to bring an obstruction case. They said it could be difficult to prove that the president, who has broad authority over the executive branch, including the hiring and firing of officials, had corrupt intentions when he took actions like ousting the F.B.I. director. Some experts said the case would be stronger if there was evidence that the president had told witnesses to lie under oath.


Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, argued to Mr. Sessions that he did not need to recuse himself from the Russia investigation until it was further along. — Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times.
Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, argued to Mr. Sessions that he did not need to recuse himself from the Russia
investigation until it was further along. — Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times.


The accounts of the episodes are based on documents reviewed by The Times, as well as interviews with White House officials and others briefed on the investigation. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.

Regardless of whether Mr. Mueller believes there is enough evidence to make a case against the president, Mr. Trump's belief that his attorney general should protect him provides an important window into how he governs. Presidents have had close relationships with their attorneys general, but Mr. Trump's obsession with loyalty is particularly unusual, especially given the Justice Department's investigation into him and his associates.


A Lawyer's Gambit

It was late February when Mr. Sessions decided to take the advice of career Justice Department lawyers and recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

The pressure to make that decision public grew days later when The Washington Post reported that Mr. Sessions had met during the presidential campaign with Russia's ambassador to the United States. The disclosure raised questions about whether Mr. Sessions had misled Congress weeks earlier during his confirmation hearing, when he told lawmakers he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

Unaware that Mr. Sessions had already decided to step aside from the inquiry, Democrats began calling for Mr. Sessions to recuse himself — and Mr. Trump told Mr. McGahn to begin a lobbying campaign to stop him.

Mr. McGahn's argument to Mr. Sessions that day was twofold: that he did not need to step aside from the inquiry until it was further along, and that recusing himself would not stop Democrats from saying he had lied. After Mr. Sessions told Mr. McGahn that career Justice Department officials had said he should step aside, Mr. McGahn said he understood and backed down.

Mr. Trump's frustrations with the inquiry erupted again about three weeks later, when Mr. Comey said publicly for the first time that the Justice Department and the F.B.I. were conducting an investigation into links between Mr. Trump's campaign and Russia. Mr. Comey had told Mr. Trump in private that he was not personally under investigation, yet Mr. Comey infuriated Mr. Trump by refusing to answer a question about that at the hearing where he spoke publicly.


James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, refused to answer questions from lawmakers about whether Mr. Trump was under investigation during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May. — Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times.
James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, refused to answer questions from lawmakers about whether Mr. Trump was under investigation
during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May. — Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times.


After that hearing, Mr. Trump began to discuss openly with White House officials his desire to fire Mr. Comey. This unnerved some inside the White House counsel's office, and even led one of Mr. McGahn's deputies to mislead the president about his authority to fire the F.B.I. director.

The lawyer, Uttam Dhillon, was convinced that if Mr. Comey was fired, the Trump presidency could be imperiled, because it would force the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether Mr. Trump was trying to derail the Russia investigation.

Longstanding analysis of presidential power says that the president, as the head of the executive branch, does not need grounds to fire the F.B.I. director. Mr. Dhillon, a veteran Justice Department lawyer before joining the Trump White House, assigned a junior lawyer to examine this issue. That lawyer determined that the F.B.I. director was no different than any other employee in the executive branch, and that there was nothing prohibiting the president from firing him.

But Mr. Dhillon, who had earlier told Mr. Trump that he needed cause to fire Mr. Comey, never corrected the record, withholding the conclusions of his research.

Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law, called the episode “extraordinary,” adding that he could not think of a similar one that occurred in past administrations.

“This shows that the president's lawyers don’t trust giving him all the facts because they fear he will make a decision that is not best suited for him,” Mr. Vladeck said.


Searching for Dirt

The attempts to stop Mr. Trump from firing Mr. Comey were successful until May 3rd, when the F.B.I. director once again testified on Capitol Hill. He spent much of the time describing a series of decisions he had made during the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton's personal email account.

Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and questioned his loyalty. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and questioned his loyalty.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


Once again, Mr. Comey refused to answer questions from lawmakers about whether Mr. Trump was under investigation.

White House aides gave updates to Mr. Trump throughout, informing him of Mr. Comey's refusal to publicly clear him. Mr. Trump unloaded on Mr. Sessions, who was at the White House that day. He criticized him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, questioned his loyalty, and said he wanted to get rid of Mr. Comey. He repeated the refrain that the attorneys general for Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Obama had protected the White House.

In an interview with The Times last month, Mr. Trump said he believed that Mr. Holder had protected Mr. Obama.

“When you look at the I.R.S. scandal, when you look at the guns for whatever, when you look at all of the tremendous, aah, real problems they had, not made-up problems like Russian collusion, these were real problems,” Mr. Trump said. “When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I'll be honest.”

Two days after Mr. Comey's testimony, an aide to Mr. Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staff member asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the F.B.I. director. The attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said the episode did not occur. “This did not happen and would not happen,” said the spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores. “Plain and simple.”

Earlier that day, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, had pulled one of Mr. McGahn's deputies aside after a meeting at the Justice Department. Mr. Rosenstein told the aide that top White House and Justice Department lawyers needed to discuss Mr. Comey's future. It is unclear whether this conversation was related to the effort to dig up dirt on Mr. Comey.

Mr. Trump spent the next weekend at his country club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he watched a recording of Mr. Comey's testimony, stewed about the F.B.I. director and discussed the possibility of dismissing him with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller. He had decided he would fire Mr. Comey, and asked Mr. Miller to help put together a letter the president intended to send to Mr. Comey.

In interviews with The Times, White House officials have said the letter contained no references to Russia or the F.B.I.'s investigation. According to two people who have read it, however, the letter's first sentence said the Russia investigation had been “fabricated and politically motivated.”

On Monday, May 8th, Mr. Trump met with Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein to discuss firing Mr. Comey, and Mr. Rosenstein agreed to write his own memo outlining why Mr. Comey should be fired. Before writing it, he took a copy of the letter that Mr. Trump and Mr. Miller had drafted during the weekend in Bedminster.

The president fired Mr. Comey the following day.

A week later, The Times reported that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey in February to shut down the federal investigation into Michael T. Flynn, who at the time was the national security adviser. The following day, Mr. Rosenstein announced that he had appointed Mr. Mueller as special counsel.

Once again, Mr. Trump erupted at Mr. Sessions upon hearing the news. In an Oval Office meeting, the president said the attorney general had been disloyal for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, and he told Mr. Sessions to resign.

Mr. Sessions sent his resignation letter to the president the following day. But Mr. Trump rejected it, sending it back with a handwritten note at the top.

“Not accepted,” the note said.


Matt Apuzzo and Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed reporting from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

• Michael S. Schmidt is an American journalist and correspondent for The New York Times in Washington, D.C. and national security contributor for MSNBC and NBC News.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Paul Manafort Sues Mueller and Asks a Judge to Narrow the Russia Investigation

 • Read Paul Manafort's Lawsuit Against Mueller

 • How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt

 • Republican Attacks on Mueller and F.B.I. Open New Rift in G.O.P.

 • Trump Says Russia Inquiry Makes U.S. ‘Look Very Bad’

 • The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

 • Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

 • Following the Links From Russian Hackers to the U.S. Election


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/us/politics/trump-sessions-russia-mcgahn.html
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« Reply #68 on: January 07, 2018, 01:01:19 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Trump is desperate to protect himself. But from what?

His efforts to stymie the Russia probe suggest that
something more than his fragile ego is at stake.


By RUTH MARCUS | 7:50PM EST — Friday, January 05, 2017

President Donald Trump sits with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.
President Donald Trump sits with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.

WHY WAS President Trump so frantic to ensure that his attorney general would shield him against the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election?

For all the unsettling questions swirling about Trump in recent days, this may turn out to be the most important and, for the president, the most ominous. The more information that emerges about Trump's mania to keep Jeff Sessions in control of the investigation and his fury when the attorney general chose to step aside, the more perilous the president's legal situation appears.

In that sense, a report by The New York Times's Michael S. Schmidt may end up being more damaging for Trump than his portrayal in Michael Wolff's new book. If Schmidt's reporting is accurate, three consequences follow:

First, White House counsel Donald McGahn must go, because, at Trump's direction, he improperly pressured Sessions not to step aside from the Russia probe. That Sessions resisted McGahn's lobbying is laudable but irrelevant. The White House counsel represents the office of the presidency. He isn't the president's personal pit bull — his “Roy Cohn,” in Trump's reported lament. Leaning on the attorney general to remain in charge of a criminal investigation that touches on the president is not part of the White House counsel's job description.

Second, Sessions may need to go, because he oversaw or directed a public smear campaign against the sitting FBI director, James B. Comey. Schmidt writes that Sessions “wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting” between a congressional staffer and a Sessions aide seeking dirt on Comey. The Justice Department flatly denies this account. But if it turns out to be true, that conduct is far beyond what is appropriate for the nation's chief law enforcement officer.

Third, the Schmidt report edges Trump himself even closer to having obstructed justice. Whether special counsel Robert S. Mueller III would bring a criminal case on those grounds, there is no doubt that obstructing justice can be the basis for impeachment.

Let's back up. There are two possible explanations for Trump's persistent refusal to acknowledge the reality of Russian meddling and his anger over the resulting criminal investigation. The more benign is that he is so insecure that he cannot tolerate any insinuation that his victory is tainted and his presidency illegitimate. The more worrisome is that Trump knows he or those around him have something to hide.

Schmidt's depiction puts another thumb on the scale of that interpretation. As Schmidt writes, after Sessions's recusal, “the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. Mr. Trump said he had expected his top law enforcement official to safeguard him the way he believed Robert F. Kennedy, as attorney general, had done for his brother John F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr. had for Barack Obama.”

Which raises the question: Protect him from what?

Perhaps merely the stain of an ongoing criminal investigation; see explanation one, above. Some support for this interpretation comes in the form of Trump's evident disdain for the proper boundaries between a president and his Justice Department. In the most charitable interpretation, Trump felt aggrieved at being investigated for “made-up problems like Russian collusion” and counted on Sessions to make that go away.

But the more persuasive interpretation, based on the totality of the amassed evidence and the new revelations, is that Trump understood Mueller's investigation as an existential threat. The ferocity of his opposition, as underscored by the new report of ordering McGahn to help keep Sessions in place, lends credence to this view. So do other aspects of Trump's conduct: demanding Comey's loyalty; asking him, on the investigation of fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, to “let this go”; drafting a misleading statement about the purpose of Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer peddling dirt on Hillary Clinton.

And, of course, firing Comey, based on the laughable justification that his public statements during the campaign were unfair to Hillary Clinton. Now, with Schmidt's story, we learn that the initial letter that Trump drafted to justify Comey's firing — notwithstanding previous denials by the White House — began by explicitly pointing to the “fabricated and politically motivated” Russian investigation.

The lengths to which Trump seems willing to go to shut down this probe and to hide his tracks suggest that something more than his fragile ego is at stake here.


• Ruth Marcus is a deputy editorial page editor for The Washington Post. She also writes a weekly column and contributes to the PostPartisan blog.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: A list of striking quotes from the new book on Trump

 • Greg Sargent: The case that Trump obstructed justice just got stronger

 • Jennifer Rubin: Why Trump and Sessions are now in a heap of legal trouble


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-desperate-to-protect-himself-but-from-what/2018/01/05/3eeba824-f250-11e7-b3bf-ab90a706e175_story.html
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« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2018, 02:15:09 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Mueller calls back at least one participant in
key meeting with Russians at Trump Tower


By DAVID S. CLOUD | 3:00AM PST — Saturday, January 06 2018

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. — Photographs: Yury Martyanov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images and Alex Wong/Getty Images.
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. — Photographs: Yury Martyanov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images and Alex Wong/Getty Images.

SPECIAL COUNSEL Robert S. Mueller III has recalled for questioning at least one participant in a controversial meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016, and is looking into President Trump's misleading claim that the discussion focused on adoption, rather than an offer to provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Some defense lawyers involved in the case view Mueller's latest push as a sign that investigators are focusing on possible obstruction of justice by Trump and several of his closest advisors for their statements about the politically sensitive meeting, rather than for collusion with the Russians.

Investigators also are exploring the involvement of the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, who did not attend the half-hour sit-down on June 9th, 2016, but briefly spoke with two of the participants, a Russian lawyer and a Russian-born Washington lobbyist. Details of the encounter were not previously known.

It occurred at the Trump Tower elevator as the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and the lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, were leaving the building and consisted of pleasantries, a person familiar with the episode said. But Mueller's investigators want to know every contact the two visitors had with Trump's family members and inner circle.

Mueller long has sought to nail down details of the unusual gathering at the height of the presidential race between three of Trump's top campaign aides — his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his campaign manager, Paul Manafort — and Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin, plus a Russian language translator, a U.S.-based employee of a Russian real estate group, and a British music promoter with Russian business ties who helped bring the group together.

After The New York Times first reported the meeting last July, 13 months after it had occurred, the White House issued a misleading statement while Trump flew back to Washington from the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. It said that Trump Jr. had said he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children,” and was unrelated to the campaign.

Mueller's team is trying to determine if Trump and others involved in drafting the language aboard Air Force One knew it was inaccurate and whether it was aimed at deceiving federal investigators looking into whether the Trump campaign actively assisted a Russian intelligence operation aimed at interfering in the U.S. campaign.

In August, Trump Jr. released a chain of emails that showed he had agreed to the meeting not to talk about adoptions, but because the music promoter, Rob Goldstone, had assured him that the Russian lawyer had “official documents and information” that would “incriminate” Clinton, “and be very useful to your father.”

Goldstone wrote that the damaging information on Clinton was “part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump.”

“If it's what you say, I love it,” Trump Jr. replied.

The meeting between Trump's top campaign aides and the Russians hit the headlines again this week after Stephen K. Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, was quoted describing Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort in scathing terms in a controversial new book.

“Even if you thought that this [meeting] was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad…, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Bannon said, according to “Fire and Fury” which was released on Friday.

Bannon speculated that Trump Jr. brought the Russian group upstairs to meet the candidate, a claim that the participants have all denied.

“The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father's office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero,” Bannon is quoted as telling the author, Michael Wolff, using a Spanish-language slang meaning drunkards.

The book also says that Mark Corallo, then-spokesman for the president's private legal team, quit because he believed the drafting of Trump's statement may have obstructed justice.

“The persistent Trump idea that it is not a crime to lie to the media was regarded by the legal team as at best reckless and, in itself, potentially actionable: an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation's gears," Wolff wrote.

"Later that week, Corallo, seeing no good outcome — and privately confiding that that he believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice — quit."

Corallo, who was the Justice Department spokesman from 2002 to 2005 and now runs a public relations firm, did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

In closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last month,Trump Jr. denied that he had communicated directly with his father about the White House statement on adoptions, CNN reported.

The network said Trump Jr. told the committee he had instead coordinated the statement with Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, who was on Air Force One when it was drafted, quoting multiple people familiar with his testimony.

Participants in the meeting have said that the Russian lawyer did not bring any incriminating information on Clinton, and that she shifted the conversation to a discussion of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law bitterly criticized by the Kremlin that freezes assets of Russian officials responsible for human rights abuses.

Moscow responded to the law by prohibiting U.S. adoptions in Russia, which led to the reference to adoption in Trump Jr.’s initial statement about the meeting.

The Los Angeles Times is not identifying the individual Mueller has asked to return for further questioning as part of an agreement to keep the identity confidential.

Mueller's investigation into possible obstruction of justice by Trump is also examining whether he improperly tried to shield his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, from an FBI investigation and then fired FBI Director James B. Comey to block the inquiry.

John Dowd, one of Trump's lawyers, declined to comment during Friday on the direction of Mueller's inquiry. Trump has repeatedly denied wrong-doing and in a tweet on Friday again denounced allegations of collusion with Russia as “a total hoax.”

Mueller has charged four former Trump aides with crimes so far, although none of the charges have specifically included conspiracy to assist the Russian interference.

Manafort and his former deputy, Richard W.Gates III, have pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering connected to their lobbying work in Ukraine. Flynn and George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy advisor, both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and are cooperating with prosecutors.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump instructed White House lawyers last March to stop U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions from stepping aside from the Justice Department investigation of Russian meddling, instructions that Sessions disregarded.

Trump's attorneys have argued that, as president, he cannot be charged with obstructing justice because of his legal authority to hire and fire anyone in the executive branch, which includes the Justice Department.

He “cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [Article II of the Constitution] and has every right to express his view of any case,” Dowd told Axios, a news website, last month. Article II details the president's authority over the executive branch.


David Cloud reported from Washington D.C.

• David S. Cloud covers the Pentagon and the military from the Los Angeles Times Washington, D.C., bureau. In his 30-year career, he has also worked at The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, where he was a member of a team of reporters awarded a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the September 11th, 2001, terror attacks. He is co-author of The Fourth Star, which traces the careers and experiences in Iraq of four U.S. officers.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Representative Devin Nunes plays defense for Trump by going on hard offense against Justice Department


http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-probe-20180106-story.html
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« Reply #70 on: January 07, 2018, 02:25:31 pm »




The Department of Justice has reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server following the release of new evidence Huma Abedin mishandled classified information.

The Daily Beast reported there is a renewed effort in the Justice Department to get new details on how Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin and other aides handled classified information. The DOJ wants to know just how much classified information was on Hillary’s private email server and how it got there.

More evidence is surfacing that on Hillary’s orders, Huma Abedin directed Hillary’s immigrant D.C. maid, Marina Santos to print out classified “call sheets” and access other sensitive Clinton emails, Paul Sperry of the New York Post reported.

Marina Santos, an immigrant from the Philippines does not have the security clearance required to access such sensitive information.

Santos had access to everything while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State including top secret, CIA-prepared daily presidential briefings. Unbelievable.

Thanks to Judicial Watch, all eyes are on Huma Abedin after the State Department released a portion of the documents found on pervert Anthony Weiner’s laptop Friday. At least 5 emails contain classified information.

It gets worse for Huma…

Twitter erupted after a report surfaced that Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin forwarded State Department passwords and sensitive information to her Yahoo email accounts.

The President hammered Crooked Hillary and Comey and called for Huma Abedin to be jailed. He also asked the Justice Department to “finally act” on Comey.

Hillary Clinton has put our national security at risk time and time again with her mishandling of classified information, pay-to-play and Uranium One scandal.

Congressional Republicans on key committees say they have found new contradictions and irregularities inside of the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s emails server, John Solomon reported.

Fired FBI Director James Comey drafted Hillary Clinton’s exoneration letter before interviewing 17 witnesses, including Hillary Clinton.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe didn’t recuse himself from Hillary’s email investigation despite many conflicts of interest until one week before the presidential election.

Comey and McCabe are dirty cops who destroyed the FBI’s reputation trying to protect Hillary Clinton. The entire ‘criminal investigation’ the FBI was conducting was a sham. Hillary was given special treatment by the FBI. Everyone complicit must be jailed.

LOCK HER UP!

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/01/begins-doj-reopens-hillary-clinton-email-investigation/
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« Reply #71 on: January 10, 2018, 12:42:38 pm »


from The New York Times....

Mueller Interview With Trump Is Said to Be Likely

White House officials viewed it as a sign that the special counsel’s inquiry was nearly over.
But it touched off discussions about the perils of the president having an interview.


By MATT APUZZO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT | Monday, January 08, 2018

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, could respond with a grand jury subpoena if President Trump refused to cooperate with an interview request. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, could respond with a grand jury subpoena if President Trump refused to cooperate with an interview request.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON — The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, told President Trump's lawyers last month that he will probably seek to interview the president, setting off discussions among Mr. Trump's lawyers about the perils of such a move, two people familiar with the discussion said on Monday.

No formal request has been made and no date has been set. White House officials viewed the discussion as a sign that Mr. Mueller's investigation of Mr. Trump could be nearing the end. But even if that is so, allowing prosecutors to interview a sitting president who has a history of hyperbolic or baseless assertions carries legal risk for him. Mr. Mueller has already brought charges against four of Mr. Trump's former aides. All face accusations of lying to the authorities.

Mr. Trump's lawyers have long expected that Mr. Mueller would eventually ask to speak with the president. Ty Cobb, the senior White House lawyer on the case, has for months pledged full cooperation, saying Mr. Trump has nothing to hide in an investigation into whether his campaign worked with Russian operatives to try to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Trump's lawyers are expected to try to set ground rules for any interview or provide answers to written questions. If Mr. Trump were to refuse outright to cooperate, Mr. Mueller could respond with a grand jury subpoena.

The White House had no comment on the discussions about a possible interview, which were first reported by NBC News.

One person familiar with the discussions said Mr. Mueller appeared most interested in asking questions about the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — not the broader question of possible collusion with Russia. Those topics signal an interest in whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice. The person was not authorized to talk about internal discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The obstruction investigation focuses on whether Mr. Trump broke the law by asking Mr. Comey to end the investigation into Mr. Flynn and whether he fired Mr. Comey to try to hinder the F.B.I. investigation into Russia-related matters. Shortly after dismissing Mr. Comey in May, the president told Russian diplomats in an Oval Office meeting that doing so had relieved “great pressure” on him.


Ty Cobb, the senior White House lawyer on the case, pledged full cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s investigation. — Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times .
Ty Cobb, the senior White House lawyer on the case, pledged full cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s investigation.
 — Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times .


Mr. Trump has sat for depositions before and shown discipline when under oath. His testimony in civil cases reveals a canny ability to avoid being cornered and a frank acknowledgment that he uses “truthful hyperbole” or “innocent exaggeration”. But he has never faced questioning from someone like Mr. Mueller, a veteran prosecutor and former F.B.I. director who has a dozen experienced litigators behind him.

And the stakes have never been higher. President Bill Clinton was impeached on a perjury charge over his grand jury testimony about his relationship with a White House intern.

Solomon L. Wisenberg, one of the lawyers who questioned Mr. Clinton — prompting him to famously assert that his answer depended on what the meaning of “is” is — said Mr. Mueller would probably wait until his inquiry was nearly complete to question the president. Mr. Wisenberg said that while Mr. Trump often makes statements to the public that are inflammatory or untrue, the president has shown he can be disciplined, as he has curtailed his criticisms of Mr. Mueller in recent months.

“Trump has been on message about Mueller since Ty Cobb came in as his lawyer” in July, Mr. Wisenberg said. “It's pretty clear when Ty Cobb came in, he tightened up the ship and had a talk with Trump and must have said: ‘You're O.K. on collusion. Stop attacking Mueller directly’.”

Mr. Mueller will have three choices for questioning Mr. Trump: written questions, an interview with his investigators or a subpoena to appear before a grand jury. Legal experts said Mr. Mueller would almost certainly want to speak directly with Mr. Trump in person. They said Mr. Trump's lawyers would want to prevent Mr. Mueller from putting Mr. Trump alone before a grand jury, where lawyers normally are not present.

“You want to be an active participant in the conversation,” Mr. Wisenberg said, adding that Mr. Trump's lawyers would do all they could to show Mr. Mueller they were cooperating to prevent the special counsel from putting him before the grand jury.

Historically, presidents have been reluctant to speak with investigators looking into their conduct. During the investigation of Mr. Clinton, the independent counsel, Kenneth W. Starr, served Mr. Clinton with a grand jury subpoena as part of an effort to compel him to testify. The subpoena set off negotiations between Mr. Starr and Mr. Clinton's lawyers, which ultimately resulted in Mr. Clinton being questioned at the White House instead of a courthouse, where nearly all grand jury appearances occur.


• Matt Apuzzo is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter based in Washington D.C. He has covered law enforcement and security matters for more than a decade and is the co-author of the book Enemies Within. A graduate of Colby College, he joined The New York Times in 2014 after 11 years with The Associated Press. He teaches journalism at Georgetown University and once successfully argued a motion from the audience in federal court.

• Michael S. Schmidt is an American journalist and correspondent for The New York Times in Washington, D.C. and national security contributor for MSNBC and NBC News.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump's Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/us/politics/mueller-trump-interview-russia-investigation.html
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« Reply #72 on: January 10, 2018, 01:44:53 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Mueller indicates he will likely seek interview with Trump

The president’s attorneys have been discussing how to avoid a face-to-face encounter or set limits on the session.

By CAROL D. LEONNIG | 6:28PM EST — Monday, January 08, 2018

President Donald J. Trump and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. — Photographs: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post and Win McNamee/Getty Images.
President Donald J. Trump and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. — Photographs: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post and Win McNamee/Getty Images.

SPECIAL COUNSEL Robert S. Mueller III has told President Trump's legal team that his office is likely to seek an interview with the president, triggering a discussion among his attorneys about how to avoid a sit-down encounter or set limits on such a session, according to two people familiar with the talks.

Mueller raised the issue of interviewing Trump during a late-December meeting with the president's lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow. Mueller deputy James Quarles, who oversees the White House portion of the special counsel investigation, also attended.

The special counsel's team could interview Trump soon on some limited portion of questions — possibly within the next several weeks, according to a person close to the president, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations.

“This is moving faster than anyone really realizes,” the person said. Trump is comfortable participating in an interview and believes it would put to rest questions about whether his campaign coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election, the person added.

However, the president's attorneys are reluctant to let him sit for open-ended, face-to-face questioning without clear parameters, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Since the December meeting, they have discussed whether the president could provide written answers to some of the questions from Mueller's investigators, as President Ronald Reagan did during the Iran-contra investigation. They have also discussed the obligation of Mueller's team to demonstrate that it could not obtain the information it seeks without interviewing the president.

The legal team's internal discussions about how to respond to a request for an interview were first reported on Monday morning by NBC News.

Dowd and Sekulow declined to comment.

In a statement, Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer overseeing the administration's response to the Mueller investigation, said that “the White House does not comment on communications with the OSC out of respect for the OSC and its process,” referring to the special counsel’s office.

The White House is continuing its full cooperation with the OSC in order to facilitate the earliest possible resolution,” Cobb added.

Cobb had repeatedly said all interviews of White House personnel by Mueller's office were on schedule to be completed by the end of December or early this year. On Monday, he said he remains confident that any portion of the investigation related to the president or the White House will wrap up shortly.

Mueller and Trump's legal team plan to meet again soon to discuss both the possible terms and substance of the interview, as well as Mueller's timeline for the investigation, according to one person familiar with the plan.

Trump's lawyers hope to obtain from the special counsel’s team a clear idea of the categories of questions that would be posed to the president.

For months, Trump's legal team has been researching the conditions under which the president would be required to submit to an interview with the special counsel, who is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

“No lawyer just volunteers their client without thinking this through,” said one of the people familiar with the talks.

It has long been expected that Mueller would seek to interview Trump, in part because the special counsel is scrutinizing whether actions he took in office were attempts to blunt the Russia investigation, according to people familiar with questions posed to witnesses.

In May, Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey after Comey testified on Capitol Hill that he could not comment on whether there was evidence that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign.

The president also dictated a misleading statement later released by his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., about a meeting that Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign.

Veteran prosecutors said it is unlikely that Mueller would agree to have any witness, even the president, submit a declaration or provide written answers to questions to avoid a sit-down interview.

Some experts said a presidential interview could signal that Mueller's investigation into Trump's actions is nearing its end, but they cautioned that the special counsel might have a different strategy.

“It would certainly seem they would be close to wrapping up as it relates to the core matter they are investigating,” said Solomon Wisenberg, a deputy independent counsel who questioned President Bill Clinton in 1998. “You would want to know as much as possible before you go to the president.”

Asked on Saturday if he had agreed to be interviewed by Mueller, Trump said he had nothing to hide.

“Just so you understand, there's been no collusion, there's been no crime, and in theory everybody tells me I'm not under investigation. Maybe Hillary [Clinton] is, I don't know, but I'm not,” Trump told reporters at Camp David. “But we have been very open. We could have done it two ways. We could have been very closed, and it would have taken years. But you know, sort of like when you've done nothing wrong, let's be open and get it over with.”

“Because, honestly, it's very, very bad for our country,” the president added. “It's making our country look foolish. And this is a country that I don't want looking foolish. And it's not going to look foolish as long as I'm here.”

In June, after Comey told a congressional panel that Trump had privately asked for his loyalty, the president said he would be willing to testify under oath to dispute the fired FBI director's claims.

“One hundred percent,” Trump said when asked if he would give a sworn statement to Mueller.

Sitting presidents have been interviewed by prosecutors in the past, though courts have urged government investigators to seek such interviews only when they cannot obtain relevant information another way.

Clinton's attorneys repeatedly fought independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's attempts to interview their client until investigators obtained a subpoena to force his testimony. It was the first grand jury subpoena served on a sitting president. Clinton then negotiated to testify before a grand jury via video and audio link from the White House Map Room.

In the videotaped interview in August 1998, which lasted four hours and saw questions from three prosecutors, Clinton admitted to inappropriate sexual activity with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, but he claimed he had been legally correct in denying that he had had sexual relations with her. He also denied having committed perjury in a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones.

Not all presidential interviews with prosecutors have come at the end of an investigation.

In 2004, President George W. Bush sat for an in-person interview with special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who was investigating whether senior White House aides leaked a CIA operative's identity and broke her cover as punishment for her husband's criticism of the Iraq War. Bush volunteered for the interview, which lasted 70 minutes and was conducted in the Oval Office. Bush was far from the last one interviewed in the probe; Fitzgerald later questioned several more central witnesses.

“The leaking of classified information is a very serious matter,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said at the time, adding that Bush was “pleased to do his part” to aid the investigation.

Reagan testified in the Iran-contra investigation while in office and twice more after he left office. He also answered in writing some written questions presented to him by the grand jury and the independent counsel in the probe.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford was interviewed as part of a grand jury investigation into an assassination attempt. In a taped session in the Old Executive Office Building, Ford shared his recollections of events when Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a Charles Manson follower, tried to shoot Ford at close range in Sacramento in September 1975. The tape was used at her trial that year.


Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.

• Carol Leonnig is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Who are the lawyers defending Trump?

 • VIDEO: What the special counsel's team will want to ask Trump

 • Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say

 • Trump accuses Comey of lying, says he'd ‘100 percent’ agree to testify in Russia probe


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mueller-indicates-he-will-likely-seek-interview-with-trump/2018/01/08/86100bb2-f473-11e7-beb6-c8d48830c54d_story.html
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« Reply #73 on: January 10, 2018, 06:47:32 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Trump on the stand: The greatest political and legal peril he's ever faced

A defense lawyer's nightmare: Trump under oath.

By JENNIFER RUBIN | 10:15AM EST — Tuesday, January 09, 2018

President Donald J. Trump attempts to sing The Star Spangled Banner in Atlanta, Georgia. — Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.
President Donald J. Trump attempts to sing The Star Spangled Banner in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday. — Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

The Washington Post reports:

Quote
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has told President Trump's legal team that his office is likely to seek an interview with the president, triggering a discussion among his attorneys about how to avoid a sit-down encounter or set limits on such a session, according to two people familiar with the talks.

Mueller raised the issue of interviewing Trump during a late-December meeting with the president's lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow. Mueller deputy James Quarles, who oversees the White House portion of the special counsel investigation, also attended.

The special counsel's team could interview Trump soon on some limited portion of questions — possibly within the next several weeks, according to a person close to the president, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations.

The request reveals two disagreeable aspects of the Russia investigation. First, the investigation, Trump's lawyers must certainly have divined, is very much about Trump. This is not about whether “anyone” on the campaign colluded/conspired with the Russians but about whether he did or was aware of such action, and, more seriously for Trump, whether he has committed obstruction of justice or other criminal or impeachable acts in attempting to thwart the investigation. Second, while Trump once boasted that he'd be willing to testify under oath, his lawyers would be committing gross malpractice to let him do so.

Without a skilled prosecutor to press him, Trump admitted in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt that he had Russia in mind when he fired FBI Director James B. Comey. Imagine how things could go when Mueller queries him with the benefit of evidence acquired from document requests (e.g., the original draft of the memo firing Comey) and testimony taken under oath from others. The potential for Trump — who has never appeared to really understand that there is anything wrong with ordering the Justice Department to lay off a former aide or drop an investigation and who seems to assume the attorney general's job is to protect him — to implicate himself is great. (Well, of course I told Comey to lay off Mike Flynn!) No matter how prepared he is, Trump's impulsiveness and conviction he is his own best defender may lead him down perilous paths. He may not only contradict himself but multiple other, credible witnesses, as well as documentary evidence. It's a minefield even for the most intelligent and disciplined witness.

“The risk is that Trump would either incriminate himself, commit perjury, or lie — unless he truly has committed no offense and has nothing to fear from telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” constitutional lawyer Laurence H. Tribe tells me. “I regard that ‘unless’ as extremely implausible.” He adds, “That said, I wouldn't have him plead the Fifth. That option isn't realistically available to a sitting president, who simply can't afford the steep political price that taking the Fifth would inevitably exact.”

Legally, the president is entitled to plead the Fifth Amendment even if he maintains he cannot be indicted in office. The relevant Office of Legal Counsel opinion makes clear: “Recognizing an immunity from prosecution for a sitting President would not preclude such prosecution once the President's term is over or he is otherwise removed from office by resignation or impeachment…. The immunity from indictment and criminal prosecution for a sitting President would generally result in the delay, but not the forbearance, of any criminal trial.”

Fordham Law School professor Jed Shugerman reasons, “Thus, he still has the privilege against self-incrimination for that later criminal liability.” Nevertheless, the hullabaloo and the implication of guilt, fairly or not, would likely be politically lethal. Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general, agrees that while Trump's Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination apply since “any testimony he gives now could be used to incriminate him down the line,” the political consequences would be debilitating. Katyal predicts that, “should he go down that road, it would look Nixonian and catalyze his downfall.”

Knowing all this, it is highly unlikely the special prosecutor would “settle” for a written statement crafted by Trump's attorneys. He's going to press to get Trump talking under oath about everything from his drafting on Air Force One of the inaccurate statement explaining the Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Russian officials to Trump's financial dealmaking with Russia. If Trump refuses to testify without invoking the Fifth, Mueller would have the option to subpoena him to testify in front of the grand jury, where his lawyer would not be present. If Trump does invoke the Fifth, his presidency would be at risk.

For all of Trump's boasting that he's done everything right (100 percent!) and his lawyer's ludicrous assertions that a president cannot commit obstruction of justice, the prospect for Trump to be interviewed under oath presents the greatest risk to his presidency yet. Look for a lot of political maneuvering, excuse-making and spin. In the end, however, Mueller has the power to compel Trump to testify; Trump might have a theoretical legal right to refuse, but as a practical matter, he in all likelihood will have to testify — and therefore put himself in grave legal and political peril.


• Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Opinion | Trump can fire Mueller, but that won't get rid of the Russia investigation

 • VIDEO: What the special counsel's team will want to ask Trump

 • How Mueller's potential questioning of Trump is likely to play out

 • Why are Trump's lawyers nervous? Because Mueller wants to interview Trump about obstruction.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/09/trump-on-the-stand-the-greatest-political-and-legal-peril-hes-ever-faced
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« Reply #74 on: January 13, 2018, 10:28:02 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Trump has given dozens of depositions in lawsuit-laden business
career, but he could face tougher grilling in Russia inquiry


By CHRIS MEGERIAN | 10:10AM PST — Friday, January 12, 2018

President Trump, shown in the Oval Office on Wednesday, questioned whether he would grant an interview to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in the Russia investigation. — Photograph: Ron Sachs/Getty Images.
President Trump, shown in the Oval Office on Wednesday, questioned whether he would grant an interview to special counsel
Robert S. Mueller III in the Russia investigation. — Ron Sachs/Getty Images.


IF President Trump is interviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a step that may be unavoidable in the Russia investigation, he'll square off with prosecutors who have spent decades firing questions at corrupt politicians, crooked businessmen and organized crime leaders.

But the prosecutors wouldn't be the only seasoned veterans in the room. By his own account, Trump has sat for dozens of depositions in his career as a bellicose business mogul in New York, one who routinely drew legal challenges from aggrieved competitors, contractors, customers and state attorneys general.

He would hardly be the first president questioned in a criminal case. In 1876, Ulysses S. Grant gave a deposition in defense of his private secretary during a trial over whiskey distillers evading taxes. Grant's probity was so unquestioned that he effectively ended the prosecution's case.

Trump may have a more difficult time. Lawyers who have grilled him in the past describe him as charming and focused, but also arrogant, glib and dishonest, characteristics that could prove troublesome if Mueller's team finds he has a clear conflict with the truth.

The president has given mixed signals over whether he would agree to meet prosecutors investigating whether his campaign assisted Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, allegations Trump has repeatedly denounced as a hoax.

In June, Trump said he would be “100%” willing to testify under oath. He appeared to waffle this week, however, saying “we'll see.”

“When they have no collusion, and nobody has found any collusion, at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview,” Trump told reporters.

Legal experts say Trump almost certainly will have to submit to some form of questioning before Mueller wraps up the probe. The president is likely to give as good as he gets.

"He's going to have his A game on,” said Jay Itkowitz, a lawyer who represented ALM Unlimited, a licensing company that accused Trump of stiffing it on revenue from his clothing line in 2008.

Trump behaved like “a gentleman” when Itkowitz deposed him in a Trump Tower conference room in 2011, the lawyer said. But he felt Trump provided false information.

“He's obviously capable of being very charming and have an outward demeanor of respectfulness even while he's totally lying,” Itkowitz said. A judge later ruled in Trump's favor by dismissing ALM's lawsuit.

A Miami lawyer, Elizabeth Beck, said she got less respect when she deposed Trump in a separate lawsuit in 2011 involving a failed real estate deal in Florida.

Trump called her questions “very stupid,” according to a transcript. In an interview, Beck said he “got red in the face” and “ran out of the room screaming” when she needed to take a break to pump breast milk for her newborn.

He was more polite when they resumed the deposition three months later. He was “a completely different person,” Beck said.

He also turned on the charm when the case went to trial in Broward County, Florida, in 2014. While reading a document on the witness stand, Trump asked the judge to borrow his glasses.

“Can I use your glasses again, your honor? Is that possible? I hate to do this to you,” Trump said.

When he finished testifying, the judge dismissed Trump by saying, “You're fired,” the trademark line from Trump's reality TV show “The Apprentice”. The jury ruled in Trump's favor.

“People underestimate him,” Beck said. “I saw grown men, attorneys, become gelatinous in front of him.”

It's unlikely that Mueller, a former Marine Corps officer who fought in Vietnam, will turn weak in the knees. In 2004, Mueller famously threatened to resign as FBI director if President George W. Bush reauthorized a warrantless wiretap program without making changes. Bush backed down.

Mueller is also far more powerful than lawyers in civil cases.

In addition to collecting a vast number of documents, the special counsel's office has secured cooperation from George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide, and Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor. Both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians or suspected Russian intermediaries during the campaign or the presidential transition.

“Mueller holds the cards here,” said Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional and criminal law scholar who is an emeritus professor at Harvard Law School.

Trump is famously loose with the facts, sometimes shading the truth or fabricating his own. Doing that in an interview with federal investigators is a potential felony, even if the president is not under oath.

“The main risk is that he will admit to certain facts that will fill gaps for the prosecution, or he'll say things that are contradicted by other witnesses or other evidence,” Dershowitz said. He has previously suggested that Trump's legal position, particularly over whether he obstructed justice, may not be as dire as the president's critics suggest.

It's unclear how much Trump would prepare for an interview to get his story straight.

Brigida Benitez, who represented celebrity chef Jose Andres in a dispute with Trump's hotel in Washington, said he displayed “confidence” and “probably some measure of arrogance” when she deposed him at Trump Tower during the presidential transition. But she didn't sense he had prepared for the encounter.

“My impression is that he walks into those situations with little preparation, feeling like he can just wing it,” Benitez said. Both sides ultimately settled the lawsuit without disclosing the terms.


Robert Mueller, shown testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2011, is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. — Photograph: James Berglie/TNS.
Robert Mueller, shown testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2011, is investigating
Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. — Photograph: James Berglie/TNS.


Trump's lawyers have said they are cooperating with Mueller, but wouldn't comment on reports about a potential Trump interview. If the president refuses to talk, Mueller could subpoena him to appear before a federal grand jury that is hearing evidence in the probe.

Trump's lawyers “could go to court and say you can't subpoena a sitting president,” said Randall D. Eliason, a former federal prosecutor who teaches white collar criminal law at George Washington University. “Most people would say that wouldn't prevail. But they could make an argument and tie it up for months.”

Moreover, if Trump refuses to honor a grand jury subpoena, it could spark a political and legal firestorm that would consume the White House and Congress, creating chaos for the administration.

“You're going to send U.S. Marshals to bring the president in?” Eliason asked. “There's a potential for a constitutional crisis right around the corner in all of these things.”

Trump's lawyers could try to arrange for the president to answer written questions from the prosecutors — a process that lets the president's team vet the answers — but legal experts suggest it's improbable Mueller would agree to that.

In any case, granting an interview may be the only way for Trump to resolve an investigation that he considers a stain on his administration.

“He should be pursuing closure,” Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, said during Wednesday on CNN. “And he doesn't get closure until he talks to Bob Mueller.”

Mueller probably has the same goal, according to Ken Gormley, president of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and the author of books about presidential investigations.

“It is inevitable that Robert Mueller and his team will want to talk to the president in order to reach some closure,” he said.

Other presidents have spoken with investigators in various settings for various scandals.

In 1987, President Reagan spoke with an independent commission, and answered written questions from special prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh, about the Iran-Contra scandal. The scheme involved illegal funding of anti-Sandinista Nicaraguan rebels with profits from the covert sale of missiles to Iran, which was under an arms embargo.

Walsh ultimately brought charges against employees of the CIA, the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the State Department, as well as several private individuals. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush pre-emptively pardoned Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and pardoned five other figures in the case.

In 2004, George W. Bush met for more than an hour in the Oval Office with special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. He was trying to identify who had leaked the identify of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operative, to discredit her husband's claims about faulty intelligence before the invasion of Iraq.

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a senior aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators. Bush commuted Libby's prison sentence in 2007, but he did not pardon him.

Bill Clinton was the first sitting president to testify to a grand jury investigating his own conduct.

In August 1998, independent counsel Ken Starr sent his deputy, former federal prosecutor Solomon Wisenberg, and two other lawyers to interview Clinton at the White House for the grand jury. They questioned the president about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.

“You obviously try to show as much respect for the office as possible and get the information you're trying to get,” said Wisenberg.

Starr had agreed to limit the testimony to four hours, something Clinton tried to use to his advantage.

“President Clinton is one of the great speechifiers of all time,” Wisenberg said. “He knew he could give lengthy answers to questions.”

One month later, the House Judiciary Committee released a videotape of Clinton's testimony and thousands of pages of supporting evidence, including sexually explicit material.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House approved two articles of impeachment against Clinton, for lying under oath and obstructing justice. He was acquitted in the Senate in February 1999 and served out his presidency.


• Chris Megerian is temporarily based in Washington, D.C., for the Los Angeles Times, where he writes about the special counsel investigation. He previously covered the 2016 presidential campaign and the 2015 United Nations summit on global warming in Paris. As a reporter in Sacramento, he has also written about Governor Jerry Brown, climate change policies, California politics and state finances. Before joining the L.A. Times in January 2012, he spent three years covering politics and law enforcement at the Star-Ledger in New Jersey. He grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Emory University in Atlanta.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Once ‘100%’ willing to talk under oath to Robert Mueller, Trump now says ‘we'll see’

 • President Trump seeks public exoneration as Democrats and Republicans battle over ending Russia probes

 • Michael Flynn pleads guilty: Charges in the Russia investigation so far


http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-mueller-interview-20180111-story.html
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