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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 1531 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #125 on: March 28, 2018, 02:17:24 pm »


from The New York Times....

At a Crucial Juncture, Trump's Legal Defense
Is Largely a One-Man Operation


President Trump is struggling to find any top lawyers willing to represent him
as he faces a critical decision: whether to give the special counsel an interview.


By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and MAGGIE HABERMAN | 9:01PM EDT — Sunday, March 25, 2018

Jay Sekulow is the only personal lawyer for President Trump who is working full time on the special counsel's investigation as Mr. Trump faces a significant decision: whether to sit for an interview. — Photograph: Steve Helber/Associated Press.
Jay Sekulow is the only personal lawyer for President Trump who is working full time on the special counsel's investigation as Mr. Trump faces
a significant decision: whether to sit for an interview. — Photograph: Steve Helber/Associated Press.


AS President Trump heads into one of the most critical phases of the special counsel's investigation, his personal legal team has shrunk to essentially just one member, and he is struggling to find any top lawyers willing to represent him.

Working for a president is usually seen as a dream job. But leading white-collar lawyers in Washington and New York have repeatedly spurned overtures to take over the defense of Mr. Trump, a mercurial client who often ignores his advisers' guidance. In some cases, lawyers' firms have blocked any talks, fearing a backlash that would hurt business.

The president lost two lawyers in just the past four days, including one who had been on board for less than a week.

Joseph diGenova, a long-time Washington lawyer who has pushed theories on Fox News that the F.B.I. made up evidence against Mr. Trump, left the team on Sunday. He had been hired last Monday, three days before the head of the president's personal legal team, John Dowd, quit after determining that the president was not listening to his advice. Mr. Trump had also considered hiring Mr. diGenova's wife, Victoria Toensing, but she will also not join the team.

That leaves the president with just one personal lawyer who is working full time on the special counsel's investigation as Mr. Trump is facing one of the most significant decisions related to it: whether to sit for an interview.

That lawyer, Jay Sekulow, is a conservative commentator who made his name on religious freedom cases. Mr. Sekulow is in talks with other lawyers about joining the team, although it is not clear how far those discussions have progressed.

Hours before the announcement of Mr. diGenova's departure, which Mr. Sekulow said was related to a conflict of interest, the president took to Twitter to reject any suggestion that lawyers do not want to work for him.

“Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case … don't believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on,” he wrote. “Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted.”

Adding new lawyers, he said, would be costly because they would take months “to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more).”

“I am very happy with my existing team,” he added.

This month, the president met with the veteran lawyer Emmet Flood about the possibility of joining the legal team. But Mr. Trump was put off by the fact that Mr. Flood, a Republican, had represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment process, and Mr. Flood has made clear that he will not represent the president if Marc E. Kasowitz, his brash long-time personal lawyer, has any role in the effort.

Mr. Trump also tried to recruit Theodore B. Olson, a well-known Republican lawyer, but Mr. Olson has said he would not be representing the president.

The first phase of legal work for Mr. Trump in the inquiry by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was led by a White House lawyer, Ty Cobb. That work, which in part involved the production of documents and the arrangement of interviews with White House officials, has been largely completed.

The second phase, which is now focused on the question of a presidential interview with Mr. Mueller, had been led by Mr. Dowd. One reason Mr. Dowd quit was that, against his advice, Mr. Trump was insistent that he wanted to answer questions under oath from Mr. Mueller, believing that it would help clear him.

Mr. Dowd had concluded that there was no upside and that the president, who often does not tell the truth, could increase his legal exposure if his answers were not accurate.


John Dowd quit as the head of the president's personal legal team last week after determining that Mr. Trump was not listening to his advice. — Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters.
John Dowd quit as the head of the president's personal legal team last week after determining that Mr. Trump was not listening to his advice.
 — Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters.


Roger Cossack, a seasoned legal analyst, said the key to successfully defending a high-profile client under immense scrutiny was to have a cohesive legal team with a consistent strategy.

“In these types of cases, you need highly competent lawyers and a client who will listen and follow their advice,” Mr. Cossack said. “If you don't have both, you have what we're seeing here: chaos and disaster.”

“You have a client who clearly thinks he has a better idea of how things should work than the lawyers who, from time to time, have told him things he doesn't want to hear,” he added. “He is looking for the guy who can say, ‘I know how to handle Mueller, I know you think he is bad, and we'll take care of it’. Problem is you can't find that lawyer because no one will be able to do that.”

People close to the president say the upheaval in the legal team was inevitable. When Mr. Kasowitz took the lead after Mr. Mueller was appointed in May, he wanted to follow a model used by Mr. Clinton, with a separate team of lawyers and communications professionals handling issues related to the inquiry, so that the White House staff could keep its distance.

But Mr. Trump, who trusts few people and considers himself his best lawyer, spokesman and strategist, never wanted that type of system. As a result, his legal and public relations strategies have been out of sync, with the president at times publicly contradicting his lawyers, and the White House often finding itself flat-footed in the face of new disclosures about the Russia investigation.

The president's decision has also exposed many of his aides, leaving them deeply enmeshed in an inquiry that is likely to cost them tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

But while Mr. Trump has struggled to find lawyers, his family and his close associates are being represented by some of the country's top legal talent.

His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has hired Abbe Lowell, a long-time Washington lawyer who recently got the Justice Department to drop corruption charges against Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, after a lengthy court fight.

Three prominent current and former White House officials — the former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon; the former chief of staff, Reince Priebus; and the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn — are being represented by William A. Burck, who turned down the chance to represent the president. Mr. Burck, a former federal prosecutor, represented FIFA in its legal problems in the United States and has worked for high-profile witnesses in federal investigations, including Maureen McDonnell, the wife of a former Virginia governor.

The turmoil in Mr. Trump's legal team started within weeks of the appointment of Mr. Mueller. Mr. Kasowitz pushed for an adversarial approach to the special counsel, which the president was poised to follow. But Mr. Kasowitz clashed with Mr. Kushner, and he was soon pushed aside after a series of mis-steps and embarrassing incidents.

The president then hired Mr. Cobb, a veteran Washington lawyer, to lead efforts within the White House, as well as Mr. Dowd, who was put in charge of his personal legal team. They advocated a strategy of cooperation, telling the president that the sooner he gave Mr. Mueller's office what it wanted, the sooner his name would be cleared.

While Mr. Cobb had told the president that the investigation would be over by now, it seems to be accelerating. Mr. Mueller is still looking into a wide range of matters related to Mr. Trump's corporate activities, his 2016 campaign, his associates and his time in office.

Mr. Trump, hoping to bolster his team, met with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing in recent days but, according to two people told of details about the meeting, did not believe he had personal chemistry with them.

There were also significant conflict-of-interest issues, but Mr. Trump could have waived them if he wanted. Ms. Toensing is representing Mark Corallo, who was the spokesman for Mr. Trump's legal team in 2017 before they parted ways. Mr. Corallo has told investigators that he was concerned that a close aide to Mr. Trump, Hope Hicks, may have been planning to obstruct justice during the drafting of a statement about a meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. during the campaign.

Ms. Hicks's lawyer has strongly denied that suggestion, and White House aides said Mr. Corallo's assertion had come up in discussions with the president as he weighed whether to go ahead with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing.

Mr. diGenova had been expected to serve as an outspoken voice for the president as Mr. Trump has increased his attacks on Mr. Mueller. Mr. diGenova has endorsed the notion that a secretive group of F.B.I. agents concocted the Russia investigation as a way to keep Mr. Trump from becoming president, a theory with little supporting evidence.

“There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn't win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime,” he had told Fox News in January.


__________________________________________________________________________

• 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.

• Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent. She joined The New York Times in February 2015 as a campaign correspondent. Previously, Ms. Haberman worked as a political reporter at Politico from 2010 to 2015 and at other publications including the New York Post and New York Daily News. She was a finalist for the Mirror Awards, with Glenn Thrush, for What is Hillary Clinton Afraid of? which was published in 2014. Her hobbies include singing, and she is married with three children.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Trump Won't Hire 2 Lawyers Whose Appointments Were Announced Days Ago


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/25/us/politics/trump-lawyers-digenova.html
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« Reply #126 on: March 28, 2018, 02:18:15 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Raging, isolated Trump can't bluff his way out this time

Trump faces Stormy Daniels and other female accusers, just as his legal team
is collapsing in the face of the intensifying Mueller probe.


By GREG SARGENT | 10:08AM EDT — Monday, March 26, 2018

President Donald J. Trump, left, and Stormy Daniels. — Photographs: The Washington Post.
President Donald J. Trump, left, and Stormy Daniels. — Photographs: The Washington Post.

PRESIDENT TRUMP has boundless faith in his ability to survive any financial, political, legal or public relations mess, by resorting to what philosopher Harry Frankfurt famously described as bullshit. Time and again over the years, he has fallen back on his trademark tactics: bluffing with abandon; suing to overwhelm his antagonists with legal bills; fighting back as hard as possible, solely to dissuade future foes; flooding the media zone with confusion-sowing falsehoods; and, above all, never admitting to error, wrong-doing or deliberate lying.

But now, with Stormy Daniels speaking out about Trump — even as Trump's legal team is falling apart, just as the Mueller probe is set to hit its climax — it's hard to escape the sense that Trump's titanic talent for bullshitting may be faltering in the face of the crush of events he now faces.

On CBS last night, Daniels finally told her tale about the 2006 affair she claims she had with Trump. In so doing, she opened up new narrative lines that ensure this story will continue. She allowed that she had accepted $130,000 in hush money from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen before the election, and admitted she lied by saying the affair never happened once the news of that payment broke. But she claimed she did so because she was legally threatened, which CBS reports came from Cohen. Daniels also claimed that after trying to go public with her story about Trump in 2011, a man physically threatened her in front of her child.

Daniels's new comments mean the focus will continue on questions such as whether Trump knew about the payment his lawyer made and whether it constituted an unlawful campaign contribution, as former FEC chairman Trevor Potter claims it does.

Cohen's lawyer sent Daniels's lawyer a cease-and-desist letter accusing Daniels of false statements about him. This morning, Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti, fired back by claiming that he and Daniels are only “getting started”, adding that Cohen has “zero credibility” and that the full truth will all come out before long. In other words, the story will continue — with a focus both on Trump's treatment of women and his tendency to surround himself with thuggish characters.

CNN reports that Trump “has become irked by the wall-to-wall coverage of the alleged affair on news shows in recent days.” But Trump is largely constrained from hitting back, since tweeting angrily in response would only draw more attention to those elements of the story.

And there's more: In addition to being sued by Daniels, who wants to get her non-disclosure agreement with Trump invalidated, Trump faces two other new female accusers who have initiated legal actions of their own designed to free them up to talk. All this activity could result in discovery and even Trump depositions that keep these stories alive, too.

It is at precisely this moment that Trump's legal team is dwindling and in disarray in the face of another mounting threat, this one from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation. The Washington Post reports that Joseph diGenova will not represent Trump, leaving him temporarily “without a criminal defense attorney.” Trump furiously tweeted that lawyers are falling all over themselves to represent Trump, but everyone knows that's utter nonsense.

As it is, Trump had wanted diGenova because he was impressed by his appearances on Fox News. And in that context, this, from The Post's story, is a notable detail:


Quote
Trump had hoped diGenova could serve as a surrogate in television interviews and play the role of attack dog in criticizing the Mueller probe.

Trump continues to approach the Mueller probe as a P.R. problem — i.e., one that he and his allies can bluster their way out of in conventional Trumpian fashion — rather than as something potentially a lot worse. Remember, this comes just as Trump and what's left of his legal team are trying to decide whether Trump should sit for an interview with Mueller. Trump has repeatedly said he relishes facing Mueller, and the lawyer advising caution — John Dowd — is now gone.  Trump's instinct to bluff and bluster his way through the Mueller probe is more likely to go unchecked — even as he is less likely to fully prepare for the very real legal perils an interview will pose.

The imperative of fighting back has long been central to Trump's public philosophy. As he put it in his 2007 book: “If you're afraid to fight back people will think of you as a loser, a ‘schmuck’!”

But Trump is constrained from fighting back against his female accusers. And the more he succumbs to his instinct to “fight back” against Mueller, the worse off he will be.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog for The Washington Post, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant — what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left. He joined The Post in early 2009, after stints at Talking Points Memo, New York Magazine and the New York Observer. He lives in Maryland with his wife, son and daughter.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Key moments from Stormy Daniels's ‘60 Minutes” interview

 • ‘Not in a punch-back mode’: Why Trump has been largely silent on Stormy Daniels


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/03/26/raging-isolated-trump-cant-bluff-his-way-out-this-time
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« Reply #127 on: March 28, 2018, 02:18:35 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Somebody get this man a lawyer

President Trump keeps searching for the right legal representation.
He'll need it against Mueller.


By RICHARD COHEN | 7:21PM EDT — Monday, March 26, 2018

President Donald J. Trump at the White House. — Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press.
President Donald J. Trump at the White House. — Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press.

I HAVE TWO WORDS for President Trump: David Barrett. He was appointed an independent counsel to investigate payments made by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros to a former mistress. That was in 1995. Barrett finished up only 11 years later, by which time almost no one could remember what the investigation was about or, even, who Cisneros was. A special counsel, like the shark in “Jaws”, or the Pinkerton agents in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, just keeps on coming.

The president does not seem to realize that. He is consistent in always loving the face in the mirror, but on other matters, he is mercurial and chaotic. Just last week his lead lawyer, John Dowd, resigned, purportedly because Trump will not take his advice. Trump wants to sit down with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and work his charm on the man. Dowd, being an experienced criminal lawyer, looked upon such a meeting with appropriate apprehension — the president, after all, having possibly last told the truth when he stated his name at his inauguration. After that, the record is spotty.

Dowd was just the latest of several lawyers who have bailed on Trump. His long-time lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, was early on board and early to abandon ship — though he might yet come back. He, too, favored an aggressive strategy that, to Dowd and others, was sheer foolishness. At the moment, Trump's team is led by Jay Sekulow, who has argued many times before the Supreme Court but has never tried a criminal case in his life. As is typical for a Trump aide, he has often appeared on Fox News. This, though, is not the same as courtroom experience.

Last week, Trump came up with two new names. He announced that Joseph E. diGenova, another Fox fixture, would join his legal team. DiGenova practices with his wife, Victoria Toensing, in a boutique firm, but one of their clients gave them a conflict and they had to withdraw as Trump's counsel. T'was a pity. They would have been good fun. They are both enamored of conspiracy theories, some of them having to do with the consummate evil of Hillary Clinton and the murders of Americans that she supposedly arranged or permitted — or something! — at Benghazi in Libya.

More recently, diGenova discovered a government conspiracy to do in Trump. “There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn't win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime,” he said on Fox News. (Where else?) And who was doing all this? The FBI, of course.

The Trump brand of chaos is extreme, acute and should worry us all. It evinces a presidency that cannot function. Here, after all, is a president who could stand in considerable legal jeopardy. Yet Trump sort of wings it. He must feel he is up against some widow who won't make way for his Atlantic City casino, or some woman who mistakes a spot of sex with Trump for a pay-day. According to USA Today, Trump has been involved in 4,095 lawsuits. Most of the time, he goes on the offensive and counter-sues. He learned contempt for the law from a master, Roy Cohn, who was eventually disbarred.

This time, though, Trump has met his match. Mueller is seen always in the same film clip, leaving a government building. He shuns the spotlight. He never smiles. He is a central-casting evocation of the old WASP establishment figure — St. Paul's School, Princeton, University of Virginia Law School and combat in Vietnam as a Marine. He thought his country was owed his service. He was a citizen. He had certain obligations. In combat, he was brave, winning a Bronze Star. Trump, in contrast, ducked the draft five times, the last for a bone spur in one foot or the other. (He has said he can't remember.)

This is a fight between the old America, upright and conscientious, and the new America of easy lies, shirking of duty and alleged extra-marital cuddles with porn actresses. It's as if the America of Norman Rockwell's illustrations ripped itself off the cover of the old Saturday Evening Post and is coming right at Trump, pitchfork in hand. Trump, a brat in bespoke suits, is in more trouble than he imagines. Now both time and money will work against him: The special counsel never runs out of either. Ask Henry Cisneros.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Richard Cohen writes a weekly political column for The Washington Post. He also contributes to the PostPartisan blog. Cohen joined The Post in 1968 as a reporter and covered night police, city hall, education, state government and national politics. As the paper's chief Maryland correspondent, he was one of two reporters who broke the story of the investigation of former Vice President Agnew. In 1976, he began writing a column that ran on the front of the Metro section. His columns have appeared on the op-ed page of The Post since 1984. He is the author, with Jules Witcover, of A Heartbeat Away: The Investigation and Resignation of Spiro T. Agnew (1974). He has received the Sigma Delta Chi and Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild Awards for his investigative reporting.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump attorney John Dowd resigns

 • Michael Gerson: The strange, unexpected public contribution of Stormy Daniels

 • Karen Tumulty: When Trump goes low, go low

 • Jennifer Rubin: Dowd is out, so what is next for Trump's legal team?

 • Paul Waldman: Trump's lawyer just quit. Here's what it means for the Mueller investigation.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/find-this-man-a-lawyer/2018/03/26/9127a548-312a-11e8-8abc-22a366b72f2d_story.html
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« Reply #128 on: March 28, 2018, 05:03:37 pm »


nothing burger reporter on a slow newsday more wishful thinking from the washing ton of shit post
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Are you sick of the bullshit from the sewer stream media spewed out from the usual Ken and Barby dickless talking point look a likes.

If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
Go to
http://www.infowars.com/

AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #129 on: April 06, 2018, 06:22:43 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times....

Trump gets only a fragile glimmer of hope

The president isn't a ‘criminal target’ of the DOJ. How can that be?

By HARRY LITMAN | Thursday, April 05, 2018



PRESIDENT TRUMP, according to reporting in The Washington Post, is pleased to learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that he is a subject, not a target of the Department of Justice's investigations. Should the White House be celebrating?

First we need to get the terminology straight, and in this case, straight from the United States Attorney's Manual, which is getting more readership from the general public these days than it normally gets from federal prosecutors.

The labels refer to three categories for those who are asked, or summoned, to testify before a federal grand jury.

A “witness” is someone who has useful information but no apparent involvement in a crime. A “subject” is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury's investigation — he is not uninvolved, but he is also not for certain involved in a crime. And a “target” is someone against whom there is substantial evidence, a person who “in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant.” In other words, a target is likely to be charged.

Back to the president and the Mueller investigation.

For most observers, there is plenty of evidence that could make Trump not just the subject but a target of an obstruction of justice investigation. It includes the contemporaneous notes of former FBI Director James B. Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe about Oval Office pressure to ease up on Russia-related investigations; Trump's apparent understanding that former national security advisor Michael Flynn had improper contacts with Russia; his shifting account of the reasons for his actions until he told NBC's Lester Holt he was responding to “this Russia thing”; his fury at Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the matter; his many tweets raging at the probe.

And that is just the publicly available evidence. Mueller may have much more from the testimony of Flynn and others, particularly from former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

But The Washington Post report suggests that Mueller isn't persuaded: He apparently told the president he wasn't a criminal target. How can that be? Has the special counsel gathered exculpatory evidence that we don't know about? Is there some flaw in the above catalog?

One hypothesis making the rounds focuses on the unusual nature of the probe itself. Justice Department policy precludes the indictment of a sitting president. Instead, Mueller will probably eventually issue a report to the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who will decide whether to make it public. That report could very well be the basis of an impeachment referral, but it wouldn't be an indictment per se. So Trump isn't a target because Mueller can't and won't charge him in criminal court.

This hypothesis, however, fails to take into account Mueller's deserved reputation for integrity. Telling the president he isn't a target, but meaning it only in the most technical of ways, is squirrelly, and it's inconsistent with the special counsel's straight-shooting character.

For anyone who knows Mueller, a better explanation is this: The special counsel is maintaining an open mind with respect to Trump's guilt, though to many on the outside of the investigation, the evidence against him is overwhelming.

To prove obstruction of justice, you have to know the mental state of the defendant. It's a charge based particularly on intent, not just actions. This distinction would apply with special force in the case of a sitting president, who has broad constitutional authority to shut down a criminal investigation such as the Russia probe for any number of legitimate purposes.

Mueller has yet to interview the president, he has yet to hear in detail what he and his lawyers have to say about the matter. If Trump or his lawyers can persuade Mueller (or, more precisely, create a reasonable doubt in his mind) that the president acted for any non-corrupt purpose — even a mistaken or puerile one — Mueller would have to stay his hand.

The news that Mueller does not consider Trump a criminal target probably best translates as follows: I have built a very strong case against you, including strong evidence that you acted corruptly, to safeguard your personal interests. But it's conceivable that something else was in play, and you should be given a full opportunity to spell this out for me. Until you do, or until you turn down that opportunity, I am keeping an open mind and you are not a target, merely a subject of the investigation.

Trump is quite likely just a hair's breadth from target status. Moreover, it's hard to imagine given the available evidence what cogent exculpatory account of his intent the president could actually provide. Mueller's guidance that Trump is not a criminal target adds up to a glimmer of hope, but little cause for crowing in the Trump camp.


__________________________________________________________________________

Harry Litman teaches constitutional law at UC San Diego. He is a former U.S. attorney and deputy assistant attorney general.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=b6da3357-92c7-4149-bde6-f85ccaf2aa4d
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« Reply #130 on: April 13, 2018, 12:30:09 am »


from The New York Times....

EDITORIAL: The Law Is Coming, Mr. Trump

Donald Trump has spent his whole career in the company of grifters, cons and crooks.
Now that he's president, that strategy isn't working — for him or for the country.


By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | 11:59PM EDT — Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Illustration: Jon Han.
Illustration: Jon Han.

WHY DON'T WE take a step back and contemplate what Americans, and the world, are witnessing?

Early on Monday morning, F.B.I. agents raided the New York office, home and hotel room of the personal lawyer for the president of the United States. They seized evidence of possible federal crimes — including bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations related to payoffs made to women, including a porn actress, who say they had affairs with the president before he took office and were paid off and intimidated into silence.

That evening the president surrounded himself with the top American military officials and launched unbidden into a tirade against the top American law enforcement officials — officials of his own government — accusing them of “an attack on our country.”

Oh, also: The New York Times reported on Monday evening that investigators were examining a $150,000 donation to the president's personal foundation from a Ukrainian steel magnate, given during the American presidential campaign in exchange for a 20-minute video appearance.

Meanwhile, the president's former campaign chairman is under indictment, and his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. His son-in-law and other associates are also under investigation.

This is your president, ladies and gentlemen. This is how Donald Trump does business, and these are the kinds of people he surrounds himself with.

Mr. Trump has spent his career in the company of developers and celebrities, and also of grifters, cons, sharks, goons and crooks. He cuts corners, he lies, he cheats, he brags about it, and for the most part, he's gotten away with it, protected by threats of litigation, hush money and his own bravado. Those methods may be proving to have their limits when they are applied from the Oval Office. Though Republican leaders in Congress still keep a cowardly silence, Mr. Trump now has real reason to be afraid. A raid on a lawyer's office doesn't happen every day; it means that multiple government officials, and a federal judge, had reason to believe they'd find evidence of a crime there and that they didn't trust the lawyer not to destroy that evidence.

On Monday, when he appeared with his national security team, Mr. Trump, whose motto could be, “The buck stops anywhere but here,” angrily blamed everyone he could think of for the “unfairness” of an investigation that has already consumed the first year of his presidency, yet is only now starting to heat up. He said Attorney General Jeff Sessions made “a very terrible mistake” by recusing himself from overseeing the investigation — the implication being that a more loyal attorney general would have obstructed justice and blocked the investigation. He complained about the “horrible things” that Hillary Clinton did “and all of the crimes that were committed.” He called the A-team of investigators from the office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, “the most biased group of people.” As for Mr. Mueller himself, “we'll see what happens,” Mr. Trump said. “Many people have said, ‘You should fire him’.”

In fact, the raids on the premises used by Mr. Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, were conducted by the public corruption unit of the federal attorney's office in Manhattan, and at the request not of the special counsel's team, but under a search warrant that investigators in New York obtained following a referral by Mr. Mueller, who first consulted with the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. To sum up, a Republican-appointed former F.B.I. director consulted with a Republican-appointed deputy attorney general, who then authorized a referral to an F.B.I. field office not known for its anti-Trump bias. Deep state, indeed.

Mr. Trump also railed against the authorities who, he said, “broke into” Mr. Cohen's office. “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” the president tweeted early on Tuesday morning, during what was presumably his executive time. He was wrong. The privilege is one of the most sacrosanct in the American legal system, but it does not protect communications in furtherance of a crime. Anyway, one might ask, if this is all a big witch hunt and Mr. Trump has nothing illegal or untoward to hide, why does he care about the privilege in the first place?

The answer, of course, is that he has a lot to hide.

This wasn't even the first early-morning raid of a close Trump associate. That distinction goes to Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's former campaign chairman and Russian oligarch-whisperer, who now faces a slate of federal charges long enough to land him in prison for the rest of his life. And what of Mr. Cohen? He's already been cut loose by his law firm, and when the charges start rolling in, he'll likely get the same treatment from Mr. Trump.

Among the grotesqueries that faded into the background of Mr. Trump's carnival of misgovernment during the past 24 hours was that Monday's meeting was ostensibly called to discuss a matter of global significance: a reported chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians. Mr. Trump instead made it about him, with his narcissistic and self-pitying claim that the investigation represented an attack on the country “in a true sense.”

No, Mr. Trump — a true attack on America is what happened on, say, September 11, 2001. Remember that one? Thousands of people lost their lives. Your response was to point out that the fall of the twin towers meant your building was now the tallest in downtown Manhattan. Of course, that also wasn't true.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/opinion/trump-michael-cohen-raid.html
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« Reply #131 on: May 01, 2018, 04:35:25 pm »


from The New York Times....

Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in
Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction


The questions provide the most detailed look yet at the special counsel
investigation and show an effort to learn about the president's thinking.


By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT | 8:46PM EDT — Monday, April 30, 2018

Robert S. Mueller III is said to be trying to determine whether the president had criminal intent when he fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director. — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.
Robert S. Mueller III is said to be trying to determine whether the president had criminal intent when he fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director.
 — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.


WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia's election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times.

The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president's thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president's high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

But they also touch on the president's businesses; any discussions with his long-time personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

The questions provide the most detailed look yet inside Mr. Mueller's investigation, which has been shrouded in secrecy since he was appointed nearly a year ago. The majority relate to possible obstruction of justice, demonstrating how an investigation into Russia's election meddling grew to include an examination of the president's conduct in office. Among them are queries on any discussions Mr. Trump had about his attempts to fire Mr. Mueller himself and what the president knew about possible pardon offers to Mr. Flynn.

“What efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?” Mr. Mueller planned to ask, according to questions read by the special counsel investigators to the president's lawyers, who compiled them into a list. That document was provided to The New York Times by a person outside Mr. Trump's legal team.

A few questions reveal that Mr. Mueller is still investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. In one of the more tantalizing inquiries, Mr. Mueller asks what Mr. Trump knew about campaign aides, including the former chairman Paul Manafort, seeking assistance from Moscow: “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?” No such outreach has been revealed publicly.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, declined to comment. A spokesman for the special counsel's office did not respond to a request for comment.

The questions serve as a reminder of the chaotic first 15 months of the Trump presidency and the transition and campaign before that. Mr. Mueller wanted to inquire about public threats the president made, conflicting statements from Mr. Trump and White House aides, the president's private admissions to Russian officials, a secret meetings at an island resort, WikiLeaks, salacious accusations and dramatic congressional testimony.

The special counsel also sought information from the president about his relationship with Russia. Mr. Mueller would like to ask Mr. Trump whether he had any discussions during the campaign about any meetings with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and whether he spoke to others about either American sanctions against Russia or meeting with Mr. Putin.

Through his questions, Mr. Mueller also tries to tease out Mr. Trump's views on law enforcement officials and whether he sees them as independent investigators or people who should loyally protect him.

For example, when the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, was fired, the White House said he broke with Justice Department policy and spoke publicly about the investigation into Mrs. Clinton's email server. Mr. Mueller's questions put that statement to the test. He wants to ask why, time and again, Mr. Trump expressed no concerns with whether Mr. Comey had abided by policy. Rather, in statements in private and on national television, Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation.

Many of the questions surround Mr. Trump's relationship with Mr. Sessions, including the attorney general's decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and whether Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions he needed him in place for protection.

Mr. Mueller appears to be investigating how Mr. Trump took steps last year to fire Mr. Mueller himself. The president relented after the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, threatened to resign, an episode that the special counsel wants to ask about.

“What consideration and discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel in June of 2017?” Mr. Mueller planned to ask, according to the list of questions. “What did you think and do in reaction to January 25, 2018, story about the termination of the special counsel and Don McGahn backing you off the termination?” he planned to ask, referring to The New York Times article that broke the news of the confrontation.

Mr. Mueller has sought for months to question the president, who has in turn expressed a desire, at times, to be interviewed, viewing it as an avenue to end the inquiry more quickly. His lawyers have been negotiating terms of an interview out of concern that their client — whose exaggerations, half-truths and outright falsehoods are well documented — could provide false statements or easily become distracted. Four people, including Mr. Flynn, have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in the Russia inquiry.

The list of questions grew out of those negotiations. In January, Mr. Trump's lawyers gave Mr. Mueller several pages of written explanations about the president's role in the matters the special counsel is investigating. Concerned about putting the president in legal jeopardy, his lead lawyer, John Dowd, was trying to convince Mr. Mueller he did not need to interview Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Mueller was apparently unsatisfied. He told Mr. Dowd in early March that he needed to question the president directly to determine whether he had criminal intent when he fired Mr. Comey, the people said.

But Mr. Dowd held firm, and investigators for Mr. Mueller agreed days later to share during a meeting with Mr. Dowd the questions they wanted to ask Mr. Trump.

When Mr. Mueller's team relayed the questions, their tone and detailed nature cemented Mr. Dowd's view that the president should not sit for an interview. Despite Mr. Dowd's misgivings, Mr. Trump remained firm in his insistence that he meet with Mr. Mueller. About a week and a half after receiving the questions, Mr. Dowd resigned, concluding that his client was ignoring his advice.

Mr. Trump's new lawyer in the investigation and his long-time confidant, Rudolph W. Giuliani, met with Mr. Mueller last week and said he was trying to determine whether the special counsel and his staff were going to be “truly objective.”

Mr. Mueller's end-game remains a mystery, even if he determines the president broke the law. A longstanding Justice Department legal finding says presidents cannot be charged with a crime while they are in office. The special counsel told Mr. Dowd in March that though the president's conduct is under scrutiny, he is not a target of the investigation, meaning Mr. Mueller does not expect to charge him.

The prospect of pardons is also among Mr. Mueller's inquiries, and whether Mr. Trump offered them to a pair of former top aides to influence their decisions about whether to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

Mr. Dowd broached the idea with lawyers for both of the advisers, Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty on charges of money laundering and other financial crimes related to his work for the pro-Russia former president of Ukraine.

Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who was ousted from the White House in February 2017 amid revelations about contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, ultimately pleaded guilty last December to lying to federal authorities and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel.

“After General Flynn resigned, what calls or efforts were made by people associated with you to reach out to General Flynn or to discuss Flynn seeking immunity or possible pardon?” Mr. Mueller planned to ask.


__________________________________________________________________________

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting 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:

 • What Mueller Wants to Ask Trump About Obstruction, and What It Means


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/30/us/politics/robert-mueller-questions-trump.html
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« Reply #132 on: May 03, 2018, 02:23:08 am »


from The New York Times....

EDITORIAL: What Robert Mueller Knows

Donald Trump's former lawyer didn't want him to speak with the special counsel.
The questions published on Monday explain why this is so.


By THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD | Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Illustration: Jasjyot Singh Hans.
Illustration: Jasjyot Singh Hans.

THE 49 questions that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, hopes to ask President Trump as part of the year-long Russia investigation suggest that Mr. Mueller knows a great deal more than he's letting on — and he hasn't even gotten to the follow-ups yet.

After the questions, which were published by The New York Times on Monday, were provided to Mr. Trump's legal team in March, John Dowd, the president's lead personal lawyer at the time, urged him to avoid sitting for an interview with Mr. Mueller. When Mr. Trump said he intended to anyway, Mr. Dowd resigned.

Reading through the list, it's clear why Mr. Dowd was so concerned. Federal investigators don't like being lied to, and Mr. Trump has a marked tendency to say things that aren't true. If he agrees to speak with Mr. Mueller's team, he will have to answer some very basic questions about what he knew, when he knew it and what motivated some of his most shocking and inexplicable actions over the past year.

To name just a few: When and why did you decide to fire James Comey, the F.B.I. director, who was leading the Russia investigation at the time? What did you mean when you told NBC's Lester Holt that you fired Mr. Comey because “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story”? Did you try to persuade the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to protect you from the investigation? Did you secretly promise to pardon Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his communications with the Russian ambassador?

The questions are a reminder of just how aberrant this White House has been. No prior president so openly assaulted the rule of law or undermined the integrity of the law enforcement community. In that light, Mr. Mueller's questions also provide a measure of comfort that, amid all the chaos and tumult of this administration, career public servants in law enforcement continue to do their jobs, investigating crimes and pursuing justice. It may unnerve Mr. Trump, who has spent his life skirting the law and avoiding full accountability, but this is how the law works. Without saying a word publicly, Mr. Mueller and his team of experienced investigators are showing America how a government premised on the rule of law is supposed to function. The process may seem slow, but that is out of diligence and caution. Its fundamental purpose is truth-seeking — unlike, say, the embarrassing obfuscations of the Republican leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, who last week absolved Mr. Trump and his campaign of any wrongdoing in a 250-page report that reads more like a work of fantasy than a government investigation.

Early on Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted that the leak of Mr. Mueller's questions was “disgraceful” and that “it would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened!”

Wrong. Obstruction of justice is itself a federal crime — see, for example, Section 1505 of Title 18 of the United States Code — regardless of whether prosecutors can establish an underlying offense. Mr. Trump and his defenders mock it as a “process crime,” but the rule of law breaks down if people can interfere, with impunity, in law enforcement's efforts to do justice. Don't forget that both presidents who have faced impeachment proceedings in the past few decades, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, were accused of obstructing justice.

Anyway, Mr. Mueller appears to have at least some evidence of an underlying offense. That is the implication of about a dozen of his questions, including the most surprising of all: Was Mr. Trump aware of any efforts by his campaign, and specifically by his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to seek Russia's help in winning the 2016 election?

We don't know exactly what is leading Mr. Mueller to want to ask this question of Mr. Trump, but it's worth noting that as far back as August 2017, CNN reported that American intelligence services had intercepted communications among suspected Russian operatives discussing conversations they claimed to have had with Mr. Manafort, in which he requested their help in damaging Hillary Clinton's election prospects. Mr. Mueller has already secured an indictment of Mr. Manafort on federal charges, including money laundering, tax fraud and making false statements, and has extracted a guilty plea from Mr. Manafort's top aide, Rick Gates, on related charges. Mr. Manafort is fighting the charges while Mr. Gates is now cooperating with investigators.

Whatever information he has, Mr. Mueller, like any seasoned prosecutor, does not ask questions unless he already knows the answers. Whether or not Mr. Trump decides to talk to him, the rest of us will know, too, soon enough.


__________________________________________________________________________

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/01/opinion/robert-mueller-russia-investigation.html
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« Reply #133 on: May 03, 2018, 02:23:26 am »


from The New York Times....

Why Talking to Mueller Could Be a Minefield for Trump

President Trump's lawyers have been trying to talk him out
of agreeing to be interviewed by the special counsel.
A list of questions shows why, legal experts said.


By CHARLIE SAVAGE | 11:09PM EDT — Tuesday, May 01, 2018

President Trump would need a detailed command of a range of issues to answer questions from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
President Trump would need a detailed command of a range of issues to answer questions from the special counsel,
Robert S. Mueller III. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON — President Trump has insisted he is eager to make the case to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, that he has done nothing wrong. But the questions that Mr. Mueller wants to ask show why the president's lawyers have countered that an interview would be a minefield for Mr. Trump.

It is not just that the president has a history of telling demonstrable falsehoods, while the special counsel has already won four guilty pleas for the crime of lying to investigators. The questions would pose additional challenges for Mr. Trump, legal experts said.

Many of Mr. Mueller's questions, obtained and published by The New York Times, are so broad that Mr. Trump would need a detailed command of a range of issues. And, complicating efforts to try to adequately prepare him for such an encounter, the president's lawyers do not know everything that the special counsel has learned.

“This list reinforces the notion that the president should not go in for an interview with Mueller,” said Sol Wisenberg, a white-collar defense lawyer who was a deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation. “Mueller knows all kinds of things — we don't know exactly what he knows — and these are both broad and detailed questions, making real land mines.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump denounced the publication of the questions in a pair of Twitter posts. He called it “disgraceful” and again pronounced Mr. Mueller's investigation a “witch hunt.” He also incorrectly declared both that none of the questions were about “collusion” — in fact, many centered on his campaign's ties to Russia — and that it would be “hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened.” (Efforts to obstruct an investigation can be prosecuted even if no underlying crime is found.)

Most of the dozens of questions are about now well-known events, like the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top Trump campaign officials and Russians promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton. While a few touch on Mr. Trump's business dealings — in particular, campaign-era talks about a proposed real estate project in Moscow — they do not signal that Mr. Mueller is examining Trump Organization finances more broadly or contain other major surprises.

In many instances, Mr. Mueller wants Mr. Trump to explain his knowledge of, reactions to or communications about private events where there were other witnesses, such as his campaign's internal discussions of Russia-related matters and his conversations as president with and about James B. Comey, whom he fired as F.B.I. director.

The questions were drawn up in March and reflect no events since then, leaving open the possibility that they may have changed as the president's lawyers and the special counsel continued to negotiate over an interview.

The handover to the president's lawyers grew out of a tense moment early that month between Mr. Mueller and Mr. Trump's lead lawyer at the time, John Dowd. Mr. Dowd had argued that Mr. Trump was too busy running the country to sit for an interview, especially if he was not a target of the investigation, according to a person briefed on the encounter.

Mr. Mueller replied that he had to question Mr. Trump to determine whether he had criminal intent when he took actions like firing Mr. Comey and raised the possibility of subpoenaing Mr. Trump to appear before a grand jury, the person said. News of Mr. Mueller mentioning the subpoena was first reported by The Washington Post.

A few days later, a lawyer working for Mr. Mueller called Mr. Dowd to arrange a second meeting, in the hopes of persuading Mr. Dowd to allow Mr. Trump to sit for an interview. At that meeting, investigators for Mr. Mueller provided Mr. Dowd with the list of questions they had for the president. After reviewing the list, Mr. Dowd become even more convinced, the person said, that allowing the president to be interviewed would be a problem.

One major threat to Mr. Trump posed by such open-ended questions is that, as his Twitter diatribe showed, he has a history of saying things that are not true — especially when he rambles off the cuff. It is a felony to lie to law enforcement officials or to conceal a material fact during a proceeding like a formal interview.

Mr. Dowd quit in March after he advised Mr. Trump that sitting down with investigators would put him in too much jeopardy, but Mr. Trump signaled that he was prepared to ignore Mr. Dowd's advice.

Moreover, the list of questions is most likely a starting point for follow-ups as investigators try to iron out ambiguities. Paul Rosenzweig, another former Whitewater prosecutor and a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a conservative and libertarian research organization, said they could be seeking such details as: What was the source of your knowledge? When did you find out? Who told you and what exactly did they say?

“You don't just ask, ‘What did you know about the Trump Tower meeting?’ and he tells you the answer,” Mr. Rosenzweig said. “With 48 questions like that, that's honestly a two-day interview. That's 12 hours of questioning.”

And in part because former Trump associates who have pleaded guilty are cooperating with the inquiry, the White House does not know what evidence the special counsel has obtained that could contradict Mr. Trump, Mr. Wisenberg said. Because of that, he said, the president's lawyers were in a worse position to prepare their client for an interview than President Bill Clinton's team was in the Whitewater investigation.

“It's totally different than when President Clinton came into the grand jury room to talk to us,” he said. “He pretty much knew everything we knew. It was far less risky.”

Even so, Mr. Clinton perjured himself by falsely denying that he had had a sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. That became part of the referral to Congress by Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel, that led to Mr. Clinton's impeachment.

As part of those proceedings, the videotape of Mr. Clinton's false testimony became public, taking its place in his legacy. It is far from clear, however, that any transcript or recording of Mr. Trump's interview — if he gives one — would similarly become public. Mr. Rosenzweig said the interview would be covered by investigative secrecy rules, and there was no clear mechanism for it to be disclosed under Mr. Mueller, who has less power than Mr. Starr enjoyed.

Mr. Mueller's authorities remain uncertain; it is not clear that he could charge Mr. Trump with a crime or send an impeachment referral report directly to Congress. That has left his potential end-game unclear if he does conclude the president committed some kind of wrong-doing.

But the list of questions indicates that the investigation remains a significant threat to Mr. Trump even if he were to be honest about everything in any interview.

The questions zero in on Mr. Trump's possible liability — and little else, noted Samuel W. Buell, a Duke University criminal law professor and a former federal prosecutor who helped lead the Enron investigation.

“‘What did you know and think?’ and ‘When did you know it and think it?’ are not questions you ask someone to determine whether they have information about someone else's commission of a crime,” Mr. Buell said. “They are questions you ask to determine whether the person you are questioning had the guilty mind required to break the law.”

Mr. Wisenberg said he was struck by Mr. Mueller's focus on establishing the president's mind-set when he weighed whether to fire Mr. Comey, and potential steps like whether to oust Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pardon people charged by Mr. Mueller or force the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel.

No Supreme Court precedent exists to guide Mr. Mueller on whether obstruction of justice can occur if a president exercises a constitutional power with a bad motive, like firing a subordinate to cover up a crime; Mr. Wisenberg counted himself among those who do not think it can. But Mr. Mueller's questions, he said, suggest the special counsel has adopted a broader interpretation of the law.

Some of the questions may present an opportunity for Mr. Trump, however. Asking him to explain what he meant when he told NBC News that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he decided to fire Mr. Comey, for example, would permit Mr. Trump to backpedal on the remark or explain it away, perhaps by saying he did not really mean it.

Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School criminal law professor who has frequently defended Mr. Trump on television and is informally consulting with him, told CNN on Monday that he thought Mr. Trump could invoke executive privilege to refuse to answer questions about his thinking when he decided to exercise constitutional powers.

But the problem for Mr. Trump is that those questions, Mr. Dershowitz said, were the “easy” ones. By contrast, Mr. Trump could not invoke the privilege about events that took place before he became president, like his business dealings.

Several legal experts said it was unusual for prosecutors to give Mr. Trump a preview of the questions, speculating that Mr. Mueller was bending over backward to defang any accusations of overreach. Mr. Buell said the move might also be aimed at uncovering any disputes over executive privilege now so they do not disrupt an interview.

But he predicted that despite all the “posturing,” Mr. Trump would allow his lawyers to talk him out of sitting down with Mr. Mueller.

“The game,” he said, “is to appear to be interested and cooperating without doing so.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting to this story.

• The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie Savage is a Washington correspondent for The New York Times. He is also the author of Power Wars: The Relentless Rise of Presidential Authority and Secrecy, published in 2015, an investigative history of national-security legal policymaking in the Obama administration, and Takeover, published in 2007, which chronicles the Bush-Cheney administration's efforts to expand presidential power. Mr. Savage has been covering post-9/11 issues — including national security, individual rights and the rule of law — since 2003, when he was a reporter for the Miami Herald. Later that year, he joined the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe; he moved to the Washington bureau of The New York Times in 2008. He has also co-taught a seminar on national security and the Constitution at Georgetown University. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Mr. Savage graduated from Harvard College and earned a master's degree from Yale Law School as part of a Knight Foundation journalism fellowship. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Luiza Chwialkowska Savage, the editorial director of events for Politico, and their children, William and Peter Savage. His other journalism honors include the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency, the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Constitution Project's Award for Constitutional Commentary.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Trump Calls Disclosure of Mueller Questions in Russia Investigation ‘Disgraceful’

 • Justice Department Won't Be Extorted, Rosenstein Warns Republicans

 • Trump's Former Doctor Says Office Was Raided and Files Seized

 • Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction

 • The Questions Mueller Wants to Ask Trump About Obstruction, and What They Mean

 • Can Presidents Obstruct Justice? The Latest Trump Fight, Explained


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/01/us/politics/trump-mueller-interview-questions.html
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« Reply #134 on: August 06, 2018, 12:56:38 am »


from The Washington Post…

Trump at a precarious moment in his presidency:
Privately brooding and publicly roaring


The president, anxious about the Russia probe and the legal fate of his son,
increasingly channels his frustrations into public appearances.


By PHILIP RUCKER, ROBERT COSTA and ASHLEY PARKER | 3:01PM EDT — Saturday, August 04, 2018

President Donald J. Trump, shown at the White House on July 25, recently held three campaign rallies in five days. He also is ramping up his fall travel schedule. — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.
President Donald J. Trump, shown at the White House on July 25, recently held three campaign rallies in five days. He also is ramping up his fall travel schedule.
 — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.


IN PRIVATE, President Trump spent much of the past week brooding, as he often does. He has been anxious about the Russia investigation's widening fallout, with his former campaign chairman standing trial. And he has fretted that he is failing to accrue enough political credit for what he claims as triumphs.

At rare moments of introspection for the famously self-centered president, Trump has also expressed to confidants lingering unease about how some in his orbit — including his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — are ensnared in the Russia probe, in his assessment simply because of their connection to him.

Yet in public, Trump is a man roaring. The president, more than ever, is channeling his internal frustration and fear into a ravenous maw of grievance and invective. He is churning out false statements with greater frequency and attacking his perceived enemies with intensifying fury. A fresh broadside came on Twitter at 11:37 p.m. on Friday, mocking basketball superstar LeBron James and calling CNN's Don Lemon “the dumbest man on television.”

This is the new, uneasy reality for Trump at an especially precarious moment of his presidency, with the Republican Party struggling to keep control of Congress, where a Democratic takeover brings with it the specter of impeachment, and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's grip seeming to tighten on the president and his circle.

Trump, who has decamped to his New Jersey golf estate for an 11-day working vacation, is at a critical juncture in the Russia investigation as he decides in coming days whether to sit for an interview with Mueller or defy investigators and risk being issued a subpoena.

“He's more definitive than ever: This investigation should end now, and Mueller should put out what he has,” said Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney. “He doesn't think they have anything, and he wants the country to move on.”

This portrait of Trump behind the scenes is based on interviews with 14 administration officials, presidential friends and outside advisers to the White House, many of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity to share candid assessments.

Trump appeared to stand in conflict with his own government when he blasted the “Russian hoax” just hours after his national security team gathered at the White House on Thursday in a rare show of force to warn that Russia is yet again trying to interfere in U.S. elections. But a White House spokesman said Trump instructed them to hold the news conference and was adamant that they explain what the administration is doing to safeguard the mid-term elections.

The frequency of the president's mis-truths has picked up, as well. The Washington Post's Fact Checker found last week that Trump has now made 4,229 false or misleading claims so far in his presidency — an average of nearly 7.6 such claims per day, and an increase of 978 in just two months.

The campaign trail — where Trump held three mega-rallies in five days — has allowed him something of a respite, a chance for the reality-TV-star-turned-president to repackage his anger as something more campy, delivered with a showman's élan.

On Thursday night, the president turned a Pennsylvania rally to support Republican Senate candidate Lou Barletta into a Trumpian grieve-fest, returning repeatedly to his favorite foil — the “fake, fake, disgusting news,” as he bellowed — to portray himself as a victim of chronically unfair coverage from “horrible, horrendous people.”

“The president is rightfully frustrated,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Thursday, going on to argue that “90 percent of the coverage on him is negative.”

Trump's indignation with the Mueller investigation has long been evident, but it is boiling over with growing ferocity. He has tweeted the phrase “witch hunt” a combined 46 times in June and July, up from 29 times in April and May, and more and more he is calling out Mueller by name.

Trump's lawyers say it is the president himself who is calling the shots in what is becoming an all-out public relations blitz to discredit Mueller.

“With his great feel for public opinion and how to deal with it, he has a sense about what would work, what to say,” Giuliani said. “He sort of determines the public strategy, and we get his approval and input for the legal strategy.”

Trump has told some associates that Giuliani has convinced him Mueller has nothing incriminating about him. “Rudy's told him the other player is bluffing with a pair of 2's,” said one Trump adviser. And Trump has latched onto Giuliani's talking point that “collusion is not a crime,” believing it is catchy and brilliantly simplistic, according to people with knowledge of internal talks.

Still, Trump has confided to friends and advisers that he is worried the Mueller probe could destroy the lives of what he calls “innocent and decent people” — namely Trump Jr., who is under scrutiny by Mueller for his role organizing a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. As one adviser described the president's thinking, he does not believe his son purposefully broke the law, but is fearful nonetheless that Trump Jr. inadvertently may have wandered into legal jeopardy.


On the special counsel's probe, Rudolph W. Giuliani, personal attorney for President Trump, said the president “doesn't think they have anything, and he wants the country to move on”. — Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images.
On the special counsel's probe, Rudolph W. Giuliani, personal attorney for President Trump, said the president “doesn't think they have anything,
and he wants the country to move on”. — Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images.


Trump also has seethed privately about the trial of Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman. As coverage of the trial played on cable television in a blinking loop all around him this past week, he kept hearing another name on the shows: Trump.

The president privately fumed to one friend after another — on Air Force One, in the Oval Office and over the phone — that Manafort “has absolutely nothing to do with me,” according to people close to him. Although Trump tells them he feels bad for Manafort, he also has been complimentary of Judge T.S. Ellis, who has asked sharp questions of Mueller's prosecutors.

“He is completely outraged by the way Manafort has been treated, with the solitary confinement and all of that,” Giuliani said. “It's obvious to him that they're all but torturing Manafort in order to try to get him to flip.”

As Trump sees it, Mueller is aggressively prosecuting Manafort — detailing his alleged tax evasion and bank fraud scheme and flashing snapshots of his extravagant wardrobe for the jury — to deliberately embarrass Trump and undermine his presidency. And, according to people familiar with the president's thinking, he believes the news media is complicit.

From his White House residence on Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted that Manafort may be treated worse by the criminal justice system than Al “Scarface” Capone, whom he identified as “legendary mob boss, killer and ‘Public Enemy Number One’.” He later called around to some advisers asking what they thought of the tweet, proud that he had come up with the Capone comparison.

Representative Mark Meadows (Republican-North Carolina), who has been discussing the case with Trump, said, “If after two years of investigating possible Russian collusion, the crown jewel is bringing charges against Paul Manafort, then one would have to ask, why did the FBI not embark on that effort without a special prosecutor?”

Trump on Wednesday took his complaint that his political appointees at the Justice Department were not protecting him and his family and associates from the investigation to a new level when he tweeted, apparently on a whim, that “Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.” Trump's lawyers later explained that the president was voicing his opinion, not giving an order, lest the presidential tweet provide Mueller fresh evidence of obstruction of justice.

Trump's advisers said they never thought the president would actually move to stop the probe. “There is no desire here to have that whole sideshow,” Giuliani said. But they knew Trump would not let what he considers the unfair prosecution of Manafort and media coverage pass without speaking publicly.

One prominent Trump ally in the evangelical community, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., seemed to channel the president's views when he later tweeted that Sessions was a “phony pretending to be pro-Trump,” a tweet that was circulated widely among Trump's friends and aides.

For nearly 80 minutes on stage in a packed Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, arena, where supporters cheered his flourishes and cut him off at the mere mention of Clinton's name to chant “Lock her up,” the president was able to relieve some of his pressure with a combination of riffing and shtick. It was an act that, finally, he controlled.

Susan Price, 72, drove through pelting rain to attend — and, when the skies cleared as she pulled up at the arena, she saw symbolism.

“We want Trump to do exactly what he's been doing and do more,” Price said. “And give him the encouragement to overcome all of the various forces that are trying to take him down, whatever their motives are.”

He is ramping up his travel schedule — a rigorous pace that he recently boasted would grow to six or seven days a week this fall — which will keep him in front of his adoring base. Mid-term elections typically are referendums on the incumbent president, but by injecting himself so squarely at the center of this year's House and Senate contests, Trump is further personalizing the November 6 elections.

“The president is the single best messenger for the Republican Party, and every time he is on the campaign trail helping other Republicans win, it is a reminder to the American people of what this administration has been able to accomplish in a very short period of time,” said Corey Lewandowski, an unofficial Trump adviser who served as his first campaign manager.

Trump loves the frenzied, raucous energy of these events, and often leaves them buoyed, people close to him said. At times, when advisers have proposed a rally in several weeks, the president has agreed to do it — but suggested they hold it as soon as possible.

To the delight of aides, Trump also has become more disciplined on the campaign trail, keeping at least part of his focus on the candidate he is there to support, and often calling him or her onstage. Early on, Trump sometimes appeared at rallies where the local candidate seemed secondary — as in Alabama last year, where he famously delivered something of an anti-endorsement of then-Senator Luther Strange, who looked on uncomfortably.

But advisers have impressed upon Trump the value of keeping his focus on the Republicans he is supporting, in part by showing him the positive headlines and articles in the local media that follow when he successfully stays on message.

There have been other signs of stability, too. After months of speculation that John F. Kelly would leave his job as White House chief of staff — fueled in part by Trump, who had been surveying associates about a replacement — Kelly announced on Monday that he would be staying on through the president's 2020 re-election campaign.

But while Trump settles in with Kelly, he increasingly is seeking counsel from outside allies who are urging a more combative approach to the Russia probe. He has been in regular contact with Meadows and Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity, while Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager David Bossie accompanied him on Air Force One to Tuesday's rally in Tampa, where Trump publicly praised them.

Trump made a surprise call into Rush Limbaugh's radio talk show on Wednesday to congratulate the conservative icon on his 30th anniversary on the air. Trump mused aloud with Limbaugh about whether it would be more politically advantageous for him to shut down the government over border wall funding before or after the November elections.

“I've heard a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, don't do it before the election. We'll upset the applecart’,” Trump said. But, he added, “I actually think it's a great campaign issue. I think it would be great before.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Philip Bump in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report.

Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post. He previously has covered Congress, the Obama White House, and the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Rucker also is a Political Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He joined The Post in 2005 as a local news reporter.

• Robert Costa is a national political reporter for The Washington Post. He covers the White House, Congress, and campaigns. He joined The Post in January 2014. He is also the moderator of PBS's “Washington Week” and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

• Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2017, after 11 years at The New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress, among other things.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump calls the media ‘horrible, horrendous people’

 • The Washington Post says: Trump isn't taking the Russia threat seriously. But lawmakers can show they are.

 • Trump says collusion isn't a crime. He's right. It's actually many crimes.

 • Mueller offers to limit investigators' questions for Trump in special counsel's latest effort to secure presidential interview

 • Why Trump is so freaked out by the Manafort trial

 • Trump's two-track strategy: The rich get richer, and the poor get distracted

 • John Kelly intends to remain as Trump's chief of staff through 2020 re-election bid

 • Venting about the press, Trump has repeatedly sought to ban reporters over questions


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-at-a-precarious-moment-in-his-presidency-privately-brooding-and-publicly-roaring/2018/08/04/4b463842-9736-11e8-810c-5fa705927d54_story.html
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« Reply #135 on: August 11, 2018, 11:52:12 pm »

you dont believe this fake news do you? Grin hahaha



they had nearly 2 years to find something on trump and they have zip
hillary paid the mi5 agent steel for the fake story that nobody believes
Yes, the Clintons should be investigated



https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/yes-the-clintons-should-be-investigated/2017/11/19/d88bb652-cb15-11e7-b0cf-7689a9f2d84e_story.html?utm_term=.cec1798a72e7

the only reason they are paid to go on about russia russia russia
is because the industrial military complex needs an enemy
its all about the trillions they make and to keep nato going
and sell weapons

heres the proof msn russia collusion is fake bullshit

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« Reply #136 on: August 12, 2018, 02:04:17 pm »


The Clintons have already been investigated, and nothing worth charging was found.

Unlike Donald J. Trump who is desperate to stop the truth about his criminal and treasonous activities from seeing the light of day.

Fortunately, a Democrat victory in the mid-term elections in three months time will fix all that, when a majority in Congress will allow them to appoint a shitload of special investigators to dig into every aspect of the corrupt and criminal Trump family....and release Trump's tax returns to show the world what he has desperately been trying to hide.
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« Reply #137 on: August 18, 2018, 08:41:04 am »

Yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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« Reply #138 on: September 15, 2018, 04:27:55 pm »


Singing like a bird to Robert S. Mueller III in an attempt to save his miserable neck…



from The New York Times…

Paul Manafort Agrees to Cooperate With Special Counsel;
Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges


The plea deal by President Trump's former campaign chairman was a victory for
Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.


By SHARON LaFRANIERE and KENNETH P. VOGEL | Friday, September 14, 201

Paul Manafort is cooperating with Robert S. Mueller III's investigation. — Photograph: Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency/via Shutterstock.
Paul Manafort is cooperating with Robert S. Mueller III's investigation. — Photograph: Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency/via Shutterstock.

WASHINGTON D.C. — Paul Manafort agreed on Friday to tell all he knows to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as part of a plea deal that could shape the final stages of the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The deal was a surrender by Mr. Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, who had vowed for months to prove his innocence in a case stemming from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. And it was a decisive triumph for Mr. Mueller, who now has a cooperating witness who was at the center of the Trump campaign during a crucial period in 2016 and has detailed insight into another target of federal prosecutors, the network of lobbyists and influence brokers seeking to help foreign interests in Washington.

Mr. Manafort's decision, announced at a federal court hearing in Washington in which he pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges, was likely to unsettle Mr. Trump, who had praised Mr. Manafort for standing up to prosecutors' pressure and had hinted that he might pardon him.

It is not clear what information Mr. Manafort offered prosecutors in three days of negotiations that led to the plea deal. But in court on Friday, Mr. Manafort agreed to an open-ended arrangement that requires him to answer “fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly” questions about “any and all matters” the government wants to ask about.

The president's personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, quickly sought to distance Mr. Trump from the plea deal.

“Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign,” he said in a statement. “The reason: The president did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”

Mr. Mueller's investigation has maintained such secrecy that it is impossible to know what puzzle pieces he might still be trying to fill in or what Mr. Manafort's testimony might mean for Mr. Trump. But at a minimum, Mr. Manafort's cooperation gives Mr. Mueller additional visibility into some key moments in the campaign and the role of other senior figures.

Mr. Manafort was a participant in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that had been arranged by a Moscow lawyer who said she was delivering damaging information about Hillary Clinton on the Kremlin's behalf. His cooperation could help Mr. Mueller establish how much, if anything, the Trump campaign knew about Russia's efforts to boost Mr. Trump's candidacy.

Mr. Manafort joins four other Trump aides who have offered cooperation in exchange for lesser charges in cases that Mr. Mueller's office either pursued or referred to federal prosecutors in New York. They include Michael D. Cohen, the president's long-time personal lawyer; Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser; Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chairman; and George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser.

Mr. Manafort, 69, had insisted for a year that he would not help the special counsel's office. But after being convicted on eight felony counts in a federal court in Virginia last month, and facing a second trial on more felony charges in federal court here, Mr. Manafort was confronted with the very real prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.

Under the agreement announced on Friday, prosecutors replaced a seven-count indictment with one that charged two counts of conspiracy that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars. No sentencing date has been set for those charges or the ones he was convicted of in Northern Virginia.

Mr. Manafort also agreed to surrender most of his once-vast personal fortune including three houses and two apartments — one in Trump Tower in Manhattan.

At the court hearing, Mr. Manafort, who has been in jail since June, appeared weary and subdued. He sat grim-mouthed, eyes cast downward, as Andrew Weissmann, the lead prosecutor on his case, read through what Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court called the longest recitation of offenses she had ever heard in her courtroom. A full contingent of prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who had worked on Mr. Manafort's case showed up for the hearing.

Kevin Downing, Mr. Manafort's lead lawyer, said it was a “tough day for Mr. Manafort but he has accepted responsibility” for criminal conduct that dates back “many years.” He added, “He wanted to make sure his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

In deciding whether to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors, Mr. Manafort weighed the possibility that Mr. Trump would pardon him, according to two people familiar with his situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. When weeks passed after his conviction in Northern Virginia with no word of a pardon, Mr. Manafort decided he needed to rethink his legal strategy, one person said.

Mr. Trump assailed plea deals after Mr. Cohen, his long-time lawyer, pleaded guilty last month to breaking campaign finance laws and other charges, implicating Mr. Trump in the cover-up of a potential sex scandal during the 2016 presidential race. Mr. Trump said then that trading information on someone else for lesser charges or a lighter sentence “almost ought to be outlawed.”

John M. Dowd, Mr. Trump's former lawyer, emailed lawyers representing other clients who have been drawn into Mr. Mueller's inquiry and said that Mr. Manafort “has no info on president or campaign.”

Of all Mr. Trump's campaign advisers, Mr. Manafort arguably had the deepest ties to Russian operatives and oligarchs. He worked for years in Ukraine with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian citizen who prosecutors have said had ties to a Russian intelligence service that continued into 2016.

He also had a business relationship with Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. At one point, Mr. Deripaska lent Mr. Manafort $10 million that prosecutors suggested was never repaid.

In July 2016, just before the Republican National Convention when Mr. Manafort was heading the Trump campaign, he sent a message to Mr. Deripaska through Mr. Kilimnik that he was ready to provide “private briefings” about the presidential race.

Mr. Manafort could also be instrumental in investigations now underway of lobbyists and influence-brokers who worked with him in Ukraine, including Tony Podesta, a prominent Democratic lobbyist; Vin Weber, a former Republican member of Congress; and Gregory Craig, a former White House counsel in the administration of President Barack Obama. Prosecutors said on Friday that officials from Mr. Podesta and Mr. Weber's firm knew about Mr. Manafort's machinations to disguise his lobbying work.

Although they dismissed some charges, the prosecutors used the conspiracy charges to which Mr. Manafort pleaded guilty as umbrella counts, encompassing crimes ranging from money laundering to obstruction of justice. In court, Mr. Weissmann described a decade of criminal activity in which Mr. Manafort enriched himself by promoting the political career of Viktor F. Yanukovych, who was president of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014.

He described how Mr. Manafort had illegally operated as the hidden hand behind a multiyear campaign to burnish Mr. Yanukovych's reputation in the United States and damage the image of his main political opponent, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, Ukraine's former prime minister. The court documents revealed new details about how Mr. Manafort directed a host of players to lobby under false pretenses, pretending to be independent actors when they were in fact paid agents of Mr. Yanukovych.

That secrecy was important because Mr. Manafort not only never reported the lobbying activity to the Justice Department, as required, but he also hid tens of millions of dollars in payments from Ukraine, laundering money through overseas bank accounts and avoiding taxes on $15 million of his income.

Among other measures, Mr. Manafort orchestrated a misleading 2012 report by an American law firm to try to tamp down criticism of the Ukraine government for prosecuting and jailing of Ms. Tymoshenko.

Mr. Manafort also coordinated with an unnamed senior Israeli official to undermine support for Ms. Tymoshenko within the Obama administration by claiming Ms. Tymoshenko was anti-Semitic. “The Jewish community will take this out on Obama on Election Day if he does nothing,” Mr. Manafort wrote in one communication.

He worked with European consultants to plant articles in the United States alleging that Ms. Tymoshenko had orchestrated the murder of a Ukrainian official. He wrote to one colleague that he wanted “to plant some stink on Tymo,” using a nickname for Ms. Tymoshenko, but stressed that there should be “no fingerprints” on the articles.

And he waged an “all-out campaign” to kill a Senate resolution that would have condemned Ms. Tymoshenko's treatment by Mr. Yanukovych'’s government without ever revealing to the senators that his lobbyists were paid by Ukrainian oligarchs backing Mr. Yanukovych. One consultant working for Mr. Manafort lobbied Mr. Obama directly on Ukraine by accompanying his country's prime minister to an Oval Office meeting, the prosecutors said.

Mr. Manafort also acknowledged that he and Mr. Kilimnik, his Russian associate, tried to persuade two witnesses to lie to federal investigators about the lobbying campaign for Mr. Yanukovych in the United States.


__________________________________________________________________________

Emily Baumgaertner, Katie Benner and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting to this story.

Sharon LaFraniere is an investigative reporter at The New York Times. Ms. LaFraniere began writing for The N.Y. Times in 2003, covering southern Africa for the international department. She moved from Johannesburg to Beijing in early 2008 to report on China. For the past four years, she has been based in New York. Before joining The N.Y. Times, Ms. LaFraniere was a reporter and editor at The Washington Post for 20 years. Her last assignment was at its Moscow bureau, where from 1998 to 2003 she covered the Russian region, including war zones in Chechnya and Afghanistan. Ms. LaFraniere received The Gerald Loeb Award in 2013 for international reporting, the Michael Kelly Award in 2006 for her coverage of women in sub-Saharan Africa and the Overseas Press Club Award for business reporting in 1999. Born in Detroit, she received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Ms. LaFraniere is married with three children and resides in the New York area.

• Based in The New York Times' Washington bureau, Kenneth P. Vogel covers the confluence of money, politics and influence. He is the author of Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp — on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics (PublicAffairs, June 2014), which chronicles the characters and motivations behind the explosion of unlimited money in American politics after the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. He has covered politics and government at all levels, from small-town cop shops and school boards to statehouses, Congress and the presidential campaign trail. Mr. Vogel previously reported for Politico, The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, The Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. and The Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut. He spent most of 2006 learning about the U.S. Congress from the inside through an American Political Science Association fellowship that allowed him to work on the staffs of two House committees. Mr. Vogel is from Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and lives in Washington D.C.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on September 15, 2018 of the New York print edition with the headline: “Manafort Agrees To Help Inquiry As Part of Deal”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Read the Paul Manafort court documents.

 • VIDEO: Paul Manafort's Trail of Scandals

 • Manafort Is Said to Near Plea Deal With Prosecutors

 • Everyone Who's Been Charged as a Result of the Mueller Investigation

 • Takeaways From the Conviction of Paul Manafort

 • Jury Suggests It Is Divided on One of 18 Counts in Manafort Trial

 • Over 100 Charges, 34 People and 3 Companies: The Investigations Surrounding Trump, Explained


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/us/politics/manafort-plea-deal.html
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« Reply #139 on: September 15, 2018, 05:22:51 pm »


from The Washington Post…

Trump can start panicking now: Manafort will
cooperate with the special counsel


Trump's ex-campaign chairman is going to flip.

By JENNIFER RUBIN | 1:41PM EDT — Friday, September 14, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to two charges on September 14, and will cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. — Photograph: Jenny Starrs /The Washington Post.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to two charges on September 14, and will cooperate
with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. — Photograph: Jenny Starrs /The Washington Post.


THE WASHINGTON POST reports:

Quote
President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday to two criminal charges under terms of a plea deal that includes his cooperation as a potential witness for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The decision by Manafort to provide evidence in exchange for leniency on sentencing is a stunning development in the long-running probe into whether any Trump associates may have conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Manafort's defenders have long insisted that he would not cooperate with Mueller, and didn't know any incriminating information against the president.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said at the beginning of Friday's plea hearing that Manafort had agreed to cooperate with investigators.

That's the news Trump never wanted to hear. The prospect of just such a deal is why his lawyers reportedly dangled the promise of a pardon in front of Manafort's lawyers. A plea deal that could put the Russians inside Trump's campaign blows to smithereens the notion that only low-level, non-players or those distantly related to the campaign had Russian connections. Trump, who was praising Manafort to the heavens just weeks ago, will find it hard (but not impossible) to now smear him as a liar.

“The relentless Mueller push continues — as does that of the rule of law,” observes former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen. “The reported cooperation agreement could be devastating to the president — and those around him. Manafort for example could  implicate not only the president in the Trump Tower meeting — but also others who were involved such as Don Jr. or [Jared] Kushner. The same is true on the mysterious [RNC] platform change, and indeed on all the possible collusion offenses.”

The plea certainly explodes Trump's claim that Mueller is engaged in a “witch hunt.” The only “hoax” here is the pretense that there was nothing out of the ordinary going on inside the Trump campaign or that it was too disorganized to have spent time colluding with Russians.

Trump also loses the argument that Mueller is wasting taxpayer money. As part of the plea deal, Manafort is going to cough up $46 million in forfeited assets, according to news reports. That more than pays for Mueller and his team (who at last glance had spent $20 million). Then again, it all depends how high a price you put on restoration of American democracy.

Trump was already crashing in the polls and Mueller's approval rising, in large part due to, in August, the trial and conviction of Manafort and the plea deal with Michael Cohen. The recording of Trump discussing a payoff with Cohen surely didn't help his credibility.

What we will find out in the days and weeks ahead is just how much Manafort knows and how much he can tell us about what Trump knew regarding Russian interference on his behalf. For Republicans who have been carrying water for the president, it might be time to put down the buckets and run for their political lives. Frankly, voting for impeachment and removal might be a good option for Republicans at some point. Before we get there, however, there are the mid-terms, which are shaping up to be a wipeout for the GOP.


__________________________________________________________________________

Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion from a center-right perspective for The Washington Post. She covers a range of domestic and foreign policy issues and provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican Party and threats to Western democracies. Rubin, who is also an MSNBC contributor, came to The Post after three years with Commentary magazine. Prior to her career in journalism, Rubin practiced labor law for two decades, an experience that informs and enriches her work. She is a mother of two sons and lives in Northern Virginia.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Paul Manafort strikes plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller

 • The Washington Post says: How many more Manaforts have yet to be caught?

 • Jennifer Ruben: Mueller is snaring more pleas: Look for what Manafort will be admitting to

 • Manafort to cooperate with Mueller in plea deal that could answer key questions in Russia probe

 • The Fix: Mueller snagged his golden goose

 • Read the plea agreement

 • Guilty plea exposes hardball tactics Manafort used to thrive in ‘swamp’

 • Analysis: Deal may eliminate a top complaint by Trump

 • Dana Milbank: Republicans are tripping on Trump's coat-tails — bigly

 • VIDEO: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Paul Manafort

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


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/14/trump-can-start-panicking-now-manafort-will-cooperate-with-the-special-counsel
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« Reply #140 on: September 15, 2018, 05:28:37 pm »


One of Trump's biggest complaints about the “witch hunt has been that it is costing a lot of money.

Well, not any more … the investigation has so far cost an estimated $20 million. But the Feds have just seized $46 million of Paul Manaforts assets.

So the “witch hunt” has returned a profit of $26 million. That is considerably more than a 100% return to American taxpayers.

And that is EXCELLENT NEWS.

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« Reply #141 on: September 16, 2018, 10:00:26 pm »

wheres the metal bracelets

i think you must be using them for your gay sex fun Grin
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« Reply #142 on: December 01, 2018, 02:14:22 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

A Trump ‘Christmas Carol’: God help us, every one!

It's no wonder the president is haunted by the Mueller investigation, as even
with the bits and pieces that have been revealed in recent months it is clear
several people connected with his campaign had dealings with the Russians.


By DAVID HORSEY | 1:51PM PDT — Friday, November 30, 2018



DONALD TRUMP has insisted that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election is a “witch hunt”. He has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. However, as is the case with so many things in Trump's world, there is a big difference between what the president says and what the facts tell us.

In the real world, Mueller has filed charges against more than 30 people connected either to Trump or to Russian President Vladimir Putin and has gotten guilty pleas from Trump's campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager, his national security adviser, the foreign-policy adviser to his campaign and his personal attorney. That last individual, Michael Cohen — the fixer Trump used to pay off women with whom he is alleged to have had affairs — has now admitted to lying to Congress when he denied that he was working on Trump's behalf well into the 2016 campaign to do a big real estate deal with the Russians.

Even with just the bits and pieces that have been revealed in recent months, it is clear several people connected with the Trump campaign had dealings with the Russians. The big question to be answered is just how deeply Trump, himself, was involved. It is hardly surprising that the president is so haunted by the Mueller investigation.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/a-trump-christmas-carol-god-help-us-every-one
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« Reply #143 on: December 03, 2018, 06:57:12 pm »

funny shit
all these people have in common is they are all proven to tell lies
so they can't be trusted to give evidence in a court of law

it must nearly be time for Trump to bring in his own special council won't that be a lot fun Grin
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« Reply #144 on: December 03, 2018, 08:00:40 pm »


Actually, the LIAR here is Trump himself.

And after submitting written lies to Robert S. Mueller III in reply to his questions, Trump will be absolutely panicking over his former fix-it man and lawyer telling the truth as he pleaded guilty and showing that Trump lied to federal agents, which is a serious felony in America.

I'm predicting that the next indictment Mueller issues will be against Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump, with a fourth un-named and un-indicted suspect specified in the court filing. Naturally everybody will KNOW who that un-named fourth person is and the instant the 46th president of America is sworn into office, the handcuffs will go onto the wrists the 45th president. And that will be hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!
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« Reply #145 on: December 07, 2018, 10:05:02 am »

the witch hunt is a failure

trump is about to kick arse just watch get your popcorn ready Grin
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« Reply #146 on: December 07, 2018, 12:58:32 pm »


Trump is about to be faced with a Democrats-controlled Congress who are going to block every piece of legislation he wants unless he agrees to them ripping legislation apart and slapping their stamp on it. No money for Trump's wall. No money for anything Trump wants. Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate will spit the dummy and chuck all of their toys out of the cot, but without the cooperation of the MAIN branch of the American legislative establishment, they are virtually going to become a lame-duck Senate and Presidency able to achieve absolutely nothing. But it gets even better ... that Democrat-controlled (by a considerable margin) Congress will be able to take the Mueller investigation under their own protection, effectively blocking Trump from corruptly trying to prevent Mueller from digging out the truth; and they will be able to expose Trump's tax returns to the world, as well as appoint a shitload more special investigators & prosecutors to dig into every aspect of both Republicans' and Trump's illegal attempts to obstruct the course of justice; and to dig into every single aspect of the entire Trump family's criminal and corrupt business practices. And Trump will be absolutely powerless to stop that Democrat-controlled Congress from doing that.

You sneered after the mid-term elections that Trump won. Well, Trump's “so-called victory” (in your eyes) is going to turn into a farce when Trump discovers more and more investigative blowtorches being turned on him and his family as the number of investigations ramp up and he also discovers that he isn't able to do a single thing to stop them.

The REAL entertainment is about to begin and I am going to enjoy watching you froth-at-the-mouth when it happens. And by the time the fun is all over, the transfer of superpower status from America to China will be considerably more advanced. Boo hoo hoo ... those Jesuslanders will be crying big-time and rueing the day they elected a complete moron to be their president.
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« Reply #147 on: December 08, 2018, 03:20:38 pm »


from The Washington Post…

The latest filings show that nobody can save Trump now

He still thinks the Mueller investigation can be quashed, but it's far too late.

By PAUL WALDMAN | 6:01PM EST — Friday, December 07, 2018

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes in August and November. On December 7, federal prosecutors recommended a “substantial” prison term. — Photograph: Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post.
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes in August and November. On December 7, federal prosecutors
recommended a “substantial” prison term. — Photograph: Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post.


AT the end of the day Friday, we learned what federal prosecutors in New York think of Michael Cohen:

Quote
Federal prosecutors said in a new court filing that President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen should spend significant time in prison — saying his assistance to investigators probing the president does not outweigh his past crimes.

The filing was made on Friday as Cohen prepares to be sentenced next week in two separate cases, one involving campaign finance violations and lying to a bank, and another in which he admitted to lying to Congress about efforts during the 2016 presidential campaign to get a Trump Tower built in Moscow.

Cohen had asked for a sentence of no prison time, citing his cooperation with investigators, but prosecutors for the Southern District of New York filed a memo arguing that he should serve significant time, possibly years, in prison.

This is bad news for Cohen, but there's something else interesting in the filing: Prosecutors explicitly state that Cohen coordinated with President Trump on hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal over his alleged affairs with them: “as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.” That's Donald Trump.

We knew this already — and we knew that Trump lied about it, claiming not to know about the payments — but this says that prosecutors believe that Trump ordered Cohen to commit a crime.

That brings us to the second document that dropped at the same time, from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's office. In contrast to the New York prosecutors, Mueller states that Cohen's cooperation in his investigation was substantial and helpful. But much of what Mueller has to say is vague. For instance:


Quote
Cohen provided the [special counsel's office] with useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with [Trump Organization] executives during the campaign.

What does that refer to? We don't know. That means that there is more to this story that Mueller has yet to reveal.

And he will reveal it. One of the remarkable things about the discussion we've been having lately is that the president still seems to think that he can be saved from whatever this investigation uncovers. He just announced that William Barr will be his next attorney general, and The New York Times reported that in private, “Mr. Trump has also repeatedly asked whether the next pick would recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia in its interference in the 2016 election.” It's as though he thinks this investigation is in its early stages and can be quashed by a properly loyal underling.

But at this point it doesn't matter. It's far too late. Trump's former aides have cooperated, they've conducted their interviews with the special counsel, they're being sentenced, the documents have been reviewed, the connections have been traced, and the full picture is soon to be revealed.

This scandal can’t be hidden away. Republicans in Congress can’t save Trump, his attorney general can’t save him, and no amount of desperate tweets can save him. Accountability is on its way, and it’s arriving very soon.


__________________________________________________________________________

Paul Waldman is an opinion writer for The Plum Line blog at The Washington Post. Before joining The Post, he worked at an advocacy group, edited an online magazine, taught at university and worked on political campaigns. He has authored or co-authored four books on media and politics, and his work has appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines. He is also a senior writer at the American Prospect..

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Michael Cohen pleaded guilty. Now he could face a ‘substantial’ term in prison


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2018/12/07/latest-filings-show-that-nobody-can-save-trump-now
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« Reply #148 on: December 09, 2018, 05:14:18 am »

keep dreaming drongo

Michael Cohen is  blackmailed to lie otherwise he's fucked by the system with prison time from the corrupt legal system

when will the brainwashing stop lol

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Go to
http://www.infowars.com/

AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP
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« Reply #149 on: December 09, 2018, 12:55:48 pm »


I love it when Trump-supporting retards indulge in mega-denial.

Because when REALITY catches up with the corrupt, criminal Trump family, the “total shock factor” for those stupid Trump-supporting retards is going to be mega-entertaining.

Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump will be the next to find themselves up in court on the wrong side of the dock.

Then, the BIG entertainment moment will occur the instant the 46th president of the U.S.A. is sworn in and the metal bracelets get slapped on the wrists of the 45th prez.
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