Tag Archives: accessories

Not just Russia – the Middle East leg of the Mueller investigation

From time to time there has been reporting on another leg of the Mueller investigation into Middle East countries attempting to influence the 2016 election — the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel — and possible “collusion” with the Trump campaign. It does not receive nearly as much attention as the Russia leg of the Mueller investigation.

The Daily Beast reports that this may be about to change early next year. Get Ready for Mueller’s Phase Two: The Middle East Connection:

Over the past year, the indictments, convictions, and guilty pleas have largely been connected, in one way or another, to Russia. But now, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is preparing to reveal to the public a different side of his investigation. In court filings that are set to drop in early 2019, prosecutors will begin to unveil Middle Eastern countries’ attempts to influence American politics, three sources familiar with this side of the probe told The Daily Beast.

While one part of the Mueller team has indicted Russian spies and troll-masters, another cadre has been spending its time focusing on how Middle Eastern countries pushed cash to Washington politicos in an attempt to sway policy under President Trump’s administration. Various witnesses affiliated with the Trump campaign have been questioned about their conversations with deeply connected individuals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, according to people familiar with the probe. Topics in those meetings ranged from the use of social-media manipulation to help install Trump in the White House to the overthrow of the regime in Iran.

Now, according to those same sources, the Special Counsel’s Office is ready to outline what cooperating witnesses have told them about foreigners’ plans to help Trump win the presidency. Two sources with knowledge of the probe said Mueller’s team has for months discussed the possibility of issuing new charges on this side of the investigation.

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SDNY prosecutors close the circle around unindicted co-conspirator ‘Individual 1,’ Donald Trump (Updated)

Unindicted co-conspirator “Individual 1,” Donald Trump, saw his convicted co-conspirator, consigliere and “fixer” Michael Cohen sentenced to prison today. Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years After Implicating Trump in Hush-Money Scandal:

Michael D. Cohen, a former lawyer for President Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday after denouncing Mr. Trump and explaining that “I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”

Mr. Cohen gave an emotional apology to the court for his involvement in a hush-money scandal to buy the silence of two women who said they had had affairs with Mr. Trump, payments that Mr. Cohen has said were meant to influence the 2016 election. He said his blind loyalty to Mr. Trump led him to ignore “my own inner voice and my moral compass.”

“I blame myself for the conduct which has brought me here today,” he said, “and it was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man” — a reference to Mr. Trump — “that led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”

Mr. Cohen then apologized to the public: “You deserve to know the truth and lying to you was unjust.”

Judge William H. Pauley III said Mr. Cohen called Mr. Cohen’s crimes a “veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct” and added, “Each of the crimes involved deception and each appears to have been motivated by personal greed and ambition.”

He added that Mr. Cohen’s particular crimes — breaking campaign finance laws, tax evasion and lying to Congress — “implicate a far more insidious harm to our democratic institutions.”

“As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better,” the judge said.

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It’s Mueller Time!

Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff reports that Mueller is preparing endgame for Russia investigation:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation, providing the clearest clues yet that the long-running probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election may be coming to its climax, potentially in the next few weeks, according to multiple sources close to the matter.

The new information about the state of Mueller’s investigation comes during a pivotal week when the special counsel’s prosecutors are planning to file memos about three of their most high profile defendants — former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

A Flynn sentencing memo is due Tuesday, and memos about Manafort and Cohen are slated for Friday. All three documents are expected to yield significant new details on what cooperation the three of them provided to the Russia investigation.

There has been much speculation that Mueller might file his memo in Manafort’s case under seal in order to prevent public disclosure of the additional crimes his office believes Manafort committed when he allegedly lied to prosecutors and broke a plea deal after agreeing to cooperate.

But Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, confirmed to Yahoo News on Monday that the Manafort memo “will be public,” although he added there could be some portions that are redacted or filed as a sealed addendum. The Manafort memo has been requested by the federal judge in his case so that prosecutors could, for the first time, spell out what matters they believe Manafort has lied to them about.

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The constitutional crisis coming after Election Day

This is really information voters should have available before Election Day in order to make an informed decision, but due to long-standing Justice Department custom, prosecutors are generally advised to avoid public disclosure of investigative steps involving a candidate for office or related to election matters within 60 days of an election.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General recently noted in a report about the 2016 election: “The 60-Day Rule is not written or described in any Department policy or regulation. Nevertheless, high-ranking Department and FBI officials acknowledged the existence of a general practice that informs Department decisions.” So here we are.

Bloomberg News reports today, Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe, Sources Say:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections as he faces intensifying pressure to produce more indictments or shut down his investigation, according to two U.S. officials.

Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice, according to one of the officials, who asked not to be identified speaking about the investigation.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Mueller’s findings would be made public if he doesn’t secure unsealed indictments. The regulations governing Mueller’s probe stipulate that he can present his findings only to his boss, who is currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The regulations give a special counsel’s supervisor some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released.

The question of timing is critical. Mueller’s work won’t be concluded ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections, when Democrats hope to take control of the House and end Trump’s one-party hold on Washington.

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The FOX News presidency is a threat to U.S. national security

I previously posted about how the intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice believe that President Trump has “crossed a red line” in ordering the declassification of the Carter Page FISA warrant applications and emails of FBI and Department of Justice personnel in pursuit of his “deep state” conspiracy theory concocted by his co-conspirators in obstruction of justice in the GOP House Freedom Caucus and House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes. Abuse of power and obstruction of justice in plain sight.

It turns out that Trump has not even read these documents, and is ordering them released on the advice of his “FOX News cabinet” of advisors who want the materials to further their “deep state” conspiracy theory effort to discredit federal law enforcement agencies and the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation. Trump ordered the government to declassify information he apparently hasn’t read:

It wasn’t a surprise when the White House announced Monday that it was ordering the Justice Department to declassify a set of material related to the genesis of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. For weeks, President Trump’s allies on Fox News and in the House had been echoing one another’s calls to do precisely that.

So on Monday, that very specific order from Trump: Declassify precisely those pages of the application for a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page that were mentioned in a news conference held by 12 staunchly Trump-loyal members of the House in September. What’s more, Trump ordered the department to declassify text messages involving a number of names familiar to the Fox News audience. Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and so on.

Those elected officials and the Fox News hosts who echoed their demand insisted that the declassifications would demonstrate anti-Trump rot in the Justice Department. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) promised that revelation would help Republicans win in November.

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