Tag Archives: collusion

Maria Butina, who bragged she was ‘a channel between Team Trump and the Kremlin,’ enters into a cooperation agreement with DOJ

ABC News was first to report that Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, reaches plea deal with prosecutors that includes cooperation.

She admits, as part of the deal, according to a copy obtained by ABC News that is expected to be filed to the court, that she and an unnamed “U.S. Person 1,” which sources have identified as longtime Republican operative Paul Erickson, with whom she had a multiyear romantic relationship, “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official (“Russian Official”) and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official without prior notification to the Attorney General.”

Based on the description, the “Russian Official” appears to be Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Under his direction, the agreement said, she “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics.”

The agreement, which Butina signed on Saturday, Dec. 8, also notes that the conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, but the deal could see Butina receive a lesser sentence, depending on the level of her cooperation, before likely being deported back to Russia.

It is unclear what Butina’s cooperation might entail, but federal prosecutors have reportedly notified Erickson that he is a target of an ongoing investigation. The target letter sent to Erickson is from federal prosecutors in Washington, sources familiar with the case told ABC News, and separate from any South Dakota-based federal fraud investigation into his business dealings that has been the subject of earlier media reports.

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The path forward is clear: impeachment is coming

The Department of Justice reaffirmed on Friday that the President of the United States is an unindicted co-conspirator who coordinated with and directed Michael Flynn to commit criminal felonies on his behalf as his proxy.  The Special Counsel also gave a glimpse, without disclosing all his cards, that he has evidence of “political synergy” (collusion) between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Americans elected a Russian asset and a criminal to the White House. It’s time to come to terms with this stark reality.

The path forward is clear: impeachment is coming.

The Washington Post reports, Court filings directly implicate Trump in efforts to buy women’s silence, reveal new contact between inner circle and Russian:

Federal prosecutors filed new court papers Friday directly implicating President Trump in plans to buy women’s silence as far back as 2014 and offering new evidence of Russian efforts to forge a political alliance with Trump before he became president — disclosures that show the deepening political and legal morass enveloping the administration.

The separate filings came from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III Mueller Cohen Sentencing Memo (.pdf), and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York  SDNY Cohen Sentencing Memo (.pdf) ahead of Wednesday’s sentencing of Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Taken together, the documents suggest that the president’s legal woes are far from over and reveal a previously unreported contact from a Russian to Trump’s inner circle during the campaign. But the documents do not answer the central question at the heart of Mueller’s work — whether the president or those around him conspired with the Kremlin.

The documents offer a scathing portrait of his former lawyer as a criminal who deserves little sympathy or mercy because he held back from telling the FBI everything he knew. For that reason, prosecutors said, he should be sentenced to “substantial” prison time, suggesting possibly 3½ years.

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Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride

Today’s mid-term elections results are only the beginning of what is likely to be a tumultuous month of November.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

Buckle up and remain seated with hands, arms, feet and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

I previously gave you a heads up about The constitutional crisis coming after Election Day.

There is going to be a purge in the Trump administration which is likely to begin with the Department of Justice. The Washington Post reports, Trump administration prepares for massive shake-up after midterms:

The Trump administration is bracing for a massive staff shake-up in the weeks following the midterm elections, as the fates of a number of Cabinet secretaries and top White House aides are increasingly uncertain heading into a potentially perilous time for President Trump.

Some embattled officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are expected to be fired or actively pushed out by Trump after months of bitter recriminations. Others, notably Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, may leave amid a mutual recognition that their relationship with the president has become too strained. And more still plan to take top roles on Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign or seek lucrative jobs in the private sector after nearly two years in government.

The expected midterm exodus would bring fresh uncertainty and churn to a White House already plagued by high turnover and internal chaos.

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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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A desperate Martha McSally accuses Kyrsten Sinema of ‘treason’

The one and only senate debate between Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema did not fail to disappoint on substance.  McSally, in particular, was pre-programmed and stuck to canned responses to attack her opponent. If you have seen her false and misleading TV ads, you pretty much know what Martha McSally had to say. She stuck to the script.

But Militaristic Martha could not contain herself and towards the end of the debate sprung an obviously pre-planned new attack on Kyrsten Sinema, accusing her of “treason.” No, really. She went there. Arizona race gets ugly as Martha McSally accuses Kyrsten Sinema of ‘treason’ over 2003 Taliban comments:

In the closely watched Senate race in Arizona, “treason” was the accusation leveled Monday by Republican Rep. Martha McSally against her Democratic opponent, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

In the sole debate of the campaign, McSally, a retired Air Force colonel and combat pilot, asked Sinema to apologize for a 15-year-old radio interview about American intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting that her comments were tantamount to levying war against the United States. Sinema responded by accusing the Republican of playing dirty.

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