Tag Archives: collusion

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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Lots of good reporting on the Russia investigation

While Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues working quietly behind the scenes, there have been several excellent pieces of investigative journalism in recent days following leads on the Russian collusion thread of the investigation. These are lengthy investigative reports that I will not attempt to parse out here.

Luckily, Andrew Prokop at Vox.com has already posted an excellent summary. The past 48 hours in Mueller investigation news, explained (paragraphs reordered for clarity):

New reports over the past two days have brought increased attention to three long-simmering subplots in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

First, the Wall Street Journal revealed new details about GOP operative Peter W. Smith’s quest to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers during the 2016 campaign — including that he raised at least $100,000 for the effort and then pitched in $50,000 of his own money. (Smith was found dead last year, and local authorities ruled his death a suicide.)

Peter W. Smith: what happened when he sought Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers?

What we already knew: During the 2016 campaign, 80-year-old GOP operative Peter W. Smith recruited a team to try to obtain Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails from “dark web” hackers — including hackers he thought were “probably around the Russian government.” It’s not clear if Smith had any success, but we know he tried because he freely admitted all this to reporter Shane Harris in May 2017.

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‘Collusion’ by another name, but collusion just the same (Updated)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is pursuing “collusion,” i.e., a conspiracy to defraud the United States of America, between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

But yesterday Donald Trump’s consigliere (fixer) Michael Cohen testified under oath in pleading guilty to a second act of “collusion,” i.e., a conspiracy to defraud the United States of America, between himself, Donald Trump, and David Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc. (the National Enquirer).

I would also hasten to add Keith Davidson, the attorney who originally represented both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and conspired with Michael Cohen. National Enquirer Schemed With Michael Cohen to Silence Stormy Daniels: Prosecutors.

Lawrence O’Donnell laid out the case for this second act of “collusion” in a commentary (video) on Tuesday night.

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Rush Transcript (excerpts):

Today in a federal court in Manhattan Michael Cohen said “guilty your honor” eight times, and he also said “at the direction of,” twice. And both times he meant “at the direction of” the president of the United States. And so today, Donald Trump made history by becoming the first president of the United States to be accused under oath in federal court of ordering someone to commit a federal crime to win a presidential election. “At the direction of.”

Today Michael Cohen said under oath Donald Trump made me do it, my boss made me do it, he told me to break the law. “At the direction of.”

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