Tag Archives: witness intimidation

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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Obstruction of justice in plain sight: the ‘road map’ to a grand jury indictment and impeachment

We are officially a Banana Republic under Donald Trump. Tin-pot dictators in Banana Republics attack the freedom of the press, replacing a free press with a state-run propaganda machine, and they prosecute and imprison their political opponents to secure their autocratic dictator status. This is what Donald Trump badly wants to do. He wants to corrupt the Department of Justice and the rule of law to illegally prosecute and imprison his political opponents.

The New York Times reports, Trump Wanted to Order Justice Dept. to Prosecute Comey and Clinton:

President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.

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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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Abuse of power and obstruction of justice in plain sight

Russian asset and crime family boss Donald Trump just keeps digging his hole deeper with the Special Counsel’s investigation.

Yesterday he added two more counts, for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The GOP House Freedom Caucus co-conspirators who are aiding and abetting his crimes should also be charged.

Steve Benen does a good job of breaking it down. Trump ignores security, crosses ‘red line’ with declassification gambit:

Donald Trump’s abuses have become routine, but that doesn’t make them any easier to tolerate. The president’s move yesterdayafternoon, for example, is awfully tough to defend.

In an unprecedented move that stunned current and former intelligence officials, President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the public release of highly classified documents and text messages related to the FBI investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia.

A statement by the White House press office said Trump had directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of Justice and the FBI to declassify about 20 pages of a highly sensitive application for surveillance against Carter Page, a one-time Trump foreign policy aide.

The president suggested two weeks ago that he was considering such a move, but many hoped Trump was just blowing off steam and he’d end up in a more responsible place. That’s obviously not what happened.

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Superseding indictment filed against Paul Manafort and his Russian associate for witness tampering

Last week, the Special Counsel’s office Mueller accuses Paul Manafort of witness tampering:

Federal prosecutors accused former Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort of witness tampering in a pleading filed late Monday in his criminal case and asked a federal judge to consider revoking or revising his pretrial release. [Manafort is subject to home confinement, and is wearing two ankle bracelet court monitors.]

Prosecutors accused Manafort and a longtime associate they linked to Russian intelligence of repeatedly contacting two members of a public relations firm and asking them to falsely testify about secret lobbying they did at Manafort’s behest.

The firm of former senior European officials, informally called the “Hapsburg group,” was secretly retained in 2012 by Manafort to advocate for Ukraine, where Manafort had clients, prosecutors charged.

In court documents, prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III allege that Manafort and his associate — referred to only as Person A — tried to contact the two witnesses by phone and through encrypted messaging apps. The description of Person A matches his longtime business colleague in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik.

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