The Mueller Investigation Page 10
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has been investigating a meeting between former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in Quito in 2017 and has specifically asked if WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange, were discussed in the meeting, a source with personal knowledge of the matter tells CNN. In November 2017, The Associated Press reported that Moreno publicly acknowledged meeting with Manafort and a group of Chinese businessmen who wanted to privatize the country's electric corporation. Moreno said the proposal was rejected. Earlier Tuesday, The Guardian reported that Manafort secretly met several times with Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, including around the time he was made a top figure in the Trump campaign. The Guardian, citing sources, said Manafort met with Assange in 2013, 2015 and in the spring of 2016. Both WikiLeaks and Manafort feature prominently in Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. In a court filing on Monday, Mueller accused Manafort of lying to investigators after agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel's office.Trump ally met WikiLeaks founder months before emails hacked by Russia were published. Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told. Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House. It is unclear why Manafort would have wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last apparent meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, repeatedly lied to federal investigators in breach of a plea agreement he signed two months ago, the special counsel’s office said in a court filing late on Monday. Mr. Manafort’s “crimes and lies” during a series of interviews with prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and the F.B.I. relieve them of all promises they made to him in the plea agreement reached in mid-September, investigators wrote in the filing. Defense lawyers disagreed. Mr. Manafort has been truthful with the special counsel’s office and has abided by the agreement, they argued in the same status report to Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Given the impasse between the two sides, Mr. Manafort asked that Judge Jackson set a sentencing date. The dramatic development in the 11th hour of Mr. Manafort’s case means, at a minimum, that prosecutors will not ask for a lighter punishment in return for his cooperation. They could also conceivably seek to refile bank fraud charges that they agreed to dismiss as part of the plea agreement.Corsi says he had forgotten "almost everything about emails in 2016" when he first spoke to Mueller's office about his contact with Julian Assange. Jerome Corsi, an ally of Roger Stone, says special counsel Robert Mueller offered him a plea deal on one count of perjury related to statements about his contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Corsi says he plans to reject the deal. "They want me to say I willfully lied. I did not intentionally lie to (the) special counsel," Corsi told NBC News. Corsi said he initially told Mueller's team in early September that he had no recollection of being in communication with Assange in the lead-up to WikiLeaks releasing thousands of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. But Corsi said he amended his testimony in a November interview after Mueller's investigators presented him with a binder of his emails from 2016.Matthew Whitaker's appointment as the special counsel's boss 'neither alters the special counsel’s authority to represent the United States nor raises any jurisdictional issue.' Robert Mueller’s top attorney said Monday that the special counsel’s investigative powers remain fully intact despite the recent change atop the Justice Department that gives Mueller's team a new supervisor. Michael Dreeben, the deputy solicitor general who represents Mueller, told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker taking charge of the Russia probe ”neither alters the special counsel’s authority to represent the United States nor raises any jurisdictional issue.”The Justice Department inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court filing in an unrelated case that suggests prosecutors have prepared charges against the WikiLeaks founder under seal. As CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports, Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London -- in large part out of fear that if he leaves he'll be extradited to the U.S., and this latest revelation could be an indication that his fear is well founded. Assange's name appears twice in an August court filing from a federal prosecutor in Virginia, who was attempting to keep sealed a separate case involving a man accused of coercing a minor for sex. Any charges against Assange could help illuminate whether Russia coordinated with the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election. It would also suggest that, after years of internal wrangling within the Justice Department, prosecutors have decided to take a more aggressive tact against the secret-sharing website. The Washington Post reported late Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Assange had indeed been charged. CBS News has not been able to confirm that.The president was unusually specific in his attacks against the special counsel. With his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen meeting with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team this week, and with his son, Donald Trump Jr., speculating that he himself will soon be indicted, President Donald Trump apparently couldn’t contain himself anymore. “The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess,” he tweeted on Thursday morning. “They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts.” He added, without providing evidence, that Mueller’s team was “screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want,” and called the investigators “thugs,” “a disgrace to our Nation,” and “highly conflicted.”U.S. judge denies Concord request to throw out indictment. Concord, others accused of conspiring to roil U.S. election. A U.S. judge denied a request from a Russian company controlled by an associate of Vladimir Putin to dismiss charges that it conspired to interfere with the 2016 election. It’s a win for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who charged the firm, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and 13 Russian nationals with a conspiracy that involved Russians fraudulently posing as Americans in 2016 and flooding social media with messages promoting Donald Trump or denigrating his opponent, Hillary Clinton. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who was appointed to the federal bench by Trump last year, rejected Concord’s claim that the allegations didn’t amount to a crime. The ruling means that the special counsel’s office can proceed with the prosecution.Former Trump adviser angry that radio personality Randy Credico denies being WikiLeaks conduit. Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into whether former informal Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone attempted to intimidate a man whom Stone has claimed served as a back channel to WikiLeaks. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that prosecutors on Mueller’s team have been questioning witnesses about Stone’s interactions with and comments about former New York radio host Randy Credico. Stone has claimed that Credico, a former friend of his, was a conduit between him and WikiLeaks. Credico has repeatedly and publicly denied the allegations. David Lugo, a filmmaker who knows both Credico and Stone, told the Journal that he testified before Mueller’s grand jury about a blog post Stone helped him write that spoke harshly about Credico.A bipartisan effort to provide legal protections for special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation failed on the Senate floor Wednesday. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware attempted to force a vote on a bill that would prevent Mueller from being fired without “good cause.” Their efforts came in light of Jeff Sessions being forced out of his post as attorney general last week and the subsequent appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. In his new role, Whitaker takes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s place as the lead overseer of the Russia probe. Sessions had previously recused himself of all Justice Department activity related to the investigation into Russian meddling. Now, lawmakers are concerned that Whitaker’s objectivity is compromised because of his vocal criticism before joining the administration. Flake and Coons sought unanimous consent from their Senate colleagues for the measure late Wednesday but that failed after an objection from Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. - Mitch McConnell is doing his part to protect Donald J. Trump by not allowing protection to be put place for the Mueller probe.The Senate's top Republican expressed confidence Friday that the Russia investigation will be allowed to run its course, saying President Donald Trump has never signaled to him that special counsel Robert Mueller could be fired. Speaking to reporters in his home state, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also predicted that Matthew Whitaker's stint as acting attorney general will be short. McConnell said he thinks the president will "pretty quickly" send the Senate a nominee for a new attorney general. McConnell, a close Trump ally who said Friday that he talks frequently with the president, insisted that Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in 2016 is not under threat. - Everyday Trump attacks the Mueller investigation everyday Trump talks about firing everyone involve in the Muller investigation. Now Trump has put a flunky in place to oversee the Mueller investigation to protect Trump. Mitch McConnell is full of shit and needs to pull his head out of his ass.A federal appellate court panel on Friday ordered Robert Mueller as well as attorneys trying to knock the special counsel out of his job to file new legal briefs that explain how this week’s shake-up atop the Justice Department could influence their case. In a one-paragraph order, the three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit told Mueller and lawyers for a former aide to Roger Stone that they have until Nov. 19 to turn in briefs that sift through Wednesday’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the legal reaction it may have created.Legal experts have serious doubts the case will shut down Mueller’s probe. A drive to derail special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign was taken up by a powerful federal appeals court Thursday as a three-judge panel heard arguments that the special prosecutor’s appointment last year was legally flawed and unconstitutional. The judges heard an appeal from a former aide to Trump adviser Roger Stone, Andrew Miller, who resisted a grand jury subpoena in order to create a legal vehicle to challenge Mueller’s authority to continue his year-and-a-half long probe into alleged collusion between the Trump political operation and Russia during the 2016 presidential race.White House sources said the A.G. didn’t leave voluntarily. Meanwhile, the president has put a loyalist in charge of the special counsel investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the request of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, a move that potentially threatens the independence of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the president. In an op-ed last year, Whitaker called on Mueller “limit the scope of his investigation” into the president. He wrote that Mueller was “dangerously close to crossing” Trump’s self-declared “red line” of investigating Trump family finances.Special counsel Robert Mueller has copies of vitriolic and sometimes threatening messages that Roger Stone directed at Randy Credico, a witness in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the investigation. CNN's Sara Murray reports.Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman struggled to explain even basic details of their allegations—like the spelling of the accuser’s name. A press conference intended to publicize sexual assault claims against special counsel Robert Mueller collapsed in spectacular fashion on Thursday, after the pro-Trump operatives behind the event failed to demonstrate a grasp of even basic details about their accuser or explain why they had repeatedly lied about their project. Mueller has asked the FBI to investigate the effort from publicity-hungry Washington lobbyist Jack Burkman and pro-Trump Twitter personality Jacob Wohl, which has been dogged by accusations that they offered women money to accuse Mueller of sexual misconduct. But the prospect of an FBI investigation was the least of Wohl and Burkman’s problems on Thursday. Throughout their 45-minute press conference, the two men repeatedly contradicted themselves and each other, giving cryptic non-answers that convinced approximately zero people in attendance that their allegations were anywhere close to the truth.When the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, appeared on a video link from Europe a month before the 2016 presidential election and vaguely promised to release a flood of purloined documents related to the race, the head of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, Stephen K. Bannon, was interested. He emailed the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr., who had been trying to reach him for days about what Mr. Assange might have in store. “What was that this morning???” Mr. Bannon asked on Oct. 4. “A load every week going forward,” Mr. Stone replied, echoing Mr. Assange’s public vow to publish documents on a weekly basis until the Nov. 8 election. The email exchange, not previously reported, underscores how Mr. Stone presented himself to Trump campaign officials: as a conduit of inside information from WikiLeaks, Russia’s chosen repository for documents hacked from Democratic computers.Newly revealed messages show how the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. sold himself to Trump campaign advisers as a potential conduit to WikiLeaks, which published thousands of emails in 2016 damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Read the Emails: The Trump Campaign and Roger StoneNewly revealed messages show how the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. sold himself to Trump campaign advisers as a potential conduit to WikiLeaks, which published thousands of emails in 2016 damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.A fake spy company, faked LinkedIn profiles, a conspiracy theorist and a pro-Trump blogger are all embroiled in the latest, and strangest, story in Washington DC. On Tuesday information came to light about what appears to be a plot to try and smear special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The details are still unclear, but centre around an apparent attempt to pay women to invent allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr Mueller in an alleged effort to discredit his probe.Special counsel Robert Mueller accuses opponents of offering women money to make 'false claims' about himSpecial counsel Robert Mueller has referred to the FBI allegations that women were "offered money" to make "false claims" about him, a spokesman said Tuesday. "When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation." spokesman Peter Carr says. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between the Kremlin and Trump's campaign.Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos said on Friday that he is considering withdrawing from a cooperation agreement he entered into with special counsel Robert Mueller, the investigator probing allegations of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government. “I believe there was tremendous misconduct on the government's behalf regarding my case,” Papadopoulos told “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade. “And given certain information I learned just yesterday that I can't publicly disclose right now, I'm actually even considering withdrawing my agreement I have come to with the government.” Papadopoulos, who prosecutors say revealed to the Australian ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2016 that he knew Russia had “dirt” on then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, said Friday that he did not recall such a conversation, which kicked off the FBI’s probe into Russian interference in the presidential election.Stone, Corsi, Smith reportedly fall under scrutiny. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter.Paul Manafort’s lawyer told the judge, "There are significant issues with Mr. Manafort’s health concerning confinement." Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was rolled into a Virginia federal court Friday in a wheelchair, wearing a green prison uniform instead of his signature tailored suit. The judge scheduled Manafort to be sentenced Feb. 8 for eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud and dismissed the remaining charges against him. Manafort, appearing visibly grayer, was pushed into court in a wheelchair, missing his right shoe.Special counsel Robert Mueller's office has been busy interviewing witnesses, running a grand jury and moving along its cases during the pre-election quiet period that Justice Department rules specify, CNN reported Wednesday. Bloomberg reported, citing two US officials, that Mueller "is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections," including "two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry": whether Donald Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia, and whether the President's actions constitute obstruction of justice.Ever since reaching a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, Paul Manafort has kept the Russia prosecutors busy. The former Trump campaign chairman and his lawyers have visited Mueller's office in Washington at least nine times in the last four weeks, a strong indication that the special counsel is moving at a steady clip. In addition to Manafort, Mueller's team has kept interviewing witnesses, gathered a grand jury weekly to meet in Washington on most Fridays, and kicked up other still-secret court action. Plus, the discussions between the President's legal team and the special counsel's office have intensified in recent weeks, including after the special counsel sent questions about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. The President's attorneys are expected to reply to the questions in writing. People around Trump and other witnesses believe more criminal indictments will come from Mueller.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.President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen has spent at least 50 hours meeting with investigators, according to Vanity Fair. Cohen pleaded guilty in August to violating campaign finance laws in connection with payments to women who said they had affairs with Trump and said in court that he did so under Trump's direction. He is scheduled for sentencing in December. Cohen does not have a formal cooperation agreement but has willingly given his time to investigators. Vanity Fair reported that he is providing information to investigators regarding Trump’s ties to Russia, both in his business dealings and during the presidential campaign.We’ve gotten news on Alfa Bank, Psy-Group, and Peter W. Smith — three long-simmering subplots of the Russia investigation. 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.) Second, the New Yorker revisited the question of mysterious online communications between a Russian bank and a domain tied to the Trump Organization. This topic came up during the campaign and was received skeptically, but now the New Yorker quotes experts who’ve reviewed the data and still suspect there’s something there. Third, the New York Times revealed that an Israeli firm called Psy-Group pitched its “social media manipulation” services to Trump campaign aide Rick Gates in early 2016, but that Gates didn’t hire the firm. Mueller’s team has been investigating Psy-Group closely for months for reasons that are not entirely clear but seem to be about whether the firm did in fact do work on behalf of Trump’s campaign.Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing the activities and contacts of Peter W. Smith, a GOP operative who sought Hillary Clinton’s emails from hackers in 2016. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday explains. Photo: Getty Images.Was an American investment banker who had a 40-year career managing corporate acquisitions and venture investments. He was active in Republican politics. In 1998 he was identified as a major financial supporter of the 1993 Troopergate story, in which several Arkansas state troopers accused U.S. President Bill Clinton of having carried out sexual dalliances while he was Governor of Arkansas. In 2017 he confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that he had tried in 2016 to contact computer hackers, including Russian hackers, in an attempt to obtain opposition research material to use against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Ten days after speaking to the paper, he committed suicide in a hotel room, citing ill health.A team of computer scientists sifted through records of unusual Web traffic in search of answers. In June, 2016, after news broke that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, a group of prominent computer scientists went on alert. Reports said that the infiltrators were probably Russian, which suggested to most members of the group that one of the country’s intelligence agencies had been involved. They speculated that if the Russians were hacking the Democrats they must be hacking the Republicans, too. “We thought there was no way in the world the Russians would just attack the Democrats,” one of the computer scientists, who asked to be identified only as Max, told me.Richard Pinedo, 28, received six months in prison and six months of home confinement after pleading guilty to a felony identity fraud charge. A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a California man to six months in prison and six months of home confinement after he pleaded guilty to a felony identity fraud charge tied to Russian troll activity that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign. The sentence for Richard Pinedo, 28, is the most severe penalty handed down yet in special counsel Robert Mueller’s high-profile investigation into Moscow’s meddling to help elect President Donald Trump. Pinedo’s case stemmed from his admission in February to unwittingly selling stolen bank accounts to Russian internet trolls who used the credentials to buy internet ads that sowed discord among Americans in the lead-up to Trump’s upset victory almost two years ago.A Russian deputy attorney general, who is thought to have directed Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in her efforts abroad on behalf of Russia's government, reportedly died Wednesday night in a helicopter crash. The Daily Beast reported that Saak Albertovich Karapetyan was aboard an unauthorized helicopter flight, which crashed near the village of Vonyshevo, outside of Moscow. Karapetyan was reportedly behind Veselnitskaya's global efforts to lobby lawmakers to overturn anti-corruption acts such as the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which passed in 2012. The U.S. legislation is similar to others around the world which commemorate Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died while trying to expose a $230 million fraud scheme in Russia. The acts have reportedly incensed Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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