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The Mueller Investigation Page 2

Tracking the Mueller investigation into how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign and the Republican Party and conspired with the Trump campaign to help get Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States of America. The Mueller investigation has exposed illegal schemes across international borders and produced more than 190 criminal charges. So far Mueller has indicted 34 people (26 are Russian nationals), three Russian companies and 6 former Trump advisers, 7 people (six former Trump advisers) have pleaded guilty. It was not a witch hunt, but it maybe a mole hunt. Trump and his campaign claimed they had no contacts with the Russian turns out they had at least 272. We may never know the true number contacts or what was discuss because Trump, Trump campaign members and other people involved lied to investigators and may had destroyed evidence. It makes it hard to make a criminal case if people lie to investigators and or destroyed evidence, but it does not mean they did not do it; it just means that got away with it. What we do not know about the Trump-Russia Affair is far worse than the information that is available to the public, Americans should be very worried that Donald J. Trump is useful idiot or a Russian asset and the Russians may have infiltrated our government at the highest level just as they infiltrated the Republican Party and the NRA. This collection of pages shows the evidence that is known so far read them for yourself and make your own decision. Get the latest on the investigation mueller investigation. The Robert Mueller Russia Investigation in to how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign and the Republican Party and colluded with the Trump campaign to help get Donald J. Trump elected president. Trump maybe a Russian mole that Putin controls. The Trump Russia affair is worst that Watergate. Trump and Putin maybe working against American interest find out more. Find more about Robert Mueller, Donald J. Trump, Putin and Russia.

Get the facts read the Mueller report for yourself.

All the latest news about Mueller Trump-Russia inquiry from the BBC. more...     
The revelation means the Trump campaign — and Donald Trump himself — were aware of WikiLeaks' plans earlier than previously understood.
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN and MATTHEW CHOI

Roger Stone first told one of Donald Trump’s top aides in April 2016 that WikiLeaks had plans to dump information in the heat of the presidential race, kickstarting a scramble inside the campaign to take advantage of the expected releases. And that plotting included at least one summertime call involving Trump himself, according to Rick Gates, the former Trump deputy campaign chairman, who was testifying Tuesday morning at Stone’s trial over lying to Congress about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks.

The revelation means the Trump campaign was aware of WikiLeaks' election-year plans much earlier than previously understood. And it also shows that the president was involved in conversations about the issue, something he has previously denied. Gates said he first heard from Stone, a longtime Trump confidant, about two months before Trump secured the GOP presidential nomination in mid-July. That's when Stone passed along initial, bare bones details about the potential Julian Assange-orchestrated releases that would benefit Trump's White House bid.

“Mr. Stone indicated that WikiLeaks would be submitting or dropping information, but no information on dates or anything of that nature,” Gates said in federal district court, where the trial against Stone entered its second week. Stone is also facing charges charges that he tampered with a witness as Congress investigated Russia’s 2016 election interference.

Federal prosecutors rested their case against Stone before lunch on Tuesday, and Stone's lawyers spent a little more than an hour in the afternoon playing aloud portions of their client’s September 2017 deposition before the House Intelligence Committee, during which prosecutors allege Stone lied. After that, Stone's team also rested its case without inviting any witnesses to the stand. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, with jury deliberations to begin shortly thereafter.

Before the government handed the reins of the trial over to Stone’s defense, it asked Gates detailed questions about his interactions throughout the spring and summer of 2016 with Stone, who is known for his decades-long relationship with Trump and a history dating back to Watergate of orchestrating “dirty tricks.” Full Story

By Harper Neidig

President Trump's former deputy campaign manager told a jury on Tuesday that Roger Stone was giving the campaign updates on WikiLeaks's plans to release damaging emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman. Richard Gates, who is facing up to ten years in prison under a plea agreement for various fraud charges, testified in Stone's criminal trial on Tuesday, saying that the longtime Trump associate was telling the campaign about WikiLeaks's plans as early as April 2016, months before the DNC had announced it was hacked.

It had not been previously known that Stone was updating the campaign about WikiLeaks that early. Stone is facing charges of lying to Congress about his role as an intermediary between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign. He has pleaded not guilty. According to Gates, Stone's main point of contact with the campaign was Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager who has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison over a variety of fraud charges, though Gates said he spoke with Stone himself as well. On June 13, 2016, Stone said in an email to Gates, "Need guidance on many things. call me," according to evidence presented by prosecutors. The day before, Julian Assange, the leader and founder of WikiLeaks, had hinted in a media interview that he was planning to release Hillary Clinton emails. On June 14, Stone talked with Trump on the phone and the next day sent another email to Gates saying, “I need contact info for Jared” Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top adviser. Gates said Stone indicated he wanted to "debrief" Kushner about the DNC release. Gates also testified that there were high-level campaign meetings to discuss WikiLeaks releases and that there was a "state of happiness" among aides over the damaging information about their rival. "There were a number of us who felt that it would give our campaign a leg up,” Gates said of the DNC leak. Full Story

Published Tue, Nov 12 20191:47 PM ESTUpdated 2 hours ago
Dan Mangan, Kevin Breuninger

A former top Trump campaign official on Tuesday testified that President Donald Trump talked to political trickster Roger Stone about WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. That testimony by Rick Gates at Stone’s trial contrasts with Trump’s claim last November that he did not recall speaking to Stone about WikiLeaks, the document disclosure group that during the 2016 campaign released emails stolen from the Democratic Party and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s own campaign chief.

Gates testified in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that less than a minute after finishing a July 2016 call from Stone, Trump indicated that “more information would be coming” from Wikileaks. In a written response to special counsel Robert Mueller last November, Trump had said, “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with” Stone, “nor do I recall Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with my campaign.” But Trump also said, “I was aware that WikiLeaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time.”

The president’s written responses were requested by Mueller last year as part of his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the question of whether Trump’s campaign had coordinated with Russians. Gates testified Tuesday that in addition to speaking to Trump about WikiLeaks, Stone was known in the campaign as a source for information expected to be released by the group. And Gates also testified that another campaign official, Paul Manafort, told him that he would update Trump with any information that he could get from Stone. Jurors on Tuesday saw an email between Gates and Stone after the Democratic National Committee revealed that its computers had been hacked in 2016. U.S. intelligence agencies later said that hackers were Russian agents. Full Story

By Harper Neidig

Stephen Bannon, President Trump's former White House adviser and campaign CEO, testified in court on Friday that the campaign saw Roger Stone as a potential intermediary with WikiLeaks. "I think it was generally believed that the access point or potential access point to WikiLeaks was Roger Stone," Bannon testified at Stone's criminal trial.

"I was led to believe he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange," he added, referring to the site's founder. Bannon said he was compelled to testify for the prosecution in the trial because of a subpoena. Stone is facing charges of making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering over his claims of having a back-channel dialog with WikiLeaks during 2016 as the group was releasing stolen emails from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.

Stone had made the claim publicly in 2016 and in private conversations with Bannon before he even joined Trump campaign, the former White House adviser testified on Friday. Prosecutors showed an email that Stone had sent to Bannon on Aug. 18, 2016 — the day after Bannon was announced as the campaign CEO. Full Story

Andrea Mitchell Reports

NBC's Ken Dilanian joins Andrea Mitchell to share the latest reporting out of the trial for longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, where prosecutors have introduced phone records allegedly showing Trump and his aides speaking with Stone, while Stone was allegedly attempting to obtain stolen DNC emails from Wikileaks. Ken also talks about his new reporting that members of the intel community are calling on CIA director Gina Haspel to do more to protect the whistleblower. Video

“The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump.”
By Dan Friedman, David Corn

Roger Stone is on trial, and the proceedings are bad news for President Donald Trump, with federal prosecutors citing evidence that suggests Trump might have lied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And that sort of lying can be a crime.

The trial kicked off on Wednesday at a federal courthouse in Washington, DC, with a bit of a circus atmosphere. The neo-fascist Proud Boys were there, as well as other luminaries of the alt-right, to support Stone, the dirty trickster and conspiracy theorist who has been a Trump adviser since the 1980s. Facing seven felony counts, Stone is charged with lying repeatedly to the House Intelligence Committee, obstructing justice, and witness tampering. But this case goes beyond Stone’s alleged lies: prosecutors have revealed new information about how Trump tried to benefit from the Russian operation during the 2016 campaign that hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers. And they are producing material undercutting Trump’s claim to Mueller that he has no recollection of talking to Stone during the campaign about WikiLeaks. This information also presents a new wrinkle in the Trump-Russia scandal: Trump might have thought in 2016 that his campaign, in effect, was colluding with WikiLeaks. That’s because the campaign was communicating with Stone about WikiLeaks’ plans and intentions and campaign officials (and perhaps Trump) believed Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks.

“The evidence in this case will show that Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee because the truth looked bad,” lead prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky said in his opening statement on Wednesday. “The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump.”

One of the key points Mueller investigated was whether the Trump campaign had interacted with WikiLeaks or Russian intermediaries in 2016 when Moscow was using WikiLeaks for its operation to subvert the US presidential campaign (which was mounted in part to help Trump win). Trump refused to be questioned in person by Mueller and his investigators. Instead, he agreed to answer written questions on a limited number of subjects. Several of the queries Mueller submitted to Trump focused on whether he was ever told Stone had been in touch with WikiLeaks and whether he or anyone associated with his campaign had spoken to Stone about WikiLeaks.

In his written response, Trump replied, “I do not recall being told during the campaign that Roger Stone or anyone associated with my campaign had discussions with any of the entities named in the question regarding the content or timing of release of hacked emails.” He also noted, “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with [Stone], nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign.” And Trump, who has boasted of possessing a prodigious memory, claimed to have “no recollection of the specifics of any conversations I had with Mr. Stone between June 1, 2016” and Election Day. The impression Trump provided: as far as he knew, he and his campaign had had nothing to do with Stone and WikiLeaks. Full Story

Trump takes it hard, this trial will be rated R and three other observations from the first of what's likely to be many colorful days.
By JOSH GERSTEIN and DARREN SAMUELSOHN

Call it the Cliff Notes version of the Mueller report. That’s what a new panel of Washington, D.C., jurors heard Wednesday morning as federal prosecutors delivered a tight synopsis of how Roger Stone came to be a defendant in the last indictment to come from the special counsel’s office. It was a powerful moment delivered exclusively to a courtroom audience. Anyone who’s been following Robert Mueller’s work closely would recognize all the pieces of the story. But to the 12 jurors who might be coming in cold, it was a stark and concise opening narrative explaining how the colorful characters in Trumpworld gossiped and plotted around Russia’s digital thefts of Democratic emails during the 2016 election — and the role Stone played in that story.

The longtime Donald Trump associate is facing charges that he lied to congressional investigators trying to untangle the complex web of Russia’s election meddling. Prosecutors say Stone also tampered with a witness in that probe. For their part, Stone’s attorneys tried to tell the story of a fabulist who walked into the House Intelligence Committee not fully realizing what they wanted to ask him about. If Stone wasn’t forthcoming or overstated his knowledge, they argued, it was not intentional or malicious, and perhaps just for show. Here are POLITICO’s five takeaways from the first major day of the trial.

Trump takes it hard

If Trump thought he was off the hook after Mueller closed up shop in May, well, Wednesday was a rude awakening. As the case against Stone kicked off, former Mueller prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky took the baton and seemed to relish the opportunity to weave the president’s name into the prosecution’s narrative on as many occasions as possible. Less than two minutes into his opening statement, Zelinsky told jurors Trump was a “longtime friend and associate” of Stone.

"Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committees because the truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump." - Aaron Zelinsky, ex-Mueller prosecutor

While prosecutors could’ve portrayed Stone as a freelancer on a lark that might help his ally, Zelinsky instead suggested that Stone was wired to the candidate himself — and at the highest levels of the Trump campaign, “regularly” providing updates on his activities to senior campaign aides Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon. Zelinsky never quite accused Trump of directing Stone to lie — the prosecutor said he did not know precisely what the two men said to each other in a series of phone calls that summer. But the implication was that Stone lied to Congress on Trump’s behalf.

“Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee because the truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump,” Zelinksky said. Other aspects of the testimony could also anger Trump. One exhibit introduced near the outset of Stone’s trial Wednesday appeared to be a redacted list of phone calls made from Trump’s home in New York City. The fact that investigators were rummaging through details of the president’s personal phone calls seems like the kind of thing that could get the president tweeting. Full Story

By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com

A tranche of newly released documents from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation have revealed that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump took a vacation in Croatia with a mystery 'Russian billionaire' during the 2016 campaign. Also on the trip was and Rupert Murdoch's former wife Wendi Deng. According to the notes, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon raised questions about the vacation and found it so dubious that he planned to 'leverage' the meetup with the Russian against Donald's Trump's son-in-law, Jared. The documents, including 274 pages of Mueller team interview notes, emails and other documents related to the investigation, were released on Saturday in response to a lawsuit from CNN and Buzzfeed.

'Bannon knew Kushner was on vacation off the coast of Croatia with a Russian Billionaire when Bannon took over the campaign,' a summary of an investigative interview with Bannon read. The summary said that Kushner was with Deng, the Russian billionaire, and the Russian's girlfriend, but it does not name the Russian. Bannon told friends in the intelligence community that he thought Kushner's choice of vacation company was 'questionable,' according to the interview summary. Kushner's and Ivanka Trump's vacation in August 2016 was previously documented in photos obtained by DailyMail.com, but the presence of a Russian billionaire had not been reported.

Throughout the trip, Deng was photographed with Kushner and his wife Ivanka. In an email dated July 24, 2017 to an individual with a Breitbart domain email, Bannon referenced Kushner's vacation and appeared to indicate that the information, if reported and confirmed, could be valuable against Kushner. Full Story

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) - President Donald Trump and other top 2016 Trump campaign officials repeatedly privately discussed how the campaign could get access to stolen Democratic emails WikiLeaks had in 2016, according to newly released interview notes from Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation. CNN sued the Justice Department for access to Mueller's witness interview notes, and this weekend's release marks the first publicly available behind-the-scenes look at Mueller's investigative work outside of court proceedings and the report itself. Per a judge's order, the Justice Department will continue to release new tranches of the Mueller investigative notes monthly to CNN and Buzzfeed News, which also sued for them. A retelling of events from former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, who served alongside campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is the fullest detail revealed by the Justice Department yet on discussions within the Trump campaign as it pursued damaging information about its Democrtatic opponent Hillary Clinton. The documents were stolen by the Russians, the American intelligence community has found.

"[Rick] Gates recalled a time on the campaign aircraft when candidate Trump said, 'get the emails.' [Michael] Flynn said he could use his intelligence sources to obtain the emails," investigators wrote in a summary of Gates' April 2018 interview with Mueller's team. Flynn was a foreign policy adviser on the campaign and became Trump's first national security adviser. "Flynn had the most Russia contacts of anyone on the campaign and was in the best position to ask for the emails if they were out there," the investigators also wrote about Gates' interview. Gates described in an interview with Mueller investigators last year how several close advisers to Trump, Trump's family members and Trump himself considered how to get the stolen documents and pushed the effort, according to investigators' summary. "Gates said Donald Trump Jr. would ask where the emails were in family meetings. Michael Flynn, [Jared] Kushner, [Paul] Manafort, [Redacted] [Corey] Lewandowski, Jeff Sessions, and Sam Clovis expressed interest in obtaining the emails as well. Gates said the priority focuses of the Trump campaign opposition research team were Clinton's emails and contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Flynn, [Redacted] [Jeff] Sessions, Kushner, and [Donald] Trump Jr. were all focused on opposition topics,"

Gates told investigators, according to the interview summary. Previously, Mueller wrote in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that Trump's campaign showed interest in the hacked documents WikiLeaks had in summer and fall 2016. But many of the details are still redacted in the Mueller report, leaving holes in the story that the release to CNN somewhat fills in. The release, received by CNN on Saturday, includes 274 pages of Mueller team interview notes, emails and other documents related to the cooperation of Gates, former top campaign official Steve Bannon and former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen. Both Cohen and Gates pleaded guilty to criminal charges from Mueller. Bannon was not charged with any crime. Large parts of the interview notes are still redacted by the Justice Department. Full Story

By Harper Neidig - The Hill

A federal judge on Thursday threw out conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi's lawsuit against former special counsel Robert Mueller after he accused Mueller of coercing him into testifying about his alleged role coordinating the release of stolen Democratic emails. Judge Ellen Huvelle of the D.C. District Court said that Corsi, formerly of the far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars, had failed to make a valid case against Mueller or any of the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies named in his complaint. Huvelle, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Clinton, said Corsi's sweeping claims that Mueller and the government had conducted illegal surveillance of him, violated his constitutional rights and leaked grand jury information were lacking in evidence and legal grounding. Corsi alleged that Mueller had threatened to indict him and "effectively put him in federal prison for the rest of his life" if he failed to testify to a grand jury about his alleged role as a liaison between WikiLeaks and Trump associate Roger Stone, who is facing trial next week for charges of obstruction of justice stemming from the special counsel's probe.

Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer who is representing Corsi, told The Hill in an email that he plans to appeal the ruling. A federal judge on Thursday threw out conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi's lawsuit against former special counsel Robert Mueller after he accused Mueller of coercing him into testifying about his alleged role coordinating the release of stolen Democratic emails. Judge Ellen Huvelle of the D.C. District Court said that Corsi, formerly of the far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars, had failed to make a valid case against Mueller or any of the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies named in his complaint. Huvelle, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Clinton, said Corsi's sweeping claims that Mueller and the government had conducted illegal surveillance of him, violated his constitutional rights and leaked grand jury information were lacking in evidence and legal grounding. Full Story...

By John Kruzel and Tal Axelrod

A federal circuit court on Tuesday evening temporarily blocked the release of grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. A three-judge panel, all Obama appointees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, suspended a lower court’s Wednesday deadline in order to have extra time to consider the merits of a recent Department of Justice (DOJ) request.

The DOJ on Monday asked judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to hold off on enforcing her pivotal ruling last week that ordered the agency to provide the documents to the House Judiciary Committee by Wednesday. The department's broader request to Howell is that she suspend her order indefinitely while the Trump administration formally asks the appeals court to reconsider whether it must disclose the grand jury materials to Congress at all. The appeals court in its ruling Tuesday said the purpose of its stay was to provide “sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion” by the DOJ.

The judges noted that their temporary suspension of the lower court’s deadline “should not be construed” as a ruling on the merits of the agency’s request. The appellate court order means the Mueller grand jury materials will continue to be shielded from House Democrats’ view for the time being. Full Story

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department on Monday asked a federal judge to put on hold an order requiring the disclosure of grand jury information redacted from special counsel Robert Mueller's report to the House Judiciary Committee while it files an appeal. Last week, DC District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the documents must be turned over by Wednesday, and in her opinion legally endorse the House impeachment inquiry.

"Once the information is disclosed, it cannot be recalled, and the confidentiality of the grand jury information will be lost for all time," Justice Department lawyers wrote, especially if the Judiciary Committee decides to make the materials public. The Justice department says it is filing an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Justice Department added that it believes, based on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's remarks, that what Mueller investigated "is not the current focus of impeachment activity." "The speaker has announced that the House impeachment inquiry will focus narrowly on the whistleblower complaint and issues surrounding Ukraine," the filing states. more...

The ruling is a victory for Democrats in their effort to investigate whether Trump obstructed the long-running Russia probe.
By KYLE CHENEY

A federal judge has ruled that the Justice Department must turn over former special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury evidence to the House Judiciary Committee, a victory for Democrats in their effort to investigate whether President Donald Trump obstructed the long-running Russia probe. Beryl Howell, the chief federal judge in Washington ordered the DOJ to provide by Oct. 30 "[a]ll portions of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election that were redacted pursuant to" grand jury restrictions. more...

By Ewan Palmer

Rep. Ted Lieu has accused William Barr of acting more in the interests of President Donald Trump than as Attorney General by announcing a criminal investigation into the origins of Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Speaking to CNN's Don Lemon, Lieu said it is "deeply troubling" how Barr is behaving when asked for his response to the news, first reported by The New York Times, that the Justice Department is looking into the investigation on Russian interference during the 2016 election. As noted by The Times, John H. Durham, the prosecutor heading the investigation, will be able to subpoena for witness testimonies and documents, as well as convene a grand jury and file criminal charges. However, it is not clear what potential criminal charges Durham is looking into, nor when the investigation was launched.

"Special counselor Mueller indicted 34 individuals and companies, at least eight have been convicted or pled guilty. He found that Russia systematically and sweepingly interfered in our U.S. elections. What Bill Barr is now trying to do is essentially tell the American people none of that should have happened," Lieu said. "It is deeply troubling what Bill Barr is doing." Barr was previously criticized for his summary of Mueller's investigation, which he said concludes that neither the Trump campaign nor any of its associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Mueller wrote a letter to the Justice Department in May expressing his concerns that Barr's four-page summary did not fully capture the "context, nature, and substance" of his findings. Lieu added that Barr is "absolutely" acting as a partisan as the attorney for the president rather than attorney general when asked by Lemon.

"His memo, before the special council's report was released, is incredibly misleading," Lieu added. "When history looks back on it, you'll know that he misled the American people. And then in different actions Barr has taken he seems like he's acting as the President's own lawyer rather than as Attorney general for the United States." The Justice Department's guidelines state that there only needs to be "reasonable indication" that a crime has been committed for authorities to launch an investigation, a lower requirement than the probable cause needed to obtain search warrants. more...


BBC - The US justice department has launched a criminal investigation into the origins of the Mueller inquiry, US media report. An administrative review into the special counsel's investigation of 2016 election interference began in May. But the switch to a criminal probe means investigators can now issue subpoenas for testimony and documents. President Trump has long alleged Robert Mueller's probe of reports of collusion with Russia was a "witch hunt". The investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election did not establish any criminal conspiracy between Moscow and Donald Trump's campaign. But it did not clear the president of obstructing justice. Reports on the criminal probe first appeared in the New York Times.

It is unclear what potential crime is under investigation, the newspaper said. Why is the Mueller report being investigated? The administrative review of the Mueller investigation began in May. It is being overseen by the US Attorney-General William Barr and is run by US federal prosecutor John Durham. Mr Durham was tasked with determining whether the collection of intelligence on the Trump campaign in 2016 was lawful. He is widely respected and known for investigating links between FBI agents and organised crime, and investigating the destruction of CIA interrogation videos. Last April, Mr Barr told members of Congress that he believed "spying did occur" on the Trump campaign in 2016, adding: "The question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I'm not suggesting that it wasn't adequately predicated. But I need to explore that." Critics accused Mr Barr of launching an administrative review more in the interests of the president than the interests of justice. In a joint statement, the chairs of the House judiciary and intelligence committees said reports of a criminal investigation "raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under AG Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump's political revenge". The two Democrats, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff, said the move could bring "new and irreparable damage" to the rule of law. more...


BBC - Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation paints a decidedly mixed picture of President Donald Trump's conduct, that provides ample fodder for either side of the political divide. The 448-page report says it did not establish the Trump campaign criminally conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election. The inquiry also built an extensive obstruction-of-justice case against the Republican president, though it stopped short of concluding he committed a crime. While there was no immediate "smoking gun" to trigger impeachment proceedings, Democrats said the report had plenty of ammunition to keep up congressional scrutiny of Mr Trump. 'This is the end of my presidency' The report details the president's expletive-filled horror as he learned that a special counsel was being appointed in May 2017. According to the Mueller report, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the president about the coming inquiry, he replied: "Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency."

He added two expletives to describe his situation. Mr Trump added: "Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels, it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me." 'Mueller has to go' The Mueller report details how in June 2017, the president called White House counsel Donald McGahn at home from Camp David and ordered him to have the special counsel removed. On a second call, Mr McGahn said the president stepped up the pressure, saying: "Call Rod [Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein], tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can't be the Special Counsel", and "Mueller has to go" and "Call me back when you do it."

Mr McGahn was so upset by the interference that he threatened to quit rather than participate in what he predicted would be a Nixon-style "Saturday Night Massacre". After media reports in January 2018 revealed Mr Trump's attempts to have Mr Mueller removed, one of the president's lawyers made contact with Mr McGahn, asking him to publicly deny the reports. But McGahn, through his attorney, refused. No collusion The report found there were a number of contacts between members of Trump's circle and Russia, and the campaign "expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts". The Trump team also "showed interest" in the Wikileaks release of hacked emails and "welcomed their potential to damage" Hillary Clinton. Unpatriotic and immoral, Democrats say. But the Mueller team makes clear it did not amount to a criminal conspiracy.

"The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to meet in person, invitations for campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved US-Russian relations. "While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. "The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or co-ordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." more..

By Harper Neidig

The Department of Justice improperly redacted a court filing related to the Mueller investigation and must reveal the names of two individuals who figured prominently in the probe, a federal judge in Washington ruled on Thursday. Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in her opinion that the department erroneously redacted a portion of a document after invoking grand jury secrecy protections, even though the two names that were concealed belonged to individuals who did not testify before a grand jury during the Mueller probe. “DOJ’s assertion that identifying individuals who did not testify before the grand jury as part of the Mueller investigation would reveal ‘a matter occurring before the grand jury’ is without merit and rejected,” Howell wrote. According to the judge, who was appointed by former President Obama, both of the people whose names were redacted “figured in key events examined in the Mueller Report.” Howell said that it does not appear that the same redaction error was made in the report that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller gave to Congress earlier this year. The redactions in question came in an affidavit submitted to the court by Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer, who reviewed Mueller’s report for classified information before it was transmitted to Congress.

By Andy Sullivan, Mark Hosenball, Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr has been traveling internationally to help investigate President Donald Trump’s complaints that his campaign was improperly targeted by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies during the 2016 presidential election. Democrats and some former law-enforcement officials say he is using the Justice Department to chase unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that could benefit Trump politically and undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Mueller’s investigation found that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump, and led to criminal convictions of several former campaign aides. But Mueller concluded that he did not have enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy with Russia. Some potential witnesses say they will not cooperate voluntarily with the Barr probe, which was announced after several congressional committees, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog and another U.S. prosecutor launched their own reviews. That could pose problems for John Durham, the prosecutor tapped by Barr to lead the effort. WHAT IS BEING INVESTIGATED? Durham is examining whether U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies acted properly when they examined possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which ultimately led to Mueller’s investigation.

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN

A federal judge signaled Tuesday that she might give House Democrats access to some of Robert Mueller’s remaining secrets. During a two-plus hour hearing, Beryl Howell, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court, pointedly challenged the Justice Department to explain its “extraordinary position” of trying to block lawmakers from seeing the special counsel’s grand jury materials, which include testimony and evidence that has been kept private since the Mueller probe ended in March. Grand jury material is protected by law, but judges can release information under special circumstances. If Howell ultimately rules in Democrats’ favor, it would represent a major legal victory for them that could help expand Congress’s impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

While the probe initially started earlier this year with a broader focus on Mueller’s findings, the Democrats in recent weeks have homed in on the president’s alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Howell on Tuesday said that under both Supreme Court and federal appellate court precedent, she must give “enormous deference” to House Democrats and their interest in the grand jury materials because of their impeachment inquiry. She even indicated that the impeachment probe was a precursor for releasing the Mueller materials. The judge, an appointee of President Barack Obama, didn’t issue an opinion Tuesday in the Democrats’ three-month lawsuit, but her comments offered the House a glimmer of hope that it may still get to see several blacked-out words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and entire pages from the report Mueller released in April summarizing his probe.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the top lawyer for the Democrats told Howell that the House impeachment inquiry still includes issues tied to the Mueller probe and hasn’t just been whittled down to Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine into launching investigations of his political opponents. "I can't emphasize enough — it’s not just Ukraine," House counsel Doug Letter said, adding that the Judiciary Committee "could easily" adopt articles of impeachment against Trump that deal with the Mueller-related themes of obstruction of justice and election interference. House Democrats filed their initial lawsuit seeking the Mueller grand jury materials in late July, arguing that they need to peer behind hundreds of redactions from Mueller’s nearly 450-page report to help them determine whether Trump and other key witnesses have been telling the truth in their sworn testimony. One example Letter gave Tuesday was the president’s public statements claiming that his former top White House lawyer, Don McGahn, lied to Mueller’s investigators. If the Democrats determine Trump wasn’t telling the truth, it could end up being another impeachment article against him, Letter said.

By Bart Jansen, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – A federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday from the House Judiciary Committee, which is demanding the grand jury evidence behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The panel subpoenaed the evidence as part of the wide-ranging impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, who calls the inquiry a partisan witch hunt. The Judiciary Committee is focusing on potential obstruction of justice, as described in 10 episodes in the Mueller report. But Attorney General William Barr redacted grand jury evidence from the report and argued against disclosing it under the subpoena. U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, chief judge for the D.C. district who oversees the grand jury, is hearing the case. Her ruling could resolve a key dispute about the status of the House's investigation of Trump. Six committees have been conducting investigations of Trump since Democrats regained control of the chamber in January.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Sept. 24 that all of the inquiries now fall under the umbrella of a formal impeachment investigation and that no floor vote is necessary. But Republicans have argued that only the full House can authorize an impeachment inquiry. Mueller’s 22-month investigation found no conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia, despite that country's sweeping and systematic effort to influence the 2016 election. But the report released in April outlined potential obstruction when Trump tried to thwart the special counsel inquiry and have Mueller removed. Mueller made no decision about whether to charge Trump with obstruction because Justice Department policy forbids charging a president while in office. The Judiciary Committee subpoenaed grand jury evidence to explore Trump’s knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the election, the president’s knowledge of potential criminal acts by his campaign or administration, and actions taken by former White House counsel Don McGahn. The Mueller report described episodes when Trump directed McGahn to remove the special counsel, which McGahn ignored.

“The full Mueller report provides an essential roadmap for the committee’s efforts to uncover all facts relevant to Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election and to any attempts by the president to prevent Congress from learning the truth about those attacks along with their aftermath,” said the legal filing by Douglas Letter, general counsel for the House. “The committee’s interest in obtaining a limited disclosure of these materials far outweighs any interests in secrecy.” The House included a 1974 letter from the Watergate era as an exhibit. Rep. Peter Rodino, D-N.Y., who was then head of the Judiciary Committee, wrote to U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica asking for grand jury materials in the investigation of President Richard Nixon. Rodino cited a House vote of 410-4 to authorize an impeachment investigation. The Justice Department has argued against releasing the grand jury evidence behind Mueller's report. In a written filing, the department said a “minuscule” 0.1% of the report dealing with potential obstruction of justice was redacted. And the department said releasing the evidence could hurt pending cases that grew out of the Mueller investigation.

by Jamie Ross - The Daily Beast

President Trump called Boris Johnson to ask for help in discrediting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, The Times of London reports. Trump is said to have called Johnson on July 26, two days after the prime minister took office, and reportedly asked Johnson for help in gathering evidence to undermine the investigation into his campaign’s links to Russia. That call also was one day after Trump spoke to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in the phone call that sparked the impeachment proceedings against him. Trump also contacted the Australian prime minister for help with an investigation into the origins of the Mueller inquiry. The Times reports Attorney General William Barr arrived in London days after Trump’s call with Johnson to attend a meeting of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance. Barr reportedly told British officials that he suspected the information that led to the Mueller investigation came from British agencies.

Flynn's lawyers are seeking information to back up a wide range of allegations against Robert Mueller’s office and the FBI.
By JOSH GERSTEIN

Federal prosecutors are denouncing as a “fishing expedition” a demand by Michael Flynn’s new defense attorneys for nearly 50 categories of information that they contend will undercut the felony false-statement charge the former national security adviser pleaded guilty to nearly two years ago. In a filing Tuesday, government lawyers urged U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan to proceed with Flynn’s long-delayed sentencing and reject the move by Flynn’s defense counsel to delve into a wide range of allegations against former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and the FBI. The allegations include a claim that they deliberately set out to frame Flynn in an effort to target President Donald Trump. Prosecutors argued that the slew of records Flynn’s defense is demanding is largely irrelevant to the task before the judge of fashioning a sentence for the crime Flynn admitted to under oath in federal court in December 2017. “The defendant predicates much of his request on conspiracy theories, demanding that the government engage in a fishing expedition for documents that could offer support for those theories. Irrespective of whether such documents exist, a fact that the government does not concede here, the defendant fails to establish that such information is relevant—let alone favorable and material—in this criminal case,” says the prosecution brief, signed by former Mueller prosecutor Brandon Van Grack. The prosecution submission says many of the topics the defense is demanding information on don’t ultimately bear on Flynn’s admission that he lied to a pair of FBI agents in a January 2017 interview, particularly when he denied speaking with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. The defense seeks more details on discussions by top FBI officials about whether to notify the White House counsel or other officials about the planned interview, but prosecutors say that isn’t germane to whether Flynn lied.

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