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The Mueller Investigation Page 7 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.
(CNN) Information the Justice Department collected from Roger Stone's iCloud accounts, email accounts and on computer hardware "span several years," special counsel Robert Mueller said Thursday. Mueller wants to place a protective order that would lock down the confidentiality of evidence collected against Stone, as the prosecutors begin sharing the documents with his legal team. Stone's attorneys have consented to this type of order from the judge, but the judge has not yet signed off. Orders like these are fairly typical in high-profile cases and are meant to prevent leaks of documents in the case. The evidence the Justice Department collected against Stone to charge him with lying to Congress and witness tampering includes "multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information consisting of, among other things, FBI case reports, search warrant applications and results (e.g., Apple iCloud accounts and email accounts), bank and financial records, and the contents of numerous physical devices (e.g., cellular phones, computers, and hard drives)."

(CNN) A pro-Russian Twitter account used information from a criminal case that Robert Mueller's team brought against a Russian social media company as part of a disinformation campaign, according to a new filing from the Justice Department. That publication of documents that had been shared with defense attorneys, but not made public in the ongoing case, was yet another disinformation campaign from Russia -- this time aimed at discrediting Mueller's investigation, federal prosecutors wrote in the filing Wednesday. "Certain non-sensitive discovery materials in the defense's possession appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system," prosecutors wrote. The documents -- though they did not contain sensitive information that could harm American national security -- should have never reached the public's view, the prosecutors said. In late October, the account @HackingRedstone posted on Twitter a webpage with documents from the criminal case against Concord Management and Consulting. The computer that had published the documents was in Russia, the FBI found. Some of the documents contained numbers and labels that the Justice Department had used to organize the evidence electronically. But the US government and Mueller's office hadn't been hacked. Instead, prosecutors say individuals who had access to the evidence in the case may have spread it. "Concord's request to send the sensitive discovery to the Russian Federation unreasonably risks the national security interests of the United States," prosecutors wrote. "Moreover, consistent with the apparent pro-Russian aim of the tweet, to the extent that the individuals who created the webpage reside outside the United States, this contravention is likely to go unpunished." The 13 Russians indicted alongside Concord have not appeared in US court, and they cannot be extradited by international authorities.

One former analyst at the Wikistrat consulting firm called it ‘disturbing.’Days after Donald Trump rode down an escalator at Trump Tower and announced he’d run for president, a little-known consulting firm with links to Israeli intelligence started gaming out how a foreign government could meddle in the U.S. political process. Internal communications, which The Daily Beast reviewed, show that the firm conducted an analysis of how illicit efforts might shape American politics. Months later, the Trump campaign reviewed a pitch from a company owned by that firm’s founder—a pitch to carry out similar efforts. The founder of the firm, called Wikistrat, has been questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team as they investigate efforts by foreign governments to shape American politics during the 2016 presidential campaign. Joel Zamel, a low-profile Israeli-Australian who started the firm, has deep contacts in Middle Eastern intelligence circles. There are no known publicly available pictures of him. But he met people in the upper echelons of the Trump campaign. In April 2016, senior Trump campaign official Rick Gates reviewed a pitch produced by a company called Psy Group, which Zamel reportedly owns. The pitch laid out a three-pronged election influence campaign that included creating thousands of fake social media accounts to support then-candidate Trump and disparage his opponents, according to The New York Times. After Trump became the party’s official nominee, Zamel met with Donald Trump Jr. and discussed the plan, which echoed both the real election interference already underway by the Kremlin and the scenario Wikistrat gamed out the year before. Zamel took part in at least two meetings in Washington in 2016 and 2017. And his staff at Psy Group made several connections about their social media manipulation plan with individuals who represented themselves as close to the Trump team.

(CNN) A defense attorney for Andrew Miller, who's fighting a subpoena from Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, learned Monday afternoon that the special counsel still wants witness testimony for a federal grand jury. Paul Kamenar, the defense attorney, says the assertion from Mueller's team made clear to him that Mueller and the Justice Department are considering an additional indictment of Roger Stone or have plans to charge others. The development sets up the potential for another twist in the Russia probe. It comes hours after acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said that Mueller's investigation was "close to being completed." Kamenar's client is Miller, a former employee of Stone's whom Mueller subpoenaed in mid-2018 to testify to the grand jury. In a court hearing about Miller's testimony, a judge made clear that Mueller sought information Miller had about Stone's communications regarding Wikileaks and Russian hackers around the time they disseminated damaging hacked Democratic emails. "The special counsel has advised me the grand jury is still interested in Andrew Miller, and they consider the case still a live case," Kamenar told CNN late Monday afternoon. Miller faces no criminal charges. Stone was indicted by the grand jury on Thursday for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of justice -- but the court papers against him alleged no crimes regarding actual contact between Americans and Julian Assange and the Russians. Stone will be arraigned in Washington Tuesday morning. A separate but related criminal case against Russian intelligence officers alleges Stone was in contact with them about the hacked documents in 2016, but Stone was not named in that case.

(CNN) A federal judge in Virginia has canceled Paul Manafort's sentencing set for February 8 until further notice because of the conflict over his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller. Judge TS Ellis said Manafort's sentencing should be delayed because the judge in Washington -- who is handling a second criminal case where Manafort pleaded guilty -- hasn't yet resolved prosecutors' allegation that he breached his plea deal. "Because it appears that resolution of the current dispute in defendant's prosecution in the District of Columbia may have some effect on the sentencing decision in this case, it is prudent and appropriate to delay sentencing in this case until the dispute in the DC case is resolved," Ellis wrote Monday.
A hearing is set for Monday regarding Manafort's breach of plea in DC, and it's not clear when that judge, Amy Berman Jackson, will rule on the issue. Manafort's attorneys have said he misremembered details when he spoke to investigators and did not intend to lie.

The head of the Justice Department said Monday that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation is nearing an end — the first official acknowledgment that the probe that has ensnared President Trump may soon reach a conclusion. Acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker made the comment during a news conference about an unrelated subject — indictments stemming from a Chinese technology firm. Asked about his view of the Mueller probe, given critical comments he had made while working as a television pundit before he started working at the Justice Department, Whitaker said that those statements were offered while he was as a private citizen. “I have been fully briefed on the investigation and I look forward to Director Mueller delivering the final report,” said Whitaker. “I am comfortable that the decisions that were made are going to be reviewed. . . . Right now, you know, the investigation is, I think, close to being completed.”

A bipartisan pair of senators want to require that a report from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, as well as from other Justice Department special counsels, is released publicly once the investigation ends. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), both members of the Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation Monday that would require a Department of Justice special counsel to hand over a report to Congress once either the probe ends or in the event a special counsel is fired or resigns. “A Special Counsel is appointed only in very rare serious circumstances involving grave violations of public trust. The public has a right and need to know the facts of such betrayals of public trust," Blumenthal said in a statement. Grassley added that requiring a public report would provide "oversight of and insight into activities" of a special counsel probe. "I was encouraged to hear attorney general nominee William Barr place a high priority on transparency when asked at his confirmation hearing about Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, and there’s no reason to think that Mueller won’t be allowed to finish his work," Grassley added. Mueller, or another special counsel, would have to turn over the report within two weeks and must include "all factual findings and underlying evidence," according to a release from Blumenthal's office. An unclassified version would be made public, according to the legislation. Requiring a public report comes after Barr was asked repeatedly about if he would allow any of Mueller's findings to be publicly released. Barr told members of the Judiciary Committee that it was his “intent” to release as much about Mueller’s findings as he can consistent with the law. But he stopped short of pledging to release the report in its entirety.

A tantalizing reference to a high-level campaign official hints at why the Trump confidant allegedly lied to Congress about his contacts with Wikileaks. The special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s indictment of Roger Stone on charges of lying to Congress, obstructing an official proceeding, and witness tampering plops the political provocateur in the hot, deep soup of the Russia scandal, and holds him under for what seems like an eternity. Stone promptly surfaced Friday—arms flung wide in Nixonian victory signs—to claim his arrest was “politically motivated” and promise he’ll plead not guilty. President Donald Trump used the occasion to reprise his “Witch Hunt” and “No Collusion” themes on Twitter. But the indictment trusses and binds Stone with emails and text messages of remarkable specificity that not even the best defense attorney will find easy to untangle. Stone, the indictment alleges, lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, Julian Assange’s organization that released the Russian-hacked Democratic National Committee emails and later the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. Stone impeded the congressional investigation with his false testimony and failure to surrender requested records, according to the indictment, and he tampered with a witness in the investigation, radio show host Randy Credico, whom the indictment refers to as Person 2 and whom Stone called his “intermediary” to Assange and the WikiLeaks trove. Stone allegedly coached Credico to do a “Frank Pentangeli” before the House Select Committee on Intelligence—Pentangeli being the character in The Godfather Part II who lies to a congressional committee as part of a conspiracy to protect mob boss Michael Corleone from prosecution. According to the indictment, Stone, after Credico decided that acting wasn’t for him, also threatened Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca. That can probably be dismissed as standard Stone barking. But the ominous “Prepare to die [expletive],” might be harder to explain.

Trump advisers lied over and over again, Mueller says. The question is, why? - Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey, Matt Zapotosky
They lied to the public for months before Donald Trump was elected — and then repeatedly after he took office. They lied to Congress as lawmakers sought to investigate Russia’s attack on American democracy in 2016. And they lied to the FBI, even when they knew lying was a crime. In indictments and plea agreements unveiled over the last 20 months, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has shown over and over again that some of President Trump’s closest friends and advisers have lied about Russia and related issues. On Friday, Mueller laid out a new allegation: that longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone lied to Congress and obstructed its probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. Trump and his associates have dismissed the serial deception as a sideshow that has little to do with the central question of the Mueller investigation: whether his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia. Following Stone’s indictment on Friday, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani scoffed, “Another false-statement case? God almighty.” But it is unclear if the special counsel shares that view. While Mueller has not accused any American of criminally coordinating with Russia, the lies meticulously unspooled by his prosecutors over 20 months have not been mere quibbles.

Self-anointed political dirty trickster Roger Stone will have to tread carefully as he prepares to defend against charges of obstructing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and lying about his communications with WikiLeaks. The no-nonsense judge assigned Stone’s case has already demonstrated that she’s got little patience for defendants who misbehave. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a gag order on Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and later revoked his bail and threw him in jail. “This is not middle school,” Jackson told Manafort’s lawyers before ordering him locked up in June for alleged witness tampering. “I can’t take his cellphone.” She also reprimanded Manafort’s lead attorney Kevin Downing for a sidewalk speech he gave after his client’s arraignment and soon after issued a gag order barring parties from discussing the case with the press.

Two former associates of Roger Stone indicated Friday that they are willing to testify against him in court. Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico, who have appeared before the grand jury impaneled by special counsel Robert Mueller and provided documents contradicting Stone's congressional testimony, signaled they would serve as witnesses if the case goes to trial. Stone, a longtime associate of President Trump who worked briefly on his campaign as an informal adviser, was arrested Friday on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. He is accused of making false statements during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, telling lawmakers he did not discuss his alleged backchannel to WikiLeaks over email or through text messages. Conservative conspiracy theorist Corsi told The Hill on Friday that it would be “very hard” for him to comment on whether Stone lied during congressional testimony, saying Stone “may have different perceptions.” But he said that if Stone’s case goes to trial and he were subpoenaed to appear as a witness, he would likely comply with the order. “I don’t see how I have any choice but to testify, and I would plan to do so,” Corsi said. “And I plan again to tell the truth.” Larry Klayman, Corsi’s attorney, said Friday that he couldn’t comment as to whether his client would testify. Stone has denied the charges against him, saying he will plead not guilty during his arraignment next week in Washington, D.C. Credico, a former New York radio host, declined to comment directly to The Hill, citing the advice of his attorneys. His lawyer, Martin R. Stoler, said that if Stone goes to trial, Credico would testify if called as a witness. Stoler also said the indictment backs up Credico’s statements that he was not Stone’s backchannel to WikiLeaks. “Randy has made a number of public statements in the past, and the indictment has been completely consistent with whatever Randy has said,” Stoler said. Stone for months has insisted that Credico was his backchannel to WikiLeaks. Credico, who had been friends with Stone for more than a decade, told The Hill last year that the friendship has ended. Other testimony and messages provided by both Corsi and Credico to the special counsel’s office indicate Stone sought more information on emails in WikiLeaks's possession, despite Stone telling congressional investigators that he had not.

Mueller says Manafort should get no credit for cooperating - Charlie Gile, Gary Grumbach, Adiel Kaplan
NBC News - Special counsel Robert Mueller's office no longer believes former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort should get any credit for his cooperation when he's sentenced next month, a prosecutor told the judge Friday. But prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said his office isn't planning to pursue additional charges based on Manafort's alleged lies to federal investigators after he agreed to cooperate in the investigation into Russian election interference. Weissmann also said the special counsel does not intend to bring Manafort to trial in the charges that were a part of his plea agreement. The hearing in Washington D.C. followed several competing court motions from the two sides on the issue of Manafort's statements to FBI agents and prosecutors. Manafort's lawyers have argued that he did not intentionally mislead investigators. "We believe that whether there was a breach contends on whether or not he intentionally lied," said defense attorney Richard Westling. "He did not intentionally lie." Mueller's prosecutors said Manafort told "multiple discernible lies" that were not instances of "mere memory lapses."

An odd, two-tiered narrative has long unfolded around the Russia scandal. In much media commentary, there’s been a deeply baked-in skepticism that the Trump campaign could possibly have conspired with Russian interference in the 2016 election — even as more and more evidence of that “collusion” has surfaced. Media figures sometimes still say “there’s no evidence of collusion,” even though we already know, among other things, that top Trump campaign officials met with Russians in the eager hope of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton gathered by the Russian government. We still don’t know whether the “collusion” being established amounts to criminal conspiracy, but we do know that “collusion” happened. On Friday morning, the “no collusion” narrative took yet another big blow, with the news that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has indicted longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone. Stone has been charged with obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering. I want to focus on one particular nugget in the indictment that may add substantially to our understanding of what this conspiracy might — repeat, might — look like. First, recall that on July 22, 2016, Wikileaks released thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s system.

The special counsel’s latest indictment is rich with details about the coordination with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. The indictment of Roger Stone, who was arrested Friday by the FBI and charged with lying to Congress, provides the first detailed evidence that Stone was a go-between for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. In 2016, WikiLeaks had and released a large numbers of emails that had been stolen by Russian intelligence from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Stone’s coordination between the campaign and WikiLeaks is substantive, from what the court filings show. Stone, a Republican political operative and confidant of Trump, got advance notice of WikiLeaks document releases that he passed on to the Trump campaign. That included information about an “October surprise,” which turned out to be the leaking of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. Stone also allegedly sent messages back to Assange, through intermediaries, specifying the precise content of Clinton emails he would like to see leaked. All this appears, according to the indictment, to be supported by documentary evidence in the form of emails. If accurate, it proves a degree of coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks — which was getting its leak material from Russian intelligence. The circle of collusion therefore runs from Russian intelligence to Assange to Stone to the Trump campaign, and back again at least as far as Assange. We already knew that special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating Stone’s contacts with Assange through right-wing journalist Jerome Corsi and radio personality Randy Credico, who are identified in Stone’s indictment as Person 1 and Person 2, respectively.

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter. Well, today, it’s Roger Stone’s time in the barrel. The headline this morning is that Stone, the former adviser to President Donald Trump, was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller of obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering — making him the latest Trump associate to get indicted or plead guilty. But inside of Mueller’s indictment is an even bigger story: a list of the times when Stone was communicating with the Trump campaign and its associates about the WikiLeaks email releases that ended up rocking Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the final month of the 2016 presidential election.     “During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1” — WikiLeaks — “and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.” (Page 2). “STONE also continued to communicate with members of the Trump Campaign about Organization 1 and its intended future releases.” (Page 2).

Former CIA Director John Brennan on Friday predicted that there will be more indictments coming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, including “a significant number of names that will be quite familiar to the average American.” Brennan, who has emerged as a frequent critic of Trump, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” shortly after news broke that longtime Trump associate Roger Stone was indicted and arrested by the FBI. Brennan said he expects there to be a “significant number of indictments” within the next 60 days related to the probe of Russian interference and potential collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Moscow. “I expect there to be a significant number, and a significant number of names that will be quite familiar to the average American,” he added. Brennan said Mueller’s investigation is showing that there was an “extensive effort” to influence the election that involved both Russians and Americans. “That may have gone to the very top of the Trump campaign,” Brennan added. “I think the shows that are yet to drop are going to be the ones that are going to be the most profound and that will hit the people at the top of the organization.” Brennan clarified that may or may not include the president himself or members of his family. “Clearly they have been talked to, they have been interviewed by the FBI. There is a fair amount of vulnerability that they might have on this,” Brennan said. “But, again, I defer to the special counsel’s office to make the determination about whether what they did crossed that threshold from collusion — which I think is quite evident — to criminal conspiracy.” Brennan has a long-running feud with Trump, who revoked the former CIA director's security clearance last year after repeated criticism from Brennan on cable television and Twitter. Stone, who worked as an informal adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, was indicted on seven counts in connection with Mueller's investigation, including one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime informal adviser to President Trump, was charged as part of the special counsel investigation over his communications with WikiLeaks, the organization behind the release of thousands of stolen Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign, in an indictment unsealed Friday. Mr. Stone was charged with seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering, according to the special counsel’s office. Before dawn on Friday, F.B.I. agents arrested Mr. Stone at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and he was expected to appear in a federal courthouse there later in the morning. The indictment is the first in months by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination with Trump campaign associates. Mr. Stone’s lawyer, Grant Smith, dismissed the charges, calling them “ridiculous,” and said, “this is all about a minor charge about lying to Congress about something that was apparently found later.”

CNN)An attempt before the Supreme Court for a company to dodge a grand jury subpoena related to the Mueller investigation revealed a new twist Tuesday: that the company is wholly owned by a foreign government. In essence, the foreign nation is fighting off the US Justice Department's attempt to collect information as it builds a criminal case. The development comes in a redacted petition the country filed with the Supreme Court that was made public Tuesday. The case concerns an unnamed corporation that is fighting a subpoena request from a DC-based grand jury. Lower courts have ruled that the company must turn over the information and imposed a $50,000 fine for every day it failed to do so following the appeal. CNN previously reported that prosecutors from the special counsel's office were involved in the case at its early stages, suggesting that special counsel Robert Mueller sought the information from the company for grand jury proceedings related to his criminal investigations. The case then continued through the court system with an unusual amount of secrecy around it, so that even the lawyers involved could not be seen at a later hearing. In ruling against the company, the appeals court said the request fell within an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that limits foreign governments from being sued in US courts. The court also held that the company had not shown that its own country's law bar compliance. Overall, the country argues to the Supreme Court that a ruling forcing it to turn over information to the US in a criminal investigation will upset international diplomacy. "The D.C. circuit's parade of horribles finds no support in U.S. history. Since America's founding, foreign states have been immune from American criminal jurisdiction, and yet the United States is not overrun with criminal syndicates backed by foreign states," the attorneys for the foreign country wrote. Regarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines it will have to pay for noncompliance, "The conflict is real and, like the other questions presented, has ramifications for America's relationships with other countries," the filing adds.

(CNN)Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has expressed interest in the Trump campaign's relationship with the National Rifle Association during the 2016 campaign. "When I was interviewed by the special counsel's office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA," Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, told CNN. The special counsel's team was curious to learn more about how Donald Trump and his operatives first formed a relationship with the NRA and how Trump wound up speaking at the group's annual meeting in 2015, just months before announcing his presidential bid, Nunberg said. Nunberg's interview with Mueller's team in February 2018 offers the first indication that the special counsel has been probing the Trump campaign's ties to the powerful gun-rights group. As recently as about a month ago, Mueller's investigators were still raising questions about the relationship between the campaign and the gun group, CNN has learned. A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment. The NRA did not respond to a request for comment. President Trump was not asked about his connection with the NRA in the written questions Mueller posed to him, according to a source familiar with the questions. The NRA had already come under scrutiny from lawmakers for its massive spending in support of Trump in 2016 and its ties to Russian nationals. Maria Butina, a Russian national, pleaded guilty in DC federal court in December to engaging in a conspiracy against the US. As part of her plea, she acknowledged that she attempted to infiltrate GOP political circles and influence US relations with Russia, in part by building ties with prominent members of the NRA.

President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Bill Barr, agreed during sworn testimony earlier this week that a president who persuades someone to commit perjury is committing the crime of obstruction of justice. Barr’s answer to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., went viral after a BuzzFeed report that Trump had directed his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about an aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump currently is being investigated for obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller. Just because the president does it doesn’t make it legal, President Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general says. William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney, earlier this week agreed during sworn testimony in the Senate that a president who persuades someone to commit perjury is committing the crime of obstruction of justice. “Any person who persuades another to” commit perjury has obstructed justice, Barr told Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Tuesday at his confirmation hearing at the Judiciary Committee. Barr’s televised admission of that otherwise uncontroversial fact rocketed around social media Thursday night after a bombshell BuzzFeed report. BuzzFeed, citing law-enforcement sources, said Trump directed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017 to lie to Congress in sworn statements about details of an aborted effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Russia. - Trump has committed obstruction of justice multiple times LOCK HIM UP!

Psy Group delivered plans for ‘social media manipulation’ in 2016 and the special counsel is digging in as part of his probe into Mideast influence. Rick Gates, the former campaign aide to Donald Trump, is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether individuals from the Middle East worked with the Trump campaign to influence the election, according to two individuals with first-hand knowledge of the investigation. Gates has answered questions specifically about Psy Group, an Israeli firm that ex-employees say drew up social media manipulation plans to help the Trump campaign, according to sources familiar with the questions. Mueller’s team also asked Gates about interactions with Psy Group’s owner, Joel Zamel, and Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, who worked as an emissary for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the sources said. On Tuesday, Mueller’s team said that Gates was cooperating with “several ongoing investigations” in asking a federal judge to delay his sentencing for financial crimes he pleaded guilty to committing with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. One of the ongoing investigations is into possible Middle Eastern election influence, three people with knowledge of the probe told The Daily Beast.

The Mueller indictments so far: Lies, trolls and hacks - Jesus Rodriguez and Beatrice Jin.
(Politico) At least 33 people and three companies have been charged so far as a result of the special counsel’s investigation into 2016 election tampering. Since former FBI chief Robert Mueller was appointed to probe potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russians during the 2016 campaign, the special counsel has held Americans spellbound. His investigation has exposed illegal schemes across international borders and produced more than 100 criminal charges. Inside the White House, the probe has, at times, consumed President Donald Trump and his inner circle. Here are all the people Mueller has charged so far.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has zeroed in on at least three new witnesses associated with a conservative commentator connected to former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, signaling that investigators remain focused on the activities of Stone and his associates despite the continued public silence on a matter long thought to be close to resolution.  ABC News has learned that at least three new witnesses connected to Stone associate Jerome Corsi – the former Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the far-right internet site Infowars – have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury hearing testimony on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Copies of those subpoenas delivered to two individuals late last year bear Mueller’s name and call for the retention and producing of documents, communication logs and other records involving two people: Corsi and Stone.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort spoke to a federal grand jury last fall about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, including regarding an in-person meeting with the Russian associate and an email with him, special counsel Robert Mueller revealed Tuesday. The 31-page filing gives an unprecedented window into Mueller's work with the grand jury, which is typically secret. It's also the first confirmation from prosecutors that Kilimnik is still central to the grand jury's efforts. Based on recent filings from Mueller's team, Kilimnik appears to be at the heart of pieces of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The special counsel kept more details about the meeting secret in its Tuesday filing, such as what the in-person meeting was about and when it took place. An accompanying document with about 70 exhibits is also mostly redacted. Mueller's team has been redacting information in its recent court filings to protect other individuals and to keep secret its ongoing investigations, of which there are multiple still in the works. But the special counsel has not redacted Kilimnik's name. Mueller also revealed Tuesday that Manafort communicated with Kilimnik beginning on August 2, 2016.

Mueller Probes an Event With Nunes, Flynn, and Foreign Officials at Trump’s D.C. Hotel - Erin Banco, Asawin Suebsaeng, Betsy Woodruff, Spencer Ackerman
Devin Nunes has been a pitbull for the president, growling at the prosecutors investigating Trumpworld. Now an event that Nunes himself attended is under Mueller’s microscope. The Special Counsel’s Office and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are scrutinizing a meeting involving former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, one-time National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and dozens of foreign officials, according to three sources familiar with the investigations. The breakfast event, which was first reported by The Daily Sabah, a pro-government Turkish paper, took place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. at 8.30 a.m. on Jan. 18, 2017—two days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. About 60 people were invited, including diplomats from governments around the world, according to those same sources. The breakfast has come under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Manhattan as part of their probe into whether the Trump inaugural committee misspent funds and if donors tried to buy influence in the White House. The existence of that probe was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The Special Counsel’s Office is also looking at the breakfast as part of its investigation into whether foreigners contributed money to the Trump inaugural fund and PAC by possibly using American intermediaries, as first reported by The New York Times. Robert Mueller’s team has asked Flynn about the event, according to two sources familiar with the Special Counsel’s Office questioning.

Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein has said that he’s been told that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report will show how President Donald Trump helped Russia “destabilize the United States.” Bernstein, who is renowned for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to discuss two bombshell reports released this weekend, one from The New York Times and one from The Washington Post, which revealed new details about whether or not Trump and his aides have colluded with Russia. The Post reported that Trump has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to conceal direct conversations he has had with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Times article revealed that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump after he fired former bureau director James Comey in 2017, suspecting the president could be working on behalf of Russia. Trump has angrily denied allegations that he worked with Russia and has regularly attacked the media for reporting on the investigation. But Bernstein slammed Trump’s dismissal of the probe. “This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in  the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and  actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting,  unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir  Putin,'” Bernstein explained during his appearance on Reliable Sources.

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said. Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson. The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries. - What is Trump hiding from the American people? What classified information did Trump give Putin? Will the American people ever know what Trump and his handler talked about?

Following a report that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump's relationship with Russia, former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi said it is likely that Robert Mueller indeed has "classified" evidence. “I think this is particularly sobering, even for career counterintelligence professionals who always in the back of their minds think there is an outside possibility someone could rise to high office who might be playing for another team,” Figliuzzi said during an appearance on MSNBC's AM Joy. "To see this in writing, to hear this report — if it’s accurate to say the bureau actually opened a case on Donald J. Trump — is really like hitting the American people in the gut." Figluizzi and AM Joy host Joy Reid referenced a report from the New York Times, published on Friday, which revealed that the FBI began the counterintelligence investigation just days after former FBI director James Comey was fired. The goal of the investigation, the Times said, was to determine if Trump "was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence." While Mueller took over the counterintelligence case and combined it with his own investigation, the Times was unable to determine if he is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter.

Friday night, the New York Times published a bombshell report that the FBI has been investigating whether President Trump “had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” The story reframes the focus and purpose of the investigation now headed by Robert Mueller. The probe is not just about Russian election interference, or about Trump’s obstruction of the probe — it is about the secret relationship between Trump and Russia that appears to be causing both these things to happen. The first question to ask yourself when absorbing this story is, what does it mean for a president to be working for Russia, and against the United States? Trump frequently says the United States would be better off if it got along better with Russia — and that position, right or wrong, is certainly not criminally suspect. Presidents obviously have the right to change American foreign policy, and to forge friendships with countries that had been previously hostile. Nixon’s overtures to China, or Obama’s opening of relations with Cuba, did not set off criminal investigations. The FBI would not investigate a president simply for harboring friendly views of a rival state. The potential that Trump is working on behalf of Russia, therefore, by definition posits some kind of corrupt secret relationship. That is to say, it’s an investigation into whether Trump is a Russian asset.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has looked into the presence of several Ukrainian officials at President Trump's inauguration, The New York Times reported Thursday. The  news outlet reported that federal prosecutors have interviewed  witnesses about how the Ukrainians gained access to inaugural events and  what they discussed during meetings while in the U.S. At least a  dozen Ukrainians attended the inauguration, including several who were  at the official Liberty Ball, The Times reported. The officials also  stopped by the Trump International Hotel and brushed with congressional  Republicans and Trump allies, the news outlet said. Investigators  are reportedly looking into evidence that at least some of the  Ukrainians held agendas that aligned with Russian interests, including  some who sought to ease sanctions on Moscow and pitch a peace plan  between Russia and the Ukraine.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators met last year with a pollster who worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, CNN reports. GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio is a former associate of Trump’s one-time campaign chief Paul Manafort. The report adds more intrigue to the recent revelation that Manafort himself was accused by Mueller of sharing polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, whom Mueller has alleged holds “ties to a Russian intelligence service.” Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators met last year with a pollster who worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and is a former associate of Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort, according to a new report. The report from CNN adds more intrigue to the recent revelation that Manafort himself was accused by Mueller of sharing polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, whom Mueller has alleged holds “ties to a Russian intelligence service,” during the 2016 election. Mueller has been investigating Russia’s meddling in that election, as well as possible coordination between the Kremlin and Trump campaign-related figures. Some Democrats and pundits see Manafort’s distribution of the polling data as new evidence of possible collusion.

FOX News host Shep Smith talks to network legal correspondent Judge Andrew Napolitano about Paul Manafort sharing polling data with a person who is believed to "source for Russian intelligence." Napolitano said, "if this is collusion, "though collusion isn't a crime, this would be collusion." JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: This shows that Bob Mueller can demonstrate to a court, without the testimony of Paul Manafort, that the campaign had a connection to Russian intelligence and the connection involved information going from the campaign to the Russians. The question is, was this in return for a promise of something from the Russians, and did the candidate, now the president, know about it? SHEP SMITH: And would that be a conspiracy? NAPOLITANO: Yes. Conspiracy is an agreement to commit a crime. The crime would be to receive something of value from the foreign person or government during a campaign. Whether or not the thing of value arrives, the agreement is what is the crime. There was apparently an agreement between the campaign manager and this Russian oligarch. What the oligarch did with the material we gave him, who the campaign manager, Manafort, spoke to in the campaign, Bob Mueller has yet to reveal... SHEP SMITH: If this is collusion, though collusion isn't a crime, this would be collusion. NAPOLITANO: The crime is the conspiracy, the agreement. Collusion is a nonlegal term. SMITH: Oh, I know, but if there's collusion, giving stuff to the Russians about polling data. NAPOLITANO: That would probably fit into that kind of a category.

Meanwhile, federal workers are still without pay. Despite his attempts to cause confusion and chaos with a national address on the proposed border wall - in which he said very little - the heat of the Mueller investigation is clearly getting to Donald. So much so that he's considerably strengthened his legal team in order to help protect himself as the feared contents of Mueller's report loom. The significantly larger team has been assembled with the aim of preventing Trump's discussions with top legal advisors being disclosed to House Democrats or revealed in Mueller's forthcoming report. The Independent report that, "The strategy to strongly assert the president's executive privilege on both fronts is being developed under newly arrived White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who has hired 17 lawyers in recent weeks to help in the effort." Were Trump to succeed in blocking areas of Mueller's report from becoming public it would enrage Democrats, many of which have long been hoping the contents of the report will give them grounds to issue subpoenas. With the report potentially due as soon as next month, Democrats are especially concerned that Trump's legal team is attempting to conceal obstruction of justice by the president - an impeachable offence.

Special counsel Robert Mueller sought information directly last year from one of Donald Trump's campaign pollsters who is also a former business associate of Paul Manafort's. Mueller's team met with pollster Tony Fabrizio in February 2018, an interview that has not been previously reported and takes on new significance after Manafort's attorneys revealed that Mueller's team is still interested in how Manafort shared polling data with his Russian intelligence-linked colleague. CNN journalists observed Fabrizio leaving the special counsel's office on the first of February last year and have since confirmed he was meeting with Mueller's team.

(CNN)On Tuesday we learned -- thanks to a redaction error in a filing in the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference -- that Paul Manafort met with a Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilimnik during the course of the 2016 campaign. And in that meeting, according to special counsel Robert Mueller's office, Manafort discussed policies related to the Russia-Ukraine relationship and shared polling data about the 2016 campaign with Kilimnik. That. Is. Huge. You'll remember that President Donald Trump's constant refrain when it comes to Manafort, who has already been convicted of a series of financial crimes related to his dealing with the Ukrainian government, is that any and all charges against him happened well before he entered Trump's orbit. "Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign," tweeted Trump in October 2017. "But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????" Which, until we got a look at the accidentally unredacted material on Tuesday, was true! While you could argue -- and many people have -- that Trump should have done his due diligence on Manafort, who had spent years advising foreign governments, before hiring him to run his campaign in the spring of 2016, it was hard to dispute Trump's main point that any and all wrongdoing by Manafort happened prior to his being involved with Trump. Except, not now. Manafort, according to the filings, had conversations with Kilimnik, who is suspected to be a member of the Russian intelligence organization, while he was serving as the head of Trump's campaign. (Manafort's official title was "campaign chairman" but functioned as campaign manager during his time with Trump.) Those conversations apparently came even as Russian officials were hacking into the email servers at the Democratic National Committee -- which led to a series of damaging leaks via the website WikiLeaks later in 2016.

Lawyers working for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort accidentally revealed on Tuesday the clearest public evidence of coordination between the campaign and Russians, adding new details to the murky mosaic of potential collusion in 2016 -- including sharing polling data with an alleged Russian operative. The explosive new information was buried in a court filing from Manafort's lawyers, though the portions about his contacts with a shadowy Russian during the campaign were meant to be redacted. But the document was fully searchable, even the blacked-out parts, revealing fresh details about the core of the ongoing investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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