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Thread: Ex-FBI Director Mueller appointed DOJ Special Counsel

  1. #1141
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    Trump administration looks to drop charges against two Russian firms 'exploiting case' to obtain sensitive information

    Donald Trump’s department of justice is seeking to drop charges against two Russian firms indicted by Robert Mueller, amid concerns they are seeking to exploit the process to obtain sensitive information, it has been reported.

    The firms, Concord Management and Concord Consulting, were among 13 Russians and three entities charged by the special prosecutor in February 2018, claiming they tried to subvert the 2016 election and to support the Trump campaign.

    “The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” Rod Rosenstein, then deputy attorney general, told reporters. “We must not allow them to succeed.”

    Now, the New York Times has reported prosecutors are looking to drop the charges because they believe the firms are seeking to exploit the process.

    Unlike the other firms charged, Concord fought the charges in court, the newspaper said.

    It said it used the case to try and obtain confidential information from prosecutors, then mount a campaign of “information warfare”, a senior Justice Department official said.

    The case was due to go to trial next month.

    But prosecutors have now urged the DoJ to drop the charges to protect national security.

    A court filing made on Monday, read: “Concord has been eager and aggressive in using the judicial system to gather information about how the United States detects and prevents foreign election interference.”
    ____________

    And the hits Just Keep COMING.

    But, you know, there's no need to secure America's elections against foreign interference...right? Because, if there was, the GOP wouldn't be blocking such efforts left and right and denying there's a problem in the first place!
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  2. #1142
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    The FBI knew the Dossier was Russian disinformation and used it to obtain FISA warrants...
    https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news...disinformation

  3. #1143
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    Lead Flynn prosecutor and Mueller Team Member, withdraws his appearance in the Flynn case and other cases after being found withholding information.
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/mue...th-court-order

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    'Never Seen Anything Like This': Experts Question Dropping of Flynn Prosecution

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, even though he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, was extraordinary and had no obvious precedent, a range of criminal law specialists said Thursday.

    “I’ve been practicing for more time than I care to admit and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Julie O’Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Georgetown University.

    The move is the latest in a series that the department, under Attorney General William Barr, has taken to undermine and dismantle the work of the investigators and prosecutors who scrutinized Russia’s 2016 election interference operation and its links to people associated with the Trump campaign.

    The case against Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador was brought by the office of the former special counsel, Robert Mueller. It had become a political cause for Trump and his supporters, and the president had signaled that he was considering a pardon once Flynn was sentenced. But Barr instead abruptly short-circuited the case.

    On Thursday, Timothy Shea, the interim U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, told the judge overseeing the case, Emmet G. Sullivan, that prosecutors were withdrawing the case. They were doing so, he said, because the department could not prove to a jury that Flynn’s admitted lies to the FBI about his conversations with the ambassador were “material” ones.

    The move essentially erases Flynn’s guilty pleas. Because he was never sentenced and the government is unwilling to pursue the matter further, the prosecution is virtually certain to end, although the judge must still decide whether to grant the department’s request to dismiss it “with prejudice,” meaning it could not be refiled in the future.

    A range of former prosecutors struggled to point to any previous instance in which the Justice Department had abandoned its own case after obtaining a guilty plea. They portrayed the justification Shea pointed to — that it would be difficult to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the lies were material — as dubious.

    “A pardon would have been a lot more honest,” said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Duke University.

    The law regarding what counts as “material” is extremely forgiving to the government, Buell added. The idea is that law enforcement is permitted to pursue possible theories of criminality and to interview people without having firmly established that there was a crime first.

    James G. McGovern, a defense lawyer at Hogan Lovells and a former federal prosecutor, said juries rarely bought a defendant’s argument that a lie did not involve a material fact.

    “If you are arguing ‘materiality,’ you usually lose, because there is a tacit admission that what you said was untrue, so you lose the jury,” he said.

    No career prosecutors signed the motion. Shea is a former close aide to Barr. In January, Barr installed him as the top prosecutor in the district that encompasses the nation’s capital after maneuvering out the Senate-confirmed former top prosecutor in that office, Jessie K. Liu.

    Soon after, in an extraordinary move, four prosecutors in the office abruptly quit the case against Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone. They did so after senior Justice Department officials intervened to recommend a more lenient prison term than standard sentencing guidelines called for in the crimes Stone was convicted of committing — including witness intimidation and perjury — to conceal Trump campaign interactions with WikiLeaks.

    It soon emerged that Barr had also appointed an outside prosecutor, Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, to review the Flynn case files. The department then began turning over FBI documents showing internal deliberations about questioning Flynn, like what warnings to give — even though such files are usually not provided to the defense.

    Flynn’s defense team has mined such files for ammunition to portray the FBI as running amok in its decision to question Flynn in the first place. The questioning focused on his conversations during the transition after the 2016 election with the Russian ambassador about the Obama administration’s imposition of sanctions on Russia for its interference in the American election.

    The FBI had already concluded that there was no evidence that Flynn, a former Trump campaign adviser, had personally conspired with Russia about the election, and it had decided to close out the counterintelligence investigation into him. Then questions arose about whether and why Flynn had lied to administration colleagues like Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the ambassador.

    Because the counterintelligence investigation was still open, the bureau used it as a basis to question Flynn about the conversations and decided not to warn him at its onset that it would be a crime to lie. Notes from Bill Priestap, then the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, show that he wrote at one point about the planned interview: “What’s our goal? Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

    Barr has also appointed another outside prosecutor, John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to reinvestigate the Russia investigators even though the department’s independent inspector general was already scrutinizing them.

    And his department has intervened in a range of other ways, from seeking more comfortable prison accommodations last year for Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, to abruptly dropping charges in March against two Russian shell companies that were about to go to trial for financing schemes to interfere in the 2016 election using social media.

    Barr has let it be known that he does not think the FBI ever had an adequate legal basis to open its Russia investigation in the first place, contrary to the judgment of the Justice Department’s inspector general.

    In an interview on CBS News on Thursday, Barr defended the dropping of the charges against Flynn on the grounds that the FBI “did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage.”

    Anne Milgram, a former federal prosecutor and former New Jersey attorney general who teaches criminal law at New York University, defended the FBI’s decision to question Flynn in January 2017. She said that much was still a mystery about the Russian election interference operation at the time and that Flynn’s lying to the vice president about his postelection interactions with a high-ranking Russian raised new questions.

    But, she argued, the more important frame for assessing the dropping of the case was to recognize how it fit into the larger pattern of the Barr-era department “undercutting the law enforcement officials and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 election and its aftermath,” which she likened to “eating the Justice Department from the inside out.”
    ____________
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

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