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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!
    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

    Comment


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

      Comment


      • 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

        Comment


        • '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.”
          ____________
          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

          Comment


          • Sen. Lindsey Graham said he will call Robert Mueller to testify before his committee

            WASHINGTON – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday he will grant a request from Democrats to call Robert Mueller to testify before his committee, after the former Russia special counsel penned an op-ed pushing back against President Donald Trump's decision to commute the sentence of a longtime ally.

            Mueller broke his yearlong silence Saturday, defending the prosecution of Roger Stone and the broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In an op-ed published in The Washington Post, Mueller said the flamboyant political operative was "prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes."

            "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so," Mueller wrote.

            Mueller's remarks, prompted by Trump's commutation of Stone's 40-month prison sentence Friday, are the first since he testified before a House committee last year after his team brought charges against at least a half-dozen Trump associates during his campaign and after he took office.

            Stone, who was supposed to begin serving his sentence Tuesday, was the last person charged as a result of Mueller's nearly two-year investigation. Mueller's voluminous report, released last year, found that the Trump campaign was an eager beneficiary to Russia's systematic efforts to help Trump win the presidency, but it did not find a conspiracy with the Kremlin. The report also identified instances of possible obstructive behavior by Trump, including attempting to get Mueller fired.

            Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of Trump's fiercest allies in Congress, previously rejected calls from Democrats to have Mueller testify before the committee. That appears to have changed.

            "Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post," Graham said Sunday.

            In a letter to Graham last year, Senate Democrats said Mueller's report, while comprehensive, leaves many outstanding questions, including about Trump's personal and business ties in Moscow and his campaign's efforts to obtain emails damaging to then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

            "We believe Robert Mueller would be best-suited to answer these and other questions – from both sides of the aisle – and we feel the Committee would benefit greatly from his testimony," according to the letter.
            _____________

            Like a zombie, it just keeps coming back to life. Some things you just can't bury deep enough I guess.
            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

            Comment


            • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
              [B][SIZE=4]_____________

              Like a zombie, it just keeps coming back to life. Some things you just can't bury deep enough I guess.
              If he is not careful, this could be a real own goal for the GOP.
              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
              Mark Twain

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                If he is not careful, this could be a real own goal for the GOP.
                Apparently he hasn't given any time frame for Mueller to appear, so until Mueller's sitting in front of the microphone, this is just talk on Graham's part....albeit still rather surprising.
                Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                Comment


                • The Stone Saga may not yet be over....

                  https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/12/opini...ieb/index.html
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                    The Stone Saga may not yet be over....

                    https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/12/opini...ieb/index.html
                    Stone's case presents narrow circumstances unique in our history. US presidents have broad powers to pardon and commute sentences. However, here we have federal law enforcement neutralized by a president's commutation rewarding the cover-up to protect Trump. A state prosecution would put on trial a man we know is guilty.

                    Far outweighing any legal risk of bringing Stone to justice in New York is the national benefit: Standing up for the rule of law, showing that it survives in the offices of state prosecutors, if not in the White House.
                    The damage that having an amoral criminal like Donald Trump is office is verging on incalculable.
                    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                    Comment


                    • NPR Book Review: In 'True Crimes,' Toobin Presents A Summation For The Jury In The Case Against Trump

                      At some point in the future, it is entirely possible that the full details of Donald Trump's business affairs, personal imbroglios and political maneuverings will be laid bare to the public. Should that happen, it is easy to imagine much of the world wondering how the man got away with so much for so long.

                      In that hour, readers may well turn to True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump. This tome by Jeffrey Toobin, the longtime CNN legal analyst and contributor to The New Yorker, analyzes Trump's survival in the face of two major investigations during his first years in the presidency. It also asks whether the magic charm that saw Trump through these travails will suffice for him to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

                      This 450-page work is more than a journalist emptying his notebook of all his interviews and insights. It is more than a legal expert analyzing how the best work of talented and committed lawyers could be frustrated by governmental rules and rivalries within the executive and legislative powers in our federal system.

                      Perhaps its highest function is as a condensation of the best evidence against the presidency and character of Donald Trump, a summation offered up much as a prosecutor would do in seeking to sway a jury.

                      Few who are familiar with Toobin's career, or his previous seven books about law and power, will be surprised that he finds fault with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's two-year investigation of Trump and the extensive interference by Russian operatives in the 2016 election.

                      "Mueller's caution and reticence led him to fail at his two most important tasks," Toobin writes. "Thanks to the clever actions (and strategic inaction) of Trump's legal team, Mueller failed to obtain a meaningful interview with Trump himself. Even worse, Mueller convinced himself — wrongly — that he had to write a final report that was nearly incomprehensible to ordinary citizens in its legal conclusions."

                      Worst of all, Toobin contends, the form and manner of Mueller's report played directly into the hands of Mueller's immediate boss, Attorney General William Barr, who was able to suppress the document and distort it as a total exoneration of the president.


                      In the end, of course, Toobin concedes he faces the same dilemma as Mueller himself. There's a wealth of evidence indicating the Russians strove mightily to interfere in the 2016 election and did so with a conscious wish of defeating Hillary Clinton and electing Donald Trump. Moreover, the Trump campaign's response was to be fascinated, intrigued. "Certainly Mueller found abundant evidence that Trump and his campaign wanted to collude and conspire with Russia," Toobin says, "but they hadn't been able to close the deal."

                      Yet the best admissible evidence Mueller or Toobin could find suggests the Russians did their thing and Trump's campaign did its own. They may have shared goals, but there was not enough beyond that to sustain a charge of conspiracy in a court of law.

                      There may have been a far clearer case for charging Trump with obstruction of justice, as he attempted several times to have someone fire Mueller and end the special counsel's investigation. There were also indications that pardons were being dangled to persuade Manafort and others not to "flip" and testify against the president. But without an actual firing of the special counsel or the actual granting of pardons, Mueller had less to work with.

                      Complicating all this was the decades-old policy of the Justice Department saying that a president could not be indicted while in office. This was a relic of the 1970s era when President Richard Nixon was on the brink of impeachment, a legal opinion rendered by the department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and never repudiated.

                      Whatever the legal merits of the OLC policy itself, Toobin is dismayed that Mueller took it a step further. Mueller's report clearly stated that it was not exonerating the president, adding that it would have done so if the evidence supported exoneration. Yet Mueller refused to say explicitly that he was only withholding an indictment because of the OLC-imposed ban. Instead, Mueller insisted that such an "if only I could" statement, in the absence of an actual indictment, would leave the president standing accused de facto with no means of clearing his name.

                      Toobin tells us this attitude, combined with Mueller's studied air of dispassion and detachment, left the prodigious work product of the special counsel's team vulnerable to misinterpretation and dismissal. And that was precisely what happened. Barr, who had denounced Mueller's investigation almost from the moment it began (when Barr was still a private citizen), received Mueller's report and called it total exoneration. Mueller raised mild objections in a statement, but the president and his supporters celebrated and never looked back.

                      But Toobin is not writing exclusively about the Mueller saga, as he segues in the book's later chapters to the subsequent scandal and impeachment trial over Trump's dealings with Ukraine. The shift is foreshadowed when Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud based on his alliances with pro-Russian factions in Ukraine. Even after agreeing to cooperate with federal authorities, Manafort is still adjudged to be lying to protect those connections.

                      We also see Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and presidential candidate, traveling to Ukraine to collect dirt on the son of Joe Biden, a probable Democratic candidate against Trump at the time. Soon we have Trump himself calling the president of Ukraine and speaking of military aid to that country in the same breath with his personal desire for an investigation of the Bidens. The rest, as we know, is history. The phone call led to Trump's becoming the third president in history to be impeached.

                      Ultimately, Trump was acquitted in the Senate, so the impeachment process came up as empty as Mueller's probe. Yet Toobin is far more respectful of the managers of impeachment, starting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is nearly always described in magisterial terms. Toobin is also impressed with Adam Schiff, the Southern California congressman featured in the impeachment proceedings in the House and Senate.

                      But no amount of evidence or lawyering was enough to break the phalanx of the Republican majority's resistance in the Senate. With the lone exception of Mitt Romney of Utah, every member of the president's party voted for acquittal.

                      There is a great deal of detail amassed here that even hardcore Trump investigation junkies will not have seen. Much of it has to do with behind-the-scenes strategizing and negotiating by the myriad lawyers involved on all sides — the FBI, Mueller's team, the White House, other executive offices and both parties in both chambers of Congress. Toobin is fascinated not only by the language of, say, the impeachment articles themselves, but by the individuals who drafted them, reviewed them or lent their imprimatur.

                      In fact, while True Crimes offers a one-stop catalog of the legal proceedings surrounding the Trump presidency, it can also be read as a who's who of the legal profession in Washington and New York. More than a dozen key attorneys each rate pages of description and detailed narrative, while dozens more make cameo appearances or get drive-by mentions.

                      Many will recognize the main names, but most have mercifully forgotten the likes of Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels' suit against Trump. Most of us had also forgotten the early phases of Trump's negotiations with Mueller that were handled by the likes of Ty Cobb and John Dowd. Later we meet Jay Sekulow, who plays a role in both the Mueller matter and the impeachment struggle and continues to represent Trump in current cases. Toobin has plenty to say about them all.

                      One attorney after another appears, like Shakespeare's "poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more." In a few cases, these players continue strutting and fretting right out the back end of the book and remain very much in the news today. One such is Michael Cohen, one of a host of Trump's personal lawyers who seem willing to do anything for him. Cohen gets caught up in Mueller's web, handed off to the U.S. Attorney in New York City for prosecution on unrelated crimes and then sent to jail on an ill-advised and poorly rewarded guilty plea. Cohen has recently been in and out of prison, and is now at work on what is touted to be an explosive tell-all.

                      We also hear Trump bellowing "Where's my Roy Cohn?" –- a familiar wail to those who have tried in vain to please him on legal matters. Cohn advised Trump and his father on a federal discrimination-in-housing case in the 1970s and later became a kind of mentor for the younger Trump. Cohn was also known for his work for red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy and later for various figures from organized crime.

                      Another intriguing figure highlighted at length is Donald McGahn, who was chairman of the Federal Election Commission and then a campaign law advisor to Trump before becoming his first White House attorney. McGahn is an unusually colorful figure, known for his lead guitar work with a cover band in East Coast rock clubs as well as for being a partner in the nationally eminent law firm of Jones Day. McGahn had some 30 hours of interviews with Mueller's team, souring his relationship with the president and leading to a quiet departure from the White House (he called it his "Irish exit").

                      It is a notable irony that while Toobin expressed disappointment with Mueller's key decisions, he always describes Mueller himself in terms of respect that border on reverence. His treatment of Giuliani the person, by contrast, is critical to the point of contempt. He finds some of Giuliani's TV appearances cringe-worthy, as when he tells NBC's Chuck Todd: "Truth isn't truth."

                      Yet he tips his professional cap to Giuliani the lawyer, saying "his methods had been unconventional, to be sure, but his public advocacy for Trump had transformed Robert Mueller's image from that of a revered public servant into that of just another partisan actor." Beyond that, Toobin credits Giuliani's leadership when the Trump team avoids an interview with Mueller and negotiates "a nearly risk-free substitute of written questions and answers, only about the campaign period."

                      Toobin is often most respectful of people such as Marie Yovanovitch and William Taylor, ambassadors who represented the U.S. in Ukraine and held out against White House pressure. Their testimony was key to the House hearings on impeachment, as was that of former Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Each of these witnesses has paid a professional price for telling what they knew of Trump and the ways he deals with business rivals, political opponents, critical journalists, former wives and associates and employees and, yes, even foreign leaders.

                      Most of what is new here is at the level of detail. The broad outlines and the key quotations from the Mueller saga and from the subsequent impeachment and trial of the president have been the stuff of nightly news, daily papers and constant Twitter feeds for years.

                      But Toobin has gathered such a weight of evidence and such a chorus of witnesses that his summation is more damning than the sum of its parts. By integrating the Russian interference story with all the twists and turns of Trump's defensive moves and the segue to the Ukraine arms-for-favors deal, Toobin presents a persuasive summation to the jury of his readers.
                      ______________

                      The verdict of history upon Donald Trump and his Family will not be kind.
                      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                      Comment


                      • U.S. Senate committee concludes Russia used Manafort, WikiLeaks to boost Trump in 2016

                        WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia used Republican political operative Paul Manafort, the WikiLeaks website and others to try to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help now-U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign, a Senate intelligence panel report said on Tuesday.

                        WikiLeaks played a key role in Russia's effort to assist Republican Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton and likely knew it was helping Russian intelligence, said the report, which is likely to be the most definitive public account of the 2016 election controversy.

                        The report found President Vladimir Putin personally directed the Russian efforts to hack computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and leak information damaging to Clinton.

                        The panel, formally called the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also alleged Manafort collaborated with Russians, including oligarch Oleg Deripaska and an alleged Russian intelligence operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, before during and after the election.


                        The panel found Manafort's role and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence, saying his "high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services... represented a grave counterintelligence threat."

                        It was not clear what effect, if any, the report might have on the current U.S. presidential campaign in which Trump faces Democrat Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 U.S. election.

                        Opinion polls show former vice president Biden has built an expansive lead in nearly every battleground state that Trump won narrowly in 2016, as the Republican's approval numbers tumble amid the coronavirus pandemic.

                        Russia's alleged election interference, which Moscow denies, sparked a two-year-long U.S. investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

                        Mueller found no conclusive evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in a report released last year. He pointed at 10 instances in which Trump may have attempted to impede his investigation but did not say whether this amounted to obstruction of justice.

                        Trump and his supporters have consistently bristled at suggestions foreign interference helped his upset 2016 victory and sought to discredit the intelligence agencies' findings as the politically charged work of a "deep state."

                        Founded by Julian Assange, WikiLeaks published thousands of emails hacked from Clinton's campaign and a top campaign aide in the weeks before the 2016 election, yielding a drum beat of negative coverage about the Democrat.

                        "WikiLeaks actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian campaign and very likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort, the report said, saying the panel found "significant indications that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have benefited from Russian government support."

                        As Russian military intelligence and WikiLeaks released the hacked documents, the report said Trump's campaign sought advance notice, devised messaging strategies to amplify them "and encouraged further theft of information and ... leaks."

                        "The Trump campaign publicly undermined the attribution of the hack-and-leak campaign to Russia and was indifferent to whether it and WikiLeaks were furthering a Russian election interference effort," the report added.

                        The committee could not establish the extent to which Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone had real inside access to WikiLeaks materials, the report said.
                        _____________

                        Hm, I wonder why Russia wanted Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

                        It's a goddamn mystery...
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                        Comment


                        • Senate committee made criminal referral of Trump Jr., Bannon, Kushner, two others to federal prosecutors
                          WASHINGTON — The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince and Sam Clovis to federal prosecutors in 2019, passing along their suspicions that the men may have misled the committee during their testimony, an official familiar with the matter told NBC News.

                          The official confirmed reports in the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, which reported on the matter last week. A criminal referral to the Justice Department means Congress believes a matter warrants investigation for potential violation of the law.

                          The committee detailed its concerns in a letter to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., in June 2019, the official said.

                          The Post reported that the letter was divided into two sections. One named those suspected of making false statements, The Post said: Bannon; Clovis, a co-chair of the Trump campaign in 2016; and Prince, a private security contractor.

                          A second section raised concerns about the testimony of other witnesses, including Trump Jr. and Kushner, whose statements were contradicted by Trump campaign aide Richard Gates, although it did not pointedly make a false-statements allegation, The Post reported.

                          The Los Angeles Times reported that the committee questioned whether Bannon lied about his interactions and conversations with Prince about a meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and a top Russian official. Prince told special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors that he briefed Bannon on the January 2017 meeting, but Bannon said the conversation never happened.

                          A lawyer for Prince told The Post that if there was such a referral, it did not appear to have resulted in an investigation. There has been no public indication of any investigation.

                          Lawyers for Trump Jr., Kushner, Bannon and Clovis have previously denied that their clients misled the committee.
                          ____________
                          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                            The panel, formally called the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also alleged Manafort collaborated with Russians, including oligarch Oleg Deripaska and an alleged Russian intelligence operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, before during and after the election.

                            "Kostya from the GRU."

                            Comment


                            • The SSCI has been a model on how to run a bipartisan investigation into national security matters. They kept the political BS to a minimum and did a solid job.

                              Burr & Warner have ensured that members stick to the committee's agenda and do the Nation's business.

                              Good on them and a welcome blast from the past.
                              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                              Mark Twain

                              Comment


                              • Appeals court denies ex-Trump adviser Michael Flynn's request to force dismissal of case

                                WASHINGTON – The criminal case against Michael Flynn should not be immediately dismissed, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled Monday in a major setback for President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, who has proclaimed his innocence.

                                The 8-2 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which reverses a previous decision by a three-judge panel, is the latest in the long and politically fraught legal case of the former Army general.

                                At issue before the appeals court was whether U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan abused his powers when he did not immediately grant dismissal of the case against Flynn after the Justice Department decided to drop the prosecution. Instead, Sullivan appointed a third party, known as an amicus, to challenge the Justice Department's motion and to determine if Flynn had committed perjury for claiming to be innocent of a crime to which he had earlier pleaded guilty.

                                Flynn's attorneys also asked the appeals court to remove Sullivan from the case, arguing the judge's actions showed his inability to be impartial.

                                The case now goes back to Sullivan. A Justice Department spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

                                A three-judge panel from the appeals court sided with Flynn in June, ruling that Sullivan's actions were "unprecedented intrusions of individual liberty" and on the Justice Department's prosecutorial powers.

                                The full appeals court, which granted Sullivan's request to rehear the case, disagreed, saying judges have the authority to appoint third parties as they decide on rulings. In Sullivan's case, his attorney has argued what the judge was simply doing what judges do: seeking to hear both sides before ruling on the motion to dismiss.

                                The appeals court said that Sullivan may ultimately dismiss the case and that concerns over "intrusive judicial proceedings" were "speculative." The judges also said there's no basis in removing Sullivan from the case, saying opinions or statements judges make while presiding on a case don't indicate bias.

                                Sidney Powell, Flynn's attorney, has argued that because the Justice Department no longer wanted to prosecute Flynn, Sullivan's only role is to promptly grant dismissal of the case. Instead, Sullivan appointed an amicus to "usurp" the role of prosecutors and has "so invested himself" for the purpose of prosecuting Flynn, Powell said during oral arguments in August.

                                Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall said Sullivan cannot probe the Justice Department's motives for dropping the prosecution of Flynn and doing so entrenches on executive power. Sullivan's actions also have created an appearance that he can't be impartial, Wall said.

                                Flynn is one of half a dozen former Trump aides and advisers who were indicted as a result of the special counsel investigation on Russian election interference.

                                Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his communications with a former Russian ambassador. He later reversed course, claiming investigators entrapped him into making false statements. The Justice Department also reversed course and sought to dismiss the case, arguing that the interview during which Flynn made false statements was "unjustified."
                                _________

                                Poor dumb bastard just can't seem to catch a break. Should've never came within 50 yards of Trump, he'd be much better off.
                                Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

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