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Tag Archives: Robert Mueller

Mueller Offers to Limit Questions He Would Ask Trump

According to the Washington Post:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicated this week that he is willing to reduce the number of questions his investigators would pose to President Trump in an interview, renewing negotiations with Trump’s lawyers about a presidential sit-down after an extended standoff, according to two people briefed on the negotiations.

The latest proposal by the special counsel comes as Trump has stepped up his attacks on his investigation and Mueller personally.

For months, Mueller has been seeking to question the president as part of his investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 campaign, which is also examining whether Trump has sought to block that probe.

In a letter sent Monday, Mueller’s team suggested that investigators would reduce the number of questions about potential obstruction of justice they would ask in person and instead seek some answers in written form, according to one person.

Trump’s attorneys should continue to advise him to answer all questions in writing. Mueller will ask questions designed to create a perjury trap. Remember, even someone as careful as Bill Clinton, an attorney and literally lifelong politician, was impeached in part because of perjury committed under questioning from the independent counsel. Trump is far more careless about what he says than Clinton.

Understandably, Trump wants to personally clear his name. According to the New York Times:

President Trump pushed his lawyers in recent days to try once again to reach an agreement with the special counsel’s office about him sitting for an interview, flouting their advice that he should not answer investigators’ questions, three people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

Mr. Trump has told advisers he is eager to meet with investigators to clear himself of wrongdoing, the people said. In effect, he believes he can convince the investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, of his belief that their own inquiry is a “witch hunt.”

Bad idea. Mueller likely has nothing with which to prosecute Trump. During an interview, the hunt for a perjury charge will be on. He has to justify the millions that have been spent somehow.

Giuliani Caves to His Client, Will Allow Mueller to Interview Trump

President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani is reversing himself and now support allowing Special Counsel Robert Meuller to interview Trump, according to the Washington Post.

He made it obvious that this idea, which is not a smart one, was Trump’s not his.

“I guess I’d rather do the interview,” Giuliani said. “It gets it over with, it makes my client happy. The safe course you hear every lawyer say is don’t do the interview, and that’s easy to say in the abstract. That’s much harder when you have a client who is the president of the United States and wants to be interviewed.”

Trump understandably wants his name cleared and thinks he can do that by showing everyone that he withstood Mueller’s interrogation. But the danger of a perjury trap is so severe – particularly with someone like Trump,  who says what he thinks – that questions should be answered in writing if at all.

As all of you know, saying what you think with attorneys around is a bad idea.

White House contacted Mueller’s office and received this reply.

Giuliani Says Mueller Told Trump Lawyers President Can’t be Indicted

According to Fox News:

President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told Fox News on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller has told the president’s legal team he will follow Justice Department guidance and not seek an indictment against Trump.

Giuliani, himself a former federal prosecutor and mayor of New York City, also told Fox News that Mueller’s investigators have not responded to five information requests from the president’s team. That has forced Trump’s legal team to push off making a decision about whether the president will sit for an interview with the special counsel — a decision they had hoped to reach by Thursday.

The precedent that federal prosecutors cannot indict a sitting president is laid out in a 1999 Justice Department memo. Giuliani told Fox News that Mueller has no choice but to follow its guidance.

“This case is essentially over,” Giuliani said. “They’re just in denial.”

No, they’re not in denial. They are building a case for House Democrats to impeach Trump, and for the Senate to possibly convict him. That’s the goal here. A Democratic House would impeach Trump for waking up in the morning. But the Senate would only convinct him if there is serious evidence of a crime. And God knows, Mueller is looking for a crime, any crime.

Federal Judge Accuses Mueller of Pursuing Manafort to Get Trump

Yes, that’s right. A prosecutor with unlimited power, time and money to go after anyone to get Trump. That’s a problem.

From the Washington Post:

A federal judge in Virginia on Friday accused the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of pursuing a fraud case against President Trump’s former campaign manager to pressure him to “sing” and provide evidence against the president.

The comments from Judge T.S. Ellis III came during a hearing in Alexandria federal court, where attorneys for Paul Manafort argued that bank- and tax-fraud charges against him are outside the scope of the special counsel’s authority.

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Ellis told prosecutors at the morning hearing. “You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Ellis said the government wanted Manafort, “the vernacular is, to sing.” The judge put it another way, saying the special counsel set out to “turn the screws and get the information you really want.”

Trump noticed.

Judge Raises Doubts About Whether Mueller Can Probe Whatever He Wants

There once was something called in “independent counsel.” The problem with that was that the independent counsel could just run amock and investigate anything and everything forever.

So they let the law authorizing independent counsels expire and decided these probes would be done by a “special counsel” who reported to the Department of Justice. Presumably, that would put some limits on the investigation. But not, apparently, under the authority of Rod Rosenstein.

Now a federal judge is wondering what’s up.

Because it seems Mueller will soon be looking for Jimmy Hoffa and investigating the Kennedy assassination.

According to Politico:

A federal judge raised doubts Thursday about the scope of the order used to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller to probe alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

During a two-and-a-half hour hearing in one of Mueller’s criminal cases against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson questioned whether Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s directive appointing Mueller granted him more authority than Justice Department regulations appear to permit.

Manafort’s lead defense attorney, Kevin Downing, noted that the May 17 order appointing Mueller grants him authority to pursue the Trump-Russia probe as well as other issues that “may arise” from that investigation. Downing said that was at odds with Justice’s rules, which say a special counsel must be told of the “specific factual matter” in his or her mandate.

“That’s a fair point,” Jackson said, adding later: “I don’t think that, as good as he is, that the deputy attorney general can see into the future.”

Rosenstein Told Trump He’s Not a “Target” of Mueller’s, But it Doesn’t Matter

One of the big stories circulating this afternoon is that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his mysterious White House meeting with Donald Trump last week informed the president he is not a “target” of Robert Mueller’s investigation.

According to Bloomberg:

Rosenstein, who brought up the Mueller probe himself, offered the assurance during a meeting with Trump at the White House last Thursday, a development that helped tamp down the president’s desire to remove Rosenstein or Mueller, the people said.

After the meeting, Trump told some of his closest advisers that it’s not the right time to remove either man since he’s not a target of the probe. One person said Trump doesn’t want to take any action that would drag out the investigation.

But Bloomberg also quoted former FBI Director James Comey, who noted that Trump would only be a “target” if he were on the way to being charged:

“I don’t know what it means. It is a fairly standard part of any investigation — trying to decide whether a person you’re encountering is a witness, a subject or a target,” former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump, said Thursday on CNN when asked what Rosenstein’s assurance to Trump means at this point.

A target is someone about whom an investigation and a grand jury “developed significant evidence — evidence sufficient to charge,” Comey said.

This is just about pacifying Trump and keeping him from firing Rosenstein and Mueller. They can make Trump a “target” anytime they want.

It’s as if your personal assassin, hired by your neighbor, told you that you were not a target because he hadn’t pointed his gun at you yet. Well, you still have a problem.

Video || Grassley: Firing Mueller “Would Be Suicide”

“It looks like a dead end,” Grassley said of the Russia collusion investigation. “Maybe Mueller would appreciate being fired so he would have an excuse for getting out of it and the Democrats would have a good issue in this upcoming election.”

A lot of Republicans would be unhappy if Trump fired Mueller. Remember, it was the loss of Republican support that convinced Richard Nixon to resign.

Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Chairman, also said firing Attorney General Sessions would be a major problem, if only because of how difficult it would be to replace him.

And Grassley interestingly suggested that a Supreme Court vacancy may be on the way in a few months

Mueller May Be Trying to Induce Trump to Testify With “Not a Target” Assurance

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has told the White House that President Trump is not a “target” of his investigation, a fairly meaningless assertion that seems designed to lull Trump into a false sense of comfort and get him to testify.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday night that Trump is a “subject” of the probe but not a “target.” Writing in Politico, Josh Gerstein explains why this doesn’t matter:

The recent assurance that Trump is not officially a target — first reported by the Washington Post — may not be worth much, since offering what prosecutors consider to be a false statement can easily tip someone over into the target category after an interview, lawyers said.

More significant, some said, is Mueller’s intention to write a report on his findings about Trump’s potential obstruction of justice in the probe, according to the Post. Mueller has no obligation to submit a written report on any of his findings and it had not previously been known that he intends to write one. There is no assurance that such a report would be provided to Congress or become public.

When it comes to an interview, some formal and informal advisers to Trump have been urging him not to sit for an interview because of the legal peril it could create. Several of the guilty pleas Mueller has already netted in his investigation are for false statements made in interviews with FBI agents working for his office.

“As a practical matter, federal prosecutors typically don’t decide until late in an investigation whether they will charge a person who is under investigation,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote on Twitter. “Usually prosecutors don’t make that judgement until they’ve interviewed witnesses and reviewed the relevant documents. … All today’s news tells us is that Mueller hasn’t decided to indict Trump at this time. If Trump’s lawyers know what they’re doing, they’ll tell him he’s still under great risk.”

In Trump’s case, Mueller’s reported concession that Trump isn’t a target of the investigation may mean even less than in a more typical probe. That’s because Justice Department legal opinions issued in 1973 and 2000 say a sitting president cannot be indicted criminally while in office.

Mueller is a savvy operator, and he knows just what Trump wants to hear. Remember, the reason Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey was that he couldn’t get Comey to publicly state that the president was not under investigation. What’s more, Mueller knows he is dealing with someone he can influence, someone who might not listen to advice from lawyers to not sit for a live interview.

Bill Clinton was impeached for lying during his interview with the special prosecutor about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Trump is in even worse danger from in-person testimony – he could also possibly offer written responses to questions – than Clinton was. Trump is not an attorney and so he will not recognize potential pitfalls.

And he tends to say what he thinks. In a court of law, that can be a very bad thing. “Only answer the question you were asked” is not direction Trump will take.

Former Trump Campaign Advisor Close to a Plea Deal With Mueller

The dude is getting his ducks in a row, hoping they’ll all sing. Or start quacking. According to CNN: Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, indicating he’s poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken… Continue Reading

Trump’s Lawyers Don’t Want Him to Talk to Mueller

From the New York Times: Lawyers for President Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to four people briefed on the matter, raising the specter of a monthslong court battle over whether the president must answer questions under oath. His lawyers are… Continue Reading

One More Year of Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could stretch well into 2018, possibly not concluding until the end of the year, according to the Washington Post. From the article: People with knowledge of the investigation said it could last at least another year — pointing to ongoing cooperation from witnesses such as former Trump campaign adviser George… Continue Reading

Special Counsel Mueller’s Probe Cost $7 million from May to September

This probe was conjured up out of thin air. The $7 million it cost – by now we’re probably closer to $10 million – was from something more tangible: your bank account. According to Fox News: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office revealed Tuesday that the first few months of his Russia investigation cost taxpayers a… Continue Reading