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Tag Archives: Russia investigation

Trump in All-Out Campaign to Turn Public Against Democrats’ Probes

President Trump is in a battle for his presidency, and he’s waging the fight in the public arena.

The greatest consequence of Democratic control over the House has nothing to do with legislation. It has to do with trying to destroy the Trump presidency, which has been the Democrats’ goal since Election Day 2016.

Trump is well aware that this will involve endless investigations of everything from his businesses and tax returns to discovering how he manages to look like he has lots of hair.

The president has two defenses: His White House legal team, which he has already enhanced, and public opinion. If he can get the public to see overreach on the part of the Democrats, he might convince Nancy Pelosi to put the breaks on some of the probes.

We saw the commencement of the public square strategy during the State of the Union. Trump’s call for bipartisanship and his effort to portray himself as seeking love and cooperation was the sunny half of the strategy. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he said in the State of the Union.

The other half is bashing his opponents, Trump’s specialty. As we’ve seen, it can be quite effective. Thursday morning, two tweets targeted the man who will be one of his chief nemeses, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Wash.

It’s a plan. It might work. A lot of these Democrats have unappealing personalities and therefore make appealing targets.

And if the Mueller report lacks any evidence of Russia collusion and fails to make very serious allegations against the president, the idea that all of this is frivilous could take root.

Roger Stone Says He Won’t Testify Against Trump

Roger Stone, arrested today on charges filed by special prosecutor Robert Muller, told reporters after his arraignment that he will not testify against President Trump.

And that, of course, is what all of this is about. Mueller doesn’t give a damn about Stone. What he wants is to flip him and get him to expose whatever crimes Mueller thinks Trump has committed.

That’s why Mueller sent half the FBI to arrest him at his home in Fort Lauderdale. Because he want to intimidate him.

Mueller said he won’t testify against Trump because that would be bearing false witness. That is, in his opinion, Trump has done nothing wrong. And I believe, unlike others Mueller has indicted, Stone will not be turned against his longtime friend.

One thing Mueller is looking for is for Stone to say that he and President Trump knew that talking to Wikileaks to get dirt on Hillary — which is not itself a crime, let emphasize — is evidence of collusion because Trump and the campaign knew Wikileaks was in contact with Russia.

As far as I know, there is no evidence they knew. Nor is there even evidence Stone knew. But that’s what Mueller is hoping.

Jonathan Karl: We Have Seen No Evidence of Collusion

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, one of the fairest reporters in the mainstream media – recall how aggressively he went after Barack Obama spokesman Jay Carney – told the ladies of The View what they certainly didn’t want to hear: Robert Mueller may have come up empty on the allegation he was tasked to investigate.

“On the central question of did Donald Trump or anyone on his campaign coordinate or collude with the Russian in their effort to meddle in the 2016 campaign, we have seen zero evidence of that,” Karl said.

Karl said his sources are suggesting Mueller’s report will be “anticlimactic.”

Nice to have a prominent reporter who wants to give it straight and not please his TV hosts. Hopefully he doesn’t get too much shit for it from his bosses.

Dems to Start Collusion Probe “Right Away” if they Take the House, Castro Promises

No, not that Castro.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, a member of the Intelligence Committee, says Democrats will waste no time if they take the House getting started investigating whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia.

They may well go ahead, he admitted, even if special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is performing colonoscopies all over Washington, has completed his work.

“The [investigation] that will get going right away is a thorough investigation into Russia and their interference with the 2016 election,” Castro said.

Of course, we know that no matter what Mueller concludes, Democrats will not just investigate “Russia,” they will impeach President Trump.

Senate Intel Chair: “No Hard Evidence” of Collusion

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr Wednesday indicated Wednesday that his panel, after seven years of investigation – or something – had come up with jack s#&% on collusion.

“I can say as it relates to the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation that we have no hard evidence of collusion, said Richard Burr, R-N.C. “Now, we’re not over. That leaves the opportunity that we might find something that we don’t have today.”

Someone was watching.

Trump Suggests He Did Not Direct Cohen to Make Payments

President Trump said Wednesday in an interview with Fox News that he knew “later on” about hush money payments made by his former attorney Michael Cohen to women accusing Trump of extramarital sex, but he did not say when he found out about the payments, at least in the clip provided by Fox News.

Ainsley Earhardt: Did you know aboiut the payments?

Trump: Later on I knew. Later on.

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to making the payments as illegal contributions to the Trump campaign and said he was directed to do so by Trump.

Why Neither Cohen – Nor Trump – May Be Guilty of Campaign Finance Violations

If you look at the actual campaign finance laws, it appears that Michael Cohen – and therefore President Trump, who is already being convicted in the press as his co-conspirator – is not necessarily guilty of violating those laws.

First of all, I want to credit Mark Levin for some of the ideas in this analysis. You should listen to his radio show, on which the legal and constitutional wizard, and former chief of staff to Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, explained the issue extremely well Tuesday evening.

Cohen pleaded guilty to exceeding political contribution limits with his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about her one-night-stand with Trump. He also pleaded guilty to arranging an excessive “contribution” by the publishers of the National Enquirer for their payment to Karen McDougal for her story about an affair with Trump. As far as I understand it, the publishers walked away from a deal to be reimbursed for their payment, so the money didn’t come from Trump.

That Cohen pleaded guilty to a crime doesn’t necessarily mean that a crime was committed. I mean, technically, yes, because he pleaded guilty, but in reality, there may be no crimes related to campaign finance. The cases haven’t been adjudicated in court. All we have is that Cohen and the prosecutors agreed that he committed a crime.

Why would Cohen admit to a crime that doesn’t exist? Well, first, because that’s the crime prosecutors wanted, because it potentially involved the president. And second, to get them to agree not to prosecute him for far worse criminal acts.

And let’s be clear: It’s probably also the crime his attorney, Lanny Davis, who long worked for the Clintons, wanted him to admit to.

Now, is it a crime? The question is whether it was a personal expense or a political expenditure – that is, effectively a campaign contribution because it was designed to help elect Trump president. But the standard for determining whether it is not a personal expense is NOT whether the expense could help elect a candidate. It is this, according to the FEC website:

Commission regulations provide a test, called the “irrespective test,” to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses. Under the “irrespective test,” personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder.

More simply, if the expense would exist even in the absence of the candidacy or even if the officeholder were not in office, then the personal use ban applies.

Conversely, any expense that results from campaign or officeholder activity falls outside the personal use ban.

There is strong reason to believe – and thus reasonable doubt with respect to a conviction – that the “expenses” of paying off MacDougal and Daniels exist outside of the campaign and are therefore personal expenses. Daniels herself has claimed that pressure from Trump not to tell her story existed long before the campaign began.

In a May 3 piece, the article, Politifact quotes legal experts who question whether this is technically a campaign expenditure.

Stephen Hoersting, a lawyer with the Gober Group, a law firm that has done high-level work for the Republican Party, said Washington officials steer clear of apportioning the reasons for an expenditure.

“The FEC does not ask, ‘Would it help a candidate to buy the silence of an old girlfriend?’ ” Hoersting said. “Rather it asks, ‘Would there be any other reason, other than the campaign, for this person to buy the silence an old girlfriend?’ The answer here is yes, there are many reasons a man like Trump would want to buy the silence of old girlfriend.”

Now, you and I may think, if we’re honest, Of course this was related to the campaign. It happened during the campaign. But that’s not the test. The test is whether the expense would exist outside the campaign. It would seem that a rich man accused of having affairs with women who want to be compensated for their silence is something that would exist outside the campaign. That’s what the jury decided in the trial of former presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards, who during a campaign paid off the mistress he had impregnated. That Daniels and McDougal decided to press their claims during the campaign, when it would be most advantageous to them, was their choice, not Trump’s.

What’s more, Cohen and Trump might have at least believed that they were operating within the law, based on the facts. But I doubt either Cohen – or, almost certainly, Trump – understood this as a campaign donation in the first place. That’s the downside of not having a well-organized campaign stocked with veteran campaign operatives. The upside is that he won the presidency.

Finally, the money ultimately came from Trump. Cohen was just the bagman, essentially. Personal expenditures by a candidate on their campaign are not subject to campaign finance limits.

Paying off your paramour, as far as I know, is perfectly legal, even if awfully tawdry. I don’t think Trump or Cohen intended to commit a crime, and it’s highly questionable that they did.

How Trump is Being Vilified for Something that Helps Exculpate Him

Everyone’s talking about a New York Times story suggesting that White House Counsel Don McGahn may have been seeking to protect himself and harm President Trump by spending 30 hours talking to special counsel Robert Mueller.

A fifth column! Rats abandoning the sinking ship!

As the Wall Street Journal points out today, maybe just the reverse.

The thesis of the New York Times story is that Mr. McGahn cooperated in a way that could hurt Donald Trump in order to protect himself and because he doesn’t trust the President. This fits the media narrative that Mr. Trump is covering up his collusion with Russia and his obstruction of justice, and thus Mr. McGahn must be scrambling to save himself.

Yet lost in the resulting tempest is a crucial fact that appears to contradict this spin: Mr. Trump had to waive executive privilege for Mr. McGahn to cooperate with Mr. Mueller . . .

This in turn meant that Mr. McGahn would have to answer all of Mr. Mueller’s questions. Once privilege is waived, Mr. McGahn couldn’t decide to answer, say, what Mr. Trump told him about Attorney General Jeff Sessions but refuse to discuss the President’s state of mind when he fired James Comey at the FBI. Without invoking privilege there is no legal basis for Mr. McGahn to refuse to answer a question.

This isn’t what you’d expect if Mr. Trump is leading a coverup. Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton fought extensive legal battles with prosecutors over executive privilege. Mr. Clinton invoked privilege to block aides Bruce Lindsey and Sidney Blumenthal from testifying to Ken Starr’s grand jury.Yet when Mr. Trump doesn’t invoke privilege for his White House counsel, he gets no credit.

Exactly. Because the media have a particular storyline they are following. And Trump doing good things, or anything that might suggest he’s innocent, is not part of the story.

Here’s Why Cohen is Singing: He’s under Investigation for $20M in Loans

So in case you were wondering why it is that Michael Cohen has turned on President Trump, it appears he is under investigation for possible misdeeds related to $20 million in loans, according to the New York Times. From the Times piece: Federal authorities investigating whether President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D.… Continue Reading

Where Were the Calls to Prosecute Obama for Obstruction of Justice?

When Barack Obama did what President Trump is accused of, trying to influence a Justice Department investigation, there were no calls to impeach him or to prosecute him for obstruction. At least not among “mainstream” analysts. The reasons, in short, are that Obama is favored by the mainstream media and that he didn’t have a… Continue Reading

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.… Continue Reading

Trump Denies Cohen Allegation that He Knew About Don Jr. Meeting

Former Trump attorney and all-around fixer and hatchet man Michael Cohen is alleging to the Mueller gang that President Trump knew about a meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr. to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian government-connected source. Trump denied it Friday morning. …..I did NOT know of the meeting with my son,… Continue Reading