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House votes 420-0 for Mueller report to be made public | US news | The Guardian
Democratic-backed resolution comes as the special counsel appears to be nearing an end to his investigation
The House has unanimously voted for a resolution calling for any final report in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to be made public. The symbolic action was designed to pressure the attorney general, William Barr, to release as much information as possible when the inquiry ends.
The Democratic-backed resolution, which passed 420-0, comes as Mueller appears to be nearing an end to his investigation. Lawmakers in both parties have maintained there will have to be some sort of public discussion when the report is done – and privately hope that a report shows conclusions that are favorable to their own side.
The resolution is unlikely to be passed in the Senate, where the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, tried to bring it up hours after House passage. He was rebuffed when the Senate judiciary committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, objected. But the House vote shows that lawmakers from both parties are eager to view Mueller’s findings after almost two years of speculation about what they might reveal.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress  voting 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Mueller Might Not Be Done With Manafort Over Kilimnik Ties - The Atlantic
The disgraced operative still needs to answer for his ties to a suspected Russian spy.
Seventeen months, two trials, and one voided plea deal later, the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has finally learned his fate: He’ll spend about seven years in federal prison for crimes he committed over more than a decade, marking one of the biggest prosecutorial victories for Special Counsel Robert Mueller since he launched his investigation nearly two years ago.
Nevertheless, Mueller might not be quite done with Manafort yet, former prosecutors tell me. Court documents and pre-sentence hearings that dealt with the breach of Manafort’s plea deal suggest that prosecutors might have more ammunition to go after the 69-year-old on matters that go directly to the question of a conspiracy with Russia, rather than the financial crimes and violations of foreign-agent laws that he’s been charged with to date.
Manafort pleaded guilty to tax and bank fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine. But he “intentionally made multiple false statements” to the FBI, the special counsel’s office, and the grand jury “concerning matters that were material to the investigation: his interactions and communications” with the suspected Russian intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik, D.C. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled last month. As such, questions remain about Manafort’s interactions with Russians during the campaign—questions that go to the main focus of the Mueller investigation into a potential election conspiracy.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — On a busy day at the White House, President Trump hosted senators to talk about tax cuts, accused a Democratic congresswoman of distorting his condolence call to a soldier’s widow and suffered another court defeat for his travel ban targeting Muslim countries.
And at some point on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, Mr. Trump took the time to sign a $35,000 check to his lawyer, who had made hush payments to prevent alleged sexual misconduct from being exposed before the 2016 presidential election. It was one of 11 occasions that Mr. Trump or his trust cut such checks, six of which were provided this week to The New York Times.
At the heart of last week’s congressional testimony by Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, was the sensational accusation that the sitting president of the United States financed an illegal cover-up from inside the White House. The dates on the newly available checks shed light on the parallel lives Mr. Trump was living by this account — at once managing affairs of state while quietly paying the price of keeping his personal secrets out of the public eye.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Trump says he joked about wanting Russian help in 2016. The facts tell a different story. - CNNPolitics
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump recently claimed he was joking when he asked the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails during the 2016 campaign. But court filings and public comments show some members of Trump's team were quite serious about accepting help from the Russians in 2016.
In the heat of the presidential campaign in July 2016, Trump publicly encouraged Russia to hack Clinton's private server and release her emails. His comments, at a news conference in Miami, have come back to haunt him as he fights the Russian collusion investigation.
He revisited that controversial call Saturday during his wide-ranging speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, suggesting it was all a joke to rouse an audience.
"If you tell a joke, if you're sarcastic, if you're having fun with the audience, if you're on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena," Trump said, before re-enacting his 2016 comments. "If you say something like, 'Russia, please, if you can, get us Hillary Clinton's emails. Please, Russia, please. Please get us the emails. Please!' "
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
James Comey just destroyed Trump's "Get out of jail free" card in new op-ed
Former FBI Director James Comey is annoyed by Trump defenders who are hoping that newly inducted Attorney General William Barr will keep as much of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report detailing his team’s findings as possible from ever reaching the eyes of the general public when it is completed.
Comey is so annoyed that he took to the op-ed page of The Washington Post to explain to the public that the prior practices of the Justice Department indicate that Attorney General Barr can make a much broader disclosure of Mueller’s final report than they may realize if he truly wants to be as “transparent as possible” with the report as he told Congress during his confirmation hearings.
Add your name to the millions demanding accountability of the president. Tell Speaker Pelosi and the House: Launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump!
Comey acknowledges that while the privacy rights of individuals subject to an investigation in which they are never charged with a crime are extremely important, the Justice Department must also consider the larger public interest at hand in matters of national importance.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress  op-ed 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Democrats' and Republicans' Response to Michael Cohen - The Atlantic
The response to his appearance on the Hill could offer a preview of the Mueller report’s aftermath if the findings are anything less than earthshaking.
It helps to put it in plain terms: Donald Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen offered crucial evidence on Wednesday that the president was kept in the loop on conversations with WikiLeaks about releasing emails related to Hillary Clinton. He also told lawmakers that, as president, Trump reimbursed him for hush-money payments made to the adult-film star Stormy Daniels, producing a copy of a check.
On the whole, Cohen’s testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee contained some of the most explosive details yet in the investigation of potential crimes committed on the part of Trump or his presidential campaign. But both Republicans and Democrats say his appearance won’t change their political strategies going forward, nor do they believe it will have major consequences for the president himself.  
“Cohen’s hearing was good TV, but I don’t know that it necessarily changes the ball game in any way,” said an aide to a senior House Democratic leader, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the press. “He’s not credible,” said a source close to the Trump campaign, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for the same reason. “This will sizzle today and then cool off.”
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Michael Cohen's Testimony Shed Light on Trump's Racism - The Atlantic
The president’s former lawyer called him “a con man” and “a racist.” As Obama’s White House counsel, I had to deal with the consequences.
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee under the heavy expectation that he would reveal more about the president’s potential crimes. He had some to add to the list. He supplied detail on campaign-finance violations, “collusion,” the misuse of the Trump Foundation, and fraudulent financial practices. But he was there less as a fact witness than as a character witness; he had a story to tell about Trump as a “con man,” “cheat,” and “racist.” And this piece of his testimony was extraordinary, enough that, with so much attention to any evidence he might offer of crimes, it may have slipped too far out of focus.
Among the exhibits that Cohen submitted along with his written testimony was a news article (Exhibit 7) reflecting Trump’s years of championing the “birther” claim against President Barack Obama. Trump repeatedly hawked the lies that Obama was born in Kenya, had hidden his real birth certificate, and had manufactured the one he publicly presented. And if there was any chance that this was not true—and Trump left little room for that possibility—he questioned whether Obama had traded on his race to gain admission to elite educational institutions. With this one, ugly political stunt, Trump managed to display both of the ugly character traits that his former lawyer singled out for the House: the conning (i.e., chronic lying) and the racism.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
The Process of Holding Trump Accountable Has Finally Begun | The Nation
House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler has moved “to begin the investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.”
Presidents are held to account according to a process defined by a Constitution that establishes a system of checks and balances. If there is a Congress that disregards the Constitution, as the United States suffered with during the desultory tenure of House Speaker Paul Ryan, accountability is off the table. If the United States has a Congress that takes its duties to the Constitution and the American people seriously, as it now does with the Democratic majority that voters empowered in November, the checking and balancing will proceed at a pace appropriate to the threat posed by a commander in chief who can no longer be allowed to govern with impunity.
This is not the only way in which a president can be sanctioned, as the remarkable testimony of Michael Cohen to the House Oversight and Reform Committee reminded Americans just last week. A president and his associates can be the subject of an inquiry by a special counsel, such as Robert Mueller, or by the able federal investigators and prosecutors of the Southern District of New York. If half of the inquiries that Cohen discussed come to fruition, there is every reason to believe the Donald Trump will face many days of reckoning.
But the accountability process that is managed by Congress remains the essential one when we are discussing the actions of a sitting president. Once this process has been initiated, the prospect of accountability becomes dramatically more real. Indeed, if this remains a constitutional republic governed by rules and not men, then the congressional processes hold out the possibility that a necessary level of accountability will be achieved during the course of a presidency—not after it is finished.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
With Sweeping Document Request, Democrats Launch Broad Trump Corruption Inquiry - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee delivered a flurry of demands for documents from the executive branch and the broader Trump world on Monday that detailed the breadth and ambition of a new investigation into possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by President Trump and his administration.
In the two months since they took control of the House, Democrats on several committees have begun scrutinizing members of the president’s cabinet, his businesses, his campaign and his inaugural committee, as well as his ties to key foreign powers, including Russia, which tried to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. They have also laid the groundwork to try to obtain Mr. Trump’s tax returns.
But the newest requests from Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Judiciary Committee chairman, opened perhaps the most perilous front to date for Mr. Trump — an inquiry that takes aim at the heart of his norm-bending presidency and could conceivably form the basis of a future impeachment proceeding.
Mr. Nadler was explicit on Monday in saying that the House was no longer content to await the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and would delve into many of the same issues, but with a different standard of evidence not wedded to a criminal indictment.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Trump investigations: House Democrats launch probe of obstruction and corruption - Vox
They’ve requested documents from 81 people or entities. Here’s who they are.
The House Judiciary Committee announced Monday that it is requesting documents from 81 people or entities as part of a probe into potential obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuse of power by President Donald Trump and his associates.
It’s the first major move from the committee’s new chair, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and it should be taken seriously because the House Judiciary Committee would take the lead in any potential impeachment of President Trump.
Most of the document requests are targeted at people or entities that have come up connected to news coverage of the Russia scandal — some in areas that have resulted in charges from Mueller’s team, and others in areas that have not. Additionally, there is another set of requests aimed at surfacing potential corruption related to Trump’s business practices and the hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with Trump.
Politico’s Andrew Desiderio and Darren Samuelsohn report that, according to a senior committee lawyer, “the document request was put together with sign-off from prosecutors in Mueller’s office and the Southern District of New York.”
You can read the full list — and, even more interestingly, the specific scope of each particular document request — at the House Judiciary Committee’s website. But below, I’ve organized the recipients of the document requests by topic, to provide a better sense of this investigation’s scope. (Note that some people fit into multiple categories — I’ve only listed each person once to avoid repetition.)
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Democrats Gear Up to Investigate Trump's Bank and Deals - The Atlantic
After the former Trump attorney’s testimony last week, House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings says that “all you have to do is follow the transcript.”
The frenzy over the reportedly imminent release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report—a rumor shot down within days by the Justice Department—had barely subsided when House Democrats announced that they’d snagged the witness of the year to testify in public: President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
His appearance on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee was a day-long spectacle that didn’t disappoint—Cohen testified that Trump had foreknowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release embarrassing Democratic emails in 2016; that Trump implicitly asked Cohen to mislead Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations that continued throughout the election; and that Trump, while president, reimbursed the hush-money payments Cohen made to a porn star on Trump’s behalf just days before his election victory in violation of campaign-finance laws.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Opinion | Morality and Michael Cohen - The New York Times
Wednesday’s testimony and the crisis of American conscience.
I often wonder who didn’t love Donald Trump. I often wonder who left an affection void that he has tried to fill by winning attention, which is not the same thing. He’s turned his life into a marketing strategy. As Michael Cohen said in his testimony on Wednesday, even the presidential campaign was a marketing campaign to build the Trump brand.
In turning himself into a brand he’s turned himself into a human shell, so brittle and gilded that there is no place for people close to him to attach. His desperate attempts to be loved have made him unable to receive love.
Imagine what your own life would be like if you had no love in it, if you were just using people and being used. Trump, personifying the worst elements in our culture, is like a providentially sent gong meant to wake us up and direct us toward a better path.
Nonetheless, his kind of life has an allure for other lonely people who also live under the illusion that you can win love and respect with bling and buzz. Michael Cohen was one of these people. He testified that in serving Donald Trump he felt he was serving a cause larger than self. Those causes were celebrity and wealth.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Key takeaways from Robert Mueller’s Russia report | WTOP
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump may not have obstructed justice, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Robert Mueller’s 448-page report takes the American public inside the room with Trump as he expressed fear that the special counsel would end his presidency and made several attempts to get the people around him to curtail the probe into his campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Ultimately, Mueller found Trump’s inner circle saved him from himself. They refused to carry out orders that could have crossed the line into obstructing justice.
Some key takeaways from the report...
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Republican Running Senate Russia Probe Passed FBI Info To White House: Mueller | HuffPost
The special counsel’s report says Sen. Richard Burr, who heads the ongoing Senate inquiry, shared the names of people being investigated by the FBI.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) shared information with the White House about the FBI’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released Thursday.
The revelation is a blow to the perception that Burr has been relatively free from bias while conducting his committee’s own investigation into Russia’s support for Donald Trump. That image has become especially important since the Republican who led a similar inquiry in the House shattered its credibility by scheming with the Trump administration and pushing a conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama. Democrats ultimately saw that lawmaker, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as “deliberately dishonest.”
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Robert Mueller Should Tell Congress What He Thinks - The Atlantic
The special counsel should give us the benefit of his professional judgment on the legal significance of the facts he has found.
Much drama surrounds former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s upcoming testimony—on July 17, or perhaps on July 24—before two committees of the House of Representatives. It flows in no small part from Mueller’s character, as a man out of time, whose extraordinary commitment to values uncommon in today’s world have made him both an icon and a curiosity. I know of his long-standing commitment to those values not just from reading the papers, but from serving with him decades ago, as new assistant U.S. attorneys in San Francisco in 1977 and as colleagues in leadership roles at Main Justice in 1989 and 1990.
Bob Mueller is a marine, who takes the core values of honor, courage and commitment seriously. Time and again, he has answered the call to step in and do his best in dire circumstances—in Vietnam, where he was decorated for courageous conduct under fire; as a line homicide prosecutor in the nation’s capital, because “there’s just too many young people dying violently in this city”; in 1998, as the United States attorney in a San Francisco office in such difficult straits that President Bill Clinton called him back to fix it; and as the director of the FBI, who just one week into the job, on September 11, 2001, was handed the new task of remaking the bureau for the worldwide War on Terror. In that last role, Mueller stayed two years past the end of his term—the longest tenure for a director since J. Edgar Hoover—when pressed by President Barack Obama. And, of course, in 2017 he answered the call to serve in the predictably thankless job of special counsel.
congress  conspiracy  crime  DOJ  election  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  report  russia  special_counsel  trump 
9 days ago by rgl7194
FBI — The Evolving Organized Crime Threat
Robert S. Mueller, III
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Citizens Crime Commission of New York
New York City, New York
January 27, 2011
Good morning; it is good to be here today. 
I first met with you in late 2002. We were all still coming to grips with the reality of terrorism here at home. We were undergoing a shift in mindset, re-thinking our place in the world and the dangers we faced.
Since that time, we have seen a number of dramatic shifts–not just in our perspectives on terrorism, but in the way we learn, communicate, and conduct business. Shifts in the political, social, and economic climate. Shifts in our way of life.
Today, we communicate by texting, tweeting, and Skyping. We take pictures without film, we read books without pages, and every six-year-old has a smart phone. We share the sundry details of our lives on Facebook. Well, most of us do. For some reason, no one wants to be “friended” by the Director of the FBI.
YouTube made its debut just five years ago. Today, 35 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Most of them feature someone by the name of Justin Bieber. At my age, I have to wonder, who the heck is this kid, and why can’t he get a haircut?
These shifts are the result of globalization and technology. And we have all felt the ripple effects.   
We in the FBI have seen a marked shift in criminal and terrorist threats. 
We not only face threats from Al Qaeda and its affiliates, we confront homegrown terrorism. These individuals are harder to identify. They can easily connect with other extremists on the Internet, and they may be highly capable operationally. For this reason, terrorism will remain our top priority. 
politics  gov2.0  FBI  mueller  speech  transcript  terrorism  2010s  crime 
14 days ago by rgl7194

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