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DonViejo

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Journal Archives

Reporter Reviewed WH Memo That Allegedly Implicates Trump In Obstruction

Source: Talking Points Memo



By Allegra Kirkland | July 31, 2018 4:28 pm

The question of whether President Trump obstructed justice in the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn has always hinged on his familiarity with the details of that probe — and when he learned them.

A new report out Tuesday in the New York Review of Books suggests Trump knew that there was an ongoing criminal investigation into Flynn and his interactions with Russian officials when he asked then-FBI director James Comey on Feb. 14, 2017 to let Flynn “go.”

Reporter Murray Waas said that he reviewed a White House memo that “explicitly states that when Trump pressured Comey he had just been told by two of his top aides — his then chief of staff Reince Priebus and his White House counsel Don McGahn — that Flynn was under criminal investigation.”

According to Waas, “people familiar with the matter” have told him that both Priebus and McGahn also testified to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that they personally provided this information to Trump during a Jan. 26, 2017 meeting.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/report-trump-knew-flynn-under-fbi-investigation-obstruction



Flynn, Comey, and Mueller: What Trump Knew and When He Knew It

Murray Waas

Previously undisclosed evidence in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller—including highly confidential White House records and testimony by some of President Trump’s own top aides—provides some of the strongest evidence to date implicating the president of the United States in an obstruction of justice. Several people who have reviewed a portion of this evidence say that, based on what they know, they believe it is now all but inevitable that the special counsel will complete a confidential report presenting evidence that President Trump violated the law. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s work, would then decide on turning over that report to Congress for the House of Representatives to consider whether to instigate impeachment proceedings.

The central incident in the case that the president obstructed justice was provided by former FBI Director James B. Comey, who testified that Trump pressed Comey, in a private Oval Office meeting on February 14, 2017, to shut down an FBI criminal investigation of Trump’s former national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Comey has testified the president told him.

In an effort to convince Mueller that President Trump did not obstruct justice, the president’s attorneys have argued that the president could not have broken the law because the president did not know that Flynn was under criminal investigation when he pressured Comey to go easy on Flynn. In a confidential January 29 letter to the special counsel first reported by The New York Times, two of the president’s attorneys, John Dowd (who no longer represents Trump) and Jay Sekulow, maintained that the president did not obstruct justice because, even though Flynn had been questioned by the FBI, Trump believed that the FBI investigation was over, and that Flynn had been told that he’d been cleared.

On its face, this is a counter-intuitive argument—for if Trump believed that Flynn had been cleared and was no longer under investigation, there would have been no reason for the president to lean on Comey to end the FBI’s investigation—telling Comey that Trump hoped that Comey would be able to “see your way clear to letting this go.” Yet Trump’s attorneys have pursued this line of argument with the special counsel because perjury and obstruction cases depend largely on whether a prosecutor can demonstrate the intent and motivation of the person they want to charge. It’s not enough to prove that the person under investigation attempted to impede an ongoing criminal investigation; the statute requires a prosecutor to prove that the person did so with the corrupt intent to protect either himself or someone else from prosecution.

more
https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/07/31/what-trump-knew-and-when-he-knew-it/

Jury seated in Manafort trial

Source: Politico


By DARREN SAMUELSOHN 07/31/2018 02:21 PM EDT

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s first trial in the Russia probe formally opened Tuesday as a dozen jurors were selected to decide the fate of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Six men and six women from northern Virginia will serve as the primary jurors in the case after Mueller’s prosecutors and Manafort’s defense attorneys whittled through more than 60 people summoned to the federal courthouse in Alexandria. Opening arguments in the case — which involves bank and tax charges against the longtime GOP operative — are scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon.

###

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/31/jury-seated-in-manafort-trial-752691

Bernie Sanders Thanks the Koch Brothers For 'Accidentally' Supporting Healthcare For All

Source: Mediate



by Rachel Dicker | Jul 31st, 2018, 12:15 pm

https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/1024074723385401344

Koch Brothers, you done played yourselves.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pointed out in a video for Twitter, a study by the Mercatus Center – which is “significantly funded” by the Koch Brothers – found that, in a ten-year period, Medicare for All would save Americans $2 trillion.

“I suspect that that is not what the Koch Brothers intended to do,” Sanders quipped.

“At a time when the United States spends far more per capita on health care than any other country on Earth… a Medicare For All health care system would save the average American significant sums of money,” he continued.

Read more: https://www.mediaite.com/online/bernie-sanders-thanks-the-koch-brothers-for-accidentally-supporting-healthcare-for-all/

Trump Doubles Down on Threat: I Don't Care About 'Political Ramifications' of a Shutdown

Source: Mediate



by Amy Russo | Jul 31st, 2018, 2:04 pm

President Donald Trump renewed his threat to plunge the government into a shutdown to secure funding for his Southern border wall.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1024347406887014404

He then followed up the tweet with yet another, stressing the importance of national security and claiming a shutdown would be “a very small price to pay” for safety.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1024347409483292672

Trump tweeted out his first shutdown threat Sunday, being met with concern from lawmakers including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who said he hoped that wouldn’t occur and that he’d rather not play that game.

###

Read more: https://www.mediaite.com/online/trump-doubles-down-on-threat-i-dont-care-about-political-ramifications-of-a-shutdown/

Detention centers for migrant families are like 'summer camp,' Trump official tells senators

Source: The Washington Post



By Nick Miroff and Karoun Demirjian
July 31 at 12:17 PM

Email the authorTrump administration officials mounted a fierce defense Tuesday of the controversial family separation policy at the border, defending sites as “more like a summer camp” than holding facilities, and arguing that the detention system simply was not set up to facilitate court-ordered reunions easily.

“I’m very comfortable with the level of service and protection that is being provided,” top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official Matthew Albence told the Senate Judiciary Committee about the conditions at the “family residential centers,” which he likened to summer camps.

He and other administration officials told senators that the government had mechanisms in place to return children to their parents after they were separated, but they had to improvise a new reunification system under orders from a federal judge.

“This is a novel situation,” said Cmdr. Jonathan D. White, a public health coordinating official for the reunification effort. “The systems were not set up to have referrals include parent information.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/lawmakers-to-question-trump-officials-on-migrant-family-separations-struggle-to-reunite-them/2018/07/31/ddb61390-9467-11e8-8ffb-5de6d5e49ada_story.html

Trump administration must stop giving psychotropic drugs to migrant children without consent, judge

Source: The Washington Post



By Samantha Schmidt
July 31 at 6:38 AM

A federal judge on Monday found that U.S. government officials have been giving psychotropic medication to migrant children at a Texas facility without first seeking the consent of their parents or guardians, in violation of state child welfare laws.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the Trump administration to obtain consent or a court order before administering any psychotropic medications to migrant children, except in cases of dire emergencies. She also ordered that the government move all children out of a Texas facility, Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, except for children deemed by a licensed professional to pose a “risk of harm” to themselves or others.

Staff members at Shiloh admitted to signing off on medications in lieu of a parent, relative or legal guardian, according to Gee’s ruling. Government officials defended this practice, saying they provided these drugs only on “an emergency basis” when a child’s “extreme psychiatric symptoms” became dangerous.

The judge didn’t buy this explanation, pointing to testimony from children who said they were given pills “every morning and every night.” Officials “could not have possibly” administered medications to children on an emergency basis every day, Gee wrote.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/07/31/trump-administration-must-seek-consent-before-giving-drugs-to-migrant-children-judge-rules/

DHS To Launch New Anti-Cyberattack Center Amid Russian Hacker Concerns

Source: Talking Points Memo/AP



By Associated Press | July 31, 2018 9:53 am

NEW YORK (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security is creating a center aimed at guarding energy companies, banks and other industries against cyberattacks.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen plans to announce the creation of the National Risk Management Center at a cybersecurity summit Tuesday. DHS says the center will be a collaborative effort between private businesses and government on how to identify potential threats and guard against them.

The center was created as cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and concerns grow that they could seriously damage critical infrastructure and affect millions of consumers.

Homeland Security officials said last week that Russian hackers had breached control rooms of major utilities last year. There are also concerns about possible meddling by Russia as midterm elections near.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/homeland-security-center-against-cyberattacks

Trump Says He Told NRA 3-D Printable Guns Don't 'Seem To Make Much Sense'

Source: Talking Points Memo



By Nicole Lafond | July 31, 2018 9:12 am

President Trump claimed on Twitter Tuesday that he had spoken with the National Rifle Association about 3-D printed guns and asserted that publishing instructions for making the weapons “doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1024264286418489345

The tweet came just an hour after “Fox and Friends” ran a story on the attorneys general of eight states and the District of Columbia who filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to keep blueprints for 3-D printed guns offline.

After reaching a settlement with the federal government in June, a Texas-based company plans to publish the instructions for 3-D printing weapons starting Aug. 1. The company, Defense Distributed, settled with the federal government after fighting the Obama administration in court for five years. The Obama administration argued that publishing the instructions for printing the weapons was a violation of firearm export laws, while Defense Distributed claimed the State Department was violating its First and Second Amendment rights.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit against the Trump administration in federal court in Seattle Monday and is asking the court for a temporary restraining order to keep the blueprints from going live on Wednesday.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-says-told-nra-3d-printable-guns-dont-make-sense

Prosecutors advise witnesses in Manafort trial: Avoid the T-word (Trump)

Source: ABC News


By MATTHEW MOSK, JOHN SANTUCCI TRISH TURNER
Jul 31, 2018, 4:12 AM ET

Prosecutors preparing witnesses for the upcoming trial of President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chairman Paul J. Manafort are advising them to avoid mentioning Trump’s name, ABC News has learned.

The case against Manafort, brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Eastern District of Virginia, is focused solely on allegations that the former Trump adviser had committed a range of financial crimes, from tax evasion to bank fraud, that have no direct tie to his campaign work. Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

The guidance to witnesses comes in response to an order from United States District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who agreed with Manafort’s defense team that invoking the defendant’s ties to the Trump campaign could unduly influence jurors. The panel will be picked from residents of the Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia suburbs, which voted heavily against Trump in 2016. Jury selection is scheduled to start Tuesday.

Solomon L. Wisenberg, a veteran criminal defense attorney not associated with Manafort's defense, believes prosecutors are complying in hopes of derailing any attempt by Manafort’s defense team to argue that they are using politics to prejudice the jury. "The defense doesn’t want to be prejudiced by association with Trump," Wisenberg opined. "With a northern Virginia jury, they know they may not be kindly disposed to the president."

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/US/prosecutors-advise-witnesses-manafort-trial-avoid-word-trump/story?id=56925241

Flynn, Comey, and Mueller: What Trump Knew and When He Knew It

Murray Waas

Previously undisclosed evidence in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller—including highly confidential White House records and testimony by some of President Trump’s own top aides—provides some of the strongest evidence to date implicating the president of the United States in an obstruction of justice. Several people who have reviewed a portion of this evidence say that, based on what they know, they believe it is now all but inevitable that the special counsel will complete a confidential report presenting evidence that President Trump violated the law. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s work, would then decide on turning over that report to Congress for the House of Representatives to consider whether to instigate impeachment proceedings.

The central incident in the case that the president obstructed justice was provided by former FBI Director James B. Comey, who testified that Trump pressed Comey, in a private Oval Office meeting on February 14, 2017, to shut down an FBI criminal investigation of Trump’s former national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Comey has testified the president told him.

In an effort to convince Mueller that President Trump did not obstruct justice, the president’s attorneys have argued that the president could not have broken the law because the president did not know that Flynn was under criminal investigation when he pressured Comey to go easy on Flynn. In a confidential January 29 letter to the special counsel first reported by The New York Times, two of the president’s attorneys, John Dowd (who no longer represents Trump) and Jay Sekulow, maintained that the president did not obstruct justice because, even though Flynn had been questioned by the FBI, Trump believed that the FBI investigation was over, and that Flynn had been told that he’d been cleared.

On its face, this is a counter-intuitive argument—for if Trump believed that Flynn had been cleared and was no longer under investigation, there would have been no reason for the president to lean on Comey to end the FBI’s investigation—telling Comey that Trump hoped that Comey would be able to “see your way clear to letting this go.” Yet Trump’s attorneys have pursued this line of argument with the special counsel because perjury and obstruction cases depend largely on whether a prosecutor can demonstrate the intent and motivation of the person they want to charge. It’s not enough to prove that the person under investigation attempted to impede an ongoing criminal investigation; the statute requires a prosecutor to prove that the person did so with the corrupt intent to protect either himself or someone else from prosecution.

more
https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/07/31/what-trump-knew-and-when-he-knew-it/
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