Grand Jury Convened To Consider Indictments Against Trump

Donald Trump

The New York City prosecutor overseeing a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s business practices before he became president has convened a grand jury to consider evidence.

From the Washington Post:

Manhattan’s district attorney has convened the grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development.

The move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. It suggests, too, that Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company.

Dozens Indicted In College Admission Scandal Including Actresses Felicity Huffman & Lori Loughlin

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin (images via Facebook)

This looks to be the story of the day, especially with the inclusion of actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Full House).

According to court filings, those indicted allegedly paid millions in bribes to get their children into elite colleges as well as cheating on entrance exams.

Via the New York Times:

Federal prosecutors charged dozens of people on Tuesday in a major college admission scandal that involved wealthy parents, including Hollywood celebrities and prominent business leaders, paying bribes to get their children into elite American universities.

Thirty-three parents were charged in the case. Also implicated were top college coaches, who were accused of accepting millions of dollars to help admit students to Wake Forest, Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California and other schools, regardless of their academic or sports ability, officials said.

Along with the Hollywood stars Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, those charged included prominent business leaders, a fashion designer and a top lawyer, as well as exam administrators accused of manufacturing students’ achievements and private admissions counselors accused of coordinating it all, officials said.

Federal authorities say dozens of individuals were involved in a nationwide bribery and fraud scheme to help students gain admission to elite colleges and universities. Racketeering charges against 12 of the defendants are detailed in this indictment, one of a number of charging documents in the case.

William Rick Singer, the founder of the college preparatory business the Edge College & Career Network (aka The Key), is apparently at the center of the scandal.

Singer has already pleaded guilty to charges and is reportedly cooperating with federal prosecutors.

His organization allegedly helped students cheat on standardized tests, like the SAT, and facilitated bribes to prep coaches who helped students gain access into college with fake athletic credentials.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Huffman’s daughter took the test in December 2017, and received a 1420 on the test – a 400 point improvement from a previous attempt.

Related: How to take precautions to avoid back-to-school scams

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Indicts 13 Russian Nationals For Interfering In 2016 Presidential Election

At a press conference this morning, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with “the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

The indictment says that the aim of the defendants was “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

Operating under the name Internet Research Agency LLC, the defendants “sought, in part, to conduct what it called ‘information warfare against the United States of America’ through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.”

The indictment lists, for example, Instagram accounts named “Woke Blacks,” “Blacktivists,” and “United Muslims of America” to discourage minorities from voting for Hillary Clinton or even voting at all.

More from Bloomberg:

In a Feb. 10, 2016, planning memo, the Russians were instructed to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them).”

The operations also denigrated candidates including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Trump’s rivals in the 2016 Republican primary, the indictment said.

The efforts included contact with “unwitting” Trump campaign officials, with the goal of “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful government functions” including the election.

The group bought advertisements on U.S. social media, created numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if they were U.S. groups or people, according to the indictment. One fake account, @TEN_GOP account, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.

The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign, according to the indictment. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver’s licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities.

In September 2016, the group ordered one worker to “intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton” after a review found insufficient anti-Clinton activity.

Donald Trump, who has called the investigation into Russian meddling a hoax, was briefed on the indictments this morning.

You can read the full indictment here. I suggest you take a minute and do so. This is not a hoax.

Here’s Rosenstein announcing the indictments this morning.