White House Ordered Former Aides To Defy Congressional Subpoenas

Politico is reporting that the Trump White House instructed two former aides to defy subpoenas issued by a Congressional committee seeking documents related to possible obstruction of justice by Donald Trump.
Donald Trump

Politico is reporting that the Trump White House instructed two former aides to defy subpoenas issued by a Congressional committee seeking documents related to possible obstruction of justice by Donald Trump.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone reportedly told the Judiciary Committee that the two former West Wingers were directed not to comply with the subpoenas because they “do not have the legal right to disclose the White House records to third parties.”

The tactic didn’t work, it seems.

From Politico:

But one of those aides, Hope Hicks, a longtime Trump confidant who served as White House communications director, has turned over some documents to the House Judiciary Committee regarding her service on Trump’s presidential campaign, according to Jerry Nadler, the panel’s chairman.

He hailed the document production as a show of “good faith” and indicated that the committee will continue to negotiate with Hicks — as well as former White House deputy counsel Annie Donaldson — for the next few weeks as they attempt to arrange public testimony pursuant to the committee’s subpoenas.

Mueller: “If We Had Confidence That The President Had NOT Committed A Crime We Would Have Said So”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

For the first time since the conclusion of the Special Counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Donald Trump, Robert Mueller spoke at the Department of Justice about his team’s report.

Mueller reiterated his office’s conclusion was that there was “insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy” against the Trump campaign in relation to Russian efforts to interfere with the election.

He also made clear that Trump was not cleared of obstruction of justice by the Special Counsel.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not committed a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime,” Mueller said about the conclusion of the Russia investigation.

He added that he did not charge Trump with obstruction of justice because Department of Justice policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a federal crime. “Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” said Mueller.

Trump Still Ranting On Mueller Report

Donald Trump

Donald Trump, who claims he was ‘totally exonerated’ (he wasn’t) by the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller can’t stop ranting about it.

He took to Twitter yet again this morning to rail about it yet again mentioning “angry Democrats,” “conflicted Mueller,” and the always obligatory “”no collusion, no obstruction.”

What the Mueller report actually did was find 10 episodes of potential obstruction. He detailed them in the report and left it to the Attorney General William Barr and Congress to decide if they rose to the level of a crime that could be proven in court.

Political experts are also considering that Mueller didn’t attempt to charge Trump with a crime because of a long-standing position in the Justice Department that a sitting president can’t be charged.

For all those folks calling for “Impeachment!” – it’s not going to happen.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi knows it would be an act of futility because even if the House did vote of articles of impeachment, the Republican-led Senate would never convict Trump.

And he would look like a martyr for the 2020 election.

Buzzfeed: Trump Instructed His Lawyer To Lie To Congress

Buzzfeed is reporting that Donald Trump instructed his former 'fixer,' Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress regarding plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Donald Trump

Buzzfeed is reporting that Donald Trump instructed his former ‘fixer,’ Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress regarding plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

The Buzzfeed article is said to be based on “interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.”

President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.

And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.

Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the deal in testimony and in a two-page statement to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special counsel Robert Mueller noted that Cohen’s false claim that the project ended in January 2016 was an attempt to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1” — widely understood to be Trump — “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”

Now the two sources have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.

There’s much more at the link.

Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, responded to the report saying, “If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge.”

But as many point out, the Buzzfeed report doesn’t rely on information from Cohen.

The report dropped at 10:11pm ET last night, so the Trumpster came out swinging this morning on Twitter:

Folks are now looking back at the testimony Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, gave this week with new eyes as he was directly asked if “a president persuading a person to commit perjury would be obstruction?”

Trump: Special Counsel Investigation Ordered By Trump Dept Of Justice “Not Allowed Under The Law!”

Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to repeat his claims of "witch hunt" about the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which now includes guilty pleas from 5 former Trump associates.
Donald Trump

Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to repeat his claims of “witch hunt” about the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which now includes guilty pleas from 5 former Trump associates.

“The illegal Mueller Witch Hunt continues in search of a crime,” Trump whined Sunday morning. “There was never Collusion with Russia, except by the Clinton campaign, so the 17 Angry Democrats are looking at anything they can find.”

“ALSO, not allowed under the LAW!” Trump added, which is perplexing since the investigation was ordered by Trump’s Department of Justice.

Folks continue to speculate that the Trumpster may pardon former campaign chair Paul Manafort or fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Special Counsel Robert Mueller in an attempt to end the scandal.

Of course, doing so would only exacerbate the issue.

Special Counsel Again Requests To Interview Trump On Obstruction Of Justice

Donald Trump

According to ABC News, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested to interview Donald Trump regarding issues pertaining to obstruction of justice.

ABC News reports:

According to sources, the president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.

According to sources familiar with the President’s reaction Wednesday morning, that was the genesis for his early morning tweet storm. Negotiations over a potential presidential interview have gone on for months, through several different iterations of the Trump legal team.

You’ll note Trump now says Manafort “worked for me for a very short time.”

When he won the election, he hailed Manafort’s great work.

Here’s the Twitter rant referenced in the ABC News report.

Seth Meyers To Trump: “Ask Your Wife What It’s Like To Be Married” To A Loser!

Late Night with Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers addressed the recent news that President Trump attempted to fire Robert Mueller just weeks into the Special Counsel’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to sources, White House legal counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit if Trump moved forward in firing Mueller.

Meyers was in prime form as he ticked off the latest news from Trump Land.

• “Amazing. Trump is mad that he’s being investigated for obstruction of justice so his plan to get out of it is to obstruct justice. If Trump was the captain of the Titanic, his plan would be to hit a second iceberg.”

• “Why does he keep going out of his way to interfere with the investigation? There are two possible answers.”

“One, he’s guilty. Or two, he asked the FBI director for a pledge of loyalty, he asked him to stop his investigation into Michael Flynn, fired the FBI director, admitted he fired him because of the Russia investigation, bragged to the Russians that he did it because of the Russia investigation, pressured the attorney general not to recuse himself, pressured the heads of the intelligence agencies to intervene and tried to fire the special counsel who took over the Russia investigation…because he’s innocent?”

• Meyers also touched on reports that Trump called Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (now pushed out of his job) the day James Comey was fired. Trump was angry that Comey flew home to Washington DC on a federal plane.

During the call, Trump “turned on McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser—an apparent reference to a failed campaign for state office in Virginia that McCabe’s wife made in 2015.”

Said Meyers, “You told him to ask his wife what it’s like to be a loser?! You should ask your wife what it’s like to be married to one!”

Watch the segment below.

Trump Predictably Rants On News Of Obstruction Of Justice Inquiry

Today, in Trump Twitter Land, the Donald went on a rant regarding the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into obstruction of justice by the prez.

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell couldn’t leave that alone.

Washington Post: Special Counsel Mueller Looking At Possible Obstruction Of Justice By Trump

Robert Mueller

I’m guessing this is why Daniel Coats, current director of national intelligence, and Adm. Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, refused to answer so many questions last week when speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The Washington Post dropped a bombshell tonight reporting that the special counsel looking into Russian interference in last year’s election, Robert Mueller, is now looking into possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

The move by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s own conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

Trump had received private assurances from former FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.

The WaPo piece goes on to detail an encounter between Coats and Trump, as well as phone calls between Trump, Coats and Rogers.

Coats was attending a briefing at the White House together with officials from several other government agencies. When the briefing ended, as The Post previously reported, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Coats told associates that Trump had asked him if he could intervene with Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials. Coats later told lawmakers that he never felt pressured to intervene.

A day or two after the March 22 meeting, Trump telephoned Coats and Rogers to separately ask them to issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the president’s requests, officials said.

And there’s documentation: recently departed National Security Agency Deputy Richard Ledgett penned an internal NSA memo documenting the president’s phone call with his boss, Adm. Mike Rogers, according to officials.