Trump Ally Roger Stone Sentenced To 40 Months Prison Term

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Thursday sentenced Donald Trump’s longtime friend, Roger Stone, to a 40-month prison term for obstructing a congressional investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

From the Washington Post:

In a lengthy speech before imposing the penalty, Jackson seemed to take aim at Trump, saying that Stone “was not prosecuted for standing up for the president; he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” She also appeared to call out Attorney General William P. Barr, whose intervention to reduce career prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation she called “unprecedented.” But she said the politics surrounding the case had not influenced her final decision.

Jackson made clear she thought Stone’s crimes were serious. She called his testimony “plainly false” and “a flat-out lie” and said his misdirection “shut out important avenues” for Congress to investigate. The judge said Stone knew “it could reflect badly on the president if someone learned” about his efforts to obtain damaging information from the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks about Clinton, who was then running against Trump for president.

Prosecutors said the longtime GOP operative lied during testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in September 2017 to conceal his central role in the Trump campaign’s efforts to learn about computer files hacked by Russia and made public by WikiLeaks. Stone also threatened a witness who was an associate of his in an attempt to prevent the man from cooperating with lawmakers.

In addition to the prison time, Judge Jackson ordered Stone to pay a $20,000 fine, do community service and submit to substance abuse testing.

Stone was convicted on all seven counts of lying to Congress and tampering with a witness by a jury last November. He is the sixth Trump associate convicted of crimes discovered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

I continue to believe Trump will pardon Stone sometime in the near future.

WaPo: Attorney General Asked Foreign Officials To Help Discredit Mueller Report

Attorney General Bill Barr (image via Flickr/WhiteHouse – public domain)

Attorney General Bill Barr and Donald Trump worked with foreign officials to undermine the credibility of U.S. Intelligence Agencies in attempts to discredit the investigation by Robert Mueller.

This is after 17 intelligence agencies agreed Russia interfered in our election.

From the Washington Post:

Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.

Barr’s personal involvement is likely to stoke further criticism from Democrats pursuing impeachment that he is helping the Trump administration use executive branch powers to augment investigations aimed primarily at the president’s adversaries.

Current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials expressed frustration and alarm Monday that the head of the Justice Department was taking such a direct role in re-examining what they view as conspiracy theories and baseless allegations of misconduct.

Barr has already made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week the attorney general traveled to Italy, where he and Durham met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham, according to one person familiar with the matter.

And then, there’s this from the New York Times:

Donald Trump pushed the Australian prime minister during a recent telephone call to help Attorney General William P. Barr gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two American officials with knowledge of the call.

The White House restricted access to the call’s transcript to a small group of the president’s aides, one of the officials said, an unusual decision that is similar to the handling of a July call with the Ukrainian president that is at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

House Judiciary Committee Files Lawsuit To Unseal Mueller Grand Jury Evidence

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced today his committee is filing suit to acquire the grand jury material underlying the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced today his committee is filing suit to acquire the grand jury material underlying the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“It is clear that any other citizen of this country who behaved as the president has, would have been charged with multiple crimes,” said Nadler in his announcement. “No one can be above the law, not even President Trump.”

“Because Department of Justice policies will not allow prosecution of a sitting president, the United States House of Representatives is the only institution of the federal government that can now hold President Trump accountable for these actions.”

“To do so, the House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — recommendation of articles of impeachment.”

Mueller Asked If His Report ‘Completely Exonerated’ Trump – “No”

Robert Mueller

Very fatiguing to watch the ongoing testimony by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but there has been one point made that will discussed for days.

After Donald Trump has repeated the reality he wants to see – that he was found ‘completely’ innocent by the investigation and that there was ‘total exoneration – Mueller was directly asked if his report ‘completely exonerated’ the president.

Mueller’s answer: “No.”

Here’s the clip everyone will be playing.

I’ll add that, due to a five-minute time frame allotted for each member of the committee, everyone is speaking very, very quickly. Members of Congress are trying to cite very specific pages and quotes from hundreds of pages of Mueller’s report and asking, “Is that correct?”

In that every word Mueller utters is going to parsed over and over, and that Mueller knows he’s under oath, he’s clearly trying to stay within the boundaries with which he’s allowed to speak to and be as accurate as possible.

I’m younger than Mueller by decades and having a hard time keeping up with how fast some questions are being posed.

Trump Rants On Twitter (Predictably) Before Mueller Testimony

In advance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's testimony this morning, Donald Trump had a Twitter meltdown complaining, yet again, about his often-referenced 'witch hunt.'
Donald Trump

In advance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony this morning, Donald Trump had a Twitter meltdown complaining, yet again, about his often-referenced ‘witch hunt.’

The Donald has said he doesn’t intend to watch the testimony…

Sure, Donald.

Mueller To Testify In Public Before House Committees July 17

Politico reports former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify in public before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 17, both panels announced late Tuesday.
Robert Mueller

Politico reports former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify in public before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 17:

Mueller was served with a subpoena after the Democratic-led committees and the former special counsel failed to agree on terms for his voluntary public testimony.

“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement.

Trump: White House Counsel Don McGahn Lied To Mueller

In a newly-released segment from ABC News, Donald Trump says he was never going to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller during the two-year investigation.
Donald Trump

In a newly-released segment from ABC News, Donald Trump says he was never going to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller during the two-year investigation.

When George Stephanopolous notes Trump’s own White House counsel Don McGahn testified under oath that Trump said in private that he wanted Mueller gone, Trump shuts George down saying McGahn lied.

Via Politico:

President Donald Trump is challenging his former White House counsel’s testimony to Robert Mueller, asserting that he never even so much as suggested firing the special counsel. In an interview with ABC News, the president suggested that Don McGahn told Mueller of Trump’s supposed directive that he be fired in order to save face.

“The story on that very simply, No. 1, I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller,” Trump said. Pressed on why McGahn would have told Mueller’s team during his more than 30 hours of voluntary interviews of the multiple times the president sought to have the special counsel removed, Trump pushed back.

“I don’t care what he says, it doesn’t matter,” he argued. “That was to show everyone what a good counsel he was.”

Note how Trump cuts George off – “…Excuse me…”

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.

GOP Congressman Says Attorney General “Deliberately Misrepresented” Mueller Report

Rep. Justin Amash surprised some folks earlier the month when he became the first Republican in Congress to call for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan

Rep. Justin Amash surprised some folks earlier the month when he became the first Republican in Congress to call for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

Today, Amash issued a lengthy 25-tweet statement outlining how he views Attorney General William Barr “misrepresented key aspects” of the Special Counsel’s report.

Amash goes on to cite Donald Trump Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer and the inability of Robert Mueller to secure a proper interview with Donald Trump as concerning issues in the Special Counsel’s report that Barr seems to have obfuscated.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

White House Asked Former Trump Lawyer Twice To Say He Didn’t Obstruct Justice

Donald Trump

The New York Times is reporting that Don McGahn, Donald Trump’s first White House counsel, was asked by Trump administration officials on two separate occasions to publicly say he didn’t believe Trump obstructed the Mueller investigation.

Mr. Trump asked White House officials to make the request to Mr. McGahn, who was the president’s first White House counsel, one of the people said. Mr. McGahn declined. His reluctance angered the president, who believed that Mr. McGahn showed disloyalty by telling investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, about Mr. Trump’s attempts to maintain control over the Russia investigation.

The White House made one of the requests to Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, before the Mueller report was released publicly but after the Justice Department gave a copy to Mr. Trump’s lawyers in the preceding days. Reading the report, the president’s lawyers saw that Mr. Mueller left out that Mr. McGahn had told investigators that he believed the president never obstructed justice. Mr. Burck had told them months earlier about his client’s belief on the matter and that he had shared it with investigators.

Mr. McGahn initially entertained the White House request. “We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister,” Mr. Burck said in a statement. “It was a request, professionally and cordially made.”

A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a message seeking comment.

White House officials made a second request a few days after the release of the Mueller report. McGahn demurred again.

More from Trump World:

• Rudy Giuliani has called off his previously announced trip to Ukraine where he planned to encourage an investigation regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s son. The move was seen as another attempt by the Trump campaign to seek help from a foreign country.

• The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard E. Neal, subpoenaed the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service for six years of Mr. Trump’s personal and business tax returns.

• Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are pursuing testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but an official date has not been agreed to.