Lewandowski: Mueller Investigation Charges “Have Nothing To Do With The President”

With the news of impending charges approved by a grand jury in the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on (where else?) Fox & Friends to assure the faithful that “this has nothing to do with the president.”

“Let me be very very clear, I am certain of this, this has nothing to do with the president. If there were players on the outside that had a periphery or a small role of some type in the campaign, my guess is these charges have nothing to do with the campaign because I was there, there was no collusion, cooperation or coordination with Russia. So, let’s see what Mueller does, but the dam is not breaking. The only thing that is breaking are the Democrats.”

Note the rising pitch in his voice.

Watch below:

CNN: First Charges Approved By Grand Jury In Special Counsel Robert Mueller Investigation

Donald Trump

And so, it begins.

The first charges have been approved by a federal grand jury in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

From CNN:

The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Mueller was appointed in May to lead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Under the regulations governing special counsel investigations, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight over the Russia investigation, would have been made aware of any charges before they were taken before the grand jury for approval, according to people familiar with the matter.

Just speculation, but three particular Donald Trump former associates – campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and campaign adviser Carter Page – are widely viewed as potential targets of the investigation.

Just this morning, Donald Trump tweeted, “It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump.”

A little quick on the Twitter finger there, Donny?

Special Counsel Investigators Have Met With Russian Dossier Author Christopher Steele

Former MI-6 officer Christopher Steele, who has rebuffed meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election, apparently met with investigators working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller this past summer.

From CNN:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators met this past summer with the former British spy whose dossier on alleged Russian efforts to aid the Trump campaign spawned months of investigations that have hobbled the Trump administration, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Information from Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 officer, could help investigators determine whether contacts between people associated with the Trump campaign and suspected Russian operatives broke any laws.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Teaming Up With NY Attorney General On Paul Manafort Investigation

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort

Politico is reporting tonight that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators into Russian interference in the 2016 election are collaborating with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his financial transactions.

The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.

The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.

Bolding is mine.

Many felt Trump’s pardon of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a signal from Trump that he might pardon anyone caught up in the Special Counsel’s investigation.

State charges would certainly short-circuit Trump’s powers should Manafort’s situation grow dire.

Special Counsel Focusing On How Much Trump Knew About Son’s Meeting With Russian Lawyer

Don Trump Jr. and father

Via HuffPost:

Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly questioning how much President Donald Trump knew about his son Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyers at Trump Tower and if the president sought to hide the purpose of that meeting, NBC reports.

Trump has denied knowing about the matter until it was revealed by The New York Times. The president did, however, help draft his son’s statement to the press in response to reports about the meeting, according to The Washington Post.

“Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller’s team to show Trump’s conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges,” an unnamed source told NBC.

News Round-Up: August 29, 2017

(via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Eliad Cohen keeps scanning the horizon looking for me in Mykonos, Greece #ICanDayDream

• 143 House Democrats have penned a letter asking Donald Trump to reconsider his “ill-advised and indefensible policy” of banning transgender service members from the U.S. military. Citing probable unconstitutionality of the policy, the lawmakers’ letter to the president underscores that trans military “serve with equal distinction; they are equally deserving of our gratitude and respect.”

Superman Henry Cavill assures us all that his moustache “continues to thrive” even on vacay. #FurryGoodness

A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on Aug 29, 2017 at 11:57am PDT

• Pro-Trump/Nazi websites Stormfront and The Daily Stormer have lost their web hosting due to hate speech and histories of violent crimes.

• A Republican lawmaker has proposed an amendment in Congress that would stop funding the Special Counsel investigation 180 days after it became law. The amendment from Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis would also limit special counsel Robert Mueller from probing “matters occurring before June 2015,” which is the month Donald Trump announced his presidential bid.

• Averaging only a few thousand viewers during the day in the UK, the owners of Fox News have decided to pull the network from airing in Britain.

• New music from out Canadian twins Tegan and Sara as they team up with Matthew Dear for “Bad Ones.” Listen below.

Russian Investigation: Special Counsel Mueller Impanels Grand Jury, Subpoenas Issued

From the Washington Post:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III began using a grand jury in federal court in Washington several weeks ago as part of his investigation of possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The development is a sign that investigators continue to aggressively gather evidence in the case, and that Mueller is taking full control of a probe that predated him.

Mueller’s investigation now includes a look at whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James B. Comey, as well as deep dives into financial and other dealings of former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

In federal cases, a grand jury is not necessarily an indication that an indictment is imminent or even likely. Instead, it is a powerful investigative tool that prosecutors use to compel witnesses to testify or force people or companies to turn over documents.

The assembling of a grand jury does not necessarily mean that an indictment is certain. But, it allows the Special Counsel to subpoena individuals to testify under oath and to force individuals or companies to turn over documents.

The New York Times reports that subpoenas have been issued in regard to the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a “Russian government attorney,” as well as business documents from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Special Counsel Expanding Investigation Into Trump’s Business Transactions

President Trump told the New York Times yesterday that it would be improper for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to expand his current investigation into the Trump’s business dealings, but that’s exactly what Mueller is now doing.

Via Bloomberg:

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The president told the New York Times on Wednesday that any digging into matters beyond Russia would be out of bounds. Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years, however, making the boundaries fuzzy.

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.

Department Of Justice Names Special Counsel To Oversee Russian Investigation

Politico is reporting the Department of Justice has named a special prosecutor to handle the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the probe.

“Based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “A special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the Public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly.”

UPDATE – President Trump issued this statement regarding the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel:

“As I have stated many times, a through investigation will confirm what we already know — that there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”