Trump Denies He Ever Told NBC’s Lester Holt He Fired Comey Over Russian Investigation

Donald Trump

On May 12, 2017, in front of a national TV audience, Donald J. Trump told NBC news anchor Lester Holt why he fired former FBI Director James Comey:

“In fact when I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'”

Today, that same Donald Trump (we think – unless aliens have invaded his body) tweeted to the world, “Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!”

And yes, his followers will believe him.

Meanwhile, the Twitterverse kept trying to default to the actual truth:

Special Counsel Subpoenas Trump Organization For All Documents Related To Russia

Get ready for Donald Trump’s head to explode as The New York Times has just reported Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed all Russian related documents from the Trump Organization.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known time that the special counsel demanded documents directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president.

The breadth of the subpoena was not clear, nor was it clear why Mr. Mueller issued it instead of simply asking for the documents from the company, an umbrella organization that oversees Mr. Trump’s business ventures. In the subpoena, delivered in recent weeks, Mr. Mueller ordered the Trump Organization to hand over all documents related to Russia and other topics he is investigating, the people said.

The subpoena is the latest indication that the investigation, which Mr. Trump’s lawyers once regularly assured him would be completed by now, will drag on for at least several more months. Word of the subpoena comes as Mr. Mueller appears to be broadening his investigation to examine the role foreign money may have played in funding Mr. Trump’s political activities. In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller’s investigators have questioned witnesses, including an adviser to the United Arab Emirates, about the flow of Emirati money into the United States.

Trump has previously said that a Mueller investigation into his businesses would cross a “red line.”

Trump Adviser Rick Gates To Plead Guilty And Cooperate In Mueller Investigation

Rick Gates, a top level adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is expected to plead guilty to charges related to participating in financial conspiracy along with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Gates is also expected to admit to lying to investigators regarding a 2013 Washington meeting Manafort took part in with a member of Congress and a lobbyist.

Via The New York Times:

The adviser, Rick Gates, is a longtime political consultant who once served as Mr. Trump’s deputy campaign chairman. The plea deal could be a significant development in the investigation — a sign that Mr. Gates plans to offer incriminating information against his longtime associate and the former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, or other members of the Trump campaign in exchange for a lighter punishment.

The deal comes as the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has been raising pressure on Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort with dozens of new charges of money laundering and bank fraud that were unsealed on Thursday in Alexandria, Va. Mr. Mueller first indicted both men in October, and both pleaded not guilty.

Gates was Donald Trump’s Deputy Campaign Chair, and stayed with the campaign and transition team even after Manafort was booted from the campaign.

Gates becomes the 5th person who has plead guilty in the Mueller probe:

• Rick Gates
• Michael Flynn
• George Papadopoulos
• Richard Pinedo
• Alex Van Der Zwann

Gates is now the 3rd member of the Trump campaign who has plead guilty.

Additionally, there have been 14 indictments to come out of the investigation looking into Russian disruption of the 2016 presidential election.

For a “witch hunt” or “hoax,” that’s a LOT of guilty pleas and indictments, don’t you think?

Watch NBC News‘ Pete Williams explain today’s developments below.

Report: White House Insiders Fear Nunes Memo Could Be “Underwhelming”

As the political world awaits the eventual release of the now-infamous “Nunes memo,” reporters are hearing that the reveal could be underwhelming and not the “slam dunk” folks have touted it to be.

Via Axios:

Inside the Trump administration, sources who’ve been briefed on the Nunes memo expect it will be underwhelming and not the “slam dunk” document it’s been hyped up to be.

What we’re hearing: There is much more skepticism inside the administration than has been previously reported about the value of releasing the memo, according to sources familiar with the administration discussions.

Be smart: Trump still wants to release the memo. But there are a number of people in the White House who are fairly underwhelmed, and there’s internal anxiety about whether it’s worth angering the FBI director and intelligence community by releasing this information.

What’s next: Trump will almost certainly approve the memo’s release. The internal debate, now, is more around whether to make further changes to the memo — redactions to protect sources and methods — on the advice of the Intelligence Community.

Former Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Gets Hit With TWO Subpoenas

Donald Trump (L), Steve Bannon (R)

After telling the House Intelligence committee he would not answer questions about his time in the White House, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon got slapped with a subpoena in an effort to force his testimony.

From Politico:

Bannon appeared before the committee as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, speaking just weeks after a falling-out with Trump over comments he made in an explosive new book.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that he issued a subpoena for Bannon.

“Of course I authorized the subpoena,” he told reporters. “That’s how the rules work.”

According to the person familiar with the interview, Bannon’s attorney told the committee he wouldn’t discuss anything about his time in the White House or during the transition after the 2016 election. During that period, Trump allegedly sought a pledge of loyalty from then-FBI Director James Comey and later fired him.

The source said Republicans lawmakers — including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and former federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — were frustrated that Bannon was not more forthcoming. Bannon did not invoke executive privilege, the source said.

Bannon was quoted extensively in the explosive new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which was none too kind to the Trump administration.

Some feel Bannon’s performance today was an attempt to curry favor again with the Trumpster by demonstrating his loyalty.

In addition to the House subpoena, The New York Times reported today that Bannon was hit with a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation last week calling him to testify before a grand jury.

That subpoena marks the first time Mr. Mueller has subpoenaed a member of the Trump inner circle in his investigation into Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election.

Basically, from here on out, Bannon will be testifying under oath. #DangerWillRobinson

Trump Ordered White House Lawyer To Convince AG Jeff Sessions From Recusing Himself From Russian Probe

Without a doubt, this revelation moves the Trump White House closer and closer to a charge of obstruction of justice.

Trump wanted an Attorney General who would “protect” him.

Why would an innocent person need to be protected?

From The New York Times:

President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.

Public pressure was building for Mr. Sessions, who had been a senior member of the Trump campaign, to step aside. But the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, carried out the president’s orders and lobbied Mr. Sessions to remain in charge of the inquiry, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.

Mr. McGahn was unsuccessful, and the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. Mr. Trump said he had expected his top law enforcement official to safeguard him the way he believed Robert F. Kennedy, as attorney general, had done for his brother John F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr. had for Barack Obama.

Mr. Trump then asked, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” He was referring to his former personal lawyer and fixer, who had been Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s top aide during the investigations into communist activity in the 1950s and died in 1986.

The report goes on to say that just days before FBI Director James Comey was fired, aides for Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked congressional staffers if they had dirt on Comey. Clearly, there was a thought to try and smear the FBI director.

The extremely-nonpartisan Associated Press has now corroborated this story.

Not to be heavyhanded but it bears repeating – the Attorney General does not serve to protect the president.

It is the Attorney General’s job to enforce the laws of the United States.

There’s irony in Trump’s call for his own “Roy Cohn” given Trump’s own disloyalty to the infamous attorney once he was diagnosed with AIDS.

Trump Asked Intelligence Chiefs To Deny Any Evidence Of Russian Collusion During 2016

President Trump

Apparently, when then-FBI Director James Comey failed to comply with President Trump’s request to “drop” the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s communication with Russia, Trump turned to the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency Director for similar favors.

In separate appeals, Trump asked them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

They declined.

From CNN:

The President’s treatment of Comey has raised questions about whether he abused his powers by seeking to discredit the FBI investigation or risked giving the impression that he was obstructing justice, a debate now given new life by the latest revelations.

Trump spoke to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers after Comey revealed in March that the bureau had launched a probe into alleged collusion. Both Coats and Rogers were uncomfortable with the nature of the President’s request and refused to comply, the sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

Coats declined to comment during a Senate armed services committee hearing Tuesday, that had been previously scheduled.

The White House declined to comment on the details of Trump’s contacts with Rogers and Coats.

The revelations deepen the intrigue over alleged links between Trump’s campaign and Russia, and follow the President’s firing of Comey and subsequent statement he sacked him because of the Russia probe.

After the first story regarding Trump and Comey, you could almost buy into a “well, he’s new with governmental politics.” “He’s a little naive about how these things work.”

But bouncing from Comey to Coats to Rogers, clearly Trump knew he was asking something far outside normal protocol.