Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Revolving Door of Russiagate

The news du jour is that Rudy Giuliani is now speaking on behalf of the President. And what is he saying? Comey,  Trump repaid Cohen $130K for payment to porn star, well, good for him. "Giuliani also described the payment to Daniels as "a very regular thing for lawyers to do."" Trump says money for his lawyer Cohen "not from the campaign", he certainly has enough money floating around to do the job. Rudy Giuliani Says Trump Paid Back Stormy Daniels’ Hush Money, Rips ‘Pervert’ 


An incredulous Hannity—outed in a federal courthouse last week as one of Cohen’s clients—interrupted: “They funneled it through the law firm?”

Giuliani barreled on: “Funneled through the law firm, and then the president repaid it.”
You mean like when Hillary Clinton paid for the Steele Dossier through a law firm? I think it's wrong to use law firms that way, but if it's going to happen it has to be legal for everybody.

This was litigated in the John Edwards case, and the government lost on the notion that hush money to mistress was a campaign contribution. But that won't stop Mueller, who has an elastic concept of what the law covers, from alleging that again.

Jared Kushner is 'disposable' as far as Rudy Giuliani is concerned. Well, men are the disposable sex, after all.

Hannity asked what might happen if her husband, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, becomes a target. Giuliani praised Kushner as "a fine man, you know that, but men are disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka? Come on."
Some anonymous source says Trump’s New Lawyer Likely to Cut Him Off From Mueller Interview: 
“Mueller finally has somebody who’s his match,” that person said. “You’ve got a fair fight now.”
By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 05.02.18" Tom McGuire at One More Minute says Take The Fifth (And Pass Another Over Here)
Should Trump agree to an interview with Mueller? If I am reading this Times story correctly, no sane lawyer would let him. Here we go on the genesis of this list of questions for Trump from Mueller:
Mr. Dowd had argued that Mr. Trump was too busy running the country to sit for an interview, especially if he was not a target of the investigation, according to a person briefed on the encounter.
Mr. Mueller replied that he had to question Mr. Trump to determine whether he had criminal intent when he took actions like firing Mr. Comey and raised the possibility of subpoenaing Mr. Trump to appear before a grand jury, the person said. News of Mr. Mueller mentioning the subpoena was first reported by The Washington Post.
If Mueller can't make the case without talking to Trump what sane lawyer would agree to an interview? Of course, the Secret Service won't let Trump's legal team handcuff him to his desk and the political advisors may have a different take, but still.

As to a grand jury subpoena, the political scuffling over that would be epic. And if Trump ends up in front of the grand jury (with none of his lawyers present, if normal rules apply) can he just invoke combinations of the Fifth Amendment and executive privilege and refuse to answer anything? And then what - if a judge rules he must testify, they jail him for contempt?

Or would Trump be disciplined enough to keep quiet? It's very easy to imagine him rising to his feet and shouting "Do you want the truth?"

Well. Go long popcorn.
But  Special counsel interview with Trump 'not off the table': outgoing White House attorney Ty Cobb says. But there is a reason he's "outgoing." Can Trump be forced to testify? Legal precedents suggest yes. But not without a lot of legal fuss. Trump escalates GOP's clash with Justice Department
A standoff between Justice Department officials and GOP lawmakers escalated Wednesday as President Donald Trump waded into a controversy over demands to release a highly sensitive document outlining who and what is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller III.

The Justice Department has refused to turn over the document, known as a "scope memo," citing its own independence and longtime precedent that it doesn't disclose the details of ongoing investigations.

"A Rigged System - They don't want to turn over Documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal "justice?" At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!" the president tweeted Wednesday morning.
So basically, the DOJ won't tell their bosses (the President and Congress) what orders they're acting under? He should just publicly order Rod Rosenstein to release the memo. If he doesn't comply, well, that's a firing offense. Why firing Mueller won't end the Russia investigation? Because at this point, the "Deep State" has decided that nothing will come between them and getting Trump.
“Bureaucracies are complicated animals, and this one has metastasized beyond the Mueller investigation,” said Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and editor in chief of the blog LawFare. “That’s the thing that functionally protects the investigation.”
Robert Mueller: Gone Fishing
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s strategy may be to try to lure Donald Trump into perjury when Mueller can already get all the answers to his questions from the NSA, say Ray McGovern and Bill Binney.

After a year of investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has, in effect, admitted that he has hit a dry well.  He is under strong pressure to keep the charade going until the November elections, however, so he and his high-priced legal brain-trust have devised a new tactic.

One would think they could come up with something less transparent.  After all, Mueller was FBI Director from 2001 to 2013 and knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak.  But it does not appear likely that he is going to get his man this time. So, rather than throw in the towel, he is making a college try at cajoling President Donald Trump into helping him out.
Rep. Louis Gohmert has another long list of Mueller misadventures, including some I hadn't heard before: MONUMENTAL: The Naked Truth About Robert Mueller
During my first term in Congress, 2005 to 2006, Congressman Curt Weldon delivered some powerful and relentless allegations about the FBI having prior knowledge that 9/11 was coming. He repeatedly alleged that there was documentary evidence to show that 9/11 could have been prevented and thousands of lives saved if the FBI had done its job. He held up documents at times while making these claims in speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives.
. . .
In 2006, the Robert Mueller-led FBI took horrendously unjust actions to derail Curt Weldon’s reelection bid just weeks before the vote—actions that were later described as a “hit job”: “Each of Weldon’s 10 previous re-elections had been by sizable margins. Polls showed he was up by 5-7 points [in the fall of 2006]. Three weeks prior to the election, however, a national story ran about Weldon based upon anonymous sources that an investigation was underway against him and his daughter, alleging illegal activities involving his congressional work. Weldon had received no prior notification of any such investigation and was dumbfounded that such a story would run especially since he regularly briefed the FBI and intelligence agencies on his work.

A week after the news story broke, alleging a need to act quickly because of the leak, FBI agents from Washington raided the home of Weldon’s daughter at 7:00AM on a Monday morning… Local TV and print media had all been alerted to the raid in advance and were already in position to cover the story. Editor's note: Sound familiar?

Within hours, Democratic protesters were waving “Caught Red-Handed” signs outside Weldon’s district office in Upper Darby. In the ensuing two weeks, local and national media ran multiple stories implying that Weldon must also have been under investigation. Given the coverage, Weldon lost the election… To this day, incredibly, no one in authority has asked Weldon or his daughter about the raid or the investigation. There was no follow up, no questions, no grand jury interrogation, nothing.

One year after the raid the local FBI office called Weldon’s daughter to have her come get the property that had been removed from her home. That was it…The raid ruined the career of Weldon and his daughter.”
America's secret police strike again. Suspicious things do seem to happen around Mueller. But then, to be fair, they tend to happen around the FBI regardless of who is in charge.

Is Mueller messing with foreign policy? Allahpundit: Did Ukraine Stop Cooperating With Mueller In Order To Get Missiles From Trump?
There’s no hard proof of a deal, just an isn’t-this-interesting coincidence. It’s possible that the Ukrainian government seized the initiative to stop cooperating with Mueller as a way to win Trump’s favor, without any request by him or the White House to do so. If you lay awake at night in Kiev worried that the new Russia-friendly American president will abandon you to Moscow, you’re naturally looking for splashy ways to keep him on your side. Telling Bob Mueller to buzz off with his “witch hunt” is one way.
Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Crash Test Girl" and "FMJRA 2.0: Mexican Radio" up and running at The Other McCain.

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