Author Topic: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice  (Read 19399 times)

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #90 on: June 25, 2019, 06:30:44 pm »
Tuesday, 25th June 2019
Mueller to testify publicly on July 17, 2019 following a subpoena
by Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju

Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly following a subpoena from the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, the panels announced Tuesday.

Mueller will testify publicly before both committees on Wednesday, July 17, according to a joint statement announcing the hearing.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #91 on: July 11, 2019, 05:18:26 pm »


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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #92 on: September 21, 2019, 09:00:30 am »
Thursday, 19th September 2019
My Crimes Can’t Be Investigated While [I’m pretending to be] President
by Bess Levin

As you may or may not have heard, puppetine refused to release his tax returns while running from prosecution for president, claiming, falsely, that an audit prevented him from doing so but that the public would see them just as soon as he got the green light.

Two years and 242 days after moving into the Executive Mansion that, of course, has not happened.

Instead, puppetine has sicced his Treasury secretary, attorney general, and various personal lawyers on anyone attempting to get their hands on the information, in a manner suggesting the details within could make a person look quite bad.

Typically, puppetine’s attorneys have argued that such requests, like the ones from various House committees, constitute “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” or supposedly lack “a legitimate legislative purpose.”

On Thursday, though, they came up with a novel new argument:

It’s illegal to investigate a sitting president for any crimes he may have committed.

In a lawsuit filed today against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who recently subpoenaed eight years of puppetine’s tax returns to determine if the puppetine Organization falsified business records relating to Stormy Daniels payments, the acting-president’s lawyers claim such a request is unconstitutional because the founding fathers believed sitting presidents should not be subject to the criminal process.

“The framers of our Constitution understood that state and local prosecutors would be tempted to criminally investigate the president to advance their own careers and to advance their political agendas,” the suit reads.

“And they likewise understood that having to defend against these actions would distract the president from his constitutional duties.”

Strangely, actual legal experts aren’t entirely convinced of this argument.

“Even assuming that the president cannot be indicted while in office, it does not follow that his business and associates are likewise immune from investigation,” Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor, told Bloomberg.

“The complaint makes light of the idea that ruling in their favor would elevate the president above the law, but it certainly seems as if the president views himself as above the law.”

Vance, who agreed not to enforce the subpoena—issued to puppetine’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA—until a scheduled September 25 hearing, is investigating if executives at the puppetine Organization filed false business records concerning hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claim to have had affairs with puppetine, charges he, naturally, denies.

The acting-president’s former fixer, michael cohen, admitted to arranging the hush money payments and released audio of him discussing the Daniels payment with puppetine.

Thursday’s lawsuit is just one of a handful of attempts by the acting-president to keep his totally legit finances secret.

He’s also sued to block House Democrats’ demands for his tax returns and is seeking a court order to stop Congress from obtaining his New York state returns, which a recently passed law allows them to do.

Additionally, his legal team is challenging California’s new requirement that any presidential candidate must release their tax returns to get on the primary ballot.

And he’s appealing orders by federal judges in Washington and New York that would let three House committees receive his records from Mazars, Capital One Financial, and Deutsche Bank, the latter of which reportedly has seen at least some of his taxes.

It’s almost as though someone has got something to hide!

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« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 01:15:34 pm by Battle »

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #93 on: September 22, 2019, 09:03:05 pm »
Sunday, 22nd September 2019
Just the facts, in 40 sentences.
by David Leonhardt

Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to look at the full picture.

He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.

He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

He divulged classified information to foreign officials.

He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.

He hired a national security adviser whom he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.

He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.

He genuflects to murderous dictators.

He has alienated America’s closest allies.

He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.

He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.

He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts.

He often declines to read briefing books or perform other basic functions of a president’s job.

He has aides, as well as members of his own party in Congress, who mock him behind his back as unfit for office.

He has repeatedly denigrated a deceased United States senator who was a war hero.

He insulted a Gold Star family — the survivors of American troops killed in action.

He described a former first lady, not long after she died, as “nasty.”

He described white supremacists as “some very fine people.”

He told four women of color, all citizens and members of Congress, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

He made a joke about Pocahontas during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II veterans.

He launched his political career by falsely claiming that the first black president was not really American.

He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as “rapists.”

He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.

He enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting multiple teenage girls.

He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.

He has encouraged his supporters to commit violence against his political opponents.

He has called for his opponents and critics to be investigated and jailed.

He uses a phrase popular with dictators — “the enemy of the people” — to describe journalists.

He attempts to undermine any independent source of information that he does not like, including judges, scientists, journalists, election officials, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Congressional Budget Office and the National Weather Service.

He has tried to harass the chairman of the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates.

He said that a judge could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage.

He obstructed justice by trying to influence an investigation into his presidential campaign.

He violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money to cover up two apparent extramarital affairs.

He made his fortune partly through wide-scale financial fraud.

He has refused to release his tax returns.

He falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping him.

He claimed that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence, thereby damaging the credibility of criminal investigations across the country.

He has ordered children to be physically separated from their parents.

He has suggested that America is no different from or better than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

He has called America a “hellhole.”

He is the acting-president of the United States, and he is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for.

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #94 on: September 22, 2019, 11:33:19 pm »
Sunday, 22nd September 2019 (originally published Monday, 17th December 2019)
President Ulysses S. Grant was once arrested for speeding on a horse-drawn carriage, proving the POTUS is not above the law
by John Haltiwanger

As the acting-president's legal woes grow like an unrelenting fungus, much of the country seems to be sitting and wondering:

why hasn't he been charged yet?

The answer is that it's complicated.

It's difficult to indict a sitting president, and goes against Justice Department policy.

The process surrounding impeachment is also convoluted, and it's unclear whether the crimes in which puppetine has been implicated merit going down that road as of yet.

But as legal experts debate this topic, The Washington Post on Sunday reminded us of at least once instance in US history in which a commander-in-chief learned that no person in the country is above the law.

In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant was arrested for speeding on his horse-drawn carriage in Washington, DC.

This was not an impeachable offense, but Grant still faced consequences.

Grant, the general who helped lead the Union to victory in the Civil War, was arrested at the corner of 13th and M streets in the nation's capital.

The story of his arrest was once told in a September 27, 1908, edition of the Washington Evening Star with the headline:

"Only Policeman Who Ever Arrested a President."

The police officer who arrested him was a black man who fought in the Civil War named William H. West, who gave his account of the incident to The Star, which The Post dug up.

Grant apparently had a penchant for speeding and a love for fast horses and had more than one run-in with West.

On the first occasion, the president was somewhat sassy with the officer as he stopped his carriage.

The city was having problems with speeding at the time, and a mother and child had recently been injured as a result.

Grant said, "Well, officer, what do you want with me?"
West replied,

"I want to inform you, Mr. President, that you are violating the law by speeding along this street. Your fast driving, sir, has set the example for a lot of other gentlemen."

Grant apologized and told the officer it would not happen again.

But on the very next day Grant was speeding so fast through Georgetown in an area West was patrolling it took the officer an entire block to slow the president down.

Grant apparently greeted the officer with a smile and looked like a "schoolboy who had been caught in a guilty act by a teacher."

West informed the president he'd violated the city's speeding laws, again.

"I cautioned you yesterday, Mr. President, about fast driving, and you said, sir, that it would not occur again," West reportedly told Grant.

"I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the chief of the nation, and I am nothing but a policeman, but duty is duty, sir, and I will have to place you under arrest."

The president and other speeders were taken to the local police station.

Officers at the station were reportedly unsure if they could charge a sitting president if he'd not been impeached.

In the end, Grant paid a $20 bond but didn't show up to court.

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« Last Edit: September 23, 2019, 05:54:07 am by Battle »

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #95 on: October 26, 2019, 11:25:05 am »
Saturday, 26th october 2019
Judge rules DOJ MUST turn over Mueller grand jury material to House Democrats
by Kyle Cheney & Josh Gerstein

A federal judge on Friday ruled that the Justice Department must turn over former special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury evidence to the House Judiciary Committee, a groundbreaking victory for Democrats in their effort to investigate whether the acting-president should be impeached for obstructing the long-running Russia probe.

In a double victory for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Judge Beryl Howell — the chief federal judge in Washington — ruled that the impeachment inquiry Democrats have launched is valid even though the House hasn't taken a formal vote on it.

The decision rejects arguments by DOJ and congressional Republicans that a formal vote is necessary to launch impeachment proceedings.

"Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry," Howell determined, dismissing GOP arguments as unsupported.

Republicans had claimed that the House Judiciary Committee cannot begin impeachment proceedings without a formal vote of the House — and that even if it could, Pelosi is not empowered to simply grant that authority to the Judiciary Committee.

But Howell rejected the arguments out of hand.

"These contentions are, at worst, red herrings and, at best, incorrect," ruled Howell, an appointee of former President Barack Obama.

In her ruling, Howell ordered the DOJ to provide by Oct. 30

"[a]ll portions of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election that were redacted pursuant to" grand jury restrictions.

The order also requires the Justice Department to provide "any underlying transcripts or exhibits referenced in the portions of the Mueller Report that were redacted" pursuant to those restrictions.

“The court’s thoughtful ruling recognizes that our impeachment inquiry fully comports with the Constitution and thoroughly rejects the spurious Executive Mansion claims to the contrary,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)

A Justice Department spokeswoman said the DOJ is “reviewing the decision.”

Democrats have contended that they need Mueller's grand jury transcripts in order to determine whether to bring articles of impeachment against puppetine for conduct revealed in the course of Mueller's investigation.

They've also argued that impeachment proceedings are part of a "judicial" process, which would qualify them for an exemption from traditional grand jury secrecy requirements.

In part, they argued, the Senate's removal trial has always been seen as a judicial process, particularly since it's presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department rejected that argument, contending that even the Senate impeachment trial fails to qualify as a judicial proceeding.

DOJ argued that the chief justice's role is primarily administrative.

Howell called DOJ's argument "puzzling."

“The Federalist Papers, the text of the Constitution, and Supreme Court precedent all make clear — impeachment trials are judicial in nature and constitute judicial proceedings," she determined.

House Republicans have spent weeks arguing that Democrats' ongoing impeachment process is invalid in part because Pelosi has refused to sanction the effort with a vote on the House floor.

But here, too, Howell cast aside their reasoning as "fatally flawed."

"The precedential support cited for the 'House resolution' test is cherry-picked and incomplete, and more significantly, this test has no textual support in the U.S. Constitution, the governing rules of the House, or [grand jury secrecy rules], as interpreted in binding decisions," she writes.

Howell contended that the "most troubling" aspect of DOJ's interpretation of grand jury secrecy rules is that it would make presidents almost entirely immune to accountability.

DOJ already maintains that presidents can't be indicted, Howell notes.

"Yet, under DOJ’s reading of [the grand jury secrecy rules], the Executive Branch would be empowered to wall off any evidence of presidential misconduct from the House by placing that evidence before a grand jury."

The rule, she said, must not be read to impede the House from exercising its “sole Power of Impeachment."

Howell also made clear that Pelosi's declaration of a full House impeachment process last month had a significant influence on determining whether the House is engaged in a valid impeachment inquiry.

DOJ had argued that Pelosi's mixed messages on impeachment suggested there hadn't been a true inquiry occurring, even though the Judiciary Committee claimed to be engaged in one since late July.

"Some of DOJ’s arguments... have been mooted due to developments in the possible impeachment of the acting-president since the pending application was filed," Howell noted.

“DOJ, for instance, initially argued that statements by the Speaker and the House Majority Leader showed that the House Democratic caucus was ‘not even close’ to an ‘impeachment inquiry.’

That may have been true in June, but not now, after the Speaker herself announced in September that the full House is 'moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.'"

Howell also noted that the Justice Department's position that sitting presidents are immune from indictment "has never been adopted, sanctioned, or in any way approved by a court."

And she points out that even House Republicans disagree with DOJ on whether a Senate impeachment trial is "judicial" in nature.

And Howell took particular issue with a sharply worded letter sent by Executive Mansion counsel Pat Cipollone on Oct. 8 to House Democrats declaring their intent to block any cooperation by White House officials with the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Though the Justice Department has claimed that the House has failed to exhaust all avenues to obtain the information it is seeking, Howell cited Cipollone's letter as proof that any other means would be fruitless.

“These arguments smack of farce. The reality is that DOJ and the Executive Mansion have been openly stonewalling the House’s efforts to get information by subpoena and by agreement, and the Executive Mansion has flatly stated that the Administration will not cooperate with congressional requests for information," Howell argued.

"The Executive’s Mansion stated policy of non-cooperation with the impeachment inquiry weighs heavily in favor of disclosure.”

The ruling could also have implications for another impeachment- related court case brought by the Judiciary Committee.

An Aug. 7 suit by the committee seeks to enforce a subpoena for testimony from former Executive's Mansion counsel Don McGahn, who the committee has called their most important witness in determining whether puppetine committed impeachable counts of obstruction of justice.

A hearing in that matter is set for Oct. 31.

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #96 on: November 16, 2019, 10:50:29 am »
Thursday, 24th October 2019
United States of America V Rudolph W Giuliani
by Barbera McQuade & Joyce Vance

While the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel has issued legal opinions that a sitting president cannot be indicted, there is no similar prohibition on indicting a president’s personal lawyer or other potential co-conspirators involved in committing a federal crime.

Based on facts already in the public record, we believe that Rudolph Giuliani could be indicted now for conspiracy to interfere with the fair administration of elections, conspiracy to commit bribery, and contempt of Congress.

Below is what an indictment of Giuliani might look like if it were drafted today.

It’s important to note that we are, to some degree, speculating here. We are considering charges that could be brought against Giuliani, using publicly available information.

Prosecutors obviously don’t do this.

They use only evidence that they are confident is correct and that they believe will be admissible in court.

And their sense of the evidence will be more nuanced that what is publicly available.

Nonetheless, with so much information now available, it is helpful to understand the seriousness of Giuliani’s conduct by seeing how it lines up to the crimes proscribed by the federal criminal code and whether there is evidence of criminality in what Ambassador Bill Taylor called the “irregular channel” for conducting foreign policy in Ukraine that involved Giuliani and others.

(Taylor, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, currently heads the U.S. embassy in Ukraine as Chief of Mission.)

The three counts we outline represent just the crimes that could be proven by the public record alone.

No doubt, if Giuliani is under investigation, prosecutors would want to probe additional potential crimes relating to his role, if any, in the recent campaign finance scheme charged against his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

It is entirely possible, but not yet clear, that some or all of those counts could be superseded to add Giuliani as a defendant.

Prosecutors would also want to consider whether Giuliani was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in violation of the law when, as reported, he asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to intervene in the criminal prosecution of Reza Zarrab, a Turkey-based businessman, for money laundering and violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Of course, a grand jury investigation related to the allegations we focus on here could uncover additional aggravating or mitigating facts that would inform potential charges against Giuliani.

Prosecutors would likely use grand jury subpoenas and court orders to obtain Giuliani’s bank records and income tax returns to identify his sources of income and movement of money.

Prosecutors would also interview individuals with knowledge of Giuliani’s activity, perhaps including some of the same former and current State Department officials who have been testifying before Congress.

In addition, prosecutors could offer cooperation deals to Parnas and Fruman, as well as to their less visible co-defendants David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin.

If they were to promise to plead guilty to their crimes and provide truthful and comprehensive information, prosecutors could offer to make that information known to the sentencing judge and recommend a reduction in their sentences.

Prosecutors would then work to corroborate the testimony of the cooperators, whose testimony is subject to skepticism because of the benefit they receive in exchange.

If their testimony can be supported by the testimony of other witnesses or documents, such as phone or bank records, then they could be used as important narrators to the case that is presented at trial against Giuliani.

Only after the entire investigation of Giuliani is complete would prosecutors decide whether to charge, and if so, which violations to include in an indictment.

We do so here without the benefit of facts known only to investigators and protected by grand jury secrecy rules.

There could be mitigating facts or defenses that are not publicly known that would cause us to decline to file charges.

And, as with any indictment, a defendant is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

When making charging decisions, prosecutors ask not only whether a crime has been committed, but whether a substantial federal interest would be advanced by filing charges.

We believe that the charges contained here represent a substantial federal interest.

An individual who conspires to inject foreign interference into a U.S. election attacks the very heart of democracy.

Our laws prohibit foreign influence in our elections because our founding fathers believed that only American citizens should decide who holds public office in the United States, and we recognize that foreign governments and their citizens act in their own interests, not ours.

Criminal cases are prosecuted for several reasons, including deterring illegal conduct, promoting respect for the rule of law, and protecting public safety. A prosecution here would advance all of these important goals.

A few observations on the charge for contempt of Congress deserve mention. 

Giuliani’s refusal to comply with a subpoena for documents, which was issued by the three House Committees conducting the impeachment inquiry, is a criminal offense.

In a letter to the Committees, Giuliani stated that he would not comply with the subpoena because it is part of an “unconstitutional, baseless and illegitimate ‘impeachment inquiry.'”

Witnesses may challenge the scope of a subpoena as harassing, oppressive or overly broad by filing a motion to quash in court.

They may not simply ignore the subpoena and defy Congress’s authority as one of three co-equal branches of government.

The Constitution gives the power of impeachment to the House, and allows it to fashion its own rules for handling impeachment.

There is no requirement that the full House take a vote before it may begin an impeachment inquiry, and the House has the authority to investigate any matter on which it may act, including impeachment.

Giuliani’s conduct violates the federal criminal statute prohibiting witnesses from defying subpoenas issued by Congress or its committees.

A subpoenaed witness before Congress can no more ignore a subpoena than can a witness in a federal trial.

To permit individuals to selectively ignore such legal processes because they don’t want to comply, no matter who they are and who they represent, is a slippery slope to a lawless society.

However, before a U.S. Attorney may charge a witness with contempt of Congress, the contempt statute requires the completion of certain technical steps.

The Committees must report the failure of the witness to comply with the subpoena to the House and the Speaker of the House, who must then certify the statement of facts regarding the failure to comply to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Two final thoughts about the form of the mock indictment that follows.

If this were an actual indictment, many of the names would be replaced with generic identifiers, such as Candidate -1 or Company-A.

The Justice Department requires this practice to protect the reputations of individuals and entities that are not charged with any crimes.

A jury is told the identities of these individuals and entities at trial.

We have left the names in the indictment, however, for clarity for readers.

We refer to President Donald Trump as Individual-1, an unindicted co-conspirator.

At paragraph 2, we describe Giuliani as an agent as well as an attorney for Individual-1 to make it clear that not all of their communications will be protected by the attorney-client privilege.

This privilege is limited to communications between a lawyer and client for the purposes of obtaining legal advice, and does not protect communications regarding an ongoing scheme to commit a crime or fraud.

Nor does it protect communications that have been divulged to others.

(18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 201; 2 U.S.C. § 192)


The Grand Jury for the District of Columbia charges:



1.     The United States of America, through its departments and agencies, regulates the activities of foreign individuals and entities in and affecting the United States in order to prevent, disclose, and counteract improper foreign influence on U.S. elections and on the U.S. political system. The Federal Election Commission is a federal agency that administers the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA”). Among other things, the FECA prohibits foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections, and prohibits any person from soliciting, accepting or receiving a thing of value from a foreign national in connection with a federal, state or local election. 52 U.S.C. § 30121(a)(2).

2.     At all times relevant to this Indictment, Defendant RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI was a private U.S. citizen licensed to practice law in the State of New York. At all times relevant to this indictment, GIUILIANI was serving as a private attorney and agent for Individual-1.

3.     At all times relevant to this Indictment, Individual-1 was a public official, and a declared candidate for the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Events in Ukraine

4.    Ukraine is an independent foreign nation state that borders Russia and is a former Soviet Republic.

5.    In or around March 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and purported to annex the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia continued to occupy at all times relevant to this Indictment. The following month, Russian forces invaded the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and, with support of certain local forces, took control, starting a war that has continued at all times relevant to this Indictment and has killed more than 13,000 people. As a result of the Russian invasions, the United States imposed economic sanctions on Russia, the United Nations refused to recognize the new government in Crimea, and the inter-governmental political forum of industrialized nations known as the Group of 8 (“G-8”) expelled Russia and became known as the “G-7.”

6.   In or around April 2014, Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, joined the board of Burisma Holdings, an oil and gas company in Ukraine. Joe Biden is a candidate for president in 2020. Burisma was founded in 2002 by Mykola Zlochevsky, who had served as a cabinet member in the administrations of pro-Russian presidents of Ukraine.

7.   In or around August 2014, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema opened an investigation of Zlochevsky on suspicion of “unlawful enrichment.”

8.   On or about October 14, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law establishing the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (“NABU”) to combat public corruption. NABU was created in part because of the recognized ineffectiveness and corruption of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

9.   In or around February 2015, Viktor Shokin became the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. Throughout late 2015 and early 2016, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, and Vice President Biden were critical of Shokin for failing to pursue corruption investigations, explicitly including investigations of Zlochevsky.

10.    In or around March 2016, Shokin was dismissed as Prosecutor General.

11.    On or about May 12, 2016, Yuriy Lutsenko was appointed Prosecutor General.

12.    In or around September 2016, a court in Kyiv, Ukraine, ordered the case against Zlochevsky closed because no evidence of wrongdoing had been presented.

13.    On or about September 28, 2018, the U.S. Congress passed a spending bill for the Department of Defense that included $250 million in military aid under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to help Ukraine contain Russian aggression in Crimea and other parts of the sovereign territory of Ukraine.

14.   In or around March 2019, Lutsenko opened investigations into the 2016 presidential election and Burisma.

15.   In or around April 2019, Hunter Biden resigned from the Board of Burisma.

16.   On April 21, 2019, Volodomyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine.

17.   On April 25, 2019, Joe Biden announced his candidacy for President.

18.   On or about May 18, 2019, Ukraine Prosecutor General Lutsenko said that he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden or Joe Biden, and that neither of the Bidens nor Burisma were the focus of any investigations.

19.   On or about May 20, 2019, U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was publicly recalled from Ukraine and removed from her post.

20.   On or about June 18, 2019, the Department of Defense announced the $250 million plan “for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.”

21.   On or about August 28, 2019, it was reported that another $141 million was included in the military aid package for Ukraine, for a total of $391 million.

22.   On or about September 12, 2019, the military aid funds were released to Ukraine.


(Conspiracy to Defraud the United States)

23.   Paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Indictment are re-alleged and incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

24.   From in or around June 2017 to the present, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, Defendant RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI and Individual-1, together and with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission in administering federal requirements that prohibit soliciting, accepting or receiving a thing of value from a foreign national in connection with a federal election.
Object of the Conspiracy

25.   The conspiracy had as its object impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the United States by dishonest means in order to interfere with the U.S. political and electoral process, including the 2020 presidential election.
Manner and Means of the Conspiracy

26.   Starting in or around June 2017, defendant GIULIANI and his co-conspirators began to negotiate with representatives of the Government of Ukraine to obtain a public announcement that it was investigating (a) whether Ukrainians, US officials, and Democrats had conspired to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and (b) whether Burisma had been involved in corruption in connection to the Bidens.

27.   Defendant GIULIANI participated in meetings with representatives of the Government of Ukraine to advance these negotiations.

28.   Defendant GIULIANI kept Indvidual-1 informed of his negotiations with representatives of the Government of Ukraine.


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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #97 on: November 16, 2019, 11:08:25 am »
Overt Acts

29.   In furtherance of the Conspiracy, and to effect its illegal object, defendant GIULIANI and Individual-1, along with their co-conspirators, committed the following overt acts, as well as those set forth in paragraphs 1 through 28, which are re-alleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.

30.   On or about June 8, 2017, defendant GIULIANI met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Lutsenko in Ukraine.

31.   In or around late 2018, defendant GIULIANI spoke with Shokin via Skype, a videoconferencing application.

32.   In or around late 2018, defendant GIULIANI was introduced to Lutsenko by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. GIULIANI spoke with Lutsenko by telephone on several occasions, urging Lutsenko to open an investigation into Biden and Burisma, and inviting him to meet at his office in New York.

33.   In or around January 2019, defendant GIULIANI asked the U.S. Department of State to grant a visa to Shokin to come to the United States.

34.   In or around January 2019, defendant GIULIANI met with Lutsenko in New York multiple timesover a period of two or three days. During those meetings, GIULIANI asked Lutsenko about investigations into Zlochevsky and whether the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was loyal to President Trump.

35.   In or around January 2019, during a meeting with Lutsenko, defendant GIULIANI telephoned Individual-1 to brief him on what he had learned.

36.   In or around February 2019, defendant GIULIANI, with Parnas, met with Lutsenko in Warsaw, Poland.

37.   On or about March 20, 2019, Individual-1 posted on Twitter a news article about a Ukrainian “plot” to help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election. GIULIANI tweeted, “Keep your eye on Ukraine.”

38.   On or about April 21, 2019, Individual-1 telephoned Zelenskyy to congratulate him, and urged him to pursue investigations of corruption.

39.   In or around May 2019, GIULIANI planned a trip to Ukraine, and publicly discussed his plans of “meddling in an investigation,” stating that he planned to tell Ukrainian officials “that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.” GIULIANI canceled the trip after Zelenskyy refused to meet with him.

40.   On May 11, 2019, GIULIANI stated in a cable television news interview that Zelenskyy was “surrounded by, literally, enemies of the president.” He repeated this allegation several times in the interview.

41.   On or about May 18, 2019, defendant GIULIANI posted on Twitter that President Zelenskyy “has surrounded himself with some people that are enemies of President Trump.”

42.   In or around May 2019, defendant GIULIANI, with Parnas and Fruman, met with Ukraine’s Special Anticorruption Prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytskyy, and a former Ukrainian diplomat, Andriy Telizhenko, in Paris, France.

43.   On May 23, 2019, Individual-1 directed three senior U.S. officials to talk with GIULIANI about Individual-1’s concerns about Ukraine in response to requests for a White House meeting with Zelenskyy.

44.   On or about June 21, 2019, defendant GIULIANI posted on Twitter, “New Pres of Ukraine still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 election and alleged Biden bribery of Pres Poroshenko. Time for leadership and investigate both if you want to purge how Ukraine was abused by Hillary and Obama people.”

45.   In or about early to mid-July 2019, Individual-1 directed a subordinate to hold back approximately $391 million in military aid to Ukraine.

46.   On or about July 19, 2019, defendant GIULIANI spoke by telephone to Andriy Yermak, an aide to Zelenskyy. During the call, they discussed Individual-1’s demands for investigations and Zelenskyy’s desire for a meeting with Individual-1.

47.   On or about July 25, 2019, Individual-1 spoke by telephone to Zelenskyy, telling him that “the United States have been very, very good to Ukraine” but that the relationship has not been “reciprocal.” During the call, Individual-1 asked for investigations into Ukrainian interference into the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the Bidens, and told Zelenskyy several times to coordinate with GIULIANI.

48.   On or about August 2, 2019, defendant GIULIANI met with Yermak in Madrid, Spain, to persuade Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.


(Conspiracy to Commit Bribery)

49.   Paragraphs 1 through 48 of this Indictment are re-alleged and incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

50.   From in or around June 2017 to the present, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, Defendant RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI and Individual-1, a public official, conspired with each other and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury to corruptly seek a thing of value, that is, an agreement by the government of Ukraine to publicly announce that it was investigating certain matters that were favorable to Individual-1’s political campaign, in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act, that is, releasing to Ukraine military aid that had been approved by Congress.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 201(b)(2)(A) and 371.


(Contempt of Congress)

51.   On or about October 15, 2019, in the District of Columbia, Defendant RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI, having been summoned by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States House of Representatives, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Oversight and Reform to produce documents pertaining to an impeachment inquiry, willfully made default, in violation of Title 2, United States Code, Section 192.

United States Attorney
District of Columbia




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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #98 on: December 16, 2019, 11:51:41 am »
Monday, 16th December 2019
Federal Criminal Offenses and the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump
by Andrew Weissmann, Sam Berger, Randall Eliason, Barbara McQuade, Paul Seamus Ryan, Susan Simpson, Gary Stein and Michael Stern

An excerpt:

4. Honest Services Fraud
by Barbara McQuade

As Congress considers the actions of President Donald Trump for purposes of impeachment, it is valuable to understand how well the crime of honest services fraud fits the conduct.

Honest services fraud occurs when a public official breaches his duty to act in the best interests of his constituents by performing an official act in exchange for personal gain.

The theory of the fraud is that members of the public have been defrauded or deprived of the honest services that they deserve from a government official.

In the criminal arena, federal statutes make it a crime to use the mail or wires, such as the telephone, for the purpose of depriving another of the intangible right of honest services (18 U.S.C. § 1346).

Congress has deemed honest services fraud to be serious enough to be punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

Prosecutors frequently charge honest services fraud against corrupt public officeholders.

Of course, when it comes to the acts of a president, conduct need not violate any criminal statute to be impeachable, though some overlap is possible.

Framers of the Constitution considered corruption to be an appropriate basis for the impeachment of a president.

In Federalist Paper No. 65, Alexander Hamilton wrote that impeachment is intended to address

“the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

Honest services fraud, regardless of the technical elements of the statute, is the type of misconduct for which impeachment was intended.

Mr. Trump’s alleged misconduct came in the midst of an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and the resulting war has already claimed 13,000 lives.

To help repel Russian aggression, Congress, with bipartisan support, appropriated funds, among other things, to finance Ukraine’s acquisition of military equipment such as communications systems, medical equipment, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, sniper rifles, and “Javelins,” or anti-tank missiles used to attack Russian armored vehicles.

Since 2014, the United States has provided Ukraine with $1.5 billion in military aid and $320 million in other assistance.

For fiscal year 2019, Congress appropriated $250 million in military aid and another $141 in non-military aid for Ukraine.

As of the now-famous July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, the funds had not been released to Ukraine.

The gist of the president’s conduct has become apparent from the summary of the July 25 call, the deposition and public hearings testimony of former and current government officials, and text and email messages.

During the call, Zelenskyy expressed the desire for more Javelins.

In response, Trump said,

“I would like you to do us a favor, though.”

Trump then went on to ask Zelenskyy to work with his personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate two matters:

interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and former Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged efforts to stop an investigation into his son.

Biden’s son Hunter Biden served as a member of the board of directors of Burisma, an energy company in Ukraine.

At the time of the call, Biden was Trump’s leading rival in the 2020 presidential campaign.

But the call itself is only part of the evidence.

Trump’s constant refrain to “read the transcript” appears to be a tactic to distract attention from the even more damaging testimony that has been provided by State Department, Defense Department, OMB, and National Security Council officials.

Trump’s ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor testified that in early September, he learned from a National Security Council official that

“the security assistance money would not come until President Zelenskyy committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.”

Taylor further testified that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told him that
“President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelenskyy to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.”

According to Taylor, Sondland said that “‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.

(Sondland) said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskyy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such an investigation.”

Another witness, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a former member of Trump’s National Security Council who listened in on the July 25 call, provided similar testimony.

Vindman said that “there was no doubt” that Trump demanded the investigations in exchange for the military aid as well as a meeting between Trump and Zelenskyy at the White House.

From this evidence, a conclusion can be drawn that Trump withheld military aid that had been approved by Congress to induce an ally to announce an investigation into his political rivals.

Only upon obtaining a personal benefit – a public announcement by Ukraine about the investigations into his political rivals – would Trump agree to release the aid.

Funds were finally released on September 11th, only after a whistleblower reported concerns about Trump’s call to Congress on September 9th.

This is the stuff of honest services fraud.

Trump’s supporters have argued that attaching conditions to aid happens all the time, and that even Biden demanded that Ukraine fire its public prosecutor because of his inaction in combating corruption.

But there is a difference between imposing conditions that are in the best interests of the country and imposing conditions that are in the president’s personal political interests.

A president who was fulfilling his duty to provide honest services to the American public would have released the aid, pursuant to the wishes of Congress, contingent only on any conditions that were in the best interest of the United States.

By delaying the aid to leverage an announcement about investigations, Trump acted contrary to the best interests of our country in a number of ways.

Congress had determined that containing Russian aggression was in the national security interests of the United States.

By withholding the aid, Trump was contravening this purpose.

Withholding aid also undercut our foreign policy by damaging our relationship with Ukraine, a key ally in the region.

In addition, attaching corrupt conditions on the release of military aid also undermined the credibility of the United States as an honest broker among our allies.

And the President compromised the credibility of the United States to demand that other nations eliminate corruption when he acts corruptly himself.

An exchange with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent during his public testimony is instructive:

COMMITTEE COUNSEL: Mr. Kent, is pressuring Ukraine to conduct what I believe you’ve called political investigations a part of U.S. foreign policy to promote the rule of law in Ukraine and around the world?

KENT: It is not.

COMMITTEE COUNSEL: Is it in the national interest of the United States?

KENT: In my opinion, it is not.

COMMITTEE COUNSEL: So in other words, it is a purpose of our foreign policy to encourage foreign nations to refrain from conducting political investigations, is that right?

KENT: Correct. And, in fact, as a matter of policy, not of programming, we often times raise our concerns, usually in private, with countries that we feel are engaged in selective political prosecution and persecution of their opponents.

In the criminal arena, honest services fraud has been narrowed in recent years by a series of court cases.

In 2010, in United States v. Skilling, the Supreme Court held that honest services fraud is limited to situations in which the public official seeks a bribe or kickback.

In 2016, in United States v. McDonnell, the Court held that honest services fraud applies only where the public official performs an “official act” in exchange for the bribe or kickback.

The Court defined “official act” to mean “question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy” requiring “a formal exercise of governmental power,” “that is pending or may by law be brought before a public official,” who, in turn, “must make a decision or take an action.”

In the context of impeachment, these legal limitations would not apply as they do in a criminal case, but even if they did, they would not prevent the application of honest services fraud here.

By demanding a public announcement that Ukraine was investigating the 2016 election interference and the Bidens, Trump was seeking a bribe or kickback, satisfying the standard set forth in Skilling.

And although a White House meeting may not qualify as an official act under McDonnell, withholding military aid would certainly qualify.

When considering articles of impeachment and underlying crimes, honest services fraud may be the legal theory that best fits this conduct.

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #99 on: December 17, 2019, 12:03:11 pm »
Tuesday, 17th December 2019
Rick Gates, Key Witness In Mueller Investigation, Sentenced To 45 Days In Jail
by Ryan Lucas

Rick Gates, a former top Trump campaign official who pleaded guilty to a range of crimes before becoming a key witness in the Russia investigation, was sentenced to 45 days in jail on Tuesday.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson also sentenced Gates to three years of probation and ordered him to pay a $20,000 fine.

Gates and his ex-business partner, onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, were among the first individuals charged as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

The men were indicted in Washington in October 2017 for conspiracy, money laundering and other alleged crimes.

Prosecutors brought more charges against them four months later in a separate but related case in Virginia.

The day after the second slate of charges was unsealed, Gates, who had served as the Trump campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements and agreed to cooperate with the government.
Prosecutors say that since signing his plea deal, Gates has provided "extraordinary assistance" to the government.

He met with investigators more than 50 times, giving Mueller's office and other prosecutors "truthful information," the government said in its sentencing memo.

Jackson said she recognized the contributions Gates had made to prosecutors' work but couldn't overlook his admissions of wrongdoing in connection with the other charges he'd faced.
The judge said Gates' jail time could be served on weekends or on a schedule he arranged with his probation officer.

Jackson said she was satisfied Gates has "in very real ways accepted responsibility for his actions" and that he would no longer violate the law.

"I'm 100% certain the criminal justice system is not going to see you again," she said.

Gates spoke briefly before the judge announced the sentence to acknowledge his lawbreaking and repeat his request that he receive probation only.

"I accept complete responsibility for my actions. ... I greatly regret the mistakes I made," Gates said.

He asked for leniency and told the judge:

"I hope and pray you'll grant that to me."

Gates' most prominent turn as government witness came in Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial in Virginia, where Gates testified that he committed crimes at Manafort's direction.

Manafort, the longtime political operator who served as Trump's campaign chairman, had been a mentor to Gates.

Manafort was found guilty on eight of the 18 charges in that case.

He later pleaded guilty in the separate case in Washington.

Manafort was ultimately sentenced to nearly 7.5 years in prison.

Gates' cooperation extended far beyond the Manafort case.

He also provided testimony in two other trials that were born out of the Mueller probe — one against the former business partner of President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn; the other against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig.

"In short, under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement," the government said in its sentencing memo.

The government said the guideline for Gates is four to five years of prison.

Prosecutors asked for a more lenient sentence "based on his substantial assistance," and it did not oppose Gates' request for probation.

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #100 on: January 16, 2020, 10:56:38 am »
Thursday, 16th January 2020
Federal Watchdog Finds That Trump Broke the Law by Withholding Ukrainian Aid
by  Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Did you know that there is a federal watchdog group that holds the government accountable?

I didn’t either.

But apparently, the Government Accountability Office has put a ring (and by “ring,” I mean handcuffs) on it and made it official:

Trump broke the law when he withheld congressionally-approved aid to Ukraine last year.

According to CNN, the GAO found Thursday that the White House budget office “violated the Impoundment Control Act, which says that funds appropriated by Congress cannot be withheld by the White House.”

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA,” the GAO said, CNN notes.

And while we are on an acronym kick, I would like to add that the NFL violated BLM and MLK.

CNN notes that the president was in his Vladimir Putin dictatorship bag back in July 2019 when he placed a hold on Ukraine aid in a quid pro quo effort that included releasing Ukraine’s money only after they announced an investigation into political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Government agencies were notified at a July 18 meeting that Ukraine’s aid had been frozen at the direction of the president,

“a week before a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which later became the reason an impeachment inquiry was launched into the President,” CNN reports.

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #101 on: February 23, 2020, 02:58:18 am »
Sunday, 23rd February 2o2o
Department of Homeland Security whistleblower found dead with gunshot wound in California
by Kerry Picket

Philip Haney, a former Homeland Security Department official during the Obama administration who blew the whistle on his own agency, was found dead Friday with a gunshot wound about 40 miles east of Sacramento, California.

The Amador County Sheriff's office confirmed to the Washington Examiner that deputies and detectives responded to reports Friday morning at 10:12 a.m. of a male subject on the ground with a gunshot wound in the area of Highway 124 and Highway 16 in Plymouth, California.

"Upon their arrival, they located and identified 66-year-old Philip Haney, who was deceased and appeared to have suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound. A firearm was located next to Haney and his vehicle. This investigation is active and ongoing. No further details will be released at this time," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

The Amador County Sheriff's office would not respond to any further questions.

According to sources close to Haney, he was recently in contact with top officials about returning to work for the DHS.

Additionally, Haney was engaged to be married.

As a whistleblower, Haney testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2016 that DHS ordered him to delete hundreds of files of people with ties to Islamist terrorist groups, arguing several terrorist attacks against people in the United States could have been prevented if certain files had not been scrubbed.

“It is very plausible that one or more of the subsequent terror attacks on the homeland could have been prevented if more subject matter experts in the Department of Homeland Security had been allowed to do our jobs back in late 2009,” Haney wrote in an opinion piece for the Hill in February 2016.

“It is demoralizing — and infuriating — that today, those elusive dots are even harder to find, and harder to connect, than they were during the winter of 2009.”

Republicans on Capitol Hill questioned former President Barack Obama's homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, about Haney’s allegations.

"Was Mr. Haney's testimony that the Department of Homeland Security order over 800 documents ... altered or deleted accurate?" Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, asked Johnson, who bristled at the question.

"I have no idea. I don't know who Mr. Haney is. I wouldn't know him if he walked into the room," he said.

The Washington Examiner received a text message from Haney on November 11th which mentioned plans to write a sequel to his first book, See Something Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government's Submission to Jihad, which described his experience at DHS.

"Odd (surreal reality) that I was a highly visible whistleblower ... that virtually no one listened to, while this guy remains invisible, but is treated like an anointed oracle from above," Haney said in the Nov. 11 text, referring to alleged Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella.

"However, my story is still live, i.e., there's still more to come. It'll be called 'National Security Meltdown.'"

Haney added, "I have a severely hyper-organized archive of everything that's happened since See Something, Say Nothing (SSSN) was published in May of 2016. The National Security Meltdown sequel will pick up right where SSSN left off. My intention is to have it ready by early-to mid-Spring of 2020 (just before the political sound wave hits), then ride that wave all the way to the Nov. elections."

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #102 on: March 10, 2020, 10:55:49 am »
Tuesday, 10th March 2o2o

DC Circuit affirms district court ruling the executive branch to provide to the House of Representatives redacted portions of the Mueller Report.

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #103 on: March 19, 2020, 11:37:16 am »
Thursday, 19th March 2o2o
Barr Is Dismantling Charges Filed by Mueller
by Barbara McQuade

Another curious filing by the Department of Justice should not be lost amid news about COVID-19.

In yet another reversal in a case initiated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, DOJ filed a motion this week to dismiss charges against two Russian businesses.

The Justice Department has already filed revised memoranda seeking more lenient sentences for associates of drumphf.

And now, it has filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, companies run by a man known as “Putin’s chef.”

In 2018, Mueller indicted the two businesses along with 13 Russian individuals and the Internet Research Agency, alleging conspiracy to defraud the United States by engaging in a disinformation campaign to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The Concord entities are controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin was one of the Russian individuals who were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for election interference.

DOJ has already filed revised memos reducing its sentencing recommendations for Michael Flynn, drumphf’s former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his discussions with the Russian ambassador.

It has done the same for Roger Stone, who was convicted at trial for obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian interference.

In the Stone case, the revised sentencing memo came only after drumphf tweeted that the government’s initial sentencing recommendation was “horrible,” “very unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.”

Timothy Shea, the former aide to Attorney General William Barr who replaced the D.C. U.S. Attorney in January, overruled the sentencing recommendation of career prosecutors, who then  withdrew from the case.

One prosecutor resigned from DOJ altogether.

In the election disinformation case, Concord Management was the only defendant to enter an appearance in court.

The others remain in Russia, comfortably beyond the extradition power of the United States.

Now, the U.S. government is seeking to dismiss the charges against Concord Management and the related entity, Concord Catering, leaving in place the indictment against the other defendants.

The recent filing states that the charges against the two Concord entities must be dismissed for two reasons.

One is the conduct of Concord Management, which has waged an aggressive defense in court.

“Concord has demonstrated its intent to reap the benefits of the Court’s jurisdiction while positioning itself to evade any real obligations or responsibility,” the government wrote in its brief.

But prosecutors must always anticipate a vigorous defense when making charging decisions.

This alone seems like an insufficient reason to dismiss an indictment that has been returned by a grand jury.

The other reason provided in the motion to dismiss is concern that prosecution will compromise national security information.

The motion refers to “a change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,” and includes a classified addendum that is not available to the public.

While protecting national security is a valid concern, asserting it at this stage of the prosecution seems suspect to anyone who has prosecuted a national security case before.

It is likely that Mueller’s team filed the charges without expecting any of the defendants to ever appear in court, an approach known as “Name and Shame,” intended more to expose wrongdoing than to hold defendants accountable through trial and conviction.

But federal prosecutors may not file charges unless they believe that they have sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a conviction in open court, even if that day will most likely never come.

That decision requires a process known as a “prudential search,” in which prosecutors query intelligence agencies for any material that must be produced to the defense in discovery or might become public at trial.

The material is reviewed and vetted, and decisions are made at the highest levels of the U.S. Intelligence Community as to whether the prosecution outweighs any disclosures of intelligence information that will result from the prosecution.

As a former federal prosecutor, I have been forced to decline charges because of legitimate concerns that prosecution would expose national security sources and methods.

Sources are people who share information with the government, and whose identities are kept secret to ensure their ability to continue to collect intelligence and to protect their safety.

Methods are the techniques for collection of information, such as surveillance technologies or strategies that are unknown to our adversaries, and which must be protected to allow their continued utility.

In some instances, the cost of disclosing these sources or methods is just too great to justify the criminal prosecution of a wrongdoer.

Although I might have been unhappy when forced to forgo criminal charges, I never doubted the good faith of the intelligence officials who made the decision.

But the decision about these equities is always made at the front end, before a case is indicted, so that a defendant is not needlessly saddled with the burden of defending himself in court and so that the government does not have to turn tail and dismiss charges as the case proceeds.

This methodical and sensitive process is one that prosecutors take very seriously.

In this case, it is possible that the intelligence equities have changed since Mueller filed the charges in 2018.

Ordinarily, the Justice Department would receive the benefit of the doubt that it would dismiss charges only if it were truly unable to prosecute a case without damaging more important intelligence equities.

But Barr has lost that benefit.

Throughout his handling of the Mueller investigation, Barr undermined his own credibility through his conduct.

A federal judge has accused Barr of publicly spinning the Mueller Report in a way that was “distorted” and “misleading.”

Barr has referred to the FBI’s investigation of the drumphf campaign as “spying,” a loaded term that is not routinely used at DOJ.

In May, drumphf gave Barr unprecedented authority over all U.S. intelligence agencies to make all decisions relating to classified information as part of his review of the Mueller investigation.

Now that he is directing the dismissal of charges, his decisions can only be met with suspicion.

Is he protecting drumphf from the disclosure of facts that will cause Americans to question the legitimacy of his election as president, which drumphf adviser Hope Hicks told Mueller’s investigators was drumphf’s “Achilles heel”?

As a federal prosecutor, I was always mindful that the credibility I enjoyed was earned not so much by me, but through the work of the DOJ lawyers across the country who came before me.

I understood that I shared the responsibility to protect the DOJ’s reputation for truthfulness.

As U.S. Attorney, I told every prosecutor I hired that no case was worth compromising the Department’s integrity.

By damaging his own credibility, Barr is inviting speculation that he is quietly dismantling the work of Mueller.

Barr has famously said that he is not concerned about his reputation because “everyone dies.”

He is entitled to hold nihilistic views about himself, but he has a higher duty to the department he leads.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2020, 06:43:25 pm by Battle »

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Re: Mueller Probe Examining Whether Donald Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #104 on: April 17, 2020, 06:48:37 pm »
Friday, 17th April 2o2o
It is self evident that the mediocrity principle is too overbearing for trunk