Up2u wrote:Paul Manafort and Rick Gates surrender to FBI
May those be the first of many.
Trump is getting his wish. The swamp is being drained. Don't be surprised if Trump goes down the same drain.
Up2u wrote:Paul Manafort and Rick Gates surrender to FBI
Gaybutton wrote:Don't be surprised if Trump goes down the same drain.
The past couple of days have proved that Steve Bannon was right when he said that Donald Trump’s decision to fire James Comey was the biggest mistake in “modern political history.” Speaking to “60 Minutes” in September, shortly after he left the White House, Bannon explained, “I don’t think there's any doubt that, if James Comey had not been fired, we would not have a special counsel.”
To be sure, the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election represented a potential danger, and a great source of irritation, to Trump even when Comey was leading it. But the appointment of the special counsel Robert Mueller elevated the threat level to existential. If there were any lingering doubt of this, it has been dispelled by the indictment of Paul Manafort, a former chairman of the Trump campaign, and Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime associate, and by the plea deal that Mueller’s team reached with George Papadopoulos, a foreign-policy adviser to the campaign.
These developments suggested that, as Mueller tries to build criminal cases against others in the Trump world—including, quite possibly, the President himself—he will employ the kinds of aggressive tactics that the F.B.I. uses when it goes after drug dealers and mobsters: staging dawn raids; offering plea deals to peripheral figures and sending them out to gather more information; and investigating the personal finances, including tax affairs, of uncoöperative witnesses. To be sure, Mueller hasn’t, so far, revealed positive evidence of collusion between senior figures in the Trump campaign and Russia. (Although the contents of the plea agreement with Papadopoulos are certainly suggestive.) But any hopes that Trump might have had of Mueller’s probe wrapping up quickly, and amounting to nothing, have been shattered.
If Mueller does uncover concrete evidence of collusion, he could well recommend impeachment, which would obviously be disastrous for Trump. But, even if Mueller fails to substantiate the collusion accusation, Trump won’t necessarily be in the clear. He could still be vulnerable to obstruction-of-justice charges stemming from what he said to Comey about false statements made by Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser—“I hope you can let this go”—and, indeed, from his firing of Comey. The President is facing a lengthy war of attrition that is likely to be marked by more indictments of people who worked for him, and in which a favorable outcome is far from guaranteed.
Given this grim prospect, it is no surprise that there are already signs of dissension in the Trump ranks about how he should proceed. Some of Trump’s advisers advocate sticking with the White House’s current strategy of coöperating with Mueller, avoiding any overt criticisms of him, and hoping he exonerates the President. “I think the reaction of the Administration is let the legal justice system work, everyone’s innocent until—presumed innocent—and we’ll see where it goes,” John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Monday night. Kelly’s words echoed a statement that Ty Cobb, one of Trump’s lawyers, made on Sunday, in which he said, “There are no discussions and there is no consideration being given to terminating Mueller."
Bannon evidently holds a different view. He doesn’t appear to be encouraging Trump to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller. If Trump took this step, it would likely backfire in much the same way that Comey’s firing did. (Congress might well use its authority to replace Mueller with another independent prosecutor.) But, according to several different reports, Bannon isn’t willing to sit back, either. “I’m told Bannon pushing trump to be more aggressive against Mueller: urge gop to cut funding, withhold document production and more.” CNN’s Dana Bash tweeted. The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng reported that Bannon had spoken with Trump by phone on Monday and urged him to hire some new lawyers. One source told Markay and Suebsaeng that Bannon believes Cobb and John Dowd, Trump’s current lawyers, are “asleep at the wheel.”
Even if firing Mueller isn’t currently an option, one longtime Trump confidant, the Republican political consultant Roger Stone, thinks there is a more indirect, and less risky, way for the President to get rid of him: by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate a Russian firm’s purchase, in 2013, of Uranium One, a Canadian energy company that controlled about twenty per cent of America’s uranium supply. During the 2016 election, Trump and other Republicans claimed that Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the Uranium One deal in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, nine government departments signed off on the transaction, and the State Department officials involved have said that Clinton played no role.
A couple of weeks ago, the conservative media returned, en masse, to the Uranium One story after The Hill, a news organization that covers Capitol Hill, reported that the F.B.I., in 2009, “gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.” In Stone’s mind, a new Trump-appointed special prosecutor would investigate everybody connected to Uranium One, including Mueller, who was the director of the F.B.I. from 2001 to 2013. And that would make Mueller’s position untenable. “Mueller can’t be a special prosecutor when he himself is under investigation,” Stone told the Daily Caller, a conservative Web site. “Mueller is guilty of obstruction and cover up in Uranium One.”
Now, Stone is a dedicated troublemaker and controversialist. Over the weekend, Twitter suspended him after he attacked some media figures in a series of expletive-laden tweets. But while it is perhaps tempting to dismiss his proposal as half-baked fantasizing, he isn’t the only person in Trump’s orbit calling for an independent probe of the Uranium One deal. Indeed, the idea now has Kelly’s support. When Ingraham asked him if he supported the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate both Uranium One and the infamous opposition-research dossier that a former British spy, Christopher Steele, produced about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, Kelly replied, “I guess so . . . I think, probably, as a layman looking at this type of thing, we need to find someone who is very, very objective, who can get to the bottom of these accusations.”
If we take Kelly’s words seriously (and there doesn’t seem any reason not to), Trump may be about to adopt a dual strategy. Officially, he would continue to coöperate with Mueller’s investigation, avoiding any overtly critical comments about it. At the same time, though, he would look to create a huge distraction in the form of a new probe targeting Democrats—one that could even raise questions about Mueller’s continued role. This wacky scheme would represent a Hail Mary pass rather than a fully thought-out strategy, but desperate times call for desperate measures. In his comments to the Daily Caller, Stone said that his plan represents Trump’s “only chance for survival.”
For Stone’s plan to go into effect, the Justice Department and Congress would have to go along with it. Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from matters relating to Russia, the onus would fall on Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who appointed Mueller. In a properly functioning democracy, the leaders of the legislature would come out and provide some political cover for Rosenstein, making it clear that they wouldn’t countenance such a blatantly political exploitation of the special-counsel statute. But when was the last time that anyone in the Republican leadership stood up to Trump?
In what might be his most startling allegation against his former election opponent, Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Hillary Clinton of deliberately losing the 2016 election just so that he could be impeached.
“How could one of the most experienced politicians in history lose to the most unfit candidate ever?” Trump asked reporters. “Crooked Hillary lost on purpose because she wanted me to be impeached.”
Explaining Clinton’s motives for intentionally sabotaging her quest for an office she had coveted for decades, Trump said, “Hillary Clinton is more than a nasty woman. She is an evil woman, and her sick mind is capable of anything.”
Trump said that instead of reporting the “fake story” of his campaign’s collusion with the Russians, the media should focus on Clinton’s “diabolical scheme to lose the election.”
“I don’t know if Hillary Clinton lost the election on her own,” Trump said. “Maybe she asked the Russians to help her lose. But the fact is, Hillary Clinton deliberately plotted to put me in the White House, and the American people should be very angry about that.”
Brooklyn Bridge wrote:You might want to think about this.
Brooklyn Bridge wrote:As I recall, there were some on this thread who wanted to attack North Korea. You might want to think about this.
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