Trump and Rudy Giuliani tweeting bogus claims about missing texts from ex-FBI agents Strzok and Page

President Donald Trump tweeted out a blatantly false claim intended to undermine the federal investigation of his campaign ties to Russia.

The president and his attorney Rudy Giuliani each passed along bogus claims that 19,000 texts between two former FBI officials had been destroyed by investigators — which contradicted new findings by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

“How can Mueller’s gang get away with erasing over 19,000 texts of Trump haters Stroyk and Page?” Giuliani tweeted early Saturday, misspelling former FBI agent Peter Strzok’s last name. “They say it was DOJ policy to destroy evidence? I guess Mueller’s angry Democrats fall under the Hillary exception to obstruction of justice. She erased over 30,000 emails.”

Giuliani continued tweeting misleading claims about the story, citing conservative media reports, throughout Saturday morning, and then Trump chimed in.

“Wow, 19,000 Texts between Lisa Page and her lover, Peter S of the FBI, in charge of the Russia Hoax, were just reported as being wiped clean and gone,” Trump tweeted, taking a pass on spelling out Strzok’s name. “Such a big story that will never be covered by the Fake News. Witch Hunt!”

[Raw Story]

Trump claims Flynn got ‘great deal’ because prosecutors ’embarrassed’

President Trump on Thursday again slammed special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation as a “witch hunt” and claimed that prosecutors gave his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, “a great deal” because they felt badly about how he had been treated.

“They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated – the FBI said he didn’t lie and they overrode the FBI,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements. Sad!”

Flynn, who served a brief stint as Trump’s national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. last December and agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation.

Mueller has described Flynn’s cooperation as valuable. Earlier this week, Flynn asked a federal judge to spare him from prison time and instead sentence him to at most one year probation.

In a memo filed in federal court late Tuesday, Flynn’s defense attorneys also suggested that he had been duped by FBI agents who handled his interview, playing into a theory among conservatives that Flynn had been wrongly led to commit a federal crime.

Mueller has recommended Flynn serve no jail time, citing his “substantial assistance” in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Flynn, who served on the Trump campaign before moving to the White House, is said to have offered the special counsel valuable details about contacts between the campaign and Russia as well as information related to other unknown matters under investigation.

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced in D.C. federal court on Dec. 18.

Late Wednesday, the judge overseeing his case, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, asked both Flynn and Mueller to turn over additional materials related to Flynn’s January 2017 interview with the FBI in which he later admitted he lied about his Russia contacts.

It is possible but unclear whether the developments could delay Flynn’s sentencing.

Asked later Thursday whether he thought the FBI had acted inappropriately in the case, Trump said it was “a great thing” that the judge was assessing the matter.

“The FBI said Michael Flynn… didn’t lie. And Mueller said, well, maybe he did,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with recently elected governors. “But now they are all having a big dispute. So I think it is a great thing that the judge is looking into that situation.”

A report released by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year said top FBI officials testified that the agents who interviewed Flynn in January 2017 did not see outward indications, such as changes in his posture or tone, that indicated he knew he was lying. Flynn has admitted to lying to the FBI agents about his discussions with Kislyak regarding sanctions on Russia among other topics.

One of the agents who interviewed Flynn was Peter Strzok, a former FBI official who has attracted intense scrutiny from Republican lawmakers as a result of text messages he sent before the election in which he expressed criticisms of then-candidate Trump. While conservatives have seized on the messages as evidence of bias at the FBI in the early days of the counterintelligence probe into Russian interference, the Justice Department inspector general has found no evidence that political bias influenced the bureau’s decisions.

[The Hill]

Trump Blasts Comey for Comments About 2020: He Had No Right Heading FBI ‘After His Mind Exploded!’

Over the weekend, former FBI Director James Comey made some comments about President Donald Trump‘s unacceptable behavior and how voters can stand up to it and vote him out of office, explicitly saying the Democrats “have to win” in 2020.

Comey’s comments have gotten a lot of attention in the past few days, and after today’s wild on-camera skirmish with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), President Donald Trump took to Twitter to blast Comey and say that he exposed himself as a Democrat who shouldn’t have been in charge of the FBI:

In an interview earlier this year, Comey said he used to be a Republican but lamented that the party “left me.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Rage Tweets About Mueller’s ‘Illegal’ Investigation After Hannity Monologue Blasting Comey

It’s Monday night and it appears President Donald Trump is watching Sean Hannity. How do we know this? Well, the president blasted out a tweet attacking Robert Mueller‘s “witch hunt” on Twitter for the umpteenth time, and it just so happens that the Fox News host just finished talking about the exact same subject.

Trump’s tweet came minutes after Hannity finished a section his monologue in which he addressed James Comey‘s testimony before Congress last week. Hannity blasted the former FBI director for his “selective amnesia” while answering questions, but he especially honed in on what Comey said about how the controversial dossier prepared by Fusion GPS wasn’t verified by the FBI before it became the foundation of a FISA warrant issued to investigate Trump’s campaign.

[Mediaite]

Trump lashes out at Comey over House testimony: ‘All lies!’

President Trump lashed out at James Comey early Sunday, accusing the former FBI director of lying during his testimony to House lawmakers about the investigation into Russia’s election interference.

“Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful!” the president tweeted.

“This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!” he added.

Trump claimed that Comey’s statements that he opened investigations on four Americans and that he didn’t know former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele were “all lies!”

The president also cited Comey’s repeated assertions that he could not recall or did not know certain facts. The FBI director on multiple occasions stated he was unable to remember certain facts, or could not answer questions because of ongoing investigations.

Comey testified last week before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees behind closed doors. The panels later released a transcript of the roughly six-hour meeting.

The transcript revealed that Comey told lawmakers that the counterintelligence investigation into possible conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign began by examining four Americans, whom he did not identify, citing the potential that they are part of an ongoing investigation.

He did note that Trump was not one of the four individuals.

[The Hill]

 

Trump Declares ‘NO COLLUSION!’ in Early-Morning Tweet After Cohen, Manafort Memos Drop

After dubiously claiming the Michael Cohen sentencing memo “totally clears” him last night, President Donald Trump this morning sent out a mostly all-caps “NO COLLUSION” tweet.

[Mediaite]

Trump fires off late-night tweetstorm on the eve of a landmark moment in the Russia investigation

President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets on a range of topics on Thursday evening, the night before the special counsel Robert Mueller was expected to submit several important filings related to the Russia investigation.

Trump fired off two tweets relating to a Fox Business segment in which the anchor Trish Regan sought to cast doubt on the FBI’sjustification for obtaining a FISA warrant to surveil the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Regan suggested the FBI was “weaponized in order to take down President Donald Trump.”

“Is this really America?” Trump tweeted. “Witch Hunt!”

In another tweet one minute later, Trump appeared to revive a particularly inflammatory attack on the news media, saying only “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Trump went on to mention Arizona, which he claimed was “bracing for a massive surge at a NON-WALLED area.”

Trump appeared to be referringto the Customs and Border Patrol’s training exercise in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday, where agents prepared “to deal with the potential of large crowds and assaultive behavior by caravan members, should a situation arise.”

Trump also mentioned the Democratic lawmakers Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who refused to support Trump’s plans for a $5 billion down payment to fund a wall on the US-Mexico border.

“WE WILL NOT LET THEM THROUGH,” Trump tweeted. “Big danger. Nancy and Chuck must approve Boarder Security and the Wall!”

Trump’s rapid-fire tweets came the night before Mueller’s deadline to submit documents outlining what the special counsel’s office has described as the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s “crimes and lies,” including allegations he lied in violation of his plea deal with the special counsel. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel while pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of conspiracy against the US in September.

Trump followed up with a series of five tweets on Friday morning in which he repeated his common refrain that the Russia investigation was a “witch hunt” and accused Mueller of having multiple conflicts of interest, including being “Best Friends” with former FBI Director James Comey, who was set to testify to Congress on Friday.

The special counsel’s team also Friday was expected to submit its sentencing recommendation for the former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to financial crimes and, more recently, lying to Congress.

Mueller’s office released a similar recommendation this week for the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who cooperated with investigators after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

Trump’s tweets on Friday morning Trump targeted Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor on the special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Trump accused Weissmann of having a “horrible and vicious prosecutorial past” and said he “wrongly destroyed people’s lives” — referring to a conviction he made against an Enron auditor that waslater overturned by the Supreme Court.

Trump also accused members of Mueller’s team of having made donations to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and asked whether it would be included in Mueller’s report. He also revived his talking points alleging corruption in the Democratic National Committee and on Clinton’s campaign.

[Business Insider]

President Trump Plugs Hannity’s Show on Twitter: ‘Enjoy!’

After a big day at the G20, President Donald Trump went back to tweeting about domestic concerns tonight.

As Sean Hannity kicked off his show, Trump tweeted out to people to tune in and watch:

Hannity’s show opened tonight with another lengthy monologue on the Mueller “witch hunt.” At one point he called it “political persecution.”

[Mediaite]

Trump calls Russia deal ‘legal and cool’ as Mueller inquiry gathers momentum

Donald Trump, drawn deeper into an investigation into Russian meddling in US elections, has defended his pursuit of a business deal in Moscow at the same time he was running for president as “very legal & very cool”.

Trump appeared rattled this week after Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, confessed that he lied to Congress about a Russian property contract he pursued on his boss’s behalf during the Republican primary campaign in 2016.

In a series of tweets from Buenos Aires, where he is attending the G20 summit, Trump recalled “happily living my life” as a property developer before running for president after seeing the “Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly)”.

“Against all odds,” he continued, “I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail. Lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia. Put up zero money, zero guarantees and didn’t do the project. Witch Hunt!”

The president frequently uses the phrase “witch hunt” to belittle Mueller’s investigation, which began in May last year and seems to have gathered momentum in recent days.

Trump repeatedly said during the election campaign that he had no ties to Russia. In July 2016 he tweeted: “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.”

But Cohen, who had already pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other financial crimes in a separate case brought by federal prosecutors in New York, on Thursday said he had lied to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower skyscraper in Moscow.

Cohen told two congressional committees last year that the talks about the tower project ended in January 2016, a lie he said was an act of loyalty to Trump. In fact, the negotiations continued until June that year, after Trump had secured the Republican nomination, Cohen admitted.

Cohen told Mueller’s prosecutors that he briefed Trump on the project more than three times. He also briefed members of Trump’s family, had direct contact with Kremlin representatives and considered traveling to Moscow to discuss it.

Trump condemned Cohen after the plea deal was announced, calling him “a weak person” and a liar. As he departed for Buenos Aires, he acknowledged his business dealings with Russia, telling reporters: “It doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign.”

Mueller’s team has brought charges or secured convictions against more than two dozen Russian nationals and entities, as well as several of Trump’s associates, but now the president himself is front and centre. Experts suggested that the walls are closing in.

Jeffrey Toobin, a legal analyst, told CNN: “Today is the first day I actually thought Donald Trump might not finish his term in office. I think this thing is enormous.” An opinion column in the Washington Post was headlined: “Trump should be freaked out right about now.”

Democrats have joined the criticism. Senator Chris Murphy tweeted: “This whole thing has likely been a scam from the start. It’s not some wild coincidence that the Administration’s foreign policy is most inexplicable toward the two countries – Russia and Saudi Arabia – where the Trump family pursues the most business.”

But the White House remains defiant. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, issued a statement that said: “BREAKING NEWS ALERT: Michael Cohen is a liar. It’s no surprise that Cohen lied to Congress. He’s a proven liar who is doing everything he can to get out of a long-term prison sentence for serious crimes of bank and tax fraud that had nothing to do with the Trump Organization.”

He added: “With regard to the hotel proposal in Moscow, the President has been completely open and transparent.”

Trump still owns his private company but had said he would hand over day-to-day dealings to his sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump when he took office in January 2017. He has repeatedly blurred the distinction between business and public office that has been observed by past presidents.

His meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki earlier this year drew fierce criticism after Trump appeared to side with Moscow’s denials over the findings of his own intelligence agencies. After Cohen’s plea, Trump cancelled his planned meeting with Putin at the G20, citing the Ukraine crisis. Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday said it believed the meeting was canceled over “the US domestic political situation”.

The Cohen confession comes as Mueller’s investigation gathers pace. Trump has provided responses to written questions while the special counsel has accused his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of lying after his own guilty plea.

On Friday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia asked Mueller’s team to submit a report next week outlining how they believe Manafort breached a plea agreement struck shortly before he was to have gone on trial on charges including money laundering, failing to register as a lobbyist for the Ukraine government and conspiracy to defraud the US.

The judge set 5 March as a tentative date for sentencing of Manafort, a veteran Washington consultant convicted of financial crimes. Prosecutors also left open the possibility that new charges could be filed against Manafort for lying. “That determination has not been made,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said.

In August, a jury in Virginia had convicted Manafort of bank and tax fraud in a separate case. He is scheduled to be sentenced on 8 February for that conviction.

Mueller continues to investigate whether campaign associates had advance knowledge of hacked emails becoming public. Another potential target, Jerome Corsi, has rejected a plea offer and faces a possible indictment.

[The Guardian]

Trump suggests, without evidence, that Mueller is encouraging witnesses to lie in Russia probe

Donald Trump suggested without evidence on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller and his team are bullying witnesses into lying about collusion in order to be spared punishment, marking the president’s latest attempt to discredit the Russia probe.

The president on Wednesday complained in a tweet that “While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief.”

Though Trump did not specify to whom he was referring, Jerome Corsi, an associate of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, has been in the news in recent days for his refusal to agree to a plea deal with Mueller’s investigators.

Mueller’s team has investigated Corsi, who is known for his right-wing birther conspiracies, for possibly acting as a conduit between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In a late-in-the-campaign bombshell, Assange published the emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that were determined to be stolen by Russian hackers.

Corsi said the special counsel’s team sought to strike a deal on one count of perjury, but Corsi has insisted that he hasn’t lied to investigators and suggested that Mueller’s prosecutors were attempting to coerce him into a plea deal.

Another major player in the Russia investigation, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, saw his plea deal put in danger this week after Mueller’s team accused him of lying to investigators. Manafort had entered into the deal and agreed to become a government witness following his first trial, but his subsequent lack of cooperation with investigators has renewed murmurs of a possible pardon from Trump.

There is no hard evidence that Trump’s claims are accurate and he neglected to provide proof of his accusations. But he invoked in his tweet the time period when Americans were falsely accused and investigated without evidence of being communists, calling this moment “our Joseph McCarthy Era!”

[Politico]

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