The Mueller Investigation (Russiagate)

gourimoko

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This thread should serve as the general area for all things Trump-Russia/RussiaGate related.

As of today, the White House is deliberating the least damaging way with which to allow the President to be examined by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Here's the WSJ report today on the matter:

White House Legal Team Considers Ways Trump Could Testify Before Mueller

Possible options include written answers to special counsel’s questions or limited verbal testimony by president


President Donald Trump’s lawyers are considering ways for him to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller, provided the questions he faces are limited in scope and don’t test his recollections in ways they say could unfairly trap him into perjuring himself, a person familiar with his legal team’s thinking said.

Mr. Trump’s legal team is weighing options that include providing written answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions and having the president give limited face-to-face testimony, another person familiar with the matter said. “Everything is on the table,” this person said.

Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 elections and whether the president obstructed justice when he fired former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who launched the Russia probe.

The president denies his campaign colluded with Moscow and that he obstructed justice; Russia says it didn’t meddle in the campaign.

Mr. Mueller this month secured an indictment against three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens for allegedly engaging in a widespread effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including inventing fake personas on social media and staging rallies with the “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system.” The indictment didn’t accuse the Trump campaign of assisting that effort.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump hold different views on whether he should testify and under what conditions.

One member of the Trump legal team said Sunday that Mr. Trump’s testimony could set a bad precedent for future presidents, eroding their powers.

This person also questioned whether an interview is necessary given all the information that the White House has shared with Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Mueller’s office, the member of the legal team said, “has all of the notes and memos of the thoughts and actions of this president on all subjects he requested in real time without reservation or qualification, including testimony from his most intimate staff and eight lawyers from the White House Counsel’s Office. Any question for the president is answered in these materials and testimony.”

This person added that, “It would be a travesty to waste his (Mr. Trump’s) time and to set a precedent which would cripple a future president.”

If Mr. Trump’s legal team offers an interview under specific terms, it is unclear whether Mr. Mueller would agree; Mr. Mueller’s office declined to comment.

“The sooner they make the president available to submit to an interview, the faster that Bob Mueller can get to the finish line and be over and done,” said Robert Ray, who served as independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation that examined former President Bill Clinton’s conduct.

Negotiations could break down should Mr. Mueller insist on conditions Mr. Trump finds unacceptable, and the president’s lawyers are prepared to launch a court fight to shield him from testifying, people familiar with the matter said.

Both sides have leverage they can use, legal experts say.

A subpoena from Mr. Mueller compelling Mr. Trump to testify could increase pressure on the president to answer questions.

When it comes to the Russia investigation, the word "Collusion" gets thrown around a lot. But there's not a lot of clarity on what it actually means. Is it illegal? Is it grounds for impeachment? We asked a law professor to explain. Photo Illustration: Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal.
“The American people really want him to cooperate with this investigation,” said Alberto Gonzales, who was attorney general under former President George W. Bush.

Should Mr. Trump face a subpoena, he could try to quash it, setting in motion a lengthy legal proceeding that could deprive Mr. Mueller of an interview any time soon. Guy Lewis, a former U.S. attorney in Florida who has worked with Mr. Mueller in the past, said, “If that’s not two years of delay and litigation, up and back to the Supreme Court, then I don’t know what is.”

To avoid a protracted court fight, Mr. Mueller might prefer to strike an agreement on the interview’s scope, he said. “You’re playing chess here, and both sides are smart chess players,” Mr. Lewis said.

Whether Mr. Trump winds up talking to Mr. Mueller is one of many lingering questions surrounding the Russia investigation, which has shadowed this presidency from the start.

The probe’s latest turn came Friday when Richard Gates, a former Trump campaign aide previously indicted by Mr. Mueller, pleaded guilty to two charges, making him the fifth person to publicly admit to criminal misconduct, and the third Trump associate to cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s team.

For Mr. Trump, an interview would pose risks, with the president facing skilled prosecutors, armed with documents and witness testimony, who have shown they are willing to indict people on perjury charges. Mr. Trump is a freewheeling conversationalist, an instinct that proved advantageous on the campaign trail but could be unsuited to a legal setting. Still, Mr. Trump is no stranger to litigation, having given depositions tied to his career as a private businessman.

“As a lawyer, what I would want to get a sense of is how careful my client is going to be when responding to questions,” Mr. Gonzales said. “If I’m totally confident that this person can be careful in saying no more than needs to be said, I might let my client go ahead and testify.”

If Mr. Trump were to face detailed questions involving dates and times, his legal team may be reluctant to have him participate, the person familiar with his team’s thinking said. As an example, this person said, general questions about what the president was thinking when he ordered the firing of Mr. Comey might be acceptable, as opposed to what action he took on a specific date and time.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump have studied a 1997 federal court ruling from the 1990s that could be the basis for delaying or limiting the scope of an interview, or perhaps avoiding one altogether. In that 1997 case, a federal appeals court ruled that presidents and their closest advisers enjoy protections against having to disclose information about their decision-making process or official actions.

Legal experts say Mr. Trump’s attorneys can use the case as leverage in talks with Mr. Mueller.

“If it were exclusively a legal judgment, no one would ever do it, but there’s a political aspect to this,” Mr. Ray said.

...
 

pr26

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Really interested to see whether Hope Hicks talks or goes full Bannon tomorrow in front of the committee.

At this point though, I don't anticipate anything substantial coming out of either of the congressional investigations until Mueller concludes.
 

gourimoko

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Really interested to see whether Hope Hicks talks or goes full Bannon tomorrow in front of the committee.

At this point though, I don't anticipate anything substantial coming out of either of the congressional investigations until Mueller concludes.
I would think that, like Bannon, she will invoke Executive Privilege wherever and whenever questioning gets too direct / invasive (depending on your point of view).
 

The Human Q-Tip

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I honestly think that the biggest Russian interference in not only this election, but in the political functioning of our country, was the DNC and related anti-Trump entities pushing largely Russian-sourced negative information about Trump into the Steele Dossier and elsewhere, leading to this entire investigation and assault on a duly-elected President.

The stupid fake stories were tiny. A drop in the bucket. But if the Russian goal was to disrupt our political system and sow distrust, they've succeeded beyond their wildest dreams with the anti-Trump stories.
 

pr26

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Wow, Gates got a hell of a sweetheart deal with his plea. He must of given up something of worth....only question is on who? Definitely could be Manafort, but he appears to be pretty nailed to the wall regardless.

Can't wait for the movie on this whole thing..... I'm calling for Michael Cera to be cast as Kushner :chuckle:
 

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I hate the term "Russiagate" because the -gate suffix is insufferable. If this ends up bringing the president down, it would be setting a new precedent IMO and would require a fresh new name. But that's trivial.

It's fascinating how quickly news from the Mueller investigation seems to be coming down the pipe these days. For so long it's been speculated what the extent of the alleged crimes the counsel would be seriously looking in to, and now it all seems very real. We don't know anything for sure yet, because they've done a good job for the most part of keeping quiet, but things haven't look good for the president lately.

Sure are a lot of indictments and some sweet deals, as mentioned above, for this to end up being nothing (in terms of Trump himself, the investigation has already proven that Russian attack on our elections was in fact something).

No offense, but Q's take above is honestly hilarious. The Steele Dossier didn't start the investigation alone. It's too early to say if the information in it is fake. And given the indictments of Manafort and the like, people who were high up in the Trump campaign, it's baffling how anyone can not see that this is Trump's own fault, even if his hands were clean (my bet, they weren't).

If the worst thing to happen to our democracy was to question the president on Russia because that's all fake (an entirely stupid premise), then why didn't the Mueller investigation end quick and clean? And I hope we've all moved on from the "Obama didn't find anything in the months he was in power and targeting Trump" since there's really nothing to that claim either.
 
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AZ_

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Little sidebar on the Russia investigation, as Devin Nunes basically tried to impede the investigation by leaking Mark Warner's private texts.

Warner reached out to try and speak with Christopher Steele, which Nunes then used to try and paint a picture of Democratic collusion.

 

Tlyons

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I hate the term "Russiagate" because the -gate suffix is insufferable. If this ends up bringing the president down, it would be setting a new precedent IMO and would require a fresh new name. But that's trivial.

It's fascinating how quickly news from the Mueller investigation seems to be coming down the pipe these days. For so long it's been speculated what the extent of the alleged crimes the counsel would be seriously looking in to, and now it all seems very real. We don't know anything for sure yet, because they've done a good job for the most part of keeping quiet, but things haven't look good for the president lately.

Sure are a lot of indictments and some sweet deals, as mentioned above, for this to end up being nothing (in terms of Trump himself, the investigation has already proven that Russian attack on our elections was in fact something).

No offense, but Q's take above is honestly hilarious. The Steele Dossier didn't start the investigation alone. It's too early to say if the information in it is fake. And given the indictments of Manafort and the like, people who were high up in the Trump campaign, it's baffling how anyone can not see that this is Trump's own fault, even if his hands were clean (my bet, they weren't).

If the worst thing to happen to our democracy was to question the president on Russia because that's all fake (an entirely stupid premise), then why didn't the Mueller investigation end quick and clean? And I hope we've all moved on from the "Obama didn't find anything in the months he was in power and targeting Trump" since there's really nothing to that claim either.
The "we expect the investigation to wrap up shortly because they have nothing" is hilariously disrespectful to anyone with a fraction of a brain who isn't already towing the party line.

They know the blind loyalists will latch on to just about anything Trump says.
 

King Stannis

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Little sidebar on the Russia investigation, as Devin Nunes basically tried to impede the investigation by leaking Mark Warner's private texts.

Warner reached out to try and speak with Christopher Steele, which Nunes then used to try and paint a picture of Democratic collusion.

It matter not what Nunes does. Come 2019 a real investigation will be done.

 

Binkster

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View: https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/970687983853752320


The fact that she claims to have tapes would be an important element to this. I wonder what the procedure would be to bring her to the US to provide them as part of her testimony?
I doubt she ever gets the opportunity as she'll likely be extradited. Sadly, she'll turn up missing or imprisoned before anything comes to light.

Typically, I'd dismiss these as wild accusations in a desperate attempt to avoid Russian imprisonment. However, there is photographic evidence backing up her claims...
 

gourimoko

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I doubt she ever gets the opportunity as she'll likely be extradited. Sadly, she'll turn up missing or imprisoned before anything comes to light.

Typically, I'd dismiss these as wild accusations in a desperate attempt to avoid Russian imprisonment. However, there is photographic evidence backing up her claims...
There's also photographic and video evidence of her getting fucked over a railing in a public square in Moscow... Just, as an aside...
 
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