Trump Foundation to Close Amid Lawsuit Accusing It of ‘Willful Self-Dealing’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Trump Foundation to Close Amid Lawsuit Accusing It of ‘Willful Self-Dealing’

Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
Image
Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

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The Donald J. Trump Foundation will close and give away all its remaining funds in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office, which had accused the Trump family of using the charity for self-dealing and political gain, the office announced on Tuesday.

The attorney general, Barbara Underwood, accused the foundation of “a shocking pattern of illegality” that was “willful and repeated” and included unlawfully coordinating with Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” Ms. Underwood said.

The closure of the foundation is a milestone in the investigation. But the broader lawsuit, which also seeks millions in restitution and penalties and a bar on President Trump and his three oldest children from serving on the boards of other New York charities, is proceeding.

What assets remain after penalties will be directed to charities that must be approved by the attorney general’s office, and the process will be subject to judicial supervision. Ms. Underwood and a lawyer for the foundation signed the stipulation agreeing to the dissolution.

“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Ms. Underwood said. “We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”

Mr. Trump had said after the 2016 election that to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, he would dissolve the foundationfollowing revelations of its financial mismanagement. But the attorney general’s office blocked the president from doing so, amid concerns about the handling of the foundation’s documents and assets.

Alan S. Futerfas, a lawyer for the foundation, characterized Ms. Underwood’s announcement as making a “misleading statement.”

“The foundation has been seeking to dissolve and distribute its remaining assets to worthwhile charitable causes since Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election,” he said. “Unfortunately, the N.Y.A.G. sought to prevent dissolution for almost two years, thereby depriving those most in need of nearly $1.7 million.

“The N.Y.A.G.’s inaccurate statement of this morning is a further attempt to politicize this matter,” he added.

The investigation of the foundation was begun by Eric T. Schneiderman, the former attorney general, who was an antagonist of Mr. Trump before stepping down amid revelations of sexual misconduct this year.

Next month, the ongoing case will fall to the incoming attorney general, Letitia James, a vocal critic of Mr. Trump who said recentlythat she would “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family.”

Ms. Underwood’s office sued the Trump Foundation in June, charging it with “improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations or to implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.”

[Want to know more about the Trump Foundation? Read this explainer.]

Nonprofit foundations are supposed to be devoted to charitable activities, but the attorney general’s office, following a two-year investigation, accused the Trump Foundation of being used to win political favor and even purchase a $10,000 portrait of Mr. Trump that was displayed at one of his golf clubs. The existence of the portrait was first reported by The Washington Post.

Mr. Trump was required to sign annual I.R.S. filings in which he attested that the foundation did not engage in political activity.

The lawsuit accused the foundation of virtually becoming an arm of the Trump campaign, with its campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, directing the foundation to make disbursements in Iowa only days before the state held its presidential nominating caucuses.

“Is there any way we can make some disbursements [from the proceeds of the fund-raiser] this week while in Iowa? Specifically on Saturday,” Mr. Lewandowski wrote to the foundation’s treasurer in an email disclosed in the lawsuit.

Such charities are also barred from advancing the self-interests of its executives over the charity’s mission, but the attorney general’s office said in a court filing this year that the foundation had entered into a number of “prohibited self-dealing transactions that directly benefited Mr. Trump or entities that he controlled.”

One of those was revealed by a note in Mr. Trump’s handwriting that said $100,000 of Trump Foundation money should be directed to another charity to settle a legal dispute between the Town of Palm Beach and Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

The attorney general’s office is seeking for the Trump Foundation to pay $2.8 million in restitution, which is the amount raised for the foundation at an Iowa fund-raiser in 2016 that Mr. Trump held on the day that he avoided attending a debate with his Republican rivals. The foundation reported $1.7 million in assets in 2017 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Last month, a New York state judge ruled that the lawsuit could proceed, even as Mr. Trump’s lawyers had argued that the court did not have jurisdiction over Mr. Trump, as president, and that the statute of limitations had passed on some of the issues.

“I find I have jurisdiction over Mr. Trump,” Justice Saliann Scarpulla wrote in a 27-page ruling.

Mr. Futerfas had said in a statement then that “all of the money raised by the Foundation went to charitable causes” and that “we remain confident in the ultimate outcome of these proceedings.

“I won’t settle this case!” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter in June, accusing “the sleazy New York Democrats” of targeting him.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!…

55.8K people are talking about this

The foundation lawsuit follows years of scrutiny of President Trump’s charitable activities and adds to his extensive legal challenges, amid a continuing investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The Trump Foundation is hardly the first charity dissolved by the state — Mr. Schneiderman previously shut down a sham breast cancer charity, for example — but it is the first involving a sitting president of the United States.

Also, if the attorney general’s office is successful in barring Mr. Trump from serving on foundation boards for a decade, it would put him in the unusual position of not being able to serve on the board of his own post-presidential foundation, should it be set up in New York.

Danny Hakim contributed reporting.

New report shows where Russia prevailed and failed in its mission to elect Trump and divide a nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘BUSINESS INSIDER’)

 

New report shows where Russia prevailed and failed in its mission to elect Trump and divide a nation

russia meddle
An image of Russian president Vladimir Putin is seen through a Twitter logo in this photo illustration on December 4, 2017.
 Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • A draft report seen by The Washington Post shows how effectively Russia twisted Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to influence the right voters and achieve its reported goal — the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.
  • The goldmine of posts and comments provided by the big tech firms for the Senate allowed researchers the first major data dive into responses to Russian influence and is “the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign” The Post reported on Sunday.

The Washington Post reported that it has seen the very first deep data analysis that covers post-by-post the social media behaviors across the known Russian accounts for a period spanning several years until the middle of 2017 when they were effectively unmasked.

It is the first study of the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and it provides a new window into the many ways that Russia grasped the power of social media, built their understanding of it, and then manipulated it for the political purposes to help elect Donald Trump president.

According to The Post, citing the Senate-bound report co-authored by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and network analysis firm Graphika, the soon-to-be president was most often glowingly mentioned in campaigns that energized conservatives and right-wing voters, while left-wing grioups were confused, infuriated and deflated.

“What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump,” the report stated. “(While) the main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting.”

But how did they do it?

Clinton russia
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 01: A print out of a social media post targeting former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on display as Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) speaks during a hearing before the House (Select) Intelligence Committee November 1, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on ‘Russia Investigative Task Force: Social Media Companies.’
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

“The Russians aimed particular energy at activating conservatives on issues such as gun rights and immigration, while sapping the political clout of left-leaning African American voters by undermining their faith in elections and spreading misleading information about how to vote,” The Post reported.

SEE MORE:18 political ads you may have seen on Facebook that were actually made by Russian trolls.

Sifting through the data, researchers were struck by evidence of sloppiness on the part of the Russians — so much so that they thought the Russians probably should have been found out early on in their campaign.

These slip-ups included included buying ads with Russian rubles and leaving Russian phone numbers for contact information.

The report reveals both a little history and strategy:

  • They started out on Twitter, then added YouTube and Instagram before finally diving into Facebook, the report said.
  • A Twitter campaign targeting the US began as early as 2013, but it appears the Internet Research Agency (IRA) got the hang of it around 12 months later when the mission sprang to life and grew annually as the ideas spread with more demographic accuracy via better targeted platforms.
  • Facebook was particularly effective— 99% of all likes, shares and other social media reactions came from only 20 pages with names including “Heart of Texas” and “Blacktivist.”
  • On Instagram, the Russians ran 133 accounts on the photo-sharing tool owned by Facebook, dividing and agitating based on “race, ethnicity or other forms of personal identity,” the report concluded.
  • The Russians’ fake “Black Matters US” account had followers across the social media map, from YouTube to Tumblr to PayPal, and by linking them up, they created a snowballing influence that even spilled out into the real world, agitating across sites for donations, organizing real-world political rallies, and funneling all the online traffic to its Russia-controlled home site.
  • The use of YouTube, like the other platforms, appears to have grown after Trump’s election victory. Twitter links to YouTube videos grew by 84% in the six months after the election, the report claims.
  • IRA operatives created Google ads that made statements like “Cops kill black kids. Are you sure that your son won’t be the next?” to sow fear, discord and division while promoting the “BlackMatters US” site. The sister Twitter account, meanwhile, ranted about Facebook “supporting white supremacy” for shutting its page down.
  • The Russian Facebook campaign reached 126 million people on Facebook and 20 million more on Instagram, Congress has been told by company officials. Russian Instagram posts generated 185 million likes and 4 million user comments.

While the report touches on the role played by YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, and Instagram, owned by Facebook, in the Russian campaign, for the first time it sheds further light on where Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest fit into the plan, not to mention the email accounts of Yahoo, Microsoft’s Hotmail and Google’s Gmail.

Perhaps the most damning insight from the report, which The Post says will be released to the public later this week, is the difficulties researchers said they faced in accessing the tech giants’ data.

The authors noted the “belated and uncoordinated response” to the disinformation campaign. They criticized the companies for not sharing more data faster and finally urged the companies in the future to be a little more “meaningful and constructive.”

Get the latest Google stock price here.

SEE ALSO: Russia has allegedly been spreading far-right propaganda on Facebook to try and influence the US midterms — here it is

More: Russia cyberattack election meddling Twitter Facebook

Trump Was In The Room When Illegal Payments Were Being Discussed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 Ohio on July 18, 2016.John Taggart / Bloomberg via Getty Images file Dec. 13, 2018 / 3:41 PM ESTBy Tom Winter

Donald Trump was the third person in the room in August 2015 when his lawyer Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed ways Pecker could help counter negative stories about Trump’s relationships with women, NBC News has confirmed.

As part of a nonprosecution agreement disclosed Wednesday by federal prosecutors, American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, admitted that “Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.”

The “statement of admitted facts” says that AMI admitted making a $150,000 payment “in concert with the campaign,” and says that Pecker, Cohen and “at least one other member of the campaign” were in the meeting. According to a person familiar with the matter, the “other member” was Trump.

David Pecker attends an event in Paris in 2012.
David Pecker attends an event in Paris in 2012.Francois Durand / Getty Images

Trump was first identified as attending the meeting by The Wall Street Journal.

Daniel Goldman, an NBC News analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney said the agreement doesn’t detail what Trump said and did in the meeting. “But if Trump is now in the room, as early as August of 2015 and in combination with the recording where Trump clearly knows what Cohen is talking about with regarding to David Pecker, you now squarely place Trump in the middle of a conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which investigated Cohen’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, declined to comment.

Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison

DEC. 13, 201802:37

McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate, and her lawyers have said that the National Enquirer paid her $150,000 in August 2016 as part of a “catch-and-kill” strategy to keep the story from circulating publicly.

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When Cohen pleaded guilty to arranging the payments in August, he said he had done so “at the direction” of an unnamed candidate, and that a $150,000 payment prior to the 2016 election was “for the principal purpose of influencing” the election. The meeting between Cohen, Pecker and unnamed other parties to discuss suppressing stories was referenced in the criminal information document to which Cohen pleaded guilty. The document also refers to “at least one other member of the campaign” being present.

The statement of admitted facts says that AMI’s “principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.” Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, has said the payments were made to spare Trump’s family from embarrassment.

I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel,” and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid. Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly……

44K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

On Wednesday, Judge William Pauley sentenced Cohen to a total of 36 months behind bars, and three years of post-release supervision, for tax evasion, violating campaign finance law and other charges. The judge ordered him to pay almost $1.4 million in restitution and forfeit $500,000, while fining him $50,000 for lying to Congress. Cohen must turn himself in to start serving his sentence by March 6.

At his sentencing, Cohen said that “time and time again, I felt it was my duty to cover up [Trump’s] dirty deeds.”

President Trump tweeted after the sentencing that he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tom Winter

Tom Winter is a producer and reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit based in New York, covering crime, courts, terrorism, and financial fraud on the East Coast.

Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Fox News Contributor: Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

“It’s clear that Trump is the target,” former U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy said.
X

Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy has bad news for President Donald Trump: Get ready to be indicted for violating federal campaign finance laws.

McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, said on “Fox & Friends” Sunday that attorneys with the Southern District of New York are “clearly” going after Trump, given recent revelations about statements by Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, to the U.S. district court.

“They are clearly going after the president on campaign finance violations and I think if you read the sentencing memo the Southern District filed in Cohen’s case, it’s clear that Trump is the target and he’ll be indicted eventually,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District for 18 years before leaving the Justice Department in 2003.

On Friday, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District filed a sentencing memo recommending Cohen receive a 42-month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of business and tax fraud, making false statements to Congress and violating campaign finance law.

Cohen told the court in August that during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump directed him to make hush money payments to at least two women who say they’ve had affairs with him after he married his third wife, Melania. The president has denied the affairs and the hush money allegations.

Prosecutors say the payments violate federal campaign finance laws.

The first payment in question ―  $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels ― violated campaign finance law restrictions against donations of more than $2,700 in a general election, according to federal prosecutors.

The second payment under legal scrutiny is $150,000 made by American Media Inc. to silence Karen McDougal, which prosecutors say constituted an illegal corporate donation to Trump’s campaign. The National Enquirer’s parent company was chaired at the time by Trump’s longtime confidante, David Pecker.

The Southern District case involving Cohen stems from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice.

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Mueller did not take a position on Cohen’s sentence but the special counsel’s office wrote in their sentencing memo that Cohen has “gone to significant lengths” to help in their investigation.

Fox News host Ed Henry on Sunday appeared taken aback by McCarthy’s prediction.

“You think the president of the United States is going to be indicted… I mean that kind of stops me in my tracks,” Henry said.

McCarthy said he can’t be positive whether the Justice Department would indict a sitting president or wait until Trump is out of office.

“I think what can happen is they could indict and he could be tried down the road when he’s out of office,” McCarthy said. “But will [Trump] be charged? Are they setting the stage to file charges against him? If you read that sentencing memo, I can’t come to any other conclusion.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump “may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” Schiff said.

Embedded video

Face The Nation

@FaceTheNation

.@AdamSchiff on the Russia Investigation: My takeaway is there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the justice department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.

1,188 people are talking about this

McCarthy delved deeper into the case in an Op-Ed published Sunday on Fox News’ website.

“Campaign finance violations have a high proof threshold for intent,” McCarthy wrote. “President Trump could argue that because there was no spending limit on his contributions, he did not think about the campaign-finance implications, much less willfully violate them.”

“The point for this day is that the Cohen case in New York City is not about Cohen,” he concluded. “The president is in peril of being charged.”

Trump Defrauded Voters. But What Does It Mean?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

(SIMPLY PUT, TRUMP IS A FRAUDULENT PRESIDENT) 

Prosecutors’ Narrative Is Clear: Trump Defrauded Voters. But What Does It Mean?

In the narrative that prosecutors are building, President Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia well into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times
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In the narrative that prosecutors are building, President Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia well into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him.CreditCreditAl Drago for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The latest revelations by prosecutors investigating President Trump and his team draw a portrait of a candidate who personally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the 2016 election and whose advisers had more contact with Russia than Mr. Trump has ever acknowledged.

In the narrative that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and New York prosecutors are building, Mr. Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia deep into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him. At the same time, in this account he ordered hush payments to two women to suppress stories of impropriety in violation of campaign finance law.

The prosecutors made clear in their memo that they viewed efforts by Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to squelch the stories as nothing less than a perversion of a democratic election — and by extension they effectively accused the president of defrauding voters, questioning the legitimacy of his victory.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump dismissed the filings, and his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, minimized the importance of any potential campaign finance violations. Democrats, however, said they could lead to impeachment.

In a sentencing memo filed on Friday in the case of Mr. Cohen, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York depicted Mr. Trump, identified only as “Individual-1,” as an accomplice in the hush payments. While Mr. Trump was not charged, the reference echoed Watergate, when President Richard M. Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator by a grand jury investigating the cover-up of the break-in at the Democratic headquarters.

“While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows,” the prosecutors wrote.

“He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1,” they continued. “In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

The exposure on campaign finance laws poses a challenge to Mr. Trump’s legal team, which before now has focused mainly on rebutting allegations of collusion and obstruction while trying to call into question Mr. Mueller’s credibility.

“Until now, you had two different charges, allegations, whatever you want to call them,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview on Saturday. “One was collusion with the Russians. One was obstruction of justice and all that entails. And now you have a third — that the president was at the center of a massive fraud against the American people.”

The episode recalled a criminal case brought against former Senator John Edwards, Democrat of North Carolina, who while running for president in 2008 sought to cover up an extramarital affair that resulted in pregnancy. He was charged with violating campaign finance laws stemming from money used to hide his pregnant lover, but a trial ended in 2012 with an acquittal on one charge and a mistrial on five others.

Mr. Giuliani pointed to that outcome on Saturday to argue that the president should not be similarly charged.

“The President is not implicated in campaign finance violations because based on Edwards case and others the payments are not campaign contributions,” Mr. Giuliani wrote on Twitter. “No responsible prosecutor would premise a criminal case on a questionable interpretation of the law.”

But Mr. Cohen has pleaded guilty under that interpretation of the law, and even if Mr. Trump cannot be charged while in office, the House could still investigate or even seek to impeach him. The framers of the Constitution specifically envisioned impeachment as a remedy for removing a president who obtained office through corrupt means, and legal scholars have long concluded that the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” does not necessarily require a statutory crime.

If the campaign finance case as laid out by prosecutors is true, Mr. Nadler said, Mr. Trump would be likely to meet the criteria for an impeachable offense, and he said he would instruct his committee to investigate when he takes over in January.

But he added that did not necessarily mean that the committee should vote to impeach Mr. Trump. “Is it serious enough to justify impeachment?” he asked. “That is another question.”

The strategy of Mr. Trump’s lawyers has been predicated on the assurance by senior Justice Department officials that if Mr. Mueller found evidence that the president broke the law, he would not be indicted while in office. But the hush money investigation is being led by a separate office of prosecutors in New York, and far less time has been spent publicly or privately trying to protect Mr. Trump from that inquiry.

And while the prevailing view at the Justice Department is that a sitting president cannot be indicted, that does not mean a president cannot be charged after leaving office. The prosecutors in New York have examined the statute of limitations on the campaign finance violations and believe charges could be brought against Mr. Trump if he is not re-elected, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said that if the campaign finance case as laid out by prosecutors was true, Mr. Trump would likely meet the criteria for an impeachable offense.CreditJ. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
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Representative Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said that if the campaign finance case as laid out by prosecutors was true, Mr. Trump would likely meet the criteria for an impeachable offense.CreditJ. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Mr. Trump’s lawyers view that as unlikely if it is based solely on the current charges.

At the White House on Friday evening, staff members gathered for a holiday dinner with Mr. Trump and the first lady as if nothing were wrong. Mr. Trump’s advisers have told him that the latest filings do not present a danger to him legally, although they cautioned him that the political risks were hard to calculate, according to people familiar with the discussions.

One adviser said the president’s team had concluded that Mr. Trump was not likely to face a threat from prosecution in the New York case because if Mr. Cohen had more to deliver, then prosecutors would not be bringing him to court for sentencing in the coming week or requesting substantial prison time. Another adviser said that the Cohen threat appeared to be over.

For public consumption, at least, Mr. Trump and his Republican allies chose to focus on the Russia matter on Saturday, arguing again that no wrongdoing had been proved.

“On the Mueller situation, we’re very happy with what we are reading because there was no collusion whatsoever,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “The last thing I want is help from Russia on a campaign. You should ask Hillary Clinton about Russia.”

American intelligence agencies have said the Russians were in fact trying to aid Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who will be the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the new Congress, which begins next month, said he saw no reason conservatives should walk away from Mr. Trump given his record of policy achievements and questions about the impartiality of the president’s investigators.

“I always come back to the facts,” he said in an interview. “To date, not one bit of evidence of any type of coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election.”

If prosecutors have conclusive evidence of conspiracy, they have not shown their hand. But the filings in recent days made clear that while Mr. Trump repeatedly insisted he had no business dealings in Russia, it was not without trying.

Mr. Trump’s business was pursuing a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow until June 2016, while Mr. Trump was locking up the Republican nomination and long after Mr. Cohen had previously said the project was dropped.

At the same time, Mr. Cohen, starting in November 2015, was in contact with a well-connected Russian who proposed “synergy on a government level” with the Trump campaign and proposed a meeting between Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The Russian said such a meeting could grease the way for the tower, telling Mr. Cohen that there was “no bigger warranty in any project than consent” by Mr. Putin.

In his own court memo, Mr. Mueller said that Mr. Cohen’s false account that the deal had collapsed in January 2016 was designed “in hopes of limiting the investigations into possible Russian influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election — an issue of heightened national interest.”

The president’s lawyers have been deeply concerned that Mr. Trump could be portrayed as an unindicted co-conspirator in court documents. As he was preparing to submit written responses to questions from Mr. Mueller last month, Mr. Trump’s lawyers learned about language the special counsel wanted to include in a plea agreement with a conservative conspiracy theorist, who was under investigation for his links to WikiLeaks, which released Democratic emails that intelligence agencies said were stolen by Russian agents.

The document said that the conspiracy theorist, Jerome Corsi, understood that one of Mr. Trump’s associates, Roger J. Stone Jr., was “in regular contact with senior members of the Trump campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump,” when Mr. Stone asked Mr. Corsi to find out from the head of WikiLeaks what he had in store for the Clinton campaign.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers feared that Mr. Mueller was trying to cast Mr. Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator. Mr. Trump’s lawyers held off sending the answers and demanded a meeting with Justice Department officials and Mr. Mueller’s team, according to one person close to the president.

In a meeting at the Justice Department that was presided over by the principal associate deputy attorney general, Ed O’Callaghan, Mr. Trump’s lawyers — including Mr. Giuliani and Jay Sekulow — expressed concern to Mr. Mueller’s team. It was unclear what Mr. Mueller’s team said in response, but shortly thereafter Mr. Trump sent in his answers.

Mr. Corsi has declined to accept a plea deal and has not been charged with a crime.

Although Mr. Trump asserted on Saturday that he was “happy” with the latest filings, others did not agree. The Cohen information alone “puts impeachment on the table, and I can’t help but think that that is what this is barreling toward,” said Rob Stutzman, a California-based Republican strategist who has been critical of Mr. Trump. “Any other presidency at this point would have been done when their own Department of Justice filed something like that.”

But while the House can impeach a president on a majority vote, conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote, meaning that unless at least 20 Republican senators abandon Mr. Trump, he is safe from removal. Despite the losses in the House last month, Republicans, if anything, have moved closer to the president.

While liberals are pressing Democrats to move on impeachment, party leaders remain wary, fearing a backlash. Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, said the standard set during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying under oath certainly puts Mr. Trump “in impeachment territory” because of the campaign finance issue.

“On the other hand,” he added, “in the compendium of Donald Trump’s offenses against the rule of law and the Constitution, this may not be in the top five.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Michael S. Schmidt from Washington.

A version of this article appears in print on  of the New York edition with the headline: Exposure on Election Laws a Challenge to Trump. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

The (Brief) Return of Civility

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT)

 

The (Brief) Return of Civility

Memorial services for former President George H.W. Bush highlighted the differences – and similarities – between Washington then and now.

By Susan Milligan Senior WriterDec. 7, 2018, at 6:00 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

The (Brief) Return of Civility

(ALEX BRANDON/POOL/GETTY IMAGES)

THE POLITICAL NEMESES sat in dignified, if chilly, silence at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, as if the memorial of a man who called for a “kindler and gentler nation” reminded them, for one day, how to behave. President Donald Trump might have looked uneasy being a spectator, instead of the center of attention, at an event dedicated to honor a predecessor – and from a family that has been at sharp odds with him. But he was there in the front row, uncharacteristically mum, dutifully shaking hands with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. There was no confrontation between Trump and grieving Jeb Bush, whom Trump openly mocked on the campaign trail as “low energy.”

Unlike the funeral for Sen. John McCain, the Bush memorial did not include such obvious criticisms of Trump and his presidency. To the extent the event was an implicit chiding of Trump, you had to look for it: Former Sen. Alan Simpson, for example, lauded the late Bush’s graciousness and loyalty – noting that loyalty for Bush meant standing by his friends. That was a subtle reminder that Trump’s professed idea of loyalty appears rooted in whether his aides and employees are protective of him. Historian Jon Meacham noted the late Bush’s “thousand points of light” celebration of American volunteerism – a program Trump ridiculed at a Montana campaign rally this summer.

It might have been an impetus to all the Washington politicians and power players at the event to dial back the anger and get down to doing the nation’s business. It wasn’t.

Judicial nominations scheduled for consideration Thursday were delayed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after departing Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said he was standing by his threat to hold up such nominations until McConnell allows a vote on legislation to protect the job of special counsel Robert Mueller. The specter of a government shutdown because of a standoff over Trump’s desired border wall loomed – delayed only because of the Bush funeral.

“We think of [Bush] in this kind of weepy, sentimental way … but certainly people who worked for him could pull out all the stops and the long knives.”

The Senate is also pushing back angrily at Trump over the involvement of the Saudi crown prince, a Trump ally, in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A bipartisan Senate team has accused Trump of willfully ignoring evidence of Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the murder, and the chamber is moving on resolutions to condemn MBS, as he is known, and to curtail U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen.

House Democrats began gearing up for what is expected to be an aggressive investigation of Trump and his administration when the party takes control of the chamber in January. And the entire political city is shifting to presidential campaign mode, with several senators openly mulling runs.

“The death of a senior politician often becomes a time to mourn what we no longer have. We either remember the person with a nostalgia about how things used to be or use a shared appreciation of their service to call on our leaders to act in better ways,” says Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University. “But it never happens. Today the forces that generate intense partisan polarization are very strong. They are embedded in our institutions and culture – much stronger than the memory of a great figure can overcome.”

And while Bush’s death has been cast as the death, too, of a more conciliatory and cooperative Washington, the seeds of modern discontent had been planted in that era, experts say.

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For example, Bush famously backed a tax increase to raise necessary revenue, despite having declared, in Clint Eastwood-esque verbiage, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” That episode damaged Bush politically – likely contributing to his re-election loss in 1992 – and spooked fellow politicians afterward.

“The Bush tax increase paved the way for the surpluses we had” during the Clinton years, says Stan Collender, a former Capitol Hill budget analyst and founder of the “The Budget Guy” blog. “But more importantly, it set up the anti-tax-increase politics we have now. Short-term, [Bush] did a very good thing in terms of budgeting and leadership. Long-term, it probably had the opposite effect of what he had been hoping.”

Bush also presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. On its face, that was a great thing for America and the world, historians say – but it also deprived the nation of a unifying issue amid domestic disputes.

And the hand-wringing over negative campaigning and nasty personal attacks? Not only did that not start with Trump and his tweets and derisive nicknames, but Bush had his own role in that kind of politics, experts note.

Bush famously attacked his 1988 Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis, for a prison weekend-furlough program, one which allowed convicted murderer Willie Horton to commit a kidnapping and rape during what was supposed to be a temporary break from custody. Since Horton is black, the ad was viewed at the time as an appeal to white voters’ fears of African-American criminals.

A PAC supporting Bush ran the original Willie Horton ad, and the Bush campaign itself followed with another, called “Revolving Door,” which did not mention Horton by name but clearly echoed the first, devastating ad.

Bush campaign manager Lee Atwater, dying of cancer, apologized for the racially tinged campaign and his pledge to “make Willie Horton [Dukakis’s] running mate.” But the successful impact of the ads was clear – and the tactic endured.

When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, he was friendly with Roger Porter, who had worked for President Ronald Reagan when George H.W. Bush was vice president and then went on to work in the Bush White House, says Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.

Porter, Perry says, called Clinton in 1991 and peppered him with questions about whether he would challenge Bush in 1992. Clinton hedged, and “Porter said, ‘Cut the crap – if you do [run], we will pull out all the stops against you,'” Perry says.

“We think of [Bush] in this kind of weepy, sentimental way” now that he’s died, Perry says, “and maybe that was the core of George H.W. Bush. But certainly people who worked for him could pull out all the stops and the long knives. From the playing field of Andover to the South Pacific to the presidential campaign, [Bush] is the most competitive person. You don’t become president of the United States without an edge,” she adds.

Former Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving House member in history, laments where that trend has led.

“In my six decades in public service, I’ve seen many changes in our nation and its institutions,” Dingell writes in a new book, “The Dean: The Best Seat in the House.”

“Yet the most profound change I’ve witnessed is also the saddest. It is the complete collapse in respect for virtually every institution of government and an unprecedented cynicism about the nobility of public service itself,” Dingell writes. One of the forewords, notably, was authored by the late President Bush.

Susan Milligan, Senior Writer

Susan Milligan is a political and foreign affairs writer and contributed to a biography of the   READ MORE

When You Invite A Demon Into A Church He Shows His Disgust For Everyone There

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Every President Recited The Apostles’ Creed Except Trump, And People Definitely Noticed

Trump didn’t recite the profession of faith during the funeral for former President George H.W. Bush.
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People on Twitter are calling out President Donald Trump for failing to recite the Apostles’ Creed at the funeral for former President George H. W. Bush on Wednesday.

Footage from the event shows much of the church, including the former presidents seated with Trump, standing to recite the profession of faith.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump stood, but did not recite the creed, which was written in the program, nor did they sing the hymns.

Given Trump’s widespread support among evangelical Christians, that led to plenty of criticism on social media:

Richard Marx

@richardmarx

Hey @Franklin_Graham here’s your “evangelical president” NOT reciting the Apostles’ Creed at the funeral of your father’s friend. Maybe he thinks it’s the name of the next movie with Stallone and Michael B. Jordan.

Resistant@b_resistant
Replying to @richardmarx

Nor did the current evangelical savior (or nude model gold digger) feel it was necessary to recite the Apostles Creed…how very Christian of them

View image on Twitter

763 people are talking about this

Erick Erickson

@EWErickson

I assume the President was looking for those two Corinthians during the Apostles Creed.

202 people are talking about this

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Keith Boykin

@keithboykin

This is your “Christian” evangelical president.

45.3K people are talking about this

John Ziegler

@Zigmanfreud

It’s SO weird that Barack Obama (the “Muslim”) knew all the words to the Apostles’ Creed, and Donald Trump (the Evangelical hero) didn’t know any of them, and didn’t even bother to read them.

16.9K people are talking about this

Ruth Graham

@publicroad

This is a strange moment. It’s not about Trump not having memorized the creed, which is printed in the program. He’s opting not to participate in the service. https://twitter.com/keithboykin/status/1070376816131694593 

Keith Boykin

@keithboykin

This is your “Christian” evangelical president.

Embedded video

2,041 people are talking about this

Auntie Mame@SidecarStrega

The man that Trump spent years calling a Kenyan born Muslim recited the Apostle’s Creed and Lord’s Prayer but Trump and his third, Slovenian born wife did not.

284 people are talking about this

Vladimir Duthiers

@vladduthiersCBS

Curious moment here as all of the former Presidents and First Ladies read and recite the Apostles’ Creed – President Trump & the current First Lady do not.

512 people are talking about this

Nell Lamb@lamb_nell

And Evangelicals think God put him in office? I’m surprised he was able to cross the threshold without bursting into flames. http://www.newsweek.com/donald-melania-trump-dont-pray-apostle-creed-sing-hymns-obamas-clintons-1245879 

Trumps don’t recite Apostles’ Creed at George H.W Bush Funeral, unlike Obamas, Clintons

“This is your ‘Christian’ evangelical president,” said CNN commentator Keith Boykin.

newsweek.com

286 people are talking about this

Brian Krassenstein@krassenstein

Are you telling me the so-called “Muslim” president knew all the words to the Apostles’ Creed, but the ‘Christian Conservative’ President, did not?https://hillreporter.com/watch-trump-fails-to-recite-apostles-creed-during-bush-funeral-16763 

Watch: Trump Fails To Recite Apostle’s Creed During Bush Funeral

President Donald Trump refused to read along with The Apostle’s Creed during former President George

hillreporter.com

10.6K people are talking about this

Airbag Moments@airbagmoments

He thought it was something about Apollo Creed and wanted nothing to do with it.

34 people are talking about this

MikeBates@MikeBates

Trump spent much of the service scowling, with his arms crossed, not participating in the recitation of prayers or the singing of hymns.@robertjeffress and other evangelicals must have found that most refreshing. Trump’s so mature and manly, isn’t he? So respectful.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!

129 people are talking about this

Laura Seay

@texasinafrica

The Trumps aren’t reading along with the Apostles’ Creed. It’s right there on the program.

81 people are talking about this

Ruby Singh 🇬🇧🇪🇺#FBPE@rubyksingh

This is the quietest Trump has ever been! He isn’t even singing the hymns neither is Mel

26 people are talking about this

Todd Garcia@Toddawatomi

Hard to read the word of God when you’ve made a deal with the Devil.

235 people are talking about this

Bush funeral: Trump sits with fellow presidents but still stands alone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Bush funeral: Trump sits with fellow presidents but still stands alone

A final memorial for former president George H.W. Bush is taking place in Houston before his body is laid to rest. 

December 5 at 6:06 PM

From the moment he crossed the transept of the soaring Washington National Cathedral, tore off his overcoat and took his seat in the front pew, President Trump was an outsider.

When the others sang an opening hymn, his mouth did not move. When the others read the Apostles’ Creed, he stood stoically. And when one eulogist after another testified to George H.W. Bush’s integrity and character and honesty and bravery and compassion, Trump sat and listened, often with his lips pursed and his arms crossed over his chest.

Wednesday’s state funeral was carefully orchestrated to be about one man and his milestones — Bush the father, the friend, the war hero and the lifelong public servant. But inevitably it became about Trump, too, for it was impossible to pay tribute to the 41st president without drawing implicit contrasts with the 45th.

“His life code was: ‘Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course,’ ” Bush biographer Jon Meacham said in his eulogy. “And that was, and is, the most American of creeds.”

The mourners did not deliver the searing rebukes of Trump the nation witnessed in September for the funeral of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

But despite being crafted to honor Bush’s legacy, their words also served to underscore the singular nature of Trump’s presidency.

Trump was in the company of all his living predecessors for the first time Wednesday, and the encounter was plainly uncomfortable. By 10:49 a.m., when Trump and first lady Melania Trump stepped into the cathedral, a cool hush had come over the pews filled by American dignitaries and foreign leaders, past and present. Trump handed his black overcoat to a military aide and took his seat on the aisle next to his wife, with three past presidents and first ladies seated to her side.

First was the president Trump said was illegitimate (Barack Obama); then the first lady he called a profligate spender of taxpayer dollars (Michelle Obama); then the president he called the worst abuser of women (Bill Clinton); then the first lady and secretary of state he said should be in jail (Hillary Clinton); and then the president he said was the second-worstbehind Obama (Jimmy Carter) and his wife, Rosalynn.

The Trumps and the Obamas greeted each other brusquely, but only Melania Trump reached over to shake hands with Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton did not acknowledge the Trumps, keeping her gaze straight ahead as if determined not to make eye contact with the man who continues, two years after the 2016 election, to inspire “Lock her up!” chants at his rallies.

Memorable moments from George H.W. Bush’s D.C. funeral

Dignitaries, politicians and family gathered at Washington National Cathedral on Dec. 5, to bid farewell to former president George H.W. Bush. 

The frostiness of Trump’s interactions with his predecessors was all the more apparent when former president George W. Bush entered the cathedral a few minutes later. Bush shook hands cheerfully with each of the other presidents and first ladies. He slipped what appeared to be a candy to a smiling Michelle Obama — a reminder of McCain’s funeral, when video of Bush giving Obama candies went viral on social media.

As a military honor guard carried George H.W. Bush’s flag-draped casket to rest in front of the altar, the Trumps joined the Obamas and Clintons in holding their right hands over their hearts.

Trump’s Cabinet members and aides seemed to blend easily into the audience. Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen, wandered over to exchange pleasantries with the Clintons and Obamas.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and policy director Stephen Miller schmoozed their way through the cathedral’s nave.

Just behind the presidents and vice presidents, Ivanka Trump sat next to Chelsea Clinton, suppressing from public view any hostility that might exist between them.

It was President Trump who seemed most out of place. For about two hours, he sat in silence, the rare event at which the president was not the center of attention but merely an observer.

Since learning of Bush’s death late Friday, Trump has striven to be magnanimous — to act, as he often boasts he could, “presidential.” Trump opened the doors of Blair House to host the Bushes. He dispatched Air Force One to carry the late president’s body and members of the Bush family to and from Houston. All the while, he has refrained from publicly reacting to the nearly week-long celebration of Bush’s life and its contrasts with Trump’s.

The first of Bush’s five eulogists at Wednesday’s funeral was Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who grew close to Bush as he researched the former president’s life for the 2015 biography, “Destiny and Power.” Meacham explained what Bush meant by his famous volunteerism phrase “a thousand points of light,” which Trump mocked this summer as an ineffective and confusing slogan.

“Abraham Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’ and George H.W. Bush’s ‘thousand points of light’ are companion verses in America’s national hymn, for Lincoln and Bush both called on us to choose the right over the convenient, to hope rather than to fear, and to heed not our worst impulses but our best instincts,” Meacham said.

The next eulogist, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, praised three of Bush’s achievements in office — negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act.

“There’s a word for this. It’s called ‘leadership,’ ” Mulroney said. “Leadership. And let me tell you that when George Bush was president of the United States of America, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman, a genuine leader — one who was distinguished, resolute and brave.”


President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive for the funeral. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

It was not lost on the audience that Trump has slammed NAFTA as one of the worst trade deals ever; mocked a journalist’s physical disability; and rolled back scores of environmental regulations.

Trump sat through much of Mulroney’s speech crossing his arms over his chest or holding his hands between his knees, at times leaning forward in his seat.

Trump’s body language loosened up when former senator Alan Simpson delivered a lighter and more humorous remembrance of his longtime friend. Trump laughed as Simpson told stories about serving in Washington with Bush; at one point, Simpson sang the most famous line from the play “Evita”: “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!”

But Simpson, too, conveyed a more serious lesson as he spoke of Bush’s humility and kindness. “Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington, D.C., are not bothered by heavy traffic,” he said, adding later, “Hatred corrodes the container it’s carried in.”

As he assumed the presidency, Bush summoned all Americans to create a “kinder” and “gentler” nation — a message that Trump, then a Manhattan real estate developer and tabloid celebrity, found lacking.

“I like George Bush very much and support him and always will,” Trump said in a 1990 interview with Playboy. “But I disagree with him when he talks of a kinder, gentler America. I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it’s literally going to cease to exist.”

At Wednesday’s funeral, the most emotional eulogy was that of Bush’s eldest son, George W., who celebrated his father’s character.

“He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country,” Bush said.

Trump applauded Bush’s speech, and then the Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson Jr., who had been Bush’s pastor at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, took to the pulpit to deliver a final, stirring eulogy. His was as direct a reference to the Trump era as any.

“Some have said this is an end of an era,” Levenson said. “But it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps this is an invitation to fill the void that has been left behind.”

After the choir sang and bells rang, after Bush’s casket was carried down the center aisle and as it was loaded into a hearse, the Trumps departed the cathedral quickly through a side exit. The president was whisked back to the White House. He returned to the seclusion and comfort of the Oval Office.

General Flynn Supplies Lots Of Information To Mueller Investigation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL TIMES)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser provided so much information to the special counsel’s Russia investigation that prosecutors say he shouldn’t do any prison time, according to a court filing Tuesday that describes Michael Flynn’s cooperation as “substantial.”

The filing by special counsel Robert Mueller provides the first details of Flynn’s assistance in the Russia investigation, including that he participated in 19 interviews with prosecutors and cooperated extensively in a separate and undisclosed criminal probe.

It was filed two weeks ahead of Flynn’s sentencing and just over a year after he became the first of five Trump associates to accept responsibility by pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Though prosecutors withheld specific details of Flynn’s cooperation because of ongoing investigations, their filing nonetheless underscores the breadth of information Mueller has obtained from people close to Trump as the president increasingly vents his anger at the probe — and those who cooperate with it.

This week, Trump lashed out at his former legal fixer, Michael Cohen, saying he is making up “stories” to get a reduced prison sentence after his latest guilty plea to lying to Congress. Trump also praised longtime confidante Roger Stone for saying he would “never testify against Trump,” adding in his tweet, “Nice to know some people still have ‘guts!'”

Mueller filing: Flynn gave substantial assistance
CNN
Special counsel Robert Mueller told a federal court that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has given “substantial assistance” to the Russia investigation and should not get jail time.
Published at: 9:39 PM, Tue Dec 04 2018

Play Video

It’s unclear if Trump will now turn his fury on Flynn, whom Trump grew close to during the 2016 campaign and who has drawn the president’s sympathy since he came under investigation.

Trump has repeatedly lamented how Flynn’s life has been destroyed by the special counsel’s probe. At one point, he tried to protect Flynn by asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into his alleged false statements, according to a memo Comey wrote after the February 2017 encounter.

That episode, which Trump has denied, is among those under scrutiny by Mueller as he probes whether the president attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Federal sentencing guidelines recommend between zero and six months in prison for Flynn, leaving open the possibility of probation.

Mueller’s office said Flynn’s cooperation merits a sentence at the bottom end of that range. But prosecutors also say the long military and government service that sets him apart from all other defendants in the investigation makes his deception even more troublesome.

“Senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards,” they wrote. “The defendant’s extensive government service should have made him particularly aware of the harm caused by providing false information to the government, as well as the rules governing work performed on behalf of a foreign government.”

Flynn’s case has stood apart from those of other Trump associates, who have aggressively criticized the investigation, sought to undermine it and, in some cases, been accused of lying even after agreeing to cooperate.

Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, stands accused of repeatedly lying to investigators since his guilty plea last September. Another Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, is serving a 14-day prison sentence and, though he pleaded guilty to the same crime as Flynn, was denied probation because prosecutors said his cooperation is lacking.

But Flynn has largely remained out of the public eye, appearing only a handful of times in media interviews or campaign events, and dutifully avoided criticizing the Mueller probe despite widespread encouragement from his supporters to go on the offensive. He has instead spent considerable time with his family and worked to position himself for a post-conviction career.

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Flynn’s false statements stemmed from a Jan. 24, 2017, interview with the FBI about his and others’ interactions with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S., as the Obama administration was levying sanctions on the Kremlin in response to election interference.

In Tuesday’s filing, Mueller’s office blamed Flynn for other senior Trump transition officials making misleading public statements about his contacts with Russia, an assertion that matches the White House’s explanation of Flynn’s firing.

“Several senior members of the transition team publicly repeated false information conveyed to them by the defendant about communications between him and the Russian ambassador regarding the sanctions,” the filing said.

As part of his plea deal, Flynn said members of Trump’s inner circle, including his son-in-law and White House aide Jared Kushner, were involved in — and at times directing — his actions in the weeks before Trump took office.

According to court papers, in mid-December 2016, Kushner directed Flynn to reach out to several countries, including Russia, about a U.N. Security Council resolution regarding Israeli settlements. During those conversations with Kislyak, Flynn asked Russia to delay or vote against the resolution, a request the Kremlin ultimately rejected.

Flynn also admitted that later in December 2016 he asked Kislyak not to retaliate in response to the Obama administration sanctions, something he initially told FBI agents he didn’t do. Flynn made the request after discussing it with deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, who was at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and being told that Trump’s transition team did not want Russia to escalate the situation.

Flynn was forced to resign his post on Feb. 13, 2017, after news reports revealed that Obama administration officials had warned the Trump White House about Flynn’s false statements. The White House has said Flynn misled officials— including Vice President Mike Pence — about the content of his conversations.

Flynn also admitted to making false statements about unregistered foreign agent work he performed for the benefit of the Turkish government. Flynn was under investigation by the Justice Department for the work when he became national security adviser.

Folks: Like The Man Or Hate Him He Is Our Nation’s President But, Is He Sane?

Folks: Like The Man Or Hate Him He Is Our Nation’s President But, Is He Sane?

 

This article is not intended to be any type of joke or a poem. I know that I am not the most tuned in type of person, but I do read at a lot of sites pretty much every day. Please tell me where President Trump is positioning Himself with this ‘Trade Agreement’ with President Xi Jinping of China? Did He really just make this up, you know, this whole ‘ I thought it, so it must be so’? Honestly all that I can say is, I really hope that this is not so. Folks, that would actually mean that our Nation’s President, is insane. I don’t like the person that is our President right now. What I don’t like is his constant lying, it is not ever possible to believe anything he is talking about. I believe that our President is a lot of very bad things, it is simple the Man can’t be trusted, he is a loose Cannon and totally ignorant to everyday realities.  But actually crazy? If it turns out that President Trump made this ‘Deal’ up in His Head, but it really didn’t happen? What is it that President Xi Jinping and their Communists Government, who doesn’t like us in the first place, suppose to think about how to take advantage of this situation to their best advantage? Our President has greatly hurt our relations with almost every Nation on the Globe. Is it possible that Our President isn’t just a hate filled habitual liar, but that He is actually legally Crazy? Lord knows that I hope not. That would be a new low for Our Country. Mr. McConnell and the Republicans should really be ashamed of their works these past few years I believe that the Republican Party is going to take a 20 year or so ‘Hit’ to their credibility in Elections, if He is proven to not ‘be competent’. I just hope that He is not lying about this ‘trade deal’ with China. Could it be He could claim ‘temporary insanity’ with regard to Mr. Mueller’s Investigation also? Man, I hope that the Man is not ‘less than sane.’ As an old and Special Lady friend used to say once in a while, ‘we shall see what we shall see.’ Think about it, is that not so?

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