Displaying items by tag: russia
Interesting news out of the media-shy Mueller investigation today. Two prosecutors on Mueller’s team are leaving or have already left the probe. The departures come following the prosecution of Paul Manafort. The news comes after an announcement in August that two other prosecutors had already left the probe. The newest departures mean there are 13 members remaining on Mueller’s team. James Comey comments that the investigation may be in its “fourth quarter” following the Manafort plea.
FINSUM: It looks like the Mueller investigation is either winding down or falling apart. Either way it seems likely it may finally conclude.
The special counsel investigation that started as an investigation into the Trump administration’s connections to Russia, but has blossomed into an all-encompassing dragnet, has been quite quiet of late. However, the FT reported today that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has been cooperating with Mueller and his team, particularly on the topic of Russian interference. According to Cohen’s lawyer, his client has provided “critical information” to the special counsel regarding Russia.
FINSUM: It is hard to know how whether the information he passed along was valuable, but it could be a hint that there is another bombshell about to hit headlines.
Yesterday was a rough one for the President. Michael Cohen’s guilty plea, and testimony that he was order to pay two women by Trump using campaign finances caused yet another firestorm for the White House. Trump responded strongly, admitting that he knew of the payments, but denying that they came out of campaign finances, saying he paid for them personally. Lawyers say it will be hard to use Cohen’s testimony to bring charges against Trump. However, Cohen’s lawyer says that his client can also testify that Trump was aware of Russian efforts to interfere with the election before such information was ever reported publicly.
FINSUM: We do not think the campaign finance situation will imperil Trump, but that last statement about Russia is a real x factor which could cause serious trouble.
The White House has been demanding that special counsel Robert Mueller wrap up his investigation into potential collusion with Russia by September 1st. However, the reality is that Mueller is under no obligation to do so and can continue his closed-door investigation up and through the November 6th elections. Bringing indictments near the election would also not violate Justice Department policy meant to deter using indictments to manipulate elections, according to current and former US officials.
FINSUM: We highly doubt Mueller will acquiesce to ending his investigation in the near-term, which means Trump may escalate the situation. Fireworks seem likely.
After a long and quite public back and forth about the potential for an interview, are President Trump and Robert Mueller close to meeting? Trump’s team has apparently responded to Mueller’s request for interview with a counteroffer on the terms. The two parties have been in discussions since at least January. The basic core of the counteroffer is that Trump is happy to talk about collusion with Russia, but not about obstruction of justice. Though Rudy Giuliani, who is on Trump’s legal team, said they did leave the door open to possible questions on obstruction.
FINSUM: This seems like a positive development. It appears like it would be good for all sides to have this investigation finished once and for all, and a sit down with Trump could potentially resolve things.