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‘Extremely unusual’: At least 14 Trump associates interacted with Russians during the campaign and transition

December 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

The communications reveal a “sustained effort by the Russians to interfere with the U.S. presidential election,” prosecutors said Friday.


TheWashington Poston Sunday published a stunning analysis on the interactions between members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia citizens, including those who offered to help is nomination and bolster his real estate business.

“Repeatedly, Russian nationals suggested Trump should hold a peacemaking sit-down with Vladi­mir Putin — and offered to broker such a summit,” the Post reports.

Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, called the interactions “extremely unusual.”

“Both the number of contacts and the nature of the contacts are extraordinary,” McFaul said.

The communications reveal a “sustained effort by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election,” according to prosecutors who are working on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Those interactions were likewise verified by a top Kremlin official in 2016, who told the Interfax news agency that “a whole array of [Trump associates] supported contacts with Russian representatives.”

Read the full report at the Washington Post.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Nixon-era figures agree Trump could face impeachment: 'He is boxed in by Mueller and the people around him know that'

December 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Gwendolyn Smith, The New Civil Rights Movement

“He is boxed in by Mueller and the people around him know that he is,” Bernstein added.


Voices from the Nixon era took to cable news shows to offer their perspective on President Trump, with both suggesting that impeachment is the only way to go forward.

Carl Bernstein, appeared with CNN's Brian Stelter, saying that the findings are impeachment worthy, but takes it further.

“It certainly looks like the kind of offenses that would call for impeachment hearings into the conduct of the president of the United States,” Bernstein said. “There's something much more important than just impeachment going on, and that is the fact that Donald Trump, for the first time in his life, is cornered.”

“He is boxed in by Mueller and the people around him know that he is,” Bernstein added.

Carl Bernstein, as a reporter with the Washington Post, teamed up with bob Woodward in 1972. Their work helped break the Watergate scandal and the eventual resignation of President Nixon.

On “Erin Burnett OutFront” on CNN this Friday, President Nixon's White House lawyer, John Dean, says that the House of Representatives have “little choice” but to seek the impeachment of President Trump in the wake of court filings on Friday regarding former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen.

“I think what this totality of today’s filings show that the house is going to have little choice, the way this is going, other than to start impeachment proceedings,” said Dean.

Dean was White House Counsel for United States President Richard Nixon, and ended up as a key witness for the prosecution after pleading guilty to felony in his work to protect the president.

Watch Carl Bernstein's discussion below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Top House Intel Dem lays out why the Justice Department 'may indict' Trump: He faces 'the real prospect of jail time'

December 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Gwendolyn Smith, The New Civil Rights Movement

Adam Schiff (D-CA) is most likely going to be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee once the Democrats over the house in January.


On today's Face the Nation, Representative Adam Schiff claims that President Trump may face the real prospect of jail time after leaving office. This amid the Cohen and Manafort filings from last week.

“My takeaway is there's a very real prospect that on the day donald trump leaves office the Justice Department may indict him,” said Schiff. “That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”
 
Schiff added, “we have been discussing the issue of pardons that the president may offer to people or dangle in front of people. the bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has to determine whether to pardon donald trump … the idea that while people are out walking precincts and doing what they should do in campaigns, the rich and powerful seem to live by a different set of rules.”
 
“So, this was the argument for putting michael cohen in jail on these campaign violations. that argument I think was equally made with respect to individual-1, the president of the United States,” Schiff concluded.

A memo under the Starr investigation into President Clinton, revealed by the New York Times in July, takes this further, saying that a sitting president is not above the law and could be indicted while in office. It remains to be seen if such a possibility exists in this case.

Nevertheless, whether the President is in office or out of it, it is sounding much more likely that “Individual-1″ may face the prospect of an indictment into criminal acts.

Schiff is most likely going to be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee once the Democrats over the house in January.

Watch the discussion below.

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Expert on clemency explains how Trump is setting the stage to pardon Paul Manafort

December 9, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Pardoning Manafort would not only hamper the Russia investigations, it would also deliver another serious blow to American democracy and the rule of law.


Austin Sarat, Amherst College

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, may be hoping for a presidential pardon.

In September, Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy against the U.S. He also agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. However, Mueller recently filed papers in the federal district court for the District of Columbia alleging that Manafort had violated his cooperation agreement by repeatedly lying to the FBI and to Mueller’s investigators.

In addition, one of Manafort’s lawyers has been repeatedly briefing President Trump’s lawyers about his client’s discussions with the special counsel’s team.

Manafort may have been trying to please two masters in this period by both claiming to cooperate with Mueller, yet at the same time providing Trump with back-channel information about Mueller’s investigation that would benefit him. As a legal scholar, this incident raises a crucial question: Was this Manafort’s play for a pardon?

My research on clemency shows how chief executives have used this power, in particular the power to pardon, to halt criminal prosecutions, sometimes even before they begin.

‘For any reason at all’

The pardoning power, as Founding Father Alexander Hamilton explained, is very broad, applying even to cases of treason against the United States. As Hamilton put it, “The benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed.”

Throughout our history, courts have taken a similarly expansive view. In 1977, Florida’s State Supreme Court said that “an executive may grant a pardon for good reasons or bad, or for any reason at all, and his act is final and irrevocable.”

In 1837, the United States Supreme Court held that the president’s pardon power “extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment.”

Yet prospective pardons are quite rare. The most famous …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Conservative columnist stuns Fox News: 'It’s clear Trump is the target and he’ll be indicted eventually'

December 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Former chief assistant U.S. attorney Andrew C. McCarthy explained why the Southern District of New York is going after Donald Trump.


Former chief assistant U.S. attorney turned conservative columnist Andrew C. McCarthy stunned Fox News on Sunday, telling Fox & Friends Sunday that he believes Donald Trump will be indicted.

McCarthy made the case in an op-ed onFoxNews.comSaturday, writing that Trump “is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws.” To make his case, McCarthy points to the ongoing investigation headed by the Southern District of New York, where former Trump fixer Michael Cohed pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including violating campaign finance law.

“When Cohen pleaded guilty in August, prosecutors induced him to make an extraordinary statement in open court: the payments to the women were made ‘in coordination with and at the direction of’ the candidate for federal office – Donald Trump,” McCarthy wrote, arguing that statement proved the president is “on their radar screen.”

Speaking with Fox & Friends Sunday, McCarthy again explained why he believes Trump will be indicted on charges of campaign finance violations.

“The Southern District of New York case, which is different from the Mueller case on Cohen — they are clearly going after the president on campaign finance violations,” he said.

Fox News host Ed Henry said the news “kind of stops me in my tracks.”

“We’ve heard all along that Justice Department guidance is that the president himself can’t be indicted — or herself down the road — cannot be indicted,” Henry said.

“The president is not supposed to get an advantage from being president,” McCarthy corrected. “All we say is he can’t be put through the criminal process while he’s president.”

“They can indict him and he can be tried down the road,” he added. “Are they setting the stage to file charges against him? I can’t come to any other conclusion.”

Watch the video below:

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Source: ALTERNET