Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s decision to personally go after Trump for possible criminal acts and obstruction of justice has marked a turning point in the Russia collusion investigation, which until recently has only focused on Russia’s meddling into the 2016 presidential election.
Now – Mueller has issued subpoenas of President Trump’s personal bank accounts, along with his phone records. Since it’s an official court order, refusal to comply can result in contempt of court charge, punishable by jail, a fine, or both.
The move is expected to put Trump’s personal finances under a microscope. So far, Trump has been the only president in recent history to refuse to divulge his tax returns. The expanding probe is likely to reveal a ton of dirt from the president’s financial past.
Aides close to the president indicated he’s “furious,” and is threatening to fire Mueller. Trump doesn’t believe Mueller is conducting an impartial investigation of him and accused Mueller of conducting a “witch hunt.” Everyone close to the president is strongly advising against the move, and say that it would prompt a “nuclear bomb” to go off in Washington, making Trump’s impeachment for obstruction of justice that much more likely.
Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, even shot down Trump’s suggestion saying in effect that he would ignore Trump if he’s given the order to terminate Mueller.
“As long as I’m in this position, he’s not going to be fired without good cause,” Mr. Rosenstein said. “I’m not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders,” he added, emphasizing that the attorney general “actually does not know what we’re investigating.”
But – that’s the thing – Trump is working hard to find “good cause.” He has accused members of Mueller’s ever growing team of donating to Democrats in the past. He even tried to connect Comey with Mueller by saying they had a personal relationship with one another because they worked together at one point in the past.
Mueller has added a whole host of financial experts experienced in complex fraud and international bribery cases, including Andrew Weissmann, criminal law expert Michael Dreeban, and Justice Department trial attorney Lisa Page. If Trump has something to hide, they are sure to find them.
So far the investigation has been guarded in secrecy but we do know that Mueller met up with Senate-Russia investigators in a secure room recently – the first time they have met since Mueller has headed the probe.
And, we also know that there’s one particular exchange that Mueller is placing an enormous amount of interest in. That’s concerning a conversation Trump had with Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump asked everyone to leave the room except those two and personally asked him if he could intervene with Comey to get the FBI to back off its investigation of Michael Flynn. Then a day or two after that Trump called both of them asking them to issue public statements saying there was no coordination, even though the investigation was ongoing.
Right now the White House is remaining quiet, referring all questions to Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz. Instead of addressing the merits of the investigation, Kasowitz and his firm are instead focusing on the leaks coming out of the FBI. It’s an unusual legal defense.
“The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz.
In a further blow to the White House, it also doesn’t look like they will be able to invoke executive privilege in regards to the president’s personal conversations with his subordinates. Experts rightly point out that the Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue and officials cannot use privilege when it involves a criminal case.
Bloomberg: 23 Trump Businesses Receive Subpoenas In Emoluments Case
Subpoenas are being sent to 23 Trump businesses requiring them to preserve records that may be sought by the attorneys general from the District of Columbia and Maryland in a lawsuit accusing the president of profiting from his office.
U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte on Tuesday issued a two-paragraph order granting the Democratic officials’ request for permission to serve those subpoenas, which don’t call for the immediate production of any information.
Not really earth-shattering, but the judge is not likely to do this and then grant a motion to dismiss.
Trump Invites Religious Leaders To White House To Praise Him For Harvey Efforts; He Is Sick (VIDEO)
President Trump signed a proclamation to make Sunday a “National Day of Prayer” in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Trump was joined by religious leaders and members of faith-based organizations in the Oval Office on Friday to announce the proclamation.
In honor of the celebration, Trump made every religious leader who attended surround him and profusely thank him for his response to Hurricane Harvey, despite not doing anything in his first visit to Texas (unless you count bragging about his crowd size, of course).
After he made everyone suck to him, Trump turned it over to Pastor (and Fox News contributor) Robert Jeffress to lead the room in prayer, with some placing their hands on the president as if he is The Pope.
Watch the video, here:
Millions of Dollars Worth of Crops Are Rotting in California All Thanks to Trump [Details]
President Trump and AG Jeff Sessions think kicking Mexicans out of America is the best thing since sliced bread. Their blatant racism knows no bounds and also doesn’t consider the consequences of relieving the entire country of Mexican immigrants. One debilitating result of their anti-immigration policies/rhetoric is the millions of dollars worth of rotting crops in California.
In 2015, more Mexican immigrants exited the U.S. than entered while Obama was in office. In fact, Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other president before him. But this is Donald Trump; he thinks anything Obama can do, he can do better.
Farmers are scrambling to find workers to harvest their crops. Entire fields of fruits and vegetables are being left to rot, which hits farmers’ pockets the hardest.
Claire Wineman of the Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo County said, “It’s absolutely been detrimental to the agricultural community. To be able to continue to grow and harvest the fruits and vegetables, it made it difficult to have day-to-day certainty.”
Two California counties have already lost over $13 million in crops. In the Golden State, 9 out of 10 farm workers are immigrants.
Trump recently announced that he wants to go a step further and cut legal immigration in half. This is Trump’s isolationist agenda hard at work.
What is your reaction?
Donald Trump strands reporters in windowless room after Russian oligarch’s plane arrives in New Jersey
On Friday, just as Donald Trump was flying into New Jersey for the start of his seventeen day golf vacation, a private plane belonging to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich also arrived at the same Newark airport (link). There is no proof that Abramovich was even on his plane, let alone that he traveled on to Trump’s golf resort. But newly suspicious behavior on Trump’s part reveals that he’s definitely trying to hide something big from the media.
Today, Donald Trump ditched the traveling press pool by leaving them in a windowless room at a Marriott located twelve miles away from his Bedminster golf resort, thus ensuring that they had no ability to see anything that might have transpired at his golf property today (source: Celeste Katz). This will cause any number of skeptics to ask aloud if Trump was trying to prevent the media from seeing Abramovich, or whoever might have arrived on Abramovich’s plane.
If this story sounds oddly familiar, it’s because something strikingly similar has happened before. Back in February, traveling reporters revealed that they’d been ditched in a Mar-a-Lago basement with the windows blacked out. This was the same weekend in which the private plane belonging to another Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, flew into a nearby airport. There was widespread suspicion that Trump was trying to prevent the media from seeing Rybolovlev’s arrival at Mar-a-Lago. However, it was never proven that Rybolovlev was at Mar-a-Lago, and he’s since insisted that the flight was a mere coincidence.
But now that Donald Trump is once again ditching the traveling reporters in a windowless room during a golf vacation, at a time when a Russian oligarch’s private plane has just arrived at a nearby airport, it’s going to raise a whole new round of questions about what Trump is hiding and why.
Mike Pence’s AOL email scandal is back again, and this time it could take him down
Back in November, Palmer Report brought you the story of Mike Pence’s email scandal, which at the time was largely only making headlines in his home state of Indiana (link). Pence had been using an America Online email account to conduct state business while he was Governor. The scandal died down after he went to court and was successful in temporarily blocking the release of those emails. But nine months later, that effort has now failed.
Mike Pence has ultimately had to turn over his AOL emails to the State of Indiana, which is now about to release them to the public, according to a new report from the prominent local Indy Star newspaper (link). It’s still not known what’s in these emails. But Pence’s decision to go to court in November to suppress their release, knowing how bad it would look that he was trying to hide private emails after he had just finished attacking Hillary Clinton over her emails – particularly at a time when he was supposed to be busy running Donald Trump’s transition team – has long stood out as suspicious.
It stands to reason that Mike Pence cared a great deal about making sure the contents of these emails never saw the light of day. Was he trying to hide something scandalous, illegal, or just personally embarrassing? It looks like we’re about to find out. And it comes at a particularly tricky time for Pence, as it’s just been revealed that he’s gearing up to run for president in 2020 (link) under the presumption that Donald Trump will be sunk by then.
Meanwhile, as we reported last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s latest moves suggest that he might end up taking down Mike Pence in addition to Donald Trump (link), based on Pence’s role in the Russia coverup. And now on top of it, Pence’s email scandal is suddenly back as well.
HERE’S THE AUDIO OF DONALD TRUMP’S PRIVATE RNC FUNDRAISER AT HIS OWN HOTEL
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP kicked off his re-election campaign’s financing efforts with a major fundraiser at his own Washington hotel Wednesday night, excluding media but charging attendees $35,000 each.
While the president may have barred reporters from the closed-door Republican National Committee gathering, his battle with the press wasn’t far from his mind. During his speech, according to audio of the event published here by The Intercept, he singled out CNN, asking the audience whether he ought to sue what he described as “horrible human beings.”
Trump drew loud applause with his suggestion that he was prevailing in his campaign against the cable news network. “Boy, did CNN get killed over the last few days,” he said. Last week, CNN retracted a story about a Trump ally’s ties to a Russian bank; three of the network’s journalists resigned in the wake of the flap.
Trump then focused his attention on CNN commentator Van Jones, whom Trump noted was recently captured on secretly recorded audio calling the story of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia a “nothing burger,” as well as CNN network president Jeff Zucker.
“Van Jones — you see this man?” Trump said. “These are really dishonest people. Should I sue them? I mean, they’re phonies. Jeff Zucker, I hear he’s going to resign at some point pretty soon. I mean, these are horrible human beings.”
“It’s a shame what they’ve done to the name CNN, that I can tell you,” Trump went on, riffing on taking the network to court. “But as far as I’m concerned, I love it. If anybody’s a lawyer in the house and thinks I have a good lawsuit — I feel like we do. Wouldn’t that be fun?”
Trump addressed recent political developments and his coming agenda, promising tax cuts and a strengthened military. On health care, Trump was less than enthusiastic about the chance of success for the congressional Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“I think we’re going to have a good shot,” Trump said of the repeal effort, using the opportunity to bash the ACA, citing rising health insurance premiums. Democrats, Trump said, are “stuck with Obamacare,” which he said was “dead” and a “disaster.”
In typical fashion, Trump took the opportunity to praise his own record throughout his remarks, boasting of decreased border crossing figures by immigrants and a string of special congressional election victories. “I don’t think anybody as president has done as much in the first five months,” he claimed.
During the speech, Trump made light of rapidly escalating tensions in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have led a coalition of Arab countries in an effort to isolate their Persian Gulf neighbor Qatar. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has attempted to mediate the dispute in recent days.
“We’re having a dispute with Qatar — we’re supposed to say Qatar,” Trump said Wednesday night, mocking the pronunciation of the country’s name. “It’s Qatar, they prefer. I prefer that they don’t fund terrorism.”
Listen to the audio here:
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