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Home Uncategorized Donald Trump and lawyers blast Robert Mueller at Russia investigation one-year anniversary

Donald Trump and lawyers blast Robert Mueller at Russia investigation one-year anniversary

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On the anniversary of Robert Mueller taking over the investigation into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 election, AP Reporter Eric Tucker reflects on the case: who has been questioned, who has been charged and what is yet to come. (May 17) AP

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WASHINGTON — Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller marks one year on the job Thursday, but no one at the White House is celebrating — especially President Trump.

“Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History … and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction,” the president tweeted early in the day.

Echoing the claim that the probe is interfering with his presidential duties, Trump later tweeted: “Despite the disgusting, illegal and unwarranted Witch Hunt, we have had the most successful first 17 month Administration in U.S. history – by far! Sorry to the Fake News Media and ‘Haters,’ but that’s the way it is!”

The tweets were another part of an ongoing effort to pressure Mueller’s office into ending its super-secret investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election, at least as it pertains to the president.

“We are going to demand an answer,” said Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, speaking on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle.

Indications are, however, that Trump and his supporters face a second year of uncertainty as they and their critics try to figure out what Mueller plans to do.

Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History…and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2018

Despite the disgusting, illegal and unwarranted Witch Hunt, we have had the most successful first 17 month Administration in U.S. history – by far! Sorry to the Fake News Media and “Haters,” but that’s the way it is!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2018

While Trump has repeatedly denounced the investigation as a “witch hunt;” his critics say Mueller and his prosecutors are building a major case against the president and his aides — but the fact is no one beyond Mueller’s office knows for sure.

The Mueller team has leaked few if any details of the investigation, leaving observers to guess at what is happening, based on leaks from defense attorneys, grand jury witnesses, and the charges that have already been filed.

Reports that Trump’s personal finances are under scrutiny or that the FBI had a “mole” inside the GOP campaign — a theory that Trump himself tweeted about after attacking the investigation Thursday — are unverified.

Trump used the mole report to claim that the Obama administration somehow spied on his campaign, but there is no evidence for that. Mueller’s source, if he or she exists, could just as as easily be a voluntary informant, and the Special Counsel’s office has not commented one way or another.

“Bob Mueller runs a very tight ship and that ship does not leak,” said David Kris, an attorney and founder of Culper Partners consulting firm.

A former Department of Justice lawyer who has worked with Mueller in the past, Kris said “he is the very opposite of a media hound.”

More: Mike Pence to Robert Mueller: ‘Wrap it up’ (and we have nothing to do with Michael Cohen)

More: Donald Trump still subject of probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, but not a target

The president’s critics said he is trying to use the bully pulpit to intimidate Mueller, but they doubt he will be successful.

Citing the 19 indictments or guilty pleas that Mueller’s team has racked up, Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson said he’s sure Trump “wishes it would be over, but his attempts to cover it up force most people to wonder what he’s hiding.”

Trump associates, meanwhile, believe the public is turning against Mueller, questioning the length of the investigation and some of the tactics used by investigators and prosecutors.

Sam Nunberg, a former long-time political adviser to Trump who testified before a grand jury in the Russia case, said “I believe the Mueller investigation is in a precarious situation right now, from a political point of view.”

Others point out that Mueller can’t wrap up any time soon because he is missing key material: testimony from the president himself.

The two sides are negotiating rules for possible Trump testimony, amid concerns from the president’s team that prosecutors may try to lay a “perjury trap.”

Giuliani said last week he hoped to have some kind of agreement in place by Mueller’s one-year anniversary, but it looks like that may not happen.

The president’s lawyer also said he expects Mueller to file a report with the Justice Department on his findings. Giuliani has said that Mueller’s office agrees with his assessment that a sitting president cannot be indicted if there is evidence of wrongdoing, which the president denies.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller a year ago to investigate any connections between Trump’s campaign and Russians who sought to influence the 2016 election by hacking Democrats and pushing fake news about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Mueller picked up an investigation begun by the FBI in late July of 2016.

The Mueller probe has come to include claims that Trump sought to obstruct justice by various means, including his dismissal of then-FBI Director James Comey. That also happened a year ago, a week before the Mueller appointment.

While denying collusion with the Russians and obstructing justice, Trump has frequently attacked Rosenstein and Mueller. Lawmakers have accused Trump of laying the groundwork for firing Mueller, though some Republicans have warned the president that such a move could trigger impeachment proceedings.

In the meantime, Mueller’s team is also pursuing cases.

His office has indicted or obtained guilty pleas from 19 people, including 13 Russians and three Russian companies accused of funding a social media campaign designed to favor Trump over Clinton. Mueller has also charged prominent people in Trump’s orbit, some of whom are cooperating with prosecutors — a “pretty substantial amount” of work for a year on the job, Kris said.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is charged with conspiracy, money laundering, false statements, and failure to disclose foreign assets related to his pre-election work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. He has pleaded not guilty.

Long-time Manafort partner Rick Gates faced similar charges, but pleaded guilty to false statement and conspiracy charges. Gates is now cooperating with Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements, as has campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. They too are working with Mueller’s office.

While some attorneys said the Trump team’s attacks on Mueller could backfire, Giuliani said he and the president have no choice but to fight back.

“Somebody has to defend the president,” Giuliani said Thursday on Fox & Friends. “That’s my job.”

Michael Cohen: Trump’s personal lawyer in the spotlight

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Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante

Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, leaves Federal Court after his hearing at the United States District Court Southern District of New York, April 16, 2018, in New York. Officials with the FBI, armed with a search warrant, raided Cohen’s office and two private residences last week.  YANA PASKOVA, GETTY IMAGES
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as

Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels speaks outside US Federal Court with her lawyer Michael Avenatti (R) in Lower Manhattan, New York on April 16, 2018. Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims to have had a consensual sexual encounter with Donald Trump a decade ago, said April 17, 2018 that she is pursuing legal action against the president because she is “done being bullied.””I’m tired of being threatened, intimidating me, and trying to say that you’ll ruin my life and take all my money and my house,” Daniels said on ABC’s “The View.””I’m done being bullied,” Daniels said of legal threats from Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, who is now embroiled in his own legal troubles.”I’m done,” Daniels said.  EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
In this courtroom sketch, Joanna Hendon, right, one

In this courtroom sketch, Joanna Hendon, right, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, speaks as the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, left, sits next to one of his own attorneys Todd Harrison, center, with porn star Stormy Daniels visible in the audience between Cohen and Harrison, during a federal court hearing in New York, April 16, 2018. Attorneys for Cohen and Trump tried to persuade U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood to delay prosecutors from examining records and electronic devices seized in the raids on the grounds that many of them are protected by attorney-client privilege.  ELIZABETH WILLIAMS VIA AP
Attorney Michael Cohen, US President Donald J. Trump's

Attorney Michael Cohen, US President Donald J. Trump’s long-time personal attorney arrives at Federal Court for a hearing in New York on April 16, 2018.   JUSTIN LANE, EPA-EFE
(L to R) Todd Harrison and Joseph Evans, attorneys

(L to R) Todd Harrison and Joseph Evans, attorneys for Michael Cohen, arrive for a court proceeding regarding the search warrants served on President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, at the United States District Court Southern District of New York, April 13, 2018 in New York. Cohen and his lawyers were asking the court to block Justice Department officials from reading documents and materials related to his relationship with President Donald Trump that they believe should be protected by attorney-client privilege. Officials with the FBI, armed with a search warrant, raided Cohen’s office and two private residences earlier in the week.   DREW ANGERER, GETTY IMAGES
Michael Cohen takes a phone call as he sits outside

Michael Cohen takes a phone call as he sits outside near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York.  YANA PASKOVA, GETTY IMAGES
CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King, left, Stormy

CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King, left, Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, CNN news anchor Don Lemon and FOX News talk show host Sean Hannity pose for a selfie at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual 35 Most Powerful People in Media event at The Pool on Thursday, April 12, 2018, in New York. In court hearings on April 16, 2018, it was revealed that the client list of presidential lawyer Michael Cohen also includes Sean Hannity, one of the president’s biggest supporters.  EVAN AGOSTINI, INVISION/AP
In this Sept. 19, 2017 file photo, President Trump's

In this Sept. 19, 2017 file photo, President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen appears in front of members of the media after a closed door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Federal agents carrying court-authorized search warrants have seized documents from Cohen according to a statement from Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan. He says that the search warrants were executed by the office of the U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York but they are “in part” related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.  Andrew Harnik, AP
The actress Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage

The actress Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, performs at the Solid Gold Fort Lauderdale strip club on March 9, 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Stephanie Clifford who claims to have had an affair with President Trump has filed a suit against him in an attempt to nullify a nondisclosure deal with Trump attorney Michael Cohen days before Trump’s 2016 presidential victory.  Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Michael Cohen's lawyer David Schwartz appeared on Megyn

Michael Cohen’s lawyer David Schwartz appeared on Megyn Kelly TODAY on March 29, 2018 to discuss the Stormy Daniels lawsuit against President Trump and her attorney’s motion to depose Trump and Cohen. Schwartz called the case “completely frivolous.”  Nathan Congleton, NBC
Michael Cohen, right, President Donald Trump's personal

Michael Cohen, right, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney walks with his attorney Stephen M. Ryan, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 24, 2017, after an interview with the House Intelligence Committee.  Susan Walsh, AP
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney,

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, steps out of a cab during his arrival on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 19, 2017. Cohen testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session.   Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP
(L to R) Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect

(L to R) Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry talk with each other in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016, in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team were in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.  Drew Angerer, Getty Images

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