2016 Campaign

Giuliani Might Have Recused Himself Too

“Rudy Giuliani said that he can fully understand why Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations related to Russia and the presidential election and that he might have done the same, had he accepted that job, as Trump wanted,” the HuffPost reports.

“Giuliani said he would have had the same conflict of interest as Sessions because they were both major players in Trump’s campaign, although, unlike Sessions, he never met with the Russian ambassador.”

Senior GOP Lawmaker Says FBI Acted Properly

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who was part of a highly classified Justice Department briefing last week, said that the FBI “acted properly when it deployed an informant to gather information from advisers to President Trump’s campaign in 2016,” Politico reports.

Said Gowdy: “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got.”

He added that the information also suggested that the effort had “nothing to do with Donald Trump.”

Inside the Trump Effort to Keep Black Voters From Polls

Bloomberg: “Bannon’s deployment of the psychological-operations firm Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 campaign drew fresh attention this month, when a former Cambridge employee told a U.S. Senate panel that Bannon tried to use the company to suppress the black vote in key states. [Bruce] Carter’s story shows for the first time how an employee at Bannon’s former news site worked as an off-the-books political operative in the service of a similar goal.”

“Carter’s recollections and correspondence, which he shared after a falling-out with his fellow Trump supporters, provide a rare look inside the no-holds-barred nature of the Republican’s campaign and how it explored new ways to achieve an age-old political aim: getting the right voters to the polls—and keeping the wrong ones away.”

Giuliani Says Mueller Probe Is ‘Illegitimate’

Rudy Giuliani slammed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as “illegitimate,” Politico reports.

Saying there’s no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, Giuliani argued of Mueller that “the basis on which he was appointed is illegitimate.”

Said Giuliani: “I know 50 years of investigatory experience tells me they don’t have a darn thing because they would’ve used it already and they wouldn’t be off on collusion, they wouldn’t be off on Manafort, they wouldn’t be off on Cohen. You’ve got a good case, man, you go right to it.”

Trump Says Lives Have Been ‘Destroyed’ By Russia Probe

President Trump tweeted that the Russia probe has “devastated and destroyed” the reputations of people, continuing his weekend Twitter assault against the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “Who’s going to give back the young and beautiful lives (and others) that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia Collusion Witch Hunt? They journeyed down to Washington, D.C., with stars in their eyes and wanting to help our nation. … They went back home in tatters.”

Israeli Election-Meddling Analysis Comes Under Scrutiny

“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators have obtained a presentation prepared by an Israel-based private intelligence firm that outlines ways in which Donald Trump’s 2016 election was helped by fake news and fake social-media accounts,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Mueller’s interest in the presentation suggests his investigation is focusing on the role of social-media manipulation during the 2016 campaign… The presentation consists of nine slides and was prepared by the Psy-Group, a firm that boasts of ties to elite Israeli intelligence agencies.”

FBI Obtained Wiretaps of Russian Who Met with Trump Jr.

“The FBI has obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank who has forged close ties with U.S. lawmakers and the National Rifle Association, that led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016,” Yahoo News reports.

“José Grinda, who has spearheaded investigations into Spanish organized crime, said that bureau officials in recent months requested and were provided transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer.”

Said Grinda: “Just a few months ago, the wiretaps of these telephone conversations were given to the FBI. Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.”

Roger Stone Asked for Assange to Release Clinton Emails

“In a Sept. 18, 2016, message, Stone urged an acquaintance who knew Mr. Assange to ask the WikiLeaks founder for emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s alleged role in disrupting a purported Libyan peace deal in 2011 when she was secretary of state, referring to her by her initials,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Wrote Stone: “Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30 — particularly on August 20, 2011.”

The acquaintance responded: “That batch probably coming out in the next drop … I can’t ask them favors every other day. I asked one of his lawyers … they have major legal headaches right now … relax.”

Clapper Says the Russians Did Tip the Election

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told PBS Newhour that, in his judgment, Russia’s subversion of the 2016 presidential election did prove decisive in tipping it to Donald Trump.

Said Clapper: “As a private citizen, it’s what I would call my informed opinion that, given the massive effort the Russians made, and the number of citizens that they touched, and the variety and multi-dimensional aspects of what they did to influence opinion … and given the fact that it turned on less than 80,000 votes in three states, to me it exceeds logic and credulity that they didn’t affect the election. And it’s my belief they actually turned it.”

Mueller Fights Media Access to Secret Court Filings

“Special counsel Robert Mueller is fighting a drive by media organizations to unseal secret court filings relating to searches and surveillance efforts undertaken as part of the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election,” Politico reports.

“While lawyers for President Trump have suggested in recent weeks that the inquiry appears to be winding down, Mueller’s prosecutors submitted a court filing on Wednesday that painted a very different picture of an investigation that is moving forward on multiple fronts and could be jeopardized by premature disclosure of the records sought by news outlets.”

Mueller Starts Sentencing Process for Papadopoulos

“A federal judge agreed to begin the process of preparing to sentence George Papadopoulos, a former adviser to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, an initial move toward wrapping up one phase of the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller,” the Washington Post reports.

“Prosecutors’ willingness to start the sentencing process for Papadopoulos may be a sign that their need of assistance from the young oil and gas consultant is coming to a close.”

Kushner Had Second Interview with Mueller’s Team

Washington Post: “Kushner has had two interview sessions with the special counsel’s team. The first set of questions in November centered largely around former national security adviser Michael Flynn… Then, in mid-April, Kushner sat for six to seven hours of questions that covered many topics, including his work on the Trump campaign, the transition and in the White House and about Trump’s decision in May 2017 to fire Comey.”

“The special counsel’s questioning focused only on Kushner’s work with Trump and did not include topics such as Kushner’s personal finances or those of his family business, Kushner Companies.”

Most Don’t Know Mueller Has Uncovered Crimes

A new Navigator Research survey finds that 59% of Americans believe that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has not yet uncovered evidence of crimes, even though Mueller has already obtained five guilty pleas and 17 criminal indictments.

Matthew Yglesias: “That suggests that the press as a whole has not done a good job of actually conveying factual information to our audience, that Democrats’ messaging on the investigation has not been clear enough on the most damning point (Trump, even if otherwise innocent, is guilty of hiring crooks and trying to prevent an investigation into their activity), and that Trump’s counterstrategy of muddying the waters around the investigation has been fairly successful.”