2016 Campaign

Trump Urges Investigation of the ‘Other Side’

Saying there were “no phone calls, no meetings, no collusion,” President Trump on Saturday pushed for an investigation of “the other side” amid the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, while claiming “we need intelligence that brings our country together,” Politico reports.

Said Trump: “A lot of bad things happened on the other side, not on this side, but on the other side. And somebody should look into it, because what they did is really fraudulent and somebody should be looking into that and by somebody, I’m talking about you know who.”

Mueller Methodically Builds His Case

Wired:  “Mueller clearly knows where this investigation is going and is methodically building it brick by brick: His first wave of charges, against Manafort, Gates, and George Papadopoulos, established that the Trump campaign had been lying about its contacts with Russians; his second wave—the guilty plea by Michael Flynn—established that those lies extended to figures inside the White House; his third wave of charges, against the Internet Research Agency, establishes that there was a criminal conspiracy to help Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton. Any Americans who knowingly participated in that conspiracy will also, presumably, be vulnerable to prosecution.”

“None of the rest of us knows where this probe is heading, not even the targets of the investigation. Three times now Mueller—in the most watched investigation in history—has charged and gotten guilty pleas from people who weren’t even on our radar: Papadopoulos and Richard Pinedo, a Californian who pleaded guilty last Friday to unwittingly aiding the Russians with identity theft, as well as the aforementioned Dutch lawyer.”

Gates Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Lying

Rick Gates, a former top official in President Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, striking a deal to cooperate and provide information to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, the Washington Post reports.

“The plea caps a tumultuous 24 hours for Gates in which he was hit with fresh charges, changed lawyers and admitted crimes.”

Gates Confirms to Friends He’ll Plead Guilty

In the letter obtained by ABC News, former Trump adviser Rick Gates writes to family and friends “despite my initial desire to vigorously defend myself, I have had a change of heart. The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process.”

He added: “The consequence is the public humiliation, which at this moment seems like a small price to pay for what our children would have to endure otherwise.”

Gates Will Plead Guilty and Cooperate

Former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates is expected to plead guilty as soon as Friday afternoon, “a move that signals he is cooperating with the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” the New York Times reports.

“The plea deal could be a significant development in the investigation — a sign that Mr. Gates plans to offer incriminating information against his longtime associate and the former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, or other members of the Trump campaign in exchange for a lighter punishment.”

Trump Attacks Sessions for Not Investigating Democrats

“President Trump attacked his own attorney general on Wednesday, asking in a Twitter post why Jeff Sessions has not been investigating Democrats for Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the New York Times reports.

“In his tweet, Mr. Trump revived his offensive on Mr. Sessions, whom he once called ‘beleaguered,’ and continued his days-long Twitter comments on the ongoing special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling. It was the latest instance of the president publicly criticizing federal law enforcement.”

Trump Campaign Aide Meeting with Mueller

Former Trump campaign staffer Sam Nunberg is expected to meet with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Thursday in Washington, ABC News reports.

Nunberg spoke on the record about the Trump campaign in Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury. Before the book published, leaked passages showed Nunberg quoted as reportedly calling President Trump as an ‘idiot’ in a conversation with Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.”

What Does Mueller Know About WikiLeaks?

First Read: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments on Friday focused only on the social media and grassroots components of Russia’s interference campaign. But they didn’t address the hacked emails from John Podesta and the DNC that WikiLeaks released — and which Donald Trump and his campaign eagerly used during the final days of the 2016 election.”

“Trump insists he and his campaign didn’t collude with Russia… But his campaign certainly took advantage of the WikiLeaks release — about which Mueller’s investigation has been silent. At least so far.”

Inside the Russian Troll Factory

The Washington Post spoke to Marat Mindiyarov, one of the 13 Russians indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller last week, who described what it was like at the “troll factory” where he worked:

I arrived there, and I immediately felt like a character in the book 1984 by George Orwell — a place where you have to write that white is black and black is white. Your first feeling, when you ended up there, was that you were in some kind of factory that turned lying, telling untruths, into an industrial assembly line. The volumes were colossal — there were huge numbers of people, 300 to 400, and they were all writing absolute untruths. It was like being in Orwell’s world.

My untruths amounted to posting comments. I worked in the commenting department — I had to comment on the news. No one asked me my opinion. My opinions were already written for me, and I had to write in my own words that which I was ordered to write.

Gates Will Now Testify Against Manafort

Rick Gates “will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul Manafort,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to a person familiar with those talks, Gates, a longtime political consultant, can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” if he fully cooperates with the investigation. He said that Gates is apt to serve about 18 months in prison.

Trump Blames Democrats for Russia Meddling In Election

“President Trump, in a series of angry and defiant tweets on Sunday morning, sought to shift the blame to Democrats for Russia’s virtual war to meddle in the 2016 election, saying that President Obama had not done enough to stop the interference and denying that he had ever suggested that Moscow might not have been involved,” the New York Times reports.

Tweeted Trump: “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.”

Politico: “He did not criticize Russia, or voice concern over Vladimir Putin’s attempts to undermine U.S. elections.”

Washington Post: “Trump, ensconced at Mar-a-Lago, has so far stayed away from the golf course even though the weather has been sunny and almost 80 degrees — in what aides describe as showing respect for the 17 killed in a mass school shooting in Florida this week. The president has instead, spent much of his time watching television and tweeting.”

Trump Slams FBI for Too Much Time on Russia Probe

President Trump lashed out at the FBI Saturday night, saying the agency “missed all of the many signals” sent by the suspect in the Florida school shooting and arguing they are “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign,” USA Today reports.

Said Trump on Twitter: “This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

Fox & Friends amplifies: “I think what President Trump does is what he always does, which is he channels what we are all thinking.”

Trump Lashes Out After Mueller Indictment

President Trump lashed out on Twitter at suggestions that Russia helped him win the presidency, reiterating that a new federal indictment showed no evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin.

Said Trump: “Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President. Maybe they knew I was going to run even though I didn’t know!”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump traveled to New Hampshire in January 2014 to speak at a breakfast series for possible presidential candidates.