UPDATING – ‘Game Changer’: Despite Official Denials Candidate Trump Met With Russian Ambassador Says Conservative News Site
At Least 7 Trump Team Officials Have Met With Russians Despite Official Denials
It’s being called a “game changer” by the DNC’sÂ Trump War Room Director. Despite multiple repeated denials by the Trump White House that anyone from the Trump team met with any Russian officials, last week the list of Trump associates who did meet with Russians stood at six, with the addition of then-Senator Jeff Sessions. Now, that list stands at seven.
The president’s longtime friend, Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy, has been touring news networks defending Trump and revealing small details, like Trump’s mood over the weekend. But as John Aravosis at AMERICAblog reports,Â a Newsmax article from 2016 details that Trump met with Russian ambassador Sergey KislyakÂ back in April of last year.Â
(Editor’s note: See update below.)
After callingÂ for “an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia,” during hisÂ his first foreign policy speech, “that same day, Trump met with Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, at a VIP reception along with three other foreign ambassadors,” Newsmax reported May 14, 2016.
Here’s how the DNC’s Zac PetkanasÂ views this news:
Game changer. https://t.co/PVBCU59kaq
â€” Zac Petkanas (@Zac_Petkanas) March 7, 2017
Aravosis notesÂ multiple times the Trump campaign and Trump White House have denied that any campaign official including Trump met with the Russians:
Nov. 11, 2016: Spokesperson Hope Hicks saysÂ â€œThere was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.â€
Feb. 15, 2017: White House spokesman Sean Spicer says no one on the campaign had any contacts with Russia.
Feb. 16, 2017: Trump denies anyÂ contacts with Russia.
Feb. 19, 2017: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus denies any connections between Trump team and the Russians.
Feb. 20, 2017: White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issues a blanket denial â€” no contacts between Team Trump and the Russians.
So, here’s the list:
- Donald Trump
- Jeff Sessions
- Michael Flynn
- Jared Kushner
- Paul Manafort
- Carter Page
- J.D. Gordon
Also, according to Vice, there is a possibility that Roger Stone, longtime friend and former Trump advisor, and Michael Stone, Trump’s attorney, may have some “connections to Russia.”
One last but important note: There’s nothing wrong with having conversations with the Russian ambassador, depending on the content of the conversations, and while the frequency of conversations and number of people associated with Trump who have met with or communicated with Russian officialsÂ is alarming, more alarming are the repeated official lies from the Trump campaign and Trump White HouseÂ that deny communications.
UPDATE: 12:58 PM ESTÂ â€“
Aravosis posts this tweet: Now we have two conservative new organizations reporting that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador:
UPDATE: WSJ confirms Trump â€œwarmlyâ€ greeted Russian ambassador in April 2016. So Trump lied. https://t.co/SJn6qMdp5u https://t.co/Ykrm2huFxE pic.twitter.com/w9Tp0P51AH
â€” John Aravosis (@aravosis) March 7, 2017
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Image ofÂ Sergey KislyakÂ byÂ OEA – OASÂ via Flickr and aÂ CC license
Image of Donald TrumpÂ by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump‘s attorney Evan Corcoran, who allegedly directed another Trump attorney to draft the false statement claiming all classified and sensitive documents had been returned, has been ordered to testify before a grand jury and hand over documents and records to Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents criminal investigation.
Trump appealed U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s decision ordering Corcoran to testify and hand over documents, including handwritten notes. The Appeals Court in light speed mode, rejected Trump’s appeal.
Corcoran will be testifying before the grand jury on Friday, CNN reports.
RELATED: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
One former top DOJ official, Brandon Van Grack, says the “Special Counsel is about to get access to the most critical evidence in the case. Should allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”
He did not define what “without significant delay” means in terms of days, weeks, or months.
Van Grack served at Main Justice for eleven years, including as a lead prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and later, as the Chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit.
“The announcement from a panel of three judges in the appeals court – less than a day after Trump sought to put Corcoran’s testimony on hold – adds momentum to the special counsel investigation as it seeks to secure evidence that could make or break a federal criminal case against Trump,” CNN explains. “The Justice Department has successfully argued in court that prosecutors have enough evidence that Trump’s interactions with the lawyer were part of a possible crime that they can pierce the confidentiality of the conversations between the two.”
‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
A former top Dept. of Justice official says a federal judge’s expedited ruling ordering an attorney for Donald Trump to testify against his client before a grand jury and hand over documents very well may be related to “national security.”
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith had successfully made the case Donald Trump may have committed a crime, via his attorneys, in his classified documents case. That finding allowed her to invoke the crime-fraud exception, and order Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify before the grand jury investigating the ex-president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents.
Former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann, who also worked for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and headed the DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC said it’s possible Judge Howell’s expedited decisions were related to national security.
Tuesday night Judge Howell ordered DOJ to provide information by 6:00 AM Wednesday.
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Trump appealed Howell’s ruling, and Wednesday afternoon the Appeals Court denied his appeal related to the documents, Politico reports.
“I’ve never seen anything that quick. It’s very hard to know why. I have to say, to me, when I think about what can be a plausible reason– and this is pure speculation – is that there must be something in the papers that gave the judges concern about national security implications, because it’s such a short timeframe.”
“The reason this is a bombshell is you could end up with Evan Corcoran as a key, fundamental witness against Donald Trump in an obstruction of justice case and a false statements case,” Weissmann adds.
According to Politico, Wednesday’s appeals court ruling “effectively permits the Justice Department to circumvent Trump’s attorney-client privilege after a lower-court judge found that the documents likely contain evidence of a crime.”
NEW: Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
This article was updated to correctly spell Andrew Weissmann’s last name.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Trump Appeals After Judge Agrees With Special Counsel on Crime-Fraud Exception and Requires His Attorney to Testify
Donald Trump’s attorneys have appealed a ruling that requires one of his lawyers to testify before a grand jury investigating his unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return classified documents from the White House.
Attorneys for the Special Counsel “said there is evidence of a deliberate effort not to turn over all the material covered by the subpoena,” The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell had reportedly agreed with Special Counsel Smith that there is sufficient evidence proving Donald Trump may have committed a crime via his attorneys, and ruled his attorney must testify before a grand jury. The ruling, which was not made public, was handed down Friday night, NBC News reported Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Howell “ruled in favor of applying the ‘crime fraud’ exception to Trump’s attorney-client privilege and ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify before the federal grand jury.”
READ MORE: ‘On Standby’: Experts Say Manhattan Hush Money Grand Jury Delay ‘Not All That Surprising’
Trump’s attorneys have already appealed the ruling.
“People familiar with the matter said an appeals panel has already begun reviewing the decision, after Trump’s lawyers appealed,” The Washington Post adds. “The extraordinarily quick timeline suggests that the judges — all nominated by Democratic presidents — intend to rule swiftly.”
Trump could take his case all the way to the Supreme Court, but The Post says it’s “not clear he would have a much better chance of success there.”
According to an NBC News report from October, Corcoran directed another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, to sign the letter claiming a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago had been made and all classified or “sensitive” documents had been returned. That was proven untrue after federal agents, executing a search warrant, recovered hundreds of documents with classified markings.
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