Rudy Giuliani has admitted that President Donald Trump’s legal team has a backchannel to communicate with Paul Manafort, the convicted felon who also previously served as Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016.
In an interview with Politico, Giuliani said that Trump’s legal team and Manafort’s have a joint defense agreement that allows them to share confidential information with one another.
“All during the investigation we have an open communication with them,” he said. “Defense lawyers talk to each other all the time where as long as our clients authorize it therefore we have a better idea of what’s going to happen. That’s very common.”
The publication speculates that Manafort is holding out for a pardon from Trump, and it suggests that seeking a plea deal that doesn’t include any promise of cooperation with Mueller might be the safest way to ensure that he gets one.
Trump last month angrily attacked his former longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, who implicated him in a crime when he pleaded guilty to making an illegal campaign donation at the president’s behest during the 2016 presidential election.
“One of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial — you know they make up stories,” he said during an interview in August with Fox News, referring to Cohen. “People make up stories. This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping.”
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Chief Justice and Vice President Travel Together on Air Force Two Despite ‘Deluge’ of Trump Cases Headed to SCOTUS
On May 5, 2019 USA Today’s Richard Wolf wrote an article titled, “Trump on collision course with Supreme Court.”
Deluge of Trump cases heading to Supreme Court but few may get heard https://t.co/0sPQRJa9hF
— MSN (@MSN) May 5, 2019
“Disputes over congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony, as well as legal battles over administration policies and Trump’s businesses, finances and personal affairs, are moving inexorably toward a court Trump has sought to shape in his image,” Wolf reported.
Fast forward ten days.
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reports on the “unusual group on Air Force Two today: Vice President, Senate Majority Leader, and Chief Justice all on the plane. Rare to have that trio together, particularly on a flight.”
An unusual group on Air Force Two today: Vice President, Senate Majority Leader, and Chief Justice all on the plane. Rare to have that trio together, particularly on a flight.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) May 15, 2019
Rare indeed, especially given that the Trump administration has and will have a “deluge” of critical cases involving President Donald Trump and his administration’s policies before the Supreme Court in the coming months, and possibly years.
(The three Republicans traveled Wednesday to the funeral of the late Senator Richard Lugar.)
Republicans went ballistic when former President Bill Clinton in June of 2016 spent 20 minutes speaking with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch while her plane was on an airport tarmac.
CNN described the encounter as a private meeting, which was an exaggeration. They also quoted then-presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s response:
“It was really a sneak,” Trump told conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher. “You see a thing like this and, even in terms of judgment, how bad of judgment is it for him or for her to do this? Who would do this?”
Republican Senator John Cornyn lashed out, saying the incident “does nothing to instill confidence in the American people.”
Libertarian magazine Reason called the impromptu meet-up, “corruption.”
The chance encounter caused Attorney General Lynch to recuse herself from the FBI’s then-ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, which led to FBI Director Jim Comey’s very public denouncement of the former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate.
More than a year after the chance meet-up, Fox News was still reporting on it:
Judicial Watch releases FBI documents exposing revelations into the secret tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton pic.twitter.com/7YKpCeUn3P
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) December 1, 2017
Lindsey Graham Reveals Next Steps for Mueller’s Actual Report – Including Giving the White House First Dibs
No Legal Requirement for White House to Be Allowed Executive Privilege, Nadler Says
Graham also says the Attorney General will send the report to the White House first, allowing President Trump’s legal team to redact what it wants to exclude based on “executive privilege,” according to McClatchy reporter Kate Irby.
Barr is not legally required to allow the White House to redact based on executive privilege – or to see the report first, or even at all.
In fact, one week ago House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler “claimed…that the Trump administration waived any claims of executive privilege over Mueller’s eventual findings ‘long ago’ when it agreed to cooperate with the probe,” Roll Call reported.
“Mueller’s full report likely contains crucial details about the motivations behind the myriad contacts and meetings President Donald Trump’s associates had with Russians, as well as Trump’s repeated deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” a report at Business Insider adds.
On Friday Mueller sent the findings of his 22-month investigation into Russia’s attack on U.S. elections, any possible conspiracy with Russia by President Donald Trump or his campaign, and any possible obstruction of justice to the President’s hand-picked Attorney General. 48 hours later Barr released a four-page memo whitewashing the Mueller report – including his decision that Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice despite evidence.
Image by The White House via Flickr
Schiff: We Have Evidence of Collusion
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) seems confident that congress already has direct evidence of collusion by President Trump and Russian interests, wants to further probes into money laundering, Moscow Trump Tower, and whether or not the president was compromised by the above.
The discussion focused initially on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and his statement that he had no seen any direct evidence, backing up similar claims by Richard Burr (R-NC), the chair of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“I think there is direct evidence in the emails from the Russians through their intermediary offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what is described in writing as the Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump,” said Schiff. “They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing form the president’s son, Don Jr., and there is overt acts and furtherance of that. That is, the meeting at Trump Tower, and all the lies to cover up that meeting at Trump Tower — and apparently lies the president participated in.”
“That to me is direct evidence,” Schiff added, “But there’s also abundant circumstantial evidence.”
“There is, for example, evidence of [Paul] Manafort sharing internal polling data with someone linked to the Russian intelligence service, concluded Schiff. “Why do that? What legitimate purpose is there to that?”
Schiff wasn’t willing to put impeachment on the table, however.
“Here’s the thing, and I’ve made this distinction all along, that while there’s abundant evidence of collusion, the issue from a criminal point of view is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a criminal conspiracy,” said Schiff.
“That is something will have to await Bob Mueller’s report and the underlying evidence to determine,” said Schiff. “We’ll also have to look at the whole body of improper and criminal actions by the President, including those campaign finance crimes, in order to determine if they rise to the level of removal from office.”
View the full exchange below:
Image via screen capture from video source.
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