Newsmax Host Linked to Effort to Pay Women for ‘False Claims’ of Misconduct Against Robert Mueller

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The office of special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the FBI to look into whether Jack Burkman — a right-wing lobbyist who hosts a weekly show on Newsmax TV — offered to pay women to come forward with “false claims” of sexual or workplace misconduct Mueller, the office’s spokesman said Tuesday.

Burkman, a lobbyist and GOP operative who has been associated with various conspiracy theories over the years, offered an unnamed woman $20,000 to accuse Mueller of wrongdoing, according to The Atlantic.

Mueller’s office became aware of the plan after several journalists solicited by the woman brought it to their attention, Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, told TheWrap.

“When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” Carr said in a statement.

Also Read: Trump Slams GQ Writer Who Says He ‘Radicalized’ More People Than ISIS: ‘Sick Woman’

The FBI declined to comment. Reps for Burkman at his lobbying firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Tuesday, Burkman teased that a “client” would come forward on Thursday as “the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.” He offered no further details about the individual or the possible accusations.

Some sad news. On Thursday, November 1, at the Rosslyn
Holiday Inn at noon, we will reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert
Mueller’s sex assault victims. I applaud the courage and dignity and
grace and strength of my client. pic.twitter.com/wZVQeHD45r

— Jack Burkman (@Jack_Burkman) October 30, 2018

Burkman has made a reputation as a gadfly with high-profile appeals to whistleblowers. In February, The Washington Times reported that he floated a $25,000 bounty for concrete evidence of FBI wrongdoing in Mueller’s investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He previously gained notoriety for offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who could bring information leading to a conviction in the unsolved 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

After initially embracing his help, the Rich family distanced themselves from Burkman after the lobbyist began insisting their son was killed by Russian agents, without any corroboration.

“I was approached by a guy who styles himself as a former U.S. intel officer,” Burkman told local media last year. “I quizzed him. I think he’s credible — you never know the motive of people. But what he said is basically this — that Seth discovered that the Russians had been hacking and therefore the Russian government did away with Seth.”

Also Read: Newsmax Host Gets Schooled for False Claims About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘You’re a Know Nothing Shmuck’

Though he identifies himself as a Newsmax host on his Twitter account and is listed as the host of the weekly “Behind the Curtain” show on its website on Tuesday, Newsmax chief Chris Ruddy told TheWrap that Burkman had no affiliation with his network.

“Mr. Burkman is not a Newsmax host and as far as we know he does not claim to be,” Ruddy said. “He does have a radio show that airs as paid programming on Newsmax. We are reviewing whether he will continue as an advertiser.”

Burkman’s classification as a Newsmax host was removed after the company received an inquiry from TheWrap. A person familiar with the matter said he had been placed among the network’s stable of paid hosts by mistake.

You can watch episodes of Burkman’s radio show “Behind the Curtain” on Newsmax here.

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Fox News host Sean Hannity was confronted on-air Monday night with news that the New York Times had obtained dozens of questions special counsel Robert Mueller was interested in asking President Donald Trump — and it did not go well.
“I am …

Trump Just Deleted ‘Special Council’ Tweet With 5 Typos

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President Donald Trump was tweeting up a storm Wednesday morning, but it may have been a little too early for the commander-in-chief who had to delete one of those tweets after working in no less than five typos.

“Special Council is told to find crimes wether crimes exist or not. I was opposed to the the selection of Mueller to be Special Council, I still am opposed to it. I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have bee a Special Council appointed because…..,” the tweet read.

That’s three misspellings of “Special Council,” “the the” and of course, “wether.” The tweet was memorialized, by the Washington Free Beacon’s Alex Griswold, whose own analysis of the tweet didn’t even catch everything.

Already deleted, probably because of the *squints* four typos pic.twitter.com/mPl9kxficS

– Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) March 21, 2018

Also Read: Stephen Merchant Doesn’t See Any Resemblance to Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix

What Trump was trying to do — which he did eventually sort of successfully execute — was replicate a quote from Alan Dershowitz who made the rounds of “Fox & Friends” this morning.

The new tweets, however, continued to misuse the word “council”

“Special Council is told to find crimes, whether a crime exists or not. I was opposed to the selection of Mueller to be Special Council. I am still opposed to it. I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a Special Council appointed because…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018

…there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise, or obstruction of justice!” So stated by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018

“I think what he’s doing is he’s playing good cop, bad cop,” the Harvard law professor and Trump favorite continued to opine on the show. “He has some of his lawyers cooperating with Mueller and some lawyers attacking Mueller because he wants to be ready to attack in the event there are any recommendations that are negative to the president.”

It was a busy morning for Trump on the platform. The president also name-dropped his Fox Business pal Lou Dobbs in a tweet about a legal case in Arizona and offered some all-caps triumphalism over the death of the Austin bombing suspect.

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Watch Kellyanne Conway’s TV Interviews That Office of Special Counsel Says Were Illegal

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The office of Special Counsel says White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway broke the law last year as a result of her advocacy of Alabama’s Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

The politicking — which took place during two interviews — violated the 1939 U.S. Hatch Act, which forbids most executive branch employees from publicly advocating for or against political candidates, according to the watchdog office.

“Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act by engaging in political activity while participating in official interviews with Fox News’s ‘Fox & Friends’ and CNN’s ‘New Day,’” states the office of Special Counsel complaint addressed to President Trump.

“Specifically, the complaints alleged that during these interviews — which Ms. Conway conducted in her official capacity — she improperly advocated for the defeat of Democrat Doug Jones or expressed support for Republican Roy Moore, both of whom were candidates in the December 2017 Alabama special election for U.S. Senate,” the complaint continues.

Also Read: Kellyanne Conway Trolls Democrats With Effusive Praise for Donna Brazile

During the heat of the campaign last November, Conway appeared on “Fox & Friends” saying: “Doug Jones in Alabama. Folks don’t be fooled. He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes.

“He’s terrible for property owners …. And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he’s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him,” he continued.

Here is one of the two appearances from @KellyannePolls that the Special Counsel says violated the Hatch Act pic.twitter.com/1v7JAJa7UB

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 6, 2018

The second violation came a month later on CNN’s “New Day.”

“When the President endorsed Roy Moore — when he started to talk about Doug Jones, the opponent here which you still don’t want to talk about but the President does, Roy Moore took a lead in the polls again,” Conway told Chris Cuomo.

“Why is that? Because the President, himself, came out and said he doesn’t want a liberal in the Senate. He doesn’t want a liberal Democrat in the Senate. He wants a reliable vote for taxes, for life.”

Here is the CNN “New Day” video in which the Special Counsel says @KellyannePolls violated the Hatch Act pic.twitter.com/gBoTItbJYn

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 6, 2018

Also Read: Kellyanne Conway Says ‘Nobody’ at White House Talks About Hillary Clinton – as Trump Tweets About Her

However, it is by no means clear if Conway will face any disciplinary action for the potential violation. The office of Special Counsel letter notes that it is ultimately up to Donald Trump to decide  the “appropriate discipline.”

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Sam Nunberg Says He’ll Cooperate With Special Counsel, Stay Off TV: ‘I Got in Enough Trouble Yesterday’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Coming off a marathon series of interviews Monday, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg walked back on his stated plan to defy special counsel Robert Mueller and would comply with a subpoena to testify in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“My plan is to spend many hours to comply with the subpoena,” he told TheWrap Tuesday morning. “I am listening to my lawyer. I got in enough trouble yesterday.”

Nunberg added that there would be “no more television” appearances but that he had “no regrets” about any of his TV hits on Monday.

Also Read: ‘Morning Joe’ on Sam Nunberg’s ‘Clown Show’ Media Blitz: ‘You Could Hear the Desperation’

The decision to comply with the Mueller’s probe was a swift reversal for Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide who blitzed cable news airwaves yesterday insisting that he would defy the subpoena.

He argued it was unreasonably onerous and that he didn’t want to be part of creating a circumstantial case against another former Trump adviser, Roger Stone — whom he called a mentor.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous I should spend more time on this s—. I don’t think that’s fair,” Nunberg told TheWrap after wrapping up his on-air appearances. “I’m not interested in spending hours going over and trying to pull emails. Once again, I email with Steve Bannon and Roger Stone 30 times a day 40 times a day — it’s not fair.”

Also Read: Ex-Trump Aide Sam Nunberg’s TV Meltdown: Trump ‘May Have Done Something During the Election’ (Video)

Reached for comment, Roger Stone moved swiftly to distance himself from Nunberg, telling The Wrap that his former colleague “speaks only for himself.”

Nunberg, who placed his personal Trump-related legal fees somewhere in the “five figures,” said he was no longer interested in defending the president — and repeated suggestions he made on TV Monday night that Trump and other aides may be in legal jeopardy from Mueller’s investigation.

“I don’t excuse Donald Trump for screwing me over for Corey [Lewandowski],” Nunberg said, rehashing an old campaign gripe. “He’s getting indicted. At least Jared [Kushner], maybe Trump,” he said, declining to elaborate on what charges he thought either might face.

On MSNBC with Katy Tur, Nunberg raised eyebrows by suggesting that some amount of impropriety may have happened during the campaign.

Also Read: ‘Fox & Friends’ Scolds CNN Over Sam Nunberg Interview: Shouldn’t Put a ‘Drunk Guy On TV’

JUST NOW:

Katy Tur:
“Do you think that [Robert Mueller’s investigators] have something on the president?”

Sam Nunberg:
“I think they may. I think that he may have done something during the election” pic.twitter.com/6n7PFzMoAX

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 5, 2018

“Do you think that [Robert Mueller’s investigators] have something on the president?” asked Tur.

“I think they may. I think that he may have done something during the election,” Nunberg responded.

Nunberg has a long history of provocative public statements. His formal involvement with Trump ended in August 2015 after web sleuths uncovered old Facebook posts in which he called Al Shaprton’s daughter the N-word and referred to President Obama as a “Socialist Marxist Islamo Fascist Nazi Appeaser.”

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‘Morning Joe’ Says Robert Mueller Knives Out for Hope Hicks: ‘Things Could Get Ugly’

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.@JoeNBC warns Robert Mueller is coming for Hope Hicks: “Things could get ugly” pic.twitter.com/Ks5LLtoysR

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 1, 2018

Joe Scarborough weighed in on Thursday about the departure of White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. The “Morning Joe” host warned that Robert Mueller and his special counsel investigation would be coming for her.

“She’s got to get ready for Mueller. She’s got to get ready for a trial. I mean, it’s, things could get ugly,” said Scarborough. “We had two reporters yesterday come on our show saying their sources inside the Mueller investigation say things are starting to move at a very rapid pace. Bob Mueller is not nibbling around the edges anymore. He’s going straight in and he’s asking the questions.”

“Things about to get pretty ugly inside the White House,” he added. “The question is for somebody like Hope Hicks is ‘why did you stay that long?’”

Also Read: ‘Morning Joe’ Slams Melania Trump’s Cyberbullying Campaign: ‘She Needs to Call Out the President’

In addition to her longtime proximity to power, Scarborough also cited Hicks’ involvement in Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer scandal being problematic.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hicks took over the news cycle after the New York Times reported that she would resign as White House Communications Director. She is the fourth and longest-serving Communications Director of the Trump White House and was preceded by Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Michael Dubke.

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Scarborough: Trump ‘Knows Mueller Is a Lot Smarter Than Him’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Scarborough: Trump Terrified, ‘Knows Mueller Is a Lot Smarter Than Him’ pic.twitter.com/3MkCc47vUo

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) February 2, 2018

Joe Scarborough took a verbal jab at Donald Trump on Friday, informing his “Morning Joe” audience that the president knew he’s “scared to death” to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“Donald Trump knows that Robert Mueller is just a lot smarter than him,” said Scarborough about the impending possibility of the president being interviewed under oath by Mueller. “I mean, he’s scared to death right now that he’s going to have to actually testify in front of Robert Mueller because he knows that Mueller will outwit him at every turn.”

“He knows that Mueller will outthink him at every turn. He’ll know that when he’s sitting in that interview across from Robert Mueller, that Mueller will be three, four, five steps ahead of him and Donald Trump just doesn’t want to be humiliated that badly, so he’s frantically doing everything he can to avoid testifying.”

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The monologue and its cutting personal attacks were classic Scarborough. The former Trump ally, who once lavished the real estate magnate with praise, has turned against the president in the last year.

The MSNBC host and former GOP Congressman recently compared Trump to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and his mother with dementia. Trump hasn’t been shy about firing back at Scarborough,  calling him “psycho Joe” and his “Morning Joe” co-host, Mika Brzezinski as “low IQ” and “crazy” on Twitter.

Watch the latest above.

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Sean Hannity Mocked For Dismissing Latest Trump-Mueller Story

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sean Hannity: The New York Times is trying to distract you. They say Trump tried to fire Mueller, but our sources aren’t confirming that!

Sean Hannity, minutes later: Alright, yeah, maybe our sources confirm Trump wanted to fire Mueller. But so what? That’s his right. Anywho… pic.twitter.com/yUIt7Un56d

— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 26, 2018

Sean Hannity wasn’t impressed with the latest New York Times scoop that Donald Trump attempted to fire Robert Mueller, special counsel to the Russia investigation, last June, but was only dissuaded when his own White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn, threatened to resign.

On Thursday’s show, Hannity initially dismissed the Times report, saying his people had not independently verified it.

“At this hour, the New York Times is trying to distract you. They have a story that Trump wanted Mueller fired some time last June and our sources — and I’ve checked in with many of them — they’ve not confirmed that tonight,” said Hannity.

Also Read: Fox News’ Bret Baier Distances Himself From Sean Hannity: ‘Fox Gets Painted With a Broad Brush’

When Fox News reporter Ed Henry confirmed it was real, Hannity brushed it off.

“So we have sources tonight just confirming to Ed Henry that yeah, maybe, Donald Trump wanted to fire the special counsel for a conflict,” Hannity said. “Does he not have the right to raise those questions?. We’ll deal with this tomorrow night”

He then pivoted to a car chase.

Also Read: Sean Hannity Blasts Obama’s ‘Sick, Pathetic, and Twisted’ Obsession With Trump

Video of Hannity’s remarks was posted by HuffPo reporter Matt Fuller quickly went viral Thursday evening, racking up more than two million views and more than 26,000 retweets.

People on Twitter mocked Hannity for his sycophancy.

I tell you, if Sean Hannity wasn’t doing irreparable harm to our country this would be undeniably hilarious. https://t.co/iEIEniV1us

— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) January 26, 2018

This Sean Hannity video is hilarious in its shamelessness pic.twitter.com/nW0fDwubTk

— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) January 26, 2018

RETWEET To Remind Hannity How Foolish He Looks! #MorningJoe pic.twitter.com/o8omZDToGq

— #LaquanMcDonald (@ifuaskmee) January 26, 2018

Sean Hannity’s Reaction to Fox News Confirming the NYT Mueller Report is Absolutely Priceless https://t.co/KrtCK9GTlm

— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) January 26, 2018

In 30 minutes, #Hannity went from angrily denying that Trump ordered W.H. lawyer to fire special counsel #RobertMueller last June & questioning the credibility of NYT to reluctantly admitting that the bombshell report was true#TheResistance #MAGA #Trump #FoxNews #Resist pic.twitter.com/uOJvAZLFDM

— Fredon Moniteau (@FMoniteau) January 26, 2018

LMAO In Sean Hannity’s alternative universe a “no comment” from WH lawyers, which in the real world is confirmation of the story, is somehow proof the story is false because it comes from The NY Times, an outlet Trump speaks to on a regular basis.#Cult45 #UpsideDownWorld https://t.co/Ap0YHMCGfk

— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) January 26, 2018

Watching Sean Hannity not-cover, then cover and SUDDENLY switch to a high speed chase is all one needs to know about how “Fair & Balanced”. If you can, Imagine HRC as President & Fox switching to show a high speed chase after saying “We’ll talk abt it more tomorrow”. ???????????????? https://t.co/rJkyd6Zrhh

— ???????? Kokomo ???????? (@Kokomothegreat) January 26, 2018

For his part, Hannity responded by tweeting an image of him recently used in a New York Times Magazine profile that he suggested was deliberately selected to make him appear angry.

He also colored it green — for some reason.

“Also liberal sheep think I should run wild with @nytimes anonymous sources and not confirm myself. Sure, I trust @nytimes that put this picture on the cover of their magazine (I added the green),” he said.

Also liberal sheep think I should run wild with @nytimes anonymous sources and not confirm myself. Sure, I trust @nytimes that put this picture on the cover of their magazine (I added the green) pic.twitter.com/Z5C5UuFebY

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) January 26, 2018

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Steve Bannon Subpoenaed in Russia Investigation

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Former White House Chief Strategist and ex-Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon has been formally subpoenaed by Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury in the special counsel’s ongoing probe into ties between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.

The New York Times reported the news on Tuesday citing, a person “with direct knowledge of the matter.”

On Tuesday Bannon testified on the matter before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed door hearing.

Also Read: Is Fox News Next for Steve Bannon? Network Says Noooope (Exclusive)

Bannon and Trump have been on the outs since the publication of Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” In the book, Bannon made several disparaging comments about Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower, calling the meeting “unpatriotic” and “treasonous.”

Bannon only joined the Trump campaign in its final months and it is unclear what information he might have that could be of use to the special counsel — or how cooperative he will be. Two other former Trump associates, George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn have already been indicted on charges of lying to the FBI.

As reported in “Fire and Fury,” Bannon believes that the road to Trump’s undoing will not run through Russia but with financial impropriety.

“You realize where this is going,” says Bannon in the book. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through [former Trump campaign manager] Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner. It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”

Trump publicly broke with Bannon after his comments to Wolff were widely reported. The president denounced his former confidante in a lengthy statement earlier this month.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Trump said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

A quasi-apology from Bannon did not stem the tide, and he ultimately resigned from his final perch of influence, Breitbart News, last week.

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‘Morning Joe’: GOP Efforts to Discredit Mueller ‘Like Monkeys Throwing Poo Against the Wall’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

.@JoeNBC Blasts GOP Efforts To Discredit Mueller: ‘Like Monkeys Throwing Poo Against The Wall’ pic.twitter.com/Jh4AZvyecE

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) December 21, 2017

Joe Scarborough unloaded on his former Republican colleagues in Congress Thursday, warning them that their efforts to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller would fail in a very messy way.

“It seems to me that they’re just throwing whatever they can, like monkeys throwing poo against the wall,” said Scarborough on the set of “Morning Joe.” “What exactly is the scandal? They’re just making things up every week.”

Scarborough alluded to a recent reports of anti-Trump text messages sent by former Mueller investigator Peter Strzok, for which he was quickly disciplined. The MSNBC host called the issue a non-story because Strzok also disparaged Sen. Bernie Sanders, suggesting bipartisan indignation.

Also Read: Tom Brokaw: Fox News ‘Is on a Jihad’ to Protect Trump (Video)

Earlier in the segment, Scarborough treated viewers to a trademark monologue — complete with a dramatic camera zoom — in which he characterized GOP congressmen as “children” for their attacks on Mueller as he leads the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible links to the Trump campaign and administration.

“Let me just tell you Republicans — children — you’re out of your league. You’re playing way out of your league. Bob Mueller is several steps ahead of you and you will destroy your majority for years to come,” Scarborough snarled.

“I think Americans would probably be comforted with you out of power for a very long time and your president with a 33 percent approval rating,” he added.

Also Read: Mika Brzezinski Warns #MeToo Warriors: ‘I Know Men Who Won’t Hire Women Now’

It was a busy morning on set at MSNBC. At another point in the show, the team welcomed NBC News icon Tom Brokaw who causally accused Fox News of waging “jihad” to protect President Donald Trump and destroy U.S. institutions like the FBI.

“We’re at war here,” Brokaw said in a Breitbart-esque flourish.

Watch above.

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Here’s the Easiest Way Trump Could Be Prosecuted

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Republican leaders have made it clear they oppose a special prosecutor being appointed to take the reins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, even after President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI chief James B. Comey.

But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein can bypass Congress and appoint a special prosecutor to take over the ongoing FBI investigation without congressional approval.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions normally would have that power, but he recused himself from the ongoing FBI probe of the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russian government to interfere with the election after it was revealed that Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador during the campaign.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon suggested to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Thursday that Trump could be investigated for not only for election interference, but also for obstructing justice by firing Comey to stop the Trump-Russia probe.

Also Read: Donald Trump Thinks He Should Be King, Not President

“From Trump’s own words, it looks like Comey was fired to make the Russia investigation go away,” Wyden tweeted in reference to Trump’s admission to NBC’s Lester Holt that he fired Comey to halt the Trump-Russia investigation by the FBI.

Trump told Holt, “[W]hen I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.”

“Trump (again) shows exactly why we need an independent special counsel and why we need it NOW,” Wyden tweeted in reaction to Trump’s statement to Holt.

https://twitter.com/RonWyden/status/862724441733828612

Also Read: Twitter Goes Nuts Over Claim That Trump Didn’t Receive Income From Russia ‘With Few Exceptions’

Trump also could be investigated for obstruction of justice for reportedly demanding that Comey pledge his loyalty to the president during a private White House dinner on Jan. 27.  Comey refused, pledging that he could give a pledge to be “honest.”

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, a Trump critic, argued that if Trump really did demand a loyalty oath from Comey, it could be an obstruction justice, particularly because Trump later fired Comey.

“The demand for loyalty from the head of the organization investigating those around you, when you have the power to fire that person — if you wrote a novel about obstruction of justice, this would almost be too good to be true,” Tribe told the New York Times.

Also Read: JK Rowling Trolls Trump on Twitter With ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Quote

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed his opposition to a special prosecutor, warning that it would “impede the current work being done” by the Senate Intelligence Committee and FBI.

Comey has debunked McConnell’s concerns.  During a May 3 hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI oversight, Comey testified that if a special prosecutor were appointed, that special prosecutor would simply take over the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation by FBI agents and career prosecutors in the Justice Department.

The then-FBI director testified that a special prosecutor simply would become the lead prosecutor for both “the career level prosecutive team” and FBI agents already working on the Trump-Russia case.  For the “prosecutors and the agents, there’s no change except the boss is different,” Comey said.

Also Read: Trump Warns Comey About Leaks to Media, Hints at ‘Tapes’ of Their Conversations

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York said he has received assurances from Rosenstein that the deputy attorney general would appoint a special counsel “if one is required.”

The New York Times Editorial Board penned an “Open Letter” to Rosenstein after Trump fired Comey, urging the deputy attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor.

“Dear Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,” the Editorial Board wrote. “You have one choice: Appoint a special counsel who is independent of both the department and the White House. No one else would have the standing to assure the public it is getting the truth.”

The newspaper noted that only “a handful of Republican senators and representatives expressed concern at Mr. Comey’s firing” and “there is as yet no sign that the congressional investigations into Russian interference will be properly staffed or competently run.”

“And Americans can have little faith that the Justice Department, or an F.B.I. run by Mr. Trump’s handpicked replacement, will get to the bottom of whether and how Russia helped steal the presidency for Mr. Trump,” the Editorial Board said.

FBI agents are worried that without a special prosecutor, the current investigation could be slowed by incremental but harmful tactics, like reassigning FBI agents and slowing the issuance of subpoenas.

A former high-ranking FBI official who worked on aspects of the investigation told the Daily Beast that there’s “no doubt the investigation can be damaged” by interference by Trump loyalists within the FBI and Department of Justice.

“Hard to stop, but definitely subvert,” the former FBI official said.

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