DOUBLE WHAMMY: Mueller’s Grand Jury Coincides With Senate Requests for Info

The Special Counsel’s grand jury matches the timing of requests from two Senate committees, making this a double whammy for the beleaguered Trump administration.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller convened a grand jury in Washington D.C. recently. The Wall Street Journal broke the revelation on 3 August, quickly followed with more details from the NY Times and  The Washington Post. The actual date of the grand jury is not specific other than a reference to “a few weeks ago.”

Lost in the newest headlines is a similar probe by two US Senate committees sent on 19 July, which would coincide with the time frame of Robert Mueller’s grand jury.

The Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees requested detailed material from Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in pursuit of their investigation into alleged Russian interference and possible collusion by the Trump campaign. The correspondence to the trio asks for “all communications to, from or copied” from dozens of names.

Judging from the listed names, many Russian, the Senate investigation is focused on the June 2016 meeting with the Trump trio, a Russian lawyer and at least four others.

The Times noted that Mueller was “investigating a June 9, 2016, meeting set up by Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, based on the expectation of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer.”

The timing of the Senate’s requests and Mueller’s grand jury appear to be reinforcing measures. The grand jury has issued subpoenas, which are legally binding requests for information. The Senate’s parallel actions are “requests” and are not binding. However, according to all reports, the substance of both inquiries at the very least includes the 16 June meeting.

The Trump team now faces a two-pronged assault from two different sources: the US Senate and the Special Counsel.

You can almost hear the screws tightening.


Be Skeptical Advises Deputy AG Rosenstein

In a terse warning issued late Thursday evening, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sought to brace American readers from unsourced articles (leaks) originating anywhere from anyone.

“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories from anonymous “officials,” particularly when they do not identify the country – let alone the branch or agency of government…”

Continue reading “Be Skeptical Advises Deputy AG Rosenstein”

The Terrifying Possibilities of the Presidential Pardon Power

Five days after Donald J. Trump won the electoral college vote, an attorney made a prediction.

Robert Kelner recorded that forecast. He now represents Lt. General Michael Flynn, the retired Army general, former Defense Intelligence Agency director under Obama and recently fired head of the National Security Agency under Trump.

Three months after Kelner made his projection, Flynn was outed for secret talks with Russian Ambassador Kislyak, exposed in his botched cover-up of those chats, and placed under investigation by the Army for possibly violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The general was accused of lying to VP Pence, accepting cash from the Russian government, violating protocol by negotiating with an adversary during Obama’s administration, and endangering national security as a blackmail risk.

But let’s return to that Kelner tweet and the many questions surfacing after-the-fact.

In the history of presidential pardons, there are few that fit a “novel and unusual” profile. The one that stands out is Ford’s pardon of Nixon in 1974 following the Watergate scandal. Nixon resigned before he was impeached and was not charged with a crime. Nonetheless, Ford took the extraordinary step of issuing a “full, free and absolute pardon… for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in…”

The situation today is similar but not the same. To duplicate Ford’s pardon, it would be Pence (not Trump) issuing the order. Thus, Kesler’s prediction would be off the mark in this instance.

What is possible is frightening. Trump could pardon attorney Kelser’s client even if Flynn is not charged with or convicted of an offense. This would equate to Ford’s forgiveness of Nixon. For that matter, Trump could issue all-encompassing pardons for anyone embroiled in the Russiagate scandal – with qualifications.

The pardon privilege granted to the president is sanctioned in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution:

The President…shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

The president can only forgive federal offenses, including violations of civil and criminal laws. The second qualifier is that impeachment cases are excluded from the privilege.

Therefore, if Trump followed Ford’s precedent, he conceivably would have the power to forgive federal violations against Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. He could pardon VP Pence, Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Rep. Devin Nunes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  – literally anyone caught up in the ongoing investigations of Russian collusion – even before they are charged with a crime. The two exceptions: these individuals cannot be impeached and Trump cannot issue pardons if he is impeached.

This scenario is indeed “novel and unusual”. The possibility exists that Trump and friends could wreak unimaginable damage to this country, knowing they have a get-out-of-jail-free card and a GOP-controlled House that shows no compunction to bring about the impeachment process.

The ramifications are terrifying.

THE DARK HORSE: Why The #RussiaGate Investigation Must Start With Bernie Sanders

The historic inquiry into Russia’s interference in our presidential election by the House Intelligence Committee opened with a statement from Rep. Adam Schiff. His introduction was concise, detailed and chilling. He named names. Gave dates. Showed correlations. Painted a scenario of unsustainable “coincidences” in a dark intrigue peopled by Russian hackers, oligarchs, oil magnates, diplomats, spies – orchestrated by Putin and counterbalanced with his alleged American agents.

It is a sequence of events and characters fit for an explosive novel. It is the foundation for impeachment proceedings against the current U.S. President.

But missing from that cast of saboteurs and accessories is one name: Senator Bernie Sanders. Continue reading “THE DARK HORSE: Why The #RussiaGate Investigation Must Start With Bernie Sanders”

Russian-Trump Inquiry: Day One [FULL VIDEO]

This is the entire video of the first day of the House Intelligence Committee hearing [20 March 2017] on Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Source: C-SPAN

(Problems viewing the video? Go to this link)

//www.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.swf?pid=425087-1

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?425087-1/fbi-director-says-hes-investigating-links-trump-campaign-russia