9:07 AM 10/4/2017 – TRUMP-RUSSIA Updates

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TRUMP-RUSSIA

A series of Russian-linked Facebook ads were specifically targeted at voters in Michigan and Wisconsin, two battleground states that were instrumental to Trump’s victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to four sources, the ads promoted divisive messages and were intended to sway public opinion. Manu Raju, Dylan Byers and Dana Bash reveal at CNN.

The intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election is expected to be largely endorsed by Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) today when they give an interim status update on the committee’s investigation at a public event, it is not expected that they would release an interim report. Karoun Demirjian and Greg Miller report at the Washington Post.

Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer at the center of a controversial meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign officials in June 2016, during a visit to Moscow in April 2016, prompting questions about Rohrbacher’s relationship with Russia. Elias Groll reports at Foreign Policy.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (D.H.S.) decision to stop federal agencies and departments from using Kaspersky Lab software was based on the “totality of evidence, including on the most part open-source information,” a senior D.H.S. cybersecurity official said yesterday, making the comments after the D.H.S. directed the removal of Kaspersky software in September due to alleged links with Russian intelligence. Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

Some Russian-linked Facebook pages tried to pass for local content, with four accounts continuing to post divisive messages as recently as August 2017. Georgie Wells reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts

Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (5 sites)
The World Web Times: Las Vegas Shooting: Gunman Wired Thousands to Philippines Days Before Attack The New York Times

Source: Las Vegas Shooting: Gunman Wired Thousands to Philippines Days Before Attack – The New York Times

The World Web Times

Trump – from Huffington Post

Trump – from Huffington Post from mikenova (1 sites)

They promoted anti-Muslim sentiment, CNN reported.

Donald Trump

Trump News Review

1. Trump from mikenova (196 sites)
Russian Intelligence services – Google News: FSB supports imposing anonymity ban on instant messengers – TASS
Trumpism – Google News: Drexel University Prof Blames Las Vegas Shooting on ‘Trumpism’ and White Men – legal Insurrection (blog)
trump and putin – Google News: Putin says Trump is listening to Russia’s views on North Korea crisis – Reuters
Putin Trump – Google News: Putin says Trump is listening to Russia’s views on North Korea crisis – Reuters
trump psychological assessment – Google News: Hey, Donald! Listen up! – The Philadelphia Citizen
Donald Trump: Putin: Russia will support Iran nuclear deal even if US withdraws
trump narcissist – Google News: How to negotiate with a narcissist and maintain your cool and win – Financial Post
Sebastian Gorka – Google News: Sebastian Gorka, former Trump aide, recalled as stellar teacher – MyAJC
Donald Trump – Google News: Al Franken on Donald Trump’s North Korea threats: I don’t understand him – Salon

 

Saved Stories – 1. Trump
Donald Trump’s passion for cruelty – The Conversation CA
An estimated 10 million saw Russia-linked Facebook ads – WJLA
HP Enterprise Let Russia Scrutinize Cyberdefense System Used by Pentagon – Fortune
Trump’s company had more contact with Russia during campaign, according to documents turned over to investigators – Houston Chronicle
Facebook and Google pledged to stop fake news. So why did they promote Las Vegas-shooting hoaxes? – Los Angeles Times
Vladimir Putin among world leaders offering condolences to Donald Trump over Las Vegas shooting – The Independent
Here come those pro-Trump Russian Facebook ads
felix sater – Google News: Trump’s Company Had Extra Contact With Russia During 2016 Election Campaign, Documents Reveal – Newsweek
Trump’s Company Had Extra Contact With Russia During 2016 Election Campaign, Documents Reveal – Newsweek
Vladimir Putin Sends Condolences To Trump Following Las Vegas Shooting – Newsweek
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner private email scandal explodes
Domestic terrorism programs would be cut under Trump – CNN
Guns, explosives found at home of ‘lone wolf’ Las Vegas shooter – FRANCE 24
Welfare Programs Could Be the Next Target of a Donald Trump Executive Order – The Root
The Electoral College: A Safeguard For Stable Elections – Heritage.org
Donald Trump falls apart
The Guardian view on Las Vegas and Puerto Rico: a tale of two Americas | Editorial
Thanks to the EU, the UK’s privacy law may solve the mystery of Facebook and the last US election – Boing Boing
Public health factors may have affected 2016 US presidential election results – EurekAlert (press release)
Russia tells official who bought Trump-branded Florida condos: You’re fired – Miami Herald
Unhealthiest US counties made ‘dramatic’ switch from Obama to Trump in 2016, study finds – The Independent
Facebook Gives Russia-Linked Ads to Congress – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
WATCH LIVE: Trump leads moment of silence for Las Vegas victims – WJLA
Counties with poor health were far more likely to vote Trump: New analysis shows public health was one of the … – Daily Mail

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TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – Update – 9:22 AM 9/11/2017: Why Robert Mueller May Have to Give Donald Trump Immunity – By BENNETT GERSHMAN

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TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to question key West Wing aides and Trump campaign officials, including figures such as former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, interim communications director Hope Hicks, former press secretary Sean Spicer and chief counsel Don McGahn, Josh Dawsey reports at POLITICO.

President Trump’s firing of former F.B.I. Director James Comey was the biggest mistake in “modern political history,” the former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon said in an interview said yesterday, adding that the firing would not have led to the wider-ranging investigation into links between Trump campaign and Russian election interference by Robert Mueller and his team. Fred Barbash reports at the Washington Post.

The congressional investigations into Russian electoral interference last week have revealed some key information, Morgan Chalfant sets out five major details at the Hill.

President Trump is likely to be subpoenaed by the federal grand jury impaneled by Mueller and it is “conceivable that the prosecutors will grant him immunity and thereby compel him to testify,” Bennett Gershman writes at The Daily Beast.

Why Robert Mueller May Have to Give Donald Trump Immunity

By BENNETT GERSHMAN

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The Trump-Russia Investigation has accelerated. Armed with more evidence, and assisted by many of the most talented prosecutors and investigators in the country, special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., to investigate whether President Trump and his associates colluded with Russian operatives to win the White House.

The fact that a federal grand jury has been impaneled is a significant development by itself; prosecutors don’t ordinarily convene grand juries unless there is a compelling reason to do so. The grand jury probe has expanded to include whether Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey. And it is also reasonable to believe that Mueller’s team is presenting evidence to the grand jury relating to financial connections between Trump, the Trump Organization, and Trump’s business associates with Russia and Russian interests.

We have a fairly good picture of where the grand jury investigation will go. Although it is not known who all has been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury, many of them have already made statements, and we can reasonably assume that many of them already have been interrogated by federal investigators. We do not know whether any of these individuals has sought immunity from prosecution, been granted immunity, and has given testimony. Also, the fact that investigators obtained a search warrant to search Paul Manafort’s home in July is quite significant. Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager and had the most far-reaching financial ties with the Ukraine and Russia. Prosecutors in order to obtain a warrant must demonstrate probable cause to believe that Manafort committed federal crimes.

But clearly the most critical witness of all, and a likely target of the investigation, is Trump himself. As the grand jury investigation accelerates, and it focuses on Trump’s role, he will almost certainly be subpoenaed, and his testimony demanded. When that happens, what follows is unclear. Given Trump’s almost pathological contempt for the rule of law and for Mueller’s investigation, which Trump has repeatedly disparaged as a “witch hunt,” it is reasonably predictable that Trump’s lawyers will flout the grand jury’s investigation, mock Mueller, and refuse to testify. Will Trump succeed in spurning the process?

It should be emphasized that Trump has no legal privilege to avoid testifying before the grand jury. A grand jury, the most formidable investigative body in the United States, has the power to compel testimony from anyone, even a president, as Bill Clinton was compelled to do for the first time in U.S. history in the 1998 investigation by independent counsel Kenneth Starr into whether he lied about having an inappropriate relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. And the Supreme Court has consistently reaffirmed the awesome powers of the grand jury, stating that “the public has a right to every man’s evidence,” including the president.

Although Trump’s lawyers most likely will advise him to resist testifying, probably claiming, as did former President Richard Nixon, some type of executive privilege, they will almost certainly lose. The Supreme Court decisively rejected that claim when Nixon refused to comply with a grand jury subpoena for records of conversations with White House associates.

When Trump is summoned, and presumably despite his resistance if ordered by a court to testify, will he comply? If not, will he be held in contempt? If Trump and the prosecutors try to negotiate some compromise, it is conceivable that the prosecutors will grant him immunity and thereby compel him to testify. As long as the prosecutors are careful, giving Trump immunity will not necessarily have any significant legal impact on the investigation, or the ability of prosecutors to charge Trump with crimes.

Immunity prevents the prosecutors from using Trump’s testimony against him, and from using any evidentiary leads gained from his testimony. But assuming that proof of Trump’s criminal offenses has already been discovered—such as proof of his obstruction of justice in seeking to halt the Flynn investigation or firing Comey—then despite giving him immunity, that proof can legally be used to prosecute him. And despite immunity, Trump can be prosecuted for perjury for giving false testimony.

Based on information that already is known, and reasonable inferences from other information that has likely been discovered (such as Trump’s financial records and testimony from other witnesses), these are some of the general areas that Trump likely would be questioned about. It is important to note that each of these areas is a relatively core subject, and would likely be the foundation to develop peripheral questions:

– Did Trump know when he was running for president and hired Paul Manafort as his campaign manager that Manafort had extensive financial dealings and lobbying work with Ukrainian and pro-Russian officials? Did he discuss Manafort’s connections with anyone?

– What was the basis for Trump’s decision to fire Comey? With whom did he discuss the firing? Did he discuss the firing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions?

– Did Trump know that his son Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Paul Manfort met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign and allegedly obtained damaging information about Hillary Clinton? When did he learn about the meeting? From whom? What was his response?

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– Did Trump alter Don Jr.’s initial statement about the Russia meeting, in which Don Jr. stated that he met to discuss Russian adoption but then changed this fabricated story to a new explanation that he wanted to judge Clinton’s “fitness.”

– Did Trump know that during his campaign his company was seeking to develop a real estate project in Moscow? What was he told? By whom?

– Did Trump have any financial dealings, projects, loans, and any other financial or other interests with Russia, Russian officials, and Russian business interests?

– Did Trump know of any contacts between persons involved in his campaign and Russian intelligence operatives? Who were these persons? Did he have any conversations with them?

As with so many other grand jury investigations, it is possible that the substantive offenses that the grand jury is investigating—here the principal focus is collusion between the Trump team and Russian officials to undermine the presidential election—may not be able to be proved conclusively. Nevertheless, when confronted with specific questions about their knowledge of certain facts, their previous statements, previous meetings, and numerous other relevant albeit peripheral details about subjects that reasonably should be memorable to the witness, it is not uncommon for the witness either to claim lack of memory, or lie.

And if Trump becomes a grand jury witness, and given his abundantly documented penchant for lying, brazenly, and almost reflexively, it is very likely that the prosecutors will be able to pose clear, specific, and non-ambiguous questions to Trump of which he might claim an inability to remember, but which he also might answer falsely and thereby commit a felony. Indeed, that is exactly how Independent Counsel Starr was able to lay the foundation for the impeachment of President Clinton by in effect trapping Clinton into lying about his conduct with intern Lewinsky.

Whether Trump will be indicted, for what, and the legal consequences, are not clear or predictable. Indeed, the question of whether a sitting president can be prosecuted at all has been hotly debated. Whether Trump is able to claim some type of presidential immunity from prosecution may ultimately have to be ruled on by the Supreme Court, as was the case with Nixon. The court did hold in the Paula Jones civil lawsuit that Clinton enjoyed no immunity from civil liability for unofficial acts committed before he became president. The lesson in that case is that

no person is above the law, even a president. Whether that lesson applies to Trump may likely be decided soon.

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

First Read’s Morning Clips: Remembering 9/11

RUSSIA

Western security officials are closely monitoring Russia as it prepares for large-scale joint “Zapad” military exercises with Belarus starting Thursday, David Filipov and Michael Birnbaum explain at the Washington Post.

German officials have been mystified by the lack of Russian interference in September’s upcoming election, having expected a series of revelations following the suspected hacking by Russians into the German Parliament in 2015. Griff Witte reports at the Washington Post.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions proposed giving polygraph tests to National Security Council staff to establish who has been leaking information, according to a source familiar with the matter. Kaitlan Collins reports at CNN.

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