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While Mueller Pursues Investigation, Trump Drops A Bombshell Question Of His Own


Reported By Jason Hopkins | January 1, 2018 at 9:57am

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/mueller-pursues-russia-investigation-trump-question/

As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion of the 2016 election continues on, President Donald Trump has one big question on his mind.

“Whatever happened to Podesta?” “They closed their firm, they left in disgrace, the whole thing, and now you never heard of anything,” the president said during a wide-ranging New York Times interview.

Trump was referring to Tony Podesta, the founder of The Podesta Group and brother of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Like members of Trump’s presidential campaign, Podesta has also found himself at the center of Mueller’s growing FBI inquiry.

During The Times interview, the president said he believed Muller would treat him fairly, but he also expressed frustration that Podesta has seemingly escaped scrutiny since stepping down from the firm he founded in October.

The long-time Democrat is under investigation for activities similar to those of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Manafort, having a long history of lobbying for foreign entities, led a public relations campaign for a nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Podesta Group also took part in promoting Ukraine in the United States, being one of several firms that were paid to do public relations work, according to Politico.

His group filed paperwork with the Justice Department indicating that it had worked on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, benefiting the same Ukrainian political party that Manafort advised. In late October, Manafort was indicted on an array of charges that included money laundering, failing to disclose overseas bank accounts, operating as an agent of the Ukrainian government and making false statements to federal authorities.

Trump severed ties with Manafort during the election as it became apparent law enforcement was looking into him. The president has since tried to put distance between himself and the beleaguered lobbyist.

“Paul only worked for me for a few months,” he explained.

“Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me. And you’re talking about what Paul was many years ago before I ever heard of him. He worked for me for — what was it, three and a half months?”

Podesta, for his part, has not endured much public scrutiny since stepping down from his firm a couple months ago and it’s not exactly known what action federal authorities will take regarding his investigation. Along with believing that more attention should be placed on Podesta’s past lobbying activities, the Republican president spoke at length about the FBI investigation that has haunted his first year in the White House.

Pushing back against their allegations, the president said that Democrats concocted claims of Russian collusion “as a hoax, as a ruse, as an excuse for losing an election.” Trump also asserted that “everybody knows” his 2016 campaign staff did not collude with any Russian officials and even reversed the accusations by suggesting Democrats were the ones who worked with Russians during the presidential election.

Around seven months have passed since Muller was appointed to lead an investigation, but no charges have yet been brought forward against the president.

“There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair,” Trump said of Mueller.

Russia: Factual Error in Manafort Indictment Shows Case Was ‘Cooked Up’


Reported By Brianna Young | October 31, 2017 at 3:31pm | Source(s): NBC News, NBC News, and Los Angeles Times

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/russia-factual-error-manafort-indictment-shows-case-cooked/

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his top deputy, Rick Gates, are facing serious charges regarding the consulting business Manafort used to operate. Manafort and Gates have been indicted on 12 charges, including “conspiracy against the United States,” “conspiracy to launder money” and “false statements.”

But now, Russia is claiming the allegations against both men are “cooked up” and not part of a “serious investigation.” The Russian foreign ministry cited what they say is one glaring factual discrepancy in the 31-page indictment: the fact that the indictment referred to Yulia Tymoshenko as the former president of Ukraine.

Tymoshenko served twice as Ukraine’s prime minister before being imprisoned in 2011 on embezzlement charges, according to NBC News.

“I liked a lot the bit that, it turns out, according to the recent findings of American enforcers, the Ukrainian president before (Viktor) Yanukovych was Yulia Tymoshenko,” said Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Zakharova claims this one error puts the entire document’s validity into question.

“This is a very important moment showing the way how, once again, this document had been made, cooked up,” Zakharova said. “You understand when you talk about serious investigation one cannot allow things like that.”

The indictment against Manafort and Gates claims that both men made of millions of dollars thanks to their lobbying efforts in Ukraine.

They, in addition to George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign policy adviser who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, are the first people to be charged as part of the ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in last year’s election.

Papadopoulos’ guilty plea led the White House to immediately distance itself from him. President Donald Trump even tweeted that hardly anyone knew who Papadopoulos was.

The White House said Monday that the indictments against Manafort have nothing to do with the president, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. As for the charges against Manafort, NBC reported they are going to be tough to beat.

“It’s a very strong case, of course it’s not about last year’s election, but they have a long list of transactions and they have a lot of facts to support the indictment,” said Jennifer Rodgers, a former assistant U.S. attorney in New York.

But if Russian officials can cast doubt into the validity of the indictment, it may give Manafort the leverage he needs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already claimed on several occasions the country did not meddle in the 2016 election.

Rush Limbaugh Says 1 Person Is Taking Over The GOP


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/rush-limbaugh-says-1-person-is-taking-over-the-gop/?

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Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh made a bold statement on his program about Steve Bannon and the current state of the Republican Part y.

Limbaugh believes Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, is taking over the roles and responsibilities meant for GOP leadership by enforcing conservatism onto Republican candidates up for re-election.

“I think what Bannon is doing is slowly but surely taking over the role of the Republican Party,” Limbaugh said Wednesday. “The Republican Party is obviously not with Trump on balance — you have some in the House who are — but the Republican Party on balance is not with Trump.”

Steve Bannon played a major role in then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential victory upset last year and led the formulation of White House policy in the months that followed. He was Trump’s campaign chairman during the 2016 election and later served as a White House chief strategist — leading the nationalist wing of the administration.

After abruptly leaving the administration in mid-August, Bannon returned to his prior position as executive chairman of Breitbart News. Since leaving the White House, he made it clear he would use his position as a media executive to support insurgent conservative candidates running primaries against establishment GOP lawmakers.

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Bannon already appears good for his word.

In the special election in Alabama to fill the Senate seat once held by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Bannon went against the Trump administration with his endorsement of Roy Moore. Bannon supported the successful candidacy of Moore, a controversial former judge, in a move that was at odds with Trump, who campaigned vehemently for Moore’s opponent, Sen. Luther Strange. By election day, it wasn’t even close. Moore bested Strange in the GOP primary by almost double digits. Moore now heads into the Alabama general election, where he will likely win in a state that leans red.

The primary results demonstrated the power of Bannon’s support.

The leader of Breitbart is not stopping with the Alabama special election. Bannon has recently announced he is expanding his GOP targets, adding Republican Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Orrin Hatch of Utah to his hit list.

> In Wyoming, Bannon is pushing Erik Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and founder of major security contractor Blackwater, to challenge Barrasso, CNN reported. 

> In Utah, Hatch may very well retire on his own. If he does, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is reportedly eyeing a run in the Mormon-majority state. If that happens, Bannon is ready to run a candidate against him.

According to a source close to Bannon, this is just a “partial” list of elections he is looking to influence.

Bannon is already working to knock off Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and his beleaguered campaign for re-election. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker are also on Bannon’s radar.

“Some people make an argument that there really isn’t a Republican Party left. I mean, there are people who call themselves that and they go out and raise money and they raise a lot. But whereas the party used to be known for one, two, or three very serious things, they’re not anymore,” Limbaugh added on his radio show.

The conservative talk radio host believes Bannon and others are trying to keep the identity of the Republican Party alive by enforcing such standards onto them by way of primary challenges.

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