Categories for A- Trump People
INTELLIGENCE/LEGAL/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Congressional investigators are scrutinizing trips to Europe taken last year by several associates of President Donald Trump, amid concern they may have met with Kremlin-linked operatives as part of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Several people close to then-candidate Trump visited Europe during and after the campaign, including his son Donald Trump Jr., Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and foreign policy advisers Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Jeffrey Gordon. Their known destinations include London, Paris, Budapest and Athens.
But their explanations of those trips have not always been forthcoming, and some congressional investigators find their stories suspect…
Such trips have raised concerns about whether the Trump associates were approached by Russian intelligence agents as part of the Kremlin’s election meddling or even sought face-to-face meetings themselves, possibly to discuss acquiring incriminating information on Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, according to two congressional officials familiar with the probes.
Trump, his lawyers and his aides have all repeatedly insisted that they did not collude with the Russians.”
-Josh Meyer, “Investigators probe European travel of Trump associates,” Politico, Dec. 6, 2017 05:06am
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/PAUL MANAFORT/ROBERT MUELLER/RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and an associate with ties to Russian intelligence drafted an op-ed article last week about Mr. Manafort’s work for Russia-aligned interests in Ukraine, according to a court document filed Monday [12-4-17] by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
The filing seeks tougher bail restrictions against Mr. Manafort, arguing that writing the op-ed flouts a judge’s admonition against trying to use the news media to influence the case against Mr. Manafort and Rick Gates, another former campaign official.
Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates have pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and lobbying violations that were related to their work for Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president.”
-Kenneth P. Vogel, “Manafort Associate Has Russian Intelligence Ties, Court Document Says,” The New York Times online, Dec. 4, 2017
FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP PEOPLE/JARED KUSHNER: “The man who would bring peace to the Middle East strode onto the stage and peered out at a room full of people who have tried and failed.
Tall and thin, confident and calm, Jared Kushner, rookie negotiator, made his debut in front of the world of veteran diplomatic hagglers on Sunday with a polite, deferential and purposefully bland appearance at a Middle East conference that was designed to pay respect but little more…
But Mr. Kushner’s predecessors and other veterans of the region were not exactly bowled over. Some privately expressed anger, saying that he had insulted them with a substance-free performance, while others offered indulgent assessments noting that at least he had committed no gaffes.
Mr. Kushner’s appearance at the Saban Forum, hosted by the Brookings Institution, came just days before the president is poised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that could disrupt the very peace initiative the White House is drafting between Israel and the Palestinians…
Advisers have said Mr. Trump is poised to sign another waiver delaying the move for six more months but would balance that in a speech on Wednesday [12-6-17] by recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The consensus among the professionals in the room on Sunday, even those who agree on the substance, was that would be a beginner’s mistake.”
-Peter Baker, “Jared Kushner on Stage: Hearing His Voice, at Last, if Little Else,” The New York Times online, Dec. 3, 2017
POLITICAL FIGURES/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Donald Trump is going all out to persuade seven-term Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to seek reelection — a push aimed in no small part at keeping the president’s longtime nemesis, Mitt Romney, out of the Senate.
Romney has been preparing to run for Hatch’s seat on the long-held assumption that the 83-year-old would retire. Yet Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is now refusing to rule out another campaign — a circumstance Romney’s infuriated inner circle blames squarely on the president. Their suspicions are warranted: Trump has sounded off to friends about how he doesn’t like the idea of a Senator Romney.
The president’s mostly behind-the-scenes campaign to sway Hatch will burst into public view on Monday [12-4-17], when he arrives in Salt Lake City to hold a well-choreographed event designed to showcase his affection for the powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman.”
-Alex Isenstadt, “Trump moves to block Romney from the Senate,” Politico, Dec. 3, 2017 08:23pm
NATIONAL SECURITY/ROBERT MUELLER/RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that KT McFarland, a former Trump transition official and deputy national security adviser, needs to provide testimony to Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller…
The comments from Warner, as well as his colleague, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, indicate that new reports are putting increased scrutiny on McFarland — and that congressional investigations into potential obstruction by the White House are moving forward…
Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, said he and North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who chairs the committee, continued to work effectively on their investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination with President Donald Trump’s associates.
Feinstein, who sits on the intelligence panel and is the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, confirmed further on Sunday that the Judiciary Committee is building an obstruction of justice case…
In the wake of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea, McFarland has attracted attention over her role in Trump’s team.”
-Eli Watkins, “Warner calls for McFarland to testify about ‘thrown’ election emails,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Dec. 3, 2017 01:16pm
JOHN KELLY/REX TILLERSON/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The relationship between White House chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has soured in recent months, leaving the former Exxon CEO without a single top ally in the White House as talk has ramped up of him being replaced at the State Department.
Kelly, once Tillerson’s fiercest defender in the West Wing, has stopped defending him privately, leaving him more isolated from the West Wing than ever before, according to a top White House official.
Tensions have been high between President Donald Trump and Tillerson for months now, and they were exacerbated after it was publicly reported that Tillerson privately referred to the President as a moron over the summer…
The New York Times reported Thursday morning that the plan to replace Tillerson has been developed by Kelly and is likely to be triggered late this year or early next year.”
-Kaitlan Collins, “White House chief of staff soured on Tillerson post-‘moron’ comment,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Dec. 1, 2017 12:07pm
REX TILLERSON/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE: “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday [12-11-17] dismissed reports that the White House is weighing a plan under which he would be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo as ‘laughable.’
Media reports on Thursday, first published by the New York Times, cited U.S. officials as saying that Trump has a plan to replace his embattled secretary of state with Pompeo, a former U.S. congressman who now heads the Central Intelligence Agency…
His comments came as he posed for pictures with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.
Tillerson’s relationship with Trump has been strained by the top U.S. diplomat’s softer line on North Korea and other policy differences, as well as by reports in October that he had called the president a ‘moron.’
Tillerson has not directly addressed whether he made the comment, though his spokeswoman denied it…
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had told Tillerson’s chief of staff the reports on Tillerson being replaced were not true.”
-Reuters Staff, “Tillerson dismisses talk of his departure as ‘laughable’,” Reuters, Dec. 1, 2017 07:43am
TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The White House is facing the prospect of another round of senior departures in the coming weeks as President Donald Trump approaches his one-year anniversary in office, according to several administration officials.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon chief executive who has struggled to mesh with Mr. Trump during their first year in office, is the most likely to leave, according to White House officials.
Senior officials say there is a lengthy list of White House aides and cabinet members potentially on their way out, with the first anniversary of the administration in mid-January serving as a natural off-ramp.
‘There will be significant turnover at the one-year mark,’ one senior administration official said. Another added: ‘You’re going to see plenty of movement.’
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday [11-30-17], ‘there are no personnel announcements at this time.’
White House spokesman Raj Shah said talk of any specific departures was ‘pure speculation’ and declined to comment further.
Among the names viewed by administration officials as possible departures are National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short…
Any changes raise the prospect of more staff turbulence as the president moves into the middle stages of his first term after a first year that has seen the departures of Mike Flynn, his first national security adviser after a month; Reince Priebus as chief of staff after six months; and Steve Bannon, chief strategist, shortly after.”
-Michael C. Bender, “Trump White House Faces Prospect of More Senior Departures,” The Wall Street Journal online, Nov. 30, 2017 05:45pm
ETHICS/LEGAL/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The ranks of former White House ethics lawyers available to comment on the ongoing controversies engulfing President Donald Trump’s administration has just grown by one — an attorney who’s certain to offer a much different perspective than the most prominent figures now ensconced as seemingly permanent fixtures on cable news.
After almost a year in the White House counsel’s office tackling a raft of ethics and financial disclosure issues, James Schultz resigned last week and is returning to private practice at the Philadelphia-based law firm where he previously worked, Cozen O’Connor.
Schultz insists his exit is unrelated to any of those myriad controversies, but simply triggered by a desire to get back to private law work and back to Philadelphia, where his family has remained…
Schultz said some of the media attention to ethics issues in the Trump administration has been valid because of the complexity of the personal holdings of business-sector veterans joining the Cabinet and other top positions. However, some of that concern has been exaggerated and distorted, he said…
Several Trump White House counsel’s office lawyers have already moved on to top posts at government agencies. One, Greg Katsas, has been nominated to the D.C. Circuit. However, Schultz is the first to return to the private sector.”
-Josh Gerstein, “Trump White House ethics lawyer exits,” Politico, Nov. 27, 2017 05:09am
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/LEGAL/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Here is a look, by the numbers, at all the known contacts between Trump associates and Russians. From meetings to emails, to text messages and Skype sessions, these lists have been growing throughout the year as more details drip out in the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections…
At least 12 of President Donald Trump’s associates had contact with Russians during the presidential campaign or transition, according to their own statements, court filings and reporting from CNN and others…
This number has grown throughout the year, largely thanks to public reporting that has forced new acknowledgments and explanations from Trump’s associates. All of the Trump associates who have spoken out deny any improper contacts with Russians and deny participating in any collusion with the Kremlin to influence the US election…
Trump’s aides and associates had at least 19 face-to-face meetings with Russians or people affiliated with the Russian government during the presidential campaign and transition, according to their public statements, court filings and reporting from CNN and other outlets…
In all, there were at least 51 communications during the campaign or transition between Trump associates and Russians or people closely affiliated with the Russian government, according to their public statements, court filings and reporting from CNN and other news outlets…
About one-third of these interactions came from Papadopoulos and were revealed in October in court filings prepared by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team before Papadopoulos’ guilty plea.
On at least nine occasions, Trump and his senior officials denied that there had been any contacts whatsoever with Russians during the campaign or that there were any ties between the campaign and Russians.”
-Marshall Cohen, “By the numbers: The Trump orbit’s contacts with Russians,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Nov. 22, 2017 02:08pm
2016 ELECTION/INTELLIGENCE/LEGAL/ROBERT MUELLER/RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is preparing to interview the woman who’s seen it all: Hope Hicks.
She’s been part of Donald Trump’s inner circle for years, first at Trump Tower and then as an omnipresent gatekeeper and fixer who could get emails or other communications directly to the boss during the 2016 campaign.
As a senior White House adviser and now as communications director, she’s been in the room for moments critical to Mueller’s probe, which has grown to include the president’s response to the Russia investigation itself…
Mueller’s decision to request an interview with Hicks — who hasn’t been named in any criminal wrongdoing — also indicates he’s reached a critical point in the overall investigation, according to former prosecutors and veterans of past White House investigations. Typically, conversations with such senior-level aides are saved for near the end of a probe…
Hicks, her attorney and Mueller’s office all declined comment for this story.”
-Darren Samuelsohn, “Hope Hicks may hold the keys to Mueller’s Russia puzzle,” Politico, Nov. 16, 2017 06:55am
TRUMP PEOPLE: “The White House is bracing for another staff shakeup upon President Donald Trump’s return from Asia, with senior-level staff moves that could further consolidate chief of staff John Kelly’s power in the West Wing.
Deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn — a former top aide to Jeff Sessions in the Senate who played a central role during the presidential transition — is expected to be reassigned to the Commerce Department or another federal agency, according to multiple administration officials and outside advisers familiar with plans for the staff change…
Dearborn’s departure would make him the latest in a growing conga line of West Wing aides who started on Inauguration Day but failed to last a full year. It would help Kelly clear the ranks of staffers he inherited from his predecessor Reince Priebus, whose tenure was marked by infighting and competition between loyalists brought in from the Republican National Committee and alumni of Trump’s renegade campaign.
A White House official did not confirm the move. ‘He is happy and comfortable in the job he’s in,’ the official said.”
-Andrew Restuccia, Annie Karni, and Josh Dawsey, “White House bracing for another staff shakeup,” Politico, Nov. 10, 2017 10:26am
RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump’s long-time confidant Keith Schiller privately testified that he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to then private-citizen Trump’s hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant, according to multiple sources from both political parties with direct knowledge of the testimony.
Schiller, Trump’s former bodyguard and personal aide, testified that he took the offer as a joke, two of the sources said. On their way up to Trump’s hotel room that night, Schiller told the billionaire businessman about the offer and Trump laughed it off, Schiller told the House intelligence committee earlier this week.
After several minutes outside of Trump’s door, which was Schiller’s practice as Trump’s security chief, he said he left.
Members of the committee raised the matter because of salacious allegations laid out in a dossier compiled by former British agent Christopher Steele, an opposition research document funded by Democrats detailing alleged ties between Trump and his associates with Russians.
During this week’s closed-door hearing, House lawmakers walked through a Daily Caller article, which raised some of the allegations about Trump’s Moscow trip from the dossier and discussed an alternative story involving Schiller’s role in rejecting the Russian offer of sending prostitutes to Trump’s room.”
-Manu Raju and Jeremey Herb, “Ex-Trump security chief testifies he rejected 2013 Russian offer of women for Trump in Moscow,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Nov. 9, 2017 03:48pm
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “A former Trump campaign adviser told Congress he had a private conversation with a Russian deputy prime minister during the 2016 presidential campaign and that at least two members of the president’s team were aware, providing more details to what is publicly known about Moscow’s access to President Trump’s circle, according to a congressional transcript released late Monday [11-6-17]…
The New York Times first reported the fact that Mr. Page notified campaign officials about his meetings in Moscow, but the transcript, which is over 200 pages long, discloses the names of those advisers — Tera Dahl and J.D. Gordon — and the identity of the Russian official, Mr. Dvorkovich. Mr. Page’s testimony also revealed that more campaign staff members were aware of his July 2016 trip to Russia than had previously been disclosed, including Jeff Sessions, who is now the attorney general.
Mr. Page’s eight-hour testimony, under oath, to the members of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, came the same week as the first charges were announced in the special counsel’s investigation into ties between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian officials…
Mr. Trump has asserted there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. But the details about interactions between his foreign policy advisers and Russians raise new questions about the Trump campaign’s dealings with Moscow.”
-Eileen Sullivan and Adam Goldman, “Trump Adviser Carter Page Describes Meeting With Russian Official During 2016 Campaign,” The New York Times online, Nov. 7, 2017
ETHICS/TRUMP PEOPLE: “One Saturday in early April, Omarosa Manigault caused a stir in the White House.
The Apprentice villain turned senior White House official brought members of her 39-person bridal party to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for an extended wedding photo shoot, catching fellow senior aides and some security officials by surprise in her bridal attire. They loudly wandered around, looking to snap photos in the Rose Garden and throughout the West Wing, according to four current and former White House officials.
While it’s unclear if she received any formal permission for the photo shoot, at least some lawyers and other senior aides were not briefed in advance, the officials said. They quickly banned Manigault, the director of communications for the Office of the Public Liaison, from posting the pictures online, citing security and ethical concerns.”
-Josh Dawsey, “Omarosa’s West Wing bridal adventure highlights broader dysfunction,” Politico, Nov. 7, 2017 12:13pm
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/CARTER PAGE/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump’s campaign team was briefed before and after foreign-policy adviser Carter Page’s trip to Moscow last year, with Mr. Page saying upon his return that he had gotten ‘incredible insights and outreach’ from senior members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration, newly released testimony reveals.
Mr. Page, an unpaid adviser to the Trump campaign, acknowledged under questioning last Thursday in front of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee that he had met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich last July at an event in Moscow…
The House committee released a 243-page transcript of Mr. Page’s testimony Monday evening, shedding new light on the July 2016 trip that has long been of interest to investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election…
Mr. Page told congressional investigation that he spoke to FBI agents four or five times this year. He declined to tell the panel whether he was cooperating with Mr. Mueller’s investigation.
The White House has denied any wrongdoing, and Moscow has said it didn’t interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign or collude with Trump campaign officials.”
-Byron Tau, “Ex-Adviser Carter Page Told Trump Campaign of Moscow Trip,” The Wall Street Journal online, Nov. 7, 2017 12:23am
RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The group behind the release of last year’s Panama Papers has published a new collection of documents about offshore finance that touches the Trump administration.
The so-called Paradise Papers show financial connections between wealthy Russians and two members of President Donald Trump’s administration, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is also the president’s son-in-law.
The more than 13 million documents — most of them leaked from Appleby, one of the world’s largest offshore law firms — were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the outlet that also obtained the Panama Papers documents. The Washington, D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and nearly 100 news organizations including the New York Times dug into the trove of documents.
The revelations so far do not relate directly to Russian interference in the 2016 election or to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. But the New York Times reported that even after joining the administration, Ross has maintained investments in a shipping firm with close connections to a Russian oligarch subject to U.S. sanctions and to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law…
The New York Times separately reported that a Russian billionaire with Kremlin ties, Yuri Milner, has invested in a real estate company founded and partly owned by Kushner.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.”
-Brent D. Griffiths, “‘Paradise Papers’ documents touch Trump administration,” Politico, Nov. 5, 2017 04:48pm
TRUMP PEOPLE: “Billionaire conservative megadonor Robert Mercer, a generous financial backer of President Donald Trump, is stepping down from his position as co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, according to a notice the company sent to investors on Thursday [11-2-17].
Mercer also announced that he will sell his stake in Breitbart News to his daughters ‘for personal reasons,’ according to a letter he wrote, dated Thursday and first published by Bloomberg News. He said his political views don’t always match those of Steve Bannon, the controversial former White House political strategist who has returned to Breitbart…
In recent weeks, several investors in Renaissance Technologies had come under pressure from a liberal group that said it was opposed to racist news sites, and which was pushing them to pull their money out of the hedge fund.
The group, called Sleeping Giants, targeted Michigan State University and other pension funds invested in Renaissance, seeking to tie their investments with Mercer’s own in Breitbart and Yiannopolous — and, by extension, with white nationalism and bigotry…
The 71-year-old Mercer said he will depart the Renaissance leadership effective Jan. 1.”
-Alex Isenstadt and Eliana Johnson, “Robert Mercer steps down from hedge fund, sells stake in Breitbart,” Politico, Nov. 2, 2017 02:41pm
ROBERT MUELLER/RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump’s longtime aide and current communications director, Hope Hicks, is scheduled to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in mid-November, following the president’s trip to Asia, multiple people familiar with the schedule told POLITICO.
Mueller’s team is also expected to interview three or four other current White House officials as early as this week, according to an administration official.
Mueller’s team already has interviewed former aides, including Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and former press secretary Sean Spicer. But the latest round of interviews appears to mark a new phase of the investigation — hauling in current administration officials for daylong depositions.
‘Nothing about recent events alters the White House’s commitment to fully cooperate with the office of the special counsel,’ White House lawyer Ty Cobb said Tuesday in an interview.
The White House expects Mueller to wrap up his interviews by Thanksgiving.”
-Annie Karni and Josh Dawsey, “Mueller schedules interview with Hope Hicks,” Politico, Oct. 31, 2017 04:54pm
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/LEGAL/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The White House on Tuesday [10-31-17] sought to take credit for the arrest of a former Trump campaign aide who had repeated contacts with Russia-linked officials offering ‘dirt’ on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — marking the latest damage control move as the Russia probe intensifies.
President Donald Trump and other White House allies had so far sought to downplay the role of George Papadopoulos, a campaign foreign policy adviser, whose plea deal was made public by special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday, the same day that two top Trump campaign officials were indicted on charges unrelated to the campaign.
Trump derided Papadopoulos on Tuesday morning as a ‘liar,’ while former campaign aide Michael Caputo dismissed him as ‘the coffee boy.’
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went further Tuesday afternoon, claiming the White House and the campaign deserved credit for helping Mueller’s team build its case that Papadopoulos had lied to the FBI about his contacts…
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about when the documents in question had been turned over. Papadopoulos was initially interviewed as part of the FBI’s probe into Russian election meddling on Jan. 27. He was arrested in July.”
-Matthew Nussbaum and Louis Nelson, “White House wants credit for Papadopoulos arrest,” Politico, Oct. 31, 2017 04:18pm
2016 ELECTION/LEGAL/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “A former senior adviser on President Donald Trump’s campaign team, Sam Clovis, sought to distance himself on Tuesday [10-31-17] from George Papadopoulos, an ex-campaign aide who has pleaded guilty in the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his dealings with Russians, including an April 2016 meeting in which he was told the Russians had ‘dirt’ on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that entailed ‘thousands of emails.’
Prosecutors on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team said in court records that Papadopoulos had conversations and email exchanges with an unnamed ‘campaign supervisor’ about efforts to improve U.S.-Russia relations by setting up meetings between senior campaign and Russian officials…
Russia denies the allegations and Trump denies any collusion.”
-Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball, “Former Trump campaign adviser denies encouraging aide on Russia dealings,” Reuters, Oct. 31, 2017 11:45am
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/LOBBYING/ROBERT MUELLER/RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “An industry group for lobbyists on Tuesday [10-31-17] called on Congress to overhaul the transparency laws that govern their activity in the wake of indictments of two lobbyists, including Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump.
Charges filed by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleged Manafort and business partner Rick Gates failed to properly disclose lobbying for a foreign government…
Manafort, a longtime Republican operative, and Gates pleaded not guilty on Monday to a 12-count indictment that contained charges ranging from money laundering to acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.
NILE has previously encouraged Congress to close loopholes in the Lobbying Disclosure Act, known as LDA, to make lobbying more transparent by subjecting more activity to disclosure and requiring lobbyists to reveal when an intermediary hires them on behalf of another organization.
Two separate laws require lobbying disclosure: The LDA, which covers domestic interests, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act, under which Manafort was charged and requires disclosure for lobbying on behalf of foreign entities.”
-Ginger Gibson, “U.S. lobbying trade group urges Congress to revamp disclosure laws,” Reuters, Oct. 31, 2017 09:13am
JOHN KELLY/TRUMP PEOPLE: “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s comment that the U.S. Civil War was sparked by a lack of ‘compromise’ drew criticism and reignited a debate over Confederate monuments and the role of slavery.
In an interview on Monday [10-30-17] night with Fox News, Kelly was asked whether a Virginia church should have removed plaques honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee and President George Washington, both Virginians. Kelly said figures of the past could not be viewed through the lens of current moral values.
‘I think it’s just very, very dangerous and it shows you … how much of a lack of appreciation of history and what history is,’ Kelly said. ‘I will tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man.’
‘The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand,’ Kelly added.
The comment sparked an immediate backlash, with critics noting that the United States had made a number of compromises on slavery before tensions eventually erupted into the war between the North and the South in 1861.”
-Reuters Staff, “Trump chief of staff’s Civil War comment draws fire,” Reuters, Oct. 31, 2017 07:06am
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/ROBERT MUELLER/RUSSIA/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The indictment Monday [10-30-17] of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, and his associate, Rick Gates, begins a new phase in special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation whose ultimate outcome remains unknown but that will consume the White House for months to come.
True, Mueller’s 12-count indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates involves charges of money laundering, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts and making false statements to federal authorities – none directly related to the Trump presidential campaign that Manafort once led. But the simultaneous revelation that George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI officials about his contacts with Russian nationals close to the Kremlin, raises sharp new questions about whether the campaign colluded with Moscow’s documented efforts to skew the election…
An indictment is not proof of guilt, of course. The longtime Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes liked to say that an indictment is merely ‘the accusatory instrument’ by which criminal proceedings are commenced. But it is a clear sign that a prosecutor – and a majority of 23 citizens on a grand jury – have probable cause to believe that a serious crime has been committed, and it opens the door to a potentially long and twisted legal path whose political ramifications can often be even more complicated.”
-Todd S. Purdum, “Manafort indictment marks end of the beginning of Mueller probe,” Politico, Oct. 30, 2017 09:30pm
2016 ELECTION/CAMPAIGN/FBI/LEGAL/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Rick Gates followed Paul Manafort to Eastern Europe, Africa, the Trump presidential campaign, and now a federal building where he surrendered on Monday to the F.B.I.
Mr. Gates, 45, is a former business associate of Mr. Manafort, the ousted chairman of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign who also turned himself in to the F.B.I. on Monday. The men are charged with money laundering and violations of tax and foreign lobbying laws. They are the first to be charged in a special counsel investigation that has dogged Mr. Trump’s first year in office.
Mr. Manafort has been charged with laundering more than $18 million to buy properties and services. Mr. Gates has been accused of transferring more than $3 million from offshore accounts. Both men are charged with making false statements.
The indictments are the first in the long-running investigation of Mr. Trump’s associates and possible ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
-Eileen Sullivan, “Rick Gates, a Protégé of Paul Manafort, Is Indicted Alongside Him,” The New York Times online, Oct. 30, 2017