Russiagate update: Now with more subpoenas, a letter for Jared, a cooperating witness — and grab the popcorn!
Well whuddyaknow? Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued subpoena in mid-October demanding Russia-related documents from Trump campaign officials…
…from more than a dozen top officials, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The subpoena, which requested documents and emails from the listed campaign officials that reference a set of Russia-related keywords, marked Mr. Mueller’s first official order for information from the campaign, according to the person. The subpoena didn’t compel any officials to testify before Mr. Mueller’s grand jury, the person said.
The subpoena caught the campaign by surprise, the person said. The campaign had previously been voluntarily complying with the special counsel’s requests for information, and had been sharing with Mr. Mueller’s team the documents it provided to congressional committees as part of their probes of Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.
The Trump campaign is providing documents in response to the subpoena on an “ongoing” basis, the person said.
This suggests that Mueller’s team believes — or knows — that Team Trump was not providing everything relevant to the inquiry into Russian tampering with the 2016 presidential election. (That is grounds for charges of obstruction of justice.)
And the timing of this story is interesting, coming on the heels of a report that the Senate Judiciary Committee learned that White House “Golden Boy” Jared Kushner failed to disclose emails containing details about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.” In their letter demanding that Kusner fork over every email related to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Kushner must include emails containing these keywords:
- Peter Smith
- DC Leaks
- Russian Federation
- Igor Sechin
- Erik Prince
[a] gold trader who is close to Turkish President Recep Erdogan is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, and legal experts say prosecutors may be seeking information about any ties between the Turkish government and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.
Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national, faces charges in federal court in Manhattan for skirting sanctions on Iran by allegedly moving hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian government and Iranian firms via offshore entities and bank accounts.
Zarrab is now out of jail and speaking to prosecutors — a move President Erdogan had been desperately hoping to avoid.
Erdogan asked former Vice President Joe Biden in 2016 to drop the case and fire U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose district was overseeing the case. Biden refused, according to a third source with knowledge of the case.
President Donald Trump fired Bharara in March. Multiple law enforcement officials say there is no indication at this time that the firing is tied to this case.
Erdogan has continued to ask the Trump administration to drop the case, multiple officials say.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Erdogan offered Flynn upwards of $15 million during the presidential transition in December to use his upcoming position as national security advisor to return his top political rival from the U.S. to Turkey and to see that Zarab’s case was dropped, NBC has reported.
It’s noteworthy that there has been a huge uptick in Russiagate news in the last 48 hours, similar to the torrent that preceded the news that indictments against former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort and his biz partner Rick Gates had been unsealed. That news hit on a Monday — after, on the previous Friday, news organizations reported Mueller had sufficient evidence to indict Manafort.
So set your clocks, because here’s last night’s big get from NBC News:
Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Bring Charges in Flynn Investigation
by Julia Ainsley, Carol E. Lee and Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON — Federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and his son as part of the probe into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.
Michael T. Flynn, who was fired after just 24 days on the job, was one of the first Trump associates to come under scrutiny in the federal probe now led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
Hmm… anyone else think a big turkey is about to get stuffed?
BONUS non-Travelgate “Stinky Zinke” scandal update: The Interior Dept. Inspector General has determined that Secretary Ryan Zinke failed to keep complete records — and in some cases kept none at all — of his travel since taking office and are unable to “distinguish between personal, political and official travel”. That can’t be good!