WTF Community

Day 468

Updated 5/2/2018 10:18 AM PDT

1/ Robert Mueller warned Trump's legal team that he will subpoena the president to appear before a grand jury if he refuses to speak to federal investigators involved in the Russia probe. Mueller raised the possibility of a subpoena during a tense meeting in March after Trump's attorneys insisted that Trump was under no obligation to speak with investigators. Unlike an interview with the special counsel, Trump would not be allowed to bring his lawyers to a grand jury hearing. (Washington Post)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

President Trump has insisted he is eager to make the case to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, that he has done nothing wrong. But the questions that Mr. Mueller wants to ask show why the president’s lawyers have countered that an interview would be a minefield for Mr. Trump.

It is not just that the president has a history of telling demonstrable falsehoods, while the special counsel has already won four guilty pleas for the crime of lying to investigators. The questions would pose additional challenges for Mr. Trump, legal experts said.

Many of Mr. Mueller’s questions, obtained and published by The New York Times, are so broad that Mr. Trump would need a detailed command of a range of issues. And, complicating efforts to try to adequately prepare him for such an encounter, the president’s lawyers do not know everything that the special counsel has learned.


President Trump and his allies in the House have done just about anything they can to undermine Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and intimidate its leaders. They’ve questioned the Mueller team’s neutrality. They’ve wrongly suggested the investigation was launched based on the Steele dossier or the leaking of classified information. They’ve attacked the FISA court process. James B. Comey was fired. Andrew McCabe was targeted and later fired. And there have been threats to get rid of basically everyone else in charge of it, including most recently Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

The Washington Post’s Carol D. Leonnig and Robert Costa broke a big story Tuesday night, reporting that Mueller at one point threatened to subpoena Trump if he wouldn’t voluntarily sit for an interview.

Presidents have faced subpoenas before, but the mere threat of one ratchets up the confrontation between Mueller’s and Trump’s teams. Trump could also fight the subpoena or even plead the Fifth Amendment, though that may come with political costs.


One day after publication of a 49-question test to which Donald Trump does not know any exculpatory answers, the White House has begun the process of ending its heretofore frosty-but-cordial public relationship with Robert Mueller’s office and launching an all-out war in its stead. “This was a wake-up call to the president that will embolden him,” a source “close to the White House” told Axios.

The president is terrified of Robert Mueller right now. The Washington Post reported on Monday that the special counsel’s office recently floated the prospect of issuing a subpoena to Trump. Although a prosecutor’s ability to compel the testimony of a sitting president is an unresolved legal question, losing this argument would leave him with three options: He lies, opening himself up to perjury charges; he tells the truth, torpedoing his administration; or he starts firing people to try and save himself from having to pick between those first two deeply unpleasant options. There are no other escape routes left.

The sudden “retirement” of Ty Cobb on Tuesday—the second Trump lawyer to quit in the past six weeks—and the hiring of Clinton impeachment counsel Emmet Flood in his stead are not the moves of a man who believes himself on the verge of bringing a sham investigation to a close. They are acknowledgements that the coming fight is likely to be about process, not substance. The president is acting like a cornered animal, and if a date with a grand jury ever goes on the calendar—and as long as he believes he has the ability to get rid of Robert Mueller—it’s hard to imagine Donald Trump deciding not to exercise it first.



Cambridge Analytica , a data firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, is shutting down following disclosures about its use of Facebook data and the campaign tactics it pitched to clients.


Is the issue with Trump sharing secrets or Trump’s lawyers being unable to be present for a potential interview with Mueller due to the classified nature of the topics?

Donald Trump lies repeatedly, but on big issues he tends to follow through, or try to follow through, on what he promises. Trump has now several times indicated his intention to meddle in the Justice Department and with the special counsel probe investigating him in order to protect himself. That, combined with a leak earlier this week and a shake-up on his legal team, point to the president escalating his skirmish with Robert Mueller and the Justice Department into a full-blown war.

This is at least the third time in a week that Trump has said he intends to intervene in the Justice Department. Last week, he told the hosts of Fox and Friends, “I have taken the position, and I don’t have to take this position and maybe I’ll change, that I will not be involved with the Justice Department.” A few minutes later, he added, “Our Justice Department, which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won’t, our Justice Department should be looking at that kind of stuff, not the nonsense of collusion with Russia.”

What is at the end of this path? Is it a battle in the courts over whether Mueller can subpoena him? Is it firing Mueller? Is it firing Rosenstein, with an eye to limiting Mueller’s scope? It’s too early to answer these questions, and besides, Trump has already sought to fire Mueller twice and backed down, so even his own decisions are often not final. Regardless, the president has made explicit that he intends to meddle in the probe, and so it should come as no surprise when he eventually does so.


@matt My issue is not about the lawyers being able to be present in an interview with Mueller. I’m concerned that Trump, wittingly or unwittingly, is sharing classified intel with people who do not have the proper clearance. And now that you mention it, I’m also concerned that people without clearance are not supervised in a way that prevents them from simply lifting documents off desks and perusing them. I have a feeling that a “mole” would find easy pickings in this White House.

Since my post, I found this:

The photo at the top of the article shows a “restricted access lockbag” on Trump’s desk which he casually left there during a photo shoot – undoubtedly the shoot included many people with low or no security clearance. I’m wondering if classified docs are often left “lying around” in various offices at the White House. BTW, this article (although over a year old) does a good job of detailing a slew of incidents that demonstrate Trump’s utter lack of respect for our nation’s precious secrets.

It’s sad for me to consider, that in the pre-Trump era, I never gave issues like this the slightest thought – and I believe that’s because I didn’t need to – but now I’m constantly inspecting the loose bolts that seem to be barely holding together this runaway train.


@dragonfly9 Thanks for your take on White House security (or rather the lack thereof) – I agree with your perspective. And thanks for the articles – I look forward to reading them this evening. Cheers!


Okay. That’s what today’s news re: security clearances is about, which is why I asked.


@matt Ah, yes, I see – I was drifting off topic there. :blush:

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When are these bumblers going to get their story straight? Can’t wait to see what their new story will be tomorrow.


Breaking…with a horrendous war of words, along with the recognition that T did pay for Stormy Daniels.

Yes @Keaton_James bumblers all.

And more commentary from Guiliani tonight on Hannity “Comey is a very perverted man”


Good catch! This is kinda huge. :smirk:


Giuliani is about the stupidest man I have ever heard!
In any case, perhaps I am just an old fashion Canadian guy - but how on earth can any American believe tha Trump tells the truth ‘some or all of the time’ ? 76 % of republicans believe this ! - and even 6% of democrats believe this!!!
I certainly hope America gets back on track - starting with knowing the difference between truth and lies. It is basic and easy!
Giuliani is the PERFECT match for Trump - lie and deny. Keep telling the same story over and over and over again - hoping that they will change the truth.
FACT: Trump said, on tape, that he know nothing about the Stormy Daniels payment by Cohen. Obviously not - but now we know for sure. Thank you Giuliani!
And thank you Giuliani for proving campaign finance violations.
And also thanks for ‘ending the Meuller investigation in two weeks’
I don’t know what your definition of ‘idiot’ is - but I’ve found mine.

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@CRConrad – That doesn’t qualify as a “sham” – the news is that SCL Group and Cambridge Analytica are shutting down. That’s correct.

The part you’re responding to – and it would help if you would add details in the future – is that the players behind Cambridge Analytica set up a new company last year called Emerdata, which could be a front to rebrand Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group.

Here’s the salient details from NYT:

In recent months, executives at Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group, along with the Mercer family, have moved to created a new firm, Emerdata, based in Britain, according to British records. The new company’s directors include Johnson Ko Chun Shun, a Hong Kong financier and business partner of Erik Prince. Mr. Prince founded the private security firm Blackwater, which was renamed Xe Services after Blackwater contractors were convicted of killing Iraqi civilians.

Cambridge and SCL officials privately raised the possibility that Emerdata could be used for a Blackwater-style rebranding of Cambridge Analytica and the SCL Group, according two people with knowledge of the companies, who asked for anonymity to describe confidential conversations. One plan under consideration was to sell off the combined company’s data and intellectual property.

An executive and a part owner of SCL Group, Nigel Oakes, has publicly described Emerdata as a way of rolling up the two companies under one new banner. Efforts to reach him by phone on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

And more from BI:

The power players behind Cambridge Analytica set up a mysterious new data firm last year called Emerdata.

The New York Times reported that Emerdata could be a front to rebrand Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group after Cambridge Analytica was shut down on Wednesday.

The Times called it a “Blackwater-style” operation after the infamous private security firm changed its name when contractors were convicted of killing Iraqi civilians.

There are established links between Emerdata and Blackwater.

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Re: pay off to Stormy Daniel’s and Guilliani’s comments.

One particular critic is George Conway 3rd, who is KellyAnne’s husband and a lawyer. He has been super critical of what he sees as corrupt in this administration.

And for those reading the tea leaves - look at his Twitter header page - says we are in the 4th Qtr - 1st down. hmmmmm


A post was merged into an existing topic: Day 469

Yeah, well, I wan’t accusing you of perpetrating any sham.

And while you may object to my choice of words, the bits you quote from the NYT and BI also suggest that the purpose behind these actions is pretty much to try and deceive the public at large that CA has gone away, when actually it seems pretty certain that they’re really just going to continue under another name. So I was just boiling that down to a single word, which I still feel is, while perhaps not (yet) fully corrobarated, still arguably accurate: They’re almost certainly trying to perpetrate something on the public, and I still think that “something” is pretty much… a sham. What would you call it?

I didn’t know one had to extensively quote the article; text corresponding to what you posted from the NYT and BI is readily available at the El Reg link I posted, just a mouse-click away. (And as for reliability of sources, I think “The Vulture” is every bit as reliable as the NYT, and vastly superior to Business Insider.)