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President Donald Trump has fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The president had repeatedly criticized Jeff Sessions after he recused himself from the Russia investigation dogging the White House.

President Trump tweeted that his top law enforcement official will be temporarily replaced by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who has criticized the Russia inquiry.

He tweeted on November 7: “We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!”

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Jeff Sessions Testimony: Attorney General Denies Having Undisclosed Meetings with Russian Officials

Donald Trump Defends Jeff Sessions Amid Calls for Him to Quit

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In a resignation letter, Jeff Sessions – a former Alabama senator who was an early supporter of Donald Trump – made clear the decision to go was not his own.

He wrote: “Dear Mr. President, at your request I am submitting my resignation.”

“Most importantly as my time as attorney general, we have restored and upheld the rule of law,” he added, while thanking the president.

President Trump has repeatedly pilloried the attorney general since Jeff Sessions stepped aside from the Russia investigation in March 2017, allowing his deputy Rod Rosenstein to lead an inquiry that has dogged the White House.

In July 2017, President Trump told the New York Times: “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”

The president has at various times belittled Jeff Sessions as “beleaguered”, “VERY weak”, and “DISGRACEFUL”.

According to a White House official, Chief of Staff John Kelly called Jeff Sessions before President Trump’s combative press conference to discuss midterm election results on November 7.

The attorney general’s exit comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to hunt for evidence of potential collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Robert Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation – overseen by the DoJ – has resulted in a series of criminal charges against several of Trump associates.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted after the announcement was made: “Clearly, the President has something to hide.”

Chuck Schumer added: “Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general.”

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The Helsinki summit between President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will go ahead as planned despite tension over Russia’s alleged election meddling, the White House says.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet for talks in the Finnish capital on July 16.

“It’s on,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

However, there are calls for the meeting to be canceled after the US charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with election interference on July 13.

For its part, Russia said it was looking forward to the meeting.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov said: “We consider Trump a negotiating partner. The state of bilateral relations is very bad. We have to start to set them right.”

The announcement that the Russians had been charged with hacking Democratic officials during the 2016 presidential election sparked a heated war of words between Washington and Moscow.

Russia’s foreign ministry said the claims were a “heap of conspiracy schemes” intended to “damage the atmosphere” before July 16 summit.

It said there was no evidence linking any of the dozen officials to hacking or military intelligence.

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein insisted that “the goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the election”.

Image NBC News

President Donald Trump Prepared to Be Questioned by Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller Investigation: Michael Flynn Admits Making False Statements to FBI

Robert Mueller Investigation: Donald Trump’s Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Lied About Russia Links

The 11-count indictment names the Russians defendants, alleging they began cyber-attacks in March 2016 on the email accounts of staff for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Russians are accused of using keystroke reading software to spy on the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and hack into the party’s computers.

Rod Rosenstein said the conspirators used fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0”, to release thousands of stolen emails.

They are also accused of stealing the data of half a million voters from a state election board website.

During a joint news conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, President Trump said he would “absolutely” ask Vladimir Putin about alleged election meddling.

Top Democrats have urged President Trump to cancel the planned summit altogether following the indictment.

Republican Senator John McCain said the summit “should not move forward” unless the president “is prepared to hold Putin accountable”.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating US intelligence findings that Russians conspired to sway the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor.

As of July 13, the inquiry has indicted 32 people – mostly Russian nationals in absentia – as well as three companies and four former Trump advisers.

None of the charges allege Trump advisers colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential campaign.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser, have pleaded guilty to making false statements about their contacts with Russians.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were charged with money laundering relating to their political consultancy work in Ukraine.

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President Donald Trump has said he is prepared to be questioned under oath as part of an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The president said he was “looking forward” to it, subject to the advice of his lawyers.

Investigators are assessing if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election in his favor – a claim denied by both Donald Trump and Russia.

Investigators will also determine if President Trump obstructed the inquiry.

The US intelligence community has already concluded that Russia tried to sway the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

He had previously said he thought an interview was unlikely because there had been no collusion

President Trump has called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt” and a “hoax”.

Speaking at the White House on January 24, President Trump maintained he was “absolutely” prepared to be questioned under oath by the top investigator.

He said: “There’s been no collusion whatsoever, there’s no obstruction whatsoever.”

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Russia Election Hacking: Robert Mueller Likely to Interview Donald Trump

Donald Trump Believes He Will Be Treated Fairly By Robert Mueller’s Investigation

President Donald Trump Denies He Is Planning to Fire Robert Mueller

Donald Trump’s lawyers have been talking to the investigation team led by justice department special counsel Robert Mueller about an interview, and the form it might take.

The questioning could happen face-to-face, in writing, or it could be a combination of both.

As to when it might happen, President Trump said: “Yesterday they were talking about two to three weeks.”

Asked if he thought Robert Mueller would be fair, the president replied: “We are going to find out… I hope so.”

President Trump told reporters that his former rival Hillary Clinton was not prepared to be interviewed under oath by the FBI about her use of a private email server.

He also said he did not recall asking an acting FBI director about his voting record.

“I don’t think I did,” he said.

“I don’t know what’s the big deal with that.”

Andrew McCabe, who took over the FBI after the president fired its previous director, James Comey in May 2017, said he found President Trump’s Oval Office question “disturbing”.

Andrew McCabe said he told the president that he did not vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Washington Post.

Robert Mueller is thought to be investigating whether James Comey’s firing was an attempt to obstruct justice.

Las t week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed by the Mueller inquiry for several hours.

Jeff Sessions is thought to be the first member of the Trump cabinet to be questioned.

Four people have already been criminally charged as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about a meeting with a Russian ambassador.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been charged on 12 counts, including conspiring to defraud the US in his dealings with Ukraine, and conspiracy to launder money.

Paul Manafort’s business associate Rick Gates was also charged with conspiracy to launder money.

A third adviser to the campaign – George Papadopoulos – pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

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According to recent reports, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has been summoned to testify before a grand jury.

Steve Bannon was reportedly subpoenaed by former FBI director Robert Mueller, who is leading an investigation into alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.

On January 16, he appeared separately before a Congressional panel.

Congress is holding its own inquiry into the allegations.

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Steve Bannon Fired as White House Chief Strategist

Steve Bannon Removed from National Security Council

The New York Times, quoting an unnamed person with direct knowledge of the matter, reports that Steve Bannon was subpoenaed last week.

However, the summons could be a negotiating tactic by Robert Mueller to persuade Steve Bannon to agree to be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel’s offices in Washington, the newspaper’s source added.

The House Intelligence Committee is also investigating the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Its proceedings on January 16 were not open to the public.

This is one of four investigations being conducted by Congress into the alleged collusion, with others launched by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight Committee.

During an interview with the New York Times, President Donald Trump has said he believes he will be treated “fairly” by the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US election.

There has been tension between the White House and the inquiry and President Trump has had to deny planning to fire lead investigator Robert Mueller.

The president again denied there had been any collusion with Russian officials.

He said he did not know how long the inquiry would take, but it had made the US “look very bad”.

The interview took place at the president’s golf club in West Palm Beach in Florida.

President Trump insisted he had the right to begin or end any justice department investigations.

He said of Robert Mueller, the special counsel: “I think he’s going to be fair.”

Image source WhiteHouse.gov

President Donald Trump Denies He Is Planning to Fire Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller Accused of Unlawfully Obtaining Emails

According to the New York Times, President Trump had denied 16 times during the interview that there had been any collusion with Russia.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to tip the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump – a charge denied by both Moscow and the president.

The president has labeled Robert Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” while other Republicans accuse it of bias.

Donald Trump repeated his allegation that Democrats had invented the issue “as a hoax, as a ruse, as an excuse for losing an election”.

He said he was not concerned about when the inquiry would finish as he had nothing to hide.

However, the president added: “It makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position. So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”

He repeated his comments from May that the investigation was “hunting the US terribly”.

President Trump said the matter had angered his supporters, adding: “My base is stronger than it’s ever been.”

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President Donald Trump has denied he is planning to fire Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Tensions have been rising between the White House and Robert Mueller’s inquiry.

On December 16, a lawyer for Donald Trump’s presidential transition group said thousands of emails had been unlawfully obtained by Robert Mueller’s team.

Responding to questions over the legal row, President Trump said it was “not looking good” and his people were “very upset”.

The president said, while returning from a weekend trip to Camp David: “I can’t imagine there’s anything on them, frankly, because, as we said, there’s no collusion.”

Donald Trump’s administration has denied working with Russia in the 2016 election and the president labeled the investigation “a witch hunt”.

Responding to a media question on the White House lawn on whether he was considering firing Robert Mueller amid his criticism, President Trump responded: “No, I’m not.”

Several Democratic lawmakers had expressed concern, and on December 15 the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, said he feared Republican members wanted to shut the probe down.

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Robert Mueller Accused of Unlawfully Obtaining Emails

Robert Mueller Investigation: Michael Flynn Admits Making False Statements to FBI

Robert Mueller Investigation: Donald Trump’s Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Lied About Russia Links

Several former members of Donald Trump’s campaign team are facing charges as part of the investigation.

Kory Langhofer, a lawyer working for the Trump for America (TFA) group – who helped Donald Trump’s transition to the White House after his election, complained on December 16 after the group became aware Robert Mueller’s investigation had obtained tens of thousands of their emails.

He sent a letter to congressional committees claiming the records had been obtained unlawfully.

The TFA group had used the facilities, including email hosting, of a government agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), in the period between Donald Trump’s election in November 2016 and inauguration in January.

In his letter, Kory Langhofer, says GSA staff “unlawfully produced TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications” to Robert Mueller’s investigation team.

The emails obtained reportedly involve 13 Trump transition officials, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI earlier this month.

The GSA, Kory Langhofer complains, “did not own or control the records in question” and maintains the constitutional rights of transition officials were violated.

A spokesperson for Robert Mueller said they had done nothing wrong.

Peter Carr said: “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.”

GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt has denied another of Kory Langhofer’s accusations, that the GSA gave assurances that requests for Trump transition records would go through the group’s lawyers.

Lenny Loewentritt told BuzzFeed that the transition group knew materials would have to be provided to law enforcement “therefore, no expectation of privacy can be assumed”.

Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell tweeted that the accusations were “another attempt to discredit Mueller as his #TrumpRussia probe tightens”.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to tip the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump – a charge denied by both Moscow and the president.

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Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for a group set up to help Donald Trump’s transition to the White House, has accused special counsel Robert Mueller of unlawfully obtaining thousands of emails.

He made the comments in a letter to congressional committees.

However, a spokesperson for Robert Mueller said the “appropriate criminal process” had been followed.

Robert Mueller is investigating allegations of collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

Kory Langhofer works for the Trump for America (TFA) group. It used the facilities, including email hosting, of a government agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), in the period between Donald Trump’s election in November 2016 and inauguration in January.

In his letter, Kory Langhofer, says GSA staff “unlawfully produced TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications, to the special counsel’s office”.

The GSA, he complains, “did not own or control the records in question” and the constitutional rights of transition officials were violated.

Kory Langhofer goes on to ask Congress to act to protect future presidential transitions from having “private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives”.

The emails obtained reportedly involve 13 Trump transition officials, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI earlier this month.

A spokesperson for Robert Mueller said they had done nothing wrong.

“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” Peter Carr said.

Image source Wikimedia

Robert Mueller Investigation: Michael Flynn Admits Making False Statements to FBI

Robert Mueller Investigation: Donald Trump’s Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Lied About Russia Links

Russia Election Hacking: First Charges Filed in Robert Mueller’s Investigation

GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt has denied another of Kory Langhofer’s accusations that the GSA assured that requests for Trump transition records would go through the group’s lawyers.

He told BuzzFeed that the transition group knew materials would have to be provided to law enforcement “therefore, no expectation of privacy can be assumed”.

Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell tweeted that the accusations were “another attempt to discredit Mueller as his #TrumpRussia probe tightens”.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to tip the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump – a charge denied by both Moscow and the president.

President Trump has called Robert Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” while other Republicans accuse it of bias.

Michael Flynn became the most senior Trump official to be charged as part of the invetigation after admitting making false statements to the FBI about meetings with Russia’s ambassador.

Another ex-aide, George Papadopoulos, has also pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents.

In October, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his business associate Rick Gates were accused of conspiring to defraud the US in dealings with Ukraine. Both deny the charges, which center on relations with a former Ukrainian president who was very close to Russia.

On December 15, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, said he feared Republican members wanted to shut down their own investigation.

According to media reports, President Trump’s private lawyers are expected to meet Robert Mueller and members of his team next week to discuss the next phases of the inquiry.

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President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about meetings with the Russian ambassador weeks before Trump became president.

The charges were brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as part of his inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Michael Flynn is the most senior member of the administration to be indicted.

He also revealed he was co-operating with Robert Mueller’s inquiry.

Significantly, a statement made by Michael Flynn to prosecutors appears to implicate a more senior, though unnamed, Trump team official – indicating the direction in which Robert Mueller’s investigation may be heading.

Media outlets, including NBC News, Bloomberg and the Washington Post, said the senior official is Jared Kushner – Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law.

Appearing in a federal court in Washington DC, Michael Flynn admitted to one count of knowingly making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements”.

According to an AFP reporter in court, the judge accepted Michael Flynn’s guilty plea and said he would not face trial.

Michael Flynn then issued a statement in which he said: “I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.”

He said his plea and co-operation deal “reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country”.

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Michael Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant-general, is unlikely to serve more than six months in prison.

The White House issued a statement saying that “nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn”. A presidential appearance in front of reporters was then canceled.

As Michael Flynn was escorted from court by FBI agents, a handful of protesters shouted “criminal” and “lock him up”, echoing a chant he led against Hillary Clinton during the GOP convention in 2016.

Michael Flynn was forced to resign 23 days into his job in February, a month after he was questioned by the FBI for misleading the White House about meeting then Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition period, before Donald Trump took office.

Then, just over a week ago, media said his legal team had told the president’s lawyers they could no longer discuss the case, prompting suggestions that he had begun co-operating with prosecutors.

It is not clear why he did not tell the truth to investigators. However, it is illegal for a private US citizen, as Michael Flynn was during the transition, to conduct foreign affairs without the permission or involvement of the US government.

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Donald Trump’s election campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of meetings with alleged go-betweens for Russia.

He admitted the talks happened while he worked for Donald Trump, not before, court papers show.

George Papadopoulos said he had been told the Russians possessed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

The charges are the first to be brought by Robert Mueller, the  former FBI director now special counsel investigating alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Both sides deny any collusion.

Earlier it emerged that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had been charged with tax fraud in an unrelated case stemming from the Mueller investigation.

The 12 charges brought against Paul Manafort and one of his business associates, Rick Gates, include conspiracy to launder money.

They do not relate to Donald Trump’s campaign but to the pair’s Ukrainian business dealings up to 2015.

According to analysts, the case has the potential to damage President Trump because it relates directly to his campaign.

George Papadopoulos – a Chicago-based international energy lawyer – was close enough to then-candidate Trump to be part of a photograph of his national security team which Donald Trump tweeted on April 1, 2016.

Image source Twitter

Russia Election Hacking: First Charges Filed in Robert Mueller’s Investigation

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According to the court documents, George Papadopoulos admitted on October 5, 2017, to having impeded the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion with Russia.

When he was interviewed by the FBI this January, George Papadopoulos falsely claimed that he had met two figures with Russian connections before joining the Trump campaign in March 2016. In fact, the former foreign policy adviser met them after joining the campaign.

One was an unnamed Russian woman who, George Papadopoulos believed, had connections to Russian government officials.

He admitted seeking to use her connections in an effort to arrange a meeting “between the Campaign and Russian government officials”.

The other person was an unnamed, London-based professor who was said to have “substantial connections to Russian government officials”.

The professor only took an interest in George Papadopoulos because of his status within the Trump campaign, the statement says.

Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, in the form of “thousands of emails”, was allegedly mentioned by the professor at a breakfast meeting in a London hotel on or around April 26, 2016.

The professor said he had been informed about the compromising emails when he met senior Russian government officials on a recent trip to Moscow.

President Trump aides have said George Papadopoulos played a limited role in the campaign and had no access to Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports.