“the rigged witch hunt” has produced a lot of damn witches

George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Richard Pinedo, Alex van der Zwaan, Konstantin Kilimnik, Not shown: (12 Russian GRU officers 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies),

Meanwhile, Dan Coats, current Director of National Intelligence, warned of a pre-9/11-style. He said “warning lights are blinking red again” over the threat of cyber attack.

“These actions are persistent, they’re pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not,” Coats said at the Hudson Institute. With respect to the midterms, he added: “We are just one click of the keyboard away from a similar situation repeating itself.”

Hey Trumpies what if Russia decides it can get more bang for its destabilizing buck by backing the Democrats this time?

Not to be outdone the House Freedom Coven will start its own witch hunt

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the target of an impeachment effort being undertaken by conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to Politico.

U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio (yes the wrestling coach), both members of the House Freedom Caucus, are said to be leading the effort and could submit an impeachment filing in the next few days.

This is classic coven type guilty behavior

 

 

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Losing the American constitutional republic

We’re “on the cusp” of “losing the American constitutional republic forever”

Malcolm Nance on Former intelligence officer turned author says Putin is Trump’s “handler” and we’re in a “Benedict Arnold moment”

 

The crisis that has befallen America under Donald Trump’s presidency is not ripped from the pages of a John le Carré or Jason Matthews spy novel. It is all too real.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has unanimously endorsed the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election, with the goal of electing Donald Trump and undermining American democracy.

Former CIA director John Brennan agrees that Vladimir Putin commanded his spies and other agents to assist Donald Trump so that he would defeat Hillary Clinton. Brennan also believes that Putin may be blackmailing Trump as a means of forcing the president to do his bidding.

Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted numerous people in connection with Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and related criminal behavior.

Trump openly encouraged Putin and his agents to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Trump continues to publicly praise Putin and make excuses for his apparent efforts to subvert American democracy. Trump now plans to meet privately with Putin later this month. It has been reported that no American advisers or other observers will attend these meetings.

If what now seems apparent is indeed true, Putin has successfully conducted one of the greatest covert operations in modern history. He and his agents have undermined the United States’ standing in the world and apparently now control a president, the Republican Party, and tens of millions of Americans who have embraced authoritarianism and betrayed their own country’s democratic values and institutions.

How was Russia able to accomplish this? Is Donald Trump actively working for Vladimir Putin and Russia, or is he just a “useful idiot”? What social cleavages did Russia exploit in order to do so much damage to the United States? How does Russia’s support of Trump and American fascism fit into a much larger global plan?

In an effort to answer these questions, I recently spoke with Malcolm Nance, a career intelligence and counterterrorism officer for the United States government. In his more than three decades working in that capacity, Nance served with U.S. Special Operations forces, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. He has worked in the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A frequent guest contributor on MSNBC, Nance has authored several books, including the bestselling “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.”

Nance’s new book is “The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West.” This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. A longer version can be heard on my podcast.

It has been about a year since we last spoke about President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election. At this point, are matters better, worse or about what you expected in terms of how Trump is behaving and his impact on the country?

Things are happening as expected. But who would have thought that Donald Trump would be feeling so much pressure about being caught working with the Russians that he would feel the need to start paying them off so greatly? Trump is now warning that he may eliminate or downgrade NATO.

It’s just insane. We created NATO. It was a United States invention for the collective security of Europe. It has been a Russian desire since 1947 to break up NATO. Trump also wants to remove the United States from the World Trade Organization. He is doing this all before his summit meeting with Putin.

But in some ways Donald Trump is way worse than I thought he would be at this point. He is acting like a guy who has to rob a bank to pay off the Colombian drug lord. Every day that he wakes up alive is like a blessing. This is the level of debt and peril that I think Donald Trump is in — that he would literally take a sledgehammer to everything the United States has built in an effort to save himself.

Donald Trump is acting like Putin’s vassal. The public evidence that Trump and his inner circle colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election is overwhelming. Yet Trump’s voters, the Republican Party and the right-wing news media keep denying the facts.

Putin is his handler. There are too many people who keep saying that they are “sick of hearing about Russia.” These people refuse to acknowledge the evidence. There is a national counterintelligence investigation targeting the White House. The president and all of his staff are implicated.

We have Michael Flynn, the [former] national security adviser to the president, pleading guilty to lying to the FBI because he covered up secret contacts with a foreign government and lied about it when confronted with the facts. The evidence is now in the realm of the Justice Department, and they’re not going to just come out and give it to you. This is what all these Republican congressmen are trying to do. For example, Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy. They’re trying to get the evidence so that they can use it to try to exonerate Donald Trump.

This is obstruction of justice on a grand scale. I suspect that when it’s all said and done and the sum total of the evidence comes out, it’ll be overwhelming and undeniable. As I told you last year, we’re entering a Benedict Arnold moment in American history. Robert Mueller is not playing games here. He cannot accelerate things because Donald Trump is taking a sledgehammer to government, although I’m certain he will accelerate things in order to make sure that justice is served. There will be more indictments, some of them very high profile. For example, Jared Kushner lied when he was asked about using Russian secret communications in an effort to hide his communications with Russia from the NSA and CIA.

Where is the mass protest and outrage among the American people? There should be massive protests and marches that disrupt day-to-day life. Is this passivity and perhaps exhaustion also part of Russia and Putin’s psy-op against the American people?

I think they chose their asset well. Donald Trump knows how to play this game. He understands that his only salvation is to manipulate the public. He doesn’t care if he destroys the fundamental infrastructure of the FBI. He has Rudy Giuliani telling him the good guys are the average field officers and the leadership needs to be completely redone because Trump wants to control the Justice Department. This is Trump’s way of obstructing justice and expanding his power.

Republicans are so taken by and loyal to Trump that they will believe and do anything he says. A good example of that is the Harley-Davidson factory and the nail factory that were shut down or may go away due to his tariffs. There have been interviews with people who said, “Well, we know it’s going to affect us firstly, but if Donald Trump says it’s for the best, then OK.” That’s cultism. Lo and behold, they actually say, “Well, Donald Trump didn’t do that. That’s the Europeans or that’s the liberals or that’s the Democrats that made me lose my job.”

We’re entering a very dangerous period in American history. It is terrifying. I was rereading my book last weekend, and I really had no idea that putting all of this together in one solid package would lead to the conclusion that there is, in fact, a plot. The Russians have a plan and a strategy. They have been executing the strategy for 15 years, by finding Donald Trump and building him up as a character and fostering his betrayal of the United States of America. They clearly set out to destroy American democracy and Donald Trump is the man to do it. We are, as of this November, on the cusp of possibly losing the American constitutional republic forever.

The Russians have been doing this in Europe with ultra-right-wing groups, fascist groups and others that have their origins with the Nazis. The Russians aren’t Communist anymore. They are ultra-conservative Christian nationalists.

Their goal is to use democracy to destroy democracy. You want to get rid of democracy, have an election. But this is an election where they vote away your rights. This is an election where you lose to voter suppression and aid from a foreign power. But at the end of that loss, these enemies of real democracy then say, “Oh, no. It was all fair and square.” The Republicans want an autocracy where the rights of minorities and others are not protected. Vladimir Putin, with Donald Trump and with the European conservative movements, are building an axis of autocracies, and the United States is on the relatively quick road to becoming an autocracy and no longer a constitutional republic.

Were American conservatives particularly vulnerable to being manipulated because they are anti-intellectual and already predisposed towards authoritarianism? Or was the Russian plan just that masterful and devious?

The Russians watch very carefully. We have to recognize their president is a former career KGB officer. The goals of Russia since 1917 have been to destroy capitalism, discredit democracy and show that Communist collectivism was the greatest social and political system in the world.

The Russians realized that the American right wing, with its hatred of Barack Obama, was a natural ally. So the Russians went about co-opting these right-wingers. I call them the “American beachhead.” Since 2005, the Russians have been hammering almost every conservative political movement in Europe — they are now funded by Moscow, particularly the neo-Nazi and the fascist ones.

The Russians really invest in these organizations because their goal is to create autocracies. To re-engineer the world away from a Washington-centric European alliance to a Moscow-centric, autocratic one.

Steve Bannon was just in Europe speaking to right-wing and fascist groups, telling them to be proud of being called racists. Trump’s former adviser Sebastian Gorka actually wore a literal medal that was awarded by a Hungarian group allied with the Nazis.

In my book I call Steve Bannon “the American Goebbels.” He is the evangelist of the American “alt-right.” In Europe there are groups such as Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), which is the rabid anti-foreigner movement in Germany who got power through the AFD (Alternative für Deutschland), and went from something like 3 percent of the polls last year to now being the second-largest party in Germany with 30 percent of the vote.

Trump is pretty much riding a high wave with 40 or so percent support. Hitler won with 37 percent. Bannon was just in Europe meeting with the Hungarian government and the Jobbik Party. Bannon also went to meet with the Five Star Movement in Italy whose foreign minister, Matteo Salvini, just threatened to deport and put on trains all of the Roma people — the “gypsies” — in Italy. The last guy who put the Roma out of a country and rounded them up on trains was Adolf Hitler, and he sent them straight to Auschwitz.

So this is really dangerous talk that’s going on in Europe. We may be one or two elections in Europe from seeing the complete collapse of the European order that we established at the end of World War II.

In effect, Trump’s immigration policy amounted to putting the families of black and brown refugees in concentration camps. The United States has withdrawn from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. How do these images of crying babies and broken families help Vladimir Putin’s plot against America?

This all works out for the Russians. First, note how the Russians have now shifted. Remember, last year they were starting to criticize Trump by saying that he had been consumed by the swamp. Now it is all completely reversed. Trump is a strong leader. Trump is closing his borders. Middle East and African immigration into Europe is the No. 1 platform for European conservatives. Trump is the Johnny-come-lately to the story. So Trump saying the same is a double thumbs-up for the Russians and their strategy of inciting nativism and racism and chaos.

Trump has been on Fox News and elsewhere joking about Putin and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Is he a “useful idiot” for Putin’s spies? Or is Trump actually afraid of being caught by Robert Mueller and his behavior reflects that? Either way, he is acting like a guilty person.

[I’ve] certainly been pretty vocal on this point. “Useful idiot” is a technical term. It’s a person who is an unwilling dupe, who through their own actions helps your cause. I think Trump started out as a useful idiot when it came to selling apartments and getting money from Russians who were liquidating their assets from the Soviet Union. I think he then became a willing asset when they started using him when he wanted to run for president. Trump knows everything is being done in his benefit. He is one step from being an agent. We may find out with Donald Trump that is the case. Who knows?

There are multiple examples of Trump and his confidants meeting with Russian representatives in private without American translators or media present. Trump will meet with Putin again in a few weeks. Again, this conversation will be private. How unusual is this?

It’s extremely unusual, and people that should know better, like Gen. [John] Kelly, are not alarmed. They think this is just Trump’s way of doing things. But Trump meeting Putin in private is like him going in for his quarterly evaluation. I would not doubt if it actually comes out to effectively be that. As I said, I think this nation is in a Benedict Arnold moment.

Moreover, I think that there will be multiple Benedict Arnolds in the story. No other president would ever do this. No other president would be allowed to do this. Trump is getting away with this behavior because he has cowed the Republican Party with fear that they’ll be put out of office by his cult members. There is nothing Trump cannot do at this point.

Matters are very dire. I think this “blue wave” in the midterms is much exaggerated. Trump will win in 2020 — if he runs again — for a variety of reasons. What will America look like if Trump continues to get his way in terms of serving Putin’s and Russia’s interests, rather than those of the United States and the American people?

You will not recognize the United States. The country will vote itself into an autocracy. Trump and the Republican Party will suspend parts of America’s representative democracy. They will amend the Constitution. And America will see 65 percent of its people living under subjugation. Now, I don’t say that lightly. That’s an intelligence analysis based on the empirical data. I say that with experience honed with humility. Donald Trump makes no secret of his desires in that regard. His biggest problem has been democracy. I disagree with you, however, on one point. I do believe there will be a “blue wave.”

The problem with the progressives and liberals right now is that they are still treating this situation like we are in a state of normalcy.

Vladimir Putin actually warned that if Trump wins, he has to be careful of an American backlash like the one that swept the pro-Moscow government out of power in the Ukraine. He’s terrified of democracy. He’s terrified of people power. That’s my message. We have got to mobilize.

 

It has to be made clear that American democracy may go away this November, because if the Democrats don’t win the House of Representatives, it’s done. Trump will get whatever he wants. I don’t think he will win in 2020, because at that point I hope a hero will emerge.

Michael Moore recently said that the American people must be prepared to die to stop Trump’s authoritarian and fascist movement. Do you think Moore is just being hyperbolic? Or is he correct?

I think he’s a little hyperbolic. Look, when the “alt-right” killed Heather Heyer, the response from law enforcement has essentially run the “alt-right” underground. They had no idea that punching Nazis is a pretty deep-seated American value.

What would you tell people who are terrified or afraid of Trump and what he is doing to America? What advice would you give them?

I get those types of questions every day. The first thing I tell people is: “Stand fast. We will win this.” You have to understand that we are not up against one man. We are up against 40 percent of the American public who don’t understand what’s going on because they only believe Donald Trump. What we must do now is commit ourselves to the American democratic experiment and the best spirit of the founding.

If we turn out this year like it was a presidential election year, then we will win in a phenomenal landslide. You must vote like your life depends on it, because it could, if you’re a woman that might need an abortion. It could, if you’re a Latino. It could, if you’re a young black man where shootings can now essentially be written off with a rubber stamp.

When this nation was built out of my city, Philadelphia, the odds were simple. They win or they hang. And now it’s simple again. We win or we lose American democracy. We lose it forever, and I don’t think we’ll come back from autocracy.

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/09/malcolm-nance-on-trump-were-on-the-cusp-of-losing-the-american-constitutional-republic-forever/

blob:https://www.msnbc.com/850e6536-2871-46ee-8c68-52d92ace0d18

 

Has Trump been a russian asset since 1987?

A vast web of conspiracy

The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory. A minority of analysts, mostly but not exclusively on the right, have promoted aggressively exculpatory interpretations of the known facts, in which every suspicious piece of evidence turns out to have a surprisingly innocent explanation. And it is possible, though unlikely, that every trail between Trump Tower and the Kremlin extends no farther than its point of current visibility.

Read this very plausible description of the conspiracy here:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-putin-russia-collusion.html

Former DNI James Clapper has “no doubt” that Russia “swung the election to a Trump win.”

 

The Kremlin talked about Trump like he was their boy, and their comments weren’t always flattering.

The truth is, NSA understood quite a bit about Trump’s connections to Moscow, and by mid-2016 it had increased its efforts to get to the bottom of the mystery regarding the candidate’s Russian ties. In response to urgent FBI requests for more information, NSA rose to the occasion, and by the time that Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination in mid-July 2016, “We knew we had a Russian agent on our hands,” as a senior NSA official put it recently.

The official went on: “We had several reports in late 2015 and early 2016, mostly from Second and Third Parties”—that being spy-speak for NSA’s foreign friends—“but by the spring of 2016 we had plenty of our own collection.” These reports, based on multiple intercepts, were tightly compartmented, that is, restricted to a small group of counterintelligence officials, given their obvious sensitivity, but they painted an indelible picture of a compromised GOP nominee. “The Kremlin talked about Trump like he was their boy, and their comments weren’t always flattering.” The NSA official stated that those above-top-secret reports left no doubt that the Russians were subverting our democracy in 2016—and that Team Trump was a witting participant in the Kremlin’s criminal conspiracy: “Trump and his kids knew what they were doing, and who they were doing it with,” the official explained.

This information helps explain why James Clapper, our country’s most experienced spy-boss, recently amplified his previous statement that our president was Vladimir Putin’s “asset” by explaining that he has “no doubt” that Russian spies “swung the election to a Trump win.” This weekend, Clapper stated that he was “absolutely” unaware of the FBI’s use of informants to gain information about the Trump campaign in 2016. Tellingly, Clapper said nothing about top-secret-plus intelligence which might have spurred the Bureau to rustle up some informants in this case—and, like any veteran spook with a half-century in the spy business, Clapper isn’t likely to blab about high-grade SIGINT anytime soon, particularly when it implicates the president in espionage and worse.

Edited from – https://observer.com/2018/05/what-did-the-fbi-do-in-2016-about-russian-connections-to-donald-trump/

Forget about impeachment.

It’s time to put Trump on trial for money laundering, bank fraud, espionage and treason.

Trump completely wimps out again and throws US Ambassador Nikki Haley under the bus

Thanks sir, I’ll have another!

On Sunday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced that the Treasury Department would be rolling out tough new sanctions against Russia on Monday as punishment for its continued support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

But not 24 hours later, the White House threw Haley under the bus with a clear, contradictory message: Not so fast.

“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Sources familiar with the sanctions rollout process described a chaotic back-and-forth as lawmakers and staffers were struggling to figure out what Haley was exactly referring to. It was unlikely that Haley, who has been lauded by lawmakers from both parties for her tough anti-Kremlin positions, would have misspoken so egregiously if a sanctions regime was not already in the works.

Trump on Monday has now reneged on the preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as “international economic raiding.”

Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley had said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

After this announcement, Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Administration officials said Monday it was highly unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without at least another triggering event by Russia.

Sometime after Haley’s comments on CBS, the Trump administration notified the Russian Embassy in Washington that the sanctions were not in fact coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

The Trump team decided to publicly characterize Haley’s announcement as a misstatement but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday: “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”

An official at White House tried to spin the news as Haley got ahead of herself and made “an error that needs to be mopped up.”

But other administration officials expressed serious skepticism that Haley had merely misspoken. They said Haley is one of the most disciplined and cautious members of the Cabinet, especially when it comes to her public appearances. She regularly checks in with Trump personally to go over her planned statements before she sits for television interviews.

Haley issued no clarifying statement on Sunday after news organizations, including The Washington Post, reported prominently that the new sanctions would be announced Monday based on her comments to CBS.

Asked Monday morning why it had taken 24 hours for the administration to walk back Haley’s comments, one White House official said only that there had been confusion internally about what the plan was.

White House officials said Trump has been impressed with Haley lately, particularly her remarks about Syria over the past week, and stressed Monday that the president holds her in high regard.

In the absence of a permanent secretary of state, Haley has been the face of American diplomacy, playing an especially prominent role over the past week as the Trump administration responded to the attack in Syria.

Haley said Sunday on CBS: “You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already. And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it.”

The Russians were listening. After Haley’s comments, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that the sanctions were a U.S. ploy to oust Russia from international markets and constituted “undisguised attempts of unfair competition.”

Sources: Daily Beast and Washington Post

Trump’s house of lies, lies and more lies

Blackwater founder Erik Prince got caught lying

Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained evidence that suggests Blackwater founder Erik Prince lied to Congress about his meeting in Seychelles with a Russian financier close to Vladimir Putin.

Prince, a campaign adviser to Donald Trump and brother of education secretary Betsy DeVos, told lawmakers that he ran into Russian sovereign wealth fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev by chance at a bar, but Mueller now has evidence that calls that into question, reported ABC News.

According to his congressional testimony, Prince says he was introduced to Dmitriev by a brother of United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nayhan, who said the Russian financier was also involved in oil, gas and mineral exploration.

“So, as I recall, I met him, this same guy I talked about, Kirill Dmitriev,” Prince testified. “Met him down in the bar after dinner, and we talked for 30 minutes over a beer, and that was it.”

However, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader told Mueller a different story after the special counsel granted him limited immunity.

Nader, who has been arrested twice in the U.S. and convicted once for possession of child pornography, has been interviewed seven times by prosecutors in the Russia probe on a wide variety of subjects, ABC reported.

The naturalized U.S. citizen told investigators he set up the Seychelles meeting between Prince and Dmitriev, and he told the Trump associate that the Russian financier had been appointed by president Vladimir Putin to oversee the state-run sovereign wealth fund.

Nader, who worked at the time for the UAE leader, said he personally facilitated and attended the meeting between Prince and Dmitriev at a resort owned by the crown prince.

He told Mueller that one of the primary goals of the meeting was to set up a line of communication between the Kremlin and the incoming Trump administration, sources told ABC News.

Prince did not mention Nader, who once represented Blackwater in Iraq, to congressional investigators — even after he was asked to list anyone present at his meeting with the Russian financier.

He told lawmakers no one had been present but him, Dmitriev and Dmitriev’s wife, who he said left after a few minutes while they discussed terrorism and oil prices.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/04/mueller-evidence-blackwater-founder-erik-prince-lied-congress-secret-meeting-russian-banker-report/

The latest news on Trumps crime family and their contacts with GRU – Russian Military intelligence

Former Trump campaign aide was in contact with a person who the FBI believed had ties to Russian intelligence during the run-up to the 2016 election, according to new court documents filed Wednesday by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The contact, identified in court documents as “Person A,” and Gates were “directly communicating” in September and October prior to the election, prosecutors asserted in court documents.

Gates has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI and has promised to assist Mueller’s continuing probe into Russia’s interference in the election.

The contacts were disclosed in court documents filed in a related case involving the sentencing of a Dutch attorney who pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI about his work for Gates and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Prosecutors claim that the attorney, Alex Van Der Zwaan, knew about the person’s ties to Russian intelligence.

Outstanding question: Was Manafort working directly for the Russian Government on assignment to the Trump campaign?

“Gates told him ‘Person A’ was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU (the intelligence arm of the Russian military),” the court documents state.

Pardon talk for crime family members

 

The New York Times reported that President Trump’s former lead attorney, John Dowd, last summer engaged in discussions about possible pardons for Manafort and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn as Mueller’s prosecutors were building criminal cases against the two.

Manafort was indicted along with Gates on conspiracy and money laundering charges in Washington, D.C. He faces related bank fraud charges in an Alexandria, Va., federal court. Both cases were brought by Mueller’s prosecutors and Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

Flynn, meanwhile, pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks before Trump took office. And he is also cooperating with Mueller’s continuing investigation.

Dowd, who resigned as Trump’s lead attorney last week, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said pardons had not been discussed, referring to deputy White House counsel Ty Cobb’s statement: “I have only been asked about pardons by the press.”

Jay Sekulow, the president’s current lead attorney, said he did not take part in any such discussions.

“Never during the course of my representation of the president have I had any discussions of pardons of any individuals involved in this inquiry,” Sekulow said in a statement.

Rob Kelner, Flynn’s attorney, declined comment Wednesday. Reginald Brown, who represented Manafort last summer, was traveling Wednesday and not immediately available for comment.

Last July, when initial reports surfaced that the president and advisers were exploring Trump’s authority to grant pardons, Dowd flatly denied the account then reported by the Washington Post.

At the time, the report indicated that president and advisers were specifically researching Trump’s authority to pardon members of his family, and possibly himself, related to the Russia inquiry.

original story from –  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/28/robert-mueller-trump-campaign-deputy-rick-gates-contacted-russian-intelligence-source