(CNN) — In a defiant CNN interview, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg said Monday he refuses to comply with a grand jury subpoena in the Russia investigation.
“Screw that,” Nunberg told CNN’s Gloria Borger. “Why do I have to go? Why? For what?”
But Nunberg said that he is not refusing to comply in order to protect President Donald Trump.
“No I’m not protecting him, but he didn’t do anything,” Nunberg said. “You know what he did? He won the election.”
Nunberg added that he had already sat down with investigators for close to five and a half hours.
“I’m not going back in,” he said.
Nunberg said he was refusing to cooperate with the subpoena because he believes investigators are trying to get him to impugn controversial Trump ally Roger Stone, who Nunberg called his mentor.
“They want me to testify against Roger,” Nunberg said. “They want me to say that Roger was going around telling people he was colluding with Julian Assange.”
Stone denied wrongdoing in a statement provided to CNN.
“I was briefly part of the Trump campaign and has [sic] been the President’s friend and adviser for decades; and would expect that Mueller’s team would at some point ask for any documents or emails sent or written by me. But let me reiterate, I have no knowledge or involvement in Russian Collusion [sic] or any other inappropriate act,” Stone’s statement read.
The Washington Post said Nunberg provided the paper with an apparent copy of a subpoena seeking documents related to President Donald Trump and nine others, and that Nunberg said he was asked to appear before the grand jury in Washington on Friday.
“Let him arrest me,” Nunberg said in an interview with The Post. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday.”
The Trump campaign fired Nunberg in August 2015 after a series of racist Facebook posts came to light, and Nunberg indicated in interviews Monday there was still bad blood between the President and him but that he did not want to spend time cooperating with the investigation and Trump is right to call the probe a “witch hunt.”
“They want me to come in to a grand jury for them to insinuate that Roger Stone was colluding with Julian Assange,” Nunberg said on MSNBC, referencing Stone, a controversial Trump ally, and Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
He continued, “Roger was my mentor. Roger is like family to me. I’m not going to do it.”
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Justice Department Preparing For Mueller Report As Early As Next Week: CNN
Washington (CNN) Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans.
The preparations are the clearest indication yet that Mueller is nearly done with his almost two-year investigation.
The scope and contours of what Barr will send to Congress remain unclear. Also unclear is how long it will take Justice officials to prepare what will be submitted to lawmakers.
But with President Donald Trump soon to travel overseas for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Justice officials are mindful of not interfering with the White House’s diplomatic efforts, which could impact the timing.
Barr has said that he wants to be as “transparent” as possible with Congress and the public, “consistent with the rules and the law.”
Under the special counsel regulations, Mueller must submit a “confidential” report to the attorney general at the conclusion of his work, but the rules don’t require it to be shared with Congress, or by extension, the public. And, as Barr has made clear, the Justice Department generally guards against publicizing “derogatory” information about uncharged individuals.
As a result, one of the most pressing questions Barr will face in the coming weeks is the extent to which Mueller’s findings should be disclosed to Congress.
The regulations require Mueller to explain in his report all decisions to prosecute or not prosecute matters under scrutiny. Barr would also need to inform Congress if the Justice Department prevented the special counsel team from pursuing any investigative steps.
Speculation about the end of the probe has been running rampant in Washington. NBC News reported recently the probe would be done by mid-February.
Life After Mueller
While the Mueller investigation may soon come to a close, there continue to be court cases that will be handled by other federal prosecutors.
In addition, Mueller has referred certain matters that fell outside the scope of the Russia probe to other US Attorneys to pursue. Some of those investigations have already been revealed, including the investigation in New York into former Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. That probe has spawned subsequent federal investigations in New York into the Trump Organization and the Trump Inaugural Committee. It is possible the special counsel’s team has referred other matters that have not yet come to light.
For close watchers of the federal courthouse and the Mueller team, small changes have added up in recent weeks.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week, special counsel’s office employees carried boxes and pushed a cart full of files out of their office — an unusual move that could foreshadow a hand-off of legal work.
At the same time, the Mueller prosecutors’ workload appears to be dwindling. Four of Mueller’s 17 prosecutors have ended their tenures with the office, with most returning to other roles in the Justice Department.
And the grand jury that Mueller’s prosecutors used to return indictments of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and several Russians hasn’t apparently convened since January 24 the day it approved the criminal charges against Stone.
Even with these signs of a wrap up, the DC US Attorney’s office has stepped in to work on cases that may continue longer than Mueller is the special counsel.
That office has joined onto some of the Mueller’s team’s casework, including the cases against Stone, a Russian social media propaganda conspiracy, and in an ongoing foreign government-owned company’s fight against a grand jury subpoena.
Mueller and his prosecutors are still reporting to work as frequently as ever — with some even coming in on recent snow days and Presidents’ Day. But also visiting them more often than ever before are the prosecutors from the DC US Attorney’s Office and others in the Justice Department who’ve worked on the Mueller cases.
In one court case, against Concord Management for its alleged support for the social media conspiracy prosecutors told a judge in January there’s still a related “matter occurring before the grand jury.”
In other cases, including Manafort’s, the Mueller team has made heavy redactions to its recent public court filings, including to protect pending investigations and people who haven’t been charged with crimes.
Judge Delays Michael Cohen Prison Sentence, Sentence Will Now Begin May 6th
WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen will now report to federal prison on May 6 after a judge granted him a two-month delay to allow him to recover from a surgical procedure, according to a court filing on Wednesday.
Cohen’s lawyers asked for a 60-day extension in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley to allow Cohen to undergo “intensive post-surgical physical therapy” and to prepare for testimony before three congressional committees.
While the procedure was not disclosed, Cohen recently had surgery on his shoulder, a person familiar with the matter said.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who are handling his criminal case, approved of the two-month delay, the letter said.
Cohen is due to testify in the coming weeks before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee in a public hearing, and before the Senate and House intelligence committees in closed sessions.
Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election. (Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Nathan Layne in New York Editing by James Dalgleish)
FBI Had Backup Plan To Save Russia Probe Evidence After Firing of FBI Director James Comey
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI developed a backup plan to protect evidence in its Russia investigation soon after the firing of FBI Director James Comey in the event that other senior officials were dismissed as well, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.
The plan was crafted in the chaotic days after Comey was fired, when the FBI began investigating whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice and whether he might be, wittingly or not, in league with the Russians. The goal was to ensure that the information collected under the investigations, which included probes of Trump associates and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, would survive the firings or reassignments of top law enforcement officials. Those officials included special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed eight days after Trump fired Comey in May 2017.
Andrew McCabe, who became acting director after Comey was fired, asked investigators to develop a plan to ensure evidence would be protected, said the person, who was not authorized to talk about those discussions publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press. A plan was then created, according to the person, who would not provide specifics. A second person familiar with the talks, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the FBI discussed preserving evidence so that it would outlast any firing or effort to stymie the investigation.
A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment Tuesday.
McCabe hinted at that anxiety in an interview that aired Sunday with CBS News’s “60 Minutes,” saying he met with investigators after Comey’s firing.
“I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion,” McCabe said. “That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace.”
He added, “I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they made that decision.”
Trump has repeatedly decried the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” and has suggested that investigators themselves should be investigated. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced out last year amid the president’s anger over his recusal from the Russia investigation.
McCabe himself was fired last year after the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that he had misled officials about his role in a news media disclosure. McCabe has denied the allegations, described his firing as politically motivated and, in a series of interviews this week, has said he plans to sue the Justice Department over it.
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