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Opinion Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation is a year old. Too soon to 'wrap it up.'

18:31  17 may  2018
18:31  17 may  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

Pence says it’s time for special counsel to ‘wrap up’ Russia investigation

  Pence says it’s time for special counsel to ‘wrap up’ Russia investigation The vice president said it would be “in the interest the country” for the probe to conclude.Pence’s remarks echoed calls by President Trump and his lawyers, who have argued that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and that Mueller is now seeking to trap Trump into committing perjury about his actions related to the investigation.

Too soon to ' wrap it up .' Donald Trump proxies like Pence, Giuliani and Kelly want to kill Robert Mueller ' s Russia investigation . But it 's moving rapidly and producing results.

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Robert Mueller wearing a suit and tie standing next to a window: n this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs the Capitol after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election and possible connection to the Trump campaign in Washington.© J. Scott Applewhite, AP n this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs the Capitol after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election and possible connection to the Trump campaign in Washington.

On the anniversary of Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel and the kickoff of his investigation into Russian election interference, we see a repeated theme coming from President Trump and his surrogates.

"In the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up," Vice President Pence told NBC News last week. "And I would very respectfully encourage the Special Counsel and his team to bring their work to completion,” he added.

Kelly: Trump 'embarrassed' by Russia probe

  Kelly: Trump 'embarrassed' by Russia probe White House chief of staff John Kelly says in a new interview that President Trump is "somewhat embarrassed" by the investigation into Russia's attempts to meddle in the 2016 election.Kelly told NPR that the subject tends to come up in Trump's conversations with foreign leaders, saying while the long-running investigation "may not be a cloud" hanging over the presidency, "the president is, you know, somewhat embarrassed, frankly.

" Wrap it up " advocates can point to a slight uptick in Trump ' s approval ratings, and a downtick in public support for the investigation . They seem to think that if Mueller doesn't close up shop soon in response to political pressure, Trump ' s position is strong enough that he could put an end to it

This article is over 3 months old . Andrea Mitchell of NBC asked Pence if he thought the investigation was a “hoax”, borrowing a term Trump has repeatedly used to describe Mueller ’ s inquiry. “In the interests of the country, I think it ’s time to wrap it up .

One day later, Chief of Staff John Kelly suggested to NPR that the Mueller probe had gone on too long and there was "nothing there."

And then there are the brazen remarks of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s new “TV lawyer,” who called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop both the Mueller probe and the investigation into Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer and known fixer.

As Trump’s surrogates call for the Mueller investigation to end, Republican Reps. Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan are misusing their offices to thwart it. They have irresponsibly requested documents from the Justice Department that longstanding policies make clear cannot be revealed in the middle of a criminal investigation.

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Mueller Is Investigating Donations To Trump’s Inauguration

  Mueller Is Investigating Donations To Trump’s Inauguration Probe heads in a new directionMueller’s investigators have questioned several witnesses about millions of dollars in contributions from donors with links to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to ABC News.

Nearly a year since his appointment as special counsel, Robert Mueller has accelerated the pace of his investigation . Add up the four above points and it seems clear that Mueller might actually be relatively close to wrapping up the investigation .

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Nevertheless, these House members have threatened Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the ultimate decider in the investigation, with impeachment and contempt of Congress if they do not get the documents. In doing so, Nunes, Meadows and Jordan are laying the groundwork for Trump to fire Rosenstein if Trump decides to replace Rosenstein with a Trump loyalist.

The arguments being made by these Trump proxies are groundless.

In contrast to the regular pace of a Justice investigation, the Mueller probe is moving along very quickly. Even Trump’s close friend, Newsmax chief executive Christopher Ruddy, has publicly recognized that. As Ruddy said on May 14, “This has moved at a lightning speed. They’re not messing around. They’re going very quickly.”

The tangible results that Mueller is producing also cannot be ignored.

Mueller's office files unredacted memo outlining scope of Russia probe-filing

  Mueller's office files unredacted memo outlining scope of Russia probe-filing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office notified a federal court in Virginia on Thursday it had filed under seal an unredacted memorandum that is expected to shed light on the scope of his wide-ranging probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.WASHINGTON, May 17 (Reuters) - Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office notified a federal court in Virginia on Thursday it had filed under seal an unredacted memorandum that is expected to shed light on the scope of his wide-ranging probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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The Watergate scandals, which prompted congressional investigations and a special prosecutor, played out over more than two years and only came to an end when President Richard Nixon resigned. The so-called Benghazi investigation conducted by House Republicans lasted more than two and a half years and produced no indictments of anyone besides the attackers. The Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor investigation took more than six years and produced 11 convictions (though two were overturned).

Trump has falsely labeled the Mueller investigation a “Russian hoax.” Yet as of its first anniversary, the special counsel has indicted 19 individuals and 3 companies, including plea agreements with five individuals.

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The Mueller results to date are all the more striking when we know that this is but a partial view of the full story that Mueller will eventually reveal. They include the following:

The special counsel has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three companies for interfering with the 2016 presidential election. The indictment alleges “that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy.”

Rudy Giuliani questions whether there was FBI informant in Trump campaign

  Rudy Giuliani questions whether there was FBI informant in Trump campaign Rudy Giuliani said he doesn't know for sure if the FBI had an informant in the Trump campaign. "Here's the issue that I really feel strongly about with this informant, if there is one. First of all, I don't know for sure, nor does the President, if there really was. We're told that," the former New York City mayor told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day."The New York Times reported Wednesday that at least one government informant met several times with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

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Trump lawyer Giuliani: Special counsel Mueller ' s office said it could wrap up obstruction part of Russia probe by September. "He'll wrap it up when he thinks he's turned over every rock, and Giuliani's public remarks come as the president has demanded an investigation into whether the FBI

Paul Manafort, who spent five months in the Trump presidential campaign, including three months as campaign chairman, was indicted on conspiracy, money laundering and other charges. He is being tried in two different cases.

Rick Gates, a Manafort business partner who served as deputy campaign chairman for the Trump campaign, entered into a plea agreement with Mueller and is currently a cooperating witness. The same is true for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who served as a principal adviser during the campaign.

The Mueller investigation also has referred the Cohen case to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. This case has revealed an incredibly brazen example of Washington “pay-to-play,” with Cohen offering to sell government influence in return for huge fees.

Meanwhile, Trump himself has said he fired former FBI director James Comey — at the time Comey was leading the Russia investigation — because of the “Russia thing.”

So far, it appears that Trump will not submit to questioning by the special counsel, which partially explains why he and his helpers are so anxious to stop Mueller.

The effort to end the Mueller investigation is baseless. It is simply insupportable to end the Russia probe when it is not finished and while the public is still missing so many answers about what happened in the 2016 presidential campaign and since then.

Nixon tried to end the Watergate investigation by firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox, but concerned citizens made sure it continued. Similarly, the American people will block Trump if he tries to shut down the Mueller investigation before it is finished.

Lisa Gilbert is vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen and Fred Wertheimer is president and founder of Democracy 21. Follow them on Twitter: @Lisa_PubCitizen and @FredWertheimer

McConnell says he backs Mueller probe after classified briefing .
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday after attending a classified briefing that he continues to support special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. McConnell told NPR that Mueller's investigation and a separate probe by the Justice Department's inspector general into the FBI's actions during the 2016 election will ultimately provide answers to a number of questions swirling around the presidential race.

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