Democratic activists in Orange County threw an impromptu party with cake, party hats and singing after Republican Rep. Darrell Issa announced he was retiring. But the exhilaration over the opportunity to capture a Republican congressional seat quickly turned to political panic. There are so many Democrats running for Congress in some districts that they could split the votes in the June 5 primary and send two Republicans to the November election, thanks to California's top-two primary system. read more
Special counsel Robert Mueller turned up the pressure on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates, as a federal grand jury returned a new indictment Thursday charging the two men with tax and bank fraud. The new 32-count indictment returned by a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia comes after Mueller separately charged the pair in Washington last year with money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents for their work related to Ukraine. The new indictment accuses Manafort and Gates of repeatedly understating their income on federal tax returns and of bank fraud surrounding three loans Manafort applied for in connection with various homes he owns. No new defendants were charged in the indictment, but it alleges that the men had a "conspirator" at at least one of the lenders from which Manafort obtained the loans. read more
Vermont Public Radio interviewed Sen. Bernie Sanders today, in response to listeners questions about the Mueller indictments he had this to say:
Listener: "If he was aware that Russians were trying to promote him and divide Democrats against Mrs. Clinton, why did he not communicate this to his supporters?"
Sen. Sanders: "I did not know that Russian bots were promoting my campaign. Russians bots were not promoting my campaign. What we found out is that in April and May, it appeared that there were lots of strange things happening, attacking Hillary Clinton."
Interviewer: "Why did you and your campaign did not tell supporters about Russian interference if you knew Moscow was meddling to sow divisions?"
Sen. Sanders: "I would say that the real question to be asked is what was the Clinton campaign -- they had more information about this than we did, and at this point, we were working with them." read more
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller intensified legal pressure on ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, by filing a false-statements case against a lawyer who did Ukraine-related work with the two men. Prosecutors accused the attorney, Alex van der Zwaan, of lying to the FBI and Mueller's office about conversations related to a report supporting the legitimacy of a Ukrainian criminal prosecution of a former prime minister. That report has already come under the glare of Mueller's team, which has previously accused Manafort and Gates of secretly funneling $4 million through offshore accounts to pay for it. read more
The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller's team to turn over any "exculpatory evidence" to his defense team. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan filed the order on Friday, directing federal prosecutors to produce to Flynn's legal team "any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant's guilt or punishment" in a timely manner.
Sullivan's order invoked the "Brady Rule," which requires prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence in their possession to the defense -- that is, evidence that could prove favorable to the defendant in negating his guilt, reducing his potential sentence or bolstering the credibility of a witness.
Experts acknowledged that such an order would typically be seen as unusual, especially in cases in which the defendant has already pleaded guilty. Sullivan issued the order "sua sponte" -- or at his own volition. read more