the saga continues
December 11, 2019

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday said in a court filing that Rudy Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas has misrepresented his income and failed to disclose that he received $1 million from Russia in September.

Parnas, they said, poses "an extreme risk of flight" that is "only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations." Parnas was arrested in October and charged with campaign finance violations, and prosecutors have asked the judge to revoke his bail and send him to jail.

Prosecutors said the $1 million was put into a bank account belonging to his wife, Svetlana Parnas, and this seemed "to be an attempt to ensure that any assets were held in Svetlana's, rather than Lev's, name."

Parnas and another indicted Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, went to Ukraine to try to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidates. They have also been accused of working on behalf of Ukrainian government officials to get Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine known for her anti-corruption efforts, removed from her post. Beyond that, not much is known about who the pair worked for and what they did, Bloomberg notes, and this court filing rises new questions about their clients. Catherine Garcia

November 26, 2019

In an interview with former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly posted on Tuesday, President Trump said he did not order his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to go to Ukraine in order to dig up damaging information on his political rivals.

"No, I didn't direct him, but he is a warrior, he is a warrior," Trump said. Giuliani has publicly said that he went to Ukraine at the behest of Trump, carrying out an investigation "concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption."

O'Reilly asked Trump why Giuliani went to Ukraine, and the president responded, "You have to ask Rudy. Rudy has other clients, other than me. He's done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years."

Several of the witnesses who testified in the impeachment inquiry said Giuliani was pursuing a shadow Ukraine agenda in order to get an investigation going into former Vice President Joe Biden. U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told lawmakers Trump directed diplomats to work with Giuliani on issues related to Ukraine. Giuliani is said to be under investigation by federal prosecutors due to his work in Ukraine. Catherine Garcia

October 16, 2018

President Trump has insisted on rebranding Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as "Pocahontas" — despite Warren's attempt to rebut his criticism, Trump is not letting it go.

Trump on Tuesday called Warren a "complete and total fraud" whose claims of Native American ancestry were "a scam and a lie." He derided Warren's Monday video revealing the results of a DNA test that indicated "strong evidence" of her Native American ancestry. The test, according to Trump, was "bogus."

Warren released the video in response to Trump's July promise that he would give $1 million to her "favorite charity" if a DNA test proved she had Cherokee ancestry. Trump on Monday declared he never made the promise, then later said he'd have to "test [Warren] personally" if she really wanted the money.

In his string of tweets, Trump thanked Cherokee Nation for "revealing" Warren's results as a "scam and a lie." The tribe called Warren's DNA test "useless to determine tribal citizenship" in a Monday statement.

Lastly, Trump claimed that Harvard University, where the senator previously taught, only hired Warren because they "called her 'a person of color.'" Warren's "claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty" when deciding to hire her, a Boston Globe investigation found. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 19, 2018

A lawyer for Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI, said on Thursday that the Justice Department inspector general's office has sent federal prosecutors a criminal referral regarding McCabe.

The inspector general released a report saying that in 2016, McCabe misled investigators who were trying to figure out who disclosed information to a Wall Street Journal reporter about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation; McCabe has called the accusations "egregious inaccuracies." McCabe was fired last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while the inspector general's office was still working on its report and just before he was eligible for full retirement benefits.

McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, told The New York Times he's "confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the administration, the U.S. attorney's office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute." McCabe asserts that the report and his firing are meant to discredit him as a witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether President Trump obstructed justice while trying to interfere with the Russia probe. Catherine Garcia

August 3, 2017

A former reporter for the Russian state-owned news site Sputnik told Yahoo News Wednesday he was terminated in late May after refusing to push an already-retracted article about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich that appeared on the Fox News website.

That same article, which suggested Rich had something to do with the leak of DNC documents to WikiLeaks, is now the subject of a lawsuit filed Tuesday by private investigator Rod Wheeler, who alleges the story was made up by Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Republican donor Ed Butowsky to advance "a political agenda for the Trump administration." The suit also claims Butowsky suggested Trump gave his input on the story and wanted it to be published. Fox News has denied the story was concocted by Zimmerman to distract from the Russia probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials before the election. The Washington, D.C., police have said they believe Rich was murdered in a botched robbery, and the Rich family has asked people to stop spreading the conspiracy theory about their son's death.

Andrew Feinberg started as Sputnik's White House correspondent around the time President Trump was inaugurated, the first person to ever have the position. He said he didn't have any reservations accepting a job with a foreign state-owned news agency, because he planned on telling the truth in all his reports. He told Yahoo News his boss requested on May 26 he "ask about the case and if those revelations should put an end to the Russia hacking narrative and the investigation," and when he declined, he was handed his walking papers. The entire incident was "disturbing," Feinberg said, adding, "It's really telling that the White House is pushing the same narrative as a state-run Russian propaganda outlet." Sputnik, deemed by U.S. intelligence to be a Russian propaganda machine, did not respond to Yahoo News' request for comment. Catherine Garcia

June 22, 2017

Just a few days before he was fired after refusing to resign, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote a memo sharing his concerns about a phone call he received from the White House, BuzzFeed News reports.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, BuzzFeed was able to get an email on Thursday that Bharara sent on March 9 to then-deputy Attorney Joon Kim and Bharara's chief counsel, Joan Loughnane, in order to "memorialize certain events of the day." Bharara said he received a voicemail from Trump's secretary, Madeline Westerhout, asking him to call her back. He checked with Kim about the "propriety of returning the call," and reviewed copies of memos related to communications with the White House. He also spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, Jody Hunt, to discuss the request. Bharara decided it was inappropriate to speak with Trump and called Westerhout to tell her this. The next day, he was asked to resign, and after refusing, was fired on March 11.

Parts of the email were redacted, specifically the sections that revealed details pertaining to "intra-agency communications," BuzzFeed reports. In an interview on This Week earlier this month, Bharara said it appeared Trump was "trying to cultivate some kind of relationship," and it is a "very weird and peculiar thing for a one-on-one conversation without the attorney general, without warning between the president and me or any United States attorney who has been asked to investigate various things and is in a position hypothetically to investigate business interests and associates of the president." Catherine Garcia

June 6, 2017

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told associates that in March, President Trump personally requested that he urge then-FBI Director James Comey to back away from investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, The Washington Post reports. Flynn is a central figure in the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

On March 22, Coats was attending a meeting at the White House with officials from other agencies, and when it was over, Trump asked everyone to leave but Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, people with knowledge of the event told the Post. Trump complained about Comey and the investigation, and then made his request of Coats. Coats told associates he spoke about the conversation with other officials, and they agreed it was inappropriate.

In May, the Post reported that Coats and Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, were asked by Trump separately to publicly deny there was any evidence of collusion during the election. On Wednesday, Coats will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and members of the panel have already said they will ask him about his conversations with Trump regarding the FBI investigation. Spokesmen for Coats and Pompeo declined to comment to the Post. Catherine Garcia

June 8, 2016

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continued his attacks on Donald Trump at a BIO International Convention in San Francisco on Wednesday, this time dubbing the Republican Party's presumptive nominee an "absurd amateur." Trump, Gingrich contended, "made a really stupid mistake last week" in calling for U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a civil lawsuit against Trump University, to recuse himself from the case due to his Mexican heritage. "It took him about three days to learn," Gingrich reportedly said.

But Gingrich, who is a Trump supporter, also had some more positive things to say about the billionaire businessman. Gingrich admitted that he was in awe of Trump's social media prowess, which allows him to make "$18 or $20 million worth of exposure during the day while doing nothing," and he also pointed out that "there is no question that a Trump presidency would be vastly more interesting" than the alternative. "Both of them are gambling," Gingrich said of Trump and his presumptive general election rival Hillary Clinton, "and the question is what do the American people decide is the less risky gamble."

Trump and Gingrich have been at odds this week after Gingrich declared Trump's comments "inexcusable" and one of his "worst mistakes." Trump called Gingrich's attacks both surprising and "inappropriate." Becca Stanek

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