Mueller subpoenas Trump Co., affiliates, associates

A new, wide-ranging subpoena from the special counsel to the Trump Organization describes at least seven partnerships — a requirement the president’s lawyers consider an “overreach.”

The request is the latest sign that Robert Mueller is intensifying his investigation into President Donald Trump’s business relationships and links to Russia. It’s also indicative of Mueller’s continued focus on the family of his first target, Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

The subpoena, which included the names of partners and a description of their partnership agreements, appeared in a court filing unsealed late Wednesday in New York.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to lying to Congress about his attempts to negotiate a real estate deal in Moscow on Trump’s behalf. He was also accused of arranging hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump in the months before the 2016 election to influence the campaign.

The latest court filing sheds new light on the companies that Cohen said Trump discussed the deal with — although none of the firms are with Cohen’s former company.

Prosecutors are investigating them, according to the court filing.

Trump’s attorneys have consistently maintained that their president is not under federal investigation.

In a statement Wednesday night, a spokesman for President Trump’s legal team said the co-investment agreements described in the subpoena “constitute a completely improper and pointless measure by this overzealous prosecutor.”

“He has no evidence that Mr. Trump committed a crime, and thus, taking his advice, the raid on the law offices of Michael Cohen was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate Mr. Cohen and obtain what it cannot legally obtain,” the spokesman said, asking for an expedited hearing in New York federal court to determine the merits of the request.

“This latest subpoena is nothing more than a fishing expedition,” he added.

The president’s legal team specifically targeted the New York attorney general, J. Keith Urbahn, a former spokesman for the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.

Last month, after the release of the Cohen document to the FBI, Urbahn tweeted that he was fired from his job at the NSC in February because he told the White House “Trump’s central staff turnover is the result of disdain/hostility among core administration staff.”

“I’ve seen this episode play out over and over again, with a steady stream of FBI agents, DOJ attorneys, and prosecutors gone,” he said.

The Trump-related partnerships in question include entities that bear the name of Elliot Broidy, a California hedge fund manager who last year married the daughter of a Russian oligarch.

The subpoena lists several payments from brokering firms to several individuals.

It was sent by Mueller’s team to Cohen’s law firm, which in turn provided it to law enforcement officials.

The subpoena is the latest step in an investigation Mueller is conducting into the relationship between Trump, his family and business. It’s an investigation that appears to be entering an increasingly aggressive phase after months of cooperation by Cohen.

The special counsel’s team of prosecutors, known as the team of unindicted co-conspirators, is seeking documents and information about the Trump Organization.

Mueller’s office has increased its secrecy in recent weeks, and a spokesman declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Manhattan US attorney’s office also declined to comment.


FBI Account of Ukrainian Spy Leak Prompts Agency Audit

WASHINGTON (CN) – FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered agents to review a report that a public official had leaked information to smear a U.S. intelligence analyst in Ukraine, apparently without the bureau’s permission, according to a new audit.

The audit by the Office of the Inspector General for the F.B.I. comes after the bureau identified at least 30 incidents since March 2017 in which the public disclosure of classified material “exceeded acceptable management practices and resulted in significant losses of agency resources,” according to a portion of the audit published by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

“The investigation of such a serious offense ultimately requires the highest levels of the FBI to take it seriously,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the committee, said in a statement. “The FBI’s conduct in this matter, however, suggests that there may have been a lack of leadership. It is vital that the bureau’s public release of sensitive intelligence information be stopped forthwith.”

The report details an exchange of emails between F.B.I. special agent William Carle and a former FBI agent on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2016, two days after Ukrainian translator Yatsenyuk Mashayekha leaked a transcript of an FBI briefing for Ukraine’s parliament after days of infighting about surveillance techniques in Eastern Europe.

A former senior member of the FBI’s cybercrime unit contacted Mashayekha’s wife after hearing of the leaks to send Mashayekha a private Facebook message that “… made clear that Mashayekha and the members of the Ukrainian National Security Agency were to blame for spreading these details,” according to the audit.

Mashayekha and his colleagues at the State Department were annoyed at Carle for providing a May 22, 2016, briefing to the Ukrainian parliament and the office of president Petro Poroshenko that contained classified NSA documents, according to the report.

The Ukrainians accused Carle of leaking the information, and accused Mashayekha and the NSA of conspiring to undermine Ukraine’s security. They also claimed to have a copy of Mashayekha’s private email account with contact information for members of the Justice Department and FBI in Kiev, according to the audit.

Carle responded to Mashayekha’s Facebook friend by writing: “There’s been a LOT of apoplexy about a possible leak of classified information,” and “I can only assume he would kill a U.S. officer for every leak…”

The inspector general’s office caught wind of the initial exchange and asked for records of Mashayekha’s communications with Carle in April.

While the inspector general determined that Mashayekha provided Carle with wrong information about Ukraine’s NSA as part of an effort to overthrow Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the inspector general’s office declined to find that Carle was responsible for the leak.

Federal investigators also determined that Carle sent messages to Mashayekha in late May 2016, suggesting they might discuss a potential “relocation” to the United States. Carle allegedly sent Mashayekha an invitation to the International Olympic Committee office in Washington for a career-related coffee on June 10, 2016.

Mashayekha did not respond to the invitation, which was sent via text and appears to have been recorded on Carle’s phone. Carle replied “Ditto,” according to the audit.

“Mashayekha also told us he found this a little humorous because when he has had family in the United States, the FBI’s front line patrol turned out to be a local precinct,” according to the audit.

Although the inspector general’s office was satisfied that Carle did not intentionally share information with Mashayekha, it refused to confirm or deny the purpose of the emails.

Carle did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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