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White House aides could face criminal charges for using auto-delete apps on Russia-related documents: report

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- Commentary

According to a new POLITICO report, aides to President Donald Trump’s White House, campaign and transition will be forced to turn over any documents pertaining to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Failure to do so, according to the report, could result in criminal charges.

“Now that Trump’s current and former aides and allies officially know a probe exists, they’re responsible for preserving all available information that might be relevant,” the POLITICO report stated. “That’s a task complicated by the rise of auto-delete apps like Confide, Signal and WhatsApp, as well as the move his campaign staffers have made into the White House.”

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“Hanging over them all: any failure to keep track of emails, messages and other records could expose them to criminal charges down the line,” writer Darren Samuelsohn said.

Though technology has changed significantly since the last probe into presidential files (during Bill Clinton’s presidency, when the Clinton’s real estate investments were under investigation), precedent provides investigators with a number of tools to acquire the information they seek.

Trump’s White House has been on notice since at least mid-February, when Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded the White House, FBI, and Justice Department begin preparing materials related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

The next month, Associated Press reported that Don McGahn, Trump’s ranking lawyer in the White House, instructed staff “to save all materials that could potentially be relevant for investigations into Russia’s interference”.

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“Under U.S. criminal law,” Samuelsohn wrote, “documents must be preserved once an individual is aware they may become relevant to an investigation, even if there’s no formal notice one has begun.”

Ian Bassin, who worked in President Barack Obama’s White House counsel office, told POLITICO that a knowledge of the rules and precedents in these sorts of investigation would serve Trump and his staff well in the coming investigation.

“The rule of law depends on lawyers and other sworn public servants actually caring to follow it — preserving documents, not tampering with evidence, not interfering with investigations,” Bassin said. “This takes knowledge of the rules and effort to abide by them, two things that seem to be in short supply in this White House. They’d be wise to fix that quickly if they want to avoid what can be serious legal consequences for individual lawyers and staffers who get this stuff wrong.”

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Read the entire report on the potential legal consequences for White House staffers embroiled in the Russia probe via POLITICO.


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BUSTED: Trump-loving sheriff tried to murder deputy who caught him on tape making racist remarks

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A North Carolina Sheriff and Trump supporter reportedly plotted to murder a man who had a tape of him making racially offensive remarks, reports the Raleigh News and Observer.

Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted Monday, based on a recording of Brindell advising a man on how to kill a former deputy who accused him of racist language.

According to court records, the sheriff told another person to “take care of it” and “the only way you gonna stop him is kill him.”

He instructed him to get rid of the weapon. “You ain’t got the weapon, you ain’t got nothing to go on,” Wilkins said. “The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can’t tell nobody, not a thing.” The conversation took place in 2014.

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Judiciary Democrats schedule Trump ‘corruption’ hearing on ’emoluments and profiting off the presidency’

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The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a "corruption" hearing on President Donald Trump's business practices.

The committee on Tuesday, which is controlled by Democrats, posted a notification about the hearing on its website.

The hearing is titled "Presidential Corruption: Emoluments and Profiting Off the Presidency." It is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 2 pm. A witness list was not immediately available.

Trump's opponents have argued that he has violated the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution by profiting off foreign dignitaries who visit his hotels and restaurants.

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House GOP loses yet another incumbent as California’s Paul Cook announces retirement

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Another day, another retirement for House Republicans.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Rep. Paul Cook R-CA) is heading for the exits and retiring at the end of his term in 2020.

Instead of serving in Congress for another term, Cook will run for a seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, the congressman's chief of staff tells the Los Angeles Times.

Even though Democrats made major gains in California during the 2018 midterm elections, Cook's district will be difficult for the party to pick up. Cook last year won reelection with 60 percent of the vote and his opponent wasn't even a Democrat, but fellow Republican Tim Donnelly.

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