Griffin Connolly

Steve Bannon’s Bleak Message for GOP: Blue Wave=Trump’s Impeachment
Not a typical midterm year, former WH political strategist warns

Former White House chief political strategist Steve Bannon has a bleak message for Republicans looking to retain control of the House in the 2018 midterms: If you don’t stop the blue wave, your heads won’t be the only ones that roll — President Donald Trump’s will, too.

Last week, Bannon announced the launch of his initiative, Citizens of the American Republic, to help the GOP keep its House majority by tying a Democratic victory in November to impeachment.

3 Reasons Why Manafort Jurors Are Still Deliberating
Deliberations in trial of ex-Trump campaign aide will pick up again Monday

The trial of former Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort will continue next week after the judge dismissed jurors early Friday before they could issue a verdict.

The jury has now spent two days deliberating whether Manafort is guilty or innocent on none, some or all of the 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud he faces.

Manafort Trial Likely to Go Into Next Week
Jurors asked judge to be released at 5 p.m.

The trial of former Donald Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort is likely to go into next week after the judge announced that jurors asked to leave Friday at 5 p.m.

Jurors asked shortly before 3 p.m. Eastern time that they be allowed to leave so one of them could attend “an event,” Judge T.S. Ellis III said. The announcement suggests that the jury is not close to reaching a verdict on the 18 bank fraud and tax evasion charges Manafort is being tried on.

Manafort Judge Says He’s Getting Death Threats
Judge T.S. Ellis III says he won’t reveal jurors information to prevent them from getting similar threats

Updated 3:36 p.m. | The judge presiding over the trial of former Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort will not release the names and addresses of jurors to prevent exposing them to threats similar to what he has received, he said Friday.

Judge T.S. Ellis III said he has received death threats during the proceedings over the last few weeks and has had a U.S. marshals detail following him at all times.

Manafort Jury Stuck on Foreign Accounts, ‘Reasonable Doubt’
Jurors had four questions for judge Thursday

After roughly seven hours of deliberation Thursday, the six men and six women on the jury deciding the fate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will require at least another day to hand down their verdict.

At approximately 5:06 p.m., Judge T.S. Ellis III read a handwritten note from the jury with four questions. One of the questions referred to the requirements for people filing reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, or FBARs. Another asked the judge to redefine “reasonable doubt.”

3 Key Points in Manafort Defense’s Closing Argument
Prosecutors bear the burden of proof in the U.S., Manafort’s lawyers remind jury

Paul Manafort’s lawyers presented their final argument Wednesday, defending the former Trump campaign chairman from 18 charges of tax evasion, bank fraud, and bank fraud conspiracy.

Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty on all charges.

Manafort Prosecution Comes Down to Three Key Points
Prosecutors present closing argument in former Trump campaign manager’s tax evasion trial

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team delivered its closing argument in the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Wednesday.

Manafort faces a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty on all 18 charges.

Gary Johnson Mounting Third-Party Bid for New Mexico Senate Seat
Former GOP governor took 9 percent in state as 2016 Libertarian presidential nominee

Former Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson has qualified to run for Senate in New Mexico, according to the secretary of state’s candidate list.

Johnson, who served two terms as New Mexico governor as a Republican, will make a formal announcement on his bid soon, his campaign manager told The Associated Press.

Closing Arguments for Manafort Trial Set for Wednesday, if Jurors Can ‘Pay Attention’
Jury could decide former Trump campaign chairman’s fate as early as that evening

Closing arguments for the Paul Manafort trial are set to begin Wednesday morning, Judge T.S. Ellis III said in court Tuesday.

The Eastern Virginia jury could decide as early as Wednesday evening whether the former Trump campaign chairman is guilty of any of the 18 counts he is facing on tax evasion and bank fraud.

3 Takeaways as Prosecution Rests Case in Paul Manafort Trial
Trial has put potential tax reporting loophole under the microscope

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team on Monday rested its case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, wrapping up its evidence and witness testimony in just 10 days.

The defense will decide whether it will call any witnesses Tuesday morning. If it does not, both sides are expected to deliver closing arguments. Then the jury will decide Manafort’s fate.

What I Saw That You Couldn't See at the Manafort Trial, Week 2
 

With no audio or video recording allowed in the courtroom where Paul Manafort's trial enters its third week, reporter Griffin Connolly shares descriptions of what the transcripts couldn't convey. From Manafort's intense stare-down of his former associate who served as a witness for the prosecution, potential drama in the jury room, to the mad rush by reporters to get to a pay phone, here are the highlights from week 2....
FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired For Anti-Trump Texts
Counterterrorism official had been in the hot seat since anti-Trump texts with alleged mistress were discovered

Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who has been in the hot seat since the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered his anti-Trump text messages with DOJ lawyer Lisa Page, has been fired from the bureau, his lawyer told multiple news outlets.

Strzok, 48, was one of the main targets of a faction of House Republicans who have sought information on anti-Trump bias in the upper reaches of the DOJ.

Rep. David Cicilline’s Sister Let Off Hook on ‘Live PD’
Some viewers say she caught a break because of political connections

A local Rhode Island police officer let Rep. David Cicilline’s sister, Susan Cicilline-Buonanno, go home without any troubles after pulling her over and administering a sobriety test — on television.

The encounter was broadcast on A&E’s “Live PD,” a program that follows roughly six police officers from around the country as they feed delayed video to the show.

3 Takeaways as Second Week of Manafort Trial Ends
Procedural hiccup pushed Friday’s start to middle of afternoon

The second week of the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is in the books with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team expecting to call its final witness to the stand Monday afternoon. After that, the prosecution will rest its case.

After a procedural hiccup Friday morning that pushed the start of the day’s testimony to the middle of the afternoon, three of the prosecution’s witnesses took the stand to discuss the bank fraud charges against Manafort. Two employees from The Federal Savings Bank testified about a pair of loans Manafort secured from the bank in 2016. A ticket sales executive for the New York Yankees also testified.

3 Takeaways From Day 8 of the Paul Manafort Trial
Who lied on a bank loan application? Was it Manafort, Gates or both?

Day Eight of the Paul Manafort trial brought special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team closer to the finish line of its case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Prosecutors zeroed in on the loan fraud charges against Manafort, who faces 18 total counts of tax evasion and bank fraud and a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty.

3 Takeaways from Day 7 of the Manafort Trial
Damaging evidence is piling up, while prosecutors annoy the judge

Day seven of the Paul Manafort trial took a technical turn Wednesday, an indication that prosecutors could be wrapping up their case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy and the prosecution’s star witness, walked out of the courtroom late Wednesday morning after more than 10 hours of testimony that spanned three days.

Rick Gates Leaves Manafort Trial After 10-Plus Hours of Brutal Questioning
‘After all the lies you’ve told and fraud you’ve committed, you expect this jury to believe you?’

Rick Gates walked away from the witness stand Wednesday with the rest of the world newly privy to the specifics of how he went behind the backs of the government, his longtime boss, and his family to support a so-called secret life.

In all the star witness in the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of political consulting guru and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, answered questions for more than 10 hours spanning three days from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecutors and Manafort’s lead defense attorney, Kevin Downing.

3 Takeaways from Day 6 of the Manafort Trial
Credibility of longtime deputy could be critical to prosecution

Day Six of the Paul Manafort trial is in the books.

It’s a day that featured testimony from just one witness, Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, who finished his direct questioning from prosecutors and underwent a grueling cross-examination from lead defense attorney Kevin Downing.

Paul Manafort Prosecution Could End This Week, U.S. Attorney Says
Prosecutor responds to judge’s urging amid Rick Gates’ testimony

The tax evasion and bank fraud prosecution of Paul Manafort could draw to a close as early as the end of the week, prosecutors said Tuesday before Judge T.S. Ellis III recessed the court for lunch.

Ellis has hounded special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team to sideline evidence and witnesses that are not directly related to the charges against Manafort.

3 Takeaways From Day 5 of the Manafort Trial
Manafort’s former deputy, Rick Gates, takes the stand

The second week of the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of Paul Manafort kicked off Monday.

The day featured the defense’s cross-examination of Cindy Laporta, the onetime Trump campaign chairman’s former accountant and tax preparer; testimony from a Treasury Department employee who researched whether Manafort had filed reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, or FBARs; and Manafort’s former deputy, Rick Gates.