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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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The German bank that has lent President Trump hundreds of millions of dollars over the years was subpoenaed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Reuters and Bloomberg reported. Deutsche Bank received a subpoena “several weeks ago” for financial records related to Trump and his family, unnamed sources told the outlets.

“Deutsche Bank always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries,” the bank told Bloomberg in a statement Tuesday that did not provide any additional information.

The move signifies Mueller’s willingness to cross what Trump and his allies have deemed to be a red line in the investigations into Russian election interference by looking into the President’s finances.

“I think that’s a violation,” Trump told the New York Times in July, though he declined to say whether he would fire Mueller if that line was crossed.

Democrats have sought unsuccessfully to obtain Trump’s Deutsche Bank records as part of their congressional probes. According to Bloomberg, the bank’s management is now more willing to share those records, and Deutsche Bank conducted its own internal analysis that found no evidence that its dealings with Trump were connected to the so-called Russian mirror trades affair, an alleged money laundering scheme to funnel Russian money out of the country.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intel committee, called the reported move a “a very significant development.”

“If Russia laundered money through the Trump Organization, it would be far more compromising than any salacious video and could be used as leverage against Donald Trump and his associates and family,” he said.

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from House Intel ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

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The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is calling for KT McFarland to “clarify” testimony she gave the committee on what she knew about former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador before she receives a floor vote confirming her as an ambassador to Singapore.

“Senator Cardin believes that before Senators are asked to vote on her nomination, Ms. McFarland should publicly clarify the information she said and sent to the Committee that now appears to be incomplete,” Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) spokesperson told TPM in a statement. “The onus is on her.”

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The agreement that Paul Manafort and Special Counsel Robert Mueller had seemed to have come to on releasing him from home arrest has fallen apart due to what prosecutors described in court filings Monday as an op-ed Manafort was “ghostwriting” with a Russia-based colleague “regarding his political work for Ukraine.”

The colleague has been “assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service,” prosecutors said, and the writing of the op-ed was in violation of a prohibition the judge had put on the case banning the parties from communicating through the media.

They were drafting the op-ed “as late as November 30, 2017,” the prosecutors claimed.

Last week, Manafort’s attorneys filed a bail package proposal that indicated that they and Mueller had hashed out a deal, a month after Manafort turned himself him, on the terms of his release.

In Monday’s filing, Mueller’s team acknowledged that they had come to that agreement —albeit with a few more conditions that Manafort’s attorneys had not mentioned in their brief — but later that day “learned facts that are pertinent to the bail determination before the Court.”

Prosecutors indicated to the court that they wanted to file the op-ed draft in question under seal.

“Even if the ghostwritten op-ed were entirely accurate, fair, and balanced, it would be a violation of this Court’s November 8 Order if it had been published,” they said. “The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public’s opinion of defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek its publication (much less for Manafort and his long-time associate to ghostwrite it in another’s name). It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts.”

Read the filing below:

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House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has suggested he will move to hold top Justice Department officials in contempt of Congress by the end of December, after accusing the DOJ of withholding information about the Russia probe from his committee.

His latest threats come after reports that a top FBI agent had been removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe because it was discovered that he had sent texts, that, as the New York Times described them, “expressed anti-Trump political views.” The agent, Peter Strzok, had worked on the Russia probe before it was taken over by Mueller and also played a key role in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation.

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Among the many new questions following former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s guilty plea Friday to lying to the FBI is: Why did he lie in the first place?

By the time Flynn was interviewed by the FBI in late January 2017, his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak had been publicly reported. As Flynn’s guilty plea alleges, other members of Trump’s orbit had not just been aware of the contacts since they happened but had discussed them and even directed them in real time.

Here’s a run down of the sequence of events that makes Flynn’s decision to try to conceal the content of his contacts with Kislyak so mystifying.

We now also know that other people in Trump’s orbit knew about, and even directed, Flynn’s message to Kislyak about the sanctions.

As the Mueller filings detail, before talking to Kislyak, Flynn called a “senior official of the Presidential Transition team” who was with “other senior members” of the team at Mar-A-Lago, and they discussed that the “members of the Presidential Transition team at Mar-A-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.”

And yet by Jan. 24, he made “materially false statements” in a FBI interview about whether he discussed sanctions with Kislyak on a Dec. 29 phone call, among other things. The interview took less than two weeks after Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first reported the call.

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The public portion of a federal court hearing on the latest legal tussle between the House Intel Committee and the intelligence firm behind the so-called Trump dossier focused on whether a judge can halt a subpoena that the committee had issued on the firm’s bank.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon heard arguments from lawyers representing the firm, Fusion GPS, and House Intel, for nearly an hour, before kicking out the public for the parties to discuss aspects of the case that remain under seal. The main point of contention in the public portion of arguments was whether the court had the authority to block the subpoena — particularly as the bank itself is not objecting to it, but rather Fusion GPS as a third party intervenor.

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A month after turning himself in for charges he faces connected to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort reached a bail deal with Mueller’s team, according to court documents filed by Manafort’s lawyers Thursday.

Manafort’s lawyers are now seeking for a federal judge to approve of his release under the conditions laid out in the court filing.

Manafort has offered Mueller as bail four of his real estate properties in New York, Virginia, and Floridia, which his lawyers claimed were worth a total of $11.65 million.

Additionally, Manafort and his wife have agreed not to travel internationally, and Manafort would also limit his domestic travel to Florida, Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia. For any additional domestic travel, Manafort would seek the permission of the court, his lawyers said.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress Thursday that the FBI has a “foreign influence” task force to deal with election interference by outside actors.

“I take any effort to interfere with out election system by Russia or any other nation state or non-nation state seriously, because it strikes right at the heart of who we are as a country,” Wray said, in a response to a question about the FBI’s response to Russia’s election meddling by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY). Wray was appearing at a hearing in front of the House Homeland Security Committee.

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The Democratic National Committee will get the chance to depose Sean Spicer about whether he violated a longstanding legal order barring the Republican National Committee from engaging in poll watching activities, Politico reported.

The order is set to expire at the end of the week, as long as Democrats don’t provide evidence that the RNC had violated the order. The federal judge overseeing the consent order, Michael Vazquez, seemed generally skeptical that they would be able to do so, according to the Politico report on a Wednesday conference call with the case’s parties.

But Vazquez was willing to grant Dems the Spicer deposition due to reports about his presence on a floor of Trump Tower that was the hub of the Trump campaign’s poll monitoring operation on election night. At the time, Spicer was the RNC’s communications director and chief strategist.

For more than three decades, the RNC has been prohibited from engaging in so-called “ballot integrity” activities — including poll watching and making claims to election officials that certain voters are ineligible  — due to the consent order. The order stems from a 1981 election in New Jersey, during which GOP operatives created a “National Ballot Security Task Force” of off-duty cops and other volunteers that Democrats say harassed and intimidated voters, particularly in minority neighborhoods.

The Democrats brought a lawsuit that resulted in the 1982 order, and it has been extended in the past after allegations that the RNC was violating it. However, Democrats’ attempts to extend the consent order during the 2016 election, after President Trump and his allies revved up poll watching talk, failed. The RNC went out of its way to discourage its officials from engaging in any such activities, yet still faced multiple lawsuits leading up to the election.

The consent order applies only to the RNC and the New Jersey Republican Party. Other local GOP and activist groups can engage in their own poll watching. However, voting rights experts  — and even a former RNC chair — have worried that once the order was lifted, that the RNC would engage in the kind of election monitoring activity that would appear to intimidate and suppress minority voters.

According to Politico, the judge on Wednesday indicated it was unlikely that he would grant Democrats any other depositions beyond Spicer’s, but stopped short of saying whether he planned to allow the order to expire on Friday.

“It would seem as though there’s a lot unanswered by the article and a deposition of Mr. Spicer would be able to address those clearly,” he said.

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President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. is expected to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee next week, CNN reported.

Trump Jr. has become a sought-after figure in the various investigations into Russian election meddling. He was present at a June 2016 meeting with Kremlin-linked figures at Trump Tower — a meeting before which he was told by an intermediary that they would be presenting incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. (Trump Jr. published the email exchange on Twitter, ahead of a story the New York Times was about to drop on it, with a statement that claimed that Russians ultimately did not have any anti-Clinton information to provide at the meeting.).

He also was in contact with the Wikileaks Twitter account via private messages in the fall of 2016, The Atlantic reported.

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