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Sunday
Dec092018

Pence's chief of staff will not take over White House role after John Kelly leaves

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Nick Ayers, who was widely speculated to be the next White House chief of staff, will not be stepping into John Kelly's role, ABC News has confirmed.

Instead, Vice President Mike Pence's 35-year-old chief of staff will go to a pro-Trump super PAC.


President Donald Trump, who announced Kelly's departure Saturday, announced on Twitter Sunday that he will be making a decision soon.


ABC News has learned Trump is considering four different people for the chief of staff position.

Congressman Mark Meadows, former Trump deputy campaign manager Dave Bossie, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney are all being considered, according to sources with direct knowledge of Trump's thinking.

A replacement will be named, possibly on an interim basis, Trump told reporters Saturday on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Army-Navy football game.

"John Kelly will be leaving, I don’t know if I can say retiring. But he’s a great guy," Trump said Saturday, adding he would announce Kelly's replacement "over the next day or two."

The leading candidate to take over was Ayers, sources told ABC News.

A senior White House source said Ayers has been clear for weeks that he was planning on moving his young family back to Georgia in December, and a time frame on being chief of staff had been a part of his discussions with the president.

Kelly departs after 17 months on the job. He was appointed by Trump to replace Reince Priebus in July 2017. He previously served as the president's Department of Homeland Security secretary.

"I appreciate his service very much," Trump said Saturday.

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Sunday
Dec092018

Chris Christie: Trump 'not totally clear' until Mueller 'hands in the keys'

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that new filings in federal investigations into Russian interference and campaign finance crimes in the 2016 election "totally" cleared him. But Chris Christie said, on This Week, that the president is "not totally clear."

"My view would be that you're not totally clear -- nor is anyone -- until Bob Mueller shuts down his office and hands in the keys,” the ABC News contributor, former New Jersey governor and U.S. attorney told This Week Co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

Special counsel Robert Mueller recently reached a plea agreement with Trump's former longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, in which he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in exchange for cooperation with the investigation. In addition to new filings by Mueller in the Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort cases on Friday, the Southern District of New York recommended that Cohen be sentenced to a "substantial prison term" for his campaign finance violations.

Friday's sentencing memo by the Southern District of New York for the first time publicly leveled the accusation that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump.

The president tweeted on Friday in response to the filings that the new information "totally clears" him, though the court documents say otherwise. Federal prosecutors in New York have implicated Trump in a scheme to silence women who alleged that they had extramarital affairs with him before he became president, ABC News reported.

Christie said that while he's always thought that the "Michael Cohen situation was much more perilous for the White House than was Bob Mueller," the Mueller investigation remains a threat to Trump.

He added that "There's no way you can make this shorter but there’s lots of ways you can make it longer, and one of the ways to do that is to say you’re in the clear when the prosecutor still has subpoena authority."

Christie -- who ran for president unsuccessfully in 2016, endorsed Trump and later briefly served as the head of the Trump transition team -- said the new filing sounds "very definitive," and that the U.S. attorney investigating Cohen’s campaign finance crimes must have solid corroboration, given Cohen's lack of credibility.

Cohen will be sentenced in New York this week for the campaign finance felonies. Mueller's office recommended that Cohen be able to serve his sentence for lying to Congress concurrently with the campaign finance sentence.

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Sunday
Dec092018

Sen. Murphy: Mueller probe now 'beyond the stage' of Clinton impeachment

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the publicly available facts from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe indicate that President Donald Trump’s actions are “beyond the stage” of what led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

On This Week Sunday, Murphy left the question of whether to move to impeach the president to the House and cautioned against drawing too many conclusions without all the facts of the investigation, but told This Week Co-anchor Martha Raddatz that Mueller’s investigation has reached a “new level.”

“I think you are beyond the stage that led to the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, whether or not you think that that was worthy of impeachment,” Murphy said.

Murphy compared Trump’s status in the investigation -- with the special counsel linking the president to illegal activity -- to that of former President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

“The president has now stepped into the same territory that ultimately led to President Nixon resigning the office. President Nixon was an unindicted co-conspirator. Was certainly a different set of facts, but this investigation is now starting to put the president in serious legal crosshairs, and he should be worried and the whole country should be worried,” Murphy said.

Murphy was responding to the most recent revelations from the special counsel’s investigation, including multiple filings documenting criminal activity committed by the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and former campaign chair, Paul Manafort.

Cohen’s filing from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York indicated that Trump, named in the filing as “Individual-1,” directed Cohen to make hush-money payments before the 2016 election to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal to silence them and keep their allegations of extramarital affairs with Trump private.

The special counsel alleges that Manafort, meanwhile, lied on multiple occasions to prosecutors about the extent of his contact with a Russian national during the 2016 campaign and with Trump administration officials in 2018.

While sources tell ABC News that Mueller is in the process of writing his final report, there are questions about when the final report will be made public.

“I would also counsel the special investigator to show his cards soon," Murphy said. "I mean, I think it's important for the special investigator to give Congress what he has sometime early in 2019 so that Congress can make a determination. If the president did, in fact, collude with the Russians to try to manipulate the election or engage in multiple felonies with Michael Cohen, it doesn't really make sense for Congress to get that report from the special investigator in 2020. We need that next year. We need that as soon as possible."

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Sunday
Dec092018

Pardoning Paul Manafort would be 'terrible mistake': Sen. Marco Rubio

Zach Gibson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said repeatedly that President Donald Trump pardoning former campaign chairman Paul Manafort would be a “terrible mistake,” and that doing so could possibly “trigger a debate about whether the pardon powers should be amended.”

“I think that would be a terrible mistake" if Trump pardoned Manafort, Rubio said on This Week Sunday. “I really do. I believe it'd be a terrible mistake. Pardons should be used judiciously. They're used for cases with extraordinary circumstances.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller has accused Manafort of lying about his contacts with administration officials in 2018 and at least four other details related to his probe of Russian election meddling during the 2016 campaign.

As ABC News confirmed, Manafort’s legal team had been sharing information about his interactions with the special counsel with the president’s legal team -- a story that was first reported by The New York Times.

This reignited speculation that Manafort could be angling for a pardon from Trump.

Trump last week told the New York Post that though a pardon for Manafort had never been discussed, he “wouldn’t take it off the table.”

“I don't believe that any pardons should be used with relation to these particular cases, frankly,” Rubio told This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz. “Not only does it not pass the smell test, I just think it undermines the reason why we have presidential pardons in the first place. And I think, in fact, that if something like that were to happen, it could trigger a debate about whether the pardon powers should be amended given these circumstances, so I hope that they don't do that. It would be a terrible mistake if they did.”

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Sunday
Dec092018

Cory Booker will decide whether to run for president 'over the holidays'

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Sen. Cory Booker hasn't made a decision yet on whether he'll run for president in 2020, but he said in New Hampshire on Saturday that he'll make a verdict in about a month.

Booker, D-N.J., was in the country's first primary state on Saturday for a number of events. He was the key speaker at the state's Democratic post-midterm celebration in a crowded auditorium at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester. He was also guest of honor at a house party in Nashua hosted by former state Sen. Bette Lasky -- alongside Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess and state Sen. Cindy Rosenwald.

He was in a spirited mood at both, but talked little about his presidential ambitions. He was more candid about his plans Saturday morning.

"During the holidays, I'm gonna sit down and take a lot of stock about what I want to do next -- whether I want to run for president or stay in the Senate and help this continued movement in our country to reinvigorate our democracy," Booker told Manchester ABC affiliate WMUR-TV in a one-on-one interview.

That he's considering a run for the top of the ticket is hardly a surprise. He's been testing the waters in both Iowa -- the first caucus state -- and New Hampshire for months. Booker was in Iowa on Oct. 6, exactly one month before the midterm elections.

There, he railed against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after grabbing national headlines during the confirmation hearings.

On Saturday, Booker echoed the last Democratic president speaking about "hope."

"The definition of hope isn't that you see some light at the end of the tunnel, or something on the horizon that gives you hope. Hope is generated from within," he told the overflow crowd in Manchester.

In Nashua, Booker spoke at length about his own personal story growing up in New Jersey split between inner-city Newark and suburban Upper Saddle River, and the issues facing New Hampshire, including the opioid crisis. New Hampshire has the second-highest number of overdose deaths in the nation: 35.8 people per 100,000 in 2016, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"This incredible city is struggling with opioid addiction, struggling with mental health issues," Booker said, referring to Nashua. "They're struggling with what my region is struggling with."

The house party also drew a large number of people in the very same place Barack Obama held a similar event in 2007 when he was a senator.

"We've never seen it as packed as this, and we've hosted quite a number of political people here," Elliot Lasky, an optometrist in Nashua who attended the party, told WMUR-TV.

Booker will spend a second day in the state on Sunday in Keene.

The senator is part of a crowded field of potential Democratic contenders -- though none have thrown their hats in the ring officially. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are among some of the top contenders to take on Donald Trump in 2020.

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Saturday
Dec082018

Trump performs coin toss at Army-Navy football game in first visit as president 

ABC News(PHILADELPHIA) --  President Trump conducted the coin toss at the 119th Army-Navy game on Saturday, one of the oldest rivalries in college football.

Navy correctly called tails, winning the toss.

The president was joined by Sec. of Defense James Mattis on the field for the national anthem and coin toss. He shook hands with teach team's captains and sat on the Navy side to start the game.

Later, the president switched sides of the field to show his impartiality.

It was the president's first visit to the game as commander-in-chief, though he had visited as president-elect in 2016 and made an appearance on CBS Sports.

Since the storied match-up between the Black Knights and Midshipmen began in 1890, 10 sitting presidents have attended including President Barack Obama in 2011.

Before the coin toss, the stadium joined in a moment of silence for the late President George H.W. Bush, a former Navy aviator.

Joining President Trump and Sec. of Defense Mattis at the game were Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dunford and his replacement, Gen. Mark Milley, Sec. of State Pompeo, Sec of Interior Zinke, Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, and Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma.

Army won the game 17-10, their third consecutive win over Navy. With the victory, Army retained the "Commander in Chief" trophy, which is awarded to the three-way series between Army, Navy and the Air Force Academy.

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Saturday
Dec082018

Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to make hush money payments during 2016 campaign, federal prosecutors allege in court filings

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Federal prosecutors have implicated Donald Trump in a scheme to silence women who alleged during the 2016 campaign that they had extramarital affairs with him before he became president, according to court documents.

In court filings submitted Friday afternoon by federal prosecutors in New York, the government alleged that President Trump, at the time a candidate, directed his longtime personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, to make payments in an effort to silence adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal.

Cohen had leveled this accusation against the president during his plea hearing in New York in August, saying then-candidate Trump directed the hush money deals that were made in the closing weeks of the 2016 election. Cohen told the court he acted “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” referring to then-candidate Trump.

But Friday’s sentencing memo by the Southern District of New York marked the first time federal prosecutors sought to directly connect the president to those campaign finance violations, writing that Cohen acted “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump.

“While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows,” prosecutors in New York wrote Friday. “He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1,” referring to President Trump.

“In the process,” prosecutors continued, “Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

Cohen pleaded guilty last August to two counts of campaign-related violations, as well as several felony charges of making false statements to a bank and tax evasion.

Last week, Cohen reached a deal with special prosecutors looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election to plead guilty to making misstatements to Congress.

Allegations laid out in Cohen’s sentencing documents in that case Friday provide only a narrow window into the special counsel probe, which has largely been conducted in secret over the past 18 months. It remains unclear whether prosecutors are examining President Trump’s conduct beyond the possible campaign finance violations described in the New York case.

On Twitter Friday, President Trump suggested he was exonerated by Friday’s court filings, writing: “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”

He referred to the investigation again Saturday, this time saying, "AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!"

But the documents filed in New York Friday night tell a different story, appearing for the first time to implicate Trump directly in a potentially criminal act. Federal election laws require proof that violations were committed knowingly and willfully.

It's clear the New York prosecutors believe Cohen had the requisite knowledge of the law, but the court documents are silent on whether Trump knew at the time that such payments were possibly illegal.

“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” prosecutors wrote. “Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.”

“In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” according to New York prosecutors, again referring to Trump.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded to Trump’s declaration of exoneration on Twitter, writing, “Presumably, this is a response to the Cohen filing. Of course, the complete opposite is true. @SDNY says @realdonaldtrump directed Cohen to commit a felony.”

Nadler is expected to oversee the committee when Democrats take control of the House in January and gain subpoena power. It plans to examine the president's role in the hush money payments, a House Judiciary Committee aide told ABC News last month.

In his own sentencing memo filed last week, Cohen asked the judge to spare him a prison term, contending that his extensive cooperation in multiple investigations and the “gargantuan cost” he said he has already endured because of the criminal investigation warrant leniency.

“This case has caused deep and lasting strain for Michael and his family,” Cohen’s attorneys wrote. “They have been subjected to daily public scrutiny and moral opprobrium in a media cauldron of exceptional heat and intensity.”

While the special counsel in Washington acknowledged Cohen's help with the Russian investigation, the New York prosecutors said Cohen’s cooperation was modest and incomplete -- paling in comparison to the crimes to which he pleaded guilty.

“Now [Cohen] seeks extraordinary leniency -- a sentence of no jail time,” they wrote Friday. “But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life ... these were knowing and calculated acts -- acts Cohen executed in order to profit personally, build his own power, and enhance his level of influence.”

The combined statutory maximum penalty for those crimes is up to 65 years in prison, though the parties agreed that sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of between 46 and 63 months, before any post-conviction cooperation was factored into the recommendation.

A federal judge in New York is scheduled to sentence Cohen next week

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Saturday
Dec082018

Trump says chief of staff John Kelly will leave at the end of the year

Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that his chief of staff, John Kelly, will leave at the end of the year.

A replacement will be named, possibly on an interim basis, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Army-Navy football game.

"John Kelly will be leaving, I don’t know if I can say retiring. But he’s a great guy," Trump said, adding he would announce Kelly's replacement "over the next day or two."

The leading candidate to take over would be Nick Ayers, who currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, sources told ABC News.

The president, who has fired some of his closest advisors with a tweet, gave Kelly a more graceful exit with his South Lawn announcement, noting that Kelly has been with him in two different roles: DHS Secretary and Chief of Staff.

"I appreciate his service very much," Trump said.

Kelly’s departure, long-rumored around Washington, represents yet another dramatic shift in power dynamics and management style inside a notoriously tumultuous West Wing.

Just a few months ago, Trump had asked Kelly to stay on as chief of staff through his 2020 re-election campaign, and Kelly accepted, several White House officials confirmed to ABC News.

At a separate meeting with Cabinet-level communications staff at the time, a senior administration official said Kelly voiced his intention to stay on in the role for far longer -- through 2024 -- should the president be elected to a second term.

But the president, increasingly exerting direct control of West Wing operations, has marginalized Kelly's role and influence. Kelly has also chafed at the president's private disparagement of one of his closest allies and confidantes, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Ayers, 35, is seen by Trump and his closest allies as a loyalist and prominent advocate for the administration’s policies and political efforts. And Ayers’ role as the right-hand man to Pence over the past year has put him in close proximity to some of the moments of the Trump presidency.

Kelly departs after 17 months on the job. He was appointed by Trump to replace Reince Priebus in July 2017 in an effort to impose order, discipline and workflow on a chaotic inner circle that had grown unwieldy.

While Kelly was lauded for streamlining operations, the president and some of his long-time aides have chafed at the restrictions Kelly imposed, including limits to Oval Office access, a crackdown on temporary security clearances and ban on personal cell phone use in the West Wing, sources told ABC News.

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Saturday
Dec082018

Trump nominates Army Gen. Mark Milley as next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Gen. Mark Milley (Photo Credit: Department of Defense)(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump has announced the nomination of Army Gen. Mark A. Milley to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As the country's top-ranking military official, Milley would succeed current Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, who entered the role in October of 2015 under the Obama administration and is expected to serve until September.

Dunford has not publicly announced he is leaving his post.

The president announced the nomination on Twitter Saturday.


President Barack Obama, during his time in office, announced his nominations for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff five months before they took the role. The predecessors never stepped down and were serving out their full terms.

Departing the White House on Friday, Trump teased an announcement related to the Joint Chiefs that he said would be made at the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia on Saturday.

"I have another one for tomorrow that I’m going to be announcing at the Army-Navy game," he told reporters. "I can give you a little hint: It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and succession."

The change comes as Trump is also likely to replace chief of staff, John Kelly, in the coming days, senior sources told ABC News.

Milley is currently the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, assuming duty in August 2015 after serving as the Commandant of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Most recently, the general accompanied Trump to the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in France this November to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I.

The Winchester, Massachusetts native received his commission from Princeton University in 1980 and later received Master's Degrees from Columbia University and the U.S. Naval War College.

His numerous overseas deployments include one tour in Iraq and three tours in Afghanistan – once as the Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Forces Afghanistan. He has also commanded the Army's 10th Mountain Division and served as a Military Assistant to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Milley stepped into the role as Army Chief of Staff at a time when the U.S. was ending over a decade of counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and re-aligning the military to focus more on near-peer competitors like China and Russia.

As chief, he oversaw the creation of the Army's Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) in Afghanistan, designed to reduce the strain on special forces. He also managed the establishment of Army Futures Command, which consolidated the Army's modernization process. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon during a press conference about the new command, Milley said, "We're in the midst of a change in the very character of war."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Donald Trump is expected to name Army Gen. Mark A. Milley to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to senior administration officials.

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As the country's top-ranking military official, Milley would replace current Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, who entered the role in October of 2015 under the Obama administration and is expected to serve until September of next year.

Dunford has not publicly announced he is leaving his post.

President Barack Obama, during his time in office, announced his nominations for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff five months before they took the role. The predecessors never stepped down and were serving out their full terms.

 

PHOTO: President Donald Trump shakes hands with U.S. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley during a Rose Garden, May 1, 2018, at the White House in Washington.Alex Wong/Getty Images
President Donald Trump shakes hands with U.S. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley during a Rose Garden, May 1, 2018, at the White House in Washington.more +

 

Departing the White House on Friday, Trump teased an announcement related to the Joint Chiefs that he said would be made at the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia on Saturday.

 

PHOTO: President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departing from the South Lawn of the White House for a trip to Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 7, 2018.Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departing from the South Lawn of the White House for a trip to Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 7, 2018.more +

 

"I have another one for tomorrow that I’m going to be announcing at the Army-Navy game," he told reporters. "I can give you a little hint: It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and succession."

The change comes as Trump is also likely to replace chief of staff, John Kelly, in the coming days, senior sources told ABC News.

 

 

Milley is currently the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, assuming duty in August 2015 after serving as the Commandant of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Most recently, the general accompanied Trump to the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in France this November to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I.

 

PHOTO: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, right, with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon, Aug. 28, 2018 in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, right, with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon, Aug. 28, 2018 in Washington. more +

 

The Winchester, Massachusetts native received his commission from Princeton University in 1980 and later received Master's Degrees from Columbia University and the U.S. Naval War College.

His numerous overseas deployments include one tour in Iraq and three tours in Afghanistan – once as the Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Forces Afghanistan. He has also commanded the Army's 10th Mountain Division and served as a Military Assistant to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Milley stepped into the role as Army Chief of Staff at a time when the U.S. was ending over a decade of counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and re-aligning the military to focus more on near-peer competitors like China and Russia.

As chief, he oversaw the creation of the Army's Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) in Afghanistan, designed to reduce the strain on special forces. He also managed the establishment of Army Futures Command, which consolidated the Army's modernization process. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon during a press conference about the new command, Milley said, "We're in the midst of a change in the very character of war."

Friday
Dec072018

Paul Manafort lied about contact with administration officials: Special counsel 

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Special counsel Robert Mueller has accused Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, of lying about his contacts with administration officials in 2018 and at least four other details related to his probe of Russian election meddling during the 2016 campaign.

In a heavily redacted court document filed Friday afternoon, Mueller and his team of prosecutors accused Manafort of lying about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime business associate whom the special counsel has identified as a former Russian intelligence officer.

Manafort, according to the special counsel's team also lied about money laundering, a wire-transfer to a firm that was working for him, "information pertinent to another department of Justice investigation," and his contact with administration officials.

Kilimnik was indicted alongside Manafort in June. He has not submitted a plea.

Early last week Manafort’s cooperation agreement fell apart when prosecutors in the Washington D.C. case accused Manafort of breaching his plea agreement by lying during interviews after agreeing to “broad” cooperation with the special counsel’s probe. The special counsel’s office asked the judge to proceed with scheduling a sentencing date.

In court last week, U.S. Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C. gave prosecutors until Friday to submit a filing detailing the nature of Manafort’s alleged lies. Manafort’s defense team, which has disputed accusations that he lied to prosecutors, will have until Wednesday to tell the judge how they plan to respond to the filing.

In August, a Virginia jury found Manafort guilty on eight of 18 federal counts of tax and bank-fraud charged against him. The judge declared a mistrial on the remaining ten counts, though Manafort later admitted guilt to these counts as part of a plea agreement in the DC case.

In September, Manafort’s attorneys struck the plea agreement with the special counsel’s office in a Washington D.C. court to avoid a second trial there for crimes similar but separate to those leveled in Virginia.

As ABC News confirmed, Manafort’s legal team had been sharing information about his interactions with the special counsel with the president’s legal team – a story that was first reported by the New York Times.

This reignited speculation Manafort could be angling for a pardon from President Trump.

Trump last week told the New York Post that though a pardon for Manafort had never been discussed, he “wouldn’t take it off the table.”

The judge in Manafort’s DC case set a tentative sentencing date last Friday for Manafort on March 5, 2019.

This will come just under a month after Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced separately for tax and bank-fraud crimes in his Virginia case.

During the Virginia trial, prosecutors invoked his past work as a political consultant for pro-Russia elements in Ukraine and payments from political figures there in connection with the money laundering allegations he faced.

He maintained those overseas relationships both before and during his stint as then-candidate Trump's campaign chairman during the 2016 contest.

Manafort joined Trump's campaign in March 2016 and was elevated to the campaign adviser position in May of the same year. He departed the Trump campaign in August 2016 after reports appeared in the New York Times and Associated Press that suggested he had engaged in illegal lobbying activities in Ukraine.

Manafort last appeared in court for a scheduling conference in his Virginia case in mid-October, using a wheelchair to enter the courtroom.

He's waived his right to appear at hearings held since then. Manafort has been behind bars since the judge in his DC case revoked his bail in June, and is currently being held in solitary confinement.

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