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Special Counsel Robert Mueller Impanels Washington Grand Jury in Russia Probe

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The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a Washington, D.C. grand jury for his probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

This latest development, according to the Journal, is “a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase.” Special counsel Mueller has been looking into collusion and Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 Election, such as possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

President Trump’s lawyer Ty Cobb said in a statement to the Journal: “Grand jury matters are typically secret. The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly….The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”

President Trump throughout at the onset of questions swirling about his camp and Russia involvement, has repeatedly called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and has publicly called into question the former FBI chief’s credibility as an impartial investigator.

Despite Trump’s disdain for anything involving the Russian probe, the intelligence community remains on task stating there is plenty of evidence of meddling—prompting an FBI probe, which Mueller was assigned to take over after Trump fired FBI Director, James Comey.

Thomas Zeno, a lawyer at the Squire Patton Boggs law firm and a former federal prosecutor, told The Journal that the grand jury was “confirmation that this is a very vigorous investigation going on.”

“This doesn’t mean he is going to bring charges, but it shows he is very serious. He wouldn’t do this if it were winding down” Zeno added

A grand jury, located in Alexandria, Va., had already been used by Federal prosecutors as part of their investigation of Michael Flynn—a Trump campaign supporter and ousted national security adviser.

Mueller’s prosecutors have taken over that probe, which includes looking into Flynn’s work as a private citizen for foreign interests.

While President Donald Trump has stopped short of saying he plans to fire Robert Mueller, his top aides have acknowledged the subject has come up. That, in turn, has prompted a sharp retort from top Republicans and Democrats alike. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

The reports of the Mueller impaneling a grand jury was announced at a time lawmakers introduced bipartisan Senate bills that aimed to protect Mueller should President Trump follow through on his desire to fire the special counsel.

Both bills would require judicial review of any move to oust Special Counsel Mueller.  One of the measures would allow Mueller to challenge his firing by appealing to a panel of three federal judges.

The second bill would force Justice Department officials ordered to fire Mueller to go before the judicial panel before Mueller is “fired” to explain their reasons.

Mueller has reportedly expanded the probe to examine Trump’s business dealings and financial history.  The special counsel recently added the 16th lawyer to his team of investigators: Greg Andres, a former DOJ official who managed the department’s program targeting illegal foreign bribery.

Insiders familiar with the investigation told CNN that federal investigators exploring whether the Trump camp colluded with Russian have seized upon Trump and his associates’ financial ties to Russia as one of the most fertile avenues for moving their probe forward.

It is unclear how long the investigation will last, however, what’s clear is that the investigation has intensified.

By LeNora Millen    08-03-17

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Business

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeared as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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Business

TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

More from CNN…

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