The Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018, Story 1: Department of Justice Inspector General Sends Criminal Referral for Former FBI Deputy Director For authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to the media, then lied repeatedly to investigators examining the matter — Videos — Story 2: Will Former FBI Director James Comey and Former FBI Deputy Director Be Testifying Against Each Other — Videos — Story 3: A Sitting President Cannot Be Indicted For Exercising Presidential Actions Yet President Trump Was Informed By Deputy Attorney General Informed Trump That He Is Not Target (So What) of a Trump Lawyer Cohen Investigation and Mueller Investigation  — President Hires Former Mayor of New York and Federal Prosecutor Rudy Guilliani To Deal With Mueller Investigation — Videos — Story 4: Countdown To Attorney General Session Appoint of Second Special Counsel — No Later Than May 1, 2018 — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Story 1: Department of Justice Inspector General Sends Criminal Referral for Former FBI Deputy Director For authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to the media, then lied repeatedly to investigators examining the matter — Videos —

Will the US attorney’s office act on criminal referral for McCabe?

Ken Starr on McCabe criminal referral, Comey’s memos

GOP lawmakers seek justice on Comey, McCabe, Clinton, Lynch

Evidence of Hillary Clinton’s guilt is overwhelming: Judge Napolitano

Is Trump in the clear, but McCabe in trouble?

Inspector general referred findings on McCabe to U.S. attorney for consideration of criminal charges

 Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on March 16, shortly before McCabe was set to retire.
 April 19 at 6:58 PM 

The Justice Department inspector general referred his finding that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators to Washington’s top federal prosecutor, who will determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime, according to people familiar with the matter.

The referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia occurred some time ago, after the inspector general concluded McCabe had lied to investigators or his boss, then-FBI Director James B. Comey, on four occasions, three of them under oath.

The U.S. attorney’s office met with McCabe’s legal team in recent weeks, though it was not immediately clear whether prosecutors there were conducting their own investigation or believed criminal charges are appropriate.

The referral raises the possibility that McCabe could be charged and jailed for his alleged misconduct — perhaps with Comey testifying as a witness against him. A referral to federal prosecutors, though, does not necessarily mean McCabe will be charged.

Michael R. Bromwich, McCabe’s lawyer, said in a statement: “We were advised of the referral within the past few weeks. Although we believe the referral is unjustified, the standard for an [inspector general] referral is very low. We have already met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute.”

President Trump, apparently referring to comments Comey made on CNN saying he could be called as a witness against McCabe, wrote on Twitter: “James Comey just threw Andrew McCabe ‘under the bus.’ Inspector General’s Report on McCabe is a disaster for both of them! Getting a little (lot) of their own medicine?”

The Justice Department, the inspector general’s office and the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Thursday.

Last week, Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent to Congress a report blasting McCabe. It says he inappropriately authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to the media, then lied repeatedly to investigators examining the matter. The report laid out in stunning detail allegations that McCabe had deceived investigators about his role in approving the disclosure, even as he lashed out at others in the FBI for leaks.

McCabe disputes many of the report’s findings and has said he never meant to mislead anyone.

Lying to federal investigators is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, and some legal analysts speculated in the wake of the report that the inspector general seemed to be laying out a case for accusing McCabe of such conduct. The report alleged that one of McCabe’s lies “was done knowingly and intentionally” — a key aspect of the federal crime.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe from the FBI last month, just 26 hours before McCabe could retire, denying him some of his retirement benefits and reigniting the political firestorm that has long surrounded McCabe. Trump had repeatedly and publicly attacked McCabe, and McCabe alleged that his termination was politically motivated.

“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally,” McCabe said in a statement on the night he was removed from the FBI. “It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.”

McCabe would raise over a half-million dollars for a legal-defense fund through a GoFundMe page. His firing was recommended by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, based on the inspector general’s findings.

Separately this week, 11 House Republicans asked Sessions, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to explore whether McCabe — along with a host of other Justice Department officials — committed crimes in their handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other matters. Sessions has tasked Huber with looking into a range of GOP concerns.

The referral from the inspector general to the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office is thought to be far more serious, as inspector general investigators are nonpartisan lawyers and agents who look into wrongdoing for a living.

Comey — who appointed McCabe to his post as the No. 2 official in the FBI — stressed in his book released this week the importance of telling the truth to federal investigators and holding accountable those who do not. Asked about the referral during an appearance Thursday on CNN, Comey said he “could well be a witness” against McCabe and that he felt “conflicted” about the matter.

“I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do,” Comey said of his former deputy. He called the inspector general’s investigation an example of “accountability mechanisms working.”

Comey wrote in his book that as he weighed whether to charge Martha Stewart with such an offense in the early 2000s, he asked his deputy how many people in the United States had been indicted on charges of lying to federal investigators in the previous year. The deputy told him the answer was 2,000. Comey wrote that he told his staff to indict Stewart.

“People must fear the consequences of lying in the justice system or the system can’t work,” he wrote.

The disclosure of which McCabe was accused of authorizing came in October 2016, around the time Comey announced the FBI was resuming its probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server. At the time, Devlin Barrett — then a reporter at the Wall Street Journal — was preparing an article on the bureau’s handling of that case and another investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe felt the article would portray him and the FBI unfairly, so he authorized two other FBI officials to give Barrett his account. Barrett now works for The Washington Post.

Background conversations with reporters in Washington are commonplace, and McCabe had the authority, as the FBI’s deputy director, to authorize them. But the inspector general came to conclude he was acting out of self interest and that it violated FBI policy.

Of particular concern was that McCabe effectively authorized the FBI to confirm an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation by revealing a phone call in which he pushed back against a Justice Department official who warned that the bureau should not be taking overt steps in the case close to an election. McCabe asked the official, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?”

The inspector general wrote that Comey inquired with his deputy about the disclosure, and McCabe led him to believe he did not know who was responsible. McCabe’s team, though, disputes that and says emails between the two “clearly show that Mr. McCabe specifically advised Director Comey that he was working with colleagues at the FBI to correct inaccuracies in the story before it was published, and that they remained in contact through the weekend while the work was taking place.”

Inspector general investigators came to believe Comey, and they alleged that McCabe lied on three other occasions to them and the FBI’s inspection division. Comey said in an appearance on “The View” this week: “I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person, but the inspector general found that he lied, and there’s severe consequences in the Justice Department for lying — as there should be throughout the government.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/inspector-general-referred-findings-on-mccabe-to-us-attorney-for-consideration-of-criminal-charges/2018/04/19/a200cabc-43f3-11e8-8569-26fda6b404c7_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1961da82464a

Justice Dept inspector asks US attorney to consider criminal charges for McCabe: reports

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has issued a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. related to fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a lawyer for McCabe confirmed on Thursday.

McCabe was informed of the referral “within the past few weeks,” according to the lawyer, Michael Bromwich, who called it “unjustified” and noted that “the standard for an IG referral is very low.”
It is not clear whether the U.S. attorney’s office has acted on the referral, which came after the inspector general concluded that McCabe had lied to internal investigators and former FBI Director James Comey over his contacts with the media during the 2016 election.
Referrals don’t guarantee charges will be brought or require prosecutors to act in any way. McCabe and his lawyers have met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bromwich said.
Spokesmen for Horowitz’s office, the U.S. attorney’s office and the Justice Department all declined to comment.

Horowitz last week issued a scathing report of McCabe’s conduct at the FBI, alleging that he authorized a leak to the media in order to “advance his personal interests” and then misled internal investigators and Comey about the matter.

Lying to federal investigators is a federal crime and the report was seen by some analysts as a roadmap for federal charges against McCabe.

McCabe has disputed the charges as politically motivated and said he did not intentionally mislead anyone. His attorney responded immediately on Friday, saying the report “utterly failed to support the decision to terminate Mr. McCabe.”

According to the report, McCabe led Comey to believe that he had not authorized the disclosures that lead to the media story in question and did not know who did. He allegedly made the same statement to internal investigators when questioned under oath months later — only to later correct his statement to the inspector general’s investigators.

“We found it extremely unlikely, as McCabe now claims, that he not only told Comey about his decision to authorize the disclosure, but that Comey thought it was a ‘good’ idea for McCabe to have taken that action,” the report states.

The report was met with glee by conservatives as well as President Trump, who tweeted that the report was a “disaster” that showed McCabe”lied! lied! lied!” and that “McCabe is Comey!”

A group of 11 House conservatives recently issued their own referral on McCabe — and a large group of other Obama-era officials — asking for an investigation into whether he committed perjury and other crimes.That referral was made to AttorneyGeneral Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber.

McCabe has been a target on the right following the revelation that his wife, Jill, received political donations from Hillary Clinton ally and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in a failed state Senate campaign.

The campaign predated McCabe’s stint as deputy director of the FBI, when he had a leadership role in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server and the Clinton Foundation.

The inspector general report reveals that he recused himself from the two investigations just days before the election.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/383979-justice-department-inspector-general-issues-criminal-referral-of

Story 2: Lying Leaker Losers Fired Former FBI Director Comey and and Deputy Director McCabe — Will Former FBI Director James Comey and Former FBI Deputy Director Be Testifying Against Each Other? — Yes If There Is A Prosecution —  Flipping Felons — Videos

Alan Dershowitz, Gregg Jarrett on the release of Comey memos

Republicans and Democrats on the Hill react to Comey memos

Trump tweets: Comey threw McCabe ‘under the bus’

DOJ turns over Comey memos

What’s one word you would use to describe James Comey?

GOP lawmakers seek justice on Comey, McCabe, Clinton, Lynch

Inspector General report will determine if Comey or McCabe lied: Grassley

FISA memo reason enough to halt the Mueller investigation?

Did the FISA abuse memo force McCabe out?

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Trey Gowdy Weighs in on the Newly Released Comey Memos

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Memos written by the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, that were released on Thursday revealed several new details about his relationship with President Trump and the president’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

Though much of what the memos describe was already public, the documents themselves provided an intimate portrait of the early months of the Trump White House and how the president and Mr. Priebus confronted leaks, the prospect that the national security adviser was under investigationand allegations about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

Mr. Comey depicts Mr. Trump as a man engrossed to the point of distraction with political rivalries and fears that bureaucrats and government officials, including in the F.B.I., were trying to undermine his legitimacy.

[Read the memos here.]

The president responded late Thursday by insisting that the memos showed no collusion with Moscow’s election interference and that Mr. Comey had erred by leaking classified information. The memos were reviewed by Justice Department officials before being released.

Here are six takeaways:

Trump’s Preoccupation With the Dossier

Shortly before Mr. Trump was inaugurated, Mr. Comey briefed him at Trump Tower about a dossier compiled for the F.B.I. by a former British spy that said Mr. Trump and his associates had longstanding ties to Russia. In its most salacious allegation, the document said that the Russian government had a tape of Mr. Trump watching prostitutes urinate on one another during a trip to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

Mr. Trump denied the episode had taken place and appeared to Mr. Comey to be defending himself. Mr. Comey replied that the allegations could have been made up, but that the job of the F.B.I. was to protect the president from efforts to coerce him.

Though Mr. Trump ended the meeting genially, the accusations clearly stuck with him, Mr. Comey’s memos showed. At least twice more in the ensuing weeks, Mr. Trump laid out a timeline for Mr. Comey and claimed that it showed that such a tape could not exist.

THE DAILY

Listen to ‘The Daily’: James Comey on Ego, Distrust and More

In an interview with Michael Barbaro, the former F.B.I. director explains his decision to make public his notes of his interactions with President Trump.

According to the memos, the president told Mr. Comey in a one-on-one dinner at the White House later in January 2017 that he had spoken with several people who had been on the trip with him. Mr. Trump said those people “reminded” him that he did not stay overnight in Moscow.

Mr. Trump said that he had arrived in the morning, attended a series of events, then went to a hotel to shower and dress for the pageant, leaving Russia afterward.

In a February 2017 meeting in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey “‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense” but that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had told him that the country had “some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.”

The Dossier’s Allegations Were Corroborated

Mr. Comey’s decision to brief Mr. Trump on the dossier was based, at least in part, on the fact that American intelligence agencies had corroborated parts of the dossier, according to the memos.

“I explained that the analysts from all three agencies agreed it was relevant and that portions of the material were corroborated by other intelligence,” Mr. Comey wrote in a memo in February 2017, describing how he responded to a question from Mr. Priebus about why he told the president-elect a month earlier about the dossier.

Parts of the memo are redacted but appear to say that information in the dossier “was consistent with and corroborated by other intelligence, and that the incoming president needed to know the rest of it was out there.”

President Trump and his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, both met privately with the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey during their first weeks in the White House. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Trump’s Focus on McCabe, Then a Relative Unknown

Mr. Trump also raised on several occasions Mr. Comey’s deputy at the F.B.I., Andrew G. McCabe, according to the memos. Mr. McCabe had been the subject of right-wing attacks over his involvement in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information while secretary of state. His wife, Jill, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for her failed Virginia State Senate campaign from a political committee run by a longtime Clinton ally.

Some conservatives insisted that Mr. McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton investigation to avoid bias, and Mr. Trump joined in those attacks on the campaign trail.

According to the memos, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey during their January dinner whether Mr. McCabe “had a problem” with the president.

“I was pretty rough on him and his wife during the campaign,” Mr. Trump ventured. Mr. Comey tried to smooth over the issue by explaining that F.B.I. agents and officials pride themselves on being apolitical.

“l explained that Andy was a true professional and had no problem at all,” Mr. Comey wrote. “I then explained what F.B.I. people were like, that whatever their personal views, they strip them when they step into their bureau roles and actually hold ‘political people’ in slight contempt without regard to party.”

The president broached the subject again during dinner, and the F.B.I. director repeated his response.

Photo

Memos written last year by the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, and released on Thursday depict President Trump as preoccupied with political rivalries and fears that government officials were trying to undermine his presidency. CreditSusan Walsh/Associated Press

“I again affirmed Andy’s ability and professionalism and said the president would come to see and benefit from both,” Mr. Comey wrote.

In an Oval Office meeting weeks later, Mr. Trump brought up Mr. McCabe again.

“He asked (as he had at our dinner) whether my deputy had a problem with him, and recounting how hard he had been on the campaign trail, saying, ‘The No. 2 guy at the F.B.I. took a million dollars from the Clintons.’”

Mr. Comey said he again explained that Mr. McCabe was “a pro” and had never mentioned Mr. Trump’s attacks.

What Priebus Knew

At their dinner, Mr. Trump gave contradictory explanations about whether Mr. Priebus knew they were meeting.

Early on, as they discussed whom Mr. Comey’s point of contact should be at the White House, Mr. Trump said that “Reince doesn’t know we are having dinner” but that Mr. Comey should plan to go to him.

But as Mr. Comey was preparing to leave the White House that night, Mr. Trump told him: ”Reince knows we are having dinner’ (the opposite of what he said earlier),” according to one memo.

Mr. Comey neither explained nor speculated why Mr. Trump contradicted himself.

The Flynn Investigation

In their own meeting on Feb. 8, 2017, Mr. Priebus tried to ask Mr. Comey whether the F.B.I. was wiretapping the national security adviser at the time, Michael T. Flynn.

Weeks earlier, reports had emerged that Mr. Flynn was overheard on a wiretap talking with the Russian ambassador to the United States about sanctions being imposed by the Obama administration as punishment for its election interference. The calls raised concerns among senior law enforcement and intelligence agencies that Mr. Flynn might have been working to help the Russians.

Mr. Comey’s answer was redacted in the released version of the memos. But it is widely believed that Mr. Flynn was overheard on the wiretap because American intelligence agencies routinely listen in on the calls of foreign ambassadors.

Mr. Comey said he then explained how such questions should be routed from the White House counsel’s office to the Justice Department.

“I explained that it was important that communications about any particular case go through that channel to protect us and to protect the W.H. from any accusations of improper influence,” Mr. Comey said, using shorthand for the White House.

Hunting Leakers

In one February conversation, the two men discussed leaks in the news media at length. By then, Mr. Trump had endured several embarrassing disclosures of classified information, including transcripts of his calls with foreign leaders in which he was short with the leaders of American allies, including Australia and Mexico.

In his memo, Mr. Comey explained how he hoped to catch one of the leakers to set an example.

“I said I was eager to find leakers and would like to nail one to the door as a message,” Mr. Comey said. “I said something about it being difficult and he replied that we need to go after the reporters and referred to the fact that 10 or 15 years ago, we put them in jail to find what they know and it worked.”

 

Mr. Trump then mentioned Judith Miller, a former reporter for The New York Times. In 2005, Ms. Miller was jailed for 85 days for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source about the identity of a former C.I.A. operative, Valerie Plame, before relenting.

“I explained that I was a fan of pursuing leaks aggressively but that going after reporters was tricky, for legal reasons and because D.O.J. tends to approach it conservatively,” Mr. Comey said. The president, he said, suggested he speak to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about being more aggressive in prosecuting leaks.

What was new — and disturbing — about the Comey memos


Copies of the memos written by then-FBI Director James B. Comey. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)
 April 20 at 6:45 PM

There was not much the public did not already know in the Comey memos that leaked to the mediaThursday. The contents of the documents, in which then-FBI Director James B. Comey contemporaneously kept track of his interactions with President Trump over the course of 2017, had already been mostly disclosed. But there are two elements that nevertheless stood out, adding detail to the picture of a president dismissive of democratic norms and distracted by his obsessions.

First is Mr. Trump’s private expressions of contempt for press freedom. According to a Feb. 14, 2017, memo, the president said Mr. Comey should jail journalists to compel them to identify government leakers, as Justice Department officials did in 2005 with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. When the FBI director said that such a plan would face legal barriers as well as reticence at the Justice Department, the president ordered Mr. Comey to talk to the attorney general about “being more aggressive,” saying, “They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk,” according to the memo. In response to this disgusting statement, Mr. Comey writes he laughed and exited the room.

Mr. Trump would not be the first president to bemoan leaks, but a president repeatedly suggesting the imprisonment of journalists should be unfathomable in a country committed to freedom of expression. It rings all the more threatening in the context of Mr. Trump’s historic hostility toward the media, which includes calling to “loosen” up libel laws , encouraging crowds at his campaign rallies to turn and jeer at the peaceful press corps behind them, and transforming the term “fake news” into a phrase now used by dictators across the world to dismiss truthful reporting they do not like. Meanwhile, his vulgar reference to making “a new friend” in prison trivializes the dehumanizing torture of prison rape that too many inmates continue to suffer. These comments deserved not a laugh from Mr. Comey, but the cold silence he reported giving to many of Mr. Trump’s other disturbing remarks.

What also comes through clearly in the Comey memos is the president’s intense preoccupation with allegations that he interacted with Russian prostitutes during a 2013 trip to Moscow. Mr. Comey recorded that Mr. Trump raised the story in multiple meetings, asking the FBI director to investigate and rebut the allegation, a mission from which Mr. Comey demurred. The fact that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election or the threat that the Kremlin may be trying to influence the president and his circle got no such attention, at least if Mr. Comey’s account is remotely representative of the president’s behavior. Protecting himself, not preserving national security, appears to be Mr. Trump’s overriding goal.

For his part, the president has said that Mr. Comey is a liar but also that Mr. Comey’s memos exonerate him. The claim is as credible as it is logical.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-was-new–and-disturbing–about-the-comey-memos/2018/04/20/27521412-44d7-11e8-ad8f-27a8c409298b_story.html?utm_term=.16310f2e17f9

 

Story 3: A Sitting President Cannot Be Indicted Yet President Trump Was Informed By Deputy Attorney General Informed Trump That He Is Not Target (So What) of a Trump Lawyer Cohen Investigation and Mueller Investigation  — President Hires Former Mayor of New York and Federal Prosecutor Rudy Guilliani To Deal With Mueller Investigation — Videos —

Levin: Trump cannot be the target of an investigation

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Hannity: Good news for Trump, crushing blows for the left

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Trump receives assurance from Rosenstein, adds Giuliani to team

Why Did President Donald Trump Add Rudy Giuliani To His Legal Team? | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Dershowitz: Giuliani a ‘very good choice’ for Trump legal team

James Comey: Rudy Giuliani Boasts Prompted Investigation Into FBI Leaks | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Mueller team skeptical of Giuliani claims probe will end in weeks: Gasparino

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Wow. Jim Jordan on IG Report About McCabe, Mueller, FBI Corruption, and the Swamp

Can Donald Trump be indicted while serving as president?

Two lines of legal reasoning say he can’t. They’re both wrong.

 February 27

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

In December 1998, President Bill Clinton thanked Democratic members of the House who voted against impeachment. (Rick Bowmer/The Washington Post)

The news this month is full of accounts of chief executives facing indictments. In Missouri, Gov. Eric Greitens has been charged with criminal invasion of privacy. In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be indicted on charges of “bribery, fraud and breach of trust.” Both men are expected to stay in office despite criminal charges. The cases highlight a looming question in Washington about whether President Trump could also be indicted in office.

With 19 people charged by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (including five cooperating witnesses), some believe a case against Trump is imminent. “I’d bet against the president,” a lawyer for a target of the Russia probe told Politico. But even some of Trump’s critics assert that, unlike governors or foreign leaders, the president of the United States cannot be indicted while in office. Many scholars like Yale professor Akhil Reed Amar insist that “The Framers implicitly immunized a sitting president from ordinary criminal prosecution.”

The “implicit” part is the problem. This remains a matter of interpretation and, in my view, a faulty and dangerous one. The case for collusion or obstruction of justice does not yet appear to exist, but if it did, Mueller could indict the president.

The question of whether a sitting president can be charged ultimately turns on which you think is worse: an indicted president or an immunized president who remains in the Oval Office. This debate has long entertained constitutional law professors, alongside other parlor-game questions like presidential emoluments, self-pardons and presidential obstruction. The Trump administration has the dubious distinction of moving all of these questions from the realms of the hypothetical to the actual.

There is one point upon which constitutional scholars uniformly agree: The best course in dealing with a felonious president is to first remove the president from office through the impeachment process and then indict the former president in the wake of the Senate conviction. That is no favor to a president. Impeachment is not subject to the rules of criminal procedure and does not include most of the due process protections afforded to criminal defendants such as evidentiary protections and prohibitions against hearsay evidence. It can also undermine a criminal defense in a later prosecution by inducing statements from a president that could later be used against him in a criminal trial.

Impeachment is hardly a reliable answer to presidential transgressions. First, the crimes of a president may be popular. (The public overlooked Abraham Lincoln’s blatantly unconstitutional unilateral suspension of habeas corpus.) Second, a president’s party can control one or both houses of Congress and simply shield the party leader from removal.

Opinion | If President Trump fires the bane of his legal troubles, he could spark a legal and constitutional crisis. 

There are times when a criminal prosecution may be the only answer for a criminal chief executive. In the case of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, years of alleged special dealing produced no impeachment. Only after he was charged in office did the Illinois legislature vote to remove him. But is a president inherently different from a governor? When he was solicitor general of the United States, Robert Bork wrote a brief saying that a vice president (like Spiro Agnew) could be indicted in office but not a sitting president. Leon Jaworski, the Watergate special prosecutor, disagreed and suggested that such an indictment might be possible. Recently released material related to the Clinton impeachment shows that the staff of independent counsel Kenneth Starr prepared a memo supporting the indictment of a president and drafted indictments for Bill Clinton.

The Justice Department itself concluded during the Clinton administration that “[n]either the text nor the history of the Constitution” is “dispositive” on this question but has rendered an internal opinion against indictments of a sitting president as a matter of “considerations of constitutional structure.” Mueller (who is supposed to follow the “rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies” of the Department) may consider himself bound to this guidance and put evidence of any crime in a report to Congress for possible impeachment.

But what if Mueller didn’t? A Trump indictment would need to overcome two common “inferential” arguments for presidential immunity based on “the uniqueness of the president himself.”

The exclusivity argument

The leading argument against indicting a sitting president is that the Constitution does not say you can do it. There is an enumerated process for removing a president, and that is impeachment: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal of office,” it says. But impeachment is a mechanism for Congress to remove, not punish, a president. The Framers were acutely aware of Parliament’s abuses with forms of legislative punishments and fines. They barred such “bills of attainder” and further limited the function of impeachment to removal.

If impeachment is about denying someone the powers of an office, indictment is about holding an individual liable for criminal acts. Impeachment is about the office while indictments are about the individual. Judges, too, can be impeached — even from positions of lifetime tenure — but nobody holds that they cannot also be charged and convicted while still on the bench. Rep. Alcee Hastings was a federal judge in Florida when he was indicted in 1981. He stood trial in 1983 and was acquitted. It was not until 1988 that Hastings was impeached and later removed from the bench. Likewise, the chief executives of states (with many of the same powers as presidents) have been indicted in office, including the recent indictment of Greitens.

Constitutional provisions often require interpretation, including those affording greater protections under the 14th Amendment or barring the death penalty for minors. But those interpretations are based on the extension of an explicit protection while presidential immunity would create a sweeping protection. There is no evidence in either the text nor from the Constitutional Convention of any intent to create immunity for a president from indictment, even though the Framers spoke and wrote at length on the powers of the presidency.

Advocates for presidential immunity rely heavily on one line by Alexander Hamilton in “The Federalist Papers”: A president, he said, “would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.”

Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein insists that this quote “means you can’t indict and try a sitting president. He has to be removed first.” It really does not. In Federalist 69, Hamilton was assuring his contemporaries that they did not have to fear the creation of a “single magistrate.” He made this statement to contrast to “[t]he person of the king of Great Britain [who] is sacred and inviolable.” He was not expounding on inherent immunity and would hardly be making such an implied argument in an essay designed to quell concerns over presidential powers. Hamilton was assuring readers that a president could be stripped of his office and still prosecuted under the Constitution.

As the Hamilton essay suggests, the Framers were worried about the powers of the chief executive, and such immunity would presumably weigh heavily in that debate, as it should in our current debate. Reading that immunity into the Framers’ silence would permit a radical expansion of the powers of the presidency — something most textualists and civil libertarians resist.

The functionality argument

Immunity advocates also argue that, regardless of the lack of textual basis, there is a practical reason the president should have immunity. After all, an indictment would prevent a president from carrying out his duties, particularly if he were sent to jail. In 1973, the Justice Department insisted that any indictment would be an unconstitutional burden since a president is “the symbolic head of the Nation. To wound him by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus, both in foreign and domestic affairs.”

That overwrought analysis ignores a couple practical considerations. First, it is highly unlikely that a president would be tried, let alone convicted, while in office. Not only do judges defer greatly to the schedule of presidents, but also investigations and pretrial motions can take years. Even when sentenced, appeals can take years. Moreover, if a trial is too demanding, there is the 25th Amendment that allows a president to voluntarily (and temporarily) transfer powers of his office.

The functionality argument also ignores countervailing case law. Bill Clinton spent four years advancing extreme interpretations that allowed him not to appear for a civil deposition in the Paula Jones civil lawsuit — or to seek its dismissal. The Supreme Court ruled against him in Clinton v. Jones in 1997. Yet, despite this rejection of immunity in civil litigation, academics still argue that the president could refuse to do so in a criminal prosecution on the same failed claims. Moreover, it is accepted that a president like Trump can be subject to years of intense investigation by a special counsel and is not immunized from the “distraction” of constant demands for responses, answers, testimony and privilege assertions.

The dysfunctionality caused by presidential immunity should be a greater concern for citizens than the constitutional crisis brought on by an indictment. An indicted president is a terrible proposition. But so is the continuation of a presumed felon in office — one who clings to power as a shield from accountability. If a president is immune, his supporters in Congress could prevent his removal while the statute of limitations runs out on certain crimes. Conversely, if Congress is shielding the president, an indictment can force him to address his crimes.

Admittedly, the interpretive approach against implied immunity also bars some implied interpretations that can limit presidential powers like presidential self-pardons. Just as the Constitution is silent on prosecuting a president (and thus does not bar such prosecutions), it is also silent on a president granting himself a pardon. Such pardons are presumptively permissible for the same reason that immunity is impermissible. There is no stated limit on the pardon power. Of course, if a president were to issue such a self-pardon, it would likely seal his fate for impeachment. Both the possibility of indictment and self-pardon allow for presidential crimes to be put squarely before the public.

In the end, the Constitution does not protect us from a criminal in the Oval Office. It merely gives us options in dealing with a felonious president.

[The author was the lead defense counsel in the last impeachment trial held by the Senate (of Judge Thomas Porteous) and testified in the Clinton impeachment hearings as a constitutional law expert.]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/02/27/can-donald-trump-be-indicted-while-serving-as-president/?utm_term=.34ac157f548a

Story 4: Countdown To Attorney General Session Appoint of Second Special Counsel — No Later Than May 1, 2018 — Videos

President Trump On Firing Robert Mueller & Rosenstein 4/18/18 “They’re Still Here”

Goodlatte on Huber’s ability to investigate the DOJ, FBI

Mark Levin says it’s time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step aside (audio from 04-09-2018)

AG Sessions appoints federal prosecutor to investigate FBI

Sessions names prosecutor investigating FBI misconduct

Jay Sekulow talks potential special counsel on FISA abuses

Jeff Sessions reacts to calls for a second special counsel

Rep. Zeldin Steps To The Podium & Reveals Exactly What Will Convince Sessions To Appoint A Second

[youtub=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjS9NwmYp_s]

Rep. Zeldin Steps To The Podium & Reveals Exactly What Will Convince Sessions To Appoint A Second

Republicans push for Jeff Sessions to appoint second special counsel

WaPo: Sessions Told White House He Might Leave If Rosenstein Is Fired | Hardball | MSNBC

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The Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018, Story 1: Austin Serial Bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, Blows Himself Up as Police Close In On Bomber’s Car — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Like Former President Barack Obama Congratulated Validmer Putin Election Win — Videos — Story 3: Fired Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Authorized Investigation of Attorney General Jeff Session — Time For A Second Special Counsel To Clean-up The Corruption At The FBI and Department of Justice Caused By The Clinton Obama Democrat Conspiracy To Spy On American People — Plotters Panicking: McCabe, Comey, Lynch, Brennan, Clapper, Power, Rice, Jarrett, Obama — Videos

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Story 1: Austin Serial Bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, Blows Himself Up as Police Close In On Bomber’s Car — Videos —

Two people were killed and five injured in five explosions that began on March 2. A sixth device was found before it detonated

See the source image

Mark Conditt’s family didn’t know he was Austin bombing suspect

Austin bombing suspect wrote about gay marriage, abortion in class blog

Austin bombing suspect blows himself up during police confrontation

Police: Austin bombing suspect kills himself with explosive device

Austin serial bomber dead; kills self with explosives

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Man suspected of Texas bombings killed himself in police showdown

BREAKING: Austin Bomber’s ‘Treasure Trove’ He Left Behind Just FOUND!

Austin serial bomber was scouting NEW targets to continue his campaign of terror as investigators storm his house and warn that the homeschooled Christian may have sent MORE devices

  • Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, blew himself up as police tried to arrest him about 2am Wednesday
  • Police were able to zero in on the bomber after obtaining CCTV footage of him posting two packages at a FedEx office in Austin on Sunday night
  • Authorities are warning more bombs could be out there because Conditt’s final movements aren’t yet known
  • The bomber had gone on a three week bombing spree that killed two people and injured at least five others
  • The most recent package bomb detonated at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio early Tuesday
  • Police still do not know the motive behind the attacks or whether the bomber had an accomplice
  • Investigators say Conditt’s Google search history indicated he was researching other addresses
  • Bomber used ‘exotic’ batteries ordered online from Asia to make his bombs and bought some equipment from a local Home Depot store
  • Conditt, who previously worked as a computer repair technician, is believed to have made the bombs himself
  • Neighbors described Conditt as a quiet, studious young man who came from a ‘good Christian’ family
  • His 2012 blog posts indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion

The 23-year-old who blew himself up as police tried to arrest him over a string of deadly Austin bombings has been described as a quiet, home-schooled young man.

Mark Anthony Conditt killed himself when he detonated a bomb inside his SUV as police surrounded him near a hotel on Interstate 35, just outside Austin, at about 2am on Wednesday.

Police closed in on the bomber after obtaining CCTV footage of him posting two packages at a FedEx office that intended to target people of color on Sunday night.

Authorities are warning that more bombs could still be out there because they do not know if he posted more devices prior to his death. Investigators say Conditt’s Google search history indicated he was researching other addresses before SWAT teams cornered him.

Police started evacuating the area around Conditt’s home at about 1pm on Wednesday, fearing there could explosives there. They have also questioned his two housemates about their knowledge of the bombings. One roommate was questioned and later released, while the second was still being held for questioning.

The bomber had gone on a three week bombing spree stretching back to March 2. The series of bombings killed two people and injured at least five others. The most recent package bomb detonated at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio early Tuesday.

Police still do not know the motive behind the attacks or whether the bomber had an accomplice, but did say he wasn’t previously known to law enforcement. Police believe Conditt, who previously worked as a computer repair technician and at a manufacturing company, made all the bombs himself.

Shocked neighbors described Conditt as a quiet, studious young man who came from a good family.

He doesn’t appear to have left much of a trail on social media but his blog posts from 2012 indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion. He identified himself as a conservative but said he was not politically engaged and said he had interests in tennis, parkour and gymnastics.

An aerial view of the bomber’s car is pictured above after the 23-year-old detonated an explosive device before police could arrest him

Authorities had zeroed in on the Austin bombing suspect in the last 24 to 36 hours and located his vehicle at a hotel (above) on Interstate 35 in the suburb of Round Rock early Wednesday morning

Police zeroed in on the bomber after CCTV taken at a FedEx office in south Austin emerged showing him dropping off two packages around 7.30pm on Sunday. He appeared to be in disguise and was wearing latex-style gloves to handle the parcels

Conditt was home-schooled growing up with his three younger sisters. He attended Austin Community College from 2010-12 when he 15 but didn’t graduate. He was fired from his sales job at local business Crux Manufacturing in August last year after failing to meet expectations.

He had purchased a property in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville last year and neighbors told the Statesman that he had been living in that home with several housemates prior to the bombings.

His parents Danene and Pat Conditt lived in their family home – a tidy white clapboard, two story house – not too far away. Neighbor Jeff Reeb, 75, told DailyMail.com that Conditt was the eldest of four children and he moved out several years ago.

Shocked neighbors described Conditt as a quiet, studious young man who came from a good family. His blog posts from 2012 indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion

‘It doesn’t make any sense, none of it,’ he said. ‘I’d see him when he came back to visit his parents. He’d drive up in his red truck and stay two or three hours.

Other neighbors described the Conditts as a ‘nice Christian family’.

A lone police officer stood guard outside the family home as one of Mark’s sisters ushered FBI and ATF agents inside on Wednesday just hours after her brother had blown himself up.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Conditt was apparently unemployed when he began planting bombs. Abbott added that some of the equipment Conditt used was purchased from Home Depot.

He said that among the items the bomber purchased at Home Depot were five signs saying ‘CAUTION CHILDREN AT PLAY.’ He said he was told a tripwire bomb that injured two men in Austin on Sunday was tied to one of the signs.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said officers used CCTV, cell phone data, witness accounts and store receipts to track the bomber to the hotel north of the city.

When officers arrived at the hotel, the man was sitting inside his vehicle and police called for backup before they attempted to make an arrest.

As reinforcements were arriving the man left the hotel and police followed him. The suspect pulled off the city’s main highway and brave officers rammed his car to stop him, knowing it was likely packed with explosives.

Two Austin police officers were approaching his vehicle when he detonated a bomb. One officer fired at the vehicle and the other sustained a minor injury after being thrown back when the bomb went off.

The bomber’s death came just hours after CCTV footage emerged showing the suspect at a Fed-Ex office in the south of the city.

Images show the man wearing a disguise and delivering two packages to the store around 7.30pm on Sunday. It appears he was wearing latex style gloves at the time he posted the packages.

One of the packages subsequently exploded on a conveyor belt at a FedEx sorting facility outside of San Antonio in Schertz just after midnight on Tuesday. The other was intercepted at a facility near Austin airport and was later confirmed to contain a bomb.

 

The 23-year-old who blew himself up as police tried to arrest him over a string of deadly Austin bombings has been described as a quiet, home-schooled young man.

Mark Anthony Conditt killed himself when he detonated a bomb inside his SUV as police surrounded him near a hotel on Interstate 35, just outside Austin, at about 2am on Wednesday.

Police closed in on the bomber after obtaining CCTV footage of him posting two packages at a FedEx office that intended to target people of color on Sunday night.

Authorities are warning that more bombs could still be out there because they do not know if he posted more devices prior to his death. Investigators say Conditt’s Google search history indicated he was researching other addresses before SWAT teams cornered him.

Police started evacuating the area around Conditt’s home at about 1pm on Wednesday, fearing there could explosives there. They have also questioned his two housemates about their knowledge of the bombings. One roommate was questioned and later released, while the second was still being held for questioning.

The bomber had gone on a three week bombing spree stretching back to March 2. The series of bombings killed two people and injured at least five others. The most recent package bomb detonated at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio early Tuesday.

Police still do not know the motive behind the attacks or whether the bomber had an accomplice, but did say he wasn’t previously known to law enforcement. Police believe Conditt, who previously worked as a computer repair technician and at a manufacturing company, made all the bombs himself.

Shocked neighbors described Conditt as a quiet, studious young man who came from a good family.

He doesn’t appear to have left much of a trail on social media but his blog posts from 2012 indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion. He identified himself as a conservative but said he was not politically engaged and said he had interests in tennis, parkour and gymnastics.

Conditt killed himself after detonating a bomb in his car (pictured above) as authorities zeroed in on him early Wednesday

An aerial view of the bomber’s car is pictured above after the 23-year-old detonated an explosive device before police could arrest him

Authorities had zeroed in on the Austin bombing suspect in the last 24 to 36 hours and located his vehicle at a hotel (above) on Interstate 35 in the suburb of Round Rock early Wednesday morning

Police zeroed in on the bomber after CCTV taken at a FedEx office in south Austin emerged showing him dropping off two packages around 7.30pm on Sunday. He appeared to be in disguise and was wearing latex-style gloves to handle the parcels

Police zeroed in on the bomber after CCTV taken at a FedEx office in south Austin emerged showing him dropping off two packages around 7.30pm on Sunday. He appeared to be in disguise and was wearing latex-style gloves to handle the parcels

He had purchased a property in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville last year and neighbors told the Statesman that he had been living in that home with several housemates prior to the bombings.

His parents Danene and Pat Conditt lived in their family home – a tidy white clapboard, two story house – not too far away. Neighbor Jeff Reeb, 75, told DailyMail.com that Conditt was the eldest of four children and he moved out several years ago.

Shocked neighbors described Conditt as a quiet, studious young man who came from a good family. His blog posts from 2012 indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion

Shocked neighbors described Conditt as a quiet, studious young man who came from a good family. His blog posts from 2012 indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion

‘It doesn’t make any sense, none of it,’ he said. ‘I’d see him when he came back to visit his parents. He’d drive up in his red truck and stay two or three hours.

Other neighbors described the Conditts as a ‘nice Christian family’.

A lone police officer stood guard outside the family home as one of Mark’s sisters ushered FBI and ATF agents inside on Wednesday just hours after her brother had blown himself up.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Conditt was apparently unemployed when he began planting bombs. Abbott added that some of the equipment Conditt used was purchased from Home Depot.

He said that among the items the bomber purchased at Home Depot were five signs saying ‘CAUTION CHILDREN AT PLAY.’ He said he was told a tripwire bomb that injured two men in Austin on Sunday was tied to one of the signs.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said officers used CCTV, cell phone data, witness accounts and store receipts to track the bomber to the hotel north of the city.

When officers arrived at the hotel, the man was sitting inside his vehicle and police called for backup before they attempted to make an arrest.

As reinforcements were arriving the man left the hotel and police followed him. The suspect pulled off the city’s main highway and brave officers rammed his car to stop him, knowing it was likely packed with explosives.

Two Austin police officers were approaching his vehicle when he detonated a bomb. One officer fired at the vehicle and the other sustained a minor injury after being thrown back when the bomb went off.

The bomber’s death came just hours after CCTV footage emerged showing the suspect at a Fed-Ex office in the south of the city.

Images show the man wearing a disguise and delivering two packages to the store around 7.30pm on Sunday. It appears he was wearing latex style gloves at the time he posted the packages.

One of the packages subsequently exploded on a conveyor belt at a FedEx sorting facility outside of San Antonio in Schertz just after midnight on Tuesday. The other was intercepted at a facility near Austin airport and was later confirmed to contain a bomb.

Mark Conditt, pictured above with his parents Danene and Pat and his three young sisters, previously worked as a computer repair technician and is believed to have made all the bombs himself

Neighbors described the Conditts as a 'nice Christian family' and his mother had indicated on social media that the 23-year-old had been considering going on a 'mission' after finishing his studies

Police were spotted searching the home where Conditt lived with two others at about 1pm on Wednesday, fearing there could explosives there. They had also earlier evacuated the neighborhood and questioned his two roommates

A heavy law enforcement presence was spotted outside Conditt's home in Pflugerville on Wednesday morning after he blew himself up

His parents Danene and Pat Conditt lived in their family home - a tidy white clapboard, two story house (pictured above) - not too far away from him. Authorities went to the house on Wednesday just hours after Conditt blew himself up

ATF Special Agent George Goodman flew in from Michigan with his five-year-old chocolate lab Bonny to search the parents' property after the series of bombings but didn't locate anything

ATF Special Agent George Goodman flew in from Michigan with his five-year-old chocolate lab Bonny to search the parents’ property after the series of bombings but didn’t locate anything

Two people were killed and five injured in five explosions that began on March 2. A sixth device was found before it detonated

Two people were killed and five injured in five explosions that began on March 2. A sixth device was found before it detonated

Law enforcement sources told KUVE that the tipping point in the investigation came on Tuesday at about 9pm after the CCTV footage emerged.

It led police to the suspect’s home and allowed them to collect cell phone data that enabled them to track him to his hotel.

Timeline of how Austin bomber was busted:

Tuesday:

After 9pm – Authorities identify the suspect after obtaining CCTV footage from a FedEx store in South Austin that shows him posting two packages on Sunday night.

It leads police to his home where they obtain information from his Google history and computer confirming he was looking at where he could ship the devices.

Wednesday:

Around 2am – Police use cell phone data to track Conditt to a hotel on Interstate 35, just outside Austin.

Cops find him sitting in his car and they call for backup to make an arrest.

Just before 3am – As reinforcements are arriving, suspect starts driving away in the direction of the highway.

Officers ram his car to stop him fleeing. As two cops approach his car, he detonates a bomb and kills himself.

8am – Bomber is identified as local 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt.

Authorities also got information from Google and from the suspect’s computer history that confirmed the suspect was looking at information on where to ship devices. Based on that information, police were dispatched to two homes on Tuesday night to check for packages.

The bomber is understood to have used ‘exotic’ and foreign batteries ordered online from Asia to make the bombs, NBC reports. Law enforcement said the signature trait is what helped them quickly link all the bombings together.

It is not known if the suspect was planning to deliver a seventh device when police stopped him. Chief Manley said it is not clear why he tried to leave the parking lot of the hotel.

Chief Manley has warned residents not to let their guard down yet, saying there was a possibility that more bombs had yet to be found.

‘We don’t know where this suspect has spent his last 24 hours and therefore we still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left to the community,’ Manley said.

The I-35 was closed off in both directions following the explosion and officers are set to remain on scene until their investigation has been completed.

Austin PD homicide detective David Fugitt said the Conditt family was cooperating ‘above and beyond’ what police could expect. He said a ballistics sniffing dog had been brought to the family home on a quiet cul-de-sac later on Wednesday but stressed that was just a precaution.

‘They are having a difficult time,’ Fugitt said. ‘It’s a shock to their conscience as well.’

He said police have no information that Conditt’s family had any knowledge of Mark’s bombing campaign.

‘They want to express their condolences to the families affected by this.’

He said the family will issue a formal statement later Wednesday.

President Donald Trump, who was earlier criticized for failing to speak out over the shootings, tweeted ‘Austin bombing suspect is dead’ on Wednesday morning. ‘Great job by law enforcement and all concerned,’ he added.

Police say they tracked the bomber to the Round Rock area using CCTV (pictured above), store receipts and cell phone data

Conditt was captured on CCTV cameras sending two packages at a FedEx office on Sunday. He was dressed in disguise and was wearing latex protective gloves at the time

Conditt was captured on CCTV cameras sending two packages at a FedEx office on Sunday. He was dressed in disguise and was wearing latex protective gloves at the time

The packages he sent from Austin were addressed to two places in the city. One exploded at a FedEx facility and the other was found before it could detonate

The packages he sent from Austin were addressed to two places in the city. One exploded at a FedEx facility and the other was found before it could detonate

President Trump, who was earlier criticized for his silence around the attacks, tweeted on Wednesday morning. Republican Ted Cruz also thanked police for their efforts

The series of bombings killed two people and injured at least five others, unnerving residents of Austin, a city of some 1 million people.

The first incident occurred on March 2 when a package bomb exploded at a northeast Austin home, killing a 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.

Two more package bombs then exploded further south on March 12. Draylen Mason, 17, was killed and his mother was wounded after they opened a package in their kitchen.

A 75-year-old Hispanic woman named by family as Esperanza Herrera was severely injured when a package bomb exploded at her home a few hours later.

On Sunday, two white men aged in their 20s were badly injured when they triggered a ‘near-invisible’ tripwire linked to another explosive device.

A female employee was wounded at a FedEx facility in San Antonio just after midnight on Tuesday when a package exploded while moving between conveyor belts. The package had been posted from a FedEx office in the Austin area and was addressed to a home in Austin.

Hours later, a bomb was discovered at another FedEx facility near Austin airport but was found before it detonated. The package was posted from the same address in Austin as the one that exploded earlier in the day.

The first three devices were parcel bombs dropped off in front of homes around Austin neighborhoods.

The series of bombings bewildered law enforcement officials, who by Sunday began taking the unusual step of publicly calling on the bomber to get in touch and explain why he was carrying out the attacks.

Authorities had initially believed the bombings may be hate crimes because the first two victims were black, but they backed off that theory after Hispanic and white victims from different parts of the city were also affected.

President Donald Trump had earlier been criticized for his silence over the bombing spree given most of the victims were from the city’s historically black and Latino neighborhoods.

Unlike other attacks, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida, which Trump was quick to label an act of terrorism, the president initially remained silent about the Austin bombs.

Previous victims: Anthony Stephan House, 39, (left) died on March 2 and Draylen Mason, 17, (right) died on March 12 when package bombs were left at their respective homes

A second package was later intercepted and was confirmed to contain another bomb (pictured, FBI agents at the facility where a package exploded)

A second package was later intercepted and was confirmed to contain another bomb (pictured, FBI agents at the facility where a package exploded)

Two men were injured on Sunday after triggering a tripwire bomb, the fourth such explosion in the city in two weeks

Two men were injured on Sunday after triggering a tripwire bomb, the fourth such explosion in the city in two weeks

Three weeks of terror: Timeline of Texas package bomb attacks

Anthony Stephan House, 39, died on March 2 after opening a package delivered to his Austin home

Anthony Stephan House, 39, died on March 2 after opening a package delivered to his Austin home

March 2: Police are called to the scene of an explosion in Austin around 6.55am. Anthony Stephan House, 39, is found with critical injuries and taken to hospital, but is pronounced dead around 7.45am. Officers say the explosion is ‘not part of a larger scheme’.

March 12: At 6.45am officers respond to the scene of another explosion, 12 miles south of the first, which happened in the kitchen of a home. Draylen Mason, 17, is killed in the blast and his mother, aged in her 40s, is badly injured.

Just before noon a second explosion is reported, five miles south of the second. Esperanza Herrera, 75, is taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Investigators say the two explosions are linked and are also connected to the first blast 10 days prior.

Draylen Mason, 17, died on March 12 and his mother was seriously injured after a package exploded in their kitchen

Draylen Mason, 17, died on March 12 and his mother was seriously injured after a package exploded in their kitchen

March 18: Two white men in their 20s are seriously injured in south west Austin after triggering a ‘near-invisible’ tripwire that was attached to a bomb.

Police believe the attack is linked to the first three bombings and say it shows the attacker is intelligent and becoming more sophisticated.

A reward of $115,000 is offered for information on the serial bomber.

March 20: A female worker at a FedEx sorting facility in San Antonio is injured shortly after midnight when a package explodes while being moved between conveyor belts. Police say the package had been posted from a FedEx in the Austin area and was due to return to an address in the city.

Around 6.20am officers are called to another FedEx facility near Austin airport to reports of a suspicious package. It is later discovered to contain a bomb that investigators say is linked to the previous devices. The package was posted from the same address in Austin as the one that exploded earlier in the day.

Another explosion is reported shortly after 7pm at a Goodwill store on Brodie Lane, a short distance from where the two previous packages were posted. However, police later say the device was ‘old, military type ordinances’ that were donated, and is not related to the other attacks.

A female worker at a FedEx sorting facility in San Antonio was injured when a package exploded on March 20

March 21: Police track the bomber to a hotel around 18 miles north of Austin using CCTV footage from the FedEx store and witness description of his vehicle. When they arrive he is sitting inside the vehicle in the parking lot, so they call for backup.

As backup is arriving the vehicle moves away then stops on a frontage road leading to the I-35 freeway. As officers approach the vehicle a bomb detonates, killing the driver and leaving an officer with minor injuries.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5526159/Austin-bomber-shot-dead-police-try-arrest-him.html#ixzz5APnwiyFv

 

Components used to make bombs found inside home of Austin serial bombing suspect

Components used to make bombs found inside home of Austin serial bombing suspect, Tom Abrahams reports.

The suspect in the deadly bombings that terrorized Austin blew himself up early Wednesday as authorities closed in on him, bringing a grisly end to a three-week manhunt.

The young man behind the attacks was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, an unemployed 23-year-old who bought bomb-making materials at Home Depot. His motive remained a mystery, along with whether he acted alone in the five bombings in the Texas capital and suburban San Antonio that killed two people and wounded four others.

Authorities have detained two people who lived with Conditt. Austin police said Wednesday that one roommate was questioned and later released, while the second was still being held for questioning.

Authorities did not release the names of the roommates, explaining that they have not been placed under arrest.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, officials said they found components used in bombs and potential homemade explosives.

Police zeroed in on the 23-year-old man in the last 24 to 36 hours and located his vehicle at a hotel on Interstate 35 in the suburb of Round Rock. Officers were waiting for armored vehicles to arrive before moving in for an arrest when his vehicle began to drive away, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference.

Authorities followed the vehicle, which ran into a ditch on the side of the road, he said.

When members of the SWAT team approached, the suspect detonated an explosive device inside the vehicle, the police chief said. The blast knocked one officer back, and a second officer fired his weapon, Manley said.

Austin police chief giving update on serial bomber who blew himself up in Round Rock

View image on Twitter

Here’s a look at the Austin bomber’s car. Police say Mark Conditt, the 23 yo suspect, blew himself up. Officers say he’s tied to five other explosions, some deadly. @abc13houston

The mayor of Pflugerville, an Austin suburb not far from the site of the first of four bombings, said the suspect lived in his city, just two blocks from his house.

Pflugerville resident Jay Schulze said he was jogging Tuesday night when he was stopped by police and asked about the bombings. He said police flew drones over a home for about six hours between Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning.

He described the home over which the drones were flying as “a weird house with a lot of people coming and going” and a bit rundown.

Austin was hit with four package bombings starting on March 2. A fifth parcel bomb went off early Tuesday at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio. Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Conditt used the alias “Kelly Killmore” to ship two packages to FedEx.

Here are how the events of the Austin bombings have unfolded over the last few weeks.

Citing a high-ranking law enforcement official, the Austin American-Statesman reported that authorities had identified the suspect based largely on information, including security video, gleaned after he sent an explosive device from an Austin-area FedEx store.

Officials then tracked Conditt using his vehicle and his cell phone.

He also purchased bomb making materials at a Home Depot near his house, and they included nails and battery packs, according to authorities.

Police warned Wednesday of the possibility that more bombs had yet to be found.

“We don’t know where this suspect has spent his last 24 hours, and therefore we still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left to the community,” Manley said.

Manley said the suspect is believed to be responsible for all the major Austin bombings.

AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!

To say all of your colleagues across the Nation are proud of you, @Austin_Police, @ATFHou, @FBI & all who worked courageously & tirelessly, would be understatement. Now let’s remove that interim title & build the Department which is long overdue. Congratulations. https://twitter.com/chief_manley/status/976405321005531136 

Authorities initially believed the bombings may be hate crimes because the victims of the earliest blasts were black, but they backed off that theory after Hispanic and white victims from different parts of the city were also affected. The suspect was described as white.

Fred Milanowski, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said it was “hard to say” if the bombing suspect had acted alone.

“What we do know is we believe the same person built each one of these devices,” said Milanowski, the agent in charge of the Houston division of the ATF. “We are not 100 percent convinced there’s not other devices out there.”

Asked if the suspect built bombs before the Austin attacks, Milanowski said: “We know when he bought some of the components. It’s hard to say whether he was building along the way.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler thanked law enforcement for their work in bringing down the suspect and urged residents to continue to report anything that appeared suspicious or out of place.

Isaac Figueroa, 26, said he and his brother heard sirens and helicopters early Wednesday in the area and drove toward them, then cut through nearby woods on foot after they hit a police roadblock.

Figueroa said they saw a silver or gray Jeep Cherokee that was pinned between black and white vehicles and “looked like it had been rammed off the road.” He said he saw police deploy a robot to go examine the Jeep.

Federal authorities have blocked off the scene in Pflugerville where they are interviewing Conditt’s former roommates.

Police say those former roommates are not suspects. However, someone was removed from the scene in handcuffs at some point.

President Donald Trump, who had earlier said whoever was responsible for the Austin bombings was “obviously a very sick individual or individuals,” tweeted, “AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!”

The suspect’s death followed a day of rapid-fire developments in the case.

On Tuesday, a bomb inside a package exploded around 1 a.m. as it passed along a conveyer belt at a FedEx shipping center in Schertz, northeast of San Antonio and about 60 miles (95 kilometers) southwest of Austin. One worker reported ringing in her ears and was treated at the scene.

Later in the morning, police sent a bomb squad to a FedEx facility outside the Austin airport to check on a suspicious package. Federal agencies and police later said that package had indeed contained an explosive that was successfully intercepted and that it, too, was tied to the other bombings.

The Schertz blast came two days after a bombing wounded two men Sunday night in a quiet Austin neighborhood about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the FedEx store. It was triggered by a nearly invisible tripwire, suggesting a “higher level of sophistication” than agents saw in three package bombs previously left on doorsteps, Milanowski said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Russia leak raises questions about staff undermining Trump

A furor erupted at the White House on Wednesday over a damaging leak that revealed President Trump defied his aides’ advice during a congratulatory phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House raised the prospect of a staff purge over the disclosure, saying in a statement that it would be a “fireable offense and likely illegal” to give Trump’s briefing papers to the news media.

Chief of staff John Kelly was “frustrated and deeply disappointed” by the leak, a White House official told The Hill.

The official refused to say whether the White House has launched a formal investigation into the incident.

Only a small circle of staff members would have had access to such sensitive briefing documents, according to former White House officials, indicating that the leak may have some from somebody close to the president.

The incident raised concerns among Trump allies that members of own staff could be trying to undermine him.

“’YOU’RE FIRED’ Any free agent leaker(s) on @realDonaldTrump’s National Security Council w/their own agenda/vision for Presidency & America need to be tossed to curb in a NY minute,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) tweetedWednesday.

Zeldin suggested that Obama holdovers on the National Security Council may have been behind the breach. Trump and his allies have frequently warned that a “deep state” of government officials in Washington have constantly tried to torpedo his agenda.

“The ‘what would @brhodes want me to do’ attitude by some in NSC is a disease easily curable,” the New York lawmaker tweeted, referring to Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

The person or people responsible for the leak have not been publicly identified.

The leak added to the wave of negative coverage of Trump’s phone call with Putin, frustrating the president, who has faced Russia-related scrutiny ever since he was elected.

The Washington Post and other outlets reported Trump had been warned in briefing materials not to congratulate the Russian leader on his reelection. Aides even included the message “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” in the president’s talking points.

But Trump went ahead and did it anyway, drawing criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

A leading Putin opposition figure was barred from running in the election and international organizations reported instances of ballot-box stuffing and other irregularities during last Sunday’s contest.

Trump also did not confront Putin over a nerve-agent attack against a former Russian double agent in Britain, despite being instructed in briefing papers to do so. Both the U.S. and U.K. have blamed the attack on Russia. Moscow has denied the accusation.

But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a critic of Trump’s Russia stance, said Wednesday he was even more upset with the leaks than what the president did or did not say to the Russian leader.

“No, I don’t like that he did it, but you know what I like even less? That there’s someone close to him leaking this stuff out,” Rubio told reporters at the Capitol.

“If you don’t like the guy, quit. But to be this duplicitous and continue to leak things out, it’s dangerous,” the senator added.

The leak appeared to reveal deep frustration among some members of the administration over Trump’s approach toward Russia.

Trump has long argued that forming a good relationship with Putin will help repair strained ties between the U.S. and Russia, despite warnings from advisers, lawmakers and allies that such an outcome is unlikely.

“The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong!” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon, referring to Putin.

“Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing,” he continued. “They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race.”

Trump did not address the leak of his briefing materials on Twitter. He also did not appear in public Wednesday after his daily schedule was scrapped due to a snowstorm in Washington.

It’s not clear whether the president had read or absorbed the warning from his staff about his call with Putin. The Washington Post reported that national security adviser H.R. McMaster briefed the president orally before the call, but did not raise the caution against a congratulations message.

McMaster, who is reportedly on the verge of being replaced, and others will likely be the subject of scrutiny in any probe of the leaks.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration was cracking down on unauthorized disclosures last summer after the Post published full transcripts of Trump’s private calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday did not comment on the effort. A spokesman said the agency “takes unauthorized leaks extremely seriously” and referred The Hill to Sessions’s remarks from last summer.

At the time, Sessions said the DOJ had tripled the number of active leaks investigations and had created a counterintelligence unit to manage the heavy case load.

There have been few bombshell indictments since then, although one former National Security Agency contractor has been charged with the illegal “transmission of national defense information.”

Jonathan Easley contributed.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/379606-russia-leak-raises-questions-about-staff-undermining-trump

 

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Trump’s national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin. He did it anyway.

 President Trump also said that he will discuss what he described as an “arms race” with President Putin. 
 March 20 at 7:15 PM 
President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.The president’s conversation with Putin, which Trump described as a “very good call,” prompted fresh criticism of his muted tone toward one of the United States’ biggest geopolitical rivals amid the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials.Although the Trump administration has taken a tougher stance toward Russia recently — including new sanctions last week on some entities for election meddling and cyberattacks — the president has declined to forcefully join London in denouncing Moscow for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England, this month. They remain critically ill.

 

Trump told reporters that he had offered his well wishes on Putin’s new six-year term during a conversation that covered a range of topics, including arms control and the security situations in Syria and North Korea. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Skripal’s case was not discussed. Information on Syria and North Korea was also provided to the president in writing before the call, officials said.

In this file photo taken on Friday, July 7, 2017, President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. (Evan Vucci/AP)

“We’ll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future,” Trump said of Putin, though Sanders emphasized that nothing is planned.

The White House press office declined to comment on the briefing materials given to Trump. Two people familiar with the notecards acknowledged that they included instructions not to congratulate Putin. But a senior White House official emphasized that national security adviser H.R. McMaster did not mention the issue during a telephone briefing with the president, who was in the White House residence ahead of and during his conversation with Putin.

It was not clear whether Trump read the notes, administration officials said. Trump, who initiated the call, opened it with the congratulations for Putin, one person familiar with the conversation said.

The president’s tone drew a rebuke from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who wrote on Twitter: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

But Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appeared less concerned, noting that Trump has also offered congratulations to other leaders of more totalitarian states. “I wouldn’t read much into it,” Corker said.

Putin’s latest consolidation of power came in what foreign policy analysts said was a rigged election in which he got 76 percent of the vote against several minor candidates. Some world leaders have hesitated to congratulate Putin, since his reelection occurred in an environment of state control of much of the news media and with his most prominent opponent barred from the ballot.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin was reelected in a landslide victory on March 18, videos emerged of alleged ballot-stuffing at polling stations.

Ahead of Tuesday’s phone call, national security aides provided Trump with several handwritten notecards filled with talking points to guide his conversation, as is customary for calls with foreign leaders, according to the officials with knowledge of the call, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The notecards are similar to the one Trump was photographed clutching during a White House meeting last month with students and parents after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., officials said.

Trump’s failure to raise Moscow’s alleged poisoning of the former spy in Britain risked angering officials in London, who are trying to rally Britain’s closest allies to condemn the attack. Russia has denied involvement in the March 4 poisoning, but the attack has badly damaged British-Russian relations, and British Prime Minister Theresa May last week announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation.

Putin has denied that Russia had any role and called the claim “nonsense.”

Asked about McCain’s criticism, Sanders noted that the leaders of France and Germany also called Putin this week, and she pointed to former president Barack Obama, who congratulated Putin on an election win in 2012.

“We’ve been very clear in the actions that we’ve taken that we’re going to be tough on Russia, particularly when it comes to areas that we feel where they’ve stepped out of place,” Sanders said. “We’ve placed tough sanctions on Russia and a number of other things where we have shown exactly what our position is.”

She emphasized, however, that Trump is determined to establish a working relationship with Putin to tackle global challenges, including confronting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Asked whether the Trump administration believes that Russia conducted a “free and fair” election, Sanders said the administration is focused on U.S. elections.

“We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate,” she said. “What we do know is that Putin has been elected in their country, and that’s not something that we can dictate to them how they operate.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) distanced himself Tuesday from Trump’s congratulatory remarks.

“The president can call whomever he chooses,” McConnell said at his weekly news conference. “When I look at a Russian election, what I see is a lack of credibility in tallying the results. I’m always reminded of the election they used to have in almost every communist country where whoever the dictator was at the moment always got a huge percentage of the vote.”

Trump has largely refrained from criticizing Putin amid special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of the 2016 election meddling; in February, Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on conspiracy charges. The president’s tone has at times been at odds with that of his administration, which has taken stronger actions to counter Russian aggression, including Trump’s authorization of new sanctions against Russia and additional support for Ukrainian troops in their fight against Russian-backed forces.

“It’s blatantly obvious that he has just an inexplicable level of support for President Putin,” said Julie Smith, a European security expert who served as deputy national security adviser for Vice President Joe Biden. “You keep thinking it will change as he sees his own administration take action — that this never-ending well of support for Putin will somehow subside. It’s disheartening at a time when our transatlantic partners really need a boost. Europe is looking to us for leadership on Russia in particular, and they’re not getting it.”

Thomas Wright, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, said Trump’s actions were “a sign he wants a pro-Russia foreign policy,” which conflicts with the harder line from his administration.

“Everyone is trying to figure out what does this mean,” Wright said. “Russia hawks say, ‘Pay attention to us, but not to the president or to the tweets.’ But the reality is, his reaction is policy. The fact that there hasn’t been a stronger sanctions response to the poisoning so far is policy.”

Trump’s applause of Putin’s victory was in line with other congratulatory calls he has made, including to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a much-disputed referendum that increased his already autocratic powers, and to China’s President Xi Jinping for his “extraordinary elevation” after Xi last month engineered the Communist Party’s elimination of presidential term limits.

“I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said in a closed-door speech to Republican donors at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida several weeks ago, a recording of which was obtained by CNN.

Karen DeYoung, John Hudson and Jenna Johnson in Washington, and Anton Troianovski in Moscow, contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-national-security-advisers-warned-him-not-to-congratulate-putin-he-did-it-anyway/2018/03/20/22738ebc-2c68-11e8-8ad6-fbc50284fce8_story.html?utm_term=.cf38730b99d9

 

 

Story 3: Fired Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Authorized Investigation of Attorney General Jeff Session — Time For A Second Special Counsel To Clean-up The Corruption At The FBI and Department of Justice Caused By The Clinton Obama Democrat Conspiracy To Spy On American People — Plotters Panicking: McCabe, Comey, Lynch, Brennan, Clapper, Power, Rice, Jarrett, Obama — Videos

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EXCLUSIVE: Fired FBI official authorized criminal probe of Sessions, sources say

PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions picks up his remarks as Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe looks on during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, July 13, 2017.Alex Wong/Getty Images, FILE
WATCHTop House Intel Democrat: Even if McCabe firing ‘justified, it can also be tainted’

Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

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Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them in congressional testimony and called on federal authorities to investigate, but McCabe’s previously-unreported decision to actually put the attorney general in the crosshairs of an FBI probe was an exceptional move.

One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that.

Last year, several top Republican and Democratic lawmakers were informed of the probe during a closed-door briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and McCabe, ABC News was told.

By then, Sessions had recused himself from the FBI’s probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, giving Rosenstein oversight of the growing effort.

PHOTO: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on November 14, 2017, in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on November 14, 2017, in Washington, DC.

Within weeks, Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the investigation and related inquiries, including the Sessions matter.

Two months ago, Sessions was interviewed by Mueller’s team, and the federal inquiry related to his candor during his confirmation process has since been shuttered, according to a lawyer representing Sessions.

“The Special Counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress,” attorney Chuck Cooper told ABC News on Wednesday.

According to the sources, McCabe authorized the criminal inquiry after a top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wrote a letter in March 2017 to the FBI urging agents to investigate “all contacts” Sessions may have had with Russians, and “whether any laws were broken in the course of those contacts or in any subsequent discussion of whether they occurred.”

It’s unclear how actively federal authorities pursued the matter in the months before Sessions’ interview with Mueller’s investigators. It’s also unclear whether the special counsel may still be pursuing other matters related to Sessions and statements he has made to Congress – or others – since his confirmation.

During his confirmation in January 2017, Sessions told the Senate committee that he had not been in contact with anyone connected to the Russian government about the 2016 election. He also said he was “not aware” of anyone else affiliated with the Trump campaign communicating with the Russian government ahead of the election.

Two months later, after a Washington Post report disputed what Sessions told Congress, the attorney general acknowledged he had met the Russian ambassador twice during the presidential campaign, but insisted none of those interactions were “to discuss issues of the campaign.”

Sessions “made no attempt to correct his misleading testimony until The Washington Post revealed that, in fact, he had at least two meetings with the Russian ambassador,” Leahy and Franken said in a statement at the time. “We know he would not tolerate dishonesty if he were in our shoes.”

Sessions called any suggestions that he misled lawmakers “false.”

Nevertheless, charges subsequently brought by Mueller raised more questions over Sessions’ testimony to Congress.

In November, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos admitted to federal authorities that during the campaign he was in frequent contact with Russian operatives about setting up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Papadopoulos pitched the idea to Sessions and Trump at a meeting of the then-candidate’s foreign policy team in March 2016.

PHOTO: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill, June 7, 2017. Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill, June 7, 2017.

Sessions later told lawmakers he “always told the truth,” insisting he didn’t recall the March 2016 meeting when first testifying to Congress. He later remembered the meeting after reading news reports about it, he said.

“We are concerned by Attorney General Sessions’ lack of candor to the Committee and his failure thus far to accept responsibility for testimony that could be construed as perjury,” Leahy and Franken said in their March 2017 letter to then-FBI director James Comey, who was fired by Trump two months later.

It is a federal crime for anyone to knowingly provide false information to Congress – or to a federal law enforcement agency. No charges have been announced against McCabe, and there’s no indication that the FBI has recommended he be charged.

McCabe was fired Friday after the Justice Department‘s inspector general concluded that McCabe misled investigators looking into how Justice Department and FBI officials handled matters associated with the 2016 presidential election.

In October 2016, hoping to push back on a series of news reports questioning whether he might be trying to protect Hillary Clinton, McCabe authorized two FBI officials to speak with a reporter about his efforts to boost the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation. When he was questioned later about that decision, McCabe “lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions,” Sessions said in a statement announcing McCabe’s firing.

“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability,” Sessions said. “As the [FBI’s ethics office] stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.'”

McCabe vehemently denies misleading investigators, saying in his own statement that he is “being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.”

For more than a year, Trump and other Republicans have questioned whether McCabe harbored a political bias when making law enforcement decisions as deputy director. McCabe’s critics point to his ties to Democrats, particularly his wife’s failed Democratic run for state senate in Virginia nearly three years ago.

But in an interview with ABC News, McCabe insisted politics was “absolutely not” a factor in any of the decisions he made, noting he has considered himself a Republican all his life.

A representative for McCabe declined to comment for this article.

Franken, one of the two senators who pushed the FBI to investigate Sessions, resigned from Congress in December amid several claims of sexual misconduct.

–ABC News’ Trish Turner and Matt Mosk contributed to this report

http://abcnews.go.com/US/exclusive-fired-fbi-official-authorized-criminal-probe-sessions/story?id=53914006

DOJ gives special counsel internal docs on proposed Sessions resignation, source says

PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses a crowd of law enforcement officers in Louisville, Kentucky, Jan. 30, 2018. JOhn Sommers II/Reuters
WATCHSigns show that special counsel is pursuing a possible obstruction of justice case

In the weeks before special counsel Robert Mueller’s team interviewed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department turned over a cache of internal correspondence, including documents related to the proposed resignation of Sessions last year and emails with the White House about fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

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Details of what the Justice Department has now provided to Mueller’s team, which sources say has been investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into possible connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives, reflect how widely investigators are casting their net.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, ABC News reported in November that Mueller’s office was interested in obtaining internal emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, but at the time it was unclear what other type of information Mueller’s office might have been seeking.

PHOTO: Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill, June 21, 2017.Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE
Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill, June 21, 2017.

Comey was fired in May of last of year, and days later Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel.

In an Oval Office meeting after Mueller’s appointment, Trump told Sessions he should resign, prompting the attorney general to submit a letter of resignation, according to The New York Times. But Trump ultimately rejected the resignation after advisers warned against it in the wake of Comey’s firing.

A month after that episode, Trump wanted to have White House aides fire Mueller but backed off after White House counsel Don McGahn and others made clear they were opposed to such a move, a source familiar with the deliberations told ABC News.

PHOTO: Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies on May 8, 2017, before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies on May 8, 2017, before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.more +

Emails and other documents produced within the Justice Department during that time, including emails with White House officials, have now been sent to Mueller’s office, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Sessions and Rosenstein both played key roles in Comey’s high-profile removal. To publicly bolster the controversial move at the time, the White House released two memos written separately by Sessions and Rosenstein, with both faulting Comey for his handling of the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. During a House hearing last year, Rosenstein refused to say whether he consulted with the White House before Comey’s firing or whether anyone asked him to write his memo, insisting such questions “may well be within the scope of the special counsel’s investigation.”

The special counsel has already secured charges against four Trump associates, including Flynn.

Flynn was fired only weeks into the Trump administration after then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed White House officials that Flynn lied to them about his contacts with Russian officials.

Referring to the Justice Department, Yates told lawmakers last year, “We believed Gen. Flynn was compromised in regards to the Russians” and “could be blackmailed by the Russians.”

Yates privately brought those concerns to the White House, and Flynn has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, acknowledging that before Trump’s inauguration he spoke about U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russia’s then-ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.

The Justice Department has now provided Mueller’s team with internal documents related to the matter, according to the source with knowledge of the matter.

Mueller’s team also asked former senior Justice Department officials for information from their time at the department, sources familiar with the request previously told ABC News.

Meanwhile, Sessions has faced public criticism from Trump over his recusal and Rosenstein’s subsequent appointment of Mueller.

At one point last year, Trump told reporters he wouldn’t have nominated Sessions to run the Justice Department had he known Sessions would give up oversight of the investigation.

In announcing his recusal, Sessions said he and “senior career department officials” spent “several weeks” discussing whether his role as top foreign policy adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign last year meant his “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

Such internal discussions have been turned over to Mueller’s team, the source familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Sessions was interviewed by Mueller’s team two weeks ago. Rosenstein was interviewed last summer.

In the wake of Flynn’s guilty plea, the former national security adviser is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, which has already netted another guilty plea and an indictment against two Trump associates.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his time with the campaign. In court documents, he said he told Sessions and Trump during a 2016 meeting that he was working with Russians to orchestrate a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sessions rejected the suggestion that Papadopoulos should help orchestrate a meeting between the two.

In addition, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former business partner Rick Gates have been indicted on money-laundering and other charges tied to their previous lobbying efforts. They have pleaded not guilty.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/doj-special-counsel-internal-docs-sessions-resignation/story?id=52721241

OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

OPR Banner

MEET THE COUNSEL

Robin C. Ashton Photo
Counsel, Office of Professional Responsibility

Robin Ashton became the head of the Office of Professional Responsibility in January, 2011.

ABOUT OPR

The Office of Professional Responsibility, reporting directly to the Attorney General, is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct involving Department attorneys that relate to the exercise of their authority to investigate, litigate or provide legal advice, as well as allegations of misconduct by law enforcement personnel when related to allegations of attorney misconduct within the jurisdiction of OPR. Learn more.

OPR OBJECTIVES

The objective of OPR is to ensure that Department of Justice attorneys continue to perform their duties in accordance with the high professional standards expected of the Nation’s principal law enforcement agency.

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE INSPECTOR GENERAL

Some allegations of misconduct by Department attorneys do not fall within the jurisdiction of OPR and are investigated by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). OPR’s jurisdiction is limited to reviewing allegations of misconduct made against Department of Justice attorneys and law enforcement personnel that relate to the attorneys’ exercise of authority to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice. The OIG is required to notify OPR of the existence and results of any OIG investigation that reflects upon the professional ethics, competence or integrity of a Department attorney. In such cases, OPR will take appropriate action.

https://www.justice.gov/opr

Office of Professional Responsibility

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is part of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) responsible for investigating attorneys employed by the DOJ who have been accused of misconduct or crimes in their professional functions. The OPR promulgates independent standards of ethical and criminal conduct for DOJ attorneys, while the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has jurisdiction of non-attorney DOJ employees. Mary Patrice Brown was named acting head of the office in April 2009.[1] Robin Ashton became the head of the office in 2011[2]

The OPR receives reports of allegations of misconduct made against DOJ attorneys from many sources. Nearly half of all such allegations are reported to OPR by DOJ sources, such as the attorney involved.[3] The remaining complaints come from a variety of sources, including private attorneys, defendants and civil litigants, other federal agencies, state or local government officials, judicial and congressional referrals, and media reports. OPR gives expedited attention to judicial findings of misconduct.

The OPR reviews each allegation and determines whether further investigation is warranted. The determination is a matter of investigative judgment that weighs many factors, including the nature of the allegation, its apparent credibility, its specificity, its susceptibility to verification, and the source of the allegation. A decision to open a matter does not give rise to a presumption of misconduct, nor shift the burden of proof to the accused person. The OPR’s investigations involve a wide range of allegations, and the investigative methods used vary accordingly.

In many cases, the OPR notifies the accused attorney and requests a written response. Sometimes, the OPR also makes on-site investigations. The OPR reports the results of the investigation to the component head concerned and to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. The OPR also advises the complainant and the accused attorney of its conclusion.

OPR has a policy of not reporting or investigating complaints for violation of duty of candor towards the tribunal that may be resolved in court. It does not publish this policy in the Federal Register. OPR does not publish agendas of its meetings or keep minutes of its meetings.[4][5][6]

References

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Professional_Responsibility

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018, Story 1: Mr. Magoo aka Attorney General Jeff Sessions Gets A Clue from President Trump — Appoint Special Counsel to Prosecute FISA Abuses and Politically Corrupt Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Now! — Videos — Story 2: Trump Take Guns Before Due Process Comment Betrays Bill of Rights Voter Base — In Your Heart You Know He Is Nuts  — Never Mind — Governments Many Failures in Parkland Florida Shootings — American People Have The Absolute Right To Defend Themselves Against Tyrants, Criminals and Nuts —  Videos — Story 3: Hope Dumps Trump — Tired of Abuse? — Bridge over Troubled Water — Sounds of Silence — Videos

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Story 1: Mr. Magoo aka Attorney General Jeff Sessions Gets A Clue from President Trump — Appoint Special Counsel to Prosecute FISA Abuses and Politically Corrupt Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Now! — Videos —

FBI withholds Obama, Comey secret meeting documents

DOJ should assign second special counsel to investigate FISA abuses: Rep. Jordan

Judge Napolitano on Trump’s public criticism of Sessions

Trump slams AG Jeff Sessions over surveillance abuse probe

Jeff Sessions fires back at Trump after insult

YES! FINALLY – POTUS Trump SETS to FIRE Jeff sessions! Watch

Hannity: It is time for Jeff Sessions to do his job

DOJ will investigate FISA abuse allegations, Jeff Sessions says

FBI Violated Criminal Statutes in FISA Application to Spy on Trump Dupe, the Most Goofy Carter Page

DOJ should assign second special counsel to investigate FISA abuses: Rep. Jordan

Jeff Sessions needs to remain as attorney general: Karl Rove

Trump lashes out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Trump refers to Sessions as ‘Mr. Magoo.’ Who is the character?

Trump Calls Jeff Sessions ‘Mr. Magoo’ Behind His Back

DOJ won’t rule out special counsel to probe Uranium One deal

Congressmen call for a special counsel to probe Clinton

Published on Nov 14, 2017

Jeff Sessions’ future as attorney general in doubt?

Mr Magoo Opening Theme

Mr Magoo – Military Magoo – VCD

Trump Keeps Ripping “Mr. Magoo” Jeff Sessions

Sessions: I plan to continue as attorney general

Trump has public falling out with Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Tucker: Trump’s attack on Sessions useless, self-destructive

Sessions: I’m confident I made the right decision to recuse

President Obama Surprises Joe Biden With Medal of Freedom

 9 of Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Best Bromance Moments

Ted Cruz Questioning of FBI Director James Comey

Fmr. FBI Assistant Director: Comey should have resigned

Former assistant FBI director slams Comey’s recommendation

Giuliani: Dissapointed in FBI’s Comey

Rep. Hurd Destroys Dem Partisanship at Comey Hearing

Jason Chaffetz Digs in on Comey at Start of Capitol Hearing: ‘We Are Mystified and Confused’

Rep. Blum Questions FBI Director Comey During House OGR Hearing

Rep. Jordan: There’s a different standard for politically connected

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) Q/A with FBI Director James Comey

Rep. Mark Walker Questions FBI Director Comey on Clinton Investigation

Palmer Questioning FBI Director Comey

FBI: Clinton ‘not sophisticated’ with classifie…

Rep. Matt Cartwright questions FBI director James Comey about classified headers

Rep Massie Questions FBI Director Comey about Clinton Emails 7/7/16

Trey Gowdy GRILLS James Comey On Hillary Clinton Emails 7/7/16

Full Event: FBI Director James Comey testifies before Congress about Hillary Clinton email (7-7-16)

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

Published on Jul 5, 2016

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Published on Jun 9, 2016

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Published on Oct 21, 2015

 

A group of 13 Republican lawmakers have signed on to a letter asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns they have with the Justice Department and FBI.The lawmakers say this special counsel would look into agency leadership decisions to end the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized private email server, the circumstances surrounding the genesis of the Trump-Russia investigation, and allegations in a recently released House Intelligence Committee memo regarding government surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
 “It’s simple: We’ve learned deeply concerning information on FISA abuses, the dossier, former high-level FBI officials, and more—and it stinks to high heaven. Americans deserve the truth,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chair of the House Freedom Caucus and one of the signees of the letter.

Many Republicans in recent months have sounded the alarm about potential bias in the DOJ and FBI.

Exacerbating those concerns, the House Intelligence Committee memo asserted that the “Trump dossier,” which contains salacious and unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia, was an “essential” part of the surveillance application to spy on Page. However, the Democratic rebuttal memo, released in redacted form over the weekend, said it “played no role” in the FBI launching its Russia probe, which is now led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The Democratic memo, however, did leave some other concerns raised by the GOP memo, spearheaded by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., unanswered.

While the lawmakers who signed on to the letter say, on balance, the employees of the agencies do admirable work, a special counsel is needed to weed out the bad ones.

“We acknowledge with immense gratitude that nearly every single man and woman in the DOJ and FBI conducts themselves daily with integrity, independence, patriotism, objectivity and commitment to the rule of law,” the lawmakers wrote. “That is why this Special Counsel is of the utmost importance to ensure that these historic, legendary and necessary agencies move forward more respected and effective than ever before.”

 The letter comes one day after Sessions said that his Justice Department’s inspector general will investigate the alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — a move condemned by President Trump on Wednesday.

“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse,” Trump tweeted. “Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, responded to that tweet, questioning why a FISA investigation is needed at all.

“More important question: Why is the AG asking for a FISA investigation at all? DOJ and FBI already said the Nunes memo was inaccurate, misleading and extraordinarily reckless. With no evidence of abuse, only explanation is political pressure,” Schiff

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/13-republicans-ask-jeff-sessions-to-appoint-second-special-counsel-to-investigate-fbi-doj/article/2650335

 

Sessions Has No Choice But To Appoint A Special Counsel To Investigate DOJ, FBI

Americans should be reassured that the federal law enforcement agencies are working to keep America safer rather than focused on revenge against political enemies.

By Mollie Hemingway

It is long past time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate the possibility of widespread and systematic corruption, obstruction, leaking, and collusion within America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The leadership of the FBI and Department of Justice have made clear, through their ongoing obstruction of congressional investigations and oversight, that these agencies simply can not be trusted to investigate or police themselves.

Robert S. Mueller III was appointed as a special counsel to make sure that any investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign was independent and impartial. In the same way, it is necessary for an independent special counsel to investigate alleged corruption at the FBI and Department of Justice, so the American public can once again be assured that the federal law enforcement agencies are in fact working to keep America safer rather than focused on getting revenge against political enemies.

To recap, we’ve seen the following startling developments in just the past few days:

  • The revelation that two key FBI agents, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, sent each other more than 50,000 texts about their work, including regarding the Clinton and Russia probes. Strzok, the former deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division, ran the Clinton investigation and interviewed key witnesses. He was also involved in the Russia investigation.
  • That five months of texts between these agents are missing. The bureau claims, in the latest of strange coincidences affecting the investigation, that a technical error resulted in a failure to capture these important texts.
  • The suspicious timing of the missing texts — from shortly after the election to the day that Mueller was named special counsel. These months were full of leaks from intelligence officials about the Russia probe.
  • That these 50,000-plus texts aren’t even all of their texts, but just those related to the ongoing Office of Inspector General investigation. The FBI and DOJ are not sharing texts that are personal or about other cases. Since the Office of Inspector General hasn’t said it’s reviewing Russia or dossier-related cases, that leaves a lot of texts yet to be disclosed and examined by investigators.
  • Communications about not keeping texts.
  • A text from the day after the 2016 election suggesting the need for the first meeting of a “secret society.”
  • The revelation that a Senate committee has a whistleblower who has shared information about secret off-site meetings.
  • Political considerations in the timing and handling of the Clinton probe.
  • Political considerations in the handling of the Trump probe.
  • Strzok admitting before he joined the Mueller probe, but after he’d worked on the Russia probe for the better part of a year, that to his knowledge there was nothing there.
  • That the “professor” “friend” James Comey leaked classified information to, for the purpose of it being leaked to the media to spur a special counsel, is suddenly claiming to be Comey’s attorney, which can be used as a shield from releasing information.
  • That Comey’s implausible claim to have waited until after interviewing Hillary Clinton to decide to let her off the hook for mishandling classified information is contradicted by additional available evidence.
  • That Attorney General Loretta Lynch only made her claim that she would defer to the FBI on prosecuting Clinton because she knew Comey would let her off, according to Page.
  • The existence of a four-page memo compiled by the House Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence alleging surveillance abuse by the FBI against Trump affiliates.

These revelations are not wild speculation but based on concrete evidence that the FBI and DOJ fought tooth and nail against releasing.

Previous months saw startling allegations about the use of a scurrilous dossier to secure a wiretap against a Trump affiliate, the use of that dossier to brief congressional committees, the leaking of the existence of the dossier despite its lack of corroboration, statements that the FBI probe was an “insurance policy” because “we can’t take that risk” that Trump would be elected, and that the dossier itself was funded by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. There were also criminal leaks of top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) communications. This to say nothing of the widespread unmasking, distribution, and illegal leaking of surveillance information.

It is vital to a democratic republic that the public have faith in their law enforcement institutions. All of these developments feed the perception that there are two different law enforcement regimes — one for friends, and one for enemies. There are clear signs that Clinton benefited from a different set of rules that applied to her that didn’t apply to anyone else. There are also signs that people in federal agencies improperly used spy powers to spin up investigations and special counsels to go after political enemies.

That can’t happen.

Why A Second Special Counsel?

The current special counsel probably should have been investigating the FBI and DOJ as part of his charge into the Russia probe. Mueller has been on the case since May, and should have seen enough shortly thereafter to be concerned about various agencies’ handling of the probes.

But it also shouldn’t be surprising that he has not done much, if anything, to probe the FBI and DOJ. Mueller is the former head of the FBI and very close to Comey. Nobody can be expected to investigate his own friends and family, and asking Mueller to seriously tackle the problems that have been revealed regarding his friends at his old agency is unrealistic.

Similarly, an investigation into all these allegations can’t be done by a U.S. attorney, because it has to be removed from the oversight of those who have run the department for the last several years, since they will be the ones being investigated.

Schiff’s Case For a Special Counsel

Even Democrats have been making a good case for a special counsel, however inadvertently. When asked on CNN why the American public couldn’t just see the House Intelligence Committee memo alleging surveillance abuses, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Americans couldn’t handle it without knowing the underlying information that was too sensitive to release. He also suggested that public demand to see the memo, which has been high, was actually just another Russian operation. That turned out to be false.

But if it’s true that controversial information about the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe is too sensitive and could be misconstrued — so sensitive that Schiff voted to keep the rest of Congress in the dark about it and is fighting to make sure the public doesn’t see this information — that means it’s important enough to demand a special prosecutor.

The Leakers’ Case For a Special Counsel

As damaging and discrediting news about “potential corruption at highest levels” came out this week, leaks about the Mueller investigation started coming out. These included that FBI Director Christopher Wray reportedly threatened to resign; that Sessions was interviewed by the Mueller probe, that Mueller is ready to interview Trump, that Russian bots are the real culprits behind public demand to see the surveillance memo, that Trump reportedly asked controversial FBI official Andrew McCabe who McCabe voted for, and various other items.

These leaks tend to happen when bad news threatens the Mueller probe. But they’re perhaps ill-advised, only suggesting all the more to the politicized nature of the current investigation. A special counsel should not be seen as a threat to the Mueller probe but as a necessary help.

An investigation into potential corruption will help preserve or restore confidence in the Mueller investigation. If the results of the Mueller investigation are to be taken seriously, these questions have to be addressed. High-ranking FBI agents are in their own words undermining the entire purpose of the Mueller investigation, such as when Strzok said there’s nothing to the Russia probe prior to joining the special counsel team. Or when he had to be kicked off the team because of how his texts pointed to corruption.

Because the Mueller investigation itself was brought about by a Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton-funded opposition research document, which the FBI used despite it not being verified, as well as Comey’s leaks of classified information in retaliation for being fired, the entire investigation has a cloud over it. A special counsel could clear the air or provide clarity regarding the trustworthiness of the Mueller probe. A failure to investigate these charges would damage the country’s ability to have any objective investigation into abuses of power in the future.

Does Sessions Care About Charges Of Corruption At DOJ?

Congressional investigators and concerned citizens are growing alarmed. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rep. Mark Meadows, and many other informed members of Congress have called for a second special counsel to deal with allegations of corruption at the Department of Justice.

The political and media arms of the Democratic Party attempt to downplay the scandal, but it’s only getting worse with each new piece of information that is brought to light. The American people need to know that the attorney general cares about the charges, wants to get to the bottom of the problems, and will work to restore the integrity of this important department. The criminalization of politics in this country is undermining confidence in the republic itself.

If there are good explanations for all of these strange coincidences and lapses in judgment, the American people need to be told. If there is systematic corruption, that needs to be learned as well.

A special counsel who is not part of the current club at the top of these agencies should be appointed. The individual needs to be unimpeachable and a person of integrity who has the strength to take on an incalcitrant bureaucracy and establishment. He or she should have experience in investigating and rooting out corruption in bureaucratic agencies.

http://thefederalist.com/2018/01/24/sessions-has-no-choice-but-to-appoint-a-special-counsel-to-investigate-doj-fbi/

 

Story 2: Trump Take Guns Before Due Process Comment Betrays Bill of Rights Voter Base — In Your Heart You Know He Is Nuts  — Never Mind — Governments Many Failures in Parkland Florida Shootings — American People Have The Absolute Right To Defend Themselves Against Tyrants, Criminals and Nuts —  Videos

Gun control measures proposed by Trump

Trump: Take the guns first, go through due process second

President Trump Meets with Bipartisan Members of Congress to Discuss School and Community Safety

Trump tells senators: ‘You’re afraid of the NRA’

Watch Dianne Feinstein Erupt With Glee After Trump Seems to Endorse Her Assault Weapons Ban

Tucker: Trump betraying core campaign promises on guns

Tucker: Assault weapons ban will not stop mass killings

Trump talks gun control with bipartisan group of lawmakers

Loesch: Trump’s gun control meeting was good TV, bad policy

Cornyn: Gun meeting with Trump was ‘brainstorming session’

Judge Nap: Trump’s Comments on Due Process Represent What Gun Owners & the NRA Fear Most

Republicans Freak Out As Trump Says He’s Coming To Take Their Guns Away

Dan Bongino reacts to Trump’s ‘take the guns first’ comment

Trump: Take People’s Guns Away!

Trump Suggest Taking Guns Before Due Process Of Law

Trump criticized for ‘take the firearms first’ comments

Trump: Take the guns first, go through due process second

Donald Trump supports right to own assault weapons (CNN interview with Chris Cuomo)

“Common Sense” Gun Control Debunked! (Man-On-Street)

 

NRA turns on Trump: Gun lobby says president’s meeting with lawmakers was ‘great TV but bad policy’ after he suggested taking guns before due process

  • National Rifle Association blasted President Donald Trump’s proposals for gun control during a bipartisan meeting at the White House on Wednesday 
  • Trump heard directly from lawmakers leading the charge for new gun violence prevention measures this afternoon at the White House
  • Wednesday’s session was attended by Reoublicans and Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Chris Murphy of Connecticut
  • Listening session is directly tied to a school shooting in Parkland, Florida two weeks ago today that resulted in 17 deaths  
  • Trump has been meeting with stakeholders in the gun control debate for a week 
  • White House says he will offer specific remedies to gun violence after today
  • Was already backing a background check bill in the Senate, as well as legislation that would provide schools with federal funding to conduct trainings 
  • Now says he wants a ‘comprehensive’ background check bill that closes the so-called gun-show loophole

The National Rifle Association on Wednesday blasted President Donald Trump for his proposal to take guns away from dangerous individual even if it violates constitutional rights to due process.

Trump made the remarks during a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers at the White House to discuss safety measures in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at a high school in Florida.

‘While today’s meeting made for great TV, the gun control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe,’ NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said in a statement to The Hill.

‘Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies.’

The National Rifle Association on Wednesday blasted President Donald Trump for his proposal to take guns away from dangerous individual even if it violates constitutional rights to due process

The National Rifle Association on Wednesday blasted President Donald Trump for his proposal to take guns away from dangerous individual even if it violates constitutional rights to due process

Baker said that preventing mass shootings would best be done by addressing the country’s mental health system and boosting background checks so that psychologically ill people are prevented from obtaining a gun.

The NRA spokeswoman said that her organization has always supported policies that promote school safety.

‘Whether you love or hate firearms, we all want to send our children to safe schools and to live in safe communities,’ she said.

But Baker added that this can be done without ‘shifting the focus, blame or burden onto safe, law-abiding gun owners.’

‘Doing everything we can as a nation to address the problem of dangerous people committing heinous acts is not inconsistent with the Second Amendment – the systemic failures of government to keep us safe reinforces the need for the Second Amendment,’ she said.

‘We will continue to support legislative efforts to make our schools and communities safe and oppose gun control schemes that cannot keep us safe and only punish law-abiding Americans.’

Trump angered the NRA earlier on Wednesday, saying he will be giving ‘very serious thought’ to signing legislation that lifts the minimum age for purchasing certain firearms like the AR-15 to 21.

The position is a serious split from the organization, which has been a major backer of Trump’s and most Republicans.

In a listening session with lawmakers on Wednesday, the president acknowledged that his posture wouldn’t be popular with the gun group, but he’ll be ‘giving it a lot of consideration’ anyway.

Trump demanded to know why background check legislation that he wants to use as a vehicle for gun violence prevention measures doesn’t already contain the provision.

‘You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA!’ the president told Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican author of the bipartisan bill, with a laugh.

President Donald Trump (seen right with Senator John Cornyn, the Republican from Texas) said he will be giving 'very serious thought' to signing legislation that lifts the minimum age for purchasing firearms like the AR-15 to 21

President Donald Trump (seen right with Senator John Cornyn, the Republican from Texas) said he will be giving ‘very serious thought’ to signing legislation that lifts the minimum age for purchasing firearms like the AR-15 to 21

'You know why? Because you're afraid of the NRA!' the president told Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican author of the bipartisan bill, with a laugh

‘You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA!’ the president told Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican author of the bipartisan bill, with a laugh

The Pennsylvania lawmaker explained that five years ago, when the legislation first came for a vote in the Senate, an age restriction never came up.

Toomey also argued that the ‘vast majority’ of teens in his state are non-violent.

‘I know where you’re coming from, and I understand that,’ Trump replied.

But the president made clear that he wants Toomey and cosponsor Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, to include the measure in the universal background check bill they plan to revive in the Senate.

The measure failed in a Democratically-controlled 2013, even though it had the backing of 54 senators, because it did not reach the upper chamber’s 60-vote threshhold.

That was roughly four months after the horrific slaughter of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut.

One lawmaker told Trump on Wednesday not to underestimate the power of the gun lobby as the president said over and over again that he couldn’t understand why action was not taken under the previous administration.

‘They have great power over you people,’ Trump replied. ‘Some of you people are petrified of the NRA.’

The president said he told the Second Amendment group, ‘We have to do what’s right.’

Trump said that he truly believes that the NRA also wants to do ‘what’s right’ for Americans.

‘I’m a big fan of the NRA. These are great people. These are great patriots. They love our country. But that doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything,’ the president told legislators.

Earlier on in the session, Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator from the state that endured the horrible tragedy five years ago that inspired Toomey’s failed background check bill, informed Trump that he would have to take on the NRA if he wanted substantive legislation to pass.

‘There is no other issue out there with the American public like background checks. Ninety-seven percent of Americans want universal background checks. And yet we can’t get it done, there’s nothing else like that. Where it works, people want it and we can’t do it,’ Murphy told the president.

Video playing bottom right…

One lawmaker told Trump on Wednesday not to underestimate the power of the gun lobby as the president said over and over again that he couldn't understand why action was not taken under the previous administration

One lawmaker told Trump on Wednesday not to underestimate the power of the gun lobby as the president said over and over again that he couldn’t understand why action was not taken under the previous administration

Asked if he'd sign legislation making 21 the floor for buying certain firearms, Trump said,'I'll tell you what, I'm going to give it a lot of consideration, and I'm the one bringing it up, and a lot of people don't even want to bring it up because they're afraid to bring it up

Asked if he’d sign legislation making 21 the floor for buying certain firearms, Trump said,’I’ll tell you what, I’m going to give it a lot of consideration, and I’m the one bringing it up, and a lot of people don’t even want to bring it up because they’re afraid to bring it up

Trump rebutted, ‘But you have a different president now.’

To which Murphy said, ‘The reason that nothing has gotten done here is because the gun lobby has had veto power over any legislation that comes before Congress .

‘I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is. If all we end up doing is stuff the gun industry supports than this just isn’t worth it, we’re not going to make a difference,’ he told the Republican president, ‘so I’m glad that you sat down with the NRA, but we will get 60 votes on a bill that looks like the Manchin-Toomey compromise on background checks if you, Mr. President, support it.’

The Connecticut Democrat told Trump: ‘If you come to Congress, if you come to Republicans and say we’re going to do a Manchin-Toomey-like bill to get comprehensive background checks, it will pass.

‘But if this meeting ends up with just sort of vague notions of future compromise than nothing will happen.’

Murphy explained that comprehensive background check legislation would have to bar criminals, people who are very mentally ill and individuals on the terrorist watchlist from purchasing guns.

‘But Mr. President it’s going to have to be you that brings the Republicans to the table on this because, right now, the gun lobby would stop it in its tracks,’ he said.

Trump told him, ‘I like that responsibility Chris, I really do. I think it’s time, it’s time that a president stepped up. I’m talking Democrat and Republican presidents, they haven’t stepped up.’

The president urged lawmakers in the room to come up with compromise legislation that encapsulates universal background checks and strengthens the existing system.

He told them he’d like to see age limits included in the merger, as well.

Asked if he’d sign legislation making 21 the floor for buying certain firearms, Trump said,’I’ll tell you what, I’m going to give it a lot of consideration, and I’m the one bringing it up, and a lot of people don’t even want to bring it up because they’re afraid to bring it up.

‘But I will give very serious thought to it,’ he said.

The president said he wants lawmakers to put together ‘something great.’

The president urged lawmakers in the room to come up with compromise legislation that encapsulates universal background checks and strengthens the existing system

The president urged lawmakers in the room to come up with compromise legislation that encapsulates universal background checks and strengthens the existing system

Wednesday was the first time that Trump heard from federal lawmakers leading the charge for new gun violence prevention measures in person since the Parkland massacre

Wednesday was the first time that Trump heard from federal lawmakers leading the charge for new gun violence prevention measures in person since the Parkland massacre

At one point, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat from California, was elated when it appeared that Trump expressed support for gun control measures for which she has long advocated.

During the meeting, Feinstein’s Democratic colleague, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, proposed expanded background checks aimed at reducing domestic violence.

Trump replied that Klobuchar’s suggestion should be added to the bipartisan Toomey-Manchin bill.

Then the president turned to Feinstein and said she ‘could add what you have also…into the bill.’

Feinstein then appeared giddy – nearly jumping out of her seat, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

‘Joe, are you ready?’ Feinstein then asked Manchin.

Then Trump chimed in to back up Feinstein.

‘Joe, can you do that? Can you add some of the things?’ Trump asked Manchin.

‘We’re going to get it passed,’ the president said.

During the meeting, Feinstein pressed Trump to endorse an assault weapons ban, but Trump told her she needed to work it out with her colleagues.

He would not go beyond his support for the age restrictions, background checks and concealed carry permits for teachers trained to wield firearms.

Making a reference to his proposal to allowed teachers to pack heat, Trump said, ‘To me something great, is where you stop it from happening, and I think there’s only one way.’

If lawmakers feel that’s the wrong way to attack the problem, Trump told them, ;I want a very strong counter punch.’

Trump predicted a ‘very successful vote’ this time around on gun control legislation.

‘Some people aren’t going to like that, but you’re going to have to look at that very seriously,’ he said, returning to age limits. ‘And I will sign it, and I will call whoever you want me to if I like what you’re doing, and I think I like what you’re doing already, but you can add to it.

‘But you have to be very, very powerful on background checks – don’t be shy – very strong on mentally ill, you have to be very very strong on that, and don’t worry about bump stock, we’re getting rid of it, I mean you don’t have to complicate the bill by adding another two paragraphs.’

The president claimed once again that his administration would be banning the firearms accessory that it plans to recategorize as a machine gun.

‘We’re getting rid of it. I’ll do that myself because I’m able to. Fortunately we’re able to do that without going through Congress,’ he asserted.

‘I DON’T KNOW WHY I WASN’T INVITED’: President Donald Trump will heard directly from lawmakers leading the charge for new gun violence prevention measures this afternoon at the White House…yet Florida’s Democratic senator, Bill Nelson, wasn’t invited

Wednesday was the first time that Trump heard from federal lawmakers leading the charge for new gun violence prevention measures in person since the Parkland massacre.

In addition to Machin, Toomey, Feinstein and Murphy, Sen. John Cornyn, the GOP whip in the Senate, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also attended.

Cornyn described President Trump’s meeting about guns today as ‘fascinating television’ and ‘surreal.’

‘My takeaway is that we like to start with background checks and build from there and see where we can get consensus,’ the Texas Republican said.

Cornyn, the Senate’s whip who was seated next to Trump during the meeting, added that rolling multiple gun bills into one was ‘easier said than done.’

The Sunshine State’s Democratic senator, Bill Nelson, says he was not invited.

A White House spokesperson did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment on the snub. 

A chagrined Nelson told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he was not invited to the president’s chat today with legislators at the White House.

‘I don’t know why I wasn’t invited,’ he said, according to ABC News. ‘And of course that doesn’t foster bipartisanship when you’re trying to solve a problem.’

Trump has been holding listening sessions with parents, students, teachers, state and local officials, law enforcement officers and other stakeholders in the gun control debate, including the National Rifle Association, in the weeks since the Marjory Stoneman massacre.

Yesterday, the White House promised to unveil a set of ‘school safety’ recommendations later this week that will include specific policy initiatives.

The president was already supporting legislation that would incentivize states and agencies to fully comply with existing federal background check mandates. His White House also endorsed a bill this week that funds gun violence prevention training for teachers, law enforcement and students.

Trump last week directed his attorney general to find a way to regulate bump stocks, claiming this week that regardless of what Congress has to say about the matter he’s ‘getting rid’ of the accessory that manipulates semiautomatic rifles.

Other suggestions the president has made had been just that, with the White House pledging hardened stances on Tuesday by the end of the week.

Among those: the proposal to raise the minimum age for some gun purchases and a proposition to allow upwards of 700,000 teachers to carry concealed weapons.

Neither of the proposed remedies to gun violence was gaining traction on Capitol Hill this week as Congress returned from a week-long hiatus.

Sarah Sanders denies that Trump softened stance on gun age limit

A top GOP congressional aide told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that the prospects are ‘pretty dim,’ for age limits that could be why the president appeared to be backing away from it in remarks over the past few days.

‘That proposal won’t get a lot of traction in Congress,’ the source said.

Trump did not put forward the proposal during at Friday speech before conservative activists, and he did not bring it up Monday at a bipartisan meeting with governors at the White House, where gun violence was the top talker during a televised session.

Sources familiar with the White House’s discussions with leadership on Capitol Hill told CNN later that Trump was seemingly moving away from his position.

A senior congressional aide told DailyMail.com that discussions about the president’s proposals, like allowing teachers to pack heat, were still in their early stages, with Congress having been out of session last week and only just returning on Monday to Washington.

Furthermore, the House will be out from today on as the late evangelical pastor Billy Graham lies in honor in the U.S. Capitol.

The source said that the basic posture of the House is to see what can pass in the GOP-controlled Senate, which is focused this week on nominations.

House Republicans have already passed legislation to strengthen the existing background check system that it paired with a concealed carry provision. The Senate version of the background check bill has lingered in the Senate.

Trump informed GOP Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican Party’s top vote counter in the House, on Wednesday that the measure permitting concealed carry reciprocity between states would have to be cut from the bill now in order to get the base background check bill through the more liberal Senate.

‘Let it be a separate bill,’ he warned the GOP leader. ‘If you add concealed carry to this, you’ll never get it passed.’

Trump’s administration had cautiously endorsed the Senate legislation that’s sponsored by Murphy and Cornyn.

On Monday the bill hit a roadblock in the upper chamber, though, as conservative senator Mike Lee opposed the measure and Democratic senators pushed for more aggressive gun control legislation.

The NRA does not support new age restrictions on firearms sales and its spokeswoman suggested Sunday that Trump was not firmly committed to his position

The NRA does not support new age restrictions on firearms sales and its spokeswoman suggested Sunday that Trump was not firmly committed to his position

Democrats want to Congress pass legislation requiring background checks on all firearms sales, eliminating the so-called gun show loophole.

Trump has said he favors comprehensive legislation, but the White House had refused to take a position on universal background checks prior to Trump’s assertion on Wednesday that he supports them.

‘We’d have to see what it looks like and review that before we make that determination,’ press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

Sanders was equally non-committal on Tuesday in her daily briefing when questioned about the president’s support for the bill put together by Manchin and Toomey.

‘The President, as I’ve said, expects to meet with a number of lawmakers tomorrow from both sides of the aisle, and we’ll have some more information about specifics after that,’ she asserted.

The Trump spokeswoman insisted Tuesday, as she did Monday, that the president remains supportive of the proposition to make sales of the AR-15 and other automatic rifles 21 and over, despite the National Rifle Association’s adamant opposition to the measure.

‘He knows that everybody doesn’t necessarily agree,’ Sanders explained. ‘We’re not going to get into the details on the specifics of what we will propose.’

On Monday, Sanders said that Trump had not ‘downgraded’ his proposal.

‘The president is still supportive of the concept,’ she said, as a weekend meeting with the National Rifle Association that was kept off Trump’s public schedule came to light.

The NRA does not support new age restrictions on firearms sales and its spokeswoman suggested Sunday that Trump was not firmly committed to his position.

‘These are just things that he’s discussing right now,’ spokesman Dana Loesch said during an appearance on ABC News.

Sanders told reporters on Monday that it ‘would be ridiculous’ to intimate that Trump had been influenced by the powerful gun group that opposes the restrictions ‘considering the number of individuals he’s met with that come from both the far left to the far right, and a lot of those in between.’

She said Trump plans to continue his talks with a lawmakers this week in meetings at the White House and would ultimately base his decision on what is outlined in legislative text.

‘In concept, the President still supports it, but in terms of legislation, we’d need to see what that looks like before we weigh in further,’ Sanders said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5448253/NRA-war-Trump-bad-policy-guns.html#ixzz58YeICjKe

 

Story 3: Hope Dumps Trump — Tired of Abuse? — Bridge over Troubled Water — Sounds of Silence —  Videos

Who Is Hope Hicks, the White House Communications Director?

Hope Hicks to resign: President Trump losing trusted adviser

Hope Hicks resigning from White House

White House turmoil intensifies

What Hope Hicks’s departure says about the White House

Schiff: Hicks refused to discuss Trump administration

‘Javanka’ Faction Falling Apart As Hope Hicks, Others Quit W.H. | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

White House communications director Hope Hicks to resign

Hope Hicks To Resign As President Trump’s White House Communications Director | TIME

Why is Hope Hicks, Trump’s longest-serving aide, resigning?

Published on Feb 28, 2018

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks made the surprising announcement on Wednesday that she will leave the Trump administration in the coming weeks. The news comes a day after Hicks testifies for hours before the House Intelligence Committee as part of the Russia probe. Judy Woodruff learns more from Ashley Parker of The Washington Post.

Hope Hicks named most powerful person in Washington

Hope Hicks Now in Spotlight Surrounding White House Domestic Abuse Scandal

Lawrence: Hope Hicks’ Loyalty Tested As She Meets Mueller Team | The Last Word | MSNBC

Hope Hicks Is The New White House Communications Director

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence – Madison Square Garden, NYC – 2009/10/29&30

Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water (from The Concert in Central Park)

 

Why did Hope Hicks resign? Even the good option looks bad.

 March 1 at 6:30 AM 
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Officials announced on Feb. 28 that Hope Hicks will resign. She had been White House communications director since Sept. 2017. 

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is resigning less than six months after officially taking that job on a permanent basis. And according to a timeline provided by the reporter who broke the story, the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, Hicks spent a substantial portion of her tenure — perhaps as much as half of it — considering leaving.

Hope Hicks departure is NOT about yesterday’s hearing, per multiple sources. She had planned it before, had been thinking about it for months. She had informed a very small number of people prior to Hill hearing that she planned to leave.

It was tempting to draw a line — as Iand others speculated about — between Hicks’s exit and two controversies: Her involvement in the Rob Porter scandal as both communications director and his girlfriend, and her House Intelligence Committee testimony Tuesday in which she admitted to telling white lies for Trump. If nothing else, the timing is suspicious for a resignation to come so close in proximity to each of those two things.

But consider the alternative. The alternative is that someone who has been in the White House for 13 months started thinking about leaving well shy of a year on the staff — and shortly after rising to one of the top jobs. The point: Regardless of which one it was, it doesn’t portend good things or stability in the White House moving forward.

It’s no secret the White House has become something of a revolving door for staff. Hicks was the fifth person designated as communications director and the third to hold the job on a non-interim basis. Trump has also already parted ways with a press secretary, a national security adviser, a chief strategist, a chief of staff (with his second, John Kelly, apparently on thin ice) and plenty of others.

Hicks was supposed to be different. Perhaps his longest-serving aide — dating back to before the campaign — she was someone who understood Trump and seemed to command his implicit trust. The White House would be a stressful job for anyone, but Hicks at least benefited from the kind of strong working relationship with Trump that other figures — especially those from the GOP establishment — clearly did not have.

She was not as familiar with politics as others, but in a White House in which conflicts with the boss are often the cause for early departures, Hicks made sense as a potential long-termer. Like Reince Priebus, Stephen K. Bannon, Sean Spicer and the rest, though, she has now proven a short-timer. Even fellow Trump loyalists like Keith Schiller have found the White House to be tough long-term employment.

Whether it’s because of exhaustion in dealing with Trump or the exhaustion in dealing with Washington politics for outsiders like Hicks, or a combination, it seems Trump will have a difficult time maintaining anything resembling a core staff organization. And for a president who has struggled with consistency and is thought to be heavily reliant upon the last person he has spoken to, that’s likely to lead to even more volatility.

We may yet learn more about Hicks’s departure in the days to come. Nothing about it, though, suggests stability is over the horizon for the White House. If anything was stability for Trump, it was Hicks.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/03/01/why-did-hope-hicks-resign-even-the-good-option-looks-bad/?utm_term=.0f637e64c0dc

Turnover, investigations have Trump administration adrift

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rattled by two weeks of muddled messages, departures and spitting matches between the president and his own top officials, Donald Trump is facing a shrinking circle of trusted advisers and a staff that’s grim about any prospect of a reset.

Even by the standards of Trump’s often chaotic administration, the announcement of Hope Hicks’ imminent exit spread new levels of anxiety across the West Wing and cracked open disputes that had been building since the White House’s botched handling of domestic violence allegations against a senior aide late last month.

Hicks’ departure comes as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation appears to be circling the Oval Office, with prosecutors questioning Trump associates about both his business dealings before he became president and his actions in office, according to people with knowledge of the interviews. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has also been weakened after being stripped of his high-level security clearance amid revelations about potential conflicts of interest.

Communications Director Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s most trusted aides, abruptly announced her resignation Wednesday. Julie Pace says Hicks is under the political magnifying glass, which might have affected her decision. (Feb. 28)

The biggest unknown is how the mercurial Trump will respond to Hicks’ departure and Kushner’s more limited access, according to some of the 16 White House officials, congressional aides and outside advisers interviewed by The Associated Press, most of whom insisted on anonymity in order to disclose private conversations and meetings. Besides Kushner and his wife, presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, most remaining White House staffers were not part of Trump’s close-knit 2016 campaign. One person who speaks to Trump regularly said the president has become increasingly wistful about the camaraderie of that campaign.

Rarely has a modern president confronted so many crises and controversies across so many fronts at the same time. After 13 months in office, there’s little expectation among many White House aides and outside allies that Trump can quickly find his footing or attract new, top-flight talent to the West Wing. And some Republican lawmakers, who are eying a difficult political landscape in November’s midterm elections, have begun to let private frustrations ooze out in public.

“There is no standard operating practice with this administration,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. “Every day is a new adventure for us.”

Thune’s comments described the White House’s peculiar rollout Thursday of controversial new aluminum and steel tariffs. White House aides spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning scrambling to steer the president away from an announcement on an unfinished policy, with even Kelly in the dark about Trump’s plans. Aides believed they had succeeded in getting Trump to back down and hoped to keep television cameras away from an event with industry executives so the president couldn’t make a surprise announcement. But Trump summoned reporters into the Cabinet Room anyway and declared that the U.S. would levy penalties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports.

Some of Trump’s populist supporters cheered the move. The stock market, which Trump looks to for validation for his economic policies, plunged.

Some officials are bracing for more departures. On Thursday, NBC News reported that the White House was preparing to replace national security adviser H.R. McMaster as early as next month.

White House Sarah Huckabee Sanders told “Fox & Friends” on Friday that “Gen. McMaster isn’t going anywhere.”

As for talk of a White House in upheaval, Sanders pointed out the tax cuts passed late last year: “If they want to call it chaos, fine, but we call it success and productivity and we’re going to keep plugging along.”

For those remaining on the job, the turbulence has been relentless. Just two weeks ago, Kelly, the general brought in to bring order, was himself on the ropes for his handling of the domestic violence allegations against a close aide, Rob Porter. Trump was said to be deeply irritated by the negative press coverage of Kelly’s leadership during the controversy and considering firing him. But first, the president planned to give his chief of staff a chance to defend himself before reporters in the briefing room and gauge the reaction, according to two people with knowledge of the episode. The briefing, however, was canceled after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Kelly’s standing has stabilized somewhat as media attention to the Porter issue has waned.

Graphic shows key departures from Trump administration.

One Kelly backer said the chief of staff’s standing remains tenuous, in part because of his clashes with Kushner over policy, personnel and White House structure. The tensions were exacerbated by Kelly’s decision to downgrade Kushner’s security clearance because the senior adviser had not been permanently approved for the highest level of access.

Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who also serves as a senior White House adviser, have been frustrated by Kelly’s attempt to restrict their access to the president, and they perceive his new crackdown on clearances as a direct shot at them, according to White House aides and outside advisers. Kelly, in turn, has grown frustrated with what he views as the couple’s freelancing. He blames them for changing Trump’s mind at the last minute and questions what exactly they do all day, according to one White House official and an outside ally.

The ethics questions dogging Kushner relate to both his personal financial interests and his dealings in office with foreign officials. Intelligence officials expressed concern that Kushner’s business dealings were a topic of discussion in conversations he was having with foreign officials about foreign policy issues of interest to the U.S. government, a former intelligence official said. Separately, The New York Times reported that two companies made loans worth more than half a billion dollars to Kushner’s family real estate firm after executives met with Kushner at the White House.

Allies of Kushner and Ivanka Trump insist they have no plans to leave the White House in the near future. As for Kelly, he appeared to hint at his tough spot during an event Thursday at the Department of Homeland Security, where he served as secretary before departing for the White House.

“The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life, being the secretary of homeland security,” he said at the agency’s 15th anniversary celebration in Washington. “But I did something wrong and God punished me, I guess.”

___

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

https://www.apnews.com/675dbc2801ca418a934f52b714d5e08b/Turnover,-investigations-have-Trump-administration-adrift

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018, Story 1: Better Late Then Never — Department of Justice (DOJ) To Reopen FBI Investigations of Hillary Clinton Mishandling of Classified of Documents in Emails and Email Server and Investigation of Abuse of FISA Court Warrants — Appoint A Special Counsel Now! — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1012, December 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1011, December 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1009, December 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1008, December 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

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DOJ will investigate FISA abuse allegations, Jeff Sessions says

Hannity: Major developments in the FISA abuse scandal

Justice Dept IG to Probe FISA Abuse!, 2077

Democratic, GOP intel memos are both at fault: Judge Napolitano

Sen. Sessions on the FBI’s new investigation of Clinton’s email case

Rep. Jordan presses Sessions over special council for Clinton, FBI

Jeff Sessions: I’d recuse myself in a Hillary Clinton investigation

Sessions: Clinton Foundation ‘not fully investigated…

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

FISA memo: Something went wrong in Comey’s inner circle, Chris Swecker says

Members of Comey’s team, DOJ have expulsion now for obstruction of justice: Kallstrom

FISA memo contains major federal felonies, says ex-FBI official Kallstrom

Could Loretta Lynch face 5-10 years in jail?

Obama guilty of obstruction of justice, not Loretta Lynch?

Trump dropped biggest bombshell on Loretta Lynch: Judge Napolitano

Gohmert Makes FBI Director James Comey Admit FBI Faked Hillary Clinton Investigation

EX CIA Agent Wreaks Havoc On FBI Director James Comey Over Hillary Clinton Investigation

Jason Chaffetz Furious at Comey For Not Jailing Hillary Clinton

Rep. Issa to Comey: “Cheryl Mills Received Complete Immunity…for Obstruction/Destruction of Docs”

Darrell Issa Super Pissed at James Comey! “What Are You Going to Do About Evidence Being Deleted!”

Darrell Issa GRILLS James Comey For Giving Out Immunity Like Candy In Clinton Emails 9/28/16

Jim Jordan Asks FBI Director James Comey Why Hes Covering Up Hillary Clinton’s Lies

John Ratcliffe Explodes On FBI Director James Comey For Covering Up Hillary Clinton’s Lies

Raul Labrador Pummels FBI Director James Comey Over Hillary Clinton Investigation

Rep. Collins, GA: “I Think You BLEW IT! Anybody Else Would have been Prosecuted!”

Rep Jordan FBI Comey O-S-H-I-T Combetta Deletes Evidence

Rep. David Trott, MI to Comey: “Can You See Why It Appears There’s a Double Standard?”

Rep King, IA to Comey: Who Was in the Room With Hillary During FBI Questioning?

OUCH! Rep. Jim Jordan hammers James Comey over Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation

Rep. Trey Gowdy: False statements proved Clinton’s ‘intent’

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) questions FBI Director Comey on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

Giuliani: James Comey has put himself and Ms. Clinton above the law

Al D’Amato: FBI HRC conclusion is a stain on the judicial process

Fmr. FBI Assistant Director: Comey should have resigned

Former assistant FBI director slams Comey’s recommendation

Giuliani: Dissapointed in FBI’s Comey

Giuliani: FBI decision on Clinton emails an “embarrassment”

FBI’s Comey: No reasonable case for Clinton prosecution

Guilty Under 18 U.S. Code 793

FBI INVESTIGATION COMEY: ANALYSIS BY CHIEF INTEL CORRESPONDENT CATHERINE HERRIDGE

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

James Comey Admits Loretta Lynch Tried To Cover Up Hillary Clinton Investigation

FBI had evidence that Loretta Lynch intended to obstruct Clinton email investigation • 6/12/17

REVEALED FBI found an email that Lynch would do everything to protect Hillary from CRIMINAL CHARGES

‘Your Lack Of Leadership is Astonishing’ Loretta Lynch Lies To Protect Hillary Clinton

“Remember Your Oath To The Constitution” Gomert Blasts Lying Loretta Lynch

Trey Gowdy Smashes Lying Loretta Lynch For Protecting Hillary Clinton

John Ratcliffe Shuts Up Lying Loretta Lynch Over Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Why did AG Lynch secretly meet with Bill Clinton?

Hannity: Evidence is coming that will rock DC’s foundation

The Obama Administration’s ‘Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton’ Starting To Seep Out

Rep. Jordan: FBI texts about Obama raise lots of concerns

CLIP: Obama ‘I do not talk to FBI Directors about pending investigations’ EXCEPT James Comey

Obama Rejects Claims That FBI, State Department Colluded on Clinton Emails

Obama weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s emails

‘RussiaGate investigation is designed to vindicate Hillary’s losing a rigged election’ – Lionel

Rep. Jordan presses Jeff Sessions to appoint special counsel

BREAKING: CLINTON INDICTED WITH WEINER LAPTOP PICS DEEMED RUSSIA BOT KREMLIN PROPAGANDA. IMMINENT

JEFF SESSIONS HEARING: Comey, Lynch – *CLINTON EMAILS* “THAT IS A STUNNING THING!”

 

Sessions says DOJ will investigate alleged FISA abuses

Sessions says DOJ will investigate alleged FISA abuses

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the Justice Department will investigate potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“Yes, it will be investigated,” Sessions told reporters at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees FISA warrants, according to the Washington Examiner.

He said looking into any abuses is the “appropriate thing” to do.

Sessions’s remarks follow allegations from President Trump last year that Obama administration officials misused their FISA authority to wrongly surveil members of his transition team.

It is not clear if Sessions has opened a formal investigation into the matter, but he said the Justice Department’s inspector general would take it up.

Sessions similarly said on Fox News on Sunday that his department would look into the process for obtaining warrants under FISA. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing on Tuesday it is the Justice Department’s responsibility to investigate claims of FISA abuses and that the White House would support the probe.

“I think that’s the role of the Department of Justice, and we’re glad that they’re fulfilling that job,” she said.

Trump has publicly pressed Sessions to open up an investigation into potential abuses of the program, which allows U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to obtain secret surveillance orders on individuals in the U.S. suspected of being foreign terrorists or spies.

The president claimed last year that the Obama administration improperly wiretapped members of his presidential campaign and transition team, though the White House has not provided any evidence to support that claim. 

Allegations of FISA abuses surfaced again last month, when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a controversial memo alleging that FBI and Justice Department officials misused their authority to obtain a surveillance order on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

The committee released a Democrat-authored memo on Saturday countering the claims in the GOP document.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/375863-sessions-says-justice-dept-will-investigate-alleged-fisa-abuses

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pictured. | AP Photo
“We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the high standards in the FISA court and, yes, it will be investigated. And I think that’s just the appropriate thing,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Sessions: Justice Department watchdog investigating GOP Russia memo claims

The Attorney General says his inspector general is probing allegations in a House Republican memo that a secret federal court was misled in 2016.

Updated 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the Justice Department’s inspector general is looking into a House Republican memo’s claim that prosecutors and FBI agents misled a federal judge when applying for warrants to surveil a Trump campaign adviser with ties to Moscow.

In response to a question at a press conference about government anti-opioid efforts, Sessions appeared to confirm that the Justice Department is investigating the surveillance-related allegations leveled in the memo issued by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and declassified on Feb. 2 at the order of President Donald Trump.

The GOP memo charged that federal officials did not fully disclose important facts in an October 2016 FISA warrant application to monitor the communications of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, including that Democrats had funded a private intelligence dossier which was part of the basis for the request.

A spokeswoman for Sessions said his comments were accurate, but referred further questions to aides in the office of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. An IG spokesman said: “We’ve received the referral and decline to comment further.”

Horowitz announced in January 2017 that he was opening a review into numerous sensitive issues, including whether political considerations affected the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The IG also indicated he planned to examine whether some FBI or Justice Department officials engaged in improper communications with Clinton’s campaign or should have recused themselves.

Horowitz’s announcement of the probe did not indicate any plans to examine issues related to surveillance applications, such as Trump’s claims that his campaign aides were subjected to politically-motivated surveillance before and after the 2016 election.

Over the past year, both Democrats and Republicans have asked Horowitz to expand his inquiry to sweep in various other matters. Before Sessions’ comments Tuesday, there was no explicit indication he had done so. Indeed, Horowitz’s spokespeople have rebuffed media questions about the scope of the review. His answers to lawmakers have also been non-committal.

Horowitz did say in House testimony last November that he expected the election-related review to be completed by March or April of this year.

 

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/27/justice-department-gop-memo-russia-investigation-jeff-sessions-428387

 

Trump appears to push for DOJ probe into Hillary Clinton scandals

President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to promote calls for the Justice Department to investigate alleged criminal activity by his former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton — citing a Fox News analyst who suggested that the DOJ may be sitting on a “treasure trove” of evidence.

Trump quoted Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who suggested on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” that someone at the department may have evidence of criminality from Clinton or her camp that should be investigated.

Napolitano was, in turn, reacting to an interview Trump gave to Fox’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine” on Saturday night when he suggested that someone should look into the Clinton campaign’s “fraudulent actions” during the 2016 presidential run in relation to the funding of a controversial anti-Trump dossier that was used by the FBI and DOJ to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

In the wake of his election, Trump backed down on his campaign call to have the DOJ investigate Clinton, but he has returned to the “lock her up” theme since then — and has repeatedly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not investigating Clinton more aggressively.

In his tweets Tuesday, Trump also branded FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe a witch hunt, quoting experts who appeared on “Fox & Friends” to support his long-standing argument that the probe is baseless and that there was no collusion between members of his team and Russian-linked individuals in the 2016 election.

Ken Starr, the independent counsel tasked with investigating Clinton administration controversies in the 1990s, said on Sunday that there has been “no evidence of collusion” so far from the Mueller team, prompting a tweet from the president’s account.

Trump quoted constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, who also downplayed the probe on Sunday, noting that collusion was implausible based on evidence seen so far.

Trump then tweeted in all caps:

Trump’s tweets come after the release of a Democratic rebuttal to a GOP memo that found that intelligence agencies had used a Democratic-funded dossier as the basis to get a warrant to spy on Page.

DEMS’ REBUTTAL TO GOP FISA MEMO IS RELEASED; TRUMP DEEMS IT A ‘BUST’

Trump branded the Dem memo a “total political and legal bust.”

Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion from his team and has claimed that the investigation is politically motivated and pushed by Democrats upset by Trump’s win.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/27/trump-appears-to-push-for-doj-probe-into-hillary-clinton-scandals.html

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Republicans Beg Republican to Reopen Hillary Case Closed by Republican

gettyimages874090334

Jeff Sessions at Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

Republicans have been quite successful of late in elections and control both chambers of Congress and the White House. On Tuesday, given a chance to present a unified response to minority Democrats’ pointed questioning of attorney general Jeff Sessions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, America’s powerful governing party … squabbled with itself about whether it’s necessary to launch another investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

The background here is that a number of Republican legislators believe Crooked Hillary’s vast past crookedness warrants the appointment of another special counsel. Among them are Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who sit on the Judiciary Committee. Their beef with Clinton involves the server but, as this as this graphic demonstrates, also extends to most of the rest of the events that have ever taken place in the universe:

(Please note that the State Department is presented on this chart as a subsidiary of “Benghazi” and that there is a line between the box on the lower right labeled “Obama” and another box toward the middle which is also labeled “Obama.” What do the binary Obamas have to hide?)

The long and short of this conspiracizing is that Clinton has been let off the hook for the email thing—but also for the majestically overhyped Uranium One “scandal” and for her involvement with the uncorroborated “Steele dossier” which is misleadingly being presented by right-wing figures as the basis of the Trump-Russia investigation—because the entire Obama Justice Department was in the bag for her. The man who has become the face of this alleged Obama deep-state fix, in the right-wing imagination, is former FBI director James Comey.

In reality world, however, Comey is considered a credible figure by nonpartisan observers and the general public. He’s a respected federal law-enforcement lifer who moreoever was himself a registered Republican until very recently. Jeff Sessions, whose job involves maintaining good relations with the federal law-enforcement community and who has tangible (if highly controversial) non-Hillary priorities of his own, does not appear to have an appetite for picking a fight with a former FBI director or spending resources on a special-counsel goose chase. At Tuesday’s hearing, his feelings on the matter broke into the open as he demonstrated spectacularly little patience for Jordan’s rambling Comey/Clinton questions:

Rep. Jordan: We know that Mr. Comey publicized the [email server] investigation and we know he made the final decision on whether to prosecute or not. And then when he gets fired, he leaks a government document through a friend to the New York Times—and what was his goal? To create momentum for special counsel. It can’t be just any special  counsel, it’s Bob Mueller, his mentor. The same Bob Mueller who now is in this investigation with Russian businesses wanting to do business here in the United States. So I guess my main question is, what’s it going to take to actually get a special counsel? What’s it going to take to actually get a special counsel?

Jeff Sessions: It would take a factual basis that meets a standards of the appointment of a special counsel.

Ya burnt, Jim Jordan. Jordan didn’t give up, though:

Jordan: It sure looks like the FBI was paying the author of [the Steele dossier] and it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government to then turn an opposition research document, the equivalent of a National Enquirer story, into an intelligence document, take that to the FISA court so they can then get a warrant to spy on the campaign. That’s what it looks like.

Replied Sessions: “‘Looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.” Cold!

Making the whole situation even more bizarre: Jordan and the other legislators pursuing this line of inquiry are just following the lead of Sessions’ boss, who is still mad at his own A.G. for allowing the Russia investigation to go forward and has been taking it out on him for months by whining in public.

Thus do we have Republican legislators carrying water for a Republican president who’s ticked off that his Republican attorney general won’t relitigate a decision that was made by a Republican FBI director. Unified government, indeed.

Today’s meter level is unchanged because 60 percent is already quite high, but it’s a confident 60 percent. Do the people described above seem to you like they’re capable of running the government until 2020 without a self-inflicted catastrophic collapse? 

The FBI’s Fake « Investigation » of Hillary Clinton’s Emails

On September 17th, U.S. President Barack Obama, the boss of the U.S. Government’s Executive Branch — including of federal investigations and prosecutions (including of FBI decisons not to investigate, and not to prosecute) — said that, in this Presidential election,

 “My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot,” and that a voter’s failure to vote for Hillary Clinton would be “an insult to my legacy.”

 This statement by him provides useful background context behind the following news-report (and readers are urged to click onto the link at any point here wherever a given allegation’s veracity is at all in doubt, to see the extensive documentation for it): 

The FBI’s ‘investigation’ into Hillary Clinton’s State Department email operation was fake in three major ways:

1: The FBI chose to ‘investigate’ the most difficult-to-prove charges, not the easiest-to-prove ones (which are the six laws that she clearly violated, simply by her privatization and destruction of State Department records, and which collectively would entail a maximum prison sentence of 73 years). The famous judge Jed Rakoff hasaccurately and succinctly said that, in the American criminal ‘justice’ system, since 1980 and especially after 2000, and most especially after 2010,

« the prosecutor has all the power. The Supreme Court’s suggestion that a plea bargain is a fair and voluntary contractual arrangement between two relatively equal parties is a total myth. … What really puts the prosecutor in the driver’s seat is the fact that he — because of mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines (which, though no longer mandatory in the federal system, are still widely followed by most judges), and simply his ability to shape whatever charges are brought — can effectively dictate the sentence by how he publicly describes the offense.”

Columnist Debra J. Saunders put it this way“The mandatory minimum sentencing system effectively has allowed federal prosecutors to choose defendants’ sentences by deciding how to charge them.”

If an Administration wants to be merely pretending an ‘investigation’, it’s easy: identify, as the topic for the alleged ‘investigation’, not the criminal laws that indisputably describe what the suspect can clearly be proven to have done, but instead criminal laws that don’t. Prosecutorial discretion is now practically unlimited in the United States. This discretion is an essential feature of any dictatorship. It’s the essence of any system that separates people into aristocrats, who are above the law, versus the public, upon whom their ‘law’ is enforced. It’s the essence of “a nation of men, not of laws.”

But, different people focus on different aspects of it. Conservatives notice it in Clinton’s case because she was not prosecuted.Progressives notice it in Clinton’s case because other people (ones without the clout) who did what she did (but only less of it), have been prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced for it. The result, either way, is dictatorship, regardless of anyone’s particular perspective on the matter. Calling a nation like that a ‘democracy’ is to strip “democracy” of its basic meaning — it is foolishness. Such a nation is an aristocracy, otherwise called an “oligarchy.” That’s the opposite of a democracy (even if it’s set up so as to pretend to be a democracy).

2: The FBI chose to believe her allegations, instead of to investigate or challenge them. For example: On page 4 of the FBI’s record of their interview with Hillary dated 2 July 2016, they noted: “Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system.”

But they already had seen this email. So, they asked her about that specific one:

« Clinton stated she did not remember the email specifically. Clinton stated a ‘nonpaper’ was a document with no official heading, or identifying marks of any kind, that can not be attributed to the US Government. Clinton thought a ‘nonpaper’ was a way to convey the unofficial stance of the US Government to a foreign government and believed this practice went back ‘200 years.’ When viewing the displayed email, Clinton believed she was asking Sullivan to remove the State letterhead and provide unclassified talking points. Clinton stated she had no intention to remove classification markings.”

Look at the email: is her statement about it — that « issues sending secure fax” had nothing to do with the illegality of sending classified U.S. Government information over a non-secured, even privatized, system — even credible? Is the implication by Clinton’s remark, that changing the letterhead and removing the document’s classified stamp, would solve the problem that Jake Sullivan — a highly skilled attorney himself — had brought to her attention, even credible?

Well, if so, then wouldn’t the FBI have asked Sullivan what he was referring to when his email to Clinton said « They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.”

The FBI provided no indication that there was any such follow-up, at all. They could have plea-bargained with Sullivan, to get him to testify first, so that his testimony could be used in questioning of her, but they seem not to have been interested in doing any such thing. They believed what she said (even though it made no sense as a response to the problem that Sullivan had just brought to her attention: the problem that emailing to her this information would violate several federal criminal statutes. Clinton, in other words, didn’t really care about the legality. And, apparently, neither did the FBI. Her email in response to Sullivan’s said simply: « If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.” So: she knew that it was classified information but wanted to receive it so that she would be able to say, “I didn’t know that it was classified information.” In other words: she was instructing her advisor: hide the fact that it’s classified information, so that when I receive it, there will be no indication on it that what was sent to me is classified information.

3: The FBI avoided using the standard means to investigate a suspect higher-up: obtaining plea-deals with subordinates, requiring them to cooperate, answer questions and not to plead the Fifth Amendment (not to refuse to answer). (In Hillary’s case, the Obama Administration actually did plea-deals in which they allowed the person who was supposed to answer all questions, to plea the Fifth Amendment to all questions instead. This is allowed only when the government doesn’t want to prosecute the higher-up — which in this case was Clinton. That alone proves the Obama Administration’s ‘investigation’ of Clinton’s email system to have been a farce.)

A plea-deal isn’t a Constitutional process: Jed Rakoff’s article explained why it’s not. The process is informal, but nowadays it’s used in more than 97% of cases in which charges are brought, and in more than 99% of all cases (including the 92% of cases that are simply dropped without any charges being brought). That’s the main reason why nowadays «the prosecutor has all the power». Well, the prosecutor in Hillary’s case (the Obama Administration) clearly didn’t want her in the big house; they wanted her in the White House.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

https://www.mondialisation.ca/the-fbis-fake-investigation-of-hillary-clintons-emails/5546435

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a)

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or

(b)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or

(c)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or

(d)

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e)

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f)

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(g)

If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

(h)

(1)

Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

(2)

The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3)The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)–(p)) shall apply to—

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.

(4)

Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 736; Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 1024, title I, § 18, 64 Stat. 1003Pub. L. 99–399, title XIII, § 1306(a), Aug. 27, 1986100 Stat. 898Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2147Pub. L. 103–359, title VIII, § 804(b)(1), Oct. 14, 1994108 Stat. 3440Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 607(b), Oct. 11, 1996110 Stat. 3511.)

 

LII has no control over and does not endorse any external Internet site that contains links to or references LII.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793

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The Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018, Story 1: Democrat Schiff Memo Confirms Once Again The FBI and Department of Justice Mislead Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court By Failing To Disclose The Steele Dossier Was Not An Intelligence Report But Clinton Campaign and Democratic Party Paid For Opposition Research Used To Smear Candidate and President Elect Donald J. Trump — Clinton Obama Democrat Conspiracy Aided and Abetted By Big Lie Media — When Will The Criminal Conspirators Be Prosecuted? — Videos

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Story 1: Democrat Schiff Memo Confirms Once Again The FBI and Department of Justice Mislead Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court By Failing To Disclose The Steele Dossier Was Not An Intelligence Report But Clinton Campaign and Democratic Party Paid For Opposition Research Used To Smear Candidate and President Elect Donald J. Trump — Clinton Obama Democrat Conspiracy Aided and Abetted By Big Lie Media — When Will The Criminal Conspirators Be Prosecuted? — Videos

See the source image

Rep. Nunes on the future of the FISA court

Andrew McCarthy: The Schiff memo actually bolsters the Nunes memo – 2/26/18

Trey Gowdy reacts to Democrats’ rebuttal of Nunes memo

Nunes memo vs. Schiff memo: What to know

 

Democrat FISA memo is out! Dossier was likely used to get the warrant

Devin Nunes Speaks on ‘Just Released’ Schiff Memo at CPAC 2018

Adam Schiff On Devin Nunes and Dems Newly Released Memo, “Devin Nunes is a LlAR”

Carter Page reacts to Democrats’ memo on ‘Hannity’

Debate: Was the Democratic memo a game changer?

Bolton Gets It: ‘This Is The 1st Attempted Coup D’etat in America’s History’ …Who’s Behind It?

John Brennan faces scrutiny over anti-Trump dossier

Lionel and Dr. Jerome Corsi on #QAnon, #DeepState Despotism, Russian Indictments, #MKUltra and FBI

Andrew McCarthy: DOJ hired Mueller to lay case for Democrats to impeach Trump… 2/20/18

Hannity sick to death of the corrupt, dishonest, LIBERAL, fake news media 2/19/18

Dan Bongino: Adam Schiff is a snake

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

JUST IN: MARK LEVIN Goes After Obama: Where is he? Has he gone into the witness protection? [Video]

[youtube3=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ944x9xugI]

Dems play political chess with Russia memo

Joe diGenova Big Trouble for FBI and DOJ

DiGenova: There was brazen plot to frame Trump

diGenova: HILLARY CLINTON COMMITTED CRIMES

/Shes a CROOKED GARBAGE Judge Napolitano TRASHES Hillary Clinton over Russian Deal

#MemoDay Precedes #HRC’s Ultimate Downfall: Watch the Sunday Morning Apologists Schiff Their Pants

Gingrich: Schiff trying to cover up a ‘terrible situation’

Analyzing Laura Ingraham’s exclusive Carter Page interview

Lionel Interviews Dr. Jerome Corsi on #QAnon, The Spy Carter Page, FISA Abuse, Treason and Sedition

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

FISA memo the first of many?

Memo: Clinton associates fed info to Trump dossier author

Carter Page on the revelations from the Nunes memo

How Did Carter Page Go From FBI Undercover Employee (UCE) to FISA Title I Foreign Agent Spy?

Hannity: The FBI purposefully deceived a federal court

Debate over FISA memo continues

Alan Dershowitz reacts to the FISA memo release

 Angry Matt Gaetz Reacts to the FISA MEMO Details to the Press

What we’ve learned from the infamous FISA memo

Ben Shapiro reacts to FBI text messages involving Obama

Tucker: FISA memo likely played role in McCabe ‘removal’

The Schiff Memo Harms Democrats More Than It Helps Them

House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

It confirms that the FBI and the DOJ relied heavily on uncorroborated, third-hand, anonymous sources in their FISA application.Maybe Adam Schiff has more of a sense of humor than I’d have given him credit for. The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat begins his long-awaited memo — the minority response to the Nunes memo that was penned by staffers of the committee’s Republican majority — by slamming Chairman Devin Nunes’s unconscionable “risk of public exposure of sensitive sources and methods for no legitimate purpose.” The Schiff memo, which has been delayed for weeks because the FBI objected to its gratuitous effort to publicize highly classified intelligence, including methods and sources, then proceeds to tell its tale through what appear to be scores of blacked-out redactions of information Schiff pushed to expose.

Heavy Reliance on Steele Dossier Confirmed
The FBI and the Justice Department heavily relied on the Steele dossier’s uncorroborated allegations. You know this is true because, notwithstanding the claim that “only narrow use” was made “of information from Steele’s sources,” the Democrats end up acknowledging that “only narrow use” actually means significant use — as in, the dossier was the sine qua non of the warrant application. The memo concedes that the FISA-warrant application relied on allegations by Steele’s anonymous Russian hearsay sources that:

Page met separately while in Russia with Igor Sechin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin and executive chairman of Roseneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, and Igor Divyekin, a senior Kremlin official. Sechin allegedly discussed the prospect of future U.S.-Russia energy cooperation and “an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia.” Divyekin allegedly disclosed to Page that the Kremlin possessed compromising information on Clinton (“kompromat”) and noted the possibility of its being released to Candidate #1’s [i.e., Donald Trump’s] campaign. . . . This closely tracks what other Russian contacts were informing another Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

This passage puts the lie to two of the main Democratic talking points:

1) This was obviously the most critical allegation against Page. The Democrats attempt to make much of Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016, but the uncorroborated Sechin and Divyekin meetings, which Page credibly denies, are the aspect of the Moscow trip that suggested a nefarious Trump–Russia conspiracy. That’s what the investigation was about. Far from clandestine, the rest of Page’s trip was well publicized and apparently anodyne. And saliently — for reasons we’ll get to in due course — Page was clearly prepared to talk to the FBI about the trip if the Bureau wanted to know what he was up to.

It is the Steele dossier that alleges Page was engaged in arguably criminal activity. The Democrats point to nothing else that does.

Moreover, because Page was an American citizen, FISA law required that the FBI and the DOJ show not only that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power (Russia), but also that his “clandestine” activities on behalf of Russia were a likely violation of federal criminal law. (See FISA, Section 1801(b)(2)(A) through (E), Title 50, U.S. Code.) It is the Steele dossier that alleges Page was engaged in arguably criminal activity. The Democrats point to nothing else that does.

2) Democrats implausibly insist that what “launched” the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation was not Steele’s allegations but intelligence from Australia about George Papadopoulos’s contact with what Democrats elusively describe as “individuals linked to Russia.” As we learned when Papadopoulos pled guilty, though, it is anything but clear that these “individuals linked to Russia” had much in the way of links to Putin’s regime: London-based academic Joseph Mifsud, who is from Malta and apparently does not speak Russian; an unidentified woman who falsely pretended to be Putin’s niece; and Ivan Timofeev, a program director at a Russian-government-funded think tank.

Even if we assume for argument’s sake that these characters had solid regime connections — rather than that they were boasting to impress the credulous young Papadopoulos — they were patently not in the same league as Sechin, a Putin crony, and Divyekin, a highly placed regime official. And that, manifestly, is how the FBI and the DOJ saw the matter: They sought a FISA warrant on Page, not Papadopoulos. And, as the above-excerpted passage shows, they highlighted the Steele dossier’s sensational allegations about Page and then feebly tried to corroborate those allegations with some Papadopoulos information, not the other way around. (More on that when we get to Schiff’s notion of “corroboration.”)

Concealing the Dossier’s Clinton-Campaign Origins
Another major takeaway from the Schiff memo is that the FBI and the DOJ withheld from the FISA court the fact that Steele’s work was a project of the Clinton campaign. Naturally, the reader must ferret this admission out of a couple of dense paragraphs, in which Democrats risibly claim that the “DOJ was transparent with the Court about Steele’s sourcing.”

How’s this for transparency? The FISA warrant application says that Steele, referred to as “Source #1,” was “approached by” Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, referred to as “an identified U.S. person,” who

indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign. [Emphasis in Schiff memo, p. 5]

The first thing to notice here is the epistemological contortions by which the DOJ rationalized concealing that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for Steele’s reporting. They ooze consciousness of guilt. If you have to go through these kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid disclosing something, it’s because you know that being “transparent” demands disclosing it.

Next, Schiff — again, hilariously enough to make you wonder if it’s done tongue-in-cheek — accuses Nunes of hypocrisy for condemning the omission of Mrs. Clinton’s name after having rebuked the Obama administration’s “unmasking” of American names. Of course, the two things have nothing to do with each other.

“Unmasking” refers to the revelation of American identities in intelligence reports. These are Americans who, though not targeted as foreign agents, are incidentally intercepted in surveillance. In marked contrast, we are talking here about a FISA warrant application, not an intelligence report. In a warrant application, it is the DOJ’s honorable practice, and the judiciary’s expectation, that the court must be informed about the material biases of the sources of the factual allegations that the DOJ claims amount to probable cause.

As the Democrats’ own excerpt from the FISA application illustrates, unmasking has nothing to do with it, because there is no need to use names at all: Note that Simpson is referred to as “an identified U.S. person”; Perkins-Coie is referred to as “a U.S.-based law firm.” The dispute here is not about the failure to use the words “Hillary Clinton.” They could have referred to “Candidate #2.”To state that “Candidate #2” had commissioned Steele’s research would have been just as easy and every bit as appropriate as the DOJ’s reference to a “Candidate #1,” who might have “ties to Russia.” Had DOJ done the former, it would not have “unmasked” Hillary Clinton any more than Donald Trump was unmasked by DOJ’s description of him as “Candidate #1”; but it would have been being “transparent” with the FISA court. By omitting any reference to Clinton, the DOJ was being the opposite of transparent.

Two other things to notice here.

1) The DOJ’s application asserted: “The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia.” There is only one reason to include such a statement: The DOJ well understood that the implied biases in the process of compiling the dossier’s allegations, including Steele’s implied biases, were material to the FISA court’s evaluation. A prosecutor does not get to tell a judge reasons that a source’s reports should be thought free of bias while leaving out why they should not be thought free of bias. If you know it’s necessary to disclose that “identified U.S. person” Simpson was being paid by “a U.S.-based law firm” (Perkins-Coie), then it is at least equally necessary to disclose that, in turn, the law firm was being paid by its clients: the Clinton campaign and the DNC. To tell half the story is patently misleading.

2) Schiff comically highlights this DOJ assertion as if it were his home run, when it is in fact damning: “The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.” This is the vague reference that Democrats and Trump critics laughably say was adequate disclosure of the dossier’s political motivation. But why would the FBI “speculate” that a political motive was “likely” involved when, in reality, the FBI well knew that a very specific political motive was precisely involved?

There was no reason for supposition here. If the FBI had transparently disclosed that the dossier was a product of the Clinton campaign — oh, sorry, didn’t mean to unmask; if the FBI had transparently disclosed that the dossier was a product of “Candidate #2’s” campaign — then the court would have been informed about the apodictic certainty that the people behind the dossier were trying to discredit the campaign of Candidate #2’s opponent. It is disingenuous to tell a judge that something is “likely” when, in fact, it is beyond any doubt.

The Issue Is the Credibility of Steele’s Informants, Not of Steele Himself
When the Justice Department seeks a warrant from a court, the credibility that matters is not that of the agent who has assembled the information from the informants; it is that of the informants who observe the fact matters that are claimed to be a basis for finding probable cause. That is, what mattered was the credibility of Steele’s anonymous Russian sources, not the credibility of Steele himself. By dwelling on the countless reasons why Schiff is wrong about the adequacy of the disclosure of Steele’s biases, I am falling into the trap I have warned against (here, and in section C here).

The FBI and the DOJ relied vicariously on Steele’s credibility, as a substitute for their failure to corroborate his informants’ information. It was improper to do this.

To be clear, the only reason Steele’s own biases have any pertinence is that the FBI and the DOJ relied vicariously on Steele’s credibility, as a substitute for their failure to corroborate his informants’ information. It was improper to do this. Yet even if a prosecutor goes down a certain road wrongly, the duty to be candid with the tribunal still applies. The prosecutor is obliged to tell the whole story about potential bias, not a skewed version.

Schiff’s memo struggles mightily, and futilely, to demonstrate that Steele’s credibility issues were sufficiently disclosed. But that is a side issue. The question is whether Steele’s informants were credible. To the limited extent that committee Democrats grapple with this problem, they tell us that, after the first FISA application, the FBI and the DOJ provided additional information that corroborated Steele’s informants. There are four problems with this:

1) It would not justify using uncorroborated allegations in the first warrant.

2) The supposedly corroborative information is blacked out; while that may be an appropriate protection of sensitive intelligence, we are still left having to take Schiff’s word for it.

3) Taking Schiff’s word for it would be unwise given his memo’s warped conception of “corroboration.” Recall the Schiff memo passage excerpted in the first section above. In the last part, the Democrats argue that the dossier claim that Page met with Kremlin official Divyekin was somehow corroborated because it “closely tracked” what Papadopoulos was hearing from his dubious “Russian contacts.” But the supposed “Russian contacts” were telling Papadopoulos that the Kremlin had thousands of Clinton-related emails. That did nothing to confirm Steele’s claim that Page had met with Divyekin, a top regime official; nor did it corroborate that the “kompromat” Divyekin referred to was the same thing as the emails that Papadopoulos’s “Russian contacts” were talking about. (Of course, it may well be that Page never actually met with Divyekin and that Papadopoulos’s sources were wrong about emails; if so, committee Democrats are in the strange position of contending that the non-existent can corroborate the non-existent.)

4) Most significantly, Democrats seem not to grasp that the flaw here lies not merely in the failure to corroborate the information from Steele’s sources. There appears not even to be corroboration that these sources existed — i.e., that they are real people whose claims are accurately reported. Indeed, it is worse than that. Even if we stipulate for argument’s sake that Steele’s anonymous Russian informants are authentic, they are generally hearsay witnesses, one or more steps removed from the events they relate. The real question, then, is whether the informants’ sources are real, identifiable, reliable informants. Based on what has been disclosed, we must assume that the FBI did not know. That is why the DOJ inappropriately tried to rely on Steele’s credibility.

The FBI Interviews of Carter Page
In the course of providing a skewed portrait of Carter Page’s background, the Schiff memo unintentionally highlights another deep flaw in the warrant application.

The memo limns Page as a master spy with disturbing “connections to Russian Government and Intelligence Officials” — which will be amusing to anyone who has seen an interview of Page, now a ubiquitous oddball media presence. What Democrats conveniently omit is that (a) Page cooperated with the FBI and Justice Department in a prior investigation in which his information was used to prosecute Russian spies; (b) the Russian spies explicitly regarded him as an “idiot” (and they had not even seen him on cable TV); and (c) since Russian operatives can be as diabolical and sophisticated as the Democrats suggest, they would have known that Page did not have the kind of relationship with Trump that would have made Page a suitable conduit for proposing traitorous deals — and as we’ve seen, the Russians had far better ways to approach Trump (e.g., the Kremlin-connected oligarch Aras Agalarov, who had a personal relationship with Trump and orchestrated the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting).

The memo does note that “the FBI also interviewed Page multiple times about his Russian intelligence contacts.” Apparently, these interviews stretch back to 2013. The memo also lets slip that there was at least one more interview with Page in March 2016, before the counterintelligence investigation began. We must assume that Page was a truthful informant since his information was used in a prosecution against Russian spies and Page himself has never been accused of lying to the FBI.

Why didn’t the FBI call Page in for an interview rather than subject him to FISA surveillance? It is a requirement of FISA law.

So . . . here’s the question: When Steele brought the FBI his unverified allegations that Page had met with Sechin and Divyekin, why didn’t the FBI call Page in for an interview rather than subject him to FISA surveillance? Lest you wonder, this is not an instance of me second-guessing the Bureau with an investigative plan I think would have been better. It is a requirement of FISA law.

When the FBI and DOJ apply for a FISA warrant, they must convince the court that surveillance — a highly intrusive tactic by which the government monitors all of an American citizen’s electronic communications — is necessary because the foreign-intelligence information the government seeks “cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques.” (See FISA, Section 1804(a)(6)(C) of Title 50, U.S. Code.) Normal investigative techniques include interviewing the subject. There are, of course, situations in which such alternative investigative techniques would inevitably fail — a mafia don or a jihadist is not likely to sit down with FBI agents and tell them everything he knows. But Carter Page was not only likely to do so, he had a documented history of providing information to the FBI.

It would be very interesting to see what the DOJ told the FISA court about why normal investigative techniques would not suffice to pry information from Page. They certainly seem to work fine for Fox News.

The Page Surveillance Enabled Interception of Past Communications
The Schiff memo repeats the canard that the Obama administration was not really spying on the Trump campaign because the DOJ waited until the Trump campaign cut ties with Page before seeking a surveillance warrant. What Democrats fail to mention is that the surveillance enabled the FBI to intercept not only his forward-going communications but also any stored emails and texts he might have had. Clearly, they were hoping to find a motherlode of campaign communications. Remember, Page was merely the vehicle for surveillance; the objective was to probe Trump ties to Russia.

The “Closely Held Investigative Team”
Schiff is determined to run with the implausible story that George Papadopoulos is the face that launched a thousand ships — that Papadopoulos’s boozy conversation with an Australian diplomat, not the Steele dossier’s allegations of a traitorous Trump–Russia conspiracy, was the true impetus for the counterintelligence investigation. Schiff maintains that the FBI was therefore not even paying attention to Steele until long after the Papadopoulos information came in. That is, even though the Bureau started receiving Steele’s reports in July 2016, they did not make their way to the FBI’s “closely held investigative team” for some seven weeks — i.e., until mid September. This team is described elsewhere (p. 3) in the Schiff memo as “the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters.” Of course, by mid September, Steele and Fusion GPS were leaking Steele’s allegations to many favored reporters, so perhaps Schiff is saying that the “closely held investigative team” read about them in the news.

It is, in any event, a frivolous point. The fact that the Bureau administratively opened a case on Papadopoulos does not mean that much of anything was done on it. As we know, investigators did not even interview Papadopoulos until late January 2017, after Trump had already taken office and about six months after they received the info about Papadopoulos. By contrast, once the “closely held investigative team” got the Steele dossier, the FBI and the DOJ were at the FISA court’s doorstep tout de suite. And to repeat, they got a surveillance warrant for Page, not Papadopoulos.

Meantime, Schiff needs to make up his mind about the significance of the “closely held investigative team.” Near the end of the memo, he raps Nunes for pointing to the anti-Trump animus evident in the texts of FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. These Bureau officials are not important, Schiff says, because neither of them was the “affiant” on any of the FISA warrant applications.

But wait: Strzok and Page were part of the “closely held investigative team,” which Schiff has only just told us are the only FBI personnel who matter. Anyway, though he is wont to remind us every few minutes that he is a former prosecutor, Schiff seems unfamiliar with how investigations work. The affiant on a warrant application aggregates the information of many agents and informants. A warrant is a team effort, which I had thought was why Schiff stressed the “closely held investigative team.” And Page was a lawyer, not an agent, so though she would presumably not be the affiant on a warrant application, she may well have participated in the FBI’s legal review of the applications, which occurs both in-house and in consultation with Justice Department lawyers.

Four Different FISA-Court Judges
Schiff makes much of the fact that the four FISA warrants (the original authorization and three renewals, at 90-day intervals) were signed by four different FISA-court judges — all apparently appointed to the federal district courts by Republican presidents. This hardly commends the validity of the warrants.

In criminal surveillance orders, for example, it is common for prosecutors to bring renewal applications back to the same judge who authorized the original surveillance. That judge presumably knows the case better and is thus in a superior position to detect any irregularities. If FISA surveillance works differently, that would be another reason for critics to fear that the court is merely a rubber stamp. (For what it’s worth, I don’t share the view that the FISA court merely rubber-stamps applications. The process is a give-and-take one, and though the FISA court rarely rejects warrants, the DOJ does modify many warrants in response to the court’s concerns. Moreover, since surveillance of foreign threats to the U.S. is an executive responsibility, the court should approve them unless it appears that the FBI and the DOJ are abusing the process.)

In any event, the issue here is failure to disclose information to the court. If a judge was not made aware of material facts, the judge’s authorization of a warrant does not validate the derelict application. (That said, it is difficult to understand why judges would not be troubled by the lack of corroboration of Steele’s unidentified Russian hearsay informants.)

The Basis for Steele’s Termination as an FBI Informant

The FISA judges were not told that Steele had lied to the FBI about contacts with the press.

The Schiff memo is disingenuous in claiming that the warrant applications were forthright with the FISA court about the reasons for Steele’s termination as an FBI source. The Grassley-Graham memoexplains (as I’ve previously detailed) that the court was apparently told that Steele was dismissed over contacts with the press. The FISA judges were not told that Steele had lied to the FBI about contacts with the press.

Papadopoulos and the Clinton Emails
Committee Democrats misrepresent a significant fact derived from Special Counsel Mueller’s statement of Papadopoulos’s offense (filed when the latter pled guilty). The Schiff memo states

We would later learn in Papadopoulos’s plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

What we actually learned in Papadopoulos’s plea was that his dubious Russian sources had heard that the Kremlin had the emails. There is no indication that the Kremlin in fact had the emails; the Kremlin apparently provided no emails to Papadopoulos (or anyone else in Trump’s orbit); and there is no evidence that the “Russia-linked” people to whom Papadopoulos spoke knew what they were talking about — it is at least as plausible that they were playing Papadopoulos.

The Use of a Media Report to ‘Corroborate’ Steele
Committee Democrats make a highly unlikely claim about the DOJ’s controversial use in the FISA warrant applications of a Yahoo News report by journalist Michael Isikoff. The claim appears to be contradicted by both the aforementioned Grassley-Graham memo and by the Isikoff article itself.

Specifically, the Schiff memo denies the Republican claim that the DOJ tried to corroborate Steele’s allegations by relying on Isikoff’s media story, dated September 23, 2016. Rather, Schiff says the Isikoff report was mentioned for a righteous purpose: “to inform the Court of Page’s public denial of his suspected meetings in Russia” (with Sechin and Divyekin). The memo further claims that the FISA application cited another news story along these lines, but that the Nunes memo withheld this detail.

Schiff’s version has two problems.

1) While it is true (as noted above) that Page denies meeting Sechin and Divyekin, it is not true that this denial is reported in Isikoff’s article. Instead, Isikoff reported that Page “declined repeated requests to comment for this story.” He added that, while in Moscow in July 2016, “Page declined to say whether he was meeting with Russian officials during his trip” — not that he denied doing so. Isikoff, who is a superb reporter, also took pains to explain that it was merely “alleged” that Page had met with high-ranking Russians — that is, the meetings had not been confirmed. But there is nothing in Isikoff’s article about Page himself denying that they occurred. It is therefore hard to understand why the DOJ would, as Schiff suggests, include the article as a way of informing the court that Page denied the meetings.

2) Schiff’s version is contradicted by the Grassley-Graham memo, which quotes the FISA warrant application. Senators Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham recount (memo, p. 3) that “the FISA applications note the existence of” Isikoff’s article, “which in particular contained some of the same dossier information about Mr. Page compiled by Mr. Steele and on which the FBI relied in its application.” The senators then quote from the FISA application, which said:

Given that the information contained in the September 23rd news article generally matches the information about Page that [Steele] discovered during his/her research, [two lines redacted.] The FBI does not believe that [Steele] directly provided this information to the press. [Brackets in original]

The senators’ memo strongly suggests that Nunes is right and Schiff is wrong: The Isikoff article was used precisely because, to quote the DOJ again, it “generally matched” Steele’s allegations about Page. In effect, the DOJ was using Steele to corroborate Steele.

Schiff’s Defense of Bruce Ohr
Schiff’s attack on the Nunes memo for referring to top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s connections with Steele is utterly unpersuasive — a “How dare you” argument that rests on Schiff’s description of Ohr as “a well-respected career professional.”

Republicans did not attack Ohr personally or belittle his law-enforcement credentials. To the contrary, the Nunes memo argued that because Ohr was a high-ranking official — the right-hand of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who was effectively running DOJ — it should have been disclosed to the court that (a) Ohr was meeting with Steele about the anti-Trump project; (b) Steele had told Ohr in September (i.e., before the first FISA application) that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president”; and (c) Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, was a Russia expert at Fusion who was collaborating with Steele on the dossier. If Schiff thinks that is unreasonable, I expect most people will disagree.

Conclusion
In sum, the Schiff memo does more to harm than to advance the Democrats’ defense of the Obama administration and the use of the FISA process by the FBI and the DOJ.

ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review

Democrat’s FISA memo doesn’t refute GOP charges

 

Democrat's FISA memo doesn’t refute GOP charges
© Getty

For all the hype and breathless commentary by Democrat cheerleaders in the media, the memo released on Friday by the House Intelligence Committee Democrats fails to live up to its key claims.

  1. It provides no information to disprove the Republican claim that the Department of Justice and the FBI relied heavily on the phony Steele Trump-Russia “dossier” to obtain the first of four FISA search warrants against Trump volunteer, Carter Page.
  2. It fails to establish that DoJ and the FBI properly informed the FISA court that the fake Steele dossier had been commissioned and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
  3. It fails to counter the GOP claim that FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe admitted to the House Intelligence committee during his closed-door testimony on December 19, 2017 that without the dossier, the government never could have obtained a FISA court warrant to spy on U.S. citizen Carter Page.

And yet, the Democrats claim they accomplished all three in their 10 page counter-memo. They do so by throwing sand in the eyes of the American people, misrepresenting the facts and introducing alternate facts in an effort at misdirection.

For example, right on the first page, the Democrat memo introduces the first of a series of straw man arguments.“Christopher Steele’s raw intelligence reporting did not inform the FBI’s decision to initiate its counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016,” the Democrats claim.

But that’s not what the Nunes memo alleged. The original Republican memo focused almost exclusively on the procedures employed by the FBI and DoJ to obtain four FISA court warrants to spy on an American citizen, Carter Page. On page 4 of their memo, the GOP authors state that the initial FISA application “also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos,” and that this information “triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok.”

The Democrat memo uses heavy brush strokes to paint a picture of Carter Page as a likely Russian spy, noting that he “resided in Moscow from 2004-2007 and pursued business deals with Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom,” and that a “Russian intelligence officer (redacted) targeted Page for recruitment.”

Continuing in this vein, the Democrats note that in 2013, federal prosecutors “indicted three other Russian spies, two of whom targeted Page for recruitment,” and then give a dripping report of  “Page’s suspicious activity during the 2016 campaign.”

Frankly, if I were Carter Page I would consider suing Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Mass.), the Democrat ranking member of the House intelligence committee responsible for this scurrilous screed, for defamation.

The amount of misleading information about Page contained in these pages is extraordinary and amounts to character assassination.

For example, federal prosecutors have stated on the record that Page willingly came to the FBI in 2013 when individuals he suspected of working for Russian intelligence tried to recruit him at an energy conference.

Page’s willingness to work with federal law enforcement against suspected Russia agents in the United States led to a federal sealed indictment against three of those agents in January 2015. Page acknowledged his role in that case in 2017 interview with Buzzfeed.

The intent of the Democrats through these heady allegations is to focus attention on Carter Page, so we forget about the Steele dossier, which was the subject of the Nunes memo they claim to be “refuting.”

The Democrats next claim that DoJ “repeatedly informed the (FISA) Court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias.”

The Nunes memo only differs with them on that final point, Steele’s bias. And this is precisely where DoJ and the FBI misled the FISA court.

“DoJ in fact informed the Court accurately that Steele was hired by politically-motivated U.S. persons and entities and that his research appeared intended for use ‘to discredit’ Trump’s campaign,” the Democrats assert.

That is true, and the Nunes memo never claims the contrary. But that is a far cry from telling the FISA judges that the Steele dossier was bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

At the time of the FISA court application, in October 2016, Donald Trumphad enemies all across the political spectrum, so to inform the court that one of these sources had hired Steele would not have come as a surprise. But the fact Steele was hired by the DNC? Nowhere did that information appear in the FISA Court application, a fact that the Democrat memo does not — and cannot — deny.

Democrats were quick to claim that the Nunes memo misrepresented the Dec. 19, 2017 testimony by deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe before the Committee, and that McCabe never told them that without the Steele dossier, the FBI and DoJ could never have gotten the FISA warrants on Carter Page.

While McCabe is mentioned several times in the latest Democrat memo, its authors are presumably careful not to challenge a fact that could be corroborated in the transcript of McCabe’s testimony, which both Republicans and Democrats have now seen. Without the Steele dossier, McCabe said, FBI and DoJ could never have gotten the FISA warrant; indeed, an earlier effort without the dossier, failed. The Democratic memo doesn’t challenge this fact

The original Nunes memo revealed the scandalous politicization of our intelligence community in its efforts to mislead the American public with phony tales of Trump-Russia collusion. The Democrats memo just continues this politicization.

The intelligence community should not be in the business of peddling a narrative to the American people, let alone investigating the political opponents of the party in power.

That is the real story we have not gotten to the bottom of yet.

Kenneth R. Timmerman was the 2012 Republican Congressional nominee for MD-8 and is the author of “Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary & Obama Blamed for Benghazi,” published by Post Hill Press.

http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/375560-democrats-fisa-memo-doesnt-refute-gop-charges

Carter Page

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Carter Page
Carter Page MSNBC June 2017 YouTube.png
Born Carter William Page
June 3, 1971 (age 46)
MinneapolisMinnesota, U.S.
Education United States Naval Academy(BS)
Georgetown University (MA)
New York University (MBA)
University of London (PhD)
Occupation Investment banker
foreign policy analyst
Political party Republican

Carter William Page (born June 3, 1971) is an American petroleum industry consultant and former foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump during his 2016 Presidential election campaign.[1] Page is the founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital, a one-man investment fund and consulting firm specializing in the Russian and Central Asian oil and gas business.[2][3][4] He has been a focus of the 2017 Special Counsel investigation into links between Trump associates and Russian officials and Russian interference on behalf of Trump during the 2016 Presidential election.[2]

Life and career

Carter Page was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 3, 1971,[5] the son of Allan Robert Page and Rachel (Greenstein) Page.[6][7] His father was from Galway, New York and his mother was from Minneapolis.[8] His father was a manager and executive with the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company.[9] Page was raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated from Poughkeepsie’s Our Lady of Lourdes High School in 1989.[6]

Page graduated in 1993 from the United States Naval Academy; he was a Distinguished Graduate (top 10% of his class) and was chosen for the Navy’s Trident Scholar program, which gives selected officers the opportunity for independent academic research and study.[10][11][12] During his senior year at the Naval Academy, he worked in the office of Les Aspin as a researcher for the House Armed Services Committee.[13] He served in the U.S. Navy for five years, including a tour in western Morocco as an intelligence officer for a United Nations peacekeeping mission.[13] In 1994, he completed a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies at Georgetown University.[13]

Education and business

After leaving the Navy, Page completed a fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations and in 2001 he received a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University.[10][14] In 2000, he began work as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch in the firm’s London office, was a vice president in the company’s Moscow office,[3] and later served as COO for Merrill Lynch’s energy and power department in New York.[11] Page has stated that he worked on transactions involving Gazprom and other leading Russian energy companies. According to business people interviewed by Politico in 2016, Page’s work in Moscow was at a subordinate level, and he himself remained largely unknown to decision-makers.[3]

After leaving Merrill Lynch in 2008, Page founded his own investment fund, Global Energy Capital with partner James Richard and a former mid-level Gazprom executive, Sergei Yatsenko.[3][15] The fund operates out of a Manhattan co-working space shared with a booking agency for wedding bands, and as of late 2017, Page was the firm’s sole employee.[2] Other businesspeople working in the Russian energy sector said in 2016 that the fund had yet to actually realize a project.[2][3]

Page received his Ph.D. in 2012 from SOAS, University of London, where he was supervised by Shirin Akiner.[2][10] His doctoral dissertation on the transition of Asian countries from communism to capitalism was rejected twice before ultimately being accepted by new examiners. One of his original examiners later said Page “knew next to nothing” about the subject matter and was unfamiliar with “basic concepts” such as Marxism and state capitalism.[16] He sought unsuccessfully to publish his dissertation as a book; a reviewer described it as “very analytically confused, just throwing a lot of stuff out there without any real kind of argument.”[2] Page blamed the rejection on anti-Russian and anti-American bias.[16] He later ran an international affairs program at Bard College and taught a course on energy and politics at New York University.[17][18]

In more recent years Page has written columns in Global Policy Journal, a publication of Durham University in the UK.[3]

Foreign policy and links to Russia

In 1998, Page joined the Eurasia Group, a strategy consulting firm, but left three months later. In 2017, Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer recalled on his Twitter feed that Page’s strong pro-Russian stance was “not a good fit” for the firm and that Page was its “most wackadoodle” alumnus.[19] Stephen Sestanovich later described Page’s foreign-policy views as having “an edgy Putinist resentment” and a sympathy to Russian leader Vladimir Putin‘s criticisms of the United States.[2] Over time, Page became increasingly critical of United States foreign policy toward Russia, and more supportive of Putin, with a United States official describing Page as “a brazen apologist for anything Moscow did”.[4] Page is frequently quoted by Russian state television, where he is presented as a “famous American economist”.[3] In 2013, Russian intelligence operatives attempted to recruit Page, and one described him as enthusiastic about business opportunities in Russia but an “idiot”.[2][20] News accounts in 2017 indicated that because of these ties to Russia, Page had been the subject of a warrant pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 2014, at least two years earlier than was indicated in the stories concerning his role in the 2016 Presidential campaign of Donald Trump.[21][22]

Trump 2016 presidential campaign

Page served as a foreign policy adviser in Donald Trump‘s 2016 Presidential campaign.[23] In September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials investigated alleged contacts between Page and Russian officials subject to U.S. sanctions, including Igor Sechin, the president of state-run Russian oil conglomerate Rosneft.[4] After news reports began to appear describing Page’s links to Russia and Putin’s government, Page stepped down from his role in the Trump campaign.[1][24]

Shortly after Page resigned from the Trump campaign, the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained another warrant (he was subject to one in 2014) from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in October 2016 to surveil Page’s communications.[25] To issue the warrant, a federal judge concluded there was probable cause to believe that Page was a foreign agent knowingly engaging in clandestine intelligence for the Russian government.[26] Page was the only American who was directly targeted with a FISA warrant in 2016 as part of the Russia probe, and the initial 90-day warrant was subsequently renewed at least three times.[27]

In January 2017, Page’s name appeared repeatedly in the “Steele dossier” containing allegations of close interactions between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.[28][29][30][31] By the end of January 2017, Page was under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.[32] Page has not been accused of any wrongdoing.[33]

The Trump Administration attempted to distance itself from Page, saying that he had never met Mr. Trump or advised him about anything,[2] but a December 2016 Page press conference in Russia contradicts the claim that Page and Trump never met.[34] Page responded to a question on that topic with the reply “I’ve certainly been in a number of meetings with him and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from him.”[35] According to Page’s testimony before the intelligence committee, Page kept senior officials in the Trump campaign, such as Corey LewandowskiHope Hicks and JD Gordon, informed about his contacts with the Russians.[36]

In October 2017, Page said he would not cooperate with requests to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.[37] He said this was because they were requesting documents dating back to 2010, and he did not want to be caught in a “perjury trap“. He expressed the wish to testify before the committee in an open setting.[38]

House Intelligence Committee testimony

On November 2, 2017, Page testified[39] to the House Intelligence Committee that he had informed Jeff SessionsCorey LewandowskiHope Hicks and other Trump campaign officials that he was traveling to Russia to give a speech in July 2016.[40][41][42]

Page testified that he had met with Russian government officials during this trip and had sent a post-meeting report via email to members of the Trump campaign.[43] He also indicated that campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis had asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement about his trip.[44] Elements of Page’s testimony contradicted prior claims by Trump, Sessions, and others in the Trump administration.[40][43][45][46] Lewandowski, who had previously denied knowing Page or meeting him during the campaign, said after Page’s testimony that his memory was refreshed and acknowledged that he had been aware of Page’s trip to Russia.[47]

Page also testified that after delivering a commencement speech at the New Economic School in Moscow, he spoke briefly with one of the people in attendance, Arkady Dvorkovich, a Deputy Prime Minister in Dmitry Medvedev‘s cabinet, contradicting his previous statements not to have spoken to anyone connected with the Russian government.[48] In addition, while Page denied a meeting with Sechin as alleged in the Trump–Russia dossier, he did say he met with Andrey Baranov, Rosneft‘s head of investor relations.[49] The dossier alleges that Sechin offered Page a deal for Trump of a 19% privatized stake (ca. $11 billion) in Rosneft oil company in exchange for Trump lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia[50][51] after his election. It is also alleged that Page confirmed, on Trump’s “full authority”, that this was Trump’s intent.[52][53][54][49][55][56] Page testified that he did not “directly” express support for lifting the sanctions during the meeting with Baranov, but that he might have mentioned the proposed Rosneft transaction.[49]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_Page

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 328-337

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 307-318

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 264-276

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 236-249

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

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