The Pronk Pops Show 1295, July 24, 2019, Part 1 — Story 1: Black Swan Song — Pathetic Incompetent Corrupt Swamp Swan Figurehead Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III Exposed As Fraud — “A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations” — Corrupt Democrat Punks — “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? — “Go Ahead Make My Day” — Impeach Trump — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Exposed — No Credibility and No Longer Trusted — No Evidence or Basis For Impeachment — Mueller “Outside My Purview”: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — American People Will Reelect Trump for Second Term in A Landslide Victory — Case Closed — Videos

Posted on July 25, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Cartoons, Comedy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Government Dependency, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, James Comey, Law, Life, Media, Movies, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Senate, Social Science, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Story 1: Black Swan Song — Pathetic Incompetent Corrupt Swamp Swan Figurehead Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III Exposed As Fraud — “A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations” — Corrupt Democrat Punks — “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? — “Go Ahead Make My Day” — Impeach Trump — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Exposed — No Credibility and No Longer Trusted — No Evidence or Basis For Impeachment — Mueller “Outside My Purview”: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — American People Will Reelect Trump for Second Term in A Landslide Victory — Videos

Black Swan – Last Dance Scene (“I was perfect…”)

The Real ‘Black Swan’: Double Speaks

Magnum Force (10/10) Movie CLIP – A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations (1973) HD

A Good Man Always Has to Know His Limitations

Dirty Harry Do You ( I ) Feel Lucky Punk? ( high quality)

Dirty Harry – inadmissible

Dirty Harry Do You Feel Lucky Punk

Dirty Harry – Best Quotes, Lines (Clint Eastwood)

Robert Mueller testifies before Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill (LIVE) | USA TODAY

Robert Mueller’s full testimony to House Judiciary committee

MUELLER HEARING: House Judiciary Committee Part 1

MUELLER HEARING: House Intelligence Committee Part 2

Full: Robert Mueller Testimony To Congress, Reaction And Analysis | NBC News

Collins at Mueller hearing: I hope this brings us closure

WATCH: Rep. Steve Chabot’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Ted Lieu’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Debbie Lesko’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Ratcliffe Questions Former Special Counsel Mueller on Report

Representative Turner questions Mueller

WATCH: Rep. Matt Gaetz’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Rep. Jim Jordan blasts Mueller for dodging questions

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan presses former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. Jordan says maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started.

Rep. Gohmert grills Mueller: Did you know Strzok hated Trump?

Representative Nunes questions Mueller

WATCH: Rep. Ben Cline’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Joe diGenova: The public got to see Mueller’s incompetence

Whitaker says it was clear Mueller didn’t have a grasp of Russia report

Tucker: Democrats believed Mueller would save America

Hannity: Mueller’s testimony was an unmitigated disaster

Ingraham: Trump beats the elites again

Jim Jordan says Dems are never going to stop going after Trump

Gowdy on Mueller: I would’ve beaten the hell out of that exoneration

Trump’s legal team takes victory lap after Mueller hearings

WATCH: Key moments from Mueller’s testimony

Takeaways and analysis of Mueller hearings

 

‘Disoriented’ Mueller’s stumbling responses to questions during blockbuster hearing leave social media concerned the special counsel seems a ‘confused old man’ but some think it is all a strategy to frustrate the committee members

  • Mueller faced members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning at a highly-anticipated hearing on the Russia investigation
  • Viewers reacting on social media noticed Mueller stumbled at several points 
  • ‘Mueller is acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on,’ one viewer wrote on Twitter. ‘He’s acting like a confused old man’ 
  • Some viewers have said Mueller’s shaky demeanor calls his report into question
  • Others think the 74-year-old veteran prosecutor sounds uncertain because he is being overly-cautious about coming off as impartial
  • When it came to questions at the core of the report, Mueller has delivered firm answers without hesitation 
  • Another theory suggests the wobbly performance is a delaying tactic to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit the report
  • Viewers also noted that Mueller is hindered by the mammoth task of manually searching through 397 pages to effectively answer questions about the report

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller’s ‘confused’ demeanor as he testifies in front of Congress.

The special counsel faced members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning at a highly-anticipated hearing on the Russiainvestigation.

Viewers reacting on social media have noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points.

‘Robert Mueller comes across as a doddering old fool with a questionable moral compass based on situational ethics who should never have been appointed in the first place based on reduced mental capacity,’ one person tweeted.

‘Mueller is acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on,’ another wrote. ‘He’s acting like a confused old man.’

Some are saying the wobbly performance is a delaying tactic on the part of the special counsel to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit findings that are damaging to President Donald Trump.  

When it came to questions at the core of the report, Mueller has delivered firm answers without hesitation. 

Asked whether Trump had been exonerated or if he could be charged with obstruction of justice when he leaves office, Mueller replied: ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ respectively.

‘Lots of twitter folks are dogging Mueller out for looking old and feeble,’ MSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted. ‘But optically, that just makes the Republicans yelling at him look more absurd. Mueller is quite definitive in his one word answers, which only Dems are eliciting from him so far.’

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller's 'confused' demeanor as he testifies in front of members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller’s ‘confused’ demeanor as he testifies in front of members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning

Viewers reacting on social media noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points

 

Viewers reacting on social media noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points

 

MSNBC's Joy Reid defended Mueller's performance, saying his answers have been effective

Several Twitter users expressed the opinion that the 74-year-old veteran prosecutor’s shaky demeanor calls his entire report into question.

‘Listening too Mueller the cracking in his voice shows clearly that he is a conflicted Skunk and lying ! And I think he is senile !’

‘As I said when Mueller gave speech in May, he is feeble,’ radio personality Mark Levin tweeted. ‘I say that not as a personal attack but as a rational observation. It’s on display today during this hearing.

‘This underscores that the person who influenced this investigation most was Andrew Weissman, his top lieutenant.’

Replying to Levin’s tweet, one man wrote: ‘Agreed, Mueller looks geriatric and lost…. find that man a time machine.’ 

‘It’s quite entertaining. Mueller can’t make a coherent statement. Looks like the circus made a stop in DC,’ a woman tweeted.

‘I’d say Democrats right now regretting they ever subpoenaed Mueller. He looks confused,’ a man wrote.

Some viewers have said Mueller's shaky demeanor calls his report into question

Some viewers have said Mueller’s shaky demeanor calls his report into question

 

 

 

 

 

Others think Mueller sounds uncertain because he is being overly-cautious about coming off as impartial.

‘I’m concerned that Mueller is so concerned with not appearing political that he is really under-performing at times by failing to clarify things that need clarification,’ one woman wrote.

‘To let crazy GOP statements stand without clarification could be interpreted as agreement.’

Some noted that Mueller is being hindered by the mammoth task of manually searching through 397 pages to effectively answer questions about the report his team took two years to compile.

He repeatedly had to ask committee members for page numbers when asked to comment on specific sections.

One woman tweeted that Mueller would have a much easier time referring to the report if he had searchable copy on a computer.

‘Give Robert Mueller a computer, he desperately needs CTRL + F,’ Vice Media VP Katie Drummond wrote.

Ironically, the copy of the report released by the Justice Department was a scanned printout and thus couldn’t be searched. Several searchable versions have cropped up in the months since then.

Unfortunately for Mueller, witnesses are not allowed to use computers during hearings.

Mueller frequently had to pause and manually search through the 397-page report to effectively answer questions from lawmakers

Mueller frequently had to pause and manually search through the 397-page report to effectively answer questions from lawmakers

 

 

 

Throughout the hearing, Democrats, who hold the majority on both committees present, worked to elicit short, definitive answers from Mueller.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler asked him: ‘Director Mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. But that is not what your report said, is it?

‘That is correct. That is not what the report said,’ Mueller responding.

‘Does that say there was no obstruction?’ Nadler followed up later.

‘No,’ the former special counsel said.

‘In fact, your report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president,’ Nadler told him.

‘Yes it does,’ Mueller replied.

Most of Mueller’s fumbles came in response to Republicans trying to get him to stray from his typical dry, technical explanations.

‘Where are you reading from?’ he asked one member, Rep James Sensenbrenner. ‘I am reading from my question,’ the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker told him.

Under questioning by Republican Rep Steve Chabot, Mueller didn’t show immediate familiarity with political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, a key player in the trail of the Steele Dossier, and a fixture of attention of President Trump and GOP critics of the Mueller probe.

‘When you talk about the firm that produced the Steele reporting, the name of the firm was Fusion GPS, is that correct?’

‘I’m not familiar with that,’ said Mueller.

‘That’s not a trick question. It’s Fusion GPS.’

Most of Mueller's fumbles came in response to Republicans trying to get him to stray from his typical dry, technical explanations

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose trips to Russia drew attention of investigators.

‘Director Mueller, the third FISA renewal happens a month after you’re named special counsel. What role did your office play in the third FISA renewal of Carter Page?’ Jordan asked.

‘I’m not going to talk to that,’ said Mueller.

In his prepared statement, Mueller began by defending his probe following an onslaught of attacks, and spelling out questions he will and will not answer.

He said he told his team at the start of the Russia probe to ‘work quietly, thoroughly and with integrity so that the public would have full confidence in the outcome.

‘We needed to do our work as thoroughly as possible and as expeditiously as possible. It was in the public interest for our investigation to be complete and not to last a day longer than necessary,’ Mueller said.

He said his team of lawyers and agents worked ‘fairly and with absolute integrity’ – minutes after President Trump once again attacked it as a ‘witch hunt’.

‘Our team would not leak or take other actions that would compromise the integrity of our work,’ said Mueller. ‘All decisions were made based on the facts and the law.’

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose Russia trips drew investigators' attention

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose Russia trips drew investigators’ attention

Rep Doug Collins tried to get Mueller to contradict his report by asking him whether ‘collusion’ and ‘conspiracy’ are the same thing after Mueller testified that they weren’t.

Collins cited a portion of the report that states: ‘Collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the U.S. Code; nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. To the contrary, even as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in the general federal conspiracy statute.’

Mueller critics declared that the special counsel had been bested by Collins, while experts explained that Collins’ citation was taken out of context.

The part of the report in question was about collusion in the sense of corporate collusion – when companies conspire in an illegal fashion to help each other at consumers’ expense.

Corporate collusion is unrelated to ‘collusion with Russia’, the colloquial term adopted in the debate about potential cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Both sides sought to get Mueller on record on the question of whether he had any potential conflict that would prevent him from overseeing the probe.

Georgia Democrat Rep Hank Johnson asked Mueller if he had any conflicts of interest that prevented him from being special counsel. Mueller said he did not. Trump has repeatedly said Mueller was ‘highly conflicted,’ saying he had interviewed to be his FBI director and that the two men had a nasty business dispute. 

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller’s credibility.

‘No matter your political party, it’s absolutely disgusting to see those attacking Mueller’s integrity,’ one man tweeted.

‘The way the @JudiciaryGOP members talked and yelled at Robert Mueller is beyond awful. They’ve all lost their souls,’ another wrote.

‘Republicans can’t argue the facts, so they attack the investigation and the investigators,’ another said.

‘Remember this slander of Mueller the next time you hear republicans going on about their love & respect for veterans. They will throw anyone under the bus who doesn’t toe the party line.’

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller's credibility

 

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller’s credibility

TOP 10 MUELLER TAKEAWAYS

Below are the 10 most important takeaways gleaned from Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday.

Mueller said all he wanted to say in his report

When Mueller finally agreed to testify before Congress – after more than two years of silence about the Russia investigation – the special counsel said he ‘would not provide information beyond that which is already public’ in the report published in April.

He stuck to that promise throughout Wednesday’s hearing, declining or deferring nearly 200 questions from committee members.

Mueller’s reasons for not answering included not wanting to speculate, being unable to detail internal Justice Department deliberations and being under orders not to broach specific topics.

Trump was paying attention 

After saying that he couldn’t be bothered to watch Mueller’s testimony, President Trump made it clear that he was tuned in as he tweeted multiple reactions to the proceedings on Wednesday.

‘I’m not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. ‘We had no collusion, no obstruction.’

Before the hearing even kicked off Trump had posted seven tweets about the hearing, echoing his go-to attacks on ‘Mueller & his band of 18 Angry Democrats’.

Over the next eight hours tweeted and retweeted 14 posts about Mueller’s testimony, including multiple videos of Republican lawmakers grilling the special counsel.

‘TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!’ he declared just after 2.30pm.

Mueller didn’t subpoena Trump to avoid a lengthy court battle  

The special counsel addressed why Trump wasn’t interviewed during the two-year-long investigation when New York Democratic Rep Sean Maloney asked him: ‘Why didn’t you subpoena the president?’

Trump’s legal team had refused to have him be interviewed in the probe because they felt such a meeting would amount to a ‘perjury trap’.

Before Congress Mueller stated that his team had ‘little success’ when pushing for an interview for over a year and decided that they didn’t want to delay the investigation with a lengthy court battle.

‘We did not want to exercise the subpoena power because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation,’ he said, adding that no one at the Justice Department pressured him to finish the probe.

Mueller acknowledged that Trump’s written answers to questions about possible conspiracy with Russia were ‘not as useful as the interview would be’.

Trump was not exonerated by the Russia investigation

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, kicked off Wednesday’s proceedings by asking Mueller directly if the Russia investigation exonerated President Trump.

‘No,’ Mueller stated without hesitation.

That goes against the president’s repeated claims that the probe proved there was ‘no obstruction, no collusion’.

Mueller’s team never determined whether Trump committed a crime

While the majority of his answers were straightforward and technical, Mueller struggled when questioned about why he did not indict the president.

During an exchanged with California Democratic Rep Ted Lieu, Mueller stated that the reason he did not even consider indicting Trump on obstruction charges was because of guidance from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

That goes against assertions by Attorney General William Barr, who has repeatedly said the OLC’s opinion was not the only reason Mueller did not indict Trump.  

Arizona Republican Rep Debbie Lesko asked Mueller to clarify that contradiction, at which point he said he ‘would have to look closer at it’. 

He later conceded that he had misspoken when he characterized the OLC’s guidance to Lieu.  

‘We did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime,’ he said.

‘Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.’

Mueller was much less steady than in previous hearings

At times, Mueller, 74, stumbled during answers, asking fast-talking lawmakers to repeat page citations and repeat their questions. He sometimes had to scan the hearing room to locate questioners.

Although his stock answer was to say issues were beyond the purview of his mandate, he also appeared not to recall specific information at times.

‘Where are you reading from?’ he asked one member, Rep. James Sensenbrenner. ‘I am reading from my question,’ the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker told him.

Under questioning by Republican Rep Steve Chabot, Mueller didn’t show immediate familiarity with political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, a key player in the trail of the Steele Dossier, and a fixture of attention of President Trump and GOP critics of the Mueller probe.

Viewers reacting on social media called out Mueller’s unsteadiness early on, remarking that he was acting ‘like a confused old man’.

Some said the wobbly performance could be a delaying tactic on the part of the special counsel to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit findings that are damaging to Trump.

Mueller and Trump have opposing accounts of what led up to special counsel appointment

Republicans probed Mueller’s professional links with Trump in an attempt to show he may have had a reason to be biased against the president – specifically questioning whether he was turned down for the FBI director position the day before being tapped to lead the Russia investigation.

Trump gave his version of events on Wednesday morning, tweeting: ‘It has been reported that Robert Mueller is saying that he did not apply and interview for the job of FBI Director (and get turned down) the day before he was wrongfully appointed Special Counsel.

‘Hope he doesn’t say that under oath in that we have numerous witnesses to the interview, including the Vice President of the United States!’

Mueller contradicted Trump’s account when Texas Republican Rep Louie Gohmert seized on his alleged conflicts of interest.

Gohmert asked Mueller about a meeting he had with Trump the day before the special counsel appointment and contended that it was a job interview for the FBI director slot.

Mueller stated that he was not interviewed ‘as a candidate’ for the position.

Mueller fiercely defended his team’s impartiality 

The special counsel was calm and composed throughout the proceedings, save for one moment when Florida Republican Rep Greg Steube decried the political affiliations of the lawyers on his team.

Mueller said never in his 25 years in his position had he felt the need to ask the people he works with about their political affiliation.

Rep Gohmert also called Mueller’s hiring practices into question, particularly his appointment of FBI agent Peter Strzok – who was later removed from the probe after he was found to have sent anti-Trump text messages to a woman he was involved with.   

Mueller said he did not know of Strzok’s disdain for Trump before the probe started and learned about it in the summer of 2017, several months into the investigation.

Republicans tried to collect evidence for a probe into Mueller’s investigation

Republicans committee members tried both the blast the origins of the Russia probe and potentially establish a record that might play out in an ongoing investigation overseen by Attorney General William Barr.

‘Before you arrested [Trump campaign foreign policy aide] George Papadopoulos in July of 2017, he was given $10,000 in ash in Israel. Do you know who gave him that cash?’ California Rep Devin Nunes asked Mueller.

‘Again, that’s outside our … questions such as that should go to the FBI or the department,’ said Mueller.

‘But it involved your investigation,’ said Nunes.

‘It involved persons involved in my investigation,’ said Mueller.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow released a statement saying: ‘This morning’s testimony exposed the troubling deficiencies of the Special Counsel’s investigation. The testimony revealed that this probe was conducted by a small group of politically-biased prosecutors who, as hard as they tried, were unable to establish either obstruction, conspiracy, or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is also clear that the Special Counsel conducted his two-year investigation unimpeded. The American people understand that this issue is over. They also understand that the case is closed.’ 

Democrats tried to breathe life into a dense, technical report

The Democrats, who hold a majority on both committees, made a concerted effort to present the investigation’s findings in a more provocative and damning light than they had been in the dense, 337-page report.

‘Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign — including Trump himself — knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy, and used it,’ California Rep Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair, said when the afternoon portion began.

‘Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words, but how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it, or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it, and made full use of it?’ Schiff continued.

‘That disloyalty may not have been criminal. Constrained by uncooperative witnesses, the destruction of documents and the use of encrypted communications, your team was not able to establish each of the elements of the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, so not a provable crime, in any event’, he added.

However, a levelheaded Mueller didn’t play along, making for a rather mundane hearing.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7281303/Muellers-stumbling-responses-blockbuster-hearing-leave-social-media-concerned.html

 

 

Here’s Why Mueller Kept Getting Asked About a Mysterious Maltese Professor

BY VERA BERGENGRUEN 

JULY 24, 2019

In a moment that quickly made the rounds on conservative media on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan sharply questioned Robert Mueller on the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

The Ohio Republican pressed the former special counsel to detail who told George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy aide on the Trump campaign, that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. When Mueller said he would not go into it, Jordan became heated.

“Yes you can, because you wrote about it – you gave us the answer!” Jordan said. “Joseph Mifsud.”

The name of the shadowy Maltese academic kept coming up on Wednesday as Republicans accused Mueller of covering up how the FBI came to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, a popular talking point for Trump allies. At the House Intelligence Committee hearing, Rep. Devin Nunes pointed to a large photo of Mifsud with then-U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson as evidence that he “has extensive contacts with Western governments and the FBI”.

Mifsud’s name would have been familiar for regular consumers of Fox News and conservative outlets that have spent two years dissecting what they believe was a “deep state” attempt to take down the Trump campaign. The London-based professor at the center of the Trump-Russia probe has not been seen in public since October 2017, just days after Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with him. One of those was a key conversation in London in April 2016, in which Mifsud told him the Russians had damaging information on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Mifsud also introduced him to a Russian graduate student that Papadopoulos believed to be Putin’s niece, and connected him with an official with ties to the Russian foreign ministry who said he could set up a meeting with the country’s ambassador, according to Mueller’s report. Papadopoulos later relayed that information to an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, who passed it on to U.S. government officials, setting into motion the FBI investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos’ interactions with Mifsud, and his allegation that the Maltese professor was an FBI plant, has been at the center of some Republicans’ efforts to discredit Mueller’s probe. Papadopoulos told TIME in May that he believes he was part of an elaborate set-up by U.S. intelligence to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign. Since serving a short sentence for lying to the FBI, Papadopoulos has continued to make the rounds alleging that Mifsud was a “Western intelligence operative” who tried to use him to entrap the Trump campaign.

“People are very fascinated about what I have to say, people are just like — their mouths are dropping,” he told TIME on April 17. “They’ve never heard this information because Mueller and the FBI wanted to keep me silenced.”

Perhaps anticipating this line of questioning, Mueller made it clear in his opening statement that he would be “unable to address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation” because it is the subject of an ongoing review by the Justice Department.

That did not stop Jordan and Nunes, both vocal Trump supporters, from trying.

“He’s the guy who starts it all, and when the FBI interviews him, he lies three times and yet you don’t charge him with a crime,” Jordan exclaimed, angrily listing others charged by Mueller, including Michael Flynn and “13 Russians no one’s ever heard of.”

“But the guy who puts the country through this whole saga, starts it off, for three years we have lived this now, he lies and you guys don’t charge him,” he said.

“I’m not sure I agree with your characterization,” Mueller tersely responded, but Jordan’s performance was already going viral in conservative corners of the internet with headlines like “WATCH: Jim Jordan Steals the Show, Calls into Question Entire Basis of Probe!” and “‘BRUTAL’: Jim Jordan grills Mueller about why ‘guy who put this whole story in motion’ lied but wasn’t held accountable.” On Wednesday afternoon, Trump himself retweeted a clip of the exchange, indicating that Mifsud is unlikely to fade from the debate over the Russia investigation.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1248, May 1, 2019, Story 1: Desperate Delusional Democrats of Lying Lunatic Left Losers Finally Realize Attorney General Barr Is Going After The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General Barr Will Not Testify Before House Judiciary Committee on May 2, 2019 — Videos — Story 3: Fired Former FBI Director Comey Is One of The Conspirators in The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Getting Nervous — New York Times Editorial — Videos

Posted on May 2, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, James Comey, Killing, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Desperate Delusional Democrats of Lying Lunatic Left Losers Finally Realize Attorney General Barr Is Going After The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators — Videos

Sen. Graham presents full Mueller report at Senate hearing

Graham Questions Attorney General Barr at Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

WATCH: Barr says Mueller did not suggest he had ‘misrepresented’ the special counsel’s report

Lindsey Graham’s real focus in Barr’s hearing: Hillary Clinton

Cruz rips Senate Democrats’ ‘weak argument’ at Barr hearing

WATCH: Barr says DOJ couldn’t show Trump’s instructions to McGahn were corrupt

Barr hearing gets heated: ‘You just slandered this man!’

Watch: Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Complete exchange between Sen. Kamala Harris and Attorney General William Barr (C-SPAN)

WATCH: Normalizing Trump campaign’s behavior erodes American democracy, Booker says

AG Barr faces Senate in contentious Mueller report hearing

Lou Dobbs Tonight 4/30/19 [FULL| Lou Dobbs Breaking Fox News Today April 30, 2019

PBS NewsHour live show May 1, 2019

Barr will make members of Congress look unprepared: Lewandowski

 

Barr defends clearing Trump on obstruction, chides ‘snitty’ Mueller letter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday fended off Democratic criticism of his decision to clear U.S. President Donald Trump of criminal obstruction of justice in the Russia inquiry and faulted Special Counsel Robert Mueller for not reaching a conclusion of his own on the issue.

In his first congressional testimony since releasing a redacted version of the report on April 18, Barr also dismissed Mueller’s complaints that he initially disclosed the special counsel’s conclusions on March 24 in an incomplete way that caused public confusion about critical aspects of the inquiry.

Illustrating tensions between the two men, Barr referred to as “a bit snitty” a March 27 letter from Mueller in which the special counsel urged him to release broader summaries of the findings to provide a fuller account – a step Barr rejected. Trump seized on Barr’s March 24 letter to declare that he had been fully exonerated.

Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official and a Trump appointee, tangled with Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during roughly four hours of testimony at a sometimes testy hearing, with several Democrats calling for his resignation after the attorney general stoutly defended Trump.

“I don’t think the government had a prosecutable case,” said Barr, the first Trump administration official to testify about the contents of Mueller’s report.

The report detailed extensive contacts between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Moscow and the campaign’s expectation that it would benefit from Russia’s actions, which included hacking and propaganda to boost Trump and harm Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The report also detailed a series of actions Trump took to try to impede the investigation.

Mueller, a former FBI director, concluded there was insufficient evidence to show a criminal conspiracy. Mueller opted not to make a conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, but pointedly did not exonerate him. Barr has said he and Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, then determined based on Mueller’s findings there was insufficient evidence to establish that Trump committed criminal obstruction.

 

Barr often appeared to excuse or rationalize Trump’s conduct, asserting that the president’s motives fell short of trying to derail Mueller’s investigation.

“You’ve chosen to be the president’s lawyer and side with him over the interests of the American people,” Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono told Barr, calling him a person who has sacrificed a “once-decent reputation for the grifter and liar that sits in the Oval Office.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, the committee’s Republican chairman, rushed to Barr’s defense, telling Hirono, “You’ve slandered this man.”

Trump has been unfairly smeared, Barr said, by suspicions he had collaborated with Russia in the election. “Two years of his administration have been dominated by the allegations that have now been proven false. To listen to some of the rhetoric, you would think that the Mueller report had found the opposite,” Barr said.

Barr was critical of Mueller for not reaching a conclusion himself on whether Trump obstructed the probe.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr returns to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “The Justice Department’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election.” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

“I think that if he felt that he shouldn’t go down the path of making a traditional prosecutorial decision, then he shouldn’t have investigated,” Barr said.

Barr was asked about the report’s finding that in June 2017 Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to tell Rosenstein that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the order. Rosenstein had appointed Mueller the prior month.

Barr, appointed by Trump after the president fired his predecessor Jeff Sessions, seemed to minimize the incident and said Trump believed “he never outright directed the firing of Mueller.”

“We did not think in this case that the government could show corrupt intent,” Barr said.

Barr told Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s top Democrat, “There is a distinction between saying to someone, ‘Go fire him, go fire Mueller,’ and saying, ‘Have him removed based on conflict.’ … The difference between them is if you remove someone for a conflict of interest, then there would be – presumably – another person appointed.”

Feinstein, sounding unconvinced, responded, “Wouldn’t you have to have in this situation an identifiable conflict that makes sense, or else doesn’t it just become a fabrication?”

‘INTENTION WAS VERY CLEAR’

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin was more blunt.

“I think the president’s intention was very clear. He wanted this to end,” Durbin said, referring to Mueller’s investigation.

Under questioning by Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, Barr acknowledged he did not review the investigation’s underlying evidence before deciding to clear Trump of obstruction.

Barr disputed the view that Mueller was handing the baton to Congress for possible impeachment proceedings. “That would be very inappropriate,” Barr said. “That’s not what the Justice Department does.”

Democrats control the House of Representatives, which would start any such impeachment effort, while Trump’s fellow Republicans control the Senate, which would have to vote to remove the president.

Democrats asked Barr about Mueller’s March 27 letter complaining that Barr’s March 24 letter to lawmakers stating the inquiry’s main conclusions did not “fully capture the context, nature and substance of this Office’s work.” Barr testified Mueller was unhappy with the way the conclusions were being characterized in the media, not his account of the conclusions, though Mueller’s letter does not mention media coverage.

“The letter is a bit snitty,” Barr said, using a word meaning disagreeably ill-tempered, “and I think it was probably written by a member of his staff.”

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said Barr misled Congress when he testified in April he did not know whether Mueller was happy with his initial characterization of his findings.

Several Democrats demanded that Mueller testify before the committee, but Graham ruled that out.

Barr told the panel he believed Russia and other countries were still a threat to interfere in U.S. elections.

Committee Republicans did not focus on Trump’s conduct but rather on what they saw as the FBI’s improper surveillance during the 2016 race of Trump aides they suspected of being Russian agents, as well as on the Kremlin’s election meddling.

To that end, Barr defended his accusation in a previous congressional hearing this month that American intelligence agencies engaged in “spying” on Trump campaign figures. He said “spying” is “a good English word” without a pejorative meaning and that he would not back off his language, which echoed Trump’s complaints that the Justice Department had engaged in wrongdoing toward his campaign.

Barr indicated that to him, the matter was closed.

“The report is now in the hands of the American people,” he said. “We’re out of it. We have to stop using the criminal justice system as a political weapon.”

The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee voted to adopt an aggressive questioning format for a hearing set for Thursday with Barr, and a Democratic lawmaker said the panel would subpoena Barr if he does not appear. The committee’s subpoena deadline for Barr’s department to hand over an unredacted copy of Mueller’s report and the underlying evidence expired on Wednesday.

Reporting by Andy Sullivan, Sarah N. Lynch and David Morgan; Writing by Andy Sullivan and James Oliphant; Editing by Will Dunham

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-barr/barr-defends-clearing-trump-on-obstruction-chides-snitty-mueller-letter-idUSKCN1S73HF

 

 

Mueller complained that Barr’s letter did not capture ‘context’ of Trump probe

By Devlin Barrett and

Matt Zapotosky

April 30 at 8:21 PM

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote a letter in late March complaining to Attorney General William P. Barr that a four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of the investigation into President Trump “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work, according to a copy of the letter reviewed Tuesday by The Washington Post.

READ THE DOCUMENT

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The letter and a subsequent phone call between the two men reveal the degree to which the longtime colleagues and friends disagreed as they handled the legally and politically fraught task of investigating the president. Democrats in Congress are likely to scrutinize Mueller’s complaints to Barr as they contemplate the prospect of opening impeachment proceedings and mull how hard to press for Mueller himself to testify publicly.

At the time Mueller’s letter was sent to Barr on March 27, Barr had days prior announced that Mueller did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials seeking to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In his memo to Congress, Barr also said that Mueller had not reached a conclusion about whether Trump had tried to obstruct justice, but that Barr reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to support such a charge.

Days after Barr’s announcement, Mueller wrote the previously undisclosed private letter to the Justice Department, laying out his concerns in stark terms that shocked senior Justice Department officials, according to people familiar with the discussions.

[Justice Dept., House Democrats at impasse over Barr hearing]

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

The letter made a key request: that Barr release the 448-page report’s introductions and executive summaries, and it made initial suggested redactions for doing so, according to Justice Department officials. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations.

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

[The Mueller report, annotated]

Justice Department officials said Tuesday that they were taken aback by the tone of Mueller’s letter and that it came as a surprise to them that he had such concerns. Until they received the letter, they believed Mueller was in agreement with them on the process of reviewing the report and redacting certain types of information, a process that took several weeks. Barr has testified to Congress previously that Mueller declined the opportunity to review his four-page memo to lawmakers that distilled the essence of the special counsel’s findings.

[Read: Attorney General Barr’s letter on the Mueller report’s principal conclusions]

In his letter to Barr, Mueller wrote that the redaction process “need not delay release of the enclosed materials. Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation.”

Barr is scheduled to appear Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee — a much-anticipated public confrontation between the nation’s top law enforcement official and Democratic lawmakers, where he is likely to be questioned at length about his interactions with Mueller.

A day after Mueller sent his letter to Barr, the two men spoke by phone for about 15 minutes, according to law enforcement officials.

In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction probe was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work, according to Justice Department officials. Mueller did not express similar concerns about the public discussion of the investigation of Russia’s election interference, the officials said. Barr has testified previously that he did not know whether Mueller supported his conclusion on obstruction.

When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.

In their call, Barr also took issue with Mueller calling his memo a “summary,” saying he had never intended to summarize the voluminous report, but instead provide an account of its top conclusions, officials said.

Justice Department officials said that, in some ways, the phone conversation was more cordial than the letter that preceded it, but that the two men did express some differences of opinion about how to proceed.

Barr said he did not want to put out pieces of the report, but rather issue the document all at once with redactions, and that he didn’t want to change course, according to officials.

In prepared written remarks for Wednesday’s hearing, Barr said he “did not believe that it was in the public interest to release additional portions of the report in piecemeal fashion, leading to public debate over incomplete information.”

Barr also gave Mueller his personal phone number and told him to call if he had future concerns, officials said.

Throughout the conversation, Mueller’s main worry was that the public was not getting an accurate understanding of the obstruction investigation, officials said.

“After the Attorney General received Special Counsel Mueller’s letter, he called him to discuss it,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said Tuesday evening in a statement. “In a cordial and professional conversation, the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel’s obstruction analysis. They then discussed whether additional context from the report would be helpful and could be quickly released.

“However, the Attorney General ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion,” the spokeswoman said. “The Attorney General and the Special Counsel agreed to get the full report out with necessary redactions as expeditiously as possible. The next day, the Attorney General sent a letter to Congress reiterating that his March 24 letter was not intended to be a summary of the report, but instead only stated the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions, and volunteered to testify before both Senate and House Judiciary Committees on May 1 and 2.”

Some senior Justice Department officials were frustrated by Mueller’s complaints because they had expected that the report would reach them with proposed redactions, but it did not. Even when Mueller sent along his suggested redactions, those covered only a few areas of protected information, and the documents required further review, these people said.

The Washington Post and the New York Times had previously reported some members of Mueller’s team were frustrated with Barr’s characterization of their work, though Mueller’s own attitude was unknown before now.

In some team members’ view, the evidence they had gathered — especially on obstruction — was far more alarming and significant than how Barr had described it. That was perhaps to be expected, given that Barr had distilled a 448-page report into a terse, four-page memo to Congress.

Wednesday’s hearing will be the first time lawmakers question Barr since the Mueller report was released on April 18, and he is expected to face a raft of tough questions from Democrats.

[Attorney general says he believes ‘spying did occur’ in probe of Trump campaign associates]

Republicans on the committee are expected to question Barr about an assertion he made earlier in April that government officials had engaged in “spying” on the Trump campaign — a comment that was seized on by the president’s supporters as evidence the investigation into the president was biased.

Barr is also scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee, but that hearing could be canceled or postponed amid a dispute about whether committee staff lawyers will question the attorney general. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the panel’s chairman, called for a copy of the Mueller letter to be delivered to his committee by Wednesday morning.

Democrats have accused Barr of downplaying the seriousness of the evidence against the president. Mueller’s report described 10 significant episodes of possible obstruction of justice but said that because of long-standing Justice Department policy that says a sitting president cannot be indicted and because of Justice Department practice regarding fairness toward those under investigation, his team did not reach a conclusion about whether the president had committed a crime.

Devlin BarrettDevlin Barrett writes about national security and law enforcement for The Washington Post. He has previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and the New York Post, where he started as a copy boy. Follow 

Matt ZapotoskyMatt Zapotosky covers the Justice Department for The Washington Post’s national security team. He has previously worked covering the federal courthouse in Alexandria and local law enforcement in Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland. Follow 

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mueller-complained-that-barrs-letter-did-not-capture-context-of-trump-probe/2019/04/30/d3c8fdb6-6b7b-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.862d2baf5043

Harris fundraises off Barr testimony: Americans ‘deserve truth and integrity’

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) sent out fundraising blasts Wednesday afternoon following their questioning of Attorney General William Barr on Capitol Hill.

Harris and Booker, who both sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined other Democrats on the panel in pressing Barr about his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report about his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

A former federal prosecutor, Harris made headlines Wednesday when Barr admitted in response to her questioning that he did not review Mueller’s underlying evidence before concluding that President Trump did not obstruct probes into Russia’s election meddling.

“Bill Barr is acting more like the President’s personal attorney than the Attorney General of the United States. His job is to defend the rule of law and serve the American people, not shield the President from justice. He made something very clear today: he must resign,” Harris wrote in her email to supporters.

“I’m running for president because the American people deserve truth and integrity from their elected leaders. That’s not what we’re getting right now. If you’re with me in this fight, I need you now,” she added.

“William Barr has shown with actions in his handling of the Mueller Report’s release and with words in his testimony to Congress today that he’s put his political loyalty to Donald Trump before his duty to our country,” Booker said in his email to supporters while also calling for Barr to resign.

The attorney general has emerged as a top target of Democratic presidential contenders after it was revealed Tuesday that Mueller expressed frustration to Barr about the attorney general’s four-page summary of the Russia probe sent to Congress in late March.

Mueller said in a letter to Barr that the summary of the special counsel probe “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/441677-harris-fundraises-off-barr-testimony-americans-deserve-truth-and-integrity

 

Story 2: Attorney General Barr Will Not Testify Before House Judiciary Committee on May 2, 2019 — Videos

CONGRESS

Barr won’t testify before House panel Thursday

The attorney general is boycotting the hearing amid a fight with Democrats over the ground rules for his testimony.

Updated 

The Justice Department issued a double-barreled rebuff to Democrats Wednesday, informing the House Judiciary Committee that Attorney General William Barr would not show up for his scheduled testimony before the panel and that the department would not comply with a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report.

“The administration has the nerve to dictate our procedures. It’s simply part of the administration’s complete stonewalling of Congress — period,” Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

“Given his lack of candor in describing the work of the special counsel, our members were right to insist that staff counsel be permitted to question the attorney general,” Nadler told reporters, referring to Barr’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony earlier Wednesday.

“I understand why he wants to avoid that kind of scrutiny,” Nadler added. “He is terrified of having to face a skilled attorney.”

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec countered that Nadler had established “unprecedented and unnecessary“ conditions on the hearing, adding, “Congress and the executive branch are co-equal branches of government, and each have a constitutional obligation to respect and accommodate one another’s legitimate interests.”

The moves by the Justice Department are sure to intensify the ongoing war between the Trump administration and Capitol Hill over House Democrats’ various investigations and oversight demands.

Nadler said he would seek to hold Barr in contempt of Congress if the department doesn’t turn over the unredacted Mueller report and all of the underlying evidence “in the next day or two.” The chairman also said he could issue a subpoena to compel Barr’s attendance at a future hearing.

The committee had teed up the clash earlier Wednesday after a tense party-line vote on establishing the ground rules for Thursday’s hearing. Under the motion adopted by the committee, the attorneys for the Democratic and Republican sides of the panel would have had an hour, equally divided, to question Barr, who had threatened to back out of the hearing if that was the arrangement.

Democrats said that despite DOJ claims, there is ample precedent to use staff attorneys. Republicans, meanwhile, have jumped to Barr’s defense, asserting that it would be “disrespectful” to have anyone but lawmakers question the attorney general.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, accused Nadler of “torpedoing” the hearing over an unnecessary demand.

“By rejecting the chance to question Attorney General Barr or read the materials he’s provided, Democrats are trying to prolong an investigation the special counsel completed,” Collins said in a statement.

“What we have here is simply another opportunity to sidetrack and have a serial sideshow,” Collins said earlier Wednesday in opposing the Democrats’ ground rules for the hearing. “This has become nothing but theatre.”

Indeed, the committee’s meeting devolved into a shouting match at times, with Republicans haranguing Democrats with demands that it be adjourned.

Barr testified earlier Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, just hours after it was revealed that Mueller expressed concerns to Barr that his four-page summary of the special counsel’s findings “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation.

In his March 27 letter to Barr, Mueller also said the attorney general sowed “public confusion” about the investigation, undermining public confidence in the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

“I think there are great difficulties with the attorney general at this point. He seems — besides the fact that he clearly misled the American people, he seems to have testified non-truthfully to the Senate and to the House, which raises major questions,” Nadler said Wednesday.

During his Senate testimony, Barr consistently challenged Mueller’s legal theories and appeared to undercut many aspects of the special counsel’s report, rankling Democrats who accused the attorney general of seeking to protect the president.

The revelation about Mueller’s letter prompted even more Democratic lawmakers to call for Barr’s resignation, including some Judiciary Committee members as well as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

Nadler also said on Wednesday that the committee is eyeing May 15 as the date for Mueller himself to testify before the committee. Barr has said he does not oppose allowing Mueller to testify, but Nadler told reporters that the committee is still negotiating with the Justice Department.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/01/barr-testimony-house-democrats-1296377

Story 3: Fired Former FBI Director Comey Is One of The Conspirators in The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspracy Getting Nervious — Videos

James Comey: How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr

Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive this president.

By James Comey

Mr. Comey is the former F.B.I. director.

CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times
Image
CreditCreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

People have been asking me hard questions. What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt?

How could Mr. Barr, a bright and accomplished lawyer, start channeling the president in using words like “no collusion” and F.B.I. “spying”? And downplaying acts of obstruction of justice as products of the president’s being “frustrated and angry,” something he would never say to justify the thousands of crimes prosecuted every day that are the product of frustration and anger?

How could he write and say things about the report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, that were apparently so misleading that they prompted written protest from the special counsel himself?

How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work?

 

And how could Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report that detailed Mr. Trump’s determined efforts to obstruct justice, give a speech quoting the president on the importance of the rule of law? Or on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations”?

What happened to these people?

I don’t know for sure. People are complicated, so the answer is most likely complicated. But I have some idea from four months of working close to Mr. Trump and many more months of watching him shape others.

Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.

But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.

It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.

Speaking rapid-fire with no spot for others to jump into the conversation, Mr. Trump makes everyone a co-conspirator to his preferred set of facts, or delusions. I have felt it — this president building with his words a web of alternative reality and busily wrapping it around all of us in the room.

I must have agreed that he had the largest inauguration crowd in history because I didn’t challenge that. Everyone must agree that he has been treated very unfairly. The web building never stops.

From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings. While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.

Sure, you notice that Mr. Mattis never actually praises the president, always speaking instead of the honor of representing the men and women of our military. But he’s a special case, right? Former Marine general and all. No way the rest of us could get away with that. So you praise, while the world watches, and the web gets tighter.

Next comes Mr. Trump attacking institutions and values you hold dear — things you have always said must be protected and which you criticized past leaders for not supporting strongly enough. Yet you are silent. Because, after all, what are you supposed to say? He’s the president of the United States.

You feel this happening. It bothers you, at least to some extent. But his outrageous conduct convinces you that you simply must stay, to preserve and protect the people and institutions and values you hold dear. Along with Republican members of Congress, you tell yourself you are too important for this nation to lose, especially now.

You can’t say this out loud — maybe not even to your family — but in a time of emergency, with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will be your contribution, your personal sacrifice for America. You are smarter than Donald Trump, and you are playing a long game for your country, so you can pull it off where lesser leaders have failed and gotten fired by tweet.

And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.

James Comey is the former F.B.I. director and author of “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1184, December 7, 2018, Story 1: Special Counsel Mueller’s Prosecutors Getting Desperate For Cooperative Convicted Criminals Composing (Lying About Trump) — Conspiracy to Suborn Perjury For No Jail Time For Cooperative Convicted Criminals — Absolutely No Evidence Trump “Colluded” With Russian Government — Waste of $40 Million of Taxpayers Money —  Videos — Story 2: Department of Justice/FBI Attorney Blocked Comey From Answering Congressional Questions About FBI Clinton E-Mail Investigation and FISA Warrant Application and Renewals Thereby Stonewalling Congress — Videos — Story 3: Chief of Staff John Kelly Expected To Resign and Replaced by Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff   — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Nominates Heather Nauert as United States Ambassador to United Nations — Videos — Story 5: Federal Bureau of Investigation Should Reopen Investigation of Clinton Foundation Based on Whistle-Blower Evidence — Videos

Posted on December 10, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribes, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Former President Barack Obama, Freud, Government Dependency, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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mueller-fishing-tina-toon.jpg (2040×1553)See the source imageSee the source image

 

Story 1: Special Counsel Mueller’s Prosecutors Getting Desperate For Cooperative Convicted Criminals Composing (Lying About Trump) — Conspiracy to Suborn Perjury For No Jail Time For Cooperative Convicted Criminals — Absolutely No Evidence Trump “Colluded” With Russian Government — Waste of $40 Million of Taxpayers Money  —  Videos —

See the source imageImage result for robert mueller, donald j. Trump and michael cohenSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

752. SUBORNATION OF PERJURY

To establish a case of subornation of perjury, a prosecutor must demonstrate that perjury was committed; that the defendant procured the perjury corruptly, knowing, believing or having reason to believe it to be false testimony; and that the defendant knew, believed or had reason to believe that the perjurer had knowledge of the falsity of his or her testimony.

To secure a conviction for subornation of perjury, the perjury sought must actually have been committedUnited States v. Hairston, 46 F.3d 361, 376 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 124 (1995). The underlying perjury must be proved under the standards required by the applicable perjury statute. Thus, if section 1621 applies to the underlying perjury, the two witness rule must be met, but not if section 1623 applies to the underlying perjury. United States v. Gross, 511 F.2d 910, 915 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 924 (1975). Physical coercion need not be proven in prosecutions for subornation of perjury. United States v. Heater, 63 F.3d 311, 320 (4th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 796 (1996). Conspiracy to suborn perjury may be prosecuted irrespective of whether perjury has been committed. The two witness rule does not apply in conspiracy prosecutions. Solicitation of perjured testimony also may be prosecuted as obstruction of justice irrespective of whether the perjured testimony took place. United States v. Silverman, 745 F.2d 1386, 1395 (11th Cir. 1984).

Because the crime of subornation of perjury is distinct from that of perjury, the suborner and perjurer are not accomplices; however, a person who causes a false document to be introduced through an innocent witness can be held liable as a principal under 18 U.S.C. § 2(b). United States v. Walser, 3 F.3d 380, 388 (11th Cir. 1993).

The attorney’s ethical obligations when confronted by a client who wishes to testify falsely are discussed at length in Nix v. Whiteside, 475 U.S. 157 (1986). See also Rules 1-102, 4-101 and 7-109 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Canons 1, 4, and 7, and Ethical Consideration 7-26.

[cited in JM 9-69.200]

https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manual-1752-subornation-perjury

See the source image

Hannity: Mueller memos have nothing on Trump

Sean Hannity 12/7/18 [FULL] | Breaking Fox

News December 7, 2018

Tucker Carlson Tonight [12AM] 12/7/18 Breaking News Today December 7, 2018

Michael Cohen sentencing memo formally accuses Donald Trump of directing criminal conspiracy to a…

‘Substantial’ prison term recommended for Michael Cohen

Watch Live: Prosecutors file sentencing memo for Michael Cohen

Ex-CIA official on Mueller: Size 16 shoe is about to drop

Special counsel to reveal new details on Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort

Robert Muller suggest no jail time for Michael Flynn

Nunes reacts to new evidence of FISA abuse in FBI emails

Prosecutors demand Michael Cohen spend four to five YEARS in prison for trying to ‘influence the election from the shadows’ at the ‘direction’ of Trump – who insists report ‘totally clears’ him

  • President’s former lawyer should get 51-63 months, according to prosecutors, for a range of crimes including tax evasion and campaign finance violations
  • Sentencing memo from New York prosecutor says Michael Cohen coordinated with the president to pay off two women so their stories of affairs were buried
  • Says Cohen tried to ‘influence the election from the shadows’ and claims he didn’t help Special Counsel Robert Mueller enough to justify leniency
  • Mueller, though, spells out four ways Cohen was helpful and says a judge should sentence him to concurrent prison terms in two cases

A federal prosecutor told a judge on Friday that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen should spend between 51 and 63 months in prison for a range of federal crimes including tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws.

He tried to ‘influence the election from the shadows,’ according to Robert Khuzami, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, by arranging payoffs to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in order to avoid October-surprise embarrassments for then-candidate Donald Trump.

Khuzami wrote that Trump was directly involved in the efforts. The president tweeted an hour after the document was filed in New York. that it ‘[t]otally clears the President. Thank you!’

Cohen has helped Special Counsel Robert Mueller with ‘information that assisted … in ongoing matters,’ according to Khuzami’s sentencing recommendation memo.

But the level of cooperation, he wrote, was too small to warrant more than token leniency. And Cohen, he revealed, made an ‘affirmative decision not to become’ a cooperating witness.

A separate memo from Mueller covering a different case in Washington, D.C. related to an aborted attempt to build a Trump Tower in Moscow spells out a greater level of assistance, saying it is sufficient to warrant sentences that run concurrently.

The New York sentencing recommendation tells a story of Cohen working ‘in coordination with and at the direction of’ Donald Trump – by his own admission – to arrange for the National Enquirer to buy the rights to the two women’s stories and ‘kill’ them, preventing media exposure of their claims.

David Pecker, a longtime Trump friend who was CEO of the National Enquirer’s parent company, got an immunity deal from Mueller to divulge his part in the plot.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen should spend between 51 and 63 months in federal prison, according to a prosecutor's memo

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen should spend between 51 and 63 months in federal prison, according to a prosecutor’s memo

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York wrote that Cohen worked at the direction of President Donald Trump in 2016 to arrange payments to two women for the purpose of keeping their sexual affair allegations from becoming public before the election

Trump tweeted barely an hour after prosecutors filed their court statement about Cohen that it 'totally clears' him

Trump tweeted barely an hour after prosecutors filed their court statement about Cohen that it ‘totally clears’ him

Special Counsel Robery Mueller spelled out in a separate memo four ways in which Cohen has been helpful to his Russia probe

Cohen ‘coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign,’ according to the memo, ‘including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.’

And as a result, ‘neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election.’

The president said this week in a tweet that Cohen should ‘serve a full and complete sentence.’

In Mueller’s case, filed just last month, the special counsel alleges that Cohen has admitted lying about his efforts and timing on the Trump Tower Moscow plan, and alleges that he briefed Trump about the project’s status in 2016.

Cohen told investigators that the entire projet was scrapped before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary inJanuary 2016. In fact, however, negotiations related to the proposal were going on through the time of the July Republican National Convention.

Mueller charged Cohen with a felony for lying to his investigators, but said he was truthful in six other sessions where government lawyers plied him with questions.

Mueller’s seven-page memorandum says the former Trump fixer ‘provided information about his own contacts with Russian interests during the campaign and discussions with others in the course of making those contacts.’

As one example, he cited Cohen’s willingness to discuss a November 2015 discussion with ‘a Russian national who claimed to be a “trusted person” in the Russian Federation.’ That person, he wrote, offered to help create ‘synergy’ with Trump ‘on a government level.’

At the time, Trump was slicing his way through the Republican primary field.

Cohen told Mueller’s team that his Russian contact proposed arranging a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying ‘that such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact “not only in political but in a business dimension as well”.’

The Michael Cohen sentencing memorandum from a federal prosecutor in New York recomments 51 to 63 months in prison

The Michael Cohen sentencing memorandum from a federal prosecutor in New York recomments 51 to 63 months in prison

Felix Sater (right) is pictured with Donald Trump and Soviet-born Turkish real estate developer Tevfik Arif at the Trump Soho launch party in 2007; Sater was allegdely Michael Cohen's link to the Kremlin

That, he wrote, was a reference to the Moscow Trump Tower proposal. Cohen never followed up, and the project was never built.

Other testimony has revealed that Trump campaign advisers discussed a separate meeting between Trump and Putin in 2016, and that Cohen spoke to a Kremlin official about a possible Trump-Putin meeting after the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

There have been suggestions over the years that the two men met in Moscow during the Trump-run Miss Universe pageant in 2013, but that claim has not been substantiated.

The Russian contact who offered to be Cohen’s go-between in late 2016 is believed to be Felix Sater, a former mobster who pleaded guilty in 1998 to his involvement in a Russian Mafia-led $40 million stock fraud scheme.

Mueller also wrote that Cohen helped his office with information about ‘discrete Russia-related matters’ that he obtained ‘by virtue of his regular contact with [Trump Organization] executives during the campaign.’

And Cohen provided ‘relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House during the 2017–2018 time period.’

Khuzami’s much longer 40-page sentencing memo in the New York case, however, downplays the level of help Cohen may have provided.

‘Cohen’s description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others,’ Khuzami wrote. ‘To be clear: Cohen does not have a cooperation agreement.’

He’s lying’ Trump bashes Michael Cohen over guilty plea
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal (left) and porn actress Stormy Daniels (right) both claimed to have slept with Donald Trump in the past, but the government says Cohen coordinated with Trump to make sure the women were paid for their silence – in effect a pair of massive campaign contributions designed to save the election for Trump

Condemning Cohen’s end-around attempt to influence the 2016 election, Khuzami wrote that ‘[w]hile many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows.’

‘He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1,’ he added, referring to President Trump.

‘Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years. He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends,’ he wrote.

‘Now he seeks extraordinary leniency – a sentence of no jail time – based principally on his rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes; his claims to a sympathetic personal history; and his provision of certain information to law enforcement.

‘But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life (and was evidently hidden from the friends and family members who wrote on his behalf).’

By BENJAMIN WEISER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and MARK MAZZETTI
a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Michael Cohen, who was President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer for more than a decade, leaving federal court in Manhattan last week after a guilty plea.© Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times Michael Cohen, who was President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer for more than a decade, leaving federal court in Manhattan last week after a guilty plea.

Federal prosecutors on Friday mounted a scathing attack on Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, rejecting his request to avoid a prison term and saying that he had “repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends.”

The prosecutors said Mr. Cohen deserved a “substantial” prison term that would most likely amount to roughly four years.

Mr. Cohen, 52, is to be sentenced in Manhattan next week for two separate guilty pleas: one for campaign finance violations and financial crimes charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and the other for lying to Congress in the Russia inquiry, filed by the Office of the Special Counsel in Washington.

Prosecutors in Manhattan said the crimes Mr. Cohen had committed marked “a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life,” and though he was seeking a sentence of no jail time for providing assistance to the government, he did not deserve much leniency.

In a lengthy memo to the judge, William H. Pauley III, prosecutors wrote that Mr. Cohen was motivated by “personal greed” and had a “rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes.”

[Read the federal prosecutor’s memo ahead of Michael Cohen’s sentencing in Manhattan.]

They once again emphasized that Mr. Cohen had implicated the president in his guilty plea, writing that Mr. Cohen “played a central role” in a scheme to purchase the silence of two women who claimed to have affairs with Mr. Trump, so they would not speak publicly during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” the prosecutors wrote. “Individual-1” is how Mr. Trump is referred to in the document.

Mr. Cohen’s actions “struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency,” the prosecutors wrote, adding that he “sought to influence the election from the shadows.”

At the same time, the special counsel’s office released its own sentencing recommendation to the judge for Mr. Cohen’s guilty plea for misleading Congress.

The special counsel seemed to offer a more positive view of Mr. Cohen’s cooperation with the Russia investigation, saying he “has gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel’s investigation.”

[Read the Office of the Special Counsel’s memo.]

The special counsel’s memo revealed a new detail about Russian efforts to influence the Trump campaign. It said Mr. Cohen had told prosecutors about a meeting that appeared to be the earliest-known contact between a Russian and a campaign adviser in the months after Mr. Trump announced his bid for the presidency.

In November 2015, as discussions about a possible Trump Tower Moscow project were gaining momentum, Mr. Cohen told prosecutors he was approached by a Russian claiming to be a “‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation,” who offered “synergy on a government level” with the Trump campaign.

The individual, who was not named, pushed for a meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such a meeting, he said, could have a “‘phenomenal’ impact ‘not only in political but in a business dimension as well.’”

Mr. Cohen told the special counsel’s team that he never followed up on the invitation.

Mr. Cohen has emerged as one of the biggest threats to Mr. Trump’s presidency, providing the special counsel’s office and prosecutors in Manhattan with material in dozens of hours of interviews. Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential ties to the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday, Mr. Mueller asked a judge in Washington to impose little or no prison time on Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, saying that he had provided substantial assistance to his office’s Russia investigation. Mr. Flynn faces up to six months in prison under federal guidelines after pleading guilty to one count of lying to the F.B.I.

In the Manhattan plea in August, Mr. Cohen implicated Mr. Trump in hush-money payments to two women — Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model — to conceal affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump.

On Nov. 29, Mr. Cohen entered his second plea, revealing in court that Mr. Trump had been more involved in discussions over a potential deal to build a tower in Moscow than was previously known. He also said those discussions had continued until June 2016, well after Mr. Trump had clinched the Republican nomination and only five months before the election.

Mr. Trump’s interest in building a Trump Tower Moscow led Mr. Cohen to make numerous inquiries with Russian officials and other Kremlin-linked figures about the feasibility of the project, raising the possibility that the negotiations might have given the Russians leverage over Mr. Trump when he was running for president.

In Mr. Cohen’s own sentencing memo, his lawyers disclosed that their client had consulted with White House staff members and Mr. Trump’s “legal counsel” — without identifying the lawyer — as he prepared for his false congressional testimony.

Mr. Cohen said in court that he lied “out of loyalty” to Mr. Trump and to be consistent with his “political messaging.”

Mr. Cohen’s cases have been consolidated before Judge Pauley in Manhattan.

Mr. Cohen’s lawyers, Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, have asked Judge Pauley to allow Mr. Cohen to avoid a prison sentence, citing his cooperation with Mr. Mueller even though he never signed a formal cooperation agreement.

They also portrayed him as a remorseful man whose life had been shattered by his relationship with Mr. Trump. They said Mr. Cohen had lost friends and professional relationships and wanted to confess his crimes, serve any sentence imposed and begin his life anew.

Under federal guidelines, Mr. Cohen faces about four to five years in the Manhattan case and up to six months in Mr. Mueller’s case. But the guidelines are not binding, and Judge Pauley will decide the final sentence.

Follow Benjamin Weiser and Maggie Haberman on Twitter: @benweisernyt and @maggieNYT.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/michael-cohen-trump%E2%80%99s-ex-fixer-should-get-prison-term-of-about-4-years-prosecutors-say/ar-BBQEjEQ

Mueller’s End Game Is Starting to Come Into View

by Nancy LeTourneau

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

According to Michael Isikoff, Donald Trump and his enablers might finally be getting their wish, because the whole Mueller probe could be coming to an end very soon.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation, providing the clearest clues yet that the long-running probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election may be coming to its climax, potentially in the next few weeks, according to multiple sources close to the matter.

The new information about the state of Mueller’s investigation comes during a pivotal week when the special counsel’s prosecutors are planning to file memos about three of their most high profile defendants — former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

A Flynn sentencing memo is due Tuesday, and memos about Manafort and Cohen are slated for Friday. All three documents are expected to yield significant new details on what cooperation the three of them provided to the Russia investigation.

Before getting to the important news on what all that means, let’s put to rest the idea that this has been a “long-running probe.” Keep in mind that Mueller has been investigating one of the most significant criminal allegations in this country’s history: whether or not an adversarial foreign government attempted to interfere in a presidential election, as well as a possible conspiracy with one of the candidates who went on to be president. With that in mind, the folks at FiveThirtyEight developed a helpful chart to compare both the timing and results of this probe with those of previous administrations.

If Mueller is, indeed, “tying up loose ends,” this investigation will not only be the most consequential, but the shortest in recent history.

Besides reporting that the Mueller investigation might be coming to a conclusion soon, Isikoff notes that the special counsel will be releasing reports for the sentencing hearings of Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort this week. All three have pleaded guilty to crimes in exchange for their cooperation and will soon be sentenced.

However, the special counsel has accused Manafort of violating his agreement by lying to investigators. As part of their status report, prosecutors wrote that “The government will file a detailed sentencing submission to the Probation Department and the Court in advance of sentencing that sets forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement herein.” That is the document Mueller will be filing on Friday.

There was some speculation about whether or not that document would be made public. Isikoff broke the news:

Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, confirmed to Yahoo News on Monday that the Manafort memo “will be public,” although he added there could be some portions that are redacted or filed as a sealed addendum.

To casual observers, Robert Mueller has run a tight ship when it comes to leaks and played his cards pretty close to his vest. But there’s been an ongoing discussion among lawyers that when he has produced documents in this case, they have been what is often referred to as “speaking indictments.”

Those waiting for Mueller to issue some massive, 9/11 Commission–style report at the end of the investigation often overlook the sheer volume of detailed information Mueller has pushed into public view already. Nearly every court document he has filed has been what lawyers call a “speaking indictment,” going into deeper detail and at greater length than is strictly needed to make the case for the criminal behavior charged.

The most specific example of that is the indictment filed against the Russians.

It is unclear precisely why Mueller is using speaking indictments, but people familiar with their use suspect he wants to use them to tell the public more about what his investigation believes happened in the 2016 election.

It could also be a way for Mueller to fire warning shots at people he might want to target.

The 29-page document charging a dozen Russian intelligence officers in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee that was unveiled by the special counsel last month fits the description of a speaking indictment.

These indictments contain a high level of detail and go well beyond the constitutional requirements of laying out the essential facts of the offense charged. It also gives the defendant enough notice and specificity to mount a defense.

If Mueller uses the same strategy in the sentencing reports, this could be the way he releases many of his findings to the public without giving Trump, his lawyers or Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker the opportunity to stop him. That was the conclusion many people reached from his most recent status report on Manafort.

It is worth keeping in mind that Mueller and his team can read the news and learned about the strategy Trump and his lawyers had adopted along with the rest of us.

President Donald Trump and his lawyers have made a strategic calculation that their fight against special counsel Robert Mueller is more political than it is legal.

They’re banking that the lead Russia investigator will follow long-standing Justice Department practice that a sitting president can’t be indicted, and that the only real threat to Trump’s survival is impeachment.

So long as that theory holds, Trump’s plan is to forcefully challenge Mueller in the arena he knows best — not the courtroom but the media, with a public campaign aimed at the special counsel’s credibility, especially among Republican voters and GOP members of Congress.

If Mueller issues “speaking indictments” in his sentencing reports on three of the most influential people in Trump’s campaign—Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort—he will demonstrate that he knows how to play that game as well. Both the obstruction of justice and conspiracy case will be put out to the public and, now that Democrats control the House, will be followed up with investigations, possibly leading to impeachment.

So hold on to your hats, folks. This could be the beginning of the end game.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/12/04/muellers-end-game-is-starting-to-come-into-view/

Story 2: Department of Justice/FBI Attorney Blocked Comey From Answering Congressional Questions About FBI Clinton E-Mail Investigation and FISA Warrant Applicationand Renewal Thereby Stonewalling Congress — Videos —

Tom Fitton reacts to Comey’s closed-door testimony

Trey Gowdy on his plans going into the Comey hearing

Issa: FBI attorney blocked Comey from answering questions

BREAKING: James Comey Says Mueller Investigation Is Going Extremely Well

Gaetz shares what he learned from the Comey hearing

Comey Testifies Before Congress, Has Message For Trump

 

Ex-FBI director Comey grilled again in US Congress

Former FBI director James Comey was interviewed in a closed-door session by US lawmakers, amid mounting intrigue over the investigation into possible contacts between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia

Former FBI director James Comey was interviewed in a closed-door session by US lawmakers, amid mounting intrigue over the investigation into possible contacts between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia

Former FBI director James Comey testified before US lawmakers for the first time in over a year Friday, with much of the discussions centering on Hillary Clinton’s email use.

The closed-door grilling came amid mounting intrigue over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible contacts between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Moscow.

Comey had pleaded for a public hearing after he was subpoenaed by the outgoing Congress in November, but House Republicans including some of Trump’s allies insisted on a private session before the judiciary and oversight committees.

Comey was questioned as part of a Republican-led House inquiry into possible Russian interference, and Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016, featured prominently.

“Hillary Clinton’s emails, for heaven’s sake,” Comey said after testifying for six hours. “I’m not sure we need to do this at all.”

Clinton had set up a private email server before becoming secretary of state in 2009.

Republicans seized on the revelation years later, saying she broke department protocol by using a private email account while a government official in order to hide sensitive correspondence.

The issue became a flashpoint of the 2016 race.

Republicans exited Friday’s session complaining that Comey lawyers shut down certain avenues of questioning.

Comey disputed that but gave a rationale for why he would not publicly discuss some elements.

“The FBI, for understandable reasons, doesn’t want me talking about the details of the investigation that is still ongoing, and began when I was FBI director,” he said.

In May 2017 Trump abruptly sacked Comey, who was the senior official leading a criminal investigation into possible collusion with Moscow.

Three months earlier the president met privately with Comey and urged him to end the investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn, a move that many Democrats interpreted as obstruction of justice.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt,” and on Friday unleashed a Twitter tirade against Mueller, Comey and other current and former officials tied to the Russia probe.

“Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest,” Trump tweeted.

Comey said a testimony transcript will be published 24 hours after his interview. Republicans want him to return for further testimony in two weeks, a final effort to advance their probe.

House control shifts to Democrats in January, and incoming Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said he would shut down the probe into FBI behavior because it was merely an effort to “cast aspersion on the real investigation, which is Mueller.

Story 3: Chief of Staff John Kelly Expected To Resign and Replaced by Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff — Videos

See the source imageSee the source image

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is ‘expected’ to resign as soon as TODAY after Trump completely stopped speaking to him – and Pence chief of staff will replace him

  • Sources told DailyMail.com that Kelly is ‘expected’ to leave the White House before the end of the year, and the announcement could come as soon as Friday
  • His presumed replacement is Nick Ayers, the young chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence
  • Ayers is a 36-year-old political wunderkind; Kelly is a 68-year-old decorated vet
  • Trump and Kelly are no longer on speaking terms
  • President has been telling aides to reach out to Ayers if they need things  
  • Friday White House senior staff dinner was to serve as an appreciation event for Kelly and other departing senior officials, but news leaked first to CNN

White House insiders expect Chief of Staff John Kelly to resign in the coming days.

Sources told DailyMail.com that Kelly, a decorated Marine Corps general brought in last year, is ‘expected’ to leave the White House before the end of the year, and the announcement could come as soon as Friday.

His expected replacement is Nick Ayers, the young chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

A source familiar with the situation told DailyMail.com on Friday morning that a dinner at the White House in the evening for senior staff was supposed to serve as an appreciation event for Kelly and other departing senior officials.

‘They were trying to give John the out he deserved for his service to the country. That was the plan,’ the person said.
White House insiders expect Chief of Staff John Kelly to resign in the coming days
White House insiders expect Chief of Staff John Kelly to resign in the coming days
The president is no longer on speaking terms with Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general

The president is no longer on speaking terms with Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general

Now, that timeline has likely been expedited —Trump could make the announcement as soon as Friday.

The news comes as CNN reported that Kelly is no longer on speaking terms with President Donald Trump.

The decorated veteran participated in a handful of Oval Office meetings on Thursday, a source told DailyMail.com on Friday, adding that he and Trump didn’t interact before or afterward.

Trump and Kelly ‘know that they are 17 months into what has been a very tumultuous relationship. It is no longer seen as sustainable by either party,’ CNN reported Friday morning.

‘Their relationship has deteriorated so much in the last couple weeks, where John Kelly’s job security has essentially been seen as permanently in danger.’

The Daily Caller, a favored Trump news outlet, reported Friday that an unnamed source had said the idea of an impending Kelly resignation was ‘absolutely untrue,’ and that the chief of staff had merely taken a day off.

A source confirmed to DailyMail.com that Ayers is the president's choice to succeed him

The website’s editorial director, Vince Coglianese, is the son of U.S. Marine Corps Major General Vincent A. Coglianese, who is in charge of Marine Corps Installations Command.

Another source told DailyMail.com that the dinner on Friday night would be hosted in the White House residence by the president and first lady. The person said that it is a holiday party for staff, just like the one the first couple hosted last Christmas.

It was not described on the president’s daily guidance as a holiday party. The closed-press event was listed as a ‘dinner’ with senior White House staff.

Axios also reported Friday what administration insiders have said for weeks: Ayers will likely take over for Kelly whenever he leaves.

A source confirmed to DailyMail.com that Ayers is the president’s choice to succeed him.

The president has been telling people for the past several days to call Ayers if they have a request. The directive has spread so far that senior aides are no longer regarding Ayers’ ascension as a secret, an insider said on Friday morning.

‘John wanted to stay, but he has a broken relationship with the president, so bad you just can’t keep him,’ the person told DailyMail.com of the president’s claims this fall that Kelly was staying.

Trump announced during a senior staff meeting in July that he had asked Kelly to stay through the 2020 election, and that he agreed

Trump announced during a senior staff meeting in July that he had asked Kelly to stay through the 2020 election, and that he agreed.

The two men discussed a commitment at the time for Kelly to agree to run the West Wing until 2024 if Trump were to win a second term.

Since then Trump has backtracked, arguing at a post-election news conference that people leave and it can’t be helped.

‘As we make changes, we’ll sit down and talk to you about it. I mean, there’s no great secret. A lot of administrations make changes after midterms. I will say that, for the most part, I’m very, very happy with this Cabinet. We’re doing a great job,’ the president said.

Pressed to confirm that Kelly is staying, Trump said, ‘People leave. I haven’t heard about John Kelly. But, no, people — people leave. They come in, they’re here. It’s a very exhausting job.’

He went further in a ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview later in the month, in which he admitted: ‘There are certain things that I don’t like that he does.’

‘There are a couple of things where it’s just not his strength. It’s not his fault. It’s not his strength,’ he asserted.

Trump said at ‘some point’ the retired marine general ‘is going to want to move on.’ He maintained that it is possible that Kelly would stay through 2020 but backed off the initial pledge that

Kelly jokes about White House move: ‘God is punishing me’

He had insisted in October, as the White House attempted to project confidence in advance of the mid-terms, that he was not going to ditch Kelly for Ayers or other rumored candidates for the job.

Trump brought a New York Magazine reporter into the Oval Office for a parade of denials that ended with Kelly and Ayers giving each other a bear hug.

Since the election, the relationship between Trump and Kelly has apparently soured.

In a hint that Kelly was on his way out, deputy chief of staff Zachary Fuentes, started putting out feelers for a new job, Politico reported this week, circulating his resume to the Department of Defense and other Cabinet agencies.

Kelly has clashed with top Trump advisers inside and outside the White House, getting into West Wing screaming matches with the national security adviser and others.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6471487/White-House-Chief-Staff-John-Kelly-expected-RESIGN-soon-Trump-stopped-speaking-him.html

Story 4: President Trump Nominates Heather Nauert as United States Ambassador to United Nations — Videos

Trump confirms he’s nominated Bill Barr for AG, Heather Nauert U.N. Ambassador

Trump names William Barr as Attorney General, Heather Nauert as UN ambassador

[youtub3e=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqCwAmZyXJo]

Donald Trump Nominates State Dept. Spokesperson Heather Nauert As UN Ambassador | NBC Nightly News

Trump to pick Heather Nauert as next UN ambassador

Heather Nauert reportedly offered UN Ambassador job

Trump picks ‘very smart, very quick’ State Department spokeswoman and former Fox anchor Heather Nauert to replace Haley as UN ambassador – but the position will be downgraded

  • President Trump named State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as the next ambassador to the United Nations 
  • Nikki Haley has held the position since the beginning of the Trump administration and will finish out the year
  • Nauert, whose nomination will require Senate confirmation, is a former Fox News Channel correspondent and anchor
  • She was shocked when she learned she would go from press flack to diplomat and recommended a colleague for the job instead before accepting
  • Position was Cabinet-level for Haley but will be downgraded for Nauert 

President Donald Trump named State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as the ambassador to the United Nations on Friday.

He told reporters at the White House that she is ‘very talented, very smart, very quick. And I think she’s going to be respected by all.’

The president said Nauert is ‘somebody that we know very well’ and ‘has done a great job’ as the State Department’s press secretary.

Nikki Haley has held the UN post since the beginning of Trump’s administration and said she would stay in the job through the end of the year.

Nauert will not enjoy nearly as much power as Haley, however, with a source confirming that the position is being downgraded. It will no longer be a Cabinet-level post.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert (left), pictured on October 18 with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, will be a top diplomat in 2019 as she becomes the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert (left), pictured on October 18 with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, will be a top diplomat in 2019 as she becomes the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

Nauert (left) was a Fox News reporter and anchor before entering the Trump administration

Nauert (left) was a Fox News reporter and anchor before entering the Trump administration

Trump told reporters on Friday that he had made up his mind about the ''very talented, very smart, very quick' Nauert

Nauert must win the approval of the U.S. Senate, even so. The post is still an ambassadorship, and that requires Senate confirmation.

Republicans will hold a majority of seats in the upper chamber – 53 – after January all but assuring that Nauert will win the appointment.

She said early Friday in a tweet that she is ‘humbled’ by the promotion to UN ambassador.

‘Thank you, Mr. President, for your confidence in me. I am humbled by your intent to nominate me as USUN Ambassador and, if confirmed, look forward to continuing the outstanding job Amb. Haley has done representing your Administration and the American people,’ she said in her statement.

Nauert is a former Fox News Channel correspondent and anchor who has no prior political or policy-making experience.

Before becoming the front-runner for the United Nations post, she had been a rumored contender for White House press secretary.

She became the State Department spokeswoman in April 2017, and earlier this year was named the acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6471935/Trump-picks-smart-quick-Heather-Nauert-replace-Nikki-Haley-ambassador.html

 

Story 5: Federal Bureau of Investigation Should Reopen Investigation of Clinton Foundation Based on Whistle-Blower Evidence — Videos

Sean Hannity 12/6/18 – Hannity Fox News December 6, 2018

Sean Hannity 12/7/18 [FULL] | Breaking Fox News December 7, 2018

Report: FBI raids home of Clinton Foundation whistleblower

Did John Huber ignore complaints from Clinton whistleblowers?

 

""

Feds received whistleblower evidence in 2017 alleging Clinton Foundation wrongdoing

When a House subcommittee chairman bangs his gavel next week to convene an unprecedented investigative hearing into the Clinton Foundation, two questions will linger as preeminent: Is the Clinton family charity really the international do-gooder that earned a perfect four-star rating from Charity Navigator, or does it suffer from corruption and illegalities as conservatives allege? And if it is the latter, how much evidence of wrongdoing does the government possess?

The answer to the first question is that the foundation and its projects reported collecting about $2.5 billion to help global crises, from AIDS to earthquakes, even as its own auditors, lawyers and employees privately warned of problems over the years.

The answer to the second question may reside in 6,000 pages of evidence attached to a whistleblower submission filed secretly more than a year ago with the IRS and FBI.

That evidence was assembled by a private firm called MDA Analytics LLC, run by accomplished ex-federal criminal investigators, who alleged the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activities and may be liable for millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties.

In addition to the IRS, the firm’s partners have had contact with prosecutors in the main Justice Department in Washington and FBI agents in Little Rock, Ark. And last week, a federal prosecutor suddenly asked for documents from their private investigation.

The 48-page submission, dated Aug. 11, 2017, supports its claims with 95 exhibits, including internal legal reviews that the foundation conducted on itself in 2008 and 2011.

Those reviews flagged serious concerns about legal compliance, improper commingling of personal and charity business and “quid pro quo” promises made to donors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.

The submission also cites an interview its investigators conducted with Andrew Kessel that quotes the foundation’s longtime chief financial officer as saying he was unable to stop former President Clinton from “commingling” personal business and charitable activities inside the foundation and that he “knows where all the bodies are buried.”

“There is probable cause that the Clinton Foundation has run afoul of IRS rules regarding tax-exempt charitable organizations and has acted inconsistently with its stated purpose,” MDA Analytics alleged in its submission. “The Foundation should be investigated for all of the above-mentioned improprieties. The tax rules, codes, statutes and the rule of law should and must be applied in this case.”

Current and former Clinton Foundation sources confirm that CFO Kessel met with MDA investigators in late 2016 and subsequently was interviewed by FBI agents in 2017. But they insist he did not implicate former President Clinton or the foundation in any illegality.

They also acknowledge that the internal reviews cited in the submission were authentic and did in fact flag issues that the foundation has tried to address, including major governance changes made public in 2013.

“The Clinton Foundation has been one of the most heavily scrutinized charitable organizations in the world, and subjected to outrageous, politically motivated allegations that have been proven false time and time again,” the foundation said in a statement. “Critics continue to resurrect these false claims to try to damage the reputation of the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation. The fact is, the Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world, while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process.”

MDA’s partners include experts whose work ranged from compliance by private Wall Street firms to Drug Enforcement Administration money-laundering investigations, terrorism-financing probes and U.S. attorney prosecutions. They specifically created the firm to investigate 501c3 charities. The firm wasn’t hired by clients but, rather, conducted its research on the Clinton Foundation at its own expense with the hope that its whistleblower submission might result in a government reward if the IRS substantiated wrongdoing and recovered tax dollars.

The IRS sent multiple letters in 2017 and 2018 to MDA Analytics, confirming it had received the submission and it was “still open and under active investigation.” But, shortly before last month’s election, the agency sent a preliminary denial letter indicating it did not pursue the allegations for reasons that ranged from a lack of resources to possible expiration of the statute of limitations on some allegations.

I asked a half-dozen former federal investigators to review the submission and key evidence; all said the firm’s analysis of tax-exempt compliance issues would not be that useful to federal agencies that have their own legal experts for that. But they stressed the evidence of potential criminality was strong and warranted opening an FBI or IRS probe.

“It is a very good roadmap for investigation,” said retired FBI supervisory agent Jeffrey Danik, a prior practicing certified public accountant who helped the bureau make some of its most complex financial fraud and terrorism cases during a 29-year career.

“When you have the organization’s own lawyers using words like ‘quid pro quo,’ ‘conflicts of interest’ and ‘whistleblower protections,’ you have enough to get permission to start interviewing and asking questions,” he said.

Danik said the only investigative challenge is that some documents assembled by the private investigators are marked as attorney-client privileged and federal agents might need special permission to use them.

“Given that [special counsel Robert] Mueller got the OK to investigate Michael Cohen and his attorney-client communications with President Trump, I imagine that hurdle could be overcome under the crime-fraud exception,” he said.

The whistleblower submission’s public emergence comes at a sensitive time, as President Trump has taken to Twitter in recent months to decry a lack of action by his Justice Department against the Clintons.

And a GOP-led congressional subcommittee, led by Rep. Mark Meadows(N.C.), is planning to hold a hearing next week to review the work of John Huber, the special U.S attorney named a year ago to investigate all things Clinton.

That hearing is designed to determine how much money and resources Huber has dedicated to the investigation and whether any action might be expected on issues that long have concerned conservatives, including Hillary Clinton’s transmission of classified information over an insecure private email server and the foundation’s activities.

A prosecutor working for Huber called MDA Analytics last week, seeking copies of their evidence, according to sources. The firm told the prosecutor that the FBI has possessed the evidence in its Little Rock office since early 2018, the sources said.

Some evidence that MDA investigators cited is public source, such as internal foundation reviews hacked in 2016 and given to WikiLeaks. Other materials were provided to the investigators by foreign governments that have done business with the charity, or by foundation insiders.

One of the nonpublic documents is an interview memo the MDA Analytics investigators penned after meeting with Kessel in late November 2016 at the Princeton Club in New York City.

Kessel told those investigators that “one of the biggest problems was Mr. Clinton’s commingling and use of business and donated funds and his personal expenses,” according to the whistleblower submission.

“There is no controlling Bill Clinton. He does whatever he wants and runs up incredible expenses with foundation funds,” states a separate interview memo attached to the submission.

“Bill Clinton mixes and matches his personal business with that of the foundation. Many people within the foundation have tried to caution him about this but he does not listen, and there really is no talking to him,” the memo added.

The memo also claims Kessel confirmed to the private investigators that private lawyers reviewed the foundation’s practices — once in 2008 and the other in 2011 — and each found widespread problems with governance, accounting and conflicts of interest.

“I have addressed it before and, let me tell you, I know where all the bodies are buried in this place,” the memo alleges Kessel said.

Foundation officials confirm Kessel attended the meeting but declined to describe what was discussed, except to say Kessel “strongly denies that he said or suggested that the Clinton Foundation or President Clinton engaged in inappropriate or illegal activities.”

“Mr. Kessel believed he was meeting an old professional acquaintance who was looking for business from the Foundation,” the foundation said in a statement.

MDA Analytics said it stands by the information it submitted to the IRS and can prove its accuracy.

The comments attributed to Kessel track closely to statements employees and executives of the foundation made during the 2008 and 2011 internal legal reviews.

For example, the 2008 review written by a private lawyer named Kumiki Gibson, who was hired by the foundation to study its governance, directly flagged concerns about improper commingling of charitable and private business.

“The work of the Foundation and the President are intertwined in a way that creates confusion at, and undermines the work of, the Foundation at virtually every level,” Gibson wrote, warning that such commingling poses “reputational and legal challenges, and with confusion, inefficiencies and waste.”

Specifically, the memo warned the foundation had not created policies and procedures “required by law” and that some of its leaders “appear to have interests that do not always align with those of the Foundation.”

It also raised the possibility of illegal activities, saying the foundation and its managers held an “anti-compliance attitude” and that there were lower-level employees who “begged” for whistleblower protections after witnessing “less than fully compliant behavior or even worse are asked to participate in or condone it.”

The 2011 review conducted by the law firm Simpson Thacher raised similar concerns about legal compliance and noted that auditors in 2009 and 2010 had found “material weaknesses,” such as a lack of governing board meetings and unsigned board minutes.

That report alleged some foundation workers “abuse expense privileges” and others suffered conflicts of interest, especially as the foundation solicited large donations from countries with business interests before Hillary Clinton at the State Department. “It appears conflicts are not timely disclosed” and “when staff becomes aware of conflicts they are unsure how to raise and clear these conflicts,” the report warned.

The report even raised the possibility that donors were expecting favors at State or from the former president’s government connections in return for money.

“Some interviewees reported conflicts of those raising funds or donors, some of whom may have an expectation of quid pro quo benefits in return for gifts,” the lawyers warned.

The whistleblower submission cited many of the same concerns as the internal legal reviews, but also alleged that evidence from foreign governments showed that some charity transactions were commercial in nature and therefore should have been taxed.

The evidence amassed by the private investigators should give Congress plenty to explore at its hearing next week, and put the Trump Justice Department on the spot to answer what it has done to address concerns that the foundation’s lawyers raised and the private investigators uncovered.

Quid pro quo donations, a culture of noncompliance, travel abuses and commingling of personal with charitable business are serious issues, especially when Americans trusted the Clinton Foundation to spend $2.5 billion tax free in the name of charity.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/420131-feds-received-whistleblower-evidence-in-2017-alleging-clinton-foundation

THREE whistleblowers hand over hundreds of documents ‘showing the Clinton Foundation misused funds and made quid-pro-quo promises to donors about access to Hillary’

  • Mark Meadows, who is involved in a probe into the Clinton Foundation, says three people have come forward with hundreds of pages of potential evidence 
  • Says they hint at a misuse of funds and quid-pro-quo promises made to donors
  • It was also revealed that another whistleblower gave 6,000 pages to the FBI 
  • Investigative hearing will take place in the House of Representatives next week 

Three whistleblowers have come forward with hundreds of pages of evidence suggesting wrongdoing at the Clinton Foundation, a Republican congressman says.

Mark Meadows, head of the House Oversight Subcommittee, said the documents suggest misappropriation of funds and quid-pro-quo promises made to donors during Hillary’s time as secretary of state.

Meadows spoke to Fox News about the documents ahead of an investigative hearing on the Clinton Foundation which is due to take place next week.

Three whistleblowers have handed over hundreds of pages of documents which could indicate misuse of funds and promises made to donors while Hillary was Secretary of State (file image)

The hearing will review evidence collected by U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was tasked with investigating the Foundation by ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

It comes after The Hill reported that 6,000 pages of evidence on the Clinton Foundation was secretly handed to the FBI and IRS last year.

The papers allege that the Foundation engaged in illegal activities and may be liable for millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties.

The documents also showed commingling of personal and Foundation affairs, especially by former President Bill Clinton, according to The Hill.

The evidence was compiled by a firm called MDA Analytics LLC and included a submission by another whistleblower. 

A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation said at the time: ‘The Clinton Foundation has been one of the most heavily scrutinized charitable organizations in the world, and subjected to outrageous, politically motivated allegations that have been proven false time and time again.

‘Critics continue to resurrect these false claims to try to damage the reputation of the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation.

Mark Meadows, head of the House Oversight Subcommittee, spoke out about the documents ahead of a hearing into the Foundation which is due to take place next week

‘The fact is, the Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world, while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process.’

Meadows has previously raised questions about a large drop in funds donated to the Foundation after Hillary lost her 2016 presidential race to Donald Trump.

Donations fell from $63 million in 2016 to $27 million in 2017.

He said: ‘The remarkable significance of the drop in Clinton foundation donations raises grave concerns their operations were not above board as the American people have been led to believe.

‘Whenever we look at the possibility of ‘pay to play’ by government officials, current or former, it demands answers–and anyone who uses public office to sell access for their own financial benefit must be held accountable.’

Meadows is a close ally of Donald Trump who has called for investigations into his former Democrat opponent.

The Clinton Foundation defended itself against the allegations, saying the fall in donations was due to the Clinton Global Initiative shutting down.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6470709/Whistleblowers-hand-hundreds-documents-Clinton-Foundation-wrongdoing.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 1183, December 6, 2018, Story 1: The Smoking Gun Email Chain of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos — Story 2: Time Running Out For $25 Billion of Federal Funding of Wall — Trump Should Not Sign Any Bills Without Inclusion of Wall Funding of $25 Billion — Shut Government Down — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Will Nominate Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr as Permanent Replacement for Former AG Jeff Sessions — Videos — Story 4: United States Net Oil Exporter — First Time Since 1949 — Videos

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Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy

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Story 1: The Smoking Gun Email Chain of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos —

Sean Hannity 12/6/18 – Hannity Fox News December 6, 2018

Sean Hannity Fox News 12/6/18 Breaking Fox News December 6, 2018

Hannity 12/06/18 1AM | December 06, 2018 Breaking News

FBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet

12/5/2018

By John Solomon
Opinion Contributor

Just before Thanksgiving, House Republicans amended the list of documents they’d like President Trump to declassify in the Russia investigation. With little fanfare or explanation, the lawmakers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), added a string of emails between the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to their wish list.

Sources tell me the targeted documents may provide the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), evidence that has been kept from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years.

The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.

The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured.

The FBI fired Steele on Nov. 1, 2016 — two weeks after securing the warrant — on the grounds that he had unauthorized contacts with the news media.

But the FBI withheld from the American public and Congress, until months later, that Steele had been paid to find his dirt on Trump by a firm doing political opposition research for the Democratic Party and for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that Steele himself harbored hatred for Trump.

If the FBI knew of his media contacts and the concerns about the reliability of his dossier before seeking the warrant, it would constitute a serious breach of FISA regulations and the trust that the FISA court places in the FBI.

That’s because the FBI has an obligation to certify to the court before it approves FISA warrants that its evidence is verified, and to alert the judges to any flaws in its evidence or information that suggest the target might be innocent.

We now know the FBI used an article from Yahoo News as independent corroboration for the Steele dossier when, in fact, Steele had talked to the news outlet.

If the FBI knew Steele had that media contact before it submitted the article, it likely would be guilty of circular intelligence reporting, a forbidden tactic in which two pieces of evidence are portrayed as independent corroboration when, in fact, they originated from the same source.

These issues are why the FBI email chain, kept from most members of Congress for the past two years, suddenly landed on the declassification list.

The addition to the list also comes at a sensitive time, as House Republicans prepare on Friday to question Comey, who signed off on the FISA warrant while remaining an outlier in the intelligence community about the Steele dossier.

Most intelligence officials, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have embraced the concerns laid out in the Steele dossier of possible — but still unproven — collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Yet, 10 months after the probe started and a month after Robert Mueller was named special counsel in the Russia probe, Comey cast doubt on the the Steele dossier, calling it “unverified” and “salacious” in sworn testimony before Congress.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page further corroborated Comey’s concerns in recent testimony before House lawmakers, revealing that the FBI had not corroborated the collusion charges by May 2017, despite nine months of exhaustive counterintelligence investigation.

Lawmakers now want to question Comey about whether the information in the October email string contributed to the former FBI director’s assessment.

The question long has lingered about when the doubts inside the FBI first surfaced about the allegations in the Steele dossier.

Sources tell me the email chain provides the most direct evidence that the bureau, and possibly the DOJ, had reasons to doubt the Steele dossier before the FISA warrant was secured.

Sources say the specifics of the email chain remain classified, but its general sentiments about the Steele dossier and the media contacts have been discussed in nonclassified settings.

“If these documents are released, the American public will have clear and convincing evidence to see the FISA warrant that escalated the Russia probe just before Election Day was flawed and the judges [were] misled,” one knowledgeable source told me.

Congressional investigators also have growing evidence that some evidence inserted into the fourth and final application for the FISA — a document signed by current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — was suspect.

Nunes hinted as much himself in comments he made on Sean Hannity’s Fox News TV show on Nov. 20, when he disclosed the FBI email string was added to the declassification request. The release of the documents will “give finality to everyone who wants to know what their government did to a political campaign” and verify that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia during the election, Nunes said.

As more of the secret evidence used to justify the Russia probe becomes public, an increasingly dark portrait of the FBI’s conduct emerges.

The bureau, under a Democratic-controlled Justice Department, sought a warrant to spy on the duly nominated GOP candidate for president in the final weeks of the 2016 election, based on evidence that was generated under a contract paid by his political opponent.

That evidence, the Steele dossier, was not fully vetted by the bureau and was deemed unverified months after the warrant was issued.

At least one news article was used in the FISA warrant to bolster the dossier as independent corroboration when, it fact, it was traced to a news organization that had been in contact with Steele, creating a high likelihood it was circular intelligence reporting.

And the entire warrant, the FBI’s own document shows, was being rushed to approval by two agents who hated Trump and stated in their own texts that they wanted to “stop” the Republican from becoming president.

If ever there were grounds to investigate the investigators, these facts provide the justification.

Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein likely hold the answers, as do the still-classified documents. It’s time all three be put under a public microscope.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/419901-fbi-email-chain-may-provide-most-damning-evidence-of-fisa-abuses-yet

 

FBI Knew Steele Dossier Was Bogus Before Using In FISA Application: Solomon

A string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification by President Trump may be the smoking gun that the FBI and DOJ committed egregious abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to The Hill‘s John Solomon.

The email exchanges – kept from Congressional investigators for over two years, “included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division,” according to the report – and took place in early to mid-October of 2016, prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.

The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured. –The Hill

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Two weeks after the FBI secured the FISA warrant using the Steele Dossier, Steele was fired by the FBI on November 1, 2016 for inappropriate communications with the news media.

Also withheld from both Congress and the general public until months later is the fact that Steele had been paid by Fusion GPS – an opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. Moreover, Steele absolutely hated Donald Trump.

And as Solomon notes; “If the FBI knew of his media contacts and the concerns about the reliability of his dossier before seeking the warrant, it would constitute a serious breach of FISA regulations and the trust that the FISA court places in the FBI.”

That’s because the FBI has an obligation to certify to the court before it approves FISA warrants that its evidence is verified, and to alert the judges to any flaws in its evidence or information that suggest the target might be innocent. –The Hill

The FBI, however, went to extreme lengths to convince the FISA judge that Steele (“Source #1”), was reliable when they could not verify the unsubstantiated claims in his dossier – while also having to explain why they still trusted his information after having terminated Steele’s contract over inappropriate disclosures he made to the media.

“Not withstanding Source1’s reason for conducting the research into Candidate1’s ties to Russia, based on Source1’s previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source 1s reporting herein to be credible

Chuck Ross@ChuckRossDC

On top of that, Bill Priestap told Congress that corroboration of the dossier was in its “infancy” when FISAs were being granted. An FBI unit found dossier was only “minimally” corroborated.

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Of course, none of this mattered to the FBI – which painted Carter Page in the most criminal light possible, as intended, in order to convince the FISA judge to grant the warrant.In order to reinforce their argument, the FBI presented various claims from the dossier as facts, such as “The FBI learned that Page met with at least two Russian officials” – when in fact that was simply another unverified claim from the dossier.

It flat out accuses Page of being a Russian spy who was recruited by the Kremlin, which sought to “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law,” the application reads.

Paul Sperry@paulsperry_

ALERT: The declassified FBI warrant application attests to secret FISA court that “THE FBI LEARNED that Page met with at least two Russian officials during the trip,”as if FBI learned this independently,when in fact it’s clear it relied on Clinton-paid dossier for the information

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Chuck Ross@ChuckRossDC

FBI represented to a federal judge that investigators knew for certain that Carter Page met w/ Igor Sechin and Diveykin. Except, the FISA app acknowledges this intel came from Steele dossier. And FBI has acknowledged dossier was not verifieid. http://dailycaller.com/2018/07/21/doj-release-carter-page-fisa/ 

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Another approach used to beef up the FISA application’s curb appeal was circular evidence, via the inclusion of a letter from Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) to former FBI Director James Comey, citing information Reid got from John Brennan, which was in turn from the Clinton-funded dossier.

Meanwhile – current and former members of the US intelligence community continue to hinge their theories of Trump-Russia collusion on the Steele Dossier, despite Comey admitting that it was “salacious” and “unverified” during sworn testimony.

Most intelligence officials, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have embraced the concerns laid out in the Steele dossier of possible — but still unproven — collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Yet, 10 months after the probe started and a month after Robert Mueller was named special counsel in the Russia probe, Comey cast doubt on the the Steele dossier, calling it “unverified” and “salacious” in sworn testimony before Congress.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page further corroborated Comey’s concerns in recent testimony before House lawmakers, revealing that the FBI had not corroborated the collusion charges by May 2017, despite nine months of exhaustive counterintelligence investigation. –The Hill

Congressional investigators now want to question Comey about the October email string and whether it contributed to his assessment. According to Solomon, the newly requested email chain “provides the most direct evidence that the bureau, and possibly the DOJ, had reasons to doubt the Steele dossier before the FISA warrant was secured.”

“If these documents are released, the American public will have clear and convincing evidence to see the FISA warrant that escalated the Russia probe just before Election Day was flawed and the judges [were] misled,” one source told Solomon.

What’s more, House GOP investigators now have a growing pile of evidence that some of the information inserted into a fourth and final application for the FISA – signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was suspect – as evidence by hints by House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Fox News‘s Sean Hannity TV show November 20. Nunes said that the declassification of the requested documents will “give finality to everyone who wants to know what their government did to a political campaign.”

As Solomon bluntly puts it:

The bureau, under a Democratic-controlled Justice Department, sought a warrant to spy on the duly nominated GOP candidate for president in the final weeks of the 2016 election, based on evidence that was generated under a contract paid by his political opponent.

That evidence, the Steele dossier, was not fully vetted by the bureau and was deemed unverified months after the warrant was issued.

At least one news article was used in the FISA warrant to bolster the dossier as independent corroboration when, it fact, it was traced to a news organization that had been in contact with Steele, creating a high likelihood it was circular intelligence reporting.

And the entire warrant, the FBI’s own document shows, was being rushed to approval by two agents who hated Trump and stated in their own texts that they wanted to “stop” the Republican from becoming president.

No wonder Comey wanted a public testimony – where he wouldn’t have to discuss any of this.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-06/fbi-knew-steele-dossier-was-bogus-using-fisa-application-solomon

Obama Political Spying Scandal: Trump Associates Were Not the First Targets

(Reuters photo: Jonathan Ernst)

This list includes Dennis Kucinich and investigative journalists.In 2011, Dennis Kucinich was still a Democratic congressman from Ohio. But he was not walking in lockstep with President Obama — at least not on Libya. True to his anti-war leanings, Kucinich was a staunch opponent of Obama’s unauthorized war against the Qaddafi regime.

Kucinich’s very public efforts included trying to broker negotiations between the administration and the Qaddafi regime, to whom the White House was turning a deaf ear. It was in that context that he took a call in his Washington office from Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the ruler’s son and confidant. Four years later, as he recalled in a recent opinion piece, Kucinich learned that the call had been recorded and leaked to the Washington Times.

To be sure, it is not a solid case. Kucinich is now a commentator at Fox News, on whose website he explains his side of the story, and on whose programming ardently pro-Trump contributors are a staple — including contributors who have been sympathetic to the new president’s claim that he was monitored by his predecessor. The gist of Kucinich’s piece is to “vouch for the fact that extracurricular surveillance does occur.” The express point is to counter the ridicule heaped on Trump’s claim that he personally was wiretapped at Trump Tower.

As we’ve repeatedly noted (see, e.g., herehere, and here), there is no known support for Trump’s narrow claim (made in a series of March 4 tweets). Yet, there is now overwhelming evidence that the Obama administration monitored Trump associates and campaign and transition officials. There were, moreover, leaks of classified information to the media — particularly in the case of Trump’s original national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose telephone communications with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. were unlawfully disclosed to the Washington Post.

The answer is no.

In an important analysis published by Tablet magazine, Lee Smith considers the likely abuse of foreign-intelligence-collection authority by the Obama administration in connection with negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The White House knew there would be vigorous Israeli opposition to the Iran deal — just as there was ardent American opposition to the highly objectionable pact. Notwithstanding that Israel is an important ally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., became surveillance targets — agents of a foreign power, treated no differently under the law than such operatives of hostile foreign powers. Fair enough — it is simply a fact that allies occasionally spy on each other. Obviously, their interests sometimes diverge.

But there was something different about this monitoring initiative. It was not targeted merely at Israeli officials plotting their opposition strategy. The Wall Street Journal, Smith notes, reported in late December 2015 that the targeting “also swept up the contents of some of [the Israeli officials’] private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.”

“At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism — activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.

This is what systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes looks like: Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And — with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access — terrorize them.

Once you understand how this may have worked, it becomes easier to comprehend why and how we keep being fed daily treats of Trump’s nefarious Russia ties. The issue this time isn’t Israel, but Russia, yet the basic contours may very well be the same.

Do you really think the Obama administration, which turned the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department into process cudgels for beating Obama detractors, would be above that sort of thing?

At her website, Sharyl Attkisson provides a very useful “Obama-era Surveillance Timeline” — with “surveillance” broadly construed to encompass many varieties of government power to collect and coerce the production of information. Attkisson notes, for example:

‐The IRS’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, a politicized initiative that stymied the groups’ ability to contest Obama’s reelection in 2012.

‐The administration’s targeting of journalists, including (a) attorney general Eric Holder’s approval of the seizure of personal and business phone records of Associated Press reporters en masse (i.e., not a particularized search targeting a specific journalist suspected of wrongdoing); and (b) Holder’s approval of a warrant targeting the e-mails of Fox News reporter James Rosen in a leak investigation — based on an application in which the government represented to a federal court that the journalist could be guilty of a felony violation of the Espionage Act in connection with a leak of classified information (in addition to purportedly being a “flight risk”).

‐The administration’s 2011 loosening of minimization procedures to enable more-liberal scrutiny of communications of American citizens incidentally swept up in foreign-intelligence gathering

‐The CIA’s accessing of Senate Intelligence Committee computers and staff e-mails — which CIA director John Brennan initially denied, then apologized for after it was confirmed by an inspector-general report.

‐The investigation of Trump associate Carter Page, including a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant based on the claim that Page was a Russian agent, which would have authorized monitoring of Page’s communications — including any with Trump, then the Republican nominee for president.

‐The criminal leaking to the media of former Trump national-security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

‐The “unmasking” of identities of Americans (connected to Trump) at the behest of Obama national-security adviser Susan Rice, a White House staffer and Obama confidant.

Ms. Attkisson also has her own story to tell. Formerly at CBS News, she was one of the few journalists at mainstream outlets who aggressively reported on the Fast and Furious scandal and the Benghazi massacre. In the latter, we recall, Rice and other Obama officials falsely told the public that the attack, which resulted in the killing of four Americans including the U.S. ambassador, grew out of spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video (rather than being a coordinated jihadist strike). The Obama administration later used its criminal-prosecution authority to trump up a case against its chosen scapegoat: the video producer.

Attkisson’s reporting prompted internal administration complaints that she was “out of control.”

As a tale of political spying intrigue, Dennis Kucinich’s story would not be worth telling. But can it so easily be dismissed after the spying on American critics of the Iran deal?

Based on examinations by two forensic experts, Attkisson and CBS eventually reported that her personal and work computers were “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” Was this “unknown party” the government? The experts say it was a highly advanced intruder, which “used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity.” Moreover, one computer was infiltrated remotely by the use of “new spy software proprietary to a federal agency.”

It is a good bet that the National Security Agency was monitoring the communications of Qaddafi’s son and other regime figures in 2011. If so, it is likely that then-congressman Kucinich was lawfully intercepted “incidentally.” It is also entirely possible, however, that the Libyans themselves were recording their conversations with prominent Americans and that the Kucinich–Qaddafi call was found after the regime fell.

The Washington Times reporters did not reveal to Kucinich how they had gotten the tape, but the paper’s related stories had referred to “secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.” Moreover, if the Obama administration had been behind a vindictive leak against Kucinich, one might have expected the leak to have happened in 2011, during Kucinich’s prominent opposition to the Libya war, rather than four years later, when the regime had long been toppled and Kucinich had retired from Congress.

On the other hand, Kucinich recounts that the recording is very clear on both ends (one might expect a Libyan recording would be distinctly clearer on the Libyan end). The Washington Timesalso does not seem the most natural destination for a secret disclosure from Libya. Furthermore, Kucinich explains, he made routine FOIA requests regarding information pertinent to him before leaving Congress in 2012. Although he did not learn of the recording until 2015, these FOIA requests would have covered his communication with Qaddafi, he adds. Kucinich says that some of the intelligence agencies have failed to respond.

On its own, Dennis Kucinich’s story would not be worth telling — not as a tale of political spying intrigue. But can it so easily be dismissed after the spying on American critics of the Iran deal? The measures taken to make “incidental” monitoring of Americans easier, its fruits far more widely disseminated and, inevitably, criminally leaked? The shocking abuse of IRS processes to collect information on, and procedurally persecute, Barack Obama’s political adversaries? Fast and Furious — the use of government police powers to create a political anti-gun narrative, then the contemptuous cover-up when it went horribly wrong, resulting in a Border Patrol officer’s death? The scandalous Benghazi cover-up — including a bogus prosecution of a pathetic video producer to help prop up the fraud? The monitoring of Trump associates and members of his campaign and transition staffs — the unmasking, the intentional wide dissemination of raw intelligence, the willful felony publication of classified information?

There is considerably more evidence that the Obama administration grossly abused its awesome intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement powers than that Russian meddling had a meaningful impact on the 2016 election. And these abuses of power certainly did not start with the targeting of Donald Trump’s campaign.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been emended since its initial posting.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/04/barack-obama-spying-journalists-dennis-kucinich-sharyl-attkisson-donald-trump-campaign-transition/

Could the President Spy on His Political Opponents?

Under the government’s current interpretation of the law, unfortunately, the answer is yes.

he controversy continues over President Trump’s Twitter storm accusing President Obama of wiretapping him. On Monday, members of Congress peppered FBI Director James Comey with questions about the claims, who once again dismissed them as lacking support. Even Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who originally defended Trump’s claims, has defected. “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” the congressman said last week at a news conference. None of these statements seem to have affected President Trump, however, who continues to stand by his accusations.

But regardless of whether these claims turn out to be completely false, which is all but certain now, they do raise a question that shouldn’t be casually dismissed: Could President Obama’s administration have surveiled his political opponents under its interpretation of the law? Could President Trump’s administration now do the same?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes. And that should make Republicans and Democrats nervous enough to work together to reform our surveillance laws.

Many have dismissed President Trump’s accusations as the unsubstantiated ramblings of a Twitter addict with little understanding of how our intelligence laws work. These may be fair criticisms—today the president cannot simply order the intelligence agencies to wiretap his domestic political opponents. But many of our surveillance authorities have been interpreted so broadly that they put vast amounts of Americans’ data easily within the president’s reach. Without significant reform, exploiting this immense pool of data may one day prove irresistible. Thus, whether President Trump’s accusations are true or not, the potential for White House officials to abuse our spying laws for political purposes is real.

It is important to remember that surveilling political opponents in the name of security is something of an American pastime. In the 1960s, the FBI targeted political activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., claiming they posed “national security” threats. Cesar Chavez, the prominent labor and civil-rights activist, was similarly tracked for years because of his supposed communist ties.

In response to many of these types of abuses, Congress created the Church Committee to investigate surveillance practices. The widespread crimes and abuse they uncovered led to the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978. But recent disclosures demonstrate that the law did not go far enough. Moreover, passage of the Patriot Act in 2001 and other laws have undercut the protections in FISA, further opening the door to biased, unjustified, or politically motivated spying. There are jarringly few protections against these abuses.

The result: if the president wanted to surveil his critics, he could exploit at least three national security authorities.

Section 702 of FISA

Section 702 of FISA was passed at the request of the Bush administration and extended at the request of the Obama administration with bipartisan support. Now the Trump administration is reportedly pushing for reauthorization of this law when it is set to expire in 2017, with the nominee for the director of national intelligence calling it the “crown jewels” of the intelligence community. FBI Director Comey once again defended the controversial program.

While Section 702 was passed to protect against international terrorism, its tentacles reach much farther. Under the law, the government collects emails and phone calls—without a warrant—of nearly 100,000 foreign “targets.” These include their conversations with people in the United States. These targets can include journalists, human-rights workers, and other individuals who have no connection to terrorism or criminal activity, and whose only offense may be discussing information related to “foreign affairs”—a nebulous term.

Over 250 million internet communications alone are collected under Section 702 annually. While the government refuses to disclose how many Americans have been swept up in this dragnet, analysis of leaked documents suggests that at least half those communications contain information about a U.S. citizen or resident. If that’s accurate, the Trump administration will collect over 125 million internet communications that contain information about someone in the United States. Given that much of the data collected under Section 702 is stored for five years or longer, it means the government likely has access to hundreds of millions of stored emails and phone calls.

Once collected, the government asserts that they can mine this information to scrutinize the activities of Americans—opening the door to political abuse. For example, if the intelligence agencies under President Obama had wanted to search through Section 702 data for information about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), on the argument that McConnell might possess information about “foreign affairs,” no technological barrier or explicit provision in Section 702 would have stopped them. Under current procedures, no court would have needed to approve this and Senator McConnell would not need to be notified that he had been the subject of such a search.

Under the government’s current interpretation of the law, this information could then be used as the basis for a criminal prosecution, criminal investigation, civil action, or additional surveillance.

Executive Order (EO) 12333

Under Executive Order 12333, the government engages in the bulk collection of communications and data—with no approval from a court or any other independent judicial body. This surveillance primarily takes place abroad. While the government is not supposed to target Americans under EO 12333, this spying likely results in the collection of information of millions of Americans. We know, for example, that the government reportedly relied on EO 12333 to steal data transmitted between certain Yahoo and Google data centers; to capture the content of all phone calls to, from, and within the Bahamas and other countries; and to collect millions of text messages from individuals around the world.

Under EO 12333, the government can target foreigners for “foreign intelligence” purposes, which, similar to Section 702, is a category so broad that it easily encompasses individuals who have no nexus to a national-security threat. As a result of recent NSA procedures, agencies across the federal government now have the right to request access to the raw information collected under EO 12333, which can contain the information of both Americans and foreigners.

While NSA officials have said there are procedures that limit the ability of the NSA to search through electronic surveillance captured under EO 12333 for information about Americans, those procedures are largely secret and can be modified purely at the discretion of the president. Moreover, the government has taken the position that information collected under the executive order can be used to prosecute Americans for certain ordinary domestic crimes—even though it was collected without a warrant.

In practice, this means that if the president decided to unilaterally change EO 12333 procedures to allow him to search for information for purposes unrelated to national security, he would have broad latitude to do so under the government’s current legal interpretations. In addition, it means that if the government stumbles across information related to these individuals in the trove of data they collect, they may assert the right to use it as the basis to prosecute or further investigate these individuals, without ever notifying them. This creates a bizarre incentive for any ill-intentioned president: the more information collected under EO 12333 in the name of security, the more information that can be mined for other purposes.

“Traditional” FISA

Although FISA was passed with the admirable goal of halting many of the surveillance abuses of the 1960s, this statutory scheme is not nearly as protective as a warrant. Specifically, unlike an ordinary warrant or wiretapping order, a traditional FISA order does not require the government to believe that its spying will produce evidence of a crime, and the secrecy surrounding the FISA court undermines effective oversight. For these reasons, the ACLU has long cautioned that FISA authorities are prone to abuse.

Under FISA, when the government seeks to conduct electronic surveillance, it must submit an application to the secret intelligence court demonstrating that there is probable cause that its individual target is a “foreign power or an agent of a foreign power,” and it must identify the particular phone line or communications facility used by the target. The terms “foreign power or agent of a foreign power” are broadly defined. They include foreign government officials, foreign political organizations not substantially composed of U.S. citizens or green-card holders, and foreign individuals engaged in terrorism. While this authority is certainly narrower than EO 12333 or Section 702, it too leaves room for abuse.

For example, under traditional FISA, the government would have the authority to surveil virtually any foreign government official—including that official’s entirely legal conversations with individuals in the United States. These communications can be retained or disseminated under procedures that are more lenient than those that apply to federal wiretaps. For instance, in the wiretapping context, the government is supposed to immediately purge communications that are considered irrelevant. FISA, by contrast, permits retention, analysis, and dissemination of Americans’ information for years, regardless of whether there is any evidence of criminal activity.

The Potential for Abuse Is Real, No Matter What the Intel Community Says

The intelligence agencies would argue that these authorities do not permit the government to deliberately “target” Americans—at least not without a warrant—mitigating constitutional concerns. But that explanation only tells half the story. The reality is that these authorities are used to vacuum up large amounts of Americans’ data, do not prevent the government from knowingly capturing the communications that Americans have with tens of thousands of foreign “targets,” and, in some cases, routinely collect purely domestic communications. Moreover, once Americans’ information is collected, there are inadequate safeguards to ensure that such data is not inappropriately used.  

The fact that our intelligence-gathering laws leave room for politically motivated surveillance should give us pause. And it’s not enough for President Trump or members of Congress to simply express outrage that the private communications of political leaders could have been surveilled. With the expiration of Section 702 looming, they have the opportunity to push for a complete overhaul of our surveillance authorities, and ensure that they are brought fully in line with the requirements of our Constitution.  

In other words, President Trump should match his action to his tweets, and demand that Section 702 and other authorities be reformed.

Neema Singh Guliani is a legislative counsel at the ACLU focusing on surveillance, privacy, and national-security issues. Prior to the ACLU, she worked at the Department of Homeland Security and as an investigative counsel with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/could-the-president-spy-on-his-political-opponents/

Story 2: Time Running Out For Federal $25 Billion Funding Appropriation $25 Billion of for Trump’s  Wall — Videos

Pelosi takes hard line on paying for Trump’s border wall

an hour ago
Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, meets with reporters at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday rejected the idea of paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall in exchange for helping hundreds of thousands of young immigrants avoid deportation.

Funding for the wall — a top Trump priority — and legal protections for so-called Dreamers, a key Democratic goal, should not be linked, Pelosi said.

“They’re two different subjects,” she said.

Her comments came as the House and Senate approved a stopgap bill Thursday to keep the government funded through Dec. 21. The measure, approved by voice votes in near-empty chambers, now goes to the White House.

Trump has promised to sign the two-week extension to allow for ceremonies this week honoring former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30. But he wants the next funding package to include at least $5 billion for his proposed wall, something Democrats have rejected. Trump is set to meet Tuesday at the White House with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Pelosi, who is seeking to become House speaker in January, said the lame-duck Congress should now pass a half-dozen government funding bills that key committees have already agreed on, along with a separate measure funding the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the border. Funding for the homeland agency should address border security and does not necessarily include a wall, Pelosi said.

Most Democrats consider the wall “immoral, ineffective and expensive,” Pelosi said, noting that Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for it, an idea Mexican leaders have repeatedly rejected.

Even if Mexico did pay for the wall, “it’s immoral still,” Pelosi said.

Protecting borders “is a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values as well,” she added.

Schumer said Thursday that a bipartisan Senate plan for $1.6 billion in border security funding does not include money for the 30-foot-high (9-meter-high) concrete wall Trump has envisioned. The money “can only be used for fencing” and technology that experts say is appropriate and makes sense as a security feature, Schumer said.

If Republicans object to the proposal because of pressure from Trump, Schumer said lawmakers should follow Pelosi’s advice and approve six appropriations bills and a separate measure extending current funding for Homeland Security.

Either option would avert a partial government shutdown, which lawmakers from both parties oppose, he said.

“The one and only way we approach a shutdown is if President Trump refuses both of our proposals and demands $5 billion or more for a border wall,” Schumer said. He called the wall “a nonstarter” for Democrats, who face increasing pressure from outside groups and liberal lawmakers to resist Trump’s continued push for the barrier, which Trump says is needed to stop an “invasion” of Central American migrants and others from crossing into the country illegally.

Schumer called the spat over the wall unnecessary, noting that the administration has not spent more than $1 billion approved for border security in the budget year that ended Sept. 30. “The idea that they haven’t spent last year’s money and they’re demanding such a huge amount this year makes no sense at all,” he said.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said he prefers to include Homeland Security in an omnibus package containing seven unresolved spending bills for the current budget year.

“I believe the best route is to keep all seven together and pass them,” the Alabama Republican told reporters Thursday. Lawmakers have “made a lot of progress” in recent weeks on the seven spending bills. “I’d like to conclude it,’” he said.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of Republican leadership, said the key question is whether Trump will sign a bill without funding for the wall.

“It doesn’t matter how much appetite there is for a shutdown anywhere else, if he is willing to have a shutdown over this issue,” Blunt said. “He has given every indication that he would.”

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Padmananda Rama contributed to this story.

https://apnews.com/e3fd315c66554c22bfdf97710e0df711

 

Story 3: President Trump Will Nominate Former U.S. Attorney General William Bar as Permanent Replacement for Former AG Jeff Sessions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who served under former President George H.W. Bush, is the leading candidate for the job as a permanent replacement for Jeff Sessions, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The Washington Post reported earlier on Thursday that President Donald Trump could choose his nominee for attorney general in coming days, and that Trump had told advisers he plans to nominate Barr.

Sessions departed from the role last month, and Trump named Matthew Whitaker as the government’s top lawyer on an interim basis. With the current session of Congress set to soon end, anyone Trump nominates may have to wait until well into 2019 for confirmation.

Barr has worked in the private sector since serving as attorney general from 1991 to 1993, retiring from Verizon Communications (VZ.N) in 2008.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Lisa Lambert, Editing by David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot

Story 3: President Trump Will Nominate Former U.S. Attorney General William Bar as Permanent Replacement for Former AG Jeff Sessions — Videos

Trump eyeing Bush 41 attorney general to replace Sessions

President Trump To Tap Former Attorney General William Barr To Head Justice Department

William P. Barr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bill Barr
William Barr, official photo as Attorney General.jpg
77th United States Attorney General
In office
November 26, 1991 – January 20, 1993
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Dick Thornburgh
Succeeded by Janet Reno
25th United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
May 1990 – November 26, 1991
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Donald B. Ayer
Succeeded by George J. Terwilliger III
United States Assistant Attorney Generalfor the Office of Legal Counsel
In office
April 1989 – May 1990
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Douglas Kmiec
Succeeded by J. Michael Luttig
Personal details
Born
William Pelham Barr

May 23, 1950 (age 68)
New York CityNew York, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Christine Moynihan
Children 3
Education Columbia University (BAMA)
George Washington University(JD)

William Pelham Barr (born May 23, 1950) is an American attorney who served as the 77th Attorney General of the United States. He is a Republican and served as Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush.

 

Early life, education, and career

Barr was born in New York City. The son of Columbia University faculty members Mary and Donald Barr, he grew up on the Upper West Side, attended the Corpus Christi School and Horace Mann School. He received his B.A. degree in government in 1971 and his M.A. degree in government and Chinese studies in 1973, both from Columbia University. He received his J.D. degree with highest honors in 1977 from the George Washington University Law School.[1]

Barr with President Ronald Reaganin 1983

From 1973-77, he was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Barr was a law clerk to Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1977 through 1978. He served on the domestic policy staff at the Reagan White House from 1982 to 1983. He was also in private practice for nine years with the Washington law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge.[2]

Department of Justice

Barr and Dan Quayle watch as President George H. W. Bush signs the Civil Rights Commission Reauthorization Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in 1991

During 1989, at the beginning of his administration, President George H. W. Bush appointed Barr to the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, an office which functions as the legal advisor for the President and executive agencies. Barr was known as a strong defender of Presidential power and wrote advisory opinions justifying the U.S. invasion of Panama and arrest of Manuel Noriega, and a controversial opinion that the F.B.I. could enter onto foreign soil without the consent of the host government to apprehend fugitives wanted by the United States government for terrorism or drug-trafficking.[3]

During May 1990, Barr was appointed Deputy Attorney General, the official responsible for day-to-day management of the Department. According to media reports, Barr was generally praised for his professional management of the Department.[4]

Acting Attorney General of the United States

During August 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh resigned to campaign for the Senate, Barr was named Acting Attorney General.[5] Three days after Barr accepted that position, 121 Cuban inmates, awaiting deportation to Cuba as extremely violent criminals, seized 9 hostages at the Talladega federal prison. He directed the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team to assault the prison, which resulted in rescuing all hostages without loss of life.[6]

Nomination and confirmation

It was reported that President Bush was impressed with Barr’s management of the hostage crisis, and weeks later, President Bush nominated him as Attorney General.[7]

Barr’s two-day confirmation hearing was “unusually placid” and he received a good reception from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.[8] Asked whether he thought a constitutional right to privacy included the right to an abortion, Barr responded that he believed the constitution was not originally intended to create a right to abortion; that Roe v. Wade was thus wrongly decided; and that abortion should be a “legitimate issue for state legislators”.[8] Committee Chairman, Senator Joe Biden, though disagreeing with Barr, responded that it was the “first candid answer” he had heard from a nominee on a question that witnesses would normally evade.[9] Barr was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Biden hailed Barr as “a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you.”[9]

Attorney General of the United States

Tenure

Analysis

The media described Barr as staunchly conservative.[10] The New York Times described the “central theme” of his tenure to be: “his contention that violent crime can be reduced only by expanding Federal and state prisons to jail habitual violent offenders.”[10] At the same time, reporters consistently described Barr as affable with a dry, self-deprecating wit.[11]

Subsequent career

After his tenure at the Department of Justice, Barr spent more than 14 years as a senior corporate executive. At the end of 2008 he retired from Verizon Communications, having served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of GTE Corporation from 1994 until that company merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon. During his corporate tenure, Barr directed a successful litigation campaign by the local telephone industry to achieve deregulation by scuttling a series of FCC rules, personally arguing several cases in the federal courts of appeals and the Supreme Court.[12] Barr currently serves with several corporate boards.[citation needed]

In his adopted home state of Virginia, Barr was appointed during 1994 by then-Governor George Allen to co-chair a commission to reform the criminal justice system and abolish parole in the state.[13] He served on the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg from 1997 to 2005.[14]

He became an independent director of Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) in July 2009.

In 2009, Barr was of counsel to Kirkland & Ellis and joined the firm in 2017.[15]

On December 6, 2018, it was reported that President Donald Trump was considering Barr to be Attorney General.[16][17]

Policy positions

Immigration

As deputy attorney general, Barr successfully challenged a proposed rule by the Department of Health and Human Services to allow people with HIV/AIDS into the United States.[18] He also advocated the use of Guantanamo Bay to prevent Haitian refugees and HIV infected peoples from claiming asylum in the United States.[19]

Crime and security

Social issues

Barr has stated that he believed the constitution was not originally intended to create a right to abortion; that Roe v. Wade was thus wrongly decided; and that abortion should be a “legitimate issue for state legislators”.[8]

Health care reform

Energy and environment

Executive power

Personal life

Barr is an avid bagpiper, an avocation he began at age 8, and has played competitively in Scotland with a major American pipe band; he was a member for some time of the City of Washington Pipe Band.[20]

Barr is a Roman Catholic. He married Christine Moynihan in June 1973, and they have three grown daughters. He is a resident of Virginia.[citation needed]

References … 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_P._Barr

Story 4: United States Net Oil Exporter — First Time Since 1949 — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

OPEC set to curb oil supply? | DW News

The US Is Making Its Mark On The Global Oil Market, But How Long Will It Last?

Study: US Could Be a Net Energy Exporter

Analysts: OPEC Meeting in Vienna to Result in Less Production

The U.S. Just Became a Net Oil Exporter for the First Time in 75 Years

 Updated on 
  • Crude, refined products exports exceed imports in weekly data
  • Shale boom has boosted U.S. crude oil shipments to record
Oil Analyst Sankey Sees OPEC Cuts Stabilizing Market Short-Term
Paul Sankey, analyst at Mizuho, examines what production cuts from OPEC+ can mean to the global oil market.

America turned into a net oil exporter last week, breaking 75 years of continued dependence on foreign oil and marking a pivotal — even if likely brief — moment toward what U.S. President Donald Trump has branded as “energy independence.”

The shift to net exports is the dramatic result of an unprecedented boom in American oil production, with thousands of wells pumping from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico to the Bakken in North Dakota to the Marcellus in Pennsylvania.

While the country has been heading in that direction for years, this week’s dramatic shift came as data showed a sharp drop in imports and a jump in exports to a record high. Given the volatility in weekly data, the U.S. will likely remain a small net importer most of the time.

“We are becoming the dominant energy power in the world,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. “But, because the change is gradual over time, I don’t think it’s going to cause a huge revolution, but you do have to think that OPEC is going to have to take that into account when they think about cutting.”

The shale revolution has transformed oil wildcatters into billionaires and the U.S. into the world’s largest petroleum producer, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. The power of OPEC has been diminished, undercutting one of the major geopolitical forces of the last half century. The cartel and its allies are meeting in Vienna this week, trying to make a tough choice to cut output and support prices, risking the loss of more market share to the U.S.

American Oil Renaissance

U.S. net imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products

Sources: 1918-1948 courtesy of Michael Lynch and adapted from American Petroleum Institute’s ‘Petroleum Facts and Figures 1959’; for 1949-2017 U.S. EIA ‘Monthly Energy Review’. 2018 and 2019 are forecast from the EIA.

The U.S. sold overseas last week a net 211,000 barrels a day of crude and refined products such as gasoline and diesel, compared to net imports of about 3 million barrels a day on average so far in 2018, and an annual peak of more than 12 million barrels a day in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA said the U.S. has been a net oil importer in weekly data going back to 1991 and monthly data starting in 1973. Oil historians that have compiled even older annual data using statistics from the American Petroleum Institute said the country has been a net oil importer since 1949, when Harry Truman was at the White House.

On paper, the shift to net oil imports means that the U.S. is today energy independent, achieving a rhetorical aspiration for generations of American politicians, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush. Yet, it’s a paper tiger achievement: In reality, the U.S. remains exposed to global energy prices, still affected by the old geopolitics of the Middle East.

U.S. crude exports are poised to rise even further, with new pipelines from the Permian in the works and at least nine terminals planned that will be capable of loading supertankers. The only facility currently able to load the largest ships, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, is on pace to load more oil in December than it has in any other month.

The massive Permian may be even bigger than previously thought. The Delaware Basin, the less drilled part of the field, holds more than twice the amount of crude as its sister, the Midland Basin, the U.S. Geological Service said Thursday.

While the net balance shows the U.S. is selling more petroleum than buying, American refiners continue to buy millions of barrels each day of overseas crude and fuel. The U.S. imports more than 7 million barrels a day of crude from all over the globe to help feed its refineries, which consume more than 17 million barrels each day. In turn, the U.S. has become the world’s top fuel supplier.

“The U.S. is now a major player in the export market,” said Brian Kessens, who helps manage $16 billion at Tortoise in Leawood, Kansas. “We continue to re-tool our export infrastructure along the Gulf Coast to expand capacity, and you continue to see strong demand globally for crude oil.”

— With assistance by Jessica Summers

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-06/u-s-becomes-a-net-oil-exporter-for-the-first-time-in-75-years

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1174, November 14, 2018, Story 1: Florida Recount Concludes That Ron Desantis Is The Next Governor of Florida — Governor Scott Won Senator Seat in Machine Recount and Must Wait for Final Human Count — Video — Story 2: The Fake Stolen Election in Georgia Governor Race — Republican Brian Kemp Wins and  Democrat Stacey Abrams Loses — Lying Lunatic Leftist Loser Stacey Abrams Refuses To Concede — Voter Suppression Charged — Results Will Be Certified Friday — Videos Story 3: President Trump Will Not Fire Mueller As Mueller Wraps Up Investigation of Russian Interference in U.S. Elections — Absolutely No Evidence of Trump Collusion With Russians and Therefore No Indictments — Complete Hoax Fabricated By Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Appoint Second Special Counsel Now To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Videos

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Story 1: Florida Recount Concludes That Ron Desantis Is The Next Governor of Florida — Governor Scott Won Senator Seat in Machine Recount and Must Wait for Final Human Count — Video

Special Report w Bret Baier 11/15/18 Fox News November 15, 2018

Story 2: The Fake Stolen Election in Georgia Governor Race — Republican Brian Kemp Wins and  Democrat Stacey Abrams Loses — Lying Lunatic Leftist Loser Stacey Abrams Refuses To Concede — Voter Suppression Charged — Results Will Be Certified Friday — Videos

Tucker Carlson Tonight 11/15/18 Breaking Fox News November 15, 2018

Latest on the disputed election count for Georgia governor

Kemp says he won Georgia governor race

Stacey Abrams says she recognizes Brian Kemp will be Georgia’s next governor

Abrams campaign responds to the legal drama unfolding post-election

Stacey Abrams refuses to concede in Georgia Gubernatorial defeat

GEORGIA RACE OVER: Democrat Stacey Abrams Ends Challenge For Governor Race

Abrams ends run for governor against Kemp, but won’t concede

Kemp pledges to put ‘divisive politics’ behind him

Stacey Abrams ended her run for Georgia governor on Friday, but the Democrat said she would not concede the contest to Republican Brian Kemp as state officials prepared to certify the election.

Saying the law “allows no further viable remedy” to extend her quest to be the nation’s first black female governor, Abrams announced a new voting rights group that will file “major” litigation against the state over electoral issues.

And she laced her speech with bruising critiques of Kemp, a former secretary of state who she said was “deliberate and intentional in his actions” to suppress the vote.

“I will not concede,” she added, “because the erosion of our democracy is not right.”

Kemp, meanwhile, thanked Abrams for her “passion, hard word and commitment to public service.”

“The election is over and hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward,” said Kemp. “We can no longer dwell on the divisive politics of the past but must focus on Georgia’s bright and promising future.”

The Democrat’s campaign was considering a long-shot legal challenge under a law that allows losing candidates to contest the election in the case of misconduct, fraud or “irregularities.”

She would have faced a tremendous legal burden to prove her case, and even some Democrats warned that prolonging the court battle would jeopardize two down-ticket runoffs set for next month.

The secretary of state could certify the election as soon as 5 p.m. Friday and cement Kemp’s victory in the tightest race for Georgia governor since 1966.

The latest tally showed Abrams is roughly 55,000 votes behind Kemp — and in need of more than 17,000 votes to force a Dec. 4 runoff. Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, which is only a possibility because a third-party contender netted about 1 percent.

Hundreds of previously uncounted votes could still be added Friday before the election is certified by Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden.

Abrams’ campaign has long tried to make the case that Kemp used his role as secretary of state to suppress the vote.

In her fiery speech, Abrams cited long lines at voting sites, closed polling stations and the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of voter registrations.

But to have a chance in court, Abrams would have had to prove there were enough Georgians blocked from voting to close the gap. Her campaign apparently could not meet that requirement.

Before Abrams ended the campaign, Republicans blasted the suggestion that she might contest the election in court. In one of the most biting barbs, Kemp’s spokesman called for Abrams to end her “ridiculous temper tantrum and concede.”

Unchanged dynamics

Kemp’s lead had dwindled since Election Day as absentee and provisional ballots trickled in. But as more counties completed their vote tallies, Abrams and her allies claimed there were thousands of outstanding ballots that never materialized.

Her campaign also went to court to force local officials to accept some previously rejected ballots.

She secured one court order that required elections officials to review as many as 27,000 provisional ballots, though it didn’t require those votes to be accepted.

Another ruling required the state to count absentee ballots with incorrect birthdate data, but rejected an effort to accept provisional ballots cast in the wrong counties.

That order, by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, set off a scramble by county officials to revisit rejected ballots. But it left Kemp’s lead virtually unchanged, even as the biggest trove of those votes in Gwinnett County was added to the total.

Those final ballots in Gwinnett also likely cemented the contest for Georgia’s 7th District. Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall led Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux by about 400 votes, though her campaign on Friday requested a recount.

Some pushback

Abrams has long hinted at more litigation challenging “irregularities” at polling sites, and targeted what she claimed was Kemp’s abuse of the secretary of state’s office. But she determined that new legal action wouldn’t prevent Kemp’s victory.

Some Abrams’ allies had raised alarms that the prospect of extending her legal fight would shift attention away from a pair of candidates who are already in a runoff: John Barrow for secretary of state and Lindy Miller for Public Service Commission.

“I totally concur with the notion that every vote should be counted,” said Michael Thurmond, the DeKalb chief executive and a former Democratic state labor commissioner. “And going forward, the most effective way to do that is to focus on electing John Barrow as the next secretary of state.”

And former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden said it’s “pretty evident” the race will be certified for Kemp and that Abrams should begin focusing on a 2020 run against U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

“Never stop. Keep using this energy,” he said. “Keep using these new voters.”

Kemp, meanwhile, has tried to cast himself as the eventual winner.

Several of his aides were at the Capitol this week to meet with state legislators and scope out executive offices. And Kemp’s campaign has repeatedly criticized Abrams for refusing to concede, saying she has no mathematical chance at forcing a runoff.

On Friday, Kemp struck a far more conciliatory tone.

“I humbly ask for citizens of our great state to stand with me in the days ahead,” he said.

“Together, we will realize the opportunities and tackle the challenges to come. We will be a state that puts hardworking Georgians – no matter their zip code or political preference – first.”

https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/kemp-holds-steady-lead-over-abrams-state-prepares-certify-vote/WI5zxjHjLNR2WbvcEBVYWL/

Story 3: President Trump Will Not Fire Mueller As Mueller Wraps Up Investigation of Russian Interference in U.S. Elections — Absolutely No Evidence of Trump Collusion With Russians and Therefore No Indictments — Complete Hoax Fabricated By Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Appoint Second Special Counsel Now To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Videos

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Hannity: FISA court was abused for political gain

Joe diGenova on Mueller Wrap Up

OH BOY!! HAPPENING NOW! Hannity Just EXPOSED Dems HIDE This BIGGEST PLAN Against Trump!

Trump legal team finalizing answers to Mueller questions

Lindsey Graham on Florida recount, Mueller probe

Sen. Mike Lee on Democrats’ objections to Matt Whitaker

Joe diGenova Talks About Jeff Sessions Replacement

MUELLER JUST GOT TRUMP’D! [AND HE DIDN’T SEE IT COMING

Matthew Whitaker (attorney)

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Matthew Whitaker
Matthew G. Whitaker official photo.jpg
Acting United States Attorney General
Assumed office
November 7, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Rod Rosenstein
Preceded by Jeff Sessions
Chief of Staff to the United States Attorney General
In office
September 22, 2017 – November 7, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Preceded by Jody Hunt
Succeeded by Gary Barnett
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa
In office
June 15, 2004 – November 25, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Stephen Patrick O’Meara
Succeeded by Nicholas A. Klinefeldt
Personal details
Born Matthew George Whitaker
October 29, 1969 (age 49)
Des MoinesIowa, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education University of Iowa (BAJDMBA)

Matthew George Whitaker (born October 29, 1969) is an American lawyer and politician serving as Acting United States Attorney General since November 7, 2018. He was appointed by President Donald Trump on November 7, 2018, after Jeff Sessions resigned at Trump’s request.[1] Whitaker served as a U.S. Attorney during the Bush Administration and served as Chief of Staff to Sessions from September 2017 to November 2018.[2]

In 2002, Whitaker was the candidate of the Republican Party for Treasurer of Iowa. From 2004 to 2009 he served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. Whitaker ran in the 2014 Iowa Republican primary for the United States Senate. He later wrote opinion pieces and appeared on talk-radio shows and cable news as the director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a conservative advocacy group.

The legality of Whitaker’s appointment as Acting U.S. Attorney General was challenged by the State of Maryland.[3][4] His appointment prompted a number of legal scholars, commentators, and politicians to question its legality and constitutionality, noting that his selection circumvented Senate confirmation.[5] Some also called for Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Special Counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller because of his public criticisms of the probe and his ties to Trump, and to Sam Clovis, a witness in the investigation.[6][7][8]

After Whitaker took office, reports surfaced of his prior involvement with World Patent Marketing, which had been fined $26 million and shut down by federal regulators in 2017 for deceiving consumers.[9][10]

Early life and education

Whitaker was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 29, 1969. His mother was a schoolteacher and his father a car salesman. Whitaker graduated from Ankeny High School and attended the University of Iowa, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications, a Master of Business Administration, and a law degree in 1995.[11] While in college he wanted to be in the film industry.[12]

During his undergraduate years at Iowa, Whitaker played tight end for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team, appearing in Iowa’s Rose Bowl game in 1991.[13]

Career

After graduating from law school, Whitaker worked for a number of regional law firms including Briggs & Morgan (Minneapolis) and Finley Alt Smith (Des Moines). He was also corporate counsel for a national grocery company, SuperValu, and small businessman owning interests in a trailer manufacturing company, a daycare, and a concrete supply company.[14] Whitaker ran as a Republican for Treasurer of Iowa in 2002, losing to incumbent Democrat Michael Fitzgerald by 55% to 43%.[15]

In 2003, Whitaker founded “Buy The Yard Concrete,” based in Urbandale, Iowa which did projects as far away as Las Vegas. In 2005, Whitaker was named as a defendant to a collections lawsuit in Nevada for $12,000 in unpaid invoices for supplies and equipment rentals related to a concrete project in Las Vegas. The lawsuit was settled out of court.[16]

Whitaker’s U.S. Attorney portrait

United States Attorney

On June 15, 2004, Whitaker was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa by President George W. Bush. The appointment was at the recommendation of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, in spite of Whitaker’s minimal relevant legal experience.[17]

From 2005 to 2007, Whitaker was responsible for the unsuccessful investigation and prosecution of Iowa State Sen. Matt McCoy, a gay, liberal Democrat, on charges of attempting to extort $2000.[18] A columnist for the Des Moines Register said that the case “… was based on the word of a man former associates depicted as a drug user, a deadbeat and an abuser of women; a man so shady even his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsors called him ‘a pathological liar.'”[19][20] The jury took less than two hours to return a verdict of “not guilty”.[21][22]

Whitaker resigned in November 2009 following the Senate confirmation of his replacement, Nicholas A. Klinefeldt, who was nominated by President Barack Obama.[13][23]

Private practice and political activities

From 2009 to 2017, Whitaker was a managing partner of the small general practice law firm Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff LLP (now Hagenow & Gustoff LLP) in Des Moines, Iowa.[24]

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Whitaker was Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty‘s co-chairman in Iowa, and then state co-chairman for Texas governor Rick Perry.[25]

Whitaker was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2014 United States Senate election in Iowa, a seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin. He came in fourth in the Republican primary in June, with 11,909 votes (7.54%). The nomination was won by Joni Ernst, who went on to win the general election.[26]

After losing the Republican primary, Whitaker chaired the campaign of Sam Clovis, another unsuccessful primary candidate who had been selected, later in June, to run for Iowa State Treasurer.[27] Clovis lost in the November 2014 general election.[28][29][30]

MEM Investment

In 2012, Whitaker and two partners used their company, MEM Investment, to purchase and develop an affordable-housing apartment building in Des Moines.[31] In 2014, the partnership reverted to just Whitaker. By spring of 2016, the company failed to deliver on the contracted renovation, the city terminated the loan agreement, Lincoln Savings Bank declared MEM in default of the $687,000 mortgage, and the property was sold to another developer for completion.[32][33]

World Patent Marketing

In 2014, Whitaker joined the board of World Patent Marketing (WPM) which was a fraudulent invention promotion firm based in Florida that deceived inventors into thinking that the company had successfully commercialized other inventions.[34][35][36] In March 2017, the Federal Trade Commission charged the company with fraudulently deceiving consumers and suppressing complaints through intimidation and the use of gag clauses.[36][37][38] In May 2018, a federal court ordered the company to close and pay a $26 million fine.[39] Many customers suffered significant losses as a result of working with the company[9][40] and when they tried to recoup their fees, the company used Whitaker’s background as a U.S. Attorney to threaten them. In a 2015 email mentioning his background as a former federal prosecutor, Whitaker told a customer that filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or “smearing” the company online could result in “serious civil and criminal consequences.”[41][42] The owner of Ripoff Report told The Wall Street Journal that Whitaker had called him in 2015 demanding his website take down negative reports about WPM, alleging, “He threatened to ruin my business if I didn’t remove the reports. He [said he] would have the government shut me down under some homeland security law.”[43][44] The company contributed to Whitaker’s 2014 US Senate campaign.[45] Whitaker performed almost $17,000 in compensable work for the company.[46] In 2017 FTC investigators examined whether Whitaker had played any role in making threats of legal action to silence the company’s critics. Whitaker rebuffed an FTC subpoena for records in October 2017, shortly after he had joined the Justice Department.[47]

White House and senior Justice Department officials were surprised to learn of Whitaker’s connection to the company.[48] Through a DOJ spokesperson, Whitaker has denied awareness of the company’s fraud.[9] The court receiver in the case said he has “no reason to believe that [Whitaker] knew of any of the wrongdoing.”[48] As of November 2018, the FBI is still investigating World Patent Marketing.[49]

Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust

From October 2014 to September 2017, Whitaker was the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT),[50] and the organization’s only full-time employee in 2015 and 2016.[51] FACT, founded in late 2014, is a conservative nonprofit organization specializing in legal and ethical issues related to politics.[52][53] The group was backed by $1 million in seed money from conservative donors, who Whitaker declined to identify to the media.[54] According to the organization’s first tax return, its funding — $600,000 in 2014 – came from a conservative donor-advised fund called DonorsTrust, a pass-through vehicle that allows donors to remain anonymous.[55]

While Whitaker was the head of FACT, the organization had a special focus on the Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy and perceived favoritism in the business dealings of Clinton.[56] Despite claiming to be nonpartisan, the organization called for ethics investigations into or filed complaints about forty-six different Democratic politicians, officials, and organizations, compared to only a few Republicans.[57] FACT has been described as using “the legal system as a political weapon”[58] and characterized, by a GOP operative, as a “chop shop of fake ethics complaints”.[59] During this time, Whitaker wrote opinion pieces that appeared in USA Today and the Washington Examiner, and appeared regularly on conservative talk-radio shows and cable news.[60]

CNN contributor

Whitaker aspired to become a judge in Iowa, and hoped his media appearances would catch the eye of the Trump administration.[25] For four months, from June to September 2017, he was a CNN contributor.[61] One month prior to joining the Justice Department, Whitaker wrote an opinion column for CNN titled “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far.”[62] He stated that Mueller’s investigation was a “lynch mob”, that it should be limited, and that it should not probe into Trump’s finances.[63][64]

Legal and policy views

Constitutional issues

Whitaker stated in a question-and-answer session during his 2014 Iowa Senatorial campaign that “the courts are supposed to be the inferior branch.”[65][66] Whitaker was critical of the United States Supreme Court‘s decision in Marbury v. Madison (1803), the decision that allows judicial review of the constitutionality of the acts of the other branches of government, and several other Supreme Court holdings. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe commented on Whitaker’s views that “the overall picture he presents would have virtually no scholarly support,” and that they would be “‘destabilizing’ to society if he used the power of the attorney general to advance them.”[65]

Whitaker also stated during his 2014 Senate bid that he would not support “secular” judges and that judges should “have a biblical view of justice.” Asked if he meant Levitical or New Testament justice, he replied “I’m a New Testament.”[67] Whitaker’s answer has been interpreted by various individuals and groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, to imply that he would disqualify non-Christian judges, and were condemned as unconstitutional. An ADL spokesperson said, “The notion that non-Christian judges are disqualified from service is patently wrong, and completely inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly bars any religious test for public office.”[68]

Whitaker stated in 2013 he supports the right of states to nullify federal laws.[69] Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, stated that Whitaker’s views on nullification are “irreconcilable not only with the structure of the Constitution, but with its text, especially the text of the Supremacy Clause,” and added that “For someone who holds those views to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, even temporarily, is more than a little terrifying.”[69]

Criticisms of 2017 Special Counsel investigation

During the months prior to joining the Justice Department as Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff in September 2017, Whitaker made several statements critical of the Mueller investigation, of which he assumed oversight responsibility upon being appointed Acting Attorney General in November 2018. By July 2017, the Trump White House was interviewing Whitaker to join the Trump legal team.[70] During a six-month span in 2017, Whitaker insisted that there was no obstruction of justice or collusion and criticized the initial appointment of the special counsel. He also called the probe “political”[71] and “the left is trying to sow this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the U.S. election, which has been proven false.”[72] He also published an op-ed titled, “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump Is Going Too Far”[73] in which he expressed skepticism about the investigation generally and called the appointment of Mueller “ridiculous.”[72] Through social media, he also promoted an article that referred to the investigation as a “lynch mob.”[63][73][74]

Relationship with Donald Trump

Trump saw Whitaker’s supportive commentaries on CNN in the summer of 2017, and in July White House counsel Don McGahn interviewed Whitaker to join Trump’s legal team as an “attack dog” against Robert Mueller, who was heading the Special Counsel investigation. Trump associates believe Whitaker was later hired to limit the fallout of the investigation, including by reining in any Mueller report and preventing Trump from being subpoenaed.[70] On November 13, Whitaker sought advice from ethics officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether a recusal from overseeing the Russia investigation was warranted.[75]

In 2017 Whitaker provided private advice to Trump on how the White House might pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president’s adversaries, including appointing a special counsel to investigate the FBI and Hillary Clinton.[76]

Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society recommended Whitaker to McGahn as chief of staff for Sessions, and Whitaker was installed into that role at the direction of the White House. Sessions, it is reported, did not realize for a year that Whitaker wanted to replace him.[77]

By early September 2018 Whitaker was on the short list of President Trump‘s White House staff as the replacement for Don McGahn as the White House Counsel.[78][79]

In September 2018, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly referred to Whitaker as the White House’s “eyes and ears” in the Justice Department, which the president considered himself at war with.[80]

Trump had spoken with Whitaker in September 2018 about potentially assuming Sessions’s role as Attorney General, although it was not clear whether Whitaker would take over on an interim basis or be nominated in a more permanent capacity.[81] At that time, The New York Times described Whitaker as a Trump loyalist who had frequently visited the Oval Office and as having “an easy chemistry” with Trump.[80] Whitaker was referenced by White House staff after a New York Times article disclosed in September that Rod Rosenstein had discussed secretly taping his conversations with the president and talked about using the Twenty-fifth Amendment to remove Trump from office.[73]

Trump repeatedly stated on November 9, “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” contradicting remarks a month prior on Fox & Friends when he said, “I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.”[82][83][84] The president met with Whitaker at least ten times and frequently talked to him on the phone, and according to a former and a current administration official, Whitaker advised Trump in private on how to potentially pressure the Justice Department into investigating Trump’s adversaries.[85]

Other policy Issues

Whitaker has ties to the evangelical Christian community, his website previously stated that he is a “Christian who regularly attends church with his family, Matt has built a life on hard work and free enterprise” and he stated in 2014 that “life begins at conception.”[86][87][88]In 2014 he advocated for reducing the influence of the government saying, “I know that the government forcing people to violate their faith must never be tolerated. In the Senate, I will be a steadfast protector of every American’s religious rights.”[89]

He has expressed a desire to get rid of chain immigration and is against “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.[90] Whitaker argued in 2014 that expressing homophobic comments is legitimate expression of religious beliefs that should be protected speech, saying “I just really think this case is a prime example of where religious freedom in our country is under assault and we need to send a strong message.”[91] Whitaker supported repealing the Affordable Care Act in his 2014 Senate campaign.[73]

Department of Justice

Chief of Staff

On September 22, 2017, a Justice Department official announced that Sessions had appointed Whitaker to replace Jody Hunt as his chief of staff.[63][92] George Terwilliger, a former U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general, said in his role as chief of staff, Whitaker would have dealt daily with making “substantive choices about what is important to bring to the AG….”[93]

Acting Attorney General

With the resignation of Sessions on November 7, 2018, Whitaker was appointed to serve as Acting Attorney General under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.[11][94] The Acting Attorney General directly supervises Robert Mueller‘s Special Counsel investigation, which had previously been supervised by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his role as Acting Attorney General, due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Supervision of the Special Counsel investigation

Soon after Whitaker’s appointment as Acting Attorney General, a “broad and growing array” of legal experts expressed concern.[95] New York University law professor Ryan Goodman and Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, argued for Whitaker to recuse himself from supervising the investigation, citing potential conflicts of interest such as his previous criticism of the Special Counsel investigation and his ties to Sam Clovis who is a witness in the investigation.[7][96][97] NYU law professor Stephen Gillerssaid Whitaker “has no such legal or ethical obligation to step aside” but agrees that “Whitaker should be recused. His repeated expression of hostility to the Mueller investigation makes it impossible for the public to have confidence in his ability to exercise the necessary prosecutorial judgment in supervising Mueller”.[98][99] According to people close to Whitaker, he does not have any plans to recuse.[100]

Democrats poised to assume chairmanships of key House committees in January 2019 warned the Justice Department and other departments to preserve records relating to the Mueller investigation and Sessions’ firing. Republicans Senator Susan Collins, Senator Jeff Flake, and Senator-elect Mitt Romney, also issued statements insisting that Mueller’s investigation must remain free from interference.[101]

Legality and constitutionality of the appointment

Former Attorneys General Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, who both served in the George W. Bush administration, questioned the legality of the appointment.[102] Lawyers Neal Katyal and George T. Conway III called the appointment “illegal” and “unconstitutional” under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.[103][104][105] Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano posited that Whitaker is “not legally qualified for the role” as he is neither the Deputy Attorney General nor in a role that required Senate confirmation, and the senate is not in recess currently.[106][107] Lawyers Renato Mariotti and Laurence Tribe have argued that the Vacancies Act would not allow Trump to appoint Whitaker if Sessions was fired and that a court could conclude that Sessions did not resign but was fired.[108] John E. Bies, who served in the Obama Administration as a deputy assistant attorney general, has written that legality and constitutionality of Whitaker’s appointment is an open question and it has not been answered. Bies also points out that it is a difficult argument to make that Sessions was fired instead of resigning since a court would probably not “look past an official’s formal statement that they resigned”.[109]

Law professor John Yoo, who notably argued in favor of expansive executive power as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel in the George W. Bush administration, echoed the Katyal and Conway argument, stating that because of the Appointments Clause “it is not only the special-counsel investigation that he cannot supervise. Every action of the Justice Department might fall before challenges to Whitaker’s appointment.”[110] Law professor Stephen Vladeck argued that the U.S. Supreme Courtdecision United States v. Eaton allowed the appointment since it was temporary and that Sessions formally resigned.[95] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “I think this will be a very interim AG.”[111]

The US Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel released an internal legal opinion supporting the legality of the appointment. The memo concluded that because the appointment was temporary, no senate confirmation was required. It found that previously in 1866 an assistant attorney general who was not confirmed by the senate was appointed as acting attorney general, and that a non senate confirmed individual served as a principal officer in an acting capacity over 160 times between 1809 and 1860, and more recently at least nine times in the Trump, Obama, and Bush administrations.[112][113][114]

NBC News analyzed the section of the Code of Federal Regulations that prohibits a federal employee from participating in a criminal investigation if he has a personal or political relationship and said it may “arguably apply,” but also noted that “Even if a court could review the application of the recusal regulations to Whitaker in this situation, it might conclude that this personal or political relationship does not warrant [Whitaker’s] disqualification.”[115] Writers at Lawfare also noted Whitaker’s personal and prior political relationship with Sam Clovis, Trump’s campaign co-chairman and chief policy adviser, who has been questioned by Mueller’s investigators and testified before the investigation grand jury.[116][117]

A group of prominent conservative and libertarian lawyers have formed a group called Checks and Balances in the wake of Whitaker appointment.[118] Members include George T. Conway III, Tom Ridge, Peter D. KeislerJonathan H. AdlerOrin S. Kerr, Lori S. Meyer, Paul McNultyPhillip D. BradyJohn B. Bellinger III, Carrie Cordero, Peter Keisler, Marisa C Maleck, Alan Charles Raul and Paul Rosenzweig amongst others.[119][120][121][122] The group was formed to provide a critical legal and conservative voice for when, “he [Trump] attacks the Justice Department and the news media.”[123][124] The group was formed by Conway after he published a letter critical of Matthew Whitaker appointment that argued the illegality of his appointment because of constitutional reasons and specifically mentions the phrase checks and balances, “It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.”[125]

On November 14 The American Constitution Society released a letter signed by over 1,600 attorneys nationwide calling for lawmakers and Justice Department officials to protect the special counsel’s Russia probe in light of Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general.[126][127] The signatories demand that Whitaker recuse himself or “otherwise be removed from overseeing the Mueller investigation as a result of his profound ethical conflicts.”[128]

Legal challenges

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh representing the State of Maryland filed for an injunction against Whitaker’s appointment.[129] Maryland had previously filed a suit against the then Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding his inability to defend the Affordable Care Act in court as part of a broader hostility of the Obama era act from the Trump administration.[130][131][132] Maryland is expected to test the argument in court that Whitaker was unlawfully named acting attorney general, and thus has no standing in the court or authority to respond to their lawsuit.[3][4] Maryland is also arguing that Whitaker’s appointment violates the Constitution, which requires that principal officers of the United States be appointed “with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Whitaker was not serving in a Senate-confirmed position when he was appointed.[3] The state is arguing that the role of acting Attorney General rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.[133]. A judge has set a December 19 hearing.[134]

On November 12 San Francisco’s city attorney questioned the appointment of a new acting attorney general, saying in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice that his office may take court action if the DOJ does not provide a legal justification for the designation.[135][136]

Lawyers for former agricultural products executive Doug Haning filed a motion on November 13 asking a federal court in St. Louis to rule that Whitaker’s appointment as Acting Attorney General is illegal thereby he has no standing to hear the case.[134] Some lawyers have predicted a flood of similar motions.[134]

Personal life

Whitaker has three children with his wife, Marci, a civil engineer.[137] He is affiliated with Lutheran Evangelicalism.[138][89]

Electoral history

2002 Iowa State Treasurer

General election results[139]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael Fitzgerald 534,714 54.77%
Republican Matthew Whitaker 421,574 43.18%
Libertarian Tim Hird 19,687 2.02%
Republican Write-ins 344 0.04%
Total votes 976,319 100.00%

2014 U.S. Senator for Iowa

Republican primary results[140]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joni Ernst 88,535 56.12%
Republican Sam Clovis 28,418 18.01%
Republican Mark Jacobs 26,523 16.81%
Republican Matthew Whitaker 11,884 7.53%
Republican Scott Schaben 2,233 1.42%
Republican Write-ins 155 0.10%
Total votes 157,748 100.00%

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Whitaker_(attorney)

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The Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018, Story 1: Moving Up The Chain of Command of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy – Focus Now on Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and Wife Nellie Ohr At Fusion GPS and Former CIA Director John Brennan Roles in Having Christopher Steele Fabricating The False Steele Russian Dossier — Who is next in Obama Department of Justice (Attorney General Loretta Lynch And Deputy Sally Yates) and Who Were They Communicating In The White House (Valery Jarrett and Susan Rice)?– American People Demand Second Special Counsel Investigation and Prosecution and Grand Jury Impaneled and Indictments — Videos — Story 2: International Investors in U.S. Treasury Securities Are Flat and Smallest Share in 18 Years — Videos

Posted on August 18, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Applications, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Euro, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Hate Speech, Health, Health Care, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Insurance, Investments, James Comey, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Securities and Exchange Commission, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Trade Policy, U.S. Dollar, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Docs reveal DOJ’s Ohr was deeply connected to Trump dossier

“I’ll Be Revoking Bruce Ohr’s Security Clearance Soon” President Trump’s Draining The Swamp

URGENT 🔴 President Trump EXPLOSIVE Press Conference from The White House – August 17, 2018

Trump calls DOJ official Bruce Ohr a ‘disgrace’

FOX News Sean Hannity: Mueller’s Never Ending “Witch Hunt”

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

Trump revokes John Brennan’s security clearance

Tucker: Brennan thinks he has a right to clearance

Who’s next on security clearance chopping block?

White House speaks out on fate of more security clearances

Steyn reacts to left’s outrage over Brennan clearance

Levin: Trump should pull more security clearances

Rep. Gaetz reacts to Bruce Ohr’s notes about Steele

Frantic texts from Christopher Steele to Bruce Ohr revealed

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr is the ‘lynchpin’ in the Trump dossier: Chris Farrell

Why the Bruce Ohr-Christopher Steele texts are so important

Steele’s communications with DOJ raise questions

Like They Were All Best Friends’: Jordan on Emails Between Dossier Author, DOJ Official, Fusion GPS

Giuliani: John Brennan should go before a grand jury

Trump takes aim at Jeff Sessions over Twitter

Trump calls Sessions ‘scared stiff and missing in action’

Tucker: John Brennan is unhinged

Hannity: About time Brennan lost security clearance

Did John Brennan lie about the Trump-Russia dossier?

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

DiGenova: John Brennan should get a good lawyer

Isikoff on John Brennan’s role in the Russia investigation

John Brennan faces scrutiny over anti-Trump dossier

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Byron York talks link between Steele and DOJ official

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

DOJ official with ties to Fusion GPS gets demoted again

Napolitano on Fusion GPS testimony

Deeper connections revealed between Fusion GPS, DOJ official

WOW! Wife Of Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson Bragged On Facebook Her Husband Was Behind ‘Russiagate

Nunes on Bruce Ohr and the push to declassify DOJ documents

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

diGenova: HILLARY CLINTON COMMITTED CRIMES

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Who is Bruce Ohr and why does Trump keep tweeting about him?

The Fact Checker

August 16

“Bruce Ohr of the ‘Justice’ Department (can you believe he is still there) is accused of helping disgraced Christopher Steele ‘find dirt on Trump.’ Ohr’s wife, Nelly, was in on the act big time – worked for Fusion GPS on Fake Dossier.”

— President Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 14, 2018

“The big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele’s many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly. It was Fusion GPS that hired Steele to write the phony & discredited Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary & the DNC.”

— Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 11

Who is Bruce Ohr?

Ohr exists in a netherworld — a subject of fascination in right-leaning media, barely a mention in mainstream media. His name last appeared in the pages of The Washington Post in February, and yet President Trump keeps tweeting about him. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in announcing that Trump had revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, listed the names of other people who also faced revocation of clearances.

Ohr’s name was on the list.

We have previously tried to explain the roles of former British agent Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Ohr is less of a central player, but as a reader service, we will try to disentangle the president’s tweets and explain what is known – and unknown – about Ohr’s actions. We will not offer a Pinocchio rating.

The Facts

First, let’s take a look at the key players.

Fusion GPS was started by a group of former Wall Street Journal reporters, notably investigative reporter Glenn R. Simpson. Fusion in 2015 began investigating Trump under a contract with the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website financially supported by GOP megadonor Paul Singer. That assignment ended once Trump was on track to win the nomination. But in April 2016, Fusion was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to keep funding the research. (Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained the firm.)

Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, was hired by Fusion to examine Trump’s ties in Russia. Steele was the author of the “dossier” alleging ties between Trump and Russia; the dossier is actually several memos, based on conversations with Russian sources, that were written between June and December of 2016.

The dossier is a frequent target of presidential derision, but the probe into the Trump campaign originally was sparked by a separate matter that Steele never wrote about — a tip from an Australian diplomat that a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, appeared to know Russia had obtained damaging emails on the Democrats. (Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents.)

Ohr was associate deputy attorney general until late 2017, when the DOJ learned of his contacts with Steele. He briefly continued as head of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) but then lost that job, too. It’s unclear what role he plays now at the DOJ. The agency declined to comment, except to point to a statement by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/16/who-is-bruce-ohr-why-does-trump-keep-tweeting-about-him/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dd8799a9879a

 

Emails show 2016 links among Steele, Ohr, Simpson — with Russian oligarch in background

Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch’s behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show Steele and Ohr were in frequent contact, that they intermingled talk about Steele’s research and the oligarch’s affairs, and that Glenn Simpson, head of the dirt-digging group Fusion GPS that hired Steele to compile the dossier, was also part of the ongoing conversation.

The emails, given to Congress by the Justice Department, began on Jan . 12, 2016, when Steele sent Ohr a New Year’s greeting. Steele brought up the case of Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska (referred to in various emails as both OD and OVD), who was at the time seeking a visa to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in the United States. Years earlier, the U.S. revoked Deripaska’s visa, reportedly on the basis of suspected involvement with Russian organized crime. Deripaska was close to Paul Manafort, the short-term Trump campaign chairman now on trial for financial crimes, and this year was sanctioned in the wake of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

“I heard from Adam WALDMAN [a Deripaska lawyer/lobbyist] yesterday that OD is applying for another official US visa ice [sic] APEC business at the end of February,” Steele wrote in the Jan . 12 email. Steele said Deripaska was being “encouraged by the Agency guys who told Adam that the USG [United States Government] stance on [Deripaska] is softening.” Steele concluded: “A positive development it seems.”

Steele also asked Ohr when he might be coming to London, or somewhere in Europe, “as I would be keen to meet up here and talk business.” Ohr replied warmly the same day and said he would likely travel to Europe, but not the U .K ., at least twice in February.

[Related: Devin Nunes says ‘pay close attention’: Top Obama DOJ official Bruce Ohr will become ‘more and more important’]

Steele emailed again on Feb . 8 to alert Ohr that “our old friend OD apparently has been granted another official [emphasis in original] visa to come to the US later this month.” Steele wrote, “As far as I’m concerned, this is good news all round although as before, it would be helpful if you could monitor it and let me know if any complications arise.” Ohr replied that he knew about Deripaska’s visa, and “to the extent I can I will keep an eye on the situation.” Steele again asked to meet anytime Ohr was in the U .K . or Western Europe.

Steele wrote again on Feb . 21 in an email headlined “Re: OVD – Visit To The US.” Steele told Ohr he had talked to Waldman and to Paul Hauser, who was Deripaska’s London lawyer. Steele reported that there there would be a U.S. government meeting on Deripaska that week — “an inter-agency meeting on him this week which I guess you will be attending.” Steele said he was “circulating some recent sensitive Orbis reporting” on Deripaska that suggested Deripaska was not a “tool” of the Kremlin. Steele said he would send the reporting to a name that is redacted in the email, “as he has asked, for legal reasons I understand, for all such reporting be filtered through him (to you at DoJ and others).”

Deripaska’s rehabilitation was a good thing, Steele wrote: “We reckon therefore that the forthcoming OVD contact represents a good opportunity for the USG.” Ohr responded by saying, “Thanks Chris! This is extremely interesting. I hope we can follow up in the next few weeks as you suggest.”

Steele was eager to see Ohr face to face. On March 17, Steele wrote a brief note asking if Ohr had any update on plans to visit Europe “in the near term where we could meet up.” Ohr said he did not and asked if Steele would like to set up a call. It is not clear whether a call took place.

There are no emails for more than three months after March 17. Then, on July 1, came the first apparent reference to Donald Trump, then preparing to accept the Republican nomination for president. “I am seeing [redacted] in London next week to discuss ongoing business,” Steele wrote to Ohr, “but there is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele said he had planned to come to the U.S. soon, but now it looked like it would not be until August. He needed to talk in the next few days, he said, and suggested getting together by Skype before he left on holiday. Ohr suggested talking on July 7. Steele agreed.

Ohr’s phone log for July 7 notes, “Call with Chris Steele” from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. eastern time.

(A caution here: It is possible the “favourite business tycoon” could be Deripaska, or perhaps even someone else, and not Trump. But no one referred to Deripaska in that way anywhere else in the communications. Also, Steele made it clear the “tycoon” subject was separate from other business. And July 1 was just before Steele met with the FBI with the first installment of the Trump dossier. So it appears reasonable, given Steele’s well-known obsession with Trump, and unless information emerges otherwise, to see the “favourite business tycoon” as Trump.)

On the morning of Friday , July 29, Steele wrote to say that he would “be in DC at short notice on business” later that day and Saturday. He asked if Ohr and wife Nellie were free for breakfast on Saturday morning. They were, and agreed to meet for breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington.

Ohr’s log of contacts with Steele lists a meeting with Steele on July 30. Steele finished installments of the dossier on July 19 and 26.

On Aug . 22, Ohr received an email from Simpson with the subject line “Can u ring.” There was no message beyond a phone number. Ohr’s log lists some sort of contact — it’s not specified what — with Simpson on Aug . 22.

Steele finished an installment of the dossier on Aug . 22.

Steele dated three installments of the dossier on Sept . 14. On Sept . 16, Steele wrote Ohr to say that he would be back in Washington soon “on business of mutual interest.” Ohr said he would be out of town Sept. 19-21. On Sept . 21, Steele wrote to say he was in Washington and w