The Pronk Pops Show 1107, Story 1: Arrogant, Biased, Corrupt, Deceptive, Evasive FBI Agent Peter Strzok Unindicted Co-conspirator of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Attorney General Sessions Must Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate The Conspiracy or Resign and President Trump Should Accept Resignation — Part 1 of 2 — Videos

Posted on July 13, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Comedy, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Government, Great Britain, Hardware, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, James Comey, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Russia, Scandals, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Servers, Software, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Treason, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

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Story 1: Arrogant, Biased, Corrupt, Deceptive, Evasive FBI Agent Peter Strzok Unindicted Co-conspirator of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Attorney General Sessions Must Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate The Conspiracy or Resign and President Trump Should Accept Resignation — Part 1 of 2 — Videos

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

Published on Jan 21, 2018

Congress Exposes FBI Coup Against Trump

Published on Jun 20, 2018

Why a second special counsel is needed to investigate DOJ, FBI

WATCH: House Republicans hold news briefing regarding special counsel

Dershowitz reacts to Strzok hearing, Russia indictments

The fieriest moments from Peter Strzok’s hearing

Ingraham: Trump-hating FBI investigator ‘Strzok out’

Rudy Giuliani: Strzok’s defense is ridiculous, pathetic

Mueller didn’t want to ask Strzok if he was bias: Rep. Gaetz

Gowdy: Strzok is the only one who doesn’t think he’s biased

Hannity: Strzok was at the heart of the deep state

Dershowitz on Strzok testimony: A disaster, everybody looked terrible

Bruce Ohr gave parts of Russia dossier to DOJ, FBI: Rep. Jordan

Giuliani on possibility FBI had multiple versions of dossier

FBI’s Peter Strzok denies that bias impacted his work

Rep. Goodlatte Opening Statement at FBI’s Strzok Hearing July 12, 2018

OUT OF ORDER FIGHT! When Andy Biggs,(R)AZ Blasts Strvok

I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!!!” Peter Strzok Hearing GOES OFF THE RAILS During Trey Gowdy’s Questioning

Complete exchange between Rep. Trey Gowdy and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter

Strzok

“Let’s See What’ll You Do In Prison With That Smile?”, Matt Gaetz DEMOLISHES Smirking Strzok

Gowdy’s question prompts procedural debate at Strzok hearing

Rep. Trey Gowdy questions FBI’s Peter Strzok in fierce grilling

Mike Johnson Corners Peter Strzok – BODY LANGUAGE OF A LIAR!

Jim Jordan on Strzok’s revelations about Bruce Ohr

Jim Jordan vs FBI Agent Peter Strzok in HEATED Exchange at Congress Hearing on Anti-Trump Texts

7-12-18 Mark Meadows (R-NC) Questions Strzok

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Rep. Louie Gohmert gets personal in heated exchange with Peter Strzok

Louie Gohmert vs Peter Strzok EXPLOSIVE Exchange at House Oversight Hearing about anti-Trump Texts

FBI agent Peter Strzok say political bias did not impact investigations

Wounded Marine Vet: ‘Disgraceful’ & ‘Disgusting’ for Dem Rep to Suggest Strzok Deserves Purple Heart

Republicans Picked The Wrong FBI Agent To Mess With (VIDEO)

Peter Strzok Holds His Own As Republicans Try To Put On Show At Hearing | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

“Trump Will Put You In Jail”, Trey Gowdy BRUTALLY DESTROYS FBI And Peter Strzok In An Awesome Speech

WATCH: Dems Bring Posters to Strzok Hearing to Show Guilty Pleas in Mueller Probe

Closing Statement From Hearing of Crooked FBI Agent Peter Strzok

Goodlatte: Lisa Page ‘apparently has something to hide’

Texts show Peter Strzok’s friendship with federal judge

Shapiro Mocks Democrats Celebrating Peter Strzok

Scott Adams Gives You a Hot Take On Peter Stzrok Testimony To Congress So Far

Scott Adams – Peter Strzok’s Body Language and Theresa May

Strzok Strikes Comedy Parody Gold: Think Percy Dovetonsils Meets Vincent D’Onofrio Meets Paul Lynde

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Paul Lynde’s – Hollywood Squares – BEST-1-LINERS Part 1

FBI Director James Comey’s full statement on Clinton email investigation

 

FBI agent defiantly rejects bias charges at chaotic hearing

Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

,

Associated Press

An embattled FBI agent whose anti-Trump text messages exposed the Justice Department to claims of institutional bias launched a vigorous defense Thursday at an extraordinary congressional hearing that devolved into shouting matches, finger pointing and veiled references to personal transgressions.

Peter Strzok testified publicly for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team after the discovery of derogatory text messages he traded with an FBI lawyer. He told lawmakers the texts in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election reflected personal views that he had never acted on, angrily rejecting Republican allegations that he had set out to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

“At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took,” Strzok said.

The hearing brought a defiant Strzok face-to-face with Republican lawmakers who for months have held up his texts as the embodiment of anti-Trump bias within the FBI. In breaking his months-long silence, Strzok vigorously defended his handling of two hugely sensitive investigations in which he played a leading role: inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s email use and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

He insisted the FBI had good cause two years ago to start investigating whether the Trump campaign was working with the Kremlin amid allegations of what he described as a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign associate. He characterized the anti-Trump text messages as personal communications that he never envisioned becoming public and denied that they had swayed his actions.

Strzok insisted under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he said “we’ll stop” a Trump presidency followed Trump’s denigration of the family of a dead U.S. service member. He said the text, written late at night and off-the-cuff, reflected his belief that the American public would not stomach such “horrible, disgusting behavior” by the Republican presidential candidate.

But, he added in a raised voice and emphatic tone, “It was in no way — unequivocally — any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So, I take great offense, and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn’t.”

Plus, he said, both investigations were handled by large teams.

“They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me anymore than I would tolerate it in them,” Strzok said. “That is who we are as the FBI. And the suggestion that I, in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI, would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn’t happen.”

Some Democrats applauded after he finished speaking.

Republican members of the House judiciary and oversight committees grilled Strzok as they argued that text messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page colored the outcome of the Clinton investigation and undercut the ongoing Russia probe. Strzok, a seasoned counterintelligence agent, helped lead both investigations but has since been reassigned to human resources.

“Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him. That is bias. Agent Strzok may not see it but the rest of the country does, and it is not what we want, expect or deserve from any law enforcement officer much less the FBI.”

The hearing was punctuated by chaos and open yelling as Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte said Strzok needed to answer Republicans’ questions and suggested they might recess the hearing and hold him in contempt. Democrats objected to Goodlatte’s repeated attempts to get Strzok to answer. Goodlatte eventually let the hearing proceed without calling the panel into recess.

In his opening statement, Strzok said he has never allowed personal opinions to infect his work, that he knew information during the campaign that had the potential to damage Trump but never contemplated leaking it and that the focus put on him by Congress is misguided and plays into “our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was “blunt,” it was not directed at one person or political party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” he said.

He said he was one of the few people during the 2016 election who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with people in the Trump orbit, and that that information could have derailed Trump’s election chances. “But,” he said, “the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”

Although Strzok has said through his lawyer that he was eager to tell his side of the story, he made clear his exasperation at being the focal point of a congressional hearing at a time when Russian election interference has been successfully “sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions.”

“I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart,” Strzok said. “As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.”

The contentious hearing follows hours of closed-door questioning last week. It also reflects an effort to shift attention away from the content of Strzok’s texts and onto what he says is the more pressing issue: the Russians’ “grave attack” on American democracy and continuing efforts to divide the country.

Republicans eager for ways to discredit Mueller’s investigation have for months held up the texts from Strzok and Page to support allegations of anti-Trump bias within federal law enforcement.

The Justice Department’s inspector general has criticized Strzok and Page for creating the appearance of impropriety. But the report said it found no evidence of political bias in the FBI’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton. And many Democrats say actions taken by law enforcement during the campaign season, including announcing a reopening of the investigation into Clinton just days before the election, actually wound up harming the Democratic candidate and aiding the Republican candidate, Trump.

FBI Director Chris Wray says employees who were singled out for criticism in the report have been referred to internal disciplinary officials. Strzok’s lawyer has said he was escorted from the FBI building as the disciplinary process winds its way through the system.

Page is expected to speak to lawmakers at a private meeting Friday.

___

Associated Press writer Chad Day in Washington contributed to this report.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fbi-agent-never-tainted-political-bias-080213902–politics.html

7 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing

July 12 at 6:21 PM
The fieriest moments from Peter Strzok’s hearing

The House hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok devolved into personal attacks, partisan exchanges and a perjury accusation. Here’s a look at the biggest moments.

This post has been updated.

FBI agent Peter Strzok had his moment on an extremely hot seat Thursday morning in a contentious hearing that quickly devolved into angry yelling, interjections and parliamentary maneuvering.

Appearing before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, Strzok sought to explain his anti-Trump text messages at a time when he was the lead agent on the FBI’s then-nascent Russia investigation in 2016. He was removed from the investigation in 2017 after those text messages with fellow FBI employee Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, were discovered. Republicans including President Trump have seized upon Strzok’s texts — which included allusions to stopping Trump — as evidence of a biased and even corrupt law enforcement investigation.

Here are the key moments from the hearing.

1. The contempt threat

 3:07
Goodlatte cites subpoena as Strzok refuses to answer question

FBI agent Peter Strzok refused to answer a question about the Russia probe on July 12, sparking Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to attempt to force an answer. 

It didn’t take long for the hearing to explode. After the opening statements, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) lodged his first question: How many people did Strzok interview during the first eight days of the FBI’s Russia investigation, between July 31 and Aug. 8, 2016?

Strzok, as he previewed in his opening statement, said he had been advised by the FBI’s lawyers that he was not to address specifics of what is still an ongoing investigation. (The investigation was handed over to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in mid-2017.) Republicans quickly objected and threatened to hold Strzok in contempt. Democrats noted that it was unusual that Strzok be asked to disclose such details in a public setting.

Strzok said he didn’t have to answer the question because, despite being subpoenaed by the committee, he had previously said he would speak voluntarily.

“Mr. Chairman, I do not believe I am here under subpoena,” Strzok said. “I believe I am here voluntarily. … Based on that, I will not answer that question.”

Democrats argued that a witness such as Strzok would not be expected to publicly disclose sensitive information like the blueprint for a hydrogen bomb. Another moved to adjourn the hearing less than an hour after it began.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) finally said that Strzok would be recalled to the committee after the day’s hearing so that it could determine whether to hold him in contempt. But the tone was set.

2. Strzok’s angry retort: ‘It is deeply destructive’

 3:00
Strzok: Accusation of bias ‘deeply corrodes’ the FBI

FBI agent Peter Strzok explained the context of his text messages about Trump on July 12, and said his personal beliefs never factored into his actions. 

After more than 20 minutes of maneuvering and posturing following the subpoena discussion, Gowdy ended his interrogation of Strzok and Strzok was given the floor to respond. In a minutes-long retort, he called Gowdy’s and his Republican allies’ allegations of bias and improper actions “deeply destructive.”

He said that his text messages critical of Trump shortly after the investigation began were in response to Trump’s behavior on the campaign trail — and not a reflection of his investigative intent. He pointed in particular to Trump’s attacks on the Khans, a Gold Star family who spoke at the Democratic National Convention around that time.

“My presumption [was] based on that horrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States,” he said. “It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So I take great offense . . . ”

Strzok concluded the accusation against him and the line of questioning “deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.” Some in the room applauded.

3. A perjury accusation — and a very personal attack

 9:43
Rep. Gohmert launches personal attacks against Peter Strzok

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) attacked FBI agent Peter Strzok on personal grounds, and then tried to refuse him the opportunity to respond on July 12. 

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) seized upon Strzok’s contention that his texts didn’t demonstrate personal “bias” and said that argument amounted to him lying. When Democrats noted that Gohmert was basically accusing Strzok of perjury — given he made that claim under oath — Gohmert was unbowed.

Then he got personal — very personal.

“When I see you looking with a little smirk, I wonder how many times did you look so innocently into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert began. The hearing room erupted, with someone shouting “insane asylum” and someone else asserting that Gohmert needed medication.

In response, Strzok acknowledged “hurting” someone he described as a “family member.”

“The fact that you would question whether or not that was the sort of look,” he told Gohmert, “goes more to a discussion about your character.”

4. The transcript threat

 3:54
Democrats demand release of Strzok’s closed-door interview transcript

Democrats demanded that Republicans show them a rule that prohibits releasing the transcript from Peter Strzok’s closed-door interview, or they will release it.

One of the subplots here has been Democrats’ push to release the transcript of Strzok’s previous, closed-door testimony. They argue that it has been selectively leaked and described to impugn him.

So at one point early in the hearing, Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) said he intended to release the transcript himself — and asked whether there was any reason he couldn’t. Goodlatte stressed that it was the committee’s practice and that there was an agreement to keep closed-door hearings private while an investigation is ongoing.

Cicilline’s response: “We intend to release this transcript unless someone presents some rule that prevents us from doing it, and we’ll give you till 5 this afternoon to present that,” he said. “Otherwise we intend to release the transcript.”

Eventually Cicilline got some backup from GOP Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.), who happens to be the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

It’s worth noting that Goodlatte’s justification — that the committee’s investigation is ongoing — was the same one Strzok offered for not answering questions about the special counsel’s Russia probe. In the latter case, apparently, Republicans don’t think it applies.

Aaron Blake

@AaronBlake

The contrast here is pretty stark:

GOP in one breath threatens Strzok with contempt if he doesn’t detail Russia investigation, which is ongoing.

Then it says it won’t release transcript of Strzok’s initial testimony … because its investigation is ongoing.

5. Making him read his own texts

 3:21
Rep. Issa directs Peter Strzok to read his text messages aloud

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on July 12 asked FBI agent Peter Strzok to read aloud from some of his text messages turned over to the House Russia investigation. 

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took his five minutes to force Strzok to read some of his own texts — including ones that used vulgarities.

While reading one in which he used the f-word while talking about Trump, Strzok paused and asked how he should handle it, then finished. Then Issa asked him to read it again.

“Sir, was that not intelligible?” Strzok said. “You just want to hear — for me to repeat it.”

“Please,” Issa said.

“Okay, sir. Sure,” Strzok shot back snidely. “Happy to indulge you.”

6. A Democrat says Strzok should get a Purple Heart

The difference between the lines of questioning between Republicans and Democrats was, as usual, stark. While Republicans badgered Strzok and tried to catch him off-guard, Democrats mostly used their time to argue for the importance of the Mueller investigation.

But some Democrats decided to go further than that and to make Strzok a martyr — or even a hero. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) went the furthest.

“Mr. Strzok, if I could give you a Purple Heart, I would,” Cohen said when he began his questioning.

To recap, Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation and harshly criticized by an inspector general. It is generally agreed that his text messages were problematic, regardless of if you think this reflects corruption and bias in all law enforcement or the Mueller probe.

7. ‘This is not Benghazi’

 2:11
Democrat erupts at Gowdy: ‘This is not Benghazi!’

As Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-N.C.) grilled FBI agent Peter Strzok on July 12, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) interjected and yelled at him to “leave it alone.” 

Democratic patience with the GOP’s treatment of Strzok quickly wore thin. Gowdy, in his role as head of the Oversight Committee, repeatedly afforded himself the chance to try to get under Strzok’s skin.

And toward the end of the hearing, the whole thing boiled over. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) yelled at Gowdy during one interrogation of Strzok, telling him to “leave it alone.”

“This is not Benghazi,” she said, referring to the years-long investigation Gowdy led into the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, which Democrats contend that probe devolved into a witch hunt against Hillary Clinton.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/12/3-key-moments-from-peter-strzoks-wild-hearing/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.518d74885981

Peter Strzok

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Peter Strzok
Strzok1.png
Born 1969/1970 (age 47–48) [1]
Education Georgetown University (BSMA)[2]

Peter Strzok (/strʌk/, pronounced “struck”) (born 1969/1970) is a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent.[3][4] Strzok was the Chief of the Counterespionage Section and led the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.[5][4][6] Strzok rose to become the Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, the second-highest position in that division. He also led the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[4][7][8][9]

In June and July 2017, Strzok worked on Robert Mueller‘s Special Counsel investigation into any links or coordination between Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign and the Russian government.[10][7][9] Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia investigation when he became aware of criticisms of Trump contained in personal text messages exchanged between Strzok and a colleague.[11][12] The revelation of the text messages led to accusations by Republican congressmen and conservative media that Strzok was involved in a conspiracy to undermine the Trump presidency; conservatives used the text messages as part of a campaign to discredit Mueller’s investigation. The Department of Justice, led by Republican Jeff Sessions, has defended Mueller’s response to the text messages.[13][10] A February 2018 comprehensive review by The Wall Street Journal of Strzok’s messages showed that “texts critical of Mr. Trump represent a fraction of the roughly 7,000 messages, which stretch across 384 pages and show no evidence of a conspiracy against Mr. Trump”.[14] After the release of the DOJ-OIG report, which revealed further anti-Trump texts from Strzok, he agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.[15]

Early life and education

For high school, Strzok attended St. John’s Preparatory School in Minnesota, graduating in 1987.[16] He earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in 1991 as well as a master’s degree in 2013.[17] He is married to Melissa Hodgman, an associate director at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[18][19][20] His father was a longtime member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[21] Like his father, Strzok served as an officer in the United States Army before joining the FBI in the 1990s as an intelligence research specialist.[8][22]

FBI

As of 2018, Strzok has a career of 22 years at the FBI.[23] He notably was the lead agent in FBI’s “Operation Ghost Stories” against Andrey Bezrukov and Yelena Vavilova, a Russian spy couple who were part of the Illegals Program, a network of Russian sleeper agents who were arrested in 2010.[24] By July 2015, Strzok was serving as the section chief of the Counterespionage Section, a subordinate section of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.[4] He led a team of a dozen investigators during the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server and assisted in the drafting of public statements for then-FBI Director James Comey.[25] He changed the description of Clinton’s actions from “grossly negligent”, which could be a criminal offense, to “extremely careless”.[4] The draft was reviewed and corrected by several people and its creation was a team process. In his statement to Congress, Comey said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges based on available evidence.[4] Later, when additional emails were discovered a few days before the election, Strzok supported reopening the Clinton investigation.[26] He then co-wrote the letter[27] that Comey used to inform Congress, which “reignited the email controversy in the final days” and “played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”[26]

Due to his acknowledged expertise and reliability, Strzok rose to the position of Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, and as the number two official within that division oversaw investigations involving Russia and China.[10][28][8] In that capacity, he led the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections,[4][29] and examined both the Donald Trump–Russia dossier and the Russian role in the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak.[30][3][25] He also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; Flynn later pled guilty to lying during those interviews.[31]

In July 2017, Strzok became the top FBI agent working for Robert Mueller‘s 2017 Special Counsel investigation looking into any links or coordination between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government.[32][33] He served in that position until August 2017, at which time he began working in the Human Resources Branch.[34][35] According to The New York Times, Strzok was “considered one of the most experienced and trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators,”[22] as well as “one of the Bureau’s top experts on Russia” according to CNN.[4] Strzok left the investigation in late July 2017 after the discovery of personal text messages sent to a colleague.[36] At the request of Republicans in Congress, the Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) began an inquiry in January 2017 into how the FBI handled investigations related to the election, and the IG announced it would issue a report by March or April 2018.[22][37] The report was eventually released on June 14, 2018, after several delays.

On June 15, 2018, the day after this IG report was published, Strzok was escorted from FBI headquarters as part of the bureau’s internal conduct investigations.[38] The move put Strzok on notice that the bureau intends to fire him, though he has appeal rights that could delay such action.[39] On June 21, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that Strzok had lost his security clearance.[40]

Text messages

During the IG’s investigation, thousands of text messages exchanged using FBI-issued cell phones between Strzok and Lisa Page, a trial attorney on Mueller’s team, were examined.[41][42][41][42] The texts were sent between August 15, 2015 and December 1, 2016. At the request of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the DOJ turned over 375 of these text messages to the House Judiciary Committee.[41][42][43] Some of the texts disparaged then-presidential candidate Donald Trump,[41][42][44][45] Chelsea Clinton, Attorney General in the Obama administration Eric Holder, former Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley, and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Bernie Sanders.[46][47][1] Strzok called Trump an “idiot” in August 2015 and texted “God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0” after a Republican debate in March 2016.[41][42][48] In their messages, Strzok and Page also advocated for creating a Special Counsel to investigate the Hillary Clinton email controversy, and discussed suggesting former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald be considered for such a probe.[49] Devlin Barrett from The Washington Post alleged Strzok and Page had been using the backdrop of discussing the Clinton investigation as a cover for their personal communications during an affair.[50] Upon learning of the text messages, Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation.[22] Messages released in January 2018 showed that Strzok was hesitant to join the Mueller investigation, with Page encouraging him not to.[51]

Strzok’s colleagues and a former Trump administration official said that Strzok had never shown any political bias.[52][44] An associate of his says the political parts of the text messages were especially related to Trump’s criticism of the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton emails.[52] According to FBI guidelines, agents are allowed to have and express political opinions as individuals. Former FBI and DOJ officials told The Hill that it was not uncommon for agents like Strzok to hold political opinions and still conduct an impartial investigation.[53] Several agents asserted that Mueller had removed Strzok to protect the integrity of the special counsel’s Russia investigation.[54] Strzok was not punished following his reassignment.[55] Defenders of Strzok and Page in the FBI said no professional misconduct between them occurred.[44]

The decision by the DOJ to publicize the private messages in December 2017 was controversial. Statements by DOJ spokeswomen revealed that some reporters had copies of the texts even before the DOJ invited the press to review them, but the DOJ did not authorize the pre-release. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have asked for a review of the circumstances under which the texts were leaked to select press outlets.[56]

The Office of Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation published on June 14, 2018, criticized Strzok’s text messages for creating the appearance of impropriety.[57] However, the report concluded that there was no evidence of bias in the FBI’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton.[57] The report revealed additional texts hostile to Donald Trump by Strzok. In early August 2016, after Page asked Strzok, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”, Strzok responded: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”[58] Many Democrats noted that the FBI’s actions during 2016 presidential campaign, such as reopening the Clinton email investigation on the eve of the election and elements within the FBI telling the New York Times that there was no clear link between the Trump campaign and Russia, ended up harming the Clinton campaign and benefitting the Trump campaign.[58]

At a July 12, 2018, public congressional hearing, Strzok denied that the personal beliefs expressed in the text messages impacted his work for the FBI.[57] Strzok explained that a “We’ll stop Trump” text message was written late at night and off-the-cuff shortly after Trump denigrated the immigrant family of a fallen American war hero, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, and that the message reflected Strzok’s belief that Americans would not vote for a candidate who engaged in such “horrible, disgusting behavior”.[57] Strzok said the message “was in no way – unequivocally – any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate.”[57] Strzok added that he knew of information during the 2016 presidential campaign that could have damaged Trump but that he never contemplated leaking it.[57] Strzok also said that he criticized politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in his “blunt” text messages.[57] Strzok’s said that the investigation into him and the Republicans’ related rhetoric was misguided and played into “our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”[57]

Reactions

Strzok’s personal messages to Lisa Page have been used by Republicans to attack the impartiality of Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia during the election. Conservative media outlets and Republicans have used the text messages as part of an aggressive campaign to discredit the Mueller investigation and protect President Trump. Other Republicans have defended Mueller and his work, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who said that he would only fire Mueller if there was actual cause under DOJ regulations, and that no such cause existed. Rosenstein also praised Mueller for removing Strzok from the Russian investigation.[13]

Republican allegations

In late January 2018, a number of congressional Republicans, including Sen. Ron Johnson, asserted that they had evidence that pointed towards FBI agents working clandestinely to undermine the Trump presidency; they asserted that Strzok and Page were in a “secret society” against Trump.[59] Fox News amplified these claims.[60] Congressional Republicans refused to release the evidence behind the assertion, but ABC News obtained a copy of the message that Republicans were referring to and noted that the message that refers to a “secret society” may have been made in jest.[59] The day after his assertion that these messages demonstrated “corruption at the highest levels of the FBI” and after a copy of the messages were revealed by ABC News, Johnson walked back his comments and said that there was a “real possibility” that the messages were made in jest.[61]

In February 2018, Johnson speculated that a text message between FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page raised questions about “the type and extent of President Obama’s personal involvement” in the Clinton emails investigation.[62] Fox News reiterated, without scrutiny, Ron Johnson’s speculative claim that text messages between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page suggested that President Barack Obama was deeply involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.[60] Fox News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan did not answer an inquiry from CNN about whether Fox News reached out to Obama for comment.[60] Johnson’s claim was covered by various pro-Trump websites, such as Drudge ReportBreitbartInfoWars and The Gateway Pundit, before President Trump himself tweeted “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!”[60] Other news outlets reported that the text messages were sent in September 2016, months after the Clinton emails investigation had concluded, and three days before Obama would confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about interference in the 2016 election at the G20 Hangzhou summit.[60][63] Associates of Strzok and Page told The Wall Street Journal the texts were about the FBI’s investigation into Russian electoral interference.[62] Fox News continued to report the story even after these news outlets had provided this context for the messages.[60]

Fox News commentary

While referring to Strzok’s messages, some commentators on the Fox News Channel intensified their anti-Mueller rhetoric. Jesse Watters said that Mueller’s investigation now amounted to a coup against President Trump, if “the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes”.[64][65][66][67][68] Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said that the FBI and DOJ were working clandestinely to destroy the Trump presidency, and called for a “war” against the “deep state”.[69] One guest on Fox’s talk and news show Outnumbered, Kevin Jackson, speculated that Strzok’s messages were evidence of a plot by FBI agents to make “an assassination attempt or whatever” against President Trump, which other Fox hosts quickly contradicted and said was not “credible”.[70] Fox News figures referred to the investigation as “corrupt”, “crooked” and “illegitimate”, and likened the FBI to the KGB, the brutal Soviet-era spy organization.[64] Political scientists and experts on coups rejected that Mueller’s investigation amounted to a coup.[64]

See also

References

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018, Story 1: United States Withdraws From United Nations So Called Human Rights Council — What is Next? Get The United States Out of The United Nations and Get The United Nations Out of the U.S.! — Videos — Story 2: House Judiciary and Reform Committee Hearing Trey Gowdy Question Department of Justice Inspector General Horowitz On FBI Bias — Videos — Story 3: House Speaker Ryan Rushes To Pass Republican Immigration Bill That Will Stop Illegal Alien Separation of Children From Parents with Meeting With President — Videos

Posted on June 19, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, James Comey, Law, Legal Immigration, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Second Amendment, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Networking, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: United States Withdraws From United Nations So Called Human Rights Council — What is Next? Get The United Nations Out of The United States and The United States Out of The United Nations — Videos

See the source image

 

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Remarks on UN Human Rights Council by Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Haley

Nikki Haley & Mike Pompeo: US Withdraws From The UN Human Rights Council 6/19/18 Press Conference

Official: US to leave UN Human Rights Council

U.S. expected to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council

Haley talks reforming Human Rights Council amid withdrawal threat – Daily Mail

What Trump Didn’t Say at U.N.

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

Proof that the NEW WORLD ORDER has been planned by the elite. Robert Welch, Founder of The John Birch Society, predicted today’s problems with uncanny accuracy back in 1958 and prescribed solutions in 1974 that are very similar to Ron Paul’s positions today. This is proof that there are plans in place by the elite to systemically disassemble US sovereignty. I wonder who those elite are.

Communism vs. The John Birch Society 1965

The Latest: UN human rights chief disappointed US is leaving

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations’ main human rights body (all times EDT):

5:55 p.m.

The president of the U.N. Human Rights Council is acknowledging the “prerogative” of the United States to leave the 47-member body, while the U.N. human rights chief called it “disappointing, if not really surprising,” that the U.S. was pulling out.

FILE - This is a Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2008 file photo, showing a general view of the Human Rights Room (Room XX) at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Diplomats say the United States is about to quit the United Nation's main human rights body, primarily over Washington's claim that the Human Rights Council is biased against Israel. The move would be the Trump administration's latest snub of the international community. The U.S. State Department said Friday, June 15, 2018 no decision has been made to leave. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, File)

FILE – This is a Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2008 file photo, showing a general view of the Human Rights Room (Room XX) at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Diplomats say the United States is about to quit the United Nation’s main human rights body, primarily over Washington’s claim that the Human Rights Council is biased against Israel. The move would be the Trump administration’s latest snub of the international community. The U.S. State Department said Friday, June 15, 2018 no decision has been made to leave. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, File)

Vojislav Suc of Slovenia, who holds the council annually rotating presidency, defended the council on Tuesday after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced the United States is quitting the Geneva body.

The council opened its second of three annual sessions on Monday.

On Twitter, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein – the U.N. human rights chief – said it was “Disappointing, if not really surprising, news. Given the state of #HumanRights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back.”

___

5:10 p.m.

Ambassador Nikki Haley says the United States is withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council, calling it “an organization that is not worthy of its name.”

Haley is President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations. She says a year ago she made clear the U.S. would stay in the council only if “essential reforms were achieved.” She says it’s clear those calls for change were not heeded.

Haley is decrying the membership of countries like China, Cuba and Venezuela that are themselves accused of rights violations. She says the council also has a “chronic bias against Israel.”

But Haley says that if the council does reform, the United States “would be happy to rejoin.”

Haley is announcing the withdrawal at the State Department alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

___

1:35 p.m.

The Trump administration is set to announce Tuesday its departure from the United Nations’ main human rights body in its latest withdrawal from an international institution.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will deliver the verdict on the U.N. Human Rights Council in a joint appearance at the State Department, according to four officials familiar with the matter.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly preview the decision, the specifics of which are to be laid out by Haley.

Haley threatened the pull-out last year, citing longstanding U.S. complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5862843/The-Latest-Haley-says-US-leave-UN-human-rights-council.html

US set to announce exit from UN Human Rights Council

Haley and Pompeo expected to announce move Tuesday night after Trump administration criticism of the body’s obsessive focus on Israel

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gestures prior to address a session of United Nations Human Rights Council on June 6, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gestures prior to address a session of United Nations Human Rights Council on June 6, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI)

The United States will announce on Tuesday that it is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, which it accuses of bias against Israel, officials said.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will make the announcement at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington at 5:00 p.m.

UN officials speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed they were expecting the US to announce it was quitting the rights body.

Officials said the administration had concluded that its efforts to promote reform on the council had failed and that withdrawal was the only step it could take to demonstrate its seriousness. It was not immediately clear if the US would remain a non-voting observer on the council.

Haley threatened to withdraw from the council in June 2017 unless it reforms, including by removing its built-in procedural mechanism to bash Israel.

The council’s “relentless, pathological campaign” against a state with a strong human rights record “makes a mockery not of Israel, but of the council itself,” she said at the time during a speech in Geneva, hours before she made her way to Israel for her first visit to the Jewish state.

The council has passed more resolutions targeting Israel than against all other nations combined.

Haley listed several conditions for the US remaining in the council, including the need to abolish Agenda Item 7 (“the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”), which since its adoption in 2007 has singled out Israel for perpetual censure, a measure that no other country faces at the UN body.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas is seen on a TV screen while speaking during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 27, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

“There is no legitimate human rights reason for this agenda item to exist,” Haley said at the time. “It is the central flaw that turns the Human Rights Council from an organization that can be a force for universal good, into an organization that is overwhelmed by a political agenda.”

A full pullout by the US would leave the council without one of its traditional defenders of human rights. In recent months, the United States has participated in attempts to pinpoint rights violations in places like South Sudan, Congo and Cambodia.

There are 47 countries in the Human Rights Council, elected by the UN’s General Assembly with a specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row.

A key question will be where a US pullout would leave Israel if its biggest and most powerful defender abandons its voting rights or drops out of the council altogether.

A general view of the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 26, 2018 in Geneva. (AFP Photo/Jean-Guy Python)

Since last year, Haley’s office has pushed the council and its chief not to publish a UN database of companies operating in West Bank settlements, a so-called blacklist that Israel is concerned could drive companies away and cast a further pall over its presence in the Palestinian-claimed West Bank.

Last month, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called for Israel and the United States to withdraw from the council over what he termed its “hypocrisy” in criticizing the Jewish state’s Gaza policy.

But Israel has never been one of the 47 members states of the Human Rights Council, which were elected by the UN General Assembly.

“We are cooperating with the council and we have an embassy to the UN institutions in Geneva… but we are not currently members of the council,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said on Tuesday, a few hours before the US announcement.

A US pullout might also be largely symbolic: The United States’ current term on the council ends next year, when it could revert to the observer status held by other countries that are not members. In that situation, the US would be able to speak out on rights abuses, but not to vote.

The United States has opted to stay out of the Human Rights Council before: The administration of President George W. Bush decided against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006. The US joined the body only in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

The expected US announcement was welcomed by Israel’s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy, Michael Oren.

“Amb. Nikki Haley will soon announce America’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. This is a welcomed response to a body that condemned Israel more than all other countries combined. The US now signals its refusal to lend legitimacy to UN bias against Israel and Jews,” he  tweeted on Tuesday,

Supporters of Israel rallying outside the UN building in Geneva as the Human Rights Council met, June 29, 2015 (World Jewish Congress)

Reaction to the anticipated move from human rights advocates was equally swift.

“The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: Defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” said Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

“All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel,” he said, adding that it would be up to the remaining members to ensure that the council addresses serious abuses.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined commenting directly, saying: “We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting fully.”

But, he added: “What is clear is that the secretary-general is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the UN and the active participation of all member states in that architecture.”

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein talks with president of the Human Rights Council Vojislav Suc (R) during the opening of the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council on June 18, 2018 in Geneva. (AFP PHOTO / ALAIN GROSCLAUDE)

The withdrawal also follows strong UN criticism of Trump’s policy to separate migrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border, though the Trump administration has not yet explicitly cited that criticism, delivered Monday by UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, as a reason for pulling out.

Speaking of the Trump administration policy, Hussein said, “the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.”

Since Trump took office, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-set-to-announce-exit-from-un-human-rights-council/

 

Story 2: House Judiciary and Reform Committee Hearing: Trey Gowdy and Jim Jordan  and Senate Judiciary Committee Members Senator Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham Question Department of Justice Inspector General Horowitz On FBI Bias Investigation of Hillary Clinton Criminal Activity in Mishandling Classified Documents — Videos

Lou Dobbs 6/19/18 | Breaking Fox News | June 19, 2018

Devin Nunes + Mark Levin: Horowitz + Wray | Comey’s “Slam Dunk” Case | Pelosi + California

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Peter Strzok escorted from FBI building

Rep. Gohmert Questions IG Michael Horowitz

Sen Ted Cruz asked the right questions at Clinton email case hearing (Senate Judiciary Committee)

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It’s Happening!Trey Gowdy SMACKS DOWN FBI, DOJ With Greatest Speech Of His Career Over Clinton Probe

Story 3: House Speaker Ryan Rushes To Pass Republican Immigration Bill That Will Stop Illegal Alien Separation of Children From Parents — Meets With President Trump — Day After Day of Big Lie Media Progressive Propaganda on Separation of Parents and Children — Support Open Borders With No Immigration Law Enforcement — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageImage result for branco cartoons illegal aliens separation of parents and children

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Pediatric doctor says separating families at border is “a form of child abuse”

Six Days in June: Nets Flood Broadcasts With 176 Minutes of Separated Kids Coverage

Outraged anchors and correspondents at ABC, CBS and NBC attacked the Trump administration for separating children from parents at the border as they overwhelmed their Monday morning and evening news programs with a massive 94 minutes of coverage on the detainment policy.

Overall, in just six days of coverage (June 13 through June 18) the nets have flooded their broadcasts with almost three hours (176 minutes) of emotional segments that included pictures of crying children and accompanying anger from correspondents and pundits alike.

CBS had the most coverage, filling their evening and morning shows with 73 minutes of border news. NBC came in second with 67 minutes, while ABC spent 36 minutes on the controversial policy.

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/geoffrey-dickens/2018/06/19/six-days-june-nets-flood-broadcasts-176-minutes-separated-kids

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The Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018, Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos — Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime — Videos

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Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos —

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May 12, 2018

World In Shock After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole FBI Director Comey Used To Destroy Trump

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

A somberly written new Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) report circulating in the Kremlin today states the entire world is in shock today after confirmation was received that an active CIA-MI6 operative named Stefan Halper was inserted as deep-cover spy (mole) into the US presidential campaign of Donald Trump by former FBI Director James Comey—and whose single role was to destroy Trump before he could achieve an election victory over his rival Hillary Clinton—but in whose failing to accomplish this feat, has exposed the United States as being a “failed statewhose grim future includes it possibly collapsing into civil war.  [Note: Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]

 

CIA-MI6 deep cover spy Stefan Halper’s task was to link and dirty up (make to look illicit) the connections between the Trump campaign and operatives associated with Russia

 

According to this report, though the United States has a long history of bitter and contentious presidential elections, the world community could always rely on the American’s conducting free and fair elections without interference from their powerful, and very secret, intelligence agencies—and that thus marked the US as being a reliable partner in the conducting of vital global affairs.

With the rise to US presidential power of New York City multi-billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, however, this report notes, America’s powerful state intelligence apparatus, for the first time in its history, obliterated the US Constitution and all US laws in order to destroy presidential candidate Trump—and whose “device” to do so was described by the FBI’s Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division Peter Strzok as “The Insurance Policy”—but known today as the “Trump-Russia Dossier”.

 

Once secret texts of FBI Deputy Counter Terror Chief Peter Strzok reveal existence of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump

 

The creation of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump, this report explains, was as comically stupid as it was insidious—and involved British MI6 operative Christopher Steele being illegally paid millions-of-dollars by Hillary Clinton and her Democratic National Committeeto create what is known as the “Trump-Russia Dossier—with Steele being aided in this effort by one of the Russian turncoat spies he had once recruited named Sergei Skripal—but with Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, being “taken out” after MI6 discovered that he had written to President Putin asking to be allowed to come back home to Russia.

 

 

Upon the completion of “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” by MI6 operative Christopher Steele, this report continues, it was given to CIA Director John Brennan—who then recruited the notorious CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper to lure Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos to London—with Halper paying $3,000 to Papadopoulos for a research paper, and that, also, covered the cost of his room, board, and flight to London.

Next to be ensnared by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report notes, was another Trump campaign volunteer named Carter Page—whom, like Papadopoulos before him, was lured to London by Halper.

 

 

Once he had the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy”, and whatever lies were concocted by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report explains, CIA Director Brennan couldn’t use them as the CIA is forbidden to interfere in US domestic affairs—but with the workaround being having US Senator John McCain take “The Insurance Policy” from the CIA and give it to FBI Director James Comey—that the FBI had to admit they couldn’t verify any of its spurious claims—but didn’t stop them from shockingly using this information to become the first US intelligence agency to obtain a warrant to spy on the presidential campaign in all of history.

 

 

With the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” having failed to keep Trump from winning the US presidency, this report continues, any rationally thinking state intelligence agency would have buried everything about this sordid plot so far down it would never see the light of day, particularly because of how rapidly it could be exposed—but that, of course, didn’t happen because of the insane hatred everyone in power in the US had because of their now having to deal with President Donald Trump.

So, and in one of the most ill conceived and transparent coup plots ever devised, this report details, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (who oversaw both the FBI and CIAordered FBI Director Comey to “brief” the newly elected President Trump about the existence of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy—with Clapper, immediately afterwards, leaking” this information to the “fake news” cable television media giant CNN, thus giving them the “hook” to call it “real news—and for which Clapper was handsomely rewarded when CNN hired him for millions-of-dollars.

 

 

However, what DNI ClapperFBI Director Comey and CIA Director Brennan failed to realize when they unleashed the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” against President Trump in retribution for his daring to defeat Hillary Clinton, this report says, was that the most vulnerable flaw in any intelligence operation are the operatives involved in it—most particularly in this case being CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper.

In anyone ever attempting to create in writing a description of what a “Deep State” operative would be like, this report explains, they’d be best not to even try and, instead, just describe the life of Stefan Halper—who, upon his graduation from an Ivy League universitytraveled to London to get a Ph.D. at Cambridge, then returned to the United States where he was quickly hired by the President Nixon administrationmarried the daughter of one of the CIA’s most feared high-ranking directorsover the past nearly 50 years has worked in every single branch and department of the US governmentran a CIA covert operation to discredit former President Jimmy Carterbecame an operative for the British intelligence agency MI6—and in his spare time, created a private bank used by the President Ronald Reagan administration to funnel money to both Iran and Central American terrorists (called Contras) trying to illegally overthrow the government of Nicaragua.

 

On 27 January 2017, seven days after President Trump took his oath of office, this report continues, FBI Director Comey had his agents interview George Papadopoulos—which immediately exposed CIA-I6 operative Stefan Halper as being a spy (mole) secretly placed into Trump’scampaign, that even a novice intelligence agent could follow the trail of—and though the “Deep State” is working feverishly to keep this fact hidden from the American public, the truest reporting coming from the US states that “the Obama State department, CIA, and FBI conspired to set “Russian espionage traps” for minor players in the Trump campaign, and the FBI had a mole within the Trump campaign, that giant sucking sound you might hear is nothing short of the US Intelligence community starting to implode”.

With the so-called Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” being nothing more than a cover-up of Obama’s Department of Justice and FBI efforts to destroy the Trump Presidency, this report concludes, the real investigation currently ongoing is the one headed by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz—whose exposure of the entire plot to overthrow Trump is about to explode upon the American political landscape—with former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano even warning his “fake news” colleagues at CNN what’s about to strike by his stating:

Sources with knowledge of the impending DOJ Inspector General Report confirm that it will be a fairly damning indictment of FBI’s seventh floor during the Comey era.

It’s worse than expected,” seems to be the consistent theme.

 

I’ve always won, and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is.

45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2560.htm

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md. PHOTO:JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it agreed to brief House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

 

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

Correction
The FBI briefed House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source but did not allow them to see documents. An earlier version of this article misstated this.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/about-that-fbi-source-1525992611

Secret intelligence source who aided Mueller probe is at center of latest clash between Nunes and Justice Dept.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.Top White House officials, with the assent of President Trump, agreed to back the decision to withhold the information. They were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion and the person’s role.The showdown marked a rare moment of alignment between the Justice Department and Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top Justice officials for the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.But it is unclear whether Trump was alerted to a key fact — that information developed by the intelligence source had been provided to the Mueller investigation.

The debate over the risk to the source is now at the center of a pitched battle between House Republicans and the Justice Department.

After the White House sided with the department’s decision to refuse the request, Nunes (R-Calif.) publicly vented his frustration, saying Sunday that he may try to hold Sessions in contempt for refusing to comply. He said that his classified-document request and subsequent subpoena to the Justice Department did not refer to an individual.

“They are citing spurious national security concerns to evade congressional oversight while leaking information to The Washington Post ostensibly about classified meetings,” he said in a statement to The Post. “Congress has a right and a duty to get this information and we will succeed in getting this information, regardless of whatever fantastic stories the DOJ and FBI spin to the Post.”

Several administration officials said they fear Trump may reverse course and support Nunes’s argument.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.

For the intelligence agencies, Nunes’s request threatened to cross a red line of compromising sources and methods of U.S. intelligence-gathering, according to people familiar with their views. Intelligence officials fear that providing even a redacted version of the information Nunes seeks could expose that person and damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners.

The role of the intelligence source in the Mueller investigation may now be seized upon by conservative Republicans who have publicly accused the Justice Department and intelligence agencies of overreach and misuse of their surveillance powers.

Some have alleged that officials within the government have worked against Trump, and they have criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe, for refusing to let members of Congress see a “scope memo” outlining the people and issues under investigation by Mueller.

Last month, House allies of Trump drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein as a “last resort” if he does not provide Congress with more information.

It’s not clear what documents Nunes requested in his classified April 24 letter to the Justice Department. He told reporters this week that he is investigating the FBI’s abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “and other matters.”

Because Sessions is recused from the Russia investigation and investigations involving the 2016 campaign, he is not involved in the discussions surrounding Nunes’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter.

During a meeting at the White House last Wednesday, senior FBI and intelligence officials told Chief of Staff John F. Kelly that turning over the information could contradict years of policy about protecting intelligence sources, according to three people familiar with the matter. The people who described the meeting include those who support the release of the information and those opposed to it.

Kelly then consulted with Trump, who agreed it was important to protect intelligence sources, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd laid out those concerns to Nunes in a letter the following day, noting that the department made the decision after “consultations” with the White House and intelligence agencies.

“Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities,” Boyd wrote.

Nunes told reporters Monday that the Justice Department’s stance was “awfully suspicious,” suggesting that the White House did not share the department’s concerns.

“The word that comes to me is obfuscation,” he said.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) said he had not discussed the matter with Nunes but added that he expected congressional subpoenas to be enforced.

“We expect the administration to comply with our document requests,” Ryan said.

The Justice Department has been sparring with lawmakers and congressional committees for months over document requests related to the FBI investigations. In most instances, officials have turned over materials.

At one point, Nunes had threatened to impeach top Justice Department officials when they did not immediately hand over an unredacted document detailing the origin of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The department later gave Nunes access to a version with modest redactions, and Nunes thanked Rosenstein for his cooperation.

Rosenstein has sought to make clear in recent weeks that while he is willing to compromise, he will go only so far. Last week, in response to the revelation that members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus drafted articles of impeachment, Rosenstein declared that the Justice Department was “not going to be extorted” and would not hand over documents that might harm national security or ongoing investigations.

“If we were to just open our doors to allow Congress to come and rummage through the files, that would be a serious infringement on the separation of powers, and it might resolve a dispute today, but it would have negative repercussions in the long run, and we have a responsibility to defend the institution,” Rosenstein said.

Josh Dawsey, Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/risk-to-intelligence-source-who-aided-russia-investigation-at-center-of-latest-showdown-between-nunes-and-justice-dept/2018/05/08/d6fb66f8-5223-11e8-abd8-265bd07a9859_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7d4943870599

 

WSJ: The FBI Hid A Mole In The Trump Campaign

On Wednesday we reported on an intense battle playing out between House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Department of Justice, and the Mueller investigation concerning a cache of intelligence that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refuses to hand over – a request he equated to “extortion.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Nunes was denied access to the information on the grounds that it “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.

After the White House caved to Rosenstein and Nunes was barred from seeing the documents, it also emerged that this same intelligence had already been shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 US election.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, news emerged that Nunes and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would receive a classified Thursday briefing at the DOJ on the documents. This is, to put it lightly, incredibly significant.

Why? Because it appears that the FBI may have had a mole embedded in the Trump campaign.

In a bombshell op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel shares a few key insights about recent developments. Perhaps we should start with the ending and let you take it from there. Needless to say Strassel’s claims, if true, would have wide ranging implications for the CIA, FBI, DOJ and former Obama administration officials.

Strassel concludes: 

“I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it.”

Authored by Kimberley Strassel, op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?
And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it. But what is clear is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the FBI’s 2016 behavior, and the country will never get the straight story until President Trump moves to declassify everything possible. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-10/wsj-fbi-hid-mole-trump-campaign

 

AN FBI INFORMANT IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN?

Rush Limbaugh summarizes Kim Strassel’s Wall Street Journal column of this past Friday, today’s Wall Street Journal editorial (obviously written by Kim), and a related Washington Post story in which the deep state strikes back against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. It’s a complicated story to unravel. In the transcript posted at his site, Rush links to each of the three sources and summarizes the salient details.

Close reading is required, and Rush zooms in to provide it. There seems to be a serious question whether the FBI had an informant in the Trump campaign.

At last word, Chairman Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy had met with Rod Rosenstein, FBI and intelligence authorities. They agreed to keep talking about obtaining the documents in issue (statement embedded in tweet below).

Jeremy Herb

@jeremyherb

Nunes and Gowdy issue statement saying they had a “productive” meeting at DOJ today, and will keep talking next week about latest doc request

What is going on here? Kim Strassel comments today in her tweet below. Support Devin Nunes!

Kimberley Strassel@KimStrassel

Alternate (and reality) read: DOJ/FBI don’t want HPSCI to see what shenanigans they were up to in 2016. And now gunning for Nunes, cuz he won’t give up. Side note: Ryan said in his presser this morning that he’s read HPSCI request and it is “wholly appropriate.” https://twitter.com/Susan_Hennessey/status/994322371443089408 

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/05/an-fbi-informant-in-the-trump-campaign.php

T H E ATTORNEY GENERAL’S GUIDELINES REGARDING
T H E USE OF FBI CONFIDENTIAL HUMAN SOURCES

EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos’s Suspicions

Photo of Chuck Ross

CHUCK ROSS

Two months before the 2016 election, George Papadopoulos received a strange request for a meeting in London, one of several the young Trump adviser would be offered — and he would accept — during the presidential campaign.

The meeting request, which has not been reported until now, came from Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.

Halper’s September 2016 outreach to Papadopoulos wasn’t his only contact with Trump campaign members. The 73-year-old professor, a veteran of three Republican administrations, met with two other campaign advisers, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.

Papadopoulos now questions Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’s thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.

Halper first contacted Papadopoulos by email. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message sent to Papadopoulos’s personal email account, he offered the Trump aide $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.

Papadopoulos accepted the proposal, flew to England, and met with Halper and one of his assistants. He delivered the paper electronically Oct. 2 and received payment days later, according to documents TheDCNF reviewed.

Halper’s encounters with Papadopoulos were not the only encounters that the professor had with the Trump campaign.

[Stefan Halper speaks at Wellesley College, Oct. 23, 2013. (YouTube screen capture)]

Halper met campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told TheDCNF. The pair remained in contact for several months.Halper also requested and attended a one-on-one meeting with another senior campaign official, TheDCNF learned. That meeting was held a day or two before Halper reached out to Papadopoulos. Halper offered to help the campaign but did not bring up Papadopoulos, even though he would reach out to the campaign aide a day or two later.

Halper’s intentions are unclear, while a source familiar with the investigations into Russian meddling told TheDCNF Halper’s name popped up on investigators’ radar. There is no indication of any wrongdoing on his part, and it is not clear if he has been in touch with investigators.

Halper’s activities are all the more eye-catching because Papadopoulos and Page are central figures in the Russia investigation. Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts he had during the campaign with Russian nationals and a London-based professor with links to the Russian government.

That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos in April 2016 he learned the Russians had possession of “thousands” of Clinton-related emails. That conversation would later spark the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign. It is not known whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks.

Page is also a prominent figure in the investigation due to allegations made against him in the infamous Steele dossier. Page’s trip to Moscow in early July 2016 is a central piece of the dossier. Christopher Steele, the author of the Democrat-funded report, alleges Page met secretly with two Kremlin insiders as part of the Trump campaign’s collusion effort.

Page attended the Cambridge event Halper set up, four days after that trip to Moscow.

***

London was a veritable stomping ground for Papadopoulos during the campaign.

In addition to meetings there with Halper and Mifsud, the Chicago native had an encounter that would serve as the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling.

In May 2016, a month after his meeting with Mifsud, an Israeli embassy official, who Papadopoulos knew, introduced him to Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer.

During a barroom conversation at Kensington Gardens, Papadopoulos told Downer about the emails Mifsud mentioned to him, The New York Times reported in December 2016.

After WikiLeaks published a trove of stolen DNC emails in July 2016, Australian government officials told the FBI about Downer’s interaction with Papadopoulos. The bureau opened its counterintelligence investigation July 31, 2016.

[Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

What remains unclear is why Downer sought the meeting with Papadopoulos. Was it to become acquainted with a member of Trump’s foreign policy advisory team, or was it an opportunity to gather intelligence?The latter scenario — of a spy operation — is what Papadopoulos wonders was at play when Halper contacted him before the election. There are no clear connections between Halper and Downer, though the pair did speak on the same panel at a 2010 Cambridge seminar.

Papadopoulos and Halper met several times during the London trip, including at the Connaught Hotel and the Travellers Club — a classic 19th century club foreign diplomats and politicians frequent. Halper’s research assistant — a Turkish woman named Azra Turk — also met with Papadopoulos. The Connaught Hotel meeting was scheduled for Sept. 13, 2016, and the Travellers Club conclave was two days later.

While discussing the policy paper Papadopoulos was to write, Halper made an out-of-left-field reference to Russians and hacked emails, according to a source with direct knowledge of Papadopoulos’s version of events.

Turk contacted Papadopoulos to thank him for attending after the meeting. Papadopoulos delivered the paper through email Oct. 2.

Neither Halper nor Turk responded to numerous requests for comment. A phone call placed to a number listed for Halper was answered by a man who claimed Halper was not available. A message left with the man was not returned. Halper also did not reply to a detailed list of questions about his interactions with Trump campaign advisers.

Halper’s resume provides mixed clues about why he might have reached out to Papadopoulos.

On one hand, he worked on several geopolitical policy projects as a contractor for the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank. Federal records show he has been paid $928,800 since 2012 on four separate research projects.

At the time of the Papadopoulos meeting, Halper was working on a project related to China and Russia’s economic relations. There are no public records of Halper releasing reports on Turkey, Cyprus and Israel.

Fitting with Papadopoulos’s theory of Halper’s outreach is the professor’s longstanding connections to both British and American intelligence agency officials. He also worked at the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and in three presidential administrations.

Halper is a close associate of Sir Richard Dearlove — the former MI6 chief.

In December 2016, Halper, Dearlove and espionage historian Peter Morland made international news when they announced they were leaving an organization called the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar due to concerns Russian operatives had infiltrated the group.

Months earlier, in early fall 2016, Dearlove reportedly met with dossier author Steele. Steele sought out Dearlove’s advice on how to proceed with information he gathered on Trump’s ties to Russia, The Washington Post reported. Former MI6 Moscow station chief Steele had been told Trump campaign members were colluding with Kremlin operatives to release emails stolen from the DNC.

[Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

Steele’s dossier does not mention Papadopoulos, though the former spy was made aware of the Trump campaign aide while he was working on his anti-Trump document. FBI agents asked Steele during an October 2016 meeting in Rome if he was aware of Papadopoulos. Steele did not have information on Papadopoulos, the former spy said.But Papadopoulos does have at least one possible connection to the dossier. During the campaign, Sergei Millian approached him. Millian is a Belarus-born businessman who was allegedly an unwitting source for some of the most salacious claims in the dossier.

Halper also had connections to the CIA — most notably through his late father-in-law, Ray Cline.

Cline once served as director of the CIA’s bureau of intelligence and research. He was also the agency’s top analyst during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Halper got a job as foreign policy director on George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 presidential primary bid on Cline’s recommendation.

Halper, who has a residence in Virginia, was also allegedly in charge of a team of former CIA analysts who kept tabs on the Jimmy Carter campaign.

In an ironic twist given the Russia probe’s focus on election meddling, Halper was also linked to a Reagan-era scandal dubbed “Briefing-gate.”

Halper was one of several Reagan White House officials linked to the scandal, which involved campaign briefing materials stolen from Carter’s campaign. Prior to the 1980 election, stolen Carter-campaign briefing papers containing classified information ended up in the hands of Reagan’s campaign officials.

The theft was not revealed until 1983. Halper was not directly implicated in stealing the documents, but he was identified as one of the campaign advisers who handled and disseminated them.

http://dailycaller.com/author/chuck-ross/

Stefan Halper (born 1944) is a foreign policy scholar. He served as a White House official in the NixonFord, and Reagan administrations and is currently the Director of American Studies at the Department of Politics, University of Cambridge.[1] He is also a Life Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

He is the co-author of the bestselling book, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order published by the Cambridge University Press (2004), and The Silence of the Rational Centre: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing (Basic Books, 2007). In April 2010, his book The Beijing Consensus: Legitimizing Authoritarianism in our Time, was published by Basic Books. Also a “best seller,” it has been published in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea and France.

Background and education

Halper graduated from Stanford University in 1967 and gained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford (1971) and the University of Cambridge (2004).[2][1] Halper is the son-in-law of Ray S. Cline.[3]

Career

US government (1971 – 1984)

Halper began his US government career in 1971 in the United States Domestic Policy Council, part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, serving until 1973.[2] He then served in the Office of Management and Budget until 1974, when he moved to the Office of the White House Chief of Staff as Assistant to the Chief of Staff where he had responsibility for a range of domestic and international issues. During this time, Halper worked as an assistant for three Chiefs of Staff, Alexander HaigDonald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. He held this position until January 20, 1977.[2]

In 1977 Halper became Special Counsel to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Legislative Assistant to Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-Del.).[2] In 1979 he became National Policy Director for George H. W. Bush‘s Presidential campaign and then in 1980 he became Director of Policy Coordination for the Reagan- Bush Presidential campaign.[2] In connection with this position Halper’s name came up in the 1983/4 investigations into the Debategate affair.[3]

After Reagan entered the White House, Halper became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.[2] Upon leaving the Department in 1984, he remained a Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice until 2001.[2]

Academic and media career

From 1986 to 2000 Halper wrote a national security and foreign policy-focused weekly newspaper column, syndicated to 30 newspapers.[2]

Halper has worked as a senior foreign policy advisor to various think-tanks and research institutions, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Center for the National Interest, where he is a Distinguished Fellow, and The Institute of World Politicswhere he is a Research Professor. He has served on the Advisory Board of Directors of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and contributed to various magazines, journals, newspapers and media outlets. These include: The National Interest, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, the BBC, CNN, SKY NEWS, ABC, CBS, NBC, C-Span, and a range of radio outlets.

Professor Halper is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, and the Travellers Club in London. He is a recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, the Justice Department’s Director’s Award and the Defense Department’s Superior Honor Award.

Business career

From 1984 to 1990 Halper was chairman and majority shareholder of the Palmer National Bank of Washington, D.C., the National Bank of Northern Virginia and the George Washington National Bank.[2]

References

External links

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

 

Joseph Mifsud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joseph Mifsud
Born 1960 (age 57–58)
Malta
Nationality Maltese
Academic background
Education University of Malta (BA)
University of Padua (MA)
Queen’s University Belfast (PhD)
Academic work
Discipline Education
Diplomacy
Institutions University of Stirling[1]
Link Campus University[1]

Joseph Mifsud (born 1960)[2] is a Maltese academic, with high level connections to the Russian state.[3]

He is a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, a former principal in the London Centre of International Law Practice, a professorial teaching fellow at the University of Stirling[4] in Scotland, and director of the Diplomatic Academy of London,[5] where he held seminars on Brexit.[6]

He was awarded a PhD upon acceptance of his thesis entitled “Managing educational reform: a comparative approach from Malta (and Northern Ireland); a headteachers’ perspective” in 1995 from Queen’s University Belfast.[7]

Investigators say Mifsud enticed George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, with a promise of Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.[1][8]

He is a Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR),[9] and a former President of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia (EMUNI).[10] He was a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, attended by Vladimir Putin.[8]

On February 27, 2018, Buzzfeed News reported that Mifsud claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.[11] Mifsud has subsequently gone missing, having been seen last on October 31, 2017.[12]

On March 21, 2018, The BBC revealed that Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos in April 2016 via email to Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the same month, Mifsud was in Moscow on a panel run by the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club with Timofeev and a third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a German multi-millionaire described as a “wheeler-dealer”. Roh could not be reached for comment by the BBC and has since attempted to erase links between the two men on his company website.[13]

See also

References

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

Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime Regime — Videos

Special Report: Americans released by North Korea arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Freed North Korean prisoners arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Trump welcomes US prisoners released by North Korea

President Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome the Secretary of State and Three American Returnees

Cruz: Release of US prisoners is a ‘major victory’

3 US captives held in North Korea on way home with Pompeo

Gutfeld on Trump and the Americans freed from North Korea

Comedian Dennis Miller: I’m happy for Trump

Geraldo Rivera: Trump attained a tremendous triumph

‘We want to thank Kim Jong-un’: Trump praises North Korean leader for freeing three American prisoners ‘early’ as he and Melania give them heroes’ welcome as they land back at U.S. Air Force base

  • Kim Jong-un released Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim – who were greeted as heroes in the U.S.
  • Trump and Melania personally met with them after their plane from Pyongyang arrived at 2:00 a.m.
  • President said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did’
  • Trump aims to sit down with North Korean dictator in late May or early June and thanked him personally

Donald Trump welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to the U.S. in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and said words most observers thought no American president would ever utter: ‘We want to thank Kim Jong Un.’

The president and his wife Melania arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington at 2:00 a.m. to greet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, and called them ‘incredible people.’

In extraordinary scenes, Trump and the first lady clapped and cheered as the men walked down the steps with their arms in the air and giving triumphant ‘V’ signs signifying both peace and victory.

Their first steps back on American soil came hours earlier, in Alaska, when the plane carrying them home stopped to refuel.

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On the tarmac in suburban Maryland, Trump said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did. It was important to get these people out. This is a special night for these three really great people.’

Trump also thanked Kim Jong-un for freeing ‘the folks early.’ calling it ‘a wonderful thing’ and adding he believes the North Korean despot ‘really wants to do something’ and bring the hermit kingdom ‘into the real world.’

He said: ‘We’re starting off on a new footing. I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful, and if anybody would’ve said that five years ago, 10 years ago, even a year ago, you would’ve said, ‘That’s not possible.’

‘My proudest achievement will be when we denuclearize that entire [Korean] peninsula,’ he added.

The freed trio were joined by a translator who relayed their sentiment that being home felt ‘like a dream’ and that the men were ‘very, very happy’ to be freed. They later gave President Trump a round of applause.

Kim Dong-chul, speaking about his time in North Korea, said: ‘We were treated in many different ways. For me, I had to do a lot of labor. But when I got sick, I was also treated by them.’

Scroll down for video 

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, warmly embraced former North Korean detainee Tony Kim upon tthe plane's 2:00 a.m. arrival at a Maryland air base

The prisoners walked onto American soil with their arms in the air giving triumphant 'V' signs signifying peace and victory

Trump called the prisoners 'wonderful people' and thanked Kim Jong-un for letting them come home ahead of the Trump-Kim summit

Trump also thanked the North Korean dictator for freeing 'the folks early,' calling it 'a wonderful thing' and adding that he believes Kim finally wants to bring his country 'into the real world'

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

The three men were released Wednesday after up to three years of imprisonment and hard labor when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang following a meeting with Kim to formalize final plans for a Trump-Kim summit in late May or early June.

He added that the talks between his administration and the North Korean government have ‘never been taken this far.’

While Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ‘was excellent to these three incredible people,’ Vice President Mike Pence hinted in an ABC interview they had endured harsh conditions.

Pence said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him that at a refueling stop in Anchorage, ‘one of the detainees asked to go outside the plane because he hadn’t seen daylight in a very long time.’

Who are the Americans freed by North Korea today?

Kim Dong Chul

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in South Korea, Kim Dong Chul was seized in North Korea on October 2, 2015 and accused of spying.

Though a resident of Virginia – he became an American citizen in 1987 – Kim had lived with his wife in Yanji, China since 2001.

He worked just across the North Korean border in the Rason-Sonbong special economic zone, where he ran a hotel services company. He was also a pastor.

Very little was known about his status until a CNN news crew interviewed him during their visit to Pyongyang in January 2016.

He told reporters during a news conference organized by the dictatorship two months later that he was a spy, explaining that he ‘apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans’ and called his own actions ‘unpardonable.’

The North accused him of receiving a USB drive and various papers containing nuclear secrets during a meeting with a defector from the regime.

After a one-day trial in April, he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for his supposed espionage.

But previous victims of the regime have explained that they were forced to make similar public declarations of their guilt after being tortured, despite being innocent.

Kim Hak-song

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim Hak-song, also known as Jin Xue Song, had been working for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), undertaking agricultural development work with the school’s farm.

He was arrested at a Pyongyang railway station in May 2017 on suspicion of committing ‘hostile acts’ against the government, as he was boarding a train headed for his home in Dandong, China.

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California, CNN reported, citing a man who had studied with him.

He said Kim returned to China after about 10 years of living in the U.S., where he is a citizen.

PUST was founded by evangelical Christians overseas and opened in 2010, and is known to have a number of American faculty members.

Pupils are generally children from among the North’s elite.

It is not known whether Kim was sentenced for his supposed ‘hostile acts.’

Kim Sang-duk

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Korean-American Kim Sang-duk – known as  Tony Kim – was arrested in April 2017 at Pyongyang’s main airport as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks as a guest lecturer, also at PUST.

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border.

Its website lists his speciality as accounting.

He graduated from the University of California Riverside in 1990 with a master’s degree in business administration.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency has reported Kim as being in his late 50s and said he had been involved in relief activities for children in rural parts of North Korea.

It cited a source who described him as a ‘religiously devoted man.’

He was detained with his wife at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on April 22, 2017 while waiting for a flight.

Police later arrested Kim but did not explain why. His wife was allowed to leave the country.

PUST said the arrest was not related to his work at the university.

In a Facebook post, Kim’s son had said that his family has had no contact with him since his arrest.

Kim will soon become a grandfather.

Trump said he will not disclose whether he will have any personal conversations with Kim as they prepare for their historic summit in the coming weeks.

But he did admit it was possible that ‘one day’ he may visit Pyongyang, should peace talks continue to go well.

The three former detainees were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for evaluation and medical treatment before being reunited with their families.

Singapore is the likely site for the historic meeting between the U.S. President and North Korea’s dictator. The summit could last up to two days.

When asked if the talks will lead to prolonged peace, the president said: ‘We’ll see how it all works out. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but it can be a great thing for North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the entire world. We hope it all works out.’

President Donald Trump tweeted after the reception to say: 'On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME!' A video showing the welcome was attached 

In usual Trumpian fashion, the president also joked with reporters, saying: ‘I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning.’

The highly public display stood in stark contrast to the low-key private reception the State Department had envisioned, and in keeping with a tradition of trying to protect potentially traumatized victims from being thrust into the spotlight so soon after their ordeal.

Department officials took great pains on the prisoners’ release in North Korea, as well as on their flights to Japan and Alaska, to keep them sequestered not only from the two journalists traveling with Pompeo but also from staffers not immediately involved in their cases.

The trio, along with medical personnel, including a psychiatrist, were cloistered in the middle of Pompeo’s plane in a small section of 12 business class-size seats that was cordoned off by curtains on both ends.

Trump shakes hands with North Korea detainees welcomed back to US
 President Donald Trump greets the freed Americans aboard their plane after they landed in Maryland. The image is from a video posted by Trump on Twitter 

State Department officials refused to discuss anything but the most basic details of their conditions, citing privacy concerns in keeping with the minimal amount of information they had released since the men were imprisoned.

The Americans had boarded Pompeo’s plane out of North Korea without assistance and then transferred in Japan to the Boeing C-40 outfitted with medical facilities for the trip back to the US.

Shortly after they touched down on American soil in Alaska – for a refueling stop Wednesday afternoon – the State Department released a statement from the freed men.

‘We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,’ they said. ‘We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world.’

The release of the three men was only sealed about an hour before the secretary of state left the North Korean capital.

They walked on their own from a van and onto the plane, the culmination of Pompeo’s 12-hour visit to the North Korean capital, which included a 90-minute meeting with leader Kim Jong Un.

Returning to his hotel from that meeting, Mr Pompeo had given reporters a fingers-crossed sign when asked if there was good news about the detainees.

Trump thanks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for freeing hostages

The president and his wife Melania are waiting at Joint Base Andrews near Washington to meet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim

President Donald Trump stands with Americans just released from North Korea, Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands nearby, at Joint Base Andrews early this morning

President Donald Trump greets the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on 

America's commander-in-chief salutes as he was met by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in the wee hours of Thursday morning

President Donald Trump arrives to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

The president and the first lady left the White House at 2:00 a.m. to make the short journey to Andrews

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence (together at center) arrive to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea

President Donald Trump talks to the media next to the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

President Trump arrives at air base to greet American detainees

A North Korean official came to the hotel shortly after to inform Pompeo that Kim had granted amnesties to the three and that they would be released at 7:00 p.m. local time, according to a senior U.S. official present for the exchange.

Carl Risch, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, and a doctor went to another hotel to pick up the men and bring them to the airport, the official said.

They finally left custody at 7.45 p.m., and by 8.42 p.m. they were flying home.

As soon as the plane cleared North Korean airspace, Mr Pompeo called Mr Trump to inform him of the releases – with the men all apparently in good health.

Even before Mr Pompeo’s plane had touched down for a stopover at Yokota Air Base in neighboring Japan, the president announced to the world on Twitter that the ‘3 wonderful gentlemen’ were free.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Kim Jong Un in North Korea

U.S. citizen Kim Hak-song was detained 'on suspicion of acts against the state'

Kim Dong-chul, pictured above had been detained since 2015. He was arrested for spying and had been sentenced to 10 years' hard labor

In a statement released by the State Department, the former detainees expressed their ‘deep appreciation’ to the U.S. government, Trump, Pompeo and the American people ‘for bringing us home.’

The three were the latest in a series of Americans who have been detained by North Korea in recent years for seemingly small offenses and typically freed when senior U.S. officials or statesmen personally visited to bail them out.

The last American to be released before this, college student Otto Warmbier, died in June 2017, days after he was repatriated to the U.S. with severe brain damage.

Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-Duk, was a Korean-American professor and aid worker before his arrest

Warmbier was arrested by North Korean authorities in January 2016, accused of stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the government of torturing and killing their son.

‘We are happy for the hostages and their families,’ the Warmbiers said in a statement Wednesday. ‘We miss Otto.’

After the release of the detainees, North Korea’s state-run media explicitly mentioned plans for the summit for the first time. Pyongyang has been exceptionally cautious about its public framing of Kim’s recent diplomatic moves, which are a major shift from the more aggressive focus on missile launches and nuclear development that heated tensions to a boil last year.

The trio’s release draws a line under an issue that had weighed on plans for a historic summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump that will focus on North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

‘We’re granting amnesty to the three detained Americans,’ the North Korean emissary told Mr Pompeo at Pyongyang’s Koryo Hotel, according to the senior U.S. official.

‘We issued the order to grant immediate amnesty to the detainees.’

‘That’s great,’ the secretary of state replied.

The North Korean official then advised that the releases would follow a ‘very brief ceremony’ – which he described as more like a legal process.

The official closed with a gentle warning for the United States to prevent a repeat: ‘You should make care that they do not make the same mistakes again,’ the official said. ‘This was a hard decision.’

Mr Trump pledged to show the world how happy he was that the three Americans are now free men

Mr Trump has thanks the North Korean leader for releasing the prisoners ahead of their summit

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was 'Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.'

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was ‘Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.’

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

University founded by Christian Korean-American who was once detained in North on suspicion of being a spy

The university where two of the latest three American detainees released by North Korea taught is unique: an institution founded and funded by foreign Christians in an isolated country that decries religion.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy.

Only North Korean citizens can enrol, and it is known to educate many children of the country’s elite.

Opened in 2010, it now has 560 students and 100 ‘international volunteers,’ according to its website, many of them coming to it through church organisations.

PUST says its mission is ‘to pursue excellence in education, with an international outlook, so that its students are diligent in studies, innovative in research and upright in character, bringing illumination to the Korean people and the world.’

But sources stress that it carries out no Christian proselytising, which is unwelcome by Pyongyang.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus 

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus

About half of PUST's 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements. Pictured: People walk around the university's campus

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the North Korean constitution, it does not exist in practice and religious activity is severely restricted to officially recognized groups linked to the government.

Agricultural expert Kim Hak-song and former accounting professor Tony Kim were both lecturers at the institution but were arrested by North Korean authorities as they were leaving the country.

The university previously said their detentions were ‘not connected in any way with the work of PUST,’ and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere.

The two, along with fellow detainee Kim Dong-chul, were granted ‘amnesty’ by Pyongyang following a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and landed back in the United States on Thursday, to be welcomed by President Donald Trump.

‘Our hopes and prayers have been fulfilled by their release,’ PUST said in a statement. The university expressed ‘sincere hope’ that the detainees would be able to ‘now enjoy some peace and rest with their families and friends, and begin to rebuild normal life.’

The school itself has faced indirect repercussions from their detentions.

Tony Kim was arrested in April last year, Kim Hak-song the following month. Weeks later American student Otto Warmbier, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to steal a propaganda poster, was released in a mysterious coma and died shortly afterwards.

The university (pictured) previously said their detentions were 'not connected in any way with the work of PUST,' and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere

That prompted Washington to slap a travel ban on American citizens.

About half of PUST’s 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements.

It has also had problems transferring funds and importing materials due to the sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear programme by the UN Security Council and others.

‘We do of course hope that this is a step in a positive process that will lead to the U.S. administration ending the travel ban on U.S. citizens,’ a school official told AFP, ‘so that many of our regular faculty and leadership can come back to the PUST campus and we can resume operations in a more normal way.’

On its website, PUST says it is hiring new faculty members: English and Chinese instructors, and professors for subjects ranging from stem cell culture technology to genetic engineering.

It does not mention the detention of its lecturers.

Korean-American writer Suki Kim went to PUST undercover as an English teacher in 2011 and later wrote a book about her experiences.

‘PUST offers a mutually beneficial arrangement for both North Korea and the evangelicals,’ she wrote in an essay published in the Washington Post last year following Tony Kim’s detention.

‘The regime gets free education for its youth and a modern facility… while the evangelicals get a footing in the remote nation,’ she said.

Source: AFP

North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has been photographed smiling and laughing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just moments before three American detainees boarded a flight home after months in captivity

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5712509/Trump-Melania-meet-three-Americans-imprisoned-North-Korea-land-2am.html#ixzz5FE2k7Baj

 

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

Posted on March 1, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, James Comey, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Nuclear, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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DOJ will investigate FISA abuse allegations, Jeff Sessions says

Hannity: Major developments in the FISA abuse scandal

Justice Dept IG to Probe FISA Abuse!, 2077

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

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

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

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

Sessions: Clinton Foundation ‘not fully investigated…

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

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

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

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

Could Loretta Lynch face 5-10 years in jail?

Obama guilty of obstruction of justice, not Loretta Lynch?

Trump dropped biggest bombshell on Loretta Lynch: Judge Napolitano

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

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

Jason Chaffetz Furious at Comey For Not Jailing Hillary Clinton

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

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

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

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

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

Raul Labrador Pummels FBI Director James Comey Over Hillary Clinton Investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fmr. FBI Assistant Director: Comey should have resigned

Former assistant FBI director slams Comey’s recommendation

Giuliani: Dissapointed in FBI’s Comey

Giuliani: FBI decision on Clinton emails an “embarrassment”

FBI’s Comey: No reasonable case for Clinton prosecution

Guilty Under 18 U.S. Code 793

FBI INVESTIGATION COMEY: ANALYSIS BY CHIEF INTEL CORRESPONDENT CATHERINE HERRIDGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trey Gowdy Smashes Lying Loretta Lynch For Protecting Hillary Clinton

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

Why did AG Lynch secretly meet with Bill Clinton?

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

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

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

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

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

Obama weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s emails

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

Rep. Jordan presses Jeff Sessions to appoint special counsel

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

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

 

Sessions says DOJ will investigate alleged FISA abuses

Sessions says DOJ will investigate alleged FISA abuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sessions: Justice Department watchdog investigating GOP Russia memo claims

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

Updated 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Trump appears to push for DOJ probe into Hillary Clinton scandals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump then tweeted in all caps:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jeff Sessions at Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a)

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

(b)

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

(c)

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

(d)

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

(e)

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

(f)

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

(g)

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

(h)

(1)

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

(2)

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

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

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

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

(4)

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

 

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

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017, Story 1: Special Counsel To Be Appointed To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Compromise of National Security and Obama Administration’s Cover-up And Conspiracy To Use of Intelligence Community Including FBI and National Security Agency To Spy on Trump Campaign — Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report Will Blow The Lid Off  The Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice By Obama’s DOJ and FBI To Clear Hillary Clinton and FBI informant’s Congressional Testimony On Russian Rosatom Bribery, Extortion and Kickbacks — The Political Scandal of The Century — American People Have Lost Confidence and Trust in Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation — Videos — Story 2: Republican House and Senate Agree on Tax Bill — Rush To Pass Bill Before Congressional Christmas Break — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve As Expected Raises Federal Funds Target Rate Range By .25% to Between 1.25% and 1.5% — Expect Three Hikes in 2018 or Four Hikes If Economy Booming — Videos — We wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year — Videos

Posted on December 15, 2017. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Coal, Coal, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, James Comey, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Solar, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Special Counsel To Be Appointed To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Compromise of National Security and Obama Administration’s Cover-up And Conspiracy To Use of Intelligence Community Including FBI and National Security Agency To Spy on Trump Campaign — Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report Will Blow The Lid Off  The Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice By Obama’s DOJ and FBI To Clear Hillary Clinton and FBI informant’s Congressional Testimony On Russian Rosatom Bribery, Extortion and Kickbacks — The Political Scandal of The Century — American People Have Lost Confidence and Trust in Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation — Videos

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The Latest on a Biased Bureau

DC attorney sends final WARNING to DOJ, FBI as Bob Mueller’s Russia probe collapses

“Stunning Examples of Bias Taint Mueller Probe”

Real Collusion: The FBI & Clinton Campaign – Trump & Russia Tainted Probes – Tucker Carlson

Trump Blasts FBI, Then Praises New Agents – Story

Chaffetz on the Inspector General and the DOJ/FBI Scrutiny

Penn: Mueller and FBI face a crisis in public confidence

Mueller probe paints a picture of a banana republic: Ken Blackwell

Reps. Gaetz and Jordan call for a second special counsel

Gaetz Demands FBI Director Explain “Special” Treatment of Clinton During Investigation – 12/7/17

Sen. Grassley calls for greater scrutiny of Strzok’s texts

Evidence of “Brazen” FBI Plot Deepens and Thickens

Trump addresses FBI event after criticizing agency

DOJ bias is like a cancer: Rep. Gaetz

Deep State Conspiracy Revealed – Bruce Ohr’s CIA Russia Expert Wife Worked with Fusion GPS

New Revelations Regarding Hillary’s Exoneration by the FBI

Judge Nap on the Mueller Probe Bias and More

Tom Fitton on credibility problems of DOJ and FBI

Gohmert on New Allegations of Bias in Mueller/Russia Probe

Gohmert on Peter Strzok’s Biased & Vengeful Text Exchanges

Judge Nap: Too Early to Say Mueller Probe Is Biased Against Trump

Documents confirm language softened in Comey’s Clinton memo

Gingrich on cesspool of corruption covering up for Clintons

DOJ SCANDAL: List of democrats making donations to Bob Mueller’s team EXPOSED

Trey Gowdy on FBI Dep Director Andrew McCabe – Surprised if Still an FBI Employee Next Week

OMG!!ROBERT MUELLERS INVESTIGATIONS JUST ESCALATED TO ANOTHER LEVEL.SEE HOW.”DEEPER THAN YOU THINK”

EXPOSED! How the FBI, DOJ conspired to stop President Trump. What will happen to Bob Mueller now?

FBI’s Strzok & Page in Andrew McCabe’s Office Discuss ‘Insurance Policy’ to Prevent Trump Election

Mueller’s Russiagate Prosecution Is Imploding Before His Eyes While DOJ and FBI Scandals Metastasize

OMG!! Bob Mueller JUST confessed to Coup d’état plot against President Trump

Congressman Jim Jordan sends SHOCKING WARNING to Jeff Sessions, Bob Mueller will be trembling now!

JUST IN: Judge reveals names of corrupt FBI and DOJ officials to be arrested

Fox News obtains texts between FBI agent Strzok, lawyer

Hannity 12/5/2017 – Sean Hannity Dec 5, 17 on Fox News

Demoted top DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS of dossier fame

Congressman Jim Jordan sends SHOCKING WARNING to Jeff Sessions, Bob Mueller will be trembling now!

Jordan: We need to depose Peter Strzok, talk to Bruce Ohr

“Peter Strzok is the SMOKING GUN!!” Hannity and Ben Shapiro Break it Down

Bret Baier and Trey Gowdy speak about Strzok

Mueller, Strzok, Comey should the subjects of criminal investigations: Lou Dobbs

FBI Hillary Cheerleader Peter Strzok Changed Comey Language That Exonerated Hillary

Former FBI Ass’t Dir says DoJ cabal is a conspiracy

Hannity: Rosenstein pretends not to see evidence of bias

Body Language: Rosenstein Mueller Expansion

BREAKING: JW Sues FBI Over Removal of FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok from Mueller Operation

“The FBI Belongs to the VOTERS!!” Tucker GOES OFF on FBI Leaders

‘NUCLEAR’ Sen. Grassley Lashes out at FBI, DOJ in Fiery Senate Floor Speech

Strassel: Fusion GPS dossier a dirty trick for the ages

Obama knew about the Russian dossier: Tony Shaffer

Rpt: Obama Aligned Group Paid Law Firm That Hired Fusion GPS To Create Dossier – Story

Obama campaign connection to Fusion GPS

FBI Comey “Don’t call us weasels” Trey Gowdy Grills FBI James Comey On Hillary Clinton’s Email

Judge Nap on FBI Bias and More

Corruption at the FBI

The FBI Now Under Intense Scrutiny Over McCabe Potential Hatch Violations

BOMBSHELL Sen. Grassley “THE FIX WAS IN..Congress has the Right to Know”

Gohmert Speaks on House Floor about the Recent Rosenstein Hearing

What happened during Andrew McCabe’s testimony at Senate Intelligence hearing?

Acting FBI director McCabe gets GRILLED on James Comey Firing & Trump Russia Connections

Acting FBI director contradicts White House on Comey

Judge Napolitano on acting FBI director McCabe’s ties to Clinton ally

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

 

Fusion GPS admits DOJ official’s wife Nellie Ohr hired to probe Trump

A co-founder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS acknowledged in a new court document that his company hired the wife of a senior Justice Department official to help investigate then-candidate Donald Trump last year.

The confirmation from Glenn Simpson came in a signed declaration filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and provided a fuller picture of the nature of Nellie Ohr’s work – after Fox News first reported on her connection to Fusion GPS.

Her husband, Bruce Ohr, was demoted at the DOJ last week for concealing his meetings with the same company, which commissioned the anti-Trump “dossier” containing salacious allegations about the now-president. Together, the Fusion connections for Mr. and Mrs. Ohr have raised Republican concerns about objectivity at the Justice Department, and even spurred a call from Trump’s outside counsel for a separate special prosecutor.

Simpson’s statement shows Mrs. Ohr was indeed involved in the Trump research. He said bank records reflect Fusion GPS contracted with her “to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.”

WIFE OF DEMOTED DOJ OFFICIAL WORKED FOR TRUMP DOSSIER FIRM

Further, Simpson said he disclosed to the House intelligence committee that he met personally with Bruce Ohr, “at his request, after the November 2016 election to discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election.”

Fox News first reported last week that Bruce Ohr had been demoted at the DOJ amid an ongoing investigation into his contacts with Fusion GPS. Evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., indicates that Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the “dossier.” Additionally, as acknowledged in the court filing, he met with Simpson after the election.

bruceohr

DOJ official Bruce Ohr was demoted amid questions over his contacts with Fusion GPS figures.  (AP)

Fusion GPS has attracted scrutiny because Republican lawmakers have spent the better part of this year investigating whether the dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, served as the basis for the Justice Department and the FBI to obtain FISA surveillance last year on a Trump campaign adviser named Carter Page.

On Tuesday, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow called for the appointment of a separate special prosecutor to look into potential conflicts of interest involving Justice Department and FBI officials.

A group of House Republicans for months has called for the appointment of a second special counsel to probe certain Obama and Clinton-related controversies, something Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing.

When asked Tuesday about the Sekulow call, Sessions noted he’s already ordered that review following the prior call from members of Congress.

“I’ve put a senior attorney, with the resources he may need, to review cases in our office and make a recommendation to me … if things aren’t being pursued that need to be pursued, if cases may need more resources to complete in a proper manner, and to recommend to me if the standards for a special counsel are met,” he said, calling that the “appropriate” course.

Fox News’ James Rosen and John Roberts contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/13/fusion-gps-admits-doj-officials-wife-nellie-ohr-hired-to-probe-trump.html

A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now.

 December 4

The Post reported that a former top FBI official, Peter Strzok, who had been assigned to and then removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, had “exchanged politically charged texts disparaging [President] Trump and supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton” and that Strzok was “also a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.”

This is a blockbuster revelation, carrying the possibility of shattering public confidence in a number of long-held assumptions about the criminal-justice system generally and the FBI and the Justice Department specifically. The Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate Strzok’s actions as soon as possible.

The Strzok report comes on the heels of the widely derided Justice Department investigation into IRS discrimination against conservative groups, including the disposition of allegations against IRS senior official Lois Lerner, and after the wildly erratic behavior of then-FBI Director James B. Comey during 2016. It also follows the vote to hold then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress — the first ever against a sitting member of the Cabinet — with 17 Democrats voting in support. Mix into this battering of the Justice Department’s and FBI’s reputations the still-murky charges and counter-charges of abuse of “unmasking” powers during the waning days of the Obama era.

As a result, a large swath of responsible center-right observers are demanding a full review of the investigation and prosecution powers wielded by the Obama-era Justice Department and FBI. Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in National Review on Saturday that President Trump should call for a second independent counsel to investigate abuse of the counterintelligence authorities under President Barack Obama, abuses he suggests were undertaken to protect the controversial Iran deal on nuclear weapons.

This is an excellent idea. The new special counsel could also review Strzok’s texts and, more crucially, his conduct throughout 2015 and 2016. Strzok may be completely innocent of everything except an offhand joke that the straight-laced Mueller deemed necessary to punish in a display of a “Caesar’s wife” sort of purity of purpose. But if his texts to FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal a partisan animus toward Trump or admiration for Clinton, then the bureau and the department have a huge problem on their hands and not just with Strzok and Page.

When FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen was revealed to have committed espionage against the United States, it didn’t mean that even one other member of the bureau was guilty of Hanssen’s sins, but it did require a painstaking review of all of Hanssen’s activities and inputs, as all of them had to be reconsidered in light of his treasonous behavior.

If Strzok’s texts reveal deep animus toward Trump or an operational effort to tilt one or more investigations, then all of his actions have to be reviewed to assure the public’s confidence in the bureau. That one or two agents or officials of the bureau are discovered to have been acting from improper motives would be bad enough. To try and sweep those activities under the rug would be worse. Against the backdrop of other recent controversies, it would be disastrous.

Step one is a quick publication of the questionable texts. All of them. The public has a right to know what the predicate for Mueller’s extraordinary action was. The public also deserves a detailed account of Strzok’s (and Page’s) duties and authorities during the years in question. If an NBA official was discovered to have purposefully thrown even one game, every game in which he had carried a whistle would be under the microscope. That’s how it works.

Unless there’s a coverup.

Nevertheless, just as Hanssen was “one bad apple” who didn’t spoil the bunch, so even an out-of-bounds Strzok doesn’t necessarily mean anything about the FBI beyond him. To get to the truth, and restore confidence in federal law enforcement, a special counsel should conduct an inquiry, bring any necessary charges and make a report — someone without ties to the president or his opponents.

They do exist, such men and women. Former federal judges make excellent candidates. But we need one appointed right now.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-special-counsel-needs-to-investigate-the-fbi-and-justice-department-now/2017/12/04/5ca1234c-d916-11e7-b1a8-62589434a581_story.html?utm_term=.3035631daa63

Meet the Inspector General

Photo of Michael E. Horowitz

Michael E. Horowitz was confirmed as Inspector General for the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the U.S. Senate on March 29, 2012, and sworn in as the fourth confirmed Inspector General on April 16, 2012. Since 2015, he has simultaneously served as the Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).

As Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz oversees a nationwide workforce of more than 450 special agents, auditors, inspectors, attorneys, and support staff whose mission is to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in DOJ programs and personnel, and to promote economy and efficiency in Department operations.

Prior to serving as Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz worked as a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft LLP, where he focused his practice on white collar defense, internal investigations, and regulatory compliance. He also was a board member of the Ethics Resource Center and the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics. From 2003 to 2009, Mr. Horowitz served as a Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Mr. Horowitz previously worked for DOJ in the Criminal Division at Main Justice from 1999 to 2002, first as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and then as Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Criminal Division, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1991 to 1999. From 1997 to 1999, Mr. Horowitz was the Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and from 1995 to 1997, he was a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. In 1995, he was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his work on a complex police corruption investigation.

Before joining the DOJ, Mr. Horowitz was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton and clerked for Judge John G. Davies of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Mr. Horowitz earned his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University.

https://oig.justice.gov/about/meet-ig.htm

 

Peter P. Strzok II[1] (born c. 1970[2]) (English pronunciation: /stɹʌk/like “struck”[3][4]) is a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent currently assigned to its Human Resources Branch.

Until July 2017, Strzok served as the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and the top FBI agent working for Robert Mueller in the 2017 Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[5][6][7][8][9][10]He also served as the section chief of the Counterespionage Section during the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.[4]

Education and personal life

Strzok attended high school in Minnesota.[11] He earned a bachelors degree from Georgetown University in 1991 and returned to earn a master’s degree there in 2013.[12]

He is married to Melissa Hodgman, an associate director at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[13][14][15] His father worked for many years as an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and after 1980 worked in villages of several West African countries.[16]

Career

Strzok served as a captain[citation needed] in the United States Army before joining the FBI in the 1990’s as an intelligence research specialist.[9][17]

Clinton email server investigation

By July 2015, Strzok was serving as the section chief of the Counterespionage Section[4] and a led a team of a dozen investigators to examine Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.[18] After the investigation was closed, Strzok changed draft language being prepared for then-FBI Director James Comey, which had described Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent“, which may be a criminal offense, to “extremely careless”. The draft was reviewed and corrected by several people and its creation was a team process.[4] Strzok and his team also helped review newly discovered Clinton emails days before Election Day.[18]

Russia election interference investigation

By July 2016, Strzok had been promoted to Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and oversaw espionage investigations involving Russia and China.[6][9] According to The New York Times, he was “considered one of the most experienced and trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators”.[17] He was also “considered to be one of the Bureau’s top experts on Russia” according to CNN.[4] He signed the document opening the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[4][19] Strzok then led that investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, including the Russian role in the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak and the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[20][3][18] He also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn later pled guilty to lying to the FBI.[21]

Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation

Strzok was the top FBI agent working for Robert Mueller‘s special counsel investigation of foreign electoral intervention by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, initiated by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017 after the firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Trump.[22][23] Earlier, in January 2017, the DOJ’s Inspector General (IG), Michael E. Horowitz, had begun an inquiry to review how the FBI handled investigations related to the election.[17][24] In late July 2017, the IG’s inquiry discovered text messages transmitted between Strzok and Lisa Page, a trial attorney on Mueller’s team. The text messages were sent between August 2015 and December 2016[25][26] and were anti-Donald Trump in nature.[27][28] They also contained personal information concerning to the Justice Department (DOJ), allegedly about an extramarital affair.[5] Mueller removed Strzok from his team the week after a search warrant was executed at the home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.[29][30] Strzok was reassigned to the FBI’s Human Resources Branch and Page returned to working for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe shortly thereafter.[31][32] Fox News reported that a source close to the IG’s ongoing inquiry said it will include examining Strzok’s participation in other politically sensitive matters, and that it should be complete “very early next year.”[33] The IG announced it will issue a report in March or April of 2018 at the latest.[17] At the request of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the DOJ agreed to allow Strzok to be interviewed and turned over 375 partially redacted text messages between Strzok and Page to the House Judiciary Committee.[25][26][34]

According to Strzok’s colleagues and a former Trump administration official, Strzok had not previously shown any overt political bias.[2][27] An associate of his says the political parts of the text messages were especially related to Trump’s criticism of the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton emails.[2] Some GOP U.S. representatives cited the anti-Trump messages as evidence of Strzok’s bias. However, in his private correspondence with Page, Strzok had also made disparaging remarks about Eric Holder, Attorney General in the Obama administration, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (a Democrat), and Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.[35][36] According to FBI guidelines, agents are allowed to have and express political opinions as individuals. Former FBI and DOJ officials told The Hill that it was possible for agents like Strzok to hold political opinions and still conduct an impartial investigation.[37] Several agents said that Mueller removed Strzok in order to protect the integrity of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Since there was no proof that Strzok did anything wrong, he was not punished following his reassignment.[38][39] Defenders of Strzok and Page in the FBI said that no professional misconduct between them occurred.[27]

References

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

 

2017 Special Counsel investigation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 2017 Special Counsel investigation is an ongoing investigation in the United States led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel under supervision of the United States Department of Justice. Mueller is exploring any links or coordination between Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government as part of the election interference that Russia conducted against the U.S. in 2016.

Mueller’s investigation subsumed several existing FBI investigations including those involving former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. In August 2017, Mueller’s investigation reportedly expanded to include several lobbying firms, including the Podesta Group. Mueller has assembled a team of attorneys to conduct the investigation into links between Trump associates and Russian officials along with related matters.

On October 30, 2017, Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates surrendered to the FBI on charges brought by the special counsel unrelated to the Trump campaign. On the same day, Mueller’s team revealed that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on October 5 to making false statements to FBI agents about contacts he had with agents of the Russian government while working for the Trump campaign in 2016, and was cooperating with investigators. On December 1, 2017, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI, and confirmed that he is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.[1]


Appointments


Policy positions





Business and personal


Donald Trump's signature

Seal of the President of the United States.svg

 

Origin and powers

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller, a former Director of the FBI, to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). In this capacity, Mueller oversees the investigation into “any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”.[2] As special counsel, Mueller has the power to issue subpoenas,[3] hire staff members, request funding, and prosecute federal crimes in connection with the election interference.[4]

The appointment followed a series of events that included President Donald Trump‘s firing of FBI director James Comey and Comey’s allegation that Trump asked him to drop the FBI investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.[5]

Rosenstein, in his role as Acting Attorney General due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has authority over the use of DOJ resources by Mueller and the investigation. In an interview with the Associated Press, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller if he himself were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in the dismissal of Comey.[6] If Rosenstein were to recuse himself, his duties in this matter would be assumed by the Justice Department’s third-in-command, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.[7]

Grand juries

On August 3, 2017, Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC, as part of his investigation. The grand jury has the power to subpoena documents, require witnesses to testify under oath, and indict suspects on criminal charges if enough evidence is found.

The Washington grand jury is separate from an earlier Virginia grand jury investigating Michael Flynn; the Flynn case has been absorbed into Mueller’s overall investigation.[8]

Grand jury testimony

The grand jury has issued subpoenas to those involved in the Trump campaign–Russian meeting held on June 9, 2016, at Trump Tower, which was also the location of Trump’s presidential campaign headquarters.[9]

  • Russian-born lobbyist and former Soviet Army officer, Rinat Akhmetshin, testified under oath for several hours on August 11, 2017, as a participant in the Donald Trump Jr meeting.[10][11]
  • Jason Maloni, spokesman for Paul Manafort, testified under oath for two and one-half hours.[12] Maloni was employed by Manafort following the five months he served as Chairman of Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, to answer questions about Manafort’s involvement in Trump’s campaign.

The grand jury subpoenaed witness testimony from the executives of six public relations firms, who worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on lobbying efforts in Ukraine.[13]

Legal teams

Mueller and investigation team

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Upon his appointment as the Special Counsel, Mueller resigned his position at the Washington office of law firm WilmerHale, along with two colleagues, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles III.[14][15] On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[16]

Politico proposed that the “ideal team” would likely have six to eight prosecutors, along with administrative assistants and experts in areas such as money laundering or interpreting tax returns.[17] By August 1, 2017, Mueller, who has an active role in managing the inquiry,[18] hired 16 lawyers,[19] and had a total staff of over three dozen, including investigators and other non-attorneys.[20]

Members of the team include:[17][21][22][23][24][25][26]

Mueller has also added unidentified agents of the IRS Criminal Investigations Division to his team. “This unit—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney.”[41]

In December 2017, Weissmann and Strzok were accused of an anti-Trump bias because of an email directed to Sally Yates praising her refusal to defend Executive Order 13769 in court, and a similarly-worded text message. [42][43] House Conservatives have since ramped up accusations that the investigation is manned by personnel with an “anti-Trump” bias who “let Clinton off easy last year”.[44]

Trump’s defense team

Members of the team include or have included:[45]

Topics of investigations

Russian election interference

The primary responsibility of the special counsel is “to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election”. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded “with high confidence” that the Russian government interfered in the election by hacking into the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the personal Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and forwarded their contents to WikiLeaks,[50][51][52] as well as by disseminating fake news promoted on social media[53] and by penetrating, or trying to penetrate, the election systems and databases of multiple U.S. states.[54] In July 2016, the FBI began looking into these issues, as well as the question of whether members of the Trump campaign might have coordinated or cooperated with Russia’s activities.[55] Those investigations became part of the special counsel’s portfolio.[56]

Russia’s influence on US voters through social media is a primary focus of the Mueller investigation.[57] The special counsel has used a search warrant to obtain detailed information about Russian ad purchases on Facebook. According to a former federal prosecutor, the warrant means that a judge was convinced that foreigners had illegally contributed to influencing a US election via Facebook ads.[58]

Mueller is investigating ties between the Trump campaign, and Republican activist Peter W. Smith. Smith stated that he tried to obtain Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, and that he was acting on behalf of Michael Flynn and other Trump campaign members. Trump campaign officials have denied that Smith was working with them.[59]

Links between Trump associates and Russian officials

As early as spring 2015, US intelligence agencies started overhearing conversations in which Russian government officials, some within the Kremlin, discussed associates of Trump, then a presidential candidate.[60][61] In one such conversation, Russian officials said they had cultivated a strong relationship with Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Trump and his team.[62]

Multiple Trump associates, including Flynn, Manafort, and other members of the Trump campaign had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials during 2016.[63] In particular, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met with several Trump campaign members and administration nominees. Flynn was forced to resign as National Security Advisor on February 13, 2017, after it was revealed that on December 29, 2016, the day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia, Flynn had discussed the sanctions with Russian ambassador Kislyak. Flynn had earlier acknowledged speaking to Kislyak but denied discussing the sanctions.[64][65] Also in December 2016, Flynn and presidential advisor Jared Kushner met with Kislyak hoping to set up a direct, secure line of communication with Russian officials that American intelligence agencies would be unaware of.[66][67] Jared Kushner also met with Sergei Gorkov, the head of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank (VEB).[68] Flynn and Kushner failed to report these meetings on their security clearance forms.[69][68]

FBI agents, working with the special counsel, raided Manafort’s home in July 2017. The no-notice, no-knock raid used a federal search warrant, authorizing agents to look for tax documents and foreign banking records. A wide range of documents and other items were seized. Before the raid, Manafort had voluntarily provided some documents to congressional investigators, including the notes he took during the Veselnitskaya meeting.[70][71]

The Trump team issued multiple denials of any contacts between Trump associates and Russia, but many of those denials turned out to be false.[72][73]

On December 4, 2017, prosecutors filed that Paul Manafort worked on an op-ed with a Russian intelligence official while out on bail, in a court filing requesting that the judge revoke Manafort’s bond agreement.[74]

Alleged collusion between Trump campaign and Russian agents

Mueller is looking into the meeting on June 9, 2016, in Trump Tower in New York City between three senior members of Trump’s presidential campaign  – Kushner, Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr. – and at least five other people, including Russian lawyer Natalia VeselnitskayaRinat Akhmetshin, a lobbyist and former Soviet army officer who met senior Trump campaign aides, Ike Kaveladze, British publicist Rob Goldstone and translator Anatoli Samochornov.[75][76] It has been confirmed that Goldstone had suggested the meeting to Trump Jr., and it was arranged in a series of emails later made public. Trump Jr. initially told the press that the meeting was held to discuss adoptions of Russian children by Americans. He added that he agreed to the meeting with the understanding that he would receive information damaging to Hillary Clinton.[77] Goldstone had stated in his email that the Russian government was involved as part of its support for the Trump campaign.[78] Mueller’s team is investigating the emails and the meeting,[75] and whether President Trump later tried to hide the meeting’s purpose.[79]

On July 18, 2017, Kaveladze’s attorney said that Mueller’s investigators were seeking information about the Russian meeting in June 2016 from his client,[80] and on July 21, Mueller asked the White House to preserve all documents related to the Russian meeting.[81] It has been reported that Manafort had made notes during the Russian meeting.[70]

By August 3, 2017, Mueller had impaneled a grand jury in the District of Columbia that issued subpoenas concerning the meeting.[82] The Financial Times reported on August 31 that Akhmetshin had given sworn testimony to Mueller’s grand jury.[83]

In fall 2017, Mueller’s team interviewed former Government Communications Headquarters IT specialist Matt Tait, who had been approached by Republican political operative Peter Smith to verify the authenticity of allegedly hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton’s private email server.[84]

Obstruction of justice

Early in Trump’s presidency, senior White House officials reportedly asked intelligence officials if they could intervene with the FBI to stop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Flynn.[85] In March, Trump reportedly discussed the FBI’s Russia investigation with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and asked if they could intervene with Comey to limit or stop it.[86] When he was asked at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the report, Coats said he would not discuss conversations he had with the president but “I have never felt pressured to intervene in the Russia investigation in any way.”[87]

In February 2017, it was reported that White House officials had asked the FBI to issue a statement that there had been no contact between Trump associates and Russian intelligence sources during the 2016 campaign. The FBI did not make the requested statement, and observers noted that the request violated established procedures about contact between the White House and the FBI regarding pending investigations.[88] After Comey revealed in March that the FBI was investigating the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump phoned Coats and Director of National Security Admiral Michael S. Rogers and asked them to publicly state there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russians.[85][89][90] Both Coats and Rogers believed that the request was inappropriate, though not illegal, and did not make the requested statement. The two exchanged notes about the incident, and Rogers made a contemporary memo to document the request.[89][90]

In May 2017, a February memo by Comey was made public about an Oval Office conversation with Trump on February 14, 2017, in which Trump is described as attempting to persuade Comey to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn.[91][92] The memo notes that Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.[93] In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey gave a detailed report on the February 14 conversation, including Trump’s suggestion that he should “let go” the Flynn investigation. Comey said he “took it as a direction… I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.” He added that it was “a very disturbing thing, very concerning”, and that he discussed the incident with other FBI leaders.[94] Comey created similar memos about every phone call and meeting he had with the president.[95]

The FBI launched an investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice a few days after the May 9 firing of Comey.[96] The special prosecutor’s office took over the obstruction of justice investigation and has reportedly interviewed Director of National Intelligence Coats, Director of the National Security Agency Rogers, and Deputy Director of the NSA Richard Ledgett.[96][97][98] ABC News reported in June that the special counsel was gathering preliminary information about possible obstruction of justice, but a full-scale investigation had not been launched.[99] On June 16, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”[100] However, Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow said Trump’s tweet was referring to the June 14 Washington Post report that he was under investigation for obstruction of justice,[96] and that Trump has not actually been notified of any investigation.[101][102]

Financial investigations

The special counsel investigation has expanded to include Trump’s and his associates’ financial ties to Russia. The FBI is reviewing the financial records of Trump himself, The Trump Organization, Trump’s family members, and his campaign staff, including Trump’s real estate activities, which had been under federal scrutiny before the campaign. According to CNN, financial crimes may be easier for investigators to prove than any crimes stemming directly from collusion with Russia.[20] Campaign staff whose finances are under investigation include Manafort, Flynn, Carter Page, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.[103]

Transactions under investigation include Russian purchases of Trump apartments, a SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, transactions with the Bank of Cyprus, real estate financing organized by Kushner, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.[104] The special counsel team has contacted Deutsche Bank, which is the main banking institution doing business with The Trump Organization.[105]

Mueller took over an existing money laundering investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Manafort. On October 30, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Manafort and his associate Rick Gates on charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, being an unregistered agent of foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements.[106] Manafort’s financial activities are also being investigated by the Senate and House intelligence committees, the New York Attorney General, and the Manhattan District Attorney.[107]

The special counsel will be able to access Trump’s tax returns, which has “especially disturbed” Trump according to the Washington Post. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, as presidential candidates normally do, has been politically controversial since his presidential campaign.[108]

Flynn activities

Michael Flynn statement of offense

As part of the investigation, Special Counsel Mueller assumed control of a Virginia-based grand jury criminal probe into the relationship between Flynn and Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin.[109] Flynn Intel Group, an intelligence consultancy, was paid $530,000 by Alptekin’s company Inovo BV to produce a documentary and conduct research on Fethullah Gülen, an exiled Turkish cleric who lives in the United States.[109] The special prosecutor is investigating whether the money came from the Turkish government, and whether Flynn kicked funds back to a middleman to conceal the payment’s original source. Investigators are also looking at Flynn’s finances more generally, including possible payments from Russian companies and from the Japanese government. White House documents relating to Flynn have been requested as evidence.[110] The lead person within Mueller’s team for this investigation is Brandon Van Grack.[111]

Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, is also a subject of the special counsel investigation. Michael G. Flynn worked closely with his father’s lobbying company, the Flynn Intel Group, and accompanied his father on his 2015 visit to Moscow.[112] On November 5, 2017, NBC News reported that Mueller had enough evidence for charges against Flynn and his son.[113]

Flynn’s defense team stopped sharing information with Trump’s team of lawyers in late November 2017.[114] This was interpreted as a sign that Flynn was cooperating and negotiating a plea bargain with the special counsel team.[114][115][116] On December 1, 2017, Flynn appeared in federal court to plead guilty to a single felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI and to confirm his intention to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.[117] As part of Flynn’s plea bargain, his son Michael G. Flynn is not expected to be charged.[118][119]

Investigation of Podesta Group lobbying

In August 2017, Mueller’s team reportedly issued grand jury subpoenas to officials in six firms, including lobbying firm Podesta Group, with regard to activities on behalf of a public-relations campaign for a pro-Russian Ukrainian organization called European Centre for a Modern UkraineTony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, is head of the Podesta Group. John Podesta is not employed by the company. According to the reports, Mueller is investigating whether the firms violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Paul Manafort headed the public relations effort, which took place from 2012 to 2014. [120][121][122][123]

Charges

As of December 2, 2017, the Special Counsel has initiated criminal proceedings against four individuals.

Accused Date charged Charge(s) Case status Ind.
George Papadopoulos October 3, 2017 1 count: false statements. Pleaded guilty on October 5, 2017.[124] [125]
Rick Gates October 27, 2017 8 counts: conspiracy against the United Statesconspiracy to launder moneyfailure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts (×3), unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements. Pleaded not guilty on October 30, 2017.[126] [127]
Paul Manafort October 27, 2017 9 counts: conspiracy against the United Statesconspiracy to launder moneyfailure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts (×4), unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements. Pleaded not guilty on October 30, 2017.[126] [127]
Michael Flynn November 30, 2017 1 count: false statements. Pleaded guilty on December 1, 2017.[128] [129]

George Papadopoulos

On October 30, 2017, it was revealed that George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty earlier in the month to making a false statement to FBI investigators.[130] The guilty plea was part of a plea bargain in which he agreed to cooperate with the government and “provide information regarding any and all matters as to which the Government deems relevant.”[131]

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates

On October 30, 2017, Paul Manafort surrendered to the FBI after being indicted on multiple charges. Rick Gates was also indicted and surrendered to the FBI.[132] The pair have been indicted on one count of conspiracy against the United States, one count of conspiracy to launder money, one count of being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, one count of making false and misleading FARA statements, and one count of making false statements. Manafort was charged with four counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts while Gates was charged with three.[127] The charges arise from their consulting work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine and are unrelated to the Trump campaign.[133] Both were placed under house arrest. On December 4, 2017, prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Manafort’s bond agreement, charging that Manafort violated the terms of his bail by working on a op-ed piece with Konstantin Kilimnik,[134] an associate with ties to Russian intelligence.[135]

Michael Flynn

On December 1, 2017, it was reported that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn agreed to a plea bargain with Mueller, pleading guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI, and agreeing to cooperate with Mueller’s probe.[136]

Reactions

Mueller’s appointment to oversee the investigation immediately garnered widespread support from Democrats and even some from Republicans in Congress.[137][138] Senator Charles Schumer (DNY) said, “Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D–CA) stated, “Bob was a fine U.S. attorney, a great FBI director and there’s no better person who could be asked to perform this function.” She added, “He is respected, he is talented and he has the knowledge and ability to do the right thing.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (RUT) tweeted that “Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.”[137] Much Republican support in Congress was lukewarm: Rep. Peter T. King (RNY) said “It’s fine. I just don’t think there is any need for it.”[139]

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote of the team that “Bob Mueller is recruiting the smartest and most seasoned professionals who have a long track record of independence and excellence”.[22] Former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who had investigated Bill Clinton during the Clinton Administration, said that the team was “a great, great team of complete professionals”.[19]

Later some conservatives, including political commentators Laura IngrahamAnn Coulter and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who had initially praised Mueller for “integrity and honesty”), stated that Mueller should be dismissed and the investigation closed.[140][141][142] Christopher Ruddy, the founder of the Right-leaning Newsmax, and a friend of Trump, stated that the president has considered firing Mueller.[143]

On June 23, 2017, Trump stated that members of Mueller’s team were “all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton.” PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim “Mostly False”, noting that only three had made campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton and one had defended the Clinton Foundation in court. One member of the team had made contributions to Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Republican Senator George Allen.[144][25] In an interview with The New York Times published on July 19, 2017, Trump stated that he would have not appointed Sessions as Attorney General had he known that he was going to recuse himself from the investigation. Furthermore, Trump confirmed that he would view it as a violation if the special counsel investigated his and his family’s finances, unrelated to Russia.[145]

On June 25, 2017, it was reported that a pro-Trump group had launched an ad called “Witch Hunt,” featuring conservative Tomi Lahren, which attacked Mueller and the investigation.[146]

On July 21, 2017, the Washington Post reported that Trump asked his advisors about his power to pardon those under investigation. Trump and his legal team discussed the possibility of Trump pardoning aides, family members, and himself. No president has ever pardoned himself, so there is no case law on whether it would be legal. Trump attorneys also reportedly created a list of Mueller’s potential conflicts of interest. Trump lawyer John Dowd said the story was “nonsense”.[108]

On August 3, 2017, at a campaign-style rally in West Virginia, Trump continued to deny any Russian involvement in his campaign or win: “The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics, that’s all it is.” This occurred on the same day as the announcement that another grand jury had been impaneled.[147]

On August 12, 2017, the New York Times published an interview of Republican Senator Richard Burr, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he said he was hopeful that the investigation would be complete by the end of the year.[148]

On August 24, 2017, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) added a rider to the proposed fiscal 2018 spending bill package that would block funding from being used “for the investigation under that order of matters occurring before June 2015” (the month Trump announced he was running for president) immediately and terminated funding for the Special Counsel investigation 180 days after passage of the bill.[149] Rep. DeSantis said that the DOJ order of May 17, 2017, “didn’t identify a crime to be investigated and practically invites a fishing expedition.”[150]

Shortly after the indictments against Manafort and Gates were unsealed, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a congressional resolution demanding Robert Mueller’s recusal as Special Counsel due to conflicts of interest. This resolution was cosponsered by Congressman Andy Biggs from Arizona and Congressman Louie Gohmert from Texas.[151][152] In the resolution Gaetz called for a Special Counsel investigation into the handling of the Hillary Clinton email controversy by James Comey, undue interference of Attorney General Loretta Lynch in that investigation, and the acquisition of Uranium One by the Russian state corporation Rosatom during Mueller’s time as FBI director.[153][154] Gaetz stated that he did not trust him to lead the investigation because of Mueller’s alleged involvement in approval of the Uranium One deal and Mueller’s close relationship with the dismissed FBI director James Comey, a probable person of interest in the proposed investigation.[154] On November 8, 2017, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks cosponsered the resolution.[155]

Polling

A May 2017 Politico/Morning Consult poll showed that 81% of U.S. voters supported the special prosecutor’s investigation.[156] A June 2017 Associated PressNORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll asked U.S. adults whether the special counsel’s investigation could be fair and impartial: 26% were “extremely confident” or “very confident”; 36% were “moderately confident” and 36% were “not very confident” or “not at all confident.”[157] The poll indicated that 68% of Americans were at least “moderately concerned” about inappropriate connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians.[158]

A poll published in November 2017 by ABC News and The Washington Post found that 58% of Americans approved of Mueller’s handling of his investigation, while 28% disapproved. It also indicated that half of Americans believed that President Trump was not co-operating with the investigation.[159] A Quinnipiac poll published on November 15, 2017 suggested that 60% of Americans believed that Mueller’s investigation was proceeding fairly, with 27% believing that it was not. The poll also found that 47% of respondents said that President Trump ought to be impeached if he were to dismiss Mueller.[160]

A December poll by Associated PressNORC indicated that four out of ten American believed Trump to have committed a crime in connection to Russia, with an additional 3 out of 10 beyond that believing that he had acted unethically. It found that 62% of Democrats and 5% of Republicans believe that Trump acted illegally. It found that 68% of Americans believed that Trump was obstructing the investigation. 57% of respondents said that they were “extremely confident” or “moderately confident” that Mueller’s investigation is fair.[161]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Special_Counsel_investigation

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

(a)

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

(b)

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

(c)

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

(d)

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

(e)

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

(f)

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

(g)

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

(h)

(1)

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

(2)

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

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

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

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

(4)

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

 

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

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

Story 2: Republican House and Senate Agree on Tax Bill — Rush To Pass Bill Before Congressional Christmas Break — Videos —

Congress releases final version of Republican tax bill

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Tax reform bill will get to Trump before Christmas: Sen. Grassley

Republicans agree on a final tax bill

Remarks by President Trump at Lunch with Bicameral Tax Conferees. December 13, 2017

White House Official: House And Senate GOP Reach Deal On Taxes | MSNBC

Full text: Republicans unveil their final tax bill

Republicans are expected to vote on this bill as soon as Tuesday.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The final draft of the Republican tax bill has dropped.

After a week of backdoor negotiations to hash out the differences between the House and Senate tax proposals, Republicans have released their final vision for the American tax code: a bill that permanently gives corporations a massive tax break, temporarily cuts individual rates — primarily benefiting the wealthiest Americans — increases the standard deduction, and the repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which is estimated to leave 13 million fewer insured over the next 10 years.

The bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, 1 percent less than the Senate and House proposals; and lowers the top individual income tax rate to 37 percent, which is less than the 38.5 percent in the Senate bill and the 39.6 percent in the House bill and current law. It will allow pass-through businesses, like LLCs and partnerships, to deduct 20 percent from their taxes in addition to having the lower top individual rate. The bill also caps the mortgage interest deduction at $750,000 and the state and local property and income deduction at $10,000, particularly disadvantaging Americans who live in high-tax states.

All in all, the bill is a far cry from the simplified tax code that Republicans have long been promising, but it is a substantial reshaping of the nation’s tax base. Republicans are adamant that cutting corporate taxes will in turn increase investments and wages in the United States and lead to unprecedented economic growth — despite analyses that indicate otherwise.

It’s a gamble they are willing to make. This bill has not yet received an official score from the Congressional Budget Office or the Joint Committee on Taxation, which measures legislation’s cost and impact.

Republicans are expected to vote on this bill as soon as Tuesday.

Here’s the bill in its entirety:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/15/16781062/read-republican-final-tax-bill

GOP releases its final tax plan — here’s what’s in it

  • Republicans release their final tax plan, which strikes compromises on many provisions that differed in separate versions passed by the House and Senate.
  • The House plans to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
Jacob Pramuk | John W. Schoen

Representative Brady: Wanted to drive tax relief for everyone

Representative Brady: Wanted to drive tax relief for everyone  

Republicans on Friday released their final proposal to overhaul the American tax system, which would chop taxes for corporations, trim rates for individuals and tweak tax deductions.

The House and Senate GOP hope to pass the sweeping measure by the middle of next week, hitting a year-end target. The House will vote on the plan on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement.

Republicans argue that cuts contained in the bill will spark business investment, hiring and wage growth. Democrats call the plan a giveaway to corporations at the expense of the middle class, expressing concerns about the $1 trillion or more it is projected to add to federal budget deficits over a decade.

With two skeptical Republican senators falling in line Friday, the GOP appears set to have the support to push the bill through next week on a party line vote.

Here are some of the provisions the bill contains, according to a Republican summary:

  • The proposal would maintain seven individual income tax brackets at slightly different rates: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent and 37 percent. The top rate would fall from the current 39.6 percent. The House originally proposed collapsing the system to four brackets, saying it would simplify the filing process. (Click here to see which bracket would apply to you.) The changes would phase out after 2025.
  • The bill would scrap the personal exemption but increase the standard deduction to slightly less than double its current level. It would go to $12,000 for an individual or $24,000 for a family.
  • It would drop the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent. The change would take effect next year.
  • The plan would set a 20 percent business income deduction for the first $315,000 in income earned by pass-through businesses.
  • The bill would scrap Obamacare’s provision that requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning in 2019. Doing so is projected to lead to 13 million fewer people with insurance and raise average Obamacare premiums, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
  • The plan would eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax, which the Senate added back to its plan at the last second to raise money. House leaders and corporate groups said the tax would stifle research and development. It would also increase the exemption from the individual AMT.
  • The estate tax, or so-called death tax, would remain but the exemption from it would be doubled.
  • The child tax credit would double to $2,000 per child from $1,000. It would be refundable up to $1,400 and start to phase out at $400,000 in income. The tweak would end after 2025.
  • The plan would limit state and local tax deductions. It would allow the deduction of up to $10,000 in state and local sales, income or property taxes.
  • It will not change the mortgage interest deduction for existing homeowners. For new homes, taxpayers can deduct interest on up to $750,000 in mortgage debt, down from $1 million currently.
  • Tax breaks for charitable contributions and retirement savings plans would remain.
  • The bill would not include the controversial first in first out stock sales change, which sparked backlash in the investing community.

A “very preliminary” projection by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the congressional scorekeeper, estimated that the bill would lead to budget deficits increasing by $1.46 trillion over a decade. That falls just shy of the maximum $1.5 trillion it could add to the deficit under rules set by the Senate earlier this year.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who opposed the Senate version of the plan because he had concerns about a nearly identical effect on budget deficits, is supporting the final legislation.

Republicans cheered the bill’s completion following its release.

“We’re in the final stretch—and we’re ready to get this done for the American people by Christmas,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump “is on the precipice” of fulfilling a campaign promise and passing a plan that she said would boost wages and economic growth.

“The president applauds the House and Senate conferees on coming to an agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and looks forward to fulfilling the promise he made to the American people to give them a tax cut by the end of the year,” she said.

Democrats, meanwhile, warned of repercussions for the middle class.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the plan counterproductive.

“Under this bill the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs, and Republicans will rue the day they pass this,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., deemed the plan a “moral obscenity” and a “con job.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/15/gop-releases-its-final-tax-plan–heres-whats-in-it.html

Key details revealed in Republican tax deal

  •  The deal would lower the top tax rate to 37%, a push by House Republicans
  • The deal also drops the corporate tax rate to 21%

(CNN)House and Senate Republicans have struck a tentative deal on a tax bill Wednesday, a major step in ensuring the GOP majority is on its way to deliver an overhaul of the US tax system by the holidays.

According to two GOP aides, Republicans struck a deal in principle that will meld together the House and Senate tax deals and put the parties on a path to vote as soon as next week. Aides say there are still smaller issues to work out, but Senate Republicans will discuss remaining issues at their conference-wide lunch Wednesday and see how their rank-and-file members react.
Lawmakers have been working for more than a week to find a way to combine two very different tax bills.
Here’s what Republican negotiators as of Wednesday evening had in the plan:
  • The corporate rate would be reduced to 21%, from 35%. That is an additional point added from the 20% originally proposed in the House and Senate versions. It would take effect in 2018.
  • The top individual tax rate would be set at 37%, down from the 39.6% proposed in the House and 38.5% in the Senate.
  • The State and Local Tax deduction will be expanded, beyond just property taxes, to include income tax. It would be capped at $10,000.
  • The corporate alternative minimum tax, included at the last minute in the Senate version, would be fully repealed.
  • The individual alternative minimum tax would remain, but the threshold would be tweaked to exclude any individual under $500,000 or family below $1 million.
  • The mortgage interest deduction threshold — dropped to $500,000 in the House and left untouched in the Senate — would be set at $750,000.
  • The rate for pass-through income — business entities like s-corporations and partnerships that pay taxes through the individual side — would be determined by a 20% deduction, 3% lower than the Senate version.
  • The estate tax exemption would be doubled, but the tax would not be repealed entirely, as it was in the House proposal.
  • The Obamacare individual mandate to have health insurance would be repealed.
  • A House provision that proposed taxing graduate school tuition is not included in the final deal.
These deductions will remain untouched (they were all repealed in the House bill, left alone in the Senate bill). Of note, repeal of these deductions were some of the most controversial elements of the House plan. None will be repealed in the final version.
  • Medical expense deduction
  • Tax-free graduate school tuition waivers
  • Private activity bonds
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Teacher spending deduction
The news of a deal came just hours after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Republicans to hold off on a tax bill until newly-elected Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, was seated in January.

President Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, “We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.” CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The day after suffering a political blow in the Alabama special Senate election, congressional Republicans sped forward with the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades, announcing an agreement on a final bill that would cut taxes for businesses and individuals and signal the party’s first major legislative achievement since assuming political control this year.

Party leaders in the House and Senate agreed in principle to bridge the yawning gaps between their competing versions of the $1.5 trillion tax bill, keeping Republicans on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas. The House and Senate versions of the tax bill started from the same core principles — sharply cutting taxes on businesses, while reducing rates and eliminating some breaks for individuals — but diverged on several crucial details.

In the end, more of the Senate bill appeared to be included in the final version, though lawmakers continued to make significant changes from the legislation that passed either the House or the Senate.

The changes included a slightly higher corporate tax rate of 21 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the legislation that passed both chambers, and a lower top individual tax rate of 37 percent for the wealthiest Americans, who currently pay 39.6 percent. But the bill will still scale back some popular tax breaks, including the state and local tax deduction and the deductibility of mortgage interest.

In a break from the House bill, the agreement would allow taxpayers to continue to deduct high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and it would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. Also included in the consensus bill is the Senate’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty and a provision that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to energy exploration.

Still unclear is the overall cost of the revised legislation, which cannot exceed the $1.5 trillion bucket that lawmakers have allowed if they want to pass the bill without Democratic support. Several of the provisions added by the Senate to help pay for the overall bill were either reversed or scaled back in the consensus version, and some tax breaks eliminated by the House were added back in.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/us/politics/tax-bill-republicans-deal.html

House, Senate reach tax bill agreement

Original source for this article can be found on RT by clicking here
Dec. 13 (UPI) — Republicans in the House and Senate on Wednesday reached an agreement, in principle, on a consensus tax bill, keeping the party on track for final votes next week and a push to President Donald Trump‘s desk by Christmas.Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, said he is confident the deal will be approved. Details of the agreement were not immediately available.Democrats, who have been locked out of the process, criticized the rush to pass the bill next week and called on Republican leaders to wait for the newly elected Democratic senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, to be sworn in. He defeated Roy Moore on Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.Senate Republicans had a meeting Wednesday to go over the details before briefing House Republicans and making a formal announcement.Last-minute changes to the bill include lowering the top individual tax rate to 37 percent and setting the corporate tax rate at 21 percent, a source who was briefed on the package told a The Hill.Also, as a compromise between the Senate and House versions of the bill, mortgage interest deduction will be capped at $750,000 and as a relief to people living in high-tax areas. The bill allows state and local property or income tax deductions of up to $10,000.

If passed, the legislation repeals an essential piece of the Affordable Care Act that requires people to purchase health insurance.

https://newsline.com/house-senate-reach-tax-bill-agreement/

President Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, “We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.” CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The day after suffering a political blow in the Alabama special Senate election, congressional Republicans sped forward with the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades, announcing an agreement on a final bill that would cut taxes for businesses and individuals and signal the party’s first major legislative achievement since assuming political control this year.

Party leaders in the House and Senate agreed in principle to bridge the yawning gaps between their competing versions of the $1.5 trillion tax bill, keeping Republicans on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas. The House and Senate versions of the tax bill started from the same core principles — sharply cutting taxes on businesses, while reducing rates and eliminating some breaks for individuals — but diverged on several crucial details.

In the end, more of the Senate bill appeared to be included in the final version, though lawmakers continued to make significant changes from the legislation that passed either the House or the Senate.

The changes included a slightly higher corporate tax rate of 21 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the legislation that passed both chambers, and a lower top individual tax rate of 37 percent for the wealthiest Americans, who currently pay 39.6 percent. But the bill will still scale back some popular tax breaks, including the state and local tax deduction and the deductibility of mortgage interest.

In a break from the House bill, the agreement would allow taxpayers to continue to deduct high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and it would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. Also included in the consensus bill is the Senate’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty and a provision that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to energy exploration.

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Still unclear is the overall cost of the revised legislation, which cannot exceed the $1.5 trillion bucket that lawmakers have allowed if they want to pass the bill without Democratic support. Several of the provisions added by the Senate to help pay for the overall bill were either reversed or scaled back in the consensus version, and some tax breaks eliminated by the House were added back in.

Photo

President Trump had lunch with Republicans on the House-Senate conference committee, including Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, right, and Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, left, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

The announcement that Republicans had overcome their differences to get to a consensus bill added more momentum to the sprint to the finish line. Republicans dismissed requests by Democrats to delay a vote until the new senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, is sworn in.

“I see no need to wait for Doug Jones to become a senator,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. “We vote all the time in lame-duck sessions with retired and defeated members casting votes.”

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, told reporters that he was confident the final bill would be approved next week. The leaders of the tax-writing committees in the House and the Senate, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas and Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, each proclaimed a bill “close” to completion.

In a compromise between the bills, the deal would cap the popular deduction for interest on mortgage debt at $750,000 for newly purchased homes, a higher cap than the $500,000 limit in the House-passed bill but lower than the $1 million limit that currently exists and remains in the Senate-passed bill.

The agreement would cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, which is lower than the current 35 percent rate but higher than the 20 percent that Mr. Trump had, until recently, said was nonnegotiable. The corporate rate would take effect in 2018, rather than 2019, as the Senate bill originally called for, according to a senior Republican congressional aide.

The bill also allows individuals to somewhat choose how to use their state and local tax deduction, giving them the ability to write off up to $10,000 in property taxes, income or sales taxes paid or a combination of property and sales or property and income taxes. That move is intended to alleviate the concerns of House Republicans, particularly those from California, over the bill’s treatment of the state and local tax deduction.

Lawmakers also yielded to concerns by business groups about the Senate’s last-minute inclusion of the corporate alternative minimum tax, which was added as a way to pay for the bill but faced stiff blowback from companies that said it would restrict their ability to use the research and development tax credit.

Photo

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the finance committee, tweeted on Wednesday morning that Republican leaders should delay the tax process until Doug Jones, the newly elected Democratic Senator from Alabama, takes his seat. CreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

In an effort to assuage concerns that wealthy individuals would face a potential tax increase, the top individual income tax rate will drop to 37 percent, down from the current rate of 39.6 percent in the Senate bill and the 38.5 percent in the House bill. And the lower rate will apply to more people, allowing those with income levels below the $1 million cutoff outlined in both the House and Senate bills to claim the marginal rate.

The consensus bill will preserve the individual alternative minimum tax, which the House bill had eliminated and the Senate bill retained in a watered-down form. But it will apply to even fewer taxpayers than the Senate bill would have, the congressional aide said. The alternative tax, which was put in place to ensure high-income earners did not exploit loopholes to avoid paying taxes, would kick in for individuals earning at least $500,000 and for couples earning at least $1 million.

The agreement may allow some high-earning business owners to claim an even larger tax break than the Senate bill would have. Negotiators agreed to keep the Senate’s approach to provide a tax deduction for so-called pass-through companies, whose owners pay taxes on profits through the individual code. That deduction is likely to be lower than the 23 percent deduction in the Senate-passed bill.

But, the aide said, the consensus bill will include a House provision that would allow some pass-through owners with few employees — but large amounts of investment in their businesses — to bypass a limit on how much income qualifies for the preferential deduction.

The consensus bill would also largely retain the Senate approach to taxing multinational companies, by levying what is effectively a minimum tax on both American-based and foreign-based companies that operate in the United States.

Mr. Trump praised House and Senate negotiators in a lunch meeting at the White House. “We’re very close to getting it done; we’re very close to voting,” Mr. Trump said of the tax bill.

It is not clear whether all Republican senators will roundly endorse the deal, which includes provisions that Ms. Collins and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida had raised concerns about this week. Ms. Collins has said she does not favor a lower individual rate, and Mr. Rubio has pushed for a more generous child tax credit.

GRAPHIC

How the Final Tax Bill Will Affect Families, Homeowners, Businesses and More

Republicans have resolved the differences between the two versions of their tax bill.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

Still, none of those concerned senators indicated on Wednesday that they were opposed to the bill taking shape under the agreement in principle, an encouraging sign for Republican leaders.

The Senate bill narrowly passed 51 to 49, with Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, voting against the legislation, and other lawmakers, like Ms. Collins, getting on board only once certain changes, including expanding the medical expense deduction, were made. Mr. Corker said on Wednesday that “nothing has alleviated the concerns” that caused him to oppose the bill, which were rooted in a desire not to add further to the national debt.

The agreement was completed on Wednesday morning, hours before the first and only scheduled public meeting of the congressional conference committee formed to work out the differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the bill.

“Let’s understand what’s happening today is a sham,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee. “Nobody ought to mistake this conference for real debate.”

Mr. Trump delivered what was called a closing argument for the tax bill from the White House on Wednesday afternoon, flanked by five families who each took the microphone to extol the benefits of the tax bill on their households and communities.

“As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country,” Mr. Trump said. “Now we are just days away from keeping that promise. We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.”

Mr. Trump added that if the bill were to be signed in that time frame, Americans would begin seeing tax cuts reflected in their paychecks by February, citing the Internal Revenue Service. “The cynical voices that opposed tax cuts grow smaller and weaker, and the American people grow stronger,” he said.

Correction: December 14, 2017 
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to one provision of the tax proposal. The agreement would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. It does not apply to tuition stipends.

 

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Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases

Policy makers pencil in three quarter-point rate raises for next year, as they had in September

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen arrives for her press conference Wednesday. The central bank’s rate-setting committee voted 7-2 to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%.
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen arrives for her press conference Wednesday. The central bank’s rate-setting committee voted 7-2 to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%. PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve showed continued optimism about the U.S. economy in voting Wednesday to raise short-term interest rates for the third time this year, and signaling it would stay on a similar path next year amid a leadership transition.

Officials nudged their economic-growth estimates higher for the next few years on expectations that congressional Republicans will pass tax cuts. But the Fed policy makers’ new projections suggest the boost wouldn’t be so large that they would have to speed up the pace of rate increases to guard against too much inflation.

“At the moment the U.S. economy is performing well,” Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said at a press conference after the central bank’s two-day policy meeting ended Wednesday.

“The growth that we’re seeing, it’s not based on, for example, an unsustainable buildup of debt,” she added. “The global economy is doing well. We’re in a synchronized expansion. This is the first time in many years we’ve seen this.”

The Fed said it would increase its benchmark federal-funds rate Thursday by a quarter percentage point to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%, the fifth such increase in the past two years. Officials penciled in three quarter-point rate increases for next year, as they had in September, and two such increases each in 2019 and 2020.

The big question heading into their two-day meeting was how much Fed officials expected to lift rates in coming years. The prospect of new fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts, combined with solid hiring and lofty asset values, could argue for picking up the pace to prevent the economy from overheating. But low inflation and modest wage growth could support the case for sticking with a gradual approach.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans joined Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari on Wednesday in casting two dissenting votes, against seven in favor or raising rates. Both have cited weak inflation as a reason to hold off.

Fed officials projected the economy would grow 2.5% next year, up from the 2.1% they predicted in September. They also expect the unemployment rate will fall to 3.9% by the end of next year, down from their earlier forecast of 4.1%.

Officials didn’t project more interest-rate increases or higher inflation because price pressures have been surprisingly muted this year. They still project inflation to rise to their 2% target by 2019, the same as they expected in September.

“It could take a longer period of a very strong labor market in order to achieve the inflation objective,” Ms. Yellen said Wednesday.

Economists said the latest projections and Ms. Yellen’s comments Wednesday show officials believe growth won’t generate as much inflation as previously thought. “If inflation does actually pick up, it implies that they move more rapidly” to raise rates, said Lewis Alexander, chief U.S. economist at Nomura Securities.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, above, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, below, dissented to the Fed’s decision to raise short-term interest rates.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, above, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, below, dissented to the Fed’s decision to raise short-term interest rates. PHOTO: ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS
Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases
PHOTO: MARK KAUZLARICH/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Fed officials slashed their benchmark federal-funds rate to near zero during the financial crisis and held it there for seven years before raising it by a quarter percentage point in December 2015, the start of a gradual series of small increases. In October, the Fed also started shrinking its $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds and other assets, most of which were purchased as part of extraordinary postcrisis measures to support the economy.

Since officials last met in early November, Congress has moved rapidly on legislation that would cut business and individual taxes by around $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Before this week, many Fed officials refrained from building into their forecasts much prospect of fiscal stimulus because it wasn’t clear what Congress would pass.

House and Senate Republicans are reconciling different versions of tax bills that have passed their respective chambers with the goal of putting a unified plan before President Donald Trump to sign by Christmas. The White House has said the plan can boost growth to levels that make up for revenue shortfalls.

An analysis from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation found the tax bill wouldn’t pay for itself with more economic growth and instead would result in about $1 trillion in additional budget deficits over a decade.

Fed officials’ projections show they don’t see the tax cut raising the economy’s long-run growth rate, which they left unchanged at 1.8%.

“It’s fair to say that the Fed doesn’t see the tax package as a game changer in terms of growth—just some modest upside, concentrated mostly in 2018,” said Roberto Perli, an analyst at research firm Cornerstone Macro LP.

While officials have now largely incorporated the effects of tax changes into their growth forecasts, Ms. Yellen said, “importantly, you really don’t at the end of the day see very much change in the federal-funds rate path.”

Ms. Yellen added that she remained concerned higher budget deficits could leave fiscal policy makers with less scope to respond aggressively to an economic downturn in the future. Budget deficits are projected to grow as the baby boom ages, even before the added effect of tax cuts. “Taking what is already a significant problem and making it worse, it is a concern to me,” she said.

While Ms. Yellen will preside over one more Fed meeting early next year, Wednesday featured her last scheduled press conference before her term ends Feb. 3. While she is likely to hand her successor an economy in far better shape than when she took over four years ago, the Fed faces several balancing acts.

On one hand, inflation has run below its annual 2% target most of this year, reaching just 1.6% in October by the central bank’s preferred gauge. On the other hand, with the economy so strong and more stimulus on the way, they don’t want to hold rates too low for too long and cause price pressures to surge out of control or fuel asset bubbles and other financial imbalances.

Now that the Fed has successfully moved interest rates away from zero and initiated the steady wind down of the portfolio, “the battle is over the terminal fed-funds rate, and how quickly you get to it,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist of Standish Mellon and former director of the Fed’s monetary policy division. Fed officials’ new projections show they see that longer-run level at around 2.75%, implying the Fed is already about half way there.

Mr. Trump’s nominee to succeed Ms. Yellen as central bank chief, Fed governor Jerome Powell, has indicated he could offer a lighter touch on financial regulation but has shown few signs of diverging from Ms. Yellen on monetary policy.

Ms. Yellen has said she would resign her seat on the Fed’s seven-member board once Mr. Powell is confirmed and sworn in, making her the third governor to leave within a year and giving Mr. Trump another opportunity to reshape the Fed.

Fed officials also are wrestling with the fact that the economy isn’t responding to its rate moves as it did in the past, making it harder to discern the right policy path.

Fed increases in short-term rates used to tighten credit more broadly, causing bond yields to rise and boosting other borrowing costs, such as for mortgages, credit cards and business loans. This year, instead, financial conditions have eased, with stock prices rising to new highs and long-term bond yields remaining low, due in part to easy-money policies from central banks in Europe and Japan.

Banks have held rates on savings deposits at historically low levels. The average interest rate paid by the biggest U.S. banks on interest-bearing deposits rose to 0.40% in the third quarter, up from 0.34% in the second quarter, according to Autonomous Research.

Low interest rates have been a pleasant surprise for Joe Williams, 33, who is looking to trade up to a larger home to make room for a growing family. Mr. Williams, who works in retail operations, and his wife are preapproved for a 30-year mortgage that carries a 3.75% interest rate for the first seven years. That is higher than the 3.125% rate he locked in on his Minneapolis home two years ago.

If rates looked likely to rise faster, “that would motivate us to get a little bit more aggressive” in buying the move-up home, he said.

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

Appeared in the December 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Fed Hikes Rates as Economy Picks Up.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-raises-interest-rates-sees-continued-path-of-increases-in-2018-1513191780

Federal funds rate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the supply of money in the U.S. economy[3] to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate.

Mechanism

Financial Institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4] of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accountsNOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007-2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjustments in the interest rate on reserves.[5] The target rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[6] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[7]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[8]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market’s views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the CME Group FedWatch tool allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such implied probabilities is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of 14 June 2017 the target range for the Federal Funds Rate is 1.00-1.25%.[9] This represents the fourth increase in the target rate since tightening began in December 2015.

The last full cycle of rate increases occurred between June 2004 and June 2006 as rates steadily rose from 1.00% to 5.25%. The target rate remained at 5.25% for over a year, until the Federal Reserve began lowering rates in September 2007. The last cycle of easing monetary policy through the rate was conducted from September 2007 to December 2008 as the target rate fell from 5.25% to a range of 0.00-0.25%. Between December 2008 and December 2015 the target rate remained at 0.00-0.25%, the lowest rate in the Federal Reserve’s history, as a reaction to the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 and its aftermath. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[10]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.jpg

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, price normally falls. The price here is the interest rate (cost of money) and specifically refers to the Federal Funds Rate. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the Fed Funds Rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, price (or in this case interest rates) will normally rise.[11]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during recessions and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[12] in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the Fed Funds Rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 — Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%–3.00% (Includes 1990–1991 recession)[13][14]
  • Feb 1, 1995 — Nov 17, 1998: 6.00–4.75 [15][16][17]
  • May 16, 2000 — June 25, 2003: 6.50–1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[18][19][20]
  • June 29, 2006 — (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25–1.00[21]
  • Dec 16, 2008 — 0.0–0.25[22]
  • Dec 16, 2015 — 0.25-0.50[23]
  • Dec 14, 2016 — 0.50-0.75[24]
  • Mar 15, 2017 — 0.75-1.00[25]
  • Jun 14, 2017 — 1.00-1.25[26]
  • Dec 13, 2017 — 1.25-1.50[27]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and/or housing fell.[28]

International effects

A low federal funds rate makes investments in developing countries such as China or Mexico more attractive. A high federal funds rate makes investments in other countries less attractive. The long period of a very low federal funds rate from 2009 forward resulted in an increase in investment in developing countries. As the United States began to return to a higher rate in 2013 investments in the United States became more attractive and the rate of investment in developing countries began to fall. The rate also affects the value of currency, a higher rate increasing the value of the U.S. dollar and decreasing the value of currencies such as the Mexican peso.[29]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Fedpoints: Federal Funds”Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  2. Jump up^ “The Implementation of Monetary Policy”. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. 24 August 2011. p. 4. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  3. Jump up^ “Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. 2008-01-30. Archived from the original on 2001-04-13. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  4. Jump up^ “Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. Jump up^ Stefan Homburg (2017) A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-880753-7.
  6. Jump up^ “Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak. “Open Market Operations in the 1990s” (PDF). Federal Reserve Bulletin (PDF).
  8. Jump up^ “BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16.
  9. Jump up^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement” (Press release). Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 2017-06-14. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  10. Jump up^ “4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  11. Jump up^ David Waring (2008-02-19). “An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  12. Jump up^ “Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  13. Jump up^ “$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  14. Jump up^ “$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. Jump up^ “$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. Jump up^ “$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. Jump up^