US Politics in Trump era
The Israelis deployed StingRay mobile identity-catchers, devices that are mistaken for cell towers by cell phones, allowing them to capture the contents of calls and the mobile browser activity. Lipmann says that the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division subjected the devices to extensive forensic tests, looking at where the components came from, how old they were, and considering who would have access to them, and the trail led inexorably to Israel.
They lied to the public for months before Donald Trump was elected — and then repeatedly after he took office. They lied to Congress as lawmakers sought to investigate Russia’s attack on American democracy in 2016. And they lied to the FBI, even when they knew lying was a crime.
In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
President Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him with a loyalist who will now take charge of the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference, a defiant move just a day after a midterm election loss.
Robert Mueller asks FBI to investigate ‘women offered money to make false sexual harassment claims against him’
Robert Mueller has asked the FBI to probe allegations that a woman was offered up to $20,000 to make false accusations of sexual harassment against him. In a rare public statement from the office of the man investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, said it had been notified of the accusations last week, apparently by journalists.
The FBI hasn’t interviewed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford because it doesn’t have clear authority from the White House to do so, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Instead, the White House has indicated to the FBI that testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford, who has accused him of attempting to rape her when they were in high school, before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week is sufficient, said the people, who asked to not be identified discussing the sensitive matter.
Memos written by Andrew McCabe, then the acting FBI director, say deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein suggested he secretly record his talks with President Trump, and that Rosenstein discussed possibly trying to remove him from office, according to people familiar with the matter.
On Sept. 11 anniversary, Trump launches fresh attacks on FBI and Justice Department with dubious allegation
As politicians and others went on Twitter on Tuesday morning to mark the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Trump used the platform to launch a fresh round of assaults on the FBI and Justice Department.
In nearly three decades at the Justice Department, Mr. Ohr has made a career of supporting and facilitating important cases that targeted Russian organized crime. Now he is a target of President Trump, who has put his security clearance under review and attacked him publicly, and allies.
President Trump refused to support the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying at the end of his summit here Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the autocrat privately gave him an “extremely strong and powerful” denial.
One day in late May 2016, Roger Stone — the political dark sorcerer and longtime confidant of Donald Trump — slipped into his Jaguar and headed out to meet a man with a Make America Great Again hat and a viscous Russian accent. The man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Stone and Caputo’s interactions with Greenberg mean that at least 11 Trump associates or campaign officials have acknowledged interactions with a Russian during the election season or presidential transition.
Special counsel Robert Mueller said Tuesday that election meddling operations like those conducted by Russia during the 2016 presidential election are still occurring. "Uncharged individuals and entities" are still engaging in operations similar to those charged in a case involving 13 Russian nationals and three entities accused of illegally interfering in U.S. politics, Mueller said.
Mr. McCabe’s memo, one of several that he wrote, highlights the conflicting roles that Mr. Rosenstein plays in the case. He supervises the special counsel investigation and has told colleagues that protecting it is among his highest priorities. But many current and former law enforcement officials are suspicious of some of his other actions, including allowing some of Mr. Trump’s congressional allies to view crucial documents from the investigation.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.
The FBI has found that a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, including during the 2016 campaign when Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with the associate, according to new court filings.
Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director and a frequent target of President Trump’s scorn, was fired Friday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rejected an appeal that would have let him retire this weekend.vMr. McCabe promptly declared that his firing, and Mr. Trump’s persistent needling, were intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation in which he is a potential witness.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing a recommendation to fire the former F.B.I. deputy director, Andrew G. McCabe, just days before he is scheduled to retire on Sunday, people briefed on the matter said. Mr. McCabe was a frequent target of attack from President Trump, who taunted him both publicly and privately.
Nunberg said that the special counsel had sought to convince him to testify against another former Trump adviser, Roger Stone, for colluding with Russians, but he said he would not because Stone has been a friend and mentor to him.
A former top adviser to Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign pleaded guilty on Friday to fraud and lying to investigators in the special counsel inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and will cooperate with the investigation.
The special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin has stepped up pressure on the former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, by filing new sealed court charges against him. Reuters saw a court record referring to the sealed charges, which were also directed against Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business associate, but the documents provided no details on the nature of the charges.
The lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, a 33-year-old Dutch citizen, acknowledged in federal court in Washington that he lied to prosecutors about a September 2016 conversation with Rick Gates, the former Trump aide, over work they did together for a Ukrainian political party aligned with Russia. He also admitted that he deleted records of email exchanges that prosecutors had sought. He faces up to five years in prison but said in court that he expected to serve six months or less.
President Trump questioned the intensifying special counsel investigation of his 2016 campaign and his administration while attacking his own national security adviser, the FBI, Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama, Democrats in Congress, CNN and others in a remarkable nine-hour span of tweets that included profanity and misspellings.
House Republicans released a disputed memo on Friday compiled by congressional aides that accused the F.B.I. and Justice Department of abusing their surveillance powers to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. The memo, which has prompted a political firestorm, also criticizes information used by law enforcement officials in their application for a warrant to wiretap Mr. Page, and names the senior F.B.I. and Justice Department officials who approved the highly classified warrant.
Andrew G. McCabe abruptly stepped down on Monday as the F.B.I.’s deputy director after months of withering criticism from President Trump, telling friends he felt pressure from the head of the bureau to leave, according to two people close to Mr. McCabe.
On Thursday night, the New York Times reported that President Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June. Trump ordered White House counsel Donald F. McGahn to oust Mueller, but backed down when McGahn threatened to resign. Trump, however, has publicly denied even considering firing Mueller.
The head of the research firm behind a dossier of allegations against Donald Trump told congressional investigators that someone inside Trump’s network had also provided the FBI with information during the 2016 campaign. It was released by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. Feinstein said she released the transcript to set the record straight. “The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice,’’ she said.
For months, efforts to discredit special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign flickered at the fringes of political debate. Now, the allegation that FBI and Justice Department officials are part of a broad conspiracy against President Trump is suddenly center stage, amplified by conservative activists, GOP lawmakers, right-leaning media and the president himself.
As the flagrant anti-F.B.I. rhetoric instilled by Donald Trump and his allies seeps into the Republican mainstream, the G.O.P. is expanding its push to cast doubt on the efforts of Robert Mueller and his team.
According to Trump’s own tweet, he would have known Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn, assuring him Flynn had done nothing wrong. On Twitter, Matthew Miller, a former Department of Justice official, echoes that Trump’s new version of events indicates an effort to obstruct Comey’s investigation.
Mr. Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry.
Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, are said to have terminated an information-sharing agreement with the president’s legal team. Defense lawyers frequently share information during investigations, but they must stop when doing so would pose a conflict of interest. It is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation.
Trump issued four tweets over 24 minutes, attacking the Mueller probe as unfair and citing various Clinton controversies that he said warranted investigation. “Instead they look at phony Trump/Russia, ‘collusion,’ which doesn’t exist,” the president said. “The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R’s are now fighting back like never before. There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”
A former campaign aide to Donald Trump, George Papadopoulos, who sought to secure a meeting between the future US president and Vladimir Putin has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents working for special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director, according to White House officials. Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved “great pressure” on him.
Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation.
During a news briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the administration’s case for prosecuting former FBI Director James Comey from the White House podium. In making the comments, Sanders is disregarding what was previously an important ethical standard — that the Justice Department has prosecutorial independence. The idea is that the Justice Department should decide who to prosecute based on a unbiased application of the law, not political pressure from the White House. This is something that neither Sanders or her boss seem to value.
Investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently searched the Northern Virginia home of President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for tax documents and foreign banking records, a sign that the inquiry into Mr. Manafort has broadened, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Shortly after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told several of the highest-ranking managers of the bureau they should consider themselves possible witnesses in any investigation into whether President Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials.
As Mueller investigates Trump's business, new reporting ties the key players in the infamous Don Jr. meeting to money laundering cases. "The roots of Mueller’s follow-the-money investigation lie in a wide-ranging money laundering probe launched by then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara last year," the Bloomberg story says, attributing this information to "someone familiar with the developing inquiry but not authorized to speak publicly." (Bharara was fired from his job in March.)
President Trump laced into the attorney general, deputy attorney general, acting FBI director, former FBI director and the special counsel in an interview yesterday with the New York Times that, even by Trump standards, is remarkable.
Evidence is emerging that the hacking and disinformation campaign waged at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin took at least four separate but related paths. The first involved establishing personal contact with Americans perceived as sympathetic to Moscow — such as former Defense Intelligence Agency chief Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and early Trump foreign-policy adviser Carter Page — and using them as a means to further Russia's foreign-policy goals.
FBI is probing whether Jane Sanders improperly acquired bank loans to expand Burlington College, which was forced to close because of heavy debt. Brady Toensing of Burlington, the man responsible for the claims filed to the U.S. attorney for Vermont, was a chairman for the Trump campaign in his state.
Senior officials across the government became convinced in January that the incoming national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had become vulnerable to Russian blackmail. At the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — agencies responsible for keeping American secrets safe from foreign spies — career officials agreed that Mr. Flynn represented an urgent problem. Yet nearly every day for three weeks, the new C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, sat in the Oval Office and briefed President Trump on the nation’s most sensitive intelligence — with Mr. Flynn listening.
President Trump put fresh pressure on the second-highest-ranking official at the Justice Department on Friday, raising concerns among the president’s critics that Rod J. Rosenstein could be in danger of being fired, while others argued that if he stays he should recuse himself from his role overseeing the special-counsel probe that has engulfed the White House. “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt,” the president said on Twitter.
The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates.
Sources with links to the Justice Department confirm that U.S. intelligence has legal copies of all Donald Trump’s “tapes” of his meetings with Director Comey – and that Comey had his own phone legally hacked in order to record suspects, including Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr, for over a year.
In his statement, Comey makes it clear that Trump was seeking to put pressure on him. “My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship,” Comey said. “That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.”
The day after President Trump asked James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, to end an investigation into his former national security adviser, Mr. Comey confronted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and said he did not want to be left alone again with the president, according to current and former law enforcement officials.
As top law enforcement officials of the Bush administration (Mueller as FBI Director and James Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited plain vanilla incompetence.
Jared Kushner is now under congressional and F.B.I. scrutiny after his meeting with a close ally of Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Here’s how the Russian banker Sergey N. Gorkov could benefit from meeting President Trump’s senior adviser.
Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” in the US counter-intelligence investigation that is looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Guardian has been told. Sources with knowledge of the investigation said the former Ukip leader had raised the interest of FBI investigators because of his relationships with individuals connected to both the Trump campaign and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whom Farage visited in March.
The bureau’s director may have relied on murky intelligence to push aside Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in 2016. The Russians used fake news to influence Mr. Comey's decision in June to chastise Ms. Clinton and call the investigation completed.
John O. Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., offered the fullest public account yet of how the federal investigation into Russian election meddling began. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan described a nerve-fraying few months as American authorities realized that the election was under attack and worried that Mr. Trump’s campaign might be aiding that fight. His remarks were the fullest public account to date of the origins of an F.B.I. investigation that continues to shadow the Trump administration.
Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence
President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials. Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly been identified as a “person of interest” in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign. The Washington Post said a senior adviser to Mr Trump was among people investigators wanted to speak to. A New York magazine reporter then said the person in question was Mr Kushner, 36, who is married to Mr Trump’s eldest daughter and who flew out of Washington on Friday night to accompany the President on his first official foreign trip.
A leading candidate to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), withdrew from consideration Tuesday, providing another sign that a partisan figure might have a hard time winning confirmation to the influential law-enforcement post. “Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director,” Mr. Cornyn said.
This week, FBI Director James Comey joined Mary McCord, Sally Yates, and Preet Bharara as senior law enforcement officials who either resigned under Trump or were fired outright. As new officials are appointed to take their places, it’s getting hard to keep track of who is responsible for the Trump-Russia investigation. Two of these key officials (Dana Boente and Rod Rosenstein) are Trump appointees; the third (Andrew McCabe) will likely be replaced by a Trump pick soon.
In an interview with me this morning, Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, a persistent Trump critic, argued that this demand for loyalty, if it happened, could constitute an effort to obstruct justice, particularly when viewed in the light of the subsequent firing of Comey. “The demand for loyalty from the head of the organization investigating those around you, when you have the power to fire that person — if you wrote a novel about obstruction of justice, this would almost be too good to be true,” Tribe told me.
Here is an example of fake news. The article refutes its own headline at the end of the article. Article later states that McCabe was not sure if Comey had asked for more funds and that the claim that he is not popular is false.
In the weeks before President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, a federal investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government was heating up, as Mr. Comey became increasingly occupied with the probe. Mr. Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter and the progress of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. Mr. Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion, according to these people.
President Trump has fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the White House said on Tuesday.Mr. Comey’s dismissal was a stunning development for a president that benefited from the F.B.I. investigation of the Democratic nominee during the 2016 campaign. Separately, the F.B.I. also is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election.
Donald Trump is either too clueless to understand that today’s firing of James Comey will do nothing to stop the advancement of the Russia investigation, or he’s too egomaniacal and petty to care that the firing won’t help his cause. Either way, this move won’t change anything – other than embolden those working to take him down.
Some polls showing a Clinton decline, including one by The Upshot, were conducted before the letter by James Comey was released. Most important, the polls taken before the letter were as bad for Mrs. Clinton as those conducted after it. Again, there aren’t many of these polls, but taken at face value there’s a case that Mrs. Clinton had nearly or even completely bottomed out by the time the Comey letter was released. Even if she had not, the trend line heading into the Comey letter was bad enough that there’s no need to assume that the Comey letter was necessary for any additional erosion in her lead.
One day after Jason Chaffetz announced out of nowhere that he won’t be seeking reelection to Congress in 2018 and that he won’t be running for any other office, he followed it up today by hinting that he may not even finish his term. Now comes a report that one of Chaffetz’s own former staffers is confirming that Chaffetz is under FBI investigation, and that it’s going to become public before much longer.
Information presently public and available confirms that Erik Prince, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump conspired to intimidate FBI Director James Comey into interfering in, and thus directly affecting, the 2016 presidential election. This conspiracy was made possible with the assistance of officers in the New York Police Department and agents within the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All of the major actors in the conspiracy have already confessed to its particulars either in word or in deed; moreover, all of the major actors have publicly exhibited consciousness of guilt after the fact.
Buried in the last paragraph of a Guardian story about British intelligence alerting the U.S. to contact between Trump advisers and Russian officials is this sort-of bombshell: One source suggested the official [American] investigation was making progress. “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” the source said. “This is between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.”
On a day in which reliable sources are pointing to the Trump-Russia investigation being so far along that arrests could come as soon as next week (link) and that Rudy Giuliani’s offer to flip is no longer even needed (link), another piece of the puzzle is now coming from an insider who has a tendency to be proven right about these things. The upshot: one or more of Donald Trump’s kids is about to go down.
The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.
Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, has told the FBI and congressional committees investigating the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia that he is willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.
The F.B.I. director wants the Justice Department to refute Mr. Trump’s contention that Barack Obama ordered the tapping of his phones, a claim that Mr. Comey says is false, officials said.
The FBI is investigating companies they believe may have been fronts for Trump-Russia business deals. The investigation includes financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies thought to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.
FBI Finishes Hillary Clinton Email Review: ‘We Have Not Changed Our Conclusions,’ Comey Says : The Two-Way
Director James Comey says the FBI's review of new emails involving Hillary Clinton doesn't change the decision not to press charges against Clinton over her use of a private server.
Hillary Clinton sparked an FBI backlash, which is now surfacing, when she stonewalled the Feds, who were trying to investigate her private server, Julian Assange said during the John Pilger Special, courtesy of Dartmouth Films, which is now available in full on RT.
After lengthy investigations, officials also believe that a hacking of Democratic emails was aimed at disrupting the election rather than electing Mr. Trump. Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.
While news media and the FBI have published information regarding Hillary Clinton's emails they have refrained from publishing information regarding on ties between Donald Trump and Russia
In a NYTimes Op-Ed, George W Bush's ethics lawyer said - " It would be highly improper, and an abuse of power, for the F.B.I. to conduct such an investigation in the public eye, particularly on the eve of the election. It would be an abuse of power for the director of the F.B.I., absent compelling circumstances, to notify members of Congress from the party opposing the candidate that the candidate or his associates were under investigation.
Like many Americans, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to know why the DOJ hasn't criminally prosecuted anyone responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. On Thursday, Warren released two highly provocative letters demanding some explanations. One is to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, requesting a review of how federal law enforcement managed to whiff on all 11 substantive criminal referrals submitted by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a panel set up to examine the causes of the 2008 meltdown
FBI through extensive interviews was satisfied with Hillary Clinton's explanations regarding her emails. It is also revealed that her use of private email server was due to advice from Colin Powell yet the Republicans are not satisfied and plan further investigation.