In an interview on Sunday with Jonathan Karl on ABC News’ “This Week,” Rep. Adam Schiff acknowledged it wouldn’t be “appropriate” for Democrats to receive any assistance from the Ukrainian government, but he suggested the alleged scandal involving Donald Trump Jr. and people claiming to have damaging information given by the Russian government is much worse.
In January, Politico published an investigative story connecting Ukrainian government officials to a Democrat operative. The operative allegedly used information passed from the Ukrainian government to help Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign in their fight against Donald Trump, who the Ukrainians believed to be too friendly with the Russian government.
According to Politico’s report, which Karl read from before asking Schiff a question about the event, “a Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the DNC met with top officials in the Ukrainian embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia. The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in this race, helping force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that the Trump campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”
“I understand Hillary Clinton lost,” Karl said to Schiff, “and I understand this effort was not as elaborate as the Russian effort, but was it acceptable, or would it have been acceptable for the Democrats to accept help from the Ukrainian government in this campaign?”
“No, it would be appropriate for the Democrats to get help from the Ukrainian government,” replied Schiff. “But I think if you look at the Politico article, and we’re talking about just a single article here, if you accept all the facts in the article, the scale of what the Russians did is not comparable to anything in that article.”
“If it were, the comparable analogy would be that the Ukrainian president directed the Ukrainian intelligence agencies to steal, to hack, Donald Trump’s campaign, steal e-mails, publish them, directed a social media army to influence the election, and sat down — its representatives sat down with Chelsea Clinton and John Podesta in which they indicated they wanted the dirt op Donald Trump,” Schiff said. “There’s no suggestion anything of that magnitude [inaudible].”
“The scale is different. … But the meeting is problematic? This Ukrainian meeting is problematic, in your eyes?” Karl asked.
“Well, it would be problematic to get any kind of support from a foreign government,” Schiff said. “But, again, I think to compare the two is like a bit like comparing bank robbery with writing a check with insufficient funds. Both appropriate money from the bank improperly, but a very different degree of seriousness and involvement in the case by a foreign government.”
As the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff has been one of the Trump administration’s staunchest critics and most skeptical opponents, especially on the issue of possible Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.
Schiff’s comments came just days after a new report revealed at least eight people were present at the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer claiming to have Kremlin-linked damaging knowledge about Hillary Clinton, information Trump Jr. failed to disclose in previous statements about the controversial meeting. NBC News also reported on Friday one of the attendees at the meeting was a former Soviet counterintelligence officer.
President Donald Trump and Trump Jr. have both denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the importance of these reports. On Sunday, Trump wrote on Twitter, “HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?”
HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2017
Posted in ABC News, Adam Schiff, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Politics, Russia, Russia Collusion
Scientists in Russia revealed an advanced prototype combat suit on Thursday they designed for use by the Russian military, and the incredible gear looks like something out of the “Star Wars” film franchise.
According to a report by the Daily Mail (United Kingdom), the suit, designed by the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building in Moscow, features a water-resistant, flame-proof suit; a helmet that includes a built-in breathing apparatus and screen revealing “target information”; a titanium-reinforced exoskeleton connected to a computer, allowing soldiers to carry more weight and for additional periods; and bulletproof boots embedded with mine-detection sensors.
Oleg Chikarev, Central Research Institute’s deputy chief of weapons systems, said the company would like to “develop” the suit “within the next couple of years,” the Daily Mail reported.
The Russian military has previously shown it is interested in developing advanced weaponry and “Star Wars” super-suits for its elite military members. In December 2016, the Russian military announced it had equipped some of its soldiers with advanced white armor, rocket launchers and machine guns, and, incredibly, video footage was released showing their ability to fire weapons while skiing.
In April, Russia tested a 22-foot-long remote-controlled tank that was equipped with a 30 mm automatic machine gun, anti-tank guided missiles and the ability to use a flamethrower, according to the Daily Mail, which also reported the tank could travel up to 37 mph over land.
A report issued in April found Russia has dramatically increased its military spending. The report, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, found Russia spent in 2016 $69.2 billion on its military, the third-highest figure in the world and a 5.9 percent increase compared to 2015. Only the United States and China spent more on their militaries, reported CNN.
Posted in Military, Russia, World
Three journalists at CNN resigned Monday over a story that the network says was improperly vetted and should not have been published.
The story claimed that Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci had met with a chief executive from a Russian investment bank a few days before Trump’s inauguration. It further said that Congressional officials were investigating whether Scaramucci spoke to Dmitriev, the bank official, about possibly relieving U.S. sanctions on the Russian Federation.
But by Friday the story was scrubbed by CNN’s website. A note left in its place online explained that the story didn’t meet CNN’s journalistic standards.
“On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” the note read. “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”
CNN announced on Monday that three journalists responsible for the story had resigned.
The story only cited one source, and CNN said it had not been published with their normal editorial processes.
CNN’s Brian Stelter lauded the reputations of the men who resigned.
[Thomas] Frank worked for USA Today and Newsday for three decades, pursuing investigations and covering the Iraq war as an embedded reporter, before coming to work at CNN.
He was part of an ambitious new investigative unit that was created last winter, bringing together existing teams from within the company and new hires like [Eric] Lichtblau.
A veteran of The New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2006, Lichtblau joined CNN just three months ago.
[Lex] Haris, who was named the executive editor of CNN Investigates in January, was previously the executive editor of CNNMoney.
Scaramucci had accepted their apology on Saturday, saying, “CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted.”
.@CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on. https://t.co/lyVajCKNHx
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) June 24, 2017
“Fake news” has been a contentious issue since the election, as Democrats have blamed the ubiquity of false stories for driving down Hillary Clinton’s favorability, while President Trump and his allies now decry the many leaks from the “deep state” that undermine his agenda.
Posted in Brian Stelter, CNN, Journalism, Media Bias, Politics, Russia, Russian interference, Russian investigation
A new poll shows most voters are growing tired of the allegations of collusion with Russian officials made against the Trump administration.
According to the most recent Harvard-Harris Poll, 56 percent of voters said they want Congress and the media to move on from the Russian investigation. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they believe the investigations will lead to the end of the “Russia inquiry.” Thirty-eight percent said they believe Trump will eventually be impeached.
Additionally, 64 percent of the voters in the poll said they believe “the investigations into Russia and President Trump” are “hurting the country.”
The survey was conducted June 19-21 and included responses from 2,237 American adults who say they vote. When asked which political affiliation they “usually” identify with, 35 percent of respondents said Democrat, 30 percent said independent, 29 percent said Republican, and 6 percent said “other.”
Interestingly, the poll also shows 52 percent of respondents said they have a favorable view of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who scored the highest of all the political figures asked about. Mike Pence finished second, with 47 percent of voters saying they have a favorable view of the vice president. Trump finished third (45 percent) and his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton finished fourth (39 percent).
The poll represents a remarkable shift from just one month ago, when Harvard-Harris found 75 percent of voters supported former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation into the possibility Trump’s campaign team may have colluded with the Russian government to win the election.
After a rocky May, Trump’s approval ratings have steadily improved as Democrats have been unable to show any evidence of their claims about Trump and Russia. The Real Clear Politics average of polls — which includes polls that survey all Americans, not just voters — showed Trump’s approval rating throughout most of May and early June to be below 40 percent, bottoming out at 38.6 on June 13. Since then, Trump’s average approval rating has consistently risen. It’s currently sitting at 40.6 percent.
Posted in Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Poll, polls, Robert Mueller, Russia
CNN was forced to issue a retraction late Friday after they made an unfounded connection between a Trump adviser and Russia.
On Thursday, CNN published a potentially explosive story that linked Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment bank. The story was reported by CNN investigative reporter Thomas Frank.
Talking Points Memo describes the details of the story:
As CNN reported, Scaramucci met with Kirill Dmitriev, the fund’s chief executive, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland just four days before Trump’s inauguration. Congressional investigators reportedly want to know if they discussed lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia—a policy shift for which Dmitriev has strenuously advocated, according to CNN.
A spokeswoman for RDIF told CNN that they did not, though she declined to describe the conversation. Scaramucci also told the network that “there is nothing there.”
Dmitriev “came over to say hello in a restaurant, and I was cordial,” Scaramucci said in an email to CNN.
But by late Friday night, CNN had scrubbed the story from their site and removed its links from the network’s social media accounts. CNN’s editors replaced the story with an editor’s note explaining the story’s removal.
In the note, CNN’s online editors said Frank’s story didn’t meet CNN’s editorial standards. The news outlet also issued an apology to Scaramucci.
“On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” the note read. “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”
On Saturday morning, Scaramucci responded to news that CNN had scrubbed the story and said he accepts the network’s apology.
“.@CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on,” he wrote.
.@CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on. https://t.co/lyVajCKNHx
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) June 24, 2017
An archived version of CNN’s story can still be viewed here.
Posted in CNN, fake news, Mainstream Media, Media, Russia
A former senior Obama official reportedly told the Washington Post that the previous administration did know that Russia was meddling in the election, but they “sort of choked” in response. The Post published the report Friday.
“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” the official said. “I feel like we sort of choked.”
The report says that the Obama administration knew that Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin himself had ordered the alleged cyberattacks in order to trip up Democrat Hillary Clinton and aid Republican Donald Trump.
CIA Director John Brennan first notified the president, and their assessment was verified by the other intelligence agencies in the subsequent weeks.
The Post says former President Obama considered many different retaliatory measures against Putin, even to the point of releasing damaging information gathered by the CIA to embarrass Putin, and imposing sanctions to derail the Russian economy.
But in the end, he ordered very modest measures against the Russian Federation.
In December the government shut down known Russian spy compounds on American soil and imposed light sanctions targeted against specific Russian government officials and operatives. The Post reported in May that the Trump administration was considering returning the compounds to the Russian government.
Obama had also told the press in December that he had personally told Putin to “cut it out” on the meddling in the election.
“What I was concerned about in particular was making sure [the DNC hack] wasn’t compounded by potential hacking that could hamper vote counting, affect the actual election process itself,” the president said at a press conference. “So in early September when I saw president Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn’t happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out and there were going to be serious consequences if he didn’t. And in fact we did not see further tampering of the election process.”
Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken, acknowledged that warning from Obama to Putin, saying that they believed they deterred him from further meddling, but that the “damage was done.”
“We made massive efforts so they couldn’t do that,” Blinken said to CNN’s Kate Bolduan. “This led to two things: President Obama issued a very stark warning to President Putin in September at the G-20 conference in China. What we saw, or thought we saw, after that, it looked like the Russians stopped their efforts. But the damage was already done.”
Posted in Obama, Politics, President Barack Obama, Russia, Russia investigation, Russian Hackers, Russian interference, Vladimir Putin
Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager John Podesta is scheduled to go before Congress and testify about his role in the alleged meddling in the U.S. election by the Russian government, it was reported Thursday.
The House Intelligence Committee will hear his testimony as they continue their investigation into the alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign before the election.
Podesta was a central figure in the election more for his emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks than he was for his managing of Hillary’s campaign. The thousands of emails were an embarrassment to the Hillary Clinton campaign, as her top aides’ candid thoughts were used as fodder to slam the candidate.
The email leak came as a result from Podesta’s misunderstanding with a campaign official who told him to reset his password after receiving a “phishing” email scam. The leak was also the source of the “PizzaGate” conspiracy theory that claimed Podesta and Clinton were a part of a secret Washington D.C. pedophilia ring.
Podesta himself implied during an interview in February that there was a conspiracy among members in the FBI to bring down Clinton in the election.
“There are at least forces within the FBI that wanted her to lose,” he told Bloomberg Politics editor John Heilemann “I’m not sure they really understood the alternative, but they wanted her to lose. I think that’s one possibility.”
He also blamed former FBI Director James Comey for the loss of election as a result of the announcement he made a week before voting day that they were reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“[Comey] made a bad judgment, and I think virtually anybody who has opined on the topic … have said it was a terrible mistake of judgment,” he told Heilemann. “And I think it did terrible damage to us. If you look at the polling at that period time, that’s when the race began to tighten in that week.”
Posted in 2016 election, FBI Director James Comey, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, Politics, Russia, Russian interference, Russian investigation
The goal of the government establishment parading former FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Community on Thursday was to remove President Donald Trump from office, according to Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Carlson explained in a monologue on his show Friday that because Trump is still in office, Comey’s testimony failed to trigger its desired effect.
“As of 8 PM Eastern Time tonight, Donald Trump is still the President of the United States, and that means that on the most basic level, Comey’s testimony failed to achieve its goal. Make no mistake, removing Trump from office was the goal,” Carlson said.
For months, Democrats have alleged that Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian operatives to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign and American democracy. But according to Carlson, nobody in Washington “actually believes” that. Instead, they use the Trump-Russia narrative as a means to try to expel Trump from the White House.
To prove his point, Carlson went on to explain that last summer during the height of the presidential campaign and before the Russia narrative blew wide open, progressives trying to keep Trump from the White House tried to paint him as a racist.
“Trump was supposed to be the biggest racist since Bull Connor,” Carlson quipped.
The Fox host said that Hillary Clinton based her entire campaign strategy on the “Trump is racist” narrative and lost because it turned out to not be true.
Once that narrative fell on its face, Carlson said some creative person came up with the narrative that “Trump is a traitor.”
“A Russian agent posing as a 70-year-old New York real-estate developer,” Carlson said. “It sounded kinda far-fetched, but for some reason it kinda worked. Half the country seemed to buy it and 100 percent of CNN viewers were all in.”
“It’s been all [Russian President Vladimir] Putin since then,” he added.
Now that the Trump-Russia narrative has begun to fall apart thanks to testimony made by Comey and others, Carlson explained that progressives are trying to paint Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a Russian spy.
Carlson pointed out that zero evidence has surfaced to prove the allegations made by Democrats: that Trump or key members of his administration, like Sessions, somehow colluded with Russian operatives to undermine American democracy.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Democratic leaders, like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), from calling on Sessions to resign, which proves the real motive behind their words and actions, Carlson said.
“Again, this is not about truth or fairness, much less protecting this country from foreign threats — it’s about toppling, let’s not lie about it, a democratically elected government that the permanent class in Washington doesn’t like,” he explained.
Posted in Donald Trump, Fox News, James Comey, Jeff Sessions, Media, Russia, Tucker Carlson, watch
National Review Contributing Editor Andrew McCarthy said that although liberals and opponents of President Trump were overjoyed at the implications of the Washington Post story claiming Jared Kushner asked for a Russian back-channel, they missed that it completely blew up their favorite conspiracy theory.
He made the comments on Fox News’ The Specialists Tuesday.
Your thoughts on all this back and forth,” Eric Bolling asked McCarthy, “You know, you’re a prosecutor, your thought – is there any there there?”
“There’s no there there as far as the collusion conspiracy is concerned,” McCarthy answered.
“But I think the thing that happened this weekend that is really important that people missed because they’re so giddy about this story about Kushner, is that it blew up the collusion conspiracy,” he explained, “because if there had actually been a collusion conspiracy, there would already be back channels to Russia.
“There would be no reason for Kushner, in December,” he added, “weeks after the election to need to set up a back channel to Russia, had there been one during the campaign.”
“I know for the moment they’re loving the story, but i think it’s kinda exploded the story that they’ve been telling us for sixth months,” he concluded.
Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation offered another reason to believe there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, saying, “Actually if you look at the, in fact, the policies of the Trump administration, towards Russia, they’re significantly tougher than the ones put in place by the Obama presidency actually. And so the Russians aren’t gaining anything at all, in fact, from this Trump presidency being in place. And in fact the Trump presidency has even talked about expanding sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, and so this is tougher language than what we saw coming out of Obama.”
Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top aide, was accused in a Washington Post report of improperly seeking a “back channel” of secret communications with the Russian government before the inauguration. The White House has not denied the allegations, but decried the anonymous sourcing of the scoop.
Opponents of the president have taken the opportunity to accuse Kushner of possibly committing espionage, while Democrats are calling for his security clearance to be removed while the investigation continues.
Posted in Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian Ambassador, Russian investigation, Trump
In yet another report based on anonymous sources, the Washington Post reported Friday that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s top aide and son-in-law, was attempting to secure a secret channel of communication between the Russian government and the Trump transition team.
Exclusive: Russian ambassador told Moscow that Jared Kushner wanted secret communications channel with the Kremlin https://t.co/kp7Z9eZwux
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 26, 2017
Trump and his supporters have long criticized reports based on anonymous sources as either completely made up by reporters, or illegal leaks from the “deep state” of government employees actively working against the president and his agenda.
According to the report, U.S. officials intercepted communications of Russian operatives discussing Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak telling superiors that Kushner asked him about the possibility of such a secret communications channel during a meeting in December at Trump Tower.
Michael Flynn was also in attendance at the meeting, according to WaPo. Officials made it clear that it was communications of the Russians that were being monitored and not that of Jared Kushner or other Trump associates directly at Trump Tower. That would have confirmed the accusation from Trump that Trump Towers was surveilled by former President Obama.
The report says Kushner wanted the back channel to avoid monitoring of their communications, and that Kislyak was “taken back” by the suggestion that included the possibility of arranging a meeting in a third country.
The Washington Posts’ Adam Entous acknowledged the possibility that Kislyak was inserting false information, or exaggerating, in order to manipulate and complicate reporting in the West.
Per @washingtonpost, @jaredkushner proposed a secret channel for comms. w Russia. @adamentous, on his reporting https://t.co/ZrgE0idihS
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) May 27, 2017
He related that the Washington Post had received a letter detailing the meeting on December 12th, but didn’t publish it because they were uneasy about the source. He tells CNN that they ran with the story after hearing the same details from U.S. officials.
Kushner is currently under investigation by the FBI for his role in alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government before the election.
[Ed. Note: This post has been edited to clarify that the WaPo report is about a meeting before the inauguration, not the election.]
Posted in Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump, Washington Post
A poll released Friday by Reuters/Ipsos reveals President Donald Trump’s approval rating is now at its lowest point since the inauguration, with only 38 percent of adults surveyed saying they approve of his job performance.
The survey captured the opinions of 1,971 adults, including 721 Republicans and 795 Democrats. It was conducted from May 14-18.
According to Reuters/Ipsos, 38 percent of respondents said they approve of Trump’s job performance, 56 percent disapprove, and 6 percent said they have “mixed feelings.”
Interestingly, the survey found little change in the attitudes of Democrats and independents from the previous Reuters/Ipsos poll, which was taken one week ago. The largest change—and thus the reason for Trump’s numbers falling to an all-time low—is due to self-identified Republicans. According to the survey, 23 percent of Republicans said they disapprove of Trump in the latest poll, which is 7 percentage points higher than what was reported last week.
The past week has been one of Trump’s toughest since becoming president. Early in the week, Trump was accused of sharing highly classified information with Russian officials at the White House.
Trump was also accused of having told former FBI Director James Comey that he should drop the investigation into Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who had been fired for misleading Trump administration officials about his ties to Russia.
On Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) announced Comey will publicly answer questions before the committee about potential “Russian interference” in the 2016 election.
Also on Friday, the New York Times reported White House leakers indicated Trump told Russian diplomats Comey is “crazy” and “ a real nut job” and that firing him has lessened the “great pressure” the president has faced over the allegations claiming Trump colluded with Russia to defeat Clinton.
Whether these claims are true or not, it appears, based on the Reuters/Ipsos polling results, these allegations have started to affect Republicans’ view of Trump.
Posted in Donald Trump, James Comey, Politics, Poll, Russia
Fox News analyst Erick Erickson revealed Tuesday in a blog post that sources inside the White House have revealed that President Donald Trump’s involvement with Russia goes way deeper than what’s being reported.
On his website, The Resurgent, Erickson vouched for one of the sources who purportedly revealed to the Washington Post that Trump disclosed “highly classified information” during last week’s meeting with Russian officials.
In a post titled, “I Know One of the Sources,” Erickson said that White House staff are reportedly so fed up with the president that they are leaking information to the press because they feel Trump cares more about headlines than he does about advice.
“What sets this story apart for me, at least, is that I know one of the sources,” Erickson wrote. “And the source is solidly supportive of President Trump, or at least has been and was during Campaign 2016. But the President will not take any internal criticism, no matter how politely it is given. He does not want advice, cannot be corrected, and is too insecure to see any constructive feedback as anything other than an attack.”
Erickson revealed that some of the staff have covertly turned to the media in an effort to get Trump to change.
“So some of the sources are left with no other option but to go to the media, leak the story, and hope that the intense blowback gives the President a swift kick in the butt,” Erickson wrote. “Perhaps then he will recognize he screwed up. The President cares vastly more about what the press says than what his advisers say. That is a real problem and one his advisers are having to recognize and use, even if it causes messy stories to get outside the White House perimeter.”
Erickson then put forth his most damning allegation thus far.
“I am told that what the President did is actually far worse than what is being reported,” he wrote. “The President does not seem to realize or appreciate that his bragging can undermine relationships with our allies and with human intelligence sources. He also does not seem to appreciate that his loose lips can get valuable assets in the field killed.”
You can call these sources disloyal, traitors, or whatever you want. But please ask yourself a question — if the President, through inexperience and ignorance, is jeopardizing our national security and will not take advice or corrective action, what other means are available to get the President to listen and recognize the error of his ways?
This is a real problem and I treat this story very seriously because I know just how credible, competent, and serious — as well as seriously pro-Trump, at least one of the sources is.
Posted in Erick Erickson, meeting, Politics, President Donald Trump, reports, Russia, Russians
Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer slammed the Democratic National Committee for their statement Monday criticizing President Trump over explosive accusations made in a Washington Post story about alleged leaks to the Russians. He made the statements on Fox News.
“I think these statements are completely irresponsible from the DNC,” he said. “They have no idea what was revealed, they have no idea the gravity of it.”
“It can be, perhaps it’s not, but this is just pure opportunism,” Krauthammer continued. “And a reflex reaction.”
“Particularly since their candidate for the presidency had been spilling classified information,” he explained, “some of the highest level, for a year and a half and the Democrats pretended that either it wasn’t a problem or that it should be ignored. It’s rather unseemly.”
“Having said that, the issue is we don’t know what the information was,” he continued. “Probably the content of it is not the problem. What it sounds as if, is that we have an ally who’s infiltrated into ISIS and this might have helped the Russians see that and perhaps, knowing the Russians, that information would be spilled elsewhere. Because after all the Russians are allied with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, others. So that information could spread.”
“It’s something like what happened some years ago when there was a leak from the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda,” he explained, “I think they had advanced operations in terms of blowing up airliners by hiding electronics. And by leaking that, we revealed that we had somebody inside the operation was blown, and that was the end of that source of information.”
“So it’s not as if it hasn’t happened before,” he concluded, “it’s possible we’re not sure how much of a breach it is, but if it did hinder our relations with an ally whose already infiltrated inside, it could be a problem.”
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
The Washington Post report claimed the more revealing details they received were being withheld on request from their sources who did not want classified information released.
The story has been denied by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in a statement outside the White House, but some reporters referred to it a “non-denial” because it was so carefully parsed and he took no questions from the press.
The story has been confirmed by sources to Buzzfeed, the New York Times, CNN, and Reuters. Supporters of the president decrying the report as “fake news” conjured up through anonymous sources.
Posted in Charles Krauthammer, classified information, Donald Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian Ambassador, Russians, The Washington Post, Trump
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster spoke to the press Monday outside the White House and gave what sounded like an absolute denial to the explosive accusations from a Washington Post report that President Trump revealed damaging intelligence to the Russians in their meeting last week.
A brief statement for the record,” McMaster began. “There’s nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people.”
“The story that came out tonight as reported, is false,” he said flatly.
“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time,” he repeated for emphasis, “were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”
“Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state,” he continued, “remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record account should outweigh those of anonymous sources.”
“And I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” he concluded. “Thanks everybody.”
The controversial report from the Washington Post cited anonymous sources, something often criticized by the Trump administration, but was also confirmed by sources to the New York Post, Buzzfeed, and Reuters.
Natl Security Adviser McMaster made a statement denying a report that @POTUS revealed classified info to Russia. https://t.co/LB3P3BgT10 pic.twitter.com/gRNcLlZNvC
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 15, 2017
Some reporters saw what they considered to be an incomplete denial of the story. Katy Tur of MSNBC tweeted, “McMaster saying “sources and methods” is a red herring. Article doesnt say Trump revealed sources and methods to Russians.”
Greg Miller, the National Security Correspondent for the Washington Post, said that McMaster was simply “playing word games” with the denial, since, he says, they did not report that President Trump had revealed intelligence sources or methods. Miller said they were merely trying to “blunt the impact of the story.”
WaPo Reporter @gregpmiller reacts to McMaster denial:”WH playing word games” says “absolutely” stands by the story https://t.co/BYWAcvPIx0
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) May 15, 2017
“Nor do any of these White House officials who are denouncing this story,” he added, “nor have any of them offered any explanation why if this was all so above board and not problematic in any way, why did the National Security Council coming out of this meeting feel it was necessary to contact the CIA director and the director of the National Security Agency to give them a heads up on what Trump had just told the Russians?”
Miller says the Washington Post ‘absolutely’ stands behind their reporting.
Posted in Donald Trump, H.R. McMaster, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian Ambassador, The Washington Post, Trump
A Washington Post report says that U.S officials are shocked that President Trump revealed very sensitive secret intelligence to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak when they visited the White House.
“This is code-word information,” an official told the Post, adding that Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.” The term “code-word information” signifies intelligence at a very high classification level.
The Washington Post described the intelligence he shared, but held back from publishing specific details at the request of the officials they spoke with.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States only learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence gathering method, but described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
Buzzfeed reported that two officials confirmed the Washington Post story as well. They quoted one official saying, “it’s far worse than what has already been reported.”
“I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump is said to have bragged to the Russian envoys. As president, he has power to declassify intelligence at his whim, so if the accusations are true, it would not have been illegal for him to reveal the secrets.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said to reporters, “We certainly don’t want any president to leak classified information but the president does have the right to do that.”
McCain just saw WP: “We certainly don’t want any president to leak classified information but the president does have the right to do that.”
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) May 15, 2017
Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) criticized the president upon learning of the report, saying, “if this story is true, it’s another brick in the wall of a really, really troubling connection between Trump and the Russian government.”
This compounds the criticism made of the visit after it was revealed that White House officials appeared to be duped by the Russians into allowing cameras in the Oval Office from a state-owned news agency. Some called it a “potential security breach” in that spying devices could have been secreted into the Oval Office in the cameras.
In response to the furor over his firing of FBI Director James Comey, Trump appeared to imply that he did it for the sake of the investigation into alleged Russian meddling and collusion.
Posted in Donald Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian Ambassador, Trump
Democrats called for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to resign Friday after it was reported that he was not going to appoint a special prosecutor in the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in our election and collusion with the Trump campaign.
“I support @SenatorDurbin’s call for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to resign if he is unwilling to appoint a special counsel,” tweeted Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
I support @SenatorDurbin’s call for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to resign if he is unwilling to appoint a special counsel.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 13, 2017
Democrats and other critics of the president had pinned their hopes on Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appointing a special prosecutor after questions arose from James Comey’s firing Tuesday. Those hopes were dashed with CNN reporting Friday that he was refusing to do so.
“This morning, the president tweeted a thinly veiled threat to Mr. Comey,” Senator Durbin (D-Ill.) said, “which could be construed as threatening a witness in this investigation, which is another violation of federal law. To preserve his reputation as a credible prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must appoint an independent special prosecutor to pursue possible criminal charges, or he must resign.”
Durbin was referring to a tweet posted Friday morning on Trump’s account that read, “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
This inspired countless comparisons to Richard Nixon being ensnared by the recordings he made of interactions in the Oval Office.
Rosenstein has been at the center of the furor surrounding Comey’s firing from the FBI as the Trump administration said early on that he was fired because of the deputy attorney general’s recommendation. Later, President Trump himself said that he would have fired Comey even apart from the recommendation.
Trump also said that he wanted the investigation into Russian collusion to be “absolutely done properly,” after saying there was nothing to the allegations.
Posted in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Donald Trump, Politics, Russia, Russian investigation, Trump
President Trump claimed that he fired FBI Director James Comey because of his incompetence, and said that he wanted the investigation into Russian collusion “absolutely done properly.” He made the comments in an interview with Lester Holt on NBC News.
“When I decided to just do it I said to myself, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,” Trump told Holt, “it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”
“And the reason they should have won it is the electoral college is almost impossible for a Republican to win – very hard,” he explained. “Because you start off at such a disadvantage. So everybody was thinking they should have won the election.”
“This was an excuse for having lost an election,” he added.
“But are you angry with Mr. Comey because of his Russia investigation?” Holt asked.
“I just want somebody that’s competent,” Trump responded. “I am a big fan of the FBI. I love the FBI. I love the people of the FBI.”
“But were you a fan of him taking up the investigation?” Holt asked about the investigation into Russian collusion.
“Look, look, let me tell you,” Trump said, “as far as I’m concerned I want that thing to be absolutely done properly.”
“When I did this now, I said, I probably maybe will confuse people,” he explained, “maybe I’ll expand that, y’know I’ll lengthen the time. Because it should be over with, in my opinion it should have been over a long time ago. Because all it is, is an excuse. But I said to myself, I might even lengthen out the investigation.”
“But I have to do the right thing for the American people,” Trump concluded. “He’s the wrong man for that position.”
Trump says the Russia investigation is a “made-up story” and an “excuse” by Democrats for why they lost election https://t.co/43JDslSsKQ pic.twitter.com/ieIRiO85FU
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) May 11, 2017
In an clip from the same interview released earlier Thursday, Trump appeared to contradict the reasoning put out by the administration Wednesday for the firing.
“I was going to fire Comey, my decision,” Trump said. “I was going to fire Comey. There’s no good time to do it, by the way.”
“I was going to fire regardless of recommendation,” Trump clarified.
Tuesday the administration said that Trump was following the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the investigation into Russian collusion.
“President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” the statement read.
When pressed on the discrepancy, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday there was no inconsistency between the two statements.
Posted in Lester Holt, Politics, President Trump, Russia, Russian investigation, Trump
In apparent reaction to ex-CIA director James Clapper’s testimony during Monday’s Russia hearing, President Donald Trump changed his Twitter profile header to reflect one of Clapper’s comments.
The tweet, superimposed over GOP figureheads flashing the thumbs-up sign, reads, “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows – there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/Russia and Trump.”
The new profile header elicited strong reactions from social media varying in degrees from laughter to scorn.
See the president’s new profile header as well as some of the outraged reactions below.
This header photo is the most presidential header photo on Twitter: pic.twitter.com/3gBHXO7BGE
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) May 9, 2017
Wow this is insane. pic.twitter.com/hnAf1JD454
— Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) May 9, 2017
Nothing says “I’m innocent! Innocent I tell ya!” like changing your Twitter header to say “I’m innocent! Innocent I tell ya!” pic.twitter.com/hyWM09B4Jb
— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) May 9, 2017
“Getting a staffer to Photoshop your tweet denying collusion with Russia into your banner image” is untold levels of Not Mad pic.twitter.com/M2kUZkkG2W
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) May 9, 2017
oh god, the banner pic.twitter.com/hwu4s79dLI
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) May 9, 2017
this looks like a photoshopped joke but no, it’s real, the leader of the free world did the most manual self-RT – the banner pic quote tweet pic.twitter.com/WV1j8yl7GE
— Mark Berman (@markberman) May 9, 2017
The “mission accomplished” banner of Twitter headers pic.twitter.com/tSuObDDOSl
— Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg) May 9, 2017
I wonder what Twitter thinks about @realDonaldTrump putting its logo in his header pic.twitter.com/bXkMVYYeU0
— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) May 9, 2017
After the president changed his profile header photo, he tweeted, “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”
Sally Yates, former Deputy Attorney General, testified on Monday that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been compromised by his ties to Russia, and as a result, was vulnerable to blackmail.
Flynn resigned from his position in February after admitting to briefing Vice President Mike Pence with “incomplete information” about his phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration.
Called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism about the Trump administration’s purported Russian interference, Yates said, “We believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians.”
“To state the obvious, you don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians,” she said.
Posted in James Clapper, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian investigation, Twitter, Twitter reaction
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy was not accepting of former national security advisor Susan Rice’s refusal to testify before congress about their investigation into the alleged Russian hacking, and said that if he needs to, he’ll subpoena Rice, and force her to sit before Gowdy’s subcommittee.
Rice refused to testify because the requests from Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) did not have bipartisan support.
Appearing on America’s Newsroom on Fox News, Gowdy told host Bill Hemmer that they’ll take a more forceful approach with Rice, as she is a “very important witness.”
“There are other ways to invite people other than via a letter,” said Gowdy. “There are things called subpoenas. You shouldn’t have to use them with a former national security advisor, but if you do, you do.”
Gowdy speculated that Rice’s refusal to testify may be that the information she has is sensitive, but says this is why he’s having these meetings behind closed doors.
“Members of Congress don’t pick the witnesses, lawyers don’t pick witnesses. Facts pick the witnesses,” he concluded.
Posted in Bill Hemmer, Fox News, Politics, Russia, Susan Rice, Trey Gowdy
California Rep. Maxine Waters has been relentlessly pointing fingers at President Donald Trump and his administrations ties to Russia. Waters is such a fan of the accusation, that she has even recently speculated that Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ departure from his seat was due to his own connections with Russia; a conspiracy which she has admitted to having no evidence of.
Due to these alleged connections, Waters has been banging the drum for Trump’s impeachment daily on any or show rally that will have her on. She has even taken to social media to promote the idea of forcing Trump out.
Get ready for impeachment.
— Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) March 21, 2017
Due to this, Waters – who has been in office since 1990 – has seen her star rise considerably on the left. CNN noted this as Waters “having a moment.”
However, as Heat Street has recently discovered, for all of Waters’ finger pointing at Republicans and the Trump administration for having connections to Russia, Waters has some quiet ties of her own. This comes in the form of her relationship with the pro-Russian, anti-American communist group known as the Workers World Party.
The Workers World Party is reportedly a militant left wing group that sympathizes with many enemies of the U.S., including North Korea, Iran, and Cuba. It also supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and is a fan of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
The Workers World party’s stances are often carried by Russia’s state news organization, Russia Today.
From Heat Street:
The opinions of the Workers World Party and its sister groups are often broadcast by RT (formerly Russia Today), a Kremlin propaganda arm. For instance, Richard Becker of a group named ANSWER (Act Now to End War And Racism), an organization started by the Workers World Party, once said on RT air that “Russia is not threat to the US, but to its domination”.
According to Heat Street, they have identified several instances where Waters had not only worked alongside the Workers World Party, but had been given an honorary position during their proceedings.
Heat Street has identified at least three instances in which Waters directly or indirectly participated in the Workers World Party’s activities. Back in 2004, the congresswoman participated in a rally organized by the International Action Center, an offshoot organization of the Workers World Party that opposes any use of military force by the United States. The event’s leaflet inviting people to attend the rally lists Rep. Waters as the top guest.
In 2005, Rep. Waters sent her aide April Lawrence to the party’s “Peace Conference” where Lawrence addressed the participants on the topic of social justice.
More recently, in 2009, the Congresswoman was a speaker at an event organized by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, a group whose board of members includes Abayomi Azikiwe, an organizer for the Workers World Party. Azikiwe also chaired the event.
Waters’ affiliation to the Workers World Party should come as no surprise, as her economic values align with the group. In 2009, Waters told the CEO of Shell Oil John Hofmeister that she wanted the government to take over and run their companies. Waters told Hofmeister that she wanted to “socialize” before catching herself, and taking a moment to rethink her statement before saying “basically taking over, and the government running all of your companies.”
Posted in Donald Trump, Maxine Waters, Politics, Russia
According to U.S. officials that spoke to Reuters, a Russian government think tank came up with a plan on how to influence the U.S. election to benefit Donald Trump, and it’s linked to President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian Institute for Strategic Studies drafted confidential documents outlining how to meddle with the presidential election, and these have been obtained by U.S. intelligence officials who believe they are evidence of the Russian government’s interference.
Reuters said three current and four former U.S. officials confirmed the existence of these documents.
The first strategy paper was written in June of 2016 and advocated for a media campaign that would encourage a “softer tone” towards Russia in American attitudes. “Russian state-backed global news outlets” would also be used to push the foreign policy narrative.
The second paper warned that Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election and that efforts should be shifted towards undermining the legitimacy of the U.S. election by increasing propaganda claiming it was rigged and fraudulent.
“Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute to draw him a road map,” one of the Reuters sources said to them.
The Russian president has completely denied the allegations, as has the United States President, who accused U.S intelligence agencies of acting like Nazi Germany when leaks revealed reports that Russia might have damaging information on Trump.
More recently it has been revealed that the Obama administration did indeed monitor Carter Page, a former Trump aide, over suspicions that he might have colluded with the Russian government on behalf of the Trump campaign.
CNN also reported that FBI officials used the “Trump dossier” in their application to the FISA court to obtain a warrant against Carter Page.
Posted in Donald Trump, Election 2016, Politics, President Donald Trump, Putin, Russia, Russian investigation, Russians, Trump, Vladimir Putin
CNN reported Thursday that their sources indicate British intelligence services provided U.S. agencies with intercepts they obtained between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government. They say it was “incidental collection,” much like the kind that was captured by U.S. agencies on Trump associates.
The communications were captured during routine surveillance of Russian officials and other Russians known to western intelligence. British and European intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, the British intelligence agency responsible for communications surveillance, were not proactively targeting members of the Trump team but rather picked up these communications during what’s known as “incidental collection,” these sources tell CNN.
The Trump administration had previously denied a report that they apologized to the British government for including the GCHQ in a list of agencies that former President Obama used to spy on Trump.
In March, Fox News’ Judge Napolitano claimed that he had sources telling him Obama had asked foreign intelligence services to spy on Trump.
“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI and he didn’t use the Department of Justice,” said Judge Napolitano. “He used GCHQ.”
The United Kingdom denied it, Fox News denied they had knowledge of these sources, and they suspended Judge Napolitano, who maintained the truth of his assertion.
Trump cited Napolitano’s claim as evidence that he had been surveilled by the Obama administration before the election, an accusation he fired off in a tweet that spurred a congressional investigation into the matter.
Trump allies will likely use this report to bolster his claim that he was being surveilled by the prior administration, while critics of the president will point to this as more circumstantial evidence that there was collusion between the Trump camp and the Russians.
Posted in British government, Donald Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Trump
Another former Trump campaign member says they may registers as a “foreign agent” retroactively for work they did for the Ukrainian government – Paul Manafort, the campaign manager before the election.
Sources told CNN that Manafort’s lawyers were consulting with the State Department about whether he should have registered for work he did that would designate him as a foreign agent.
According to Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni, “Since before the 2016 election, Mr. Manafort has been in discussions with federal authorities about the advisability of registering under FARA for some of his past political work. Mr. Manafort received formal guidance recently from the authorities and he is taking appropriate steps in response to the guidance. The work in question was widely known, concluded before Mr. Manafort began working with the Trump campaign and was not conducted on behalf of the Russian government.”
Manafort was one of the central figures accused by Democrats and other Trump detractors of possibly being too closely tied to the Russians while running Trump’s campaign.
Manafort worked as a consultant for a group tied to the party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted over accusations of corruption. Yanukovych was said to be advocating on behalf of Russian interests.
It was also revealed today that after stepping down from the campaign, Manafort received millions in loans from Trump-tied companies, including one allied with a Ukrainian billionaire.
If Manafort chooses to do so, he would be the second former Trump official to register as a “foreign agent.” Mike Flynn did the same after resigning from his position as President Trump’s national security advisor. He was forced to resign after leaks to the press showed he had lied about his meeting with a Russian ambassador.
Posted in Donald Trump, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Politics, Russia, Trump
The Russian Federation vetoed Wednesday a United Nations National Security Council resolution that would have condemned Syria for the chemical attack on civilians and called for an investigation into the matter. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley berated Russia for the move.
She began by recounting the story of one family that suffered 22 of its members being killed in the chemical attack. “No one anyone in the world should have to face that kind of suffering,” she said. “That is why the United States, the United Kingdom and France put forward this resolution. It was a step to hold the perpetrators of this chemical attack accountable, and I think those members who supported this effort.
“But with its veto Russia said no to accountability,” Haley continued. “Russia said no to cooperation with the UN’s independent investigation and Russia said no to a resolution that would have helped promote peace in Syria.”
“Russia once again has chosen to side with Assad,” she scolded, “even as the rest of the world, including the Arab world overwhelmingly comes together to condemn this murderous regime. Russia said this resolution was biased and the Assad regime was not involved. This resolution simply emphasized the information the regime is already required to provide to investigators.”
“The U.N. Joint Investigative Mechanism and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have told us many times that Assad will not provide access to investigate,” Haley explained. “We need to continue to support their role in further investigating what happened on April 4th. If the regime is innocent as Russia claims, the information requested in this resolution would have vindicated them.”
“Unfortunately,” she added, “this was Russia’s eighth veto on the Syrian resolution. The United States takes no pleasure in seeing Russia isolated again on the security council.”
At the end of the speech, she addressed Assad and the Syrian government directly, saying, “You have no friends in the world after your horrible actions.”
“The United States is watching your actions very closely,” she warned. “The days of your arrogance and disregard of humanity are over. Your excuses will no longer be heard.”
“I suggest you look at this vote very carefully and heed this warning,” Haley concluded.
Matthew Rycroft, the United Kingdom Ambassador to the United Nations, had a similar admonishment to the Russians for their support of Assad.
“We recognized the need for a thorough swift, independent investigation,” Rycroft explained, “Russia’s foreign minister has this afternoon also called for such an investigation. Yet Russia has vetoed a resolution that would support that investigation. Their messages are mixed, their aims, confused.”
“We’ve once again encountered a Russian veto,” he continued. “The eighth time that Russia has used it’s veto to protect the Syrian regime. This one is even more regrettable given that Russia was the architect of the 2013 agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program.”
“An initiative that has demonstrably failed,” he added. “Russia cannot now possibly claim that it opposed the use of chemical weapons. Russia has seen the same pictures that we all saw just days ago in this same chamber.”
“How could anyone look at the faces of lifeless children and choose to veto a resolution condemning those deaths?” Rycroft asked, hearkening back to the reasoning that President Trump gave for the missile strike on Syria.
The Trump administration has said unequivocally that they believe Assad is to blame for the chemical attack, while he and his Russian allies deny the claim.
President Trump just recently castigated Putin for backing a “truly evil person” in Assad, while State Secretary Tillerson gave them an ultimatum about their support for the Syrian regime.
Posted in Chemical Weapons, Nikki Haley, Politics, Russia, Russian investigation, Syria, United Nations
The Washington Post reported that former Trump aide Carter Page was the subject of a FISA warrant granted to the FBI who suspected him of acting as a foreign agent.
The report cited anonymous law enforcement and other U.S. official sources saying Page was being investigated as part of a probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
They confirmed that the warrant was granted by a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court because there was evidence enough to suspect Page of collusion with Russian authorities.
This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.
Democrats and other Trump detractors have accused the Trump administration of nefarious and possibly criminal ties to Russia, but have yet to produce compelling evidence of the claim.
Similarly, President Trump accused former President Obama of “wiretapping” Trump Towers without any evidence, and the claim has evolved into a more vague accusation of general monitoring that might have been legal but may be inappropriate, as described by House Intelligence Committee Chair Nunes (R-Calif.).
Trump had personally named Page as one of the foreign policy advisors during the presidential campaign, but the administration has since downplayed his role in the campaign.
House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) predicted that members of the Trump administration would be jailed at the conclusion of their investigation into the alleged Russian collusion. The ranking Democrat on the Intel Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that they were looking into the possibility that members of the Trump campaign helped spread “fake news” that Russian bots and online “trolls” were spreading on social media.
Carter Page admitted recently that he had indeed met with a Russian intelligence operative, but said he did nothing criminal.
Posted in Donald Trump, Obama, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian Hackers, Russian investigation, Trump
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a ultimatum to Russian President Vladimir Putin over his support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. He made the comments Tuesday to reporters after a meeting with diplomats in Italy.
Tillerson pressured the G-7 countries to join together against Assad’s regime, and demanded that Putin choose between his ally in Syria accused of war crimes and Hezbollah, or join his detractors, led by the United States. He also made it clear that the United States placed at least part of the blame on Russia for the chemical attack.
“Last week Bashar al-Assad’s regime killed even more of its own people using chemical weapons,” he explained. “Our missile strike in response to his repeated use of banned weapons was necessary as a matter of U.S. national security interests. We do not want the regime’s uncontrolled stockpile of chemical weapons to fall into the hands of ISIS, or other terrorist groups who could and want to attack the United States and our allies.”
“Nor can we accept the normalization of the use of chemical weapons by other actors or countries in Syria, or elsewhere,” he continued. “The U.S. is grateful for the statements of all our partners who have express support for our timely and proportional response.”
“It is also clear that Russia has failed to uphold the agreements they had entered into under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Tillerson added. “These agreements stipulated Russia as the guarantor of a Syria free of chemical weapons, that they would also locate and destroy all such armaments in Syria. Stockpiles and continued use demonstrate that Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on its 2013 commitment. It is unclear whether Russia failed to take this obligation seriously, or Russia has been incompetent.”
“But this distinction doesn’t much matter to the dead,” he concluded. “We cannot let this happen again”
“We want to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people. Russia can be a part of that future and play an important role,” Tillerson said, “Or Russia can maintain its alliance with this group, which we believe is not going to serve Russia’s interests longer term.”
Syria isn’t the only geopolitical hotspot causing heartburn for the Trump administration. North Korea is issuing threats of war after the U.S. Navy was ordered to the Korean Peninsula in response to their continued nuclear weapon tests.
Posted in Bashar Assad, Politics, Rex Tillerson, Russia, Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
A new report published today by the Washington Post claims the Russian government has constructed a new intelligence base in Central America.
The alleged base is located in Managua, Nicaragua, a city of about 2.2 million people. The Washington Post report states the Nicaraguan government claims the operation is “simply a tracking site of the Russian version of a GPS satellite system,” but the article claims sources in the U.S. government believe the site is being used for more than just GPS.
“Current and former U.S. officials suspect the new Russian facilities could have ‘dual use’ capabilities, particularly for electronic espionage … showing Russia can also strut in the United States’ back yard,” wrote Joshua Partlow for the Post.
In June 2016, the Washington Free Beacon reported sources inside the U.S. Defense Department claimed Moscow struck a deal with the Nicaraguan government that would allow the Russians to build a spy base in Managua in exchange for 50 T-72 Russian tanks. According to the Free Beacon, the tanks’ estimated cost was $80 million, which the publication reported was $9 million more than the small Central American country’s entire 2015 defense budget.
In October 2016, McClatchy reported Russia was considering expanding its military operations near the United States by increasing its presence in Cuba.
“The talks are under way,” said Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of the possibility of a deal with Cuba.
In November 2016, NPR reported Russia had been constructing a new embassy, anti-drug training facility and the very same satellite station the Washington Post is now reporting is likely a spy base.
In December 2016, President Barack Obama sent dozens of Russian officials out of the country and closed two facilities in Maryland believed to be spy bases, according to a report by the Baltimore Sun. The White House said at the time it was cracking down on the Russians for their alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In February and March, there were multiple reports of a Russian spy ship off the United States’ Atlantic coast. A spokesperson for the Pentagon told Fox News although there is concern about the ship, “It’s lawful similar to operations we do around the world.”
Despite these aggressive moves made by the Russian leadership, Partlow reported in the Washington Post article U.S. officials are not “alarmed by the growing Russia presence.”
Posted in Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Putin, Russia, Russians, Spying, World
MSNBC embraced the “fake news” moniker Friday night.
Network host Lawrence O’Donnell began pushing a conspiracy theory on his Twitter account Friday suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin “OK’ed” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dropping chemical bombs on his own people to elicit a response from President Donald Trump — all to end the narrative that Russia “hacked” last year’s U.S. presidential election via collusion with the Trump campaign.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if it was impossible to suspect Putin ok’d Assad’s gas attack so Trump could fire missiles & change the subject in USA?” O’Donnell tweeted Friday.
Wouldn’t it be nice if it was impossible to suspect Putin ok’d Assad’s gas attack so Trump could fire missiles & change the subject in USA?
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) April 7, 2017
Tonight @TheLastWord let’s see if anyone can convince me that Putin didn’t plan all of this to help his fan in the White House. 10pm
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) April 7, 2017
According to the Washington Post, the theory, which is completely without evidence, first appeared on a small anti-Trump website Thursday before O’Donnell took it into the mainstream on his show Friday night.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if it was just completely, totally, absolutely impossible to suspect that Vladimir Putin orchestrated what happened in Syria this week — so that his friend in the White House could have a big night with missiles and all the praises he’s picked up over the past 24 hours?” O’Donnell said on his show.
O’Donnell contended that while his theory may be far-fetched, it’s not impossible, given, what O’Donnell alleged, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Later in his show, O’Donnell drew ties to a similar conspiracy theory that alleged former President Bill Clinton used missiles in 1998 to try and cover-up the growing Monica Lewinsky scandal.
When O’Donnell later had a panel on his show, he continued to contend that the possibility of his theory is not zero: “I raise it without assigning a statistical probability to it, I don’t know what it is. I just know that it’s not zero, and it should be zero. It has been zero with every previous president. But when you look at the way that events have unfolded this week, Donald Trump could not have asked for a better end of the week for his presidency as he sees it,” he said.
O’Donnell was later mocked on social media for his conspiracy theory:
Trump could launch a nuclear strike on the Kremlin and liberals would still figure out a way to show it was further proof of Putin’s control https://t.co/QGSrtaP6kd
— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) April 7, 2017
@Lawrence you are insane
— Chris Mattmann (@chrismattmann) April 8, 2017
Wouldn’t it be nice if you weren’t totally bat guano insane? https://t.co/oey3Bvugtk
— Mr. ✘ (@GlomarResponder) April 7, 2017
@Lawrence Are you stoned out of your mind, or just naturally this paranoid?
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) April 8, 2017
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell is so paranoid that he thinks Putin and Trump worked together to gas civilians in Syria.
He’s unhinged. pic.twitter.com/1bplgbWbd4
— /pol/ News Network (@polNewsNet) April 8, 2017
You don’t know what fake news is until you watch Lawrence O’Donnell talk about Syria.
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) April 8, 2017
Posted in Donald Trump, Lawrence O'Donnell, Media, MSNBC, Russia, Syria
House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said that he was confident that more than one person would be charged with criminal activity and sent to jail as a result of the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government before the election.
He made the comments to Wolf Blitzer on CNN Tuesday.
“Certainly as all Americans have seen by now, quite a lot of smoke, the investigation is to determine whether there’s a fire or not,” he told Blitzer.”
“Well have you seen any hard evidence of collusion yet?” Blitzer asked.
“I guess, I would say this,” Joaquin answered, avoiding the main question, “that my impression is, I wouldn’t be surprised after all of this is said and done, that some people end up in jail.”
“Really?!” said Blitzer, who seemed taken back by the statement. “And how high does that go in your suspicion, and that’s all we can call it right now.”
“Well that’s yet to be determined,” he offered.
“You think some people are going to wind up in jail,” Blitzer continued, “not just one individual, but people, plural, is that what you’re saying?” Castro answered in the affirmative. “Do you want to elaborate on that, give us a little bit more,” Blitzer asked, “because that’s obviously a very intriguing statement.”
“I wish I could but I can’t at this time,” Castro replied.
“But at this point you’re confident that at least some Trump associates will end up in jail?” Blitzer repeated.
“If I was betting, I would say yes,” Castro responded.
“Including some who are working in the new administration,” Blitzer asked, “or people who worked, or advised the president during the campaign or during the transition?”
“As you can imagine Wolf, I’ll have to comment on that later,” Castro said, “But again, if someone asked my my impression, I would, my impression is that people will probably be charged, and I think that people probably will go to jail.”
Trump has been accused by Democrats and other political opponents of having shady and possibly illegal interactions and ties to the Russian government from before the election, charges which he has completely denied.
Castro had already called on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to recuse himself from the investigation after questions were raised about his conduct in showing Trump information on wiretapping before he notified the committee.
Posted in Donald Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian Hackers, Russian investigation, Trump, Vladimir Putin, Wolf Blitzer
White House press secretary Sean Spicer battled with an NPR reporter on Friday when challenged over why the Trump administration is using recent comments from former Obama administration official Evelyn Farkas to support President Donald Trump’s allegation that former President Barack Obama spied on him.
Farkas became a controversial figure this week after a weeks-old MSNBC interview resurfaced where she talked about the Obama administration possibly preserving and disseminating intelligence that was unintentionally gathered on Michael Flynn. Farkas’s comments came in response to a New York Times report that discussed the same subject.
“I was urging my former colleagues, and frankly speaking the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration,” Farkas said on MSNBC, explaining that she and other Obama administration officials were “very worried” that Trump would bury intelligence gathered on his advisers as president.
However, she later claimed in an interview with The Daily Caller that she never handled any intelligence, given that she left the Obama administration in 2015.
Still, the Trump administration has said Farkas’ comments support their theory they were spied on — and the press corps questioned Spicer Friday why Farkas’ comments are relevant given that she wasn’t part of the administration during the time in question.
“Farkas left the administration in 2015, so why is something she said in 2017 relevant to something that allegedly happened in 2016?” asked NRP reporter Tamara Keith.
Spicer was obviously prepared for such a question.
“The question I have for you is, exactly, why is it, what she said, in her things, ‘I’m urging my colleagues, I’m urging it to get to the Hill.’ But it’s odd that the presumption is, ‘Why is it interesting?’” Spicer shot back.
“Have you asked [Farkas]?” he asked Keith.
“No—” she said, before Spicer continued.
“No, no you haven’t,” he said, visibly frustrated.
“I would assume that as a reporter that actually is interested in the story, a senior Obama administration official that handled Russia,” Spicer added, before being interrupted by another reporter who pointed out that Farkas wasn’t a part of the administration in 2016.
“Thank you, I appreciate the timeline,” Spicer said sarcastically.
He continued on, berating the press corps:
At some point she went on television and talked about actions that she and her colleagues took to spread classified information. Instead of defending her, it might be worth asking her what she’s talking about, who she spread it to, why she did it, was it appropriate, who cleared her to do it.
Maybe those are questions you can ask instead of asking me to defend why a former Obama administration official is revealing stuff that should be extremely concerning.
Keith later questioned Spicer over whether the Trump administration is more worried about allegations that the Obama administration spied on them or allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in last year’s presidential election.
Watch the contentious exchange below:
Posted in NPR, Politics, Russia, Sean Spicer, watch
Russia is known for many things—communism, vodka and bizarre dancing, for starters—but one thing Russia is not well-known for is its sense of humor. Perhaps that’s about to change.
In what could go down as one of the most interesting April Fools’ Day pranks of all time, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted on its Facebook page an audio file that supposedly showed the agency’s new switchboard message.
The message begins with, “You have reached the Russian Embassy. Your call is very important to us.”
“To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1,” the recording continues (in both English and Russian). Users are then instructed to “press 2” in order “to use the services of Russian hackers.” For “election interference” requests, “press 3.”
The Associated Press reports—because, apparently, AP felt the need to check—it was able to confirm the recording was meant as a “joke.”
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized those in the United States who continue to play the “Russian card” to score political points, alluding to the Democratic Party. He also called the accusations of election interference made against his government “endless and groundless,” according to a report by CBS News.
Posted in April Fools' Day, Politics, Russia, Vladimir Putin
During Friday’s White House press conference, Press Secretary Sean Spicer once again was fielding questions about President Donald Trump’s supposed connections with Russia, when he pointed the finger at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when it came to who truly had the deeper relationship.
Upon being asked about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian interference during the 2016 elections, Spicer once again asserted Trump’s innocence.
“As we’ve said before, when you talk about Russia in particular, everyone who has been briefed on this subject, from Republican to Democrat to CIA, former Obama administration’s Clapper, Brennan, you name it, all of those people come back with the same conclusion and I think that’s important that there’s been no evidence of the president’s campaign and Russian officials.”
But not stopping short of that, Spicer listed the amount of times Clinton had dealings and ties with Russia.
“It was Hillary Clinton who was the architect of the last administration’s failed ‘Reset’ policy. She told Russian state TV it was designed to strengthen Russia. That was their goal, to strengthen Russia. She used her office to make concession after concession, selling off one-fifth of our country’s uranium, paid speeches, paid deals, getting personal calls from Vladimir Putin. If you really want to talk about a Russian connection and the substance, that’s where we should be looking, that, not there.”
The uranium deal that Spicer is referring to is explained by a 2015 article in the New York Times, concerning major donors of a uranium mining company contributing money to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton, during her time as Secretary of State, approved the sale of the company to Russia. Simultaneously, cash began flowing into the Clinton Foundation from the Chairman of the Russian owned company.
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
Posted in Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Russia, Sean Spicer, Uranium
A national security expert revealed in testimony before a Senate Intelligence Committee that the Russians targeted the Republican candidates in the primary election that were hostile to their interests, and specifically one candidate.
Clint Watts, a senior fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute Program on National Security at George Washington University, told the committee that the Russians damaged the campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) in his expert opinion.
“Russia’s overt media outlets and covert trolls sought to sideline opponents on both sides of the political spectrum with adversarial views toward the Kremlin,” Watts testified.
“They were in full swing during both the Republican and Democratic primary season,” he added, “and may have helped sink the hopes of candidates more hostile to Russian interests long before the field narrowed. Senator Rubio, in my opinion, you anecdotally suffered from these efforts.”
In response, Rubio had a revelation himself about the attempts by Russian actors to hack his campaign.
“In July of 2016,” Rubio said, “shortly after I announced that I would seek re-election to the United States Senate, former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to the internal information of my presidential campaign were targeted by IP addresses with an unknown location within Russia. That effort was unsuccessful.”
Rubio added a second instance when his team was targeted by what appear to be Russian hackers just the week before, and were similarly unsuccessful.
Rubio has been an outspoken critic against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. In February, Rubio offered legislation to name the street in front of the Russian embassy after an activist who was gunned down on a Moscow bridge by attackers many believe were ordered by the Kremlin.
Critics have assailed the Trump administration over accusations and insinuations that there was collusion with the Russians to tilt the election towards the real estate mogul. President Trump has vehemently denied this.
Posted in Marco Rubio, Politics, Russia, Russia Hackers, Russian investigation, Vladimir Putin
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tossed out a joke to mock the press for asking so many questions about alleged collusion between the Trump administration and the Russians. He made the joke during Monday’s White House press conference.
The contentious interaction with April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks was heightened when Spicer interrupted her question to make fun of the media’s focus on Russia.
“With all these investigations, questions of what is is, how does this administration try to revamp its image? Two and a half months in you got this Yates story today, you got other things going on, you got Russia, you got wiretapping…”
“No we don’t have that,” Spicer interrupted. “I’ve said it from the day that i got here until whatever, that there’s no connection. You’ve got Russia.”
“If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection!” he added, to a silent room.
Ryan tried to respond, he kept speaking over her, saying, “But every single person, well no, I appreciate your agenda here, but the reality is, no no no, hold on, at some point, report the facts.”
Democrats and other opponents of President Trump have been haranguing the administration about questions arising from his allies and aides having interactions with Russian authorities. One led to an embarrassing resignation from Mike Flynn, who admitted lying to the vice president about his communication with a Russian ambassador.
Sean Spicer to the press: “If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection…” pic.twitter.com/GJj7Q6JcVo
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 28, 2017
Many on social media were aghast at the audacity of the joke.
“If the president puts Russian dressing on his salad”, wow Sean. Way to trivialize our national security threat. #Spicer #PressBriefing #cnn
— Ann-Marie Poli (@annmariepoli) March 28, 2017
April Ryan’s “the FBI investigation of a sitting Pres. isn’t about his fave salad dressing, you fool” head shake really upset Spicer, huh?
— Kara E (@karathebird) March 28, 2017
Spicer: “If Donald had Russian dressing on his salad, you’d find a connection.”
Nobody has laid on bullsh*t dressing that thick…
— Craig Rozniecki (@CraigRozniecki) March 28, 2017
Sean Spicer: “If trump puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight somehow that’s a Russian connection”
Me: A salad isn’t Treason.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) March 28, 2017
“If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection.” -Sean Spicer. Actually said this.
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) March 28, 2017
Will give $5 to a crowdfunding campaign dedicated to delivering 10,000 bottles of Russian salad dressing to Spicer’s office https://t.co/MrCPDUBFG4
— Lily Herman (@lkherman) March 28, 2017
Spicer said if Trump puts Russian salad dressing on his salad, somehow that’s a Russian connection…as if Trump has ever eaten a salad
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) March 28, 2017
Sean Spicer is such a windbag he doesn’t know what’s Russian and what isn’t. Russian Dressing isn’t Russian. It’s American. #Spicer pic.twitter.com/JEfDKd9Zkm
— Matt Lipton (@mattliptoncomic) March 28, 2017
U.S. intelligence agencies have acknowledged that they are investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but President Trump has completely denied the allegations as fantasies conjured up by the media and the “deep state” intending to derail his presidency.
Trump also demanded to know Monday why the House Intelligence Committee wasn’t investigating Hillary Clinton’s ties to the Russians in defense of his administration.
Posted in Donald Trump, Media Bias, Politics, Russia, Russian Hackers, Russian investigation, Sean Spicer, Trump
A congressional investigation into whether or not President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials has so far yielded “no evidence,” according to the House Intelligence Committee chairman.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) explained Sunday on “Fox News Sunday” that based on all of the evidence his committee has so far investigated, he cannot conclude that there was any collusion whatsoever between Trump’s campaign and the Russians.
When asked by host Chris Wallace if there is any evidence to suggest collusion, Nunes replied, “I’ll give you a very simple answer: ‘No.’”
“Up to speed on everything I have up to this morning — no evidence of collusion,” he explained.
Nunes also said in the interview that he believes it’s “pretty clear” that there are elements in the government that are intentionally leaking information to “undercut” Trump.
“There’s even been stories written about it in numerous newspapers talking about how they said they left breadcrumbs around to hurt the Trump administration,” Nunes said.
“Clearly to leak Michael Flynn’s name talking to the Russian ambassador,” he added. “That was clearly designed to hurt Gen. Flynn and the president’s national security adviser.”
However, he clarified to say that he doesn’t necessarily believe the leaks are from people currently within the government, but rather they’re coming from disgruntled former government employees, such as people from former President Barack Obama’s administration.
“I think it was largely people maybe who were there, had classified information, who are now no longer there and decided to leak it,” Nunes explained.
Posted in Devin Nunes, Donald Trump, Fox News, Government, Russia, watch
According to CNN Tuesday, FBI Director Comey may go public about whatever investigation there might be into President Trump’s connections to and interactions with the Russian government.
“The question of ties between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Anderson Cooper explained, “it is a question we know both the House Intelligence and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating along with at least three committees and one sub-committee, and so is the FBI even though the bureau for months now has refused to publicly confirm it.”
“Well tonight, CNN has learned that Director James Comey is about to go on the record,” Cooper added.
“Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island,” Manu Raju reported, “he as told in a private meeting that FBI Director James Comey would assure him and his fellow Senator Lindsey Graham whether or not there actually is an investigation ongoing into the Donald Trump campaign and the contacts that allegedly occurred with Russian officials during the presidential election.”
“Now since they have not confirmed the existence of an investigation,” Raju continued, “they have actually not even confirmed it with Senators, so in a private meeting between Graham and Whitehouse on March 2nd, James Comey would actually not tell these two Senators whether there’s an investigation ongoing, even though they sit on a Judiciary Subcommittee with is investigating the issue of Russia.”
Now Comey according to Sheldon Whitehouse said that he would actually confirm, one way or another, whether or not that investigation is occurring by this hearing they’re having tomorrow in this Senate Judiciary Subcommittee. They’re actually gonna be exploring Russia’s meddling in the election and in Eastern European elections as well.
Now this also comes, Anderson, as both Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham have asked for evidence into wiretapping. Those claims by President Trump that President Obama ordered wiretaps and surveilled him during the presidential election, and Lindsay Graham says if he does not get a response by tomorrow before that hearing, he told me that he’s gonna give, make it a very tough hearing on the Justice Department on that hearing tomorrow on Russia. So a lot of news could happen tomorrow, especially if James Comey goes public or says this investigation is ongoing. But right now the FBI has not yet responded to my request for a comment.
“And so at this stage lawmakers have not gotten any evidence,” Cooper asked, “which is something that Lindsey Graham has asked for, they have not gotten any evidence that President Trump was wiretapped at the order of President Obama?”
“That’s absolutely right,” Raju answered, “and there was a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing, closed door briefing, that happened earlier today in which they discussed this issue of Russia and actually members of that meeting said that no, they actually had not seen any evidence yet. Including Senator Joe Manchin, who sits on that committee, and the top Democrat on that committee, Mark Warner, told me as he went into that briefing, there’s no evidence whatsoever, even though he met with James Comey last week.”
“Now one other Senator who’s demanding some more information is Senator John McCain, who said it’s time for the administration to explain if there’s any evidence there,” Raju added.
Senator: Comey to go public on Trump-Russia probe https://t.co/YZ32bCBsdM @mkraju has more. https://t.co/PCeRjYuex5
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) March 15, 2017
“The question is whether or not the FBI or the Justice Department will respond either in a private setting or a public setting,” Raju continued. “And if they don’t respond privately, there are going to be questions that James Comey is going to get at a March 20th House hearing where they’re going to be discussing this issue of Russian interference in the election.”
“But also the Senate Intelligence Committee announcing today that they plan to have their own public hearings later this month,” Raju concluded, “and Senator Mark Warner, that top Democrat in the committee, also wants to hear from some Trump associates, about their contacts, including Roger Stone, who admitted some contacts with Russian officials during the campaign season.”
CNN has reported before that U.S intelligence agencies are investigating the ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, something that President Trump has vehemently denied and blamed the press for propagating.
Posted in Donald Trump, FBI, James Comey, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russia Hackers, Trump
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told Jake Tapper in an interview that it is his belief that WikiLeaks is acting as an agent of the Russian government. He made the charges on CNN Wednesday.
“Are you at all suspicious of the timing of this?” Tapper asked, eliciting laughter from Hayden,” President Trump praised WikiLeaks a lot in the past obviously whether it was their goal or not they certainly helped the Trump campaign.”
And here we have a situation where President Trump is complaining about intelligence, complaining about leaks, people around him are complaining the so-called “deep state” out to get him. And then, voila, a couple days later this huge trove of documents about the CIA and their ability to spy on people.
“I must confess that the thought occurred to me,” Hayden answered, “but I would not suggest it as anything more than potential hypothesis.
But a thing you might want to look into as you go forward. I don’t know that the Russians actually committed the theft. This may be what WikiLeaks said it was, an insider. But with regard to the time, look, I’m pretty close to the position that WikiLeaks is acting as an arm, as an agent, of the Russian Federation.
“Do you have proof of that?” Tapper asked, clearly taken back by the accusation.
“No, this is my making assumptions,” explained Hayden, “based upon what’s happened over the past year and what WikiLeaks has been doing. Look, Jake, they claim to be a ‘transparency organization,’ I wish the hell they would emphasize transparency in some of the world’s autocratic nations, rather than one of the world’s great democracies.”
Gen. Michael Hayden: I believe “WikiLeaks is acting as an arm, as an agent, of the Russian federation” https://t.co/J4ttUyYS29
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) March 8, 2017
Previously in the interview, Tapper had Hayden address the main fear meant to inspired in Americans by the WikiLeaks release, that common citizens would be targeted for surveillance by the intrusive techniques revealed.
“Of course,” Tapper began, “there are a lot of civil libertarians out there who think, ‘wow, this is a lot of, this reveals a lot of ways that the CIA could spy on anybody. Are you confident that there are enough mechanisms of oversight so that this kind of thing wouldn’t be abused?”
“Yeah, I am,” Hayden answered confidently.
Look, this is a human enterprise. Humans make mistakes. We’re in a vale of tears after original sin. Y’know, bad things can occasionally happen. But, Jake we just spent what, the last 72-96 hours pointing out that the president doesn’t have the authority to tap the phone of any American? You gotta go to court.
“That process, that procedure, that culture,” he emphasized, “permeates all the American intelligence agencies. So although these tools are very very powerful, I’m comfortable, knowing what I know, living where I’ve lived, that they’re targeted against legitimate foreign intelligence targets.”
“The scary part,” Hayden concluded, “is that legitimate foreign intelligence targets use the same devices that you and I do.”
Gen. Michael Hayden is confident in CIA: “Bad things can occasionally happen” https://t.co/0CpA3y8ZWY
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) March 8, 2017
Hayden has been a critic of Trump in the past, having once said that troops should ignore his orders if they are unlawful according to the international law of armed conflict. He made the comments after Trump made certain promises on the campaign trail. “I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign,” said Hayden to Bill Maher.
Hayden also criticized Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, calling it “stupid and dangerous.”
Posted in CIA, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russia Hackers, Trump, WikiLeaks
According to The Hill, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not backing down from the answers he gave during his confirmation hearing about whether or not he had communications with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“My answer was correct,” Sessions wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he used to further explain his testimony.
The former Alabama senator said he was answering a specific question posed by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) during his January confirmation hearing about ongoing talks between Trump associates and Russian government representatives during the campaign.
“I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them,” Sessions wrote.
Since the news broke that Sessions at one point had contact with Russian diplomats – though not in the capacity that was asked of him – Democrats have attempted to use this information to demand that Sessions resign from his freshly acquired post.
This entire episode has caused Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation into Moscow’s involvement into the 2016 elections. This has apparently angered President Donald Trump, who believes that there was no reason for Sessions to remove himself from the matter.
Regardless of his recusal, Sessions maintains that his answer is 100 percent correct and truthful.
“I answered the question, which asked about a ‘continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government,’ honestly,” he said.
Posted in Attorney General, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Politics, Russia
President Trump is once again taking to Twitter to insult and criticize his political opponents, after garnering praise for staying away from the social media platform for so long.
Trump said that there should be an immediate investigation into Senator Schumer’s “ties to Russia and Putin,” and called him a “total hypocrite!” He attached a photo of Schumer and Putin having a donut. The picture had been up on Drudge Report Friday morning.
We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite! pic.twitter.com/Ik3yqjHzsA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2017
Senator Schumer hit back on his own Twitter account, saying that he would “happily talk” about his contact with Mr. Putin and his associates, which he says took place in 2003. He challenged Trump and his team to discuss their own ties “full view of the press and public under oath.”
Happily talk re: my contact w Mr. Putin & his associates, took place in ’03 in full view of press & public under oath. Would you &your team? https://t.co/yXgw3U8tmQ
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 3, 2017
Trump responded by demanding a second investigation, of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) for “her close ties to Russia, and lying about it.”
I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it. https://t.co/qCDljfF3wN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2017
He linked a Politico article detailing how Pelosi had told reporters she’d never met with a Russian ambassador.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she’s never met with the current Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
“Not with this Russian ambassador, no,” Pelosi told POLITICO’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer during a Playbook interview, when asked whether she had ever met with the Russian envoy.
But a photo was discovered with Pelosi doing exactly what she denied.
Asked to square Pelosi’s comments with the photo of the meeting, a spokesman said Pelosi simply meant she never had a solo meeting with Kislyak.
“Of course, that’s what she meant,” said the spokesman, Drew Hammill. “She has never had a private one-on-one with him.”
Pelosi responded on Twitter as well, saying that there was a difference between an official meeting photographed by the press, and a closed meeting that Attorney General Sessions “lied about under oath.”
.@realDonaldTrump doesn’t know difference between official mtg photographed by press & closed secret mtg his AG lied about under oath. https://t.co/YRFCuJkjLA
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 3, 2017
Schumer and other Democrats have been calling for Sessions’ resignation after he recused himself from investigations into the Trump campaign when it was discovered that he neglected to disclose his own communications to a confirmation committee.
Mike Pence said that despite the attacks, the administration would hold firm behind Sessions. “President and I have full confidence in the Attorney General. He is a man of integrity,” he said from Janesville, Wisconsin.
Schumer followed up with a very important clarification:
And for the record, they were Krispy Kreme donuts.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 3, 2017
.@POTUS and @SenSchumer in Twitter war over Russia ties. #SpecialReport pic.twitter.com/OIpLoQZVPm
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 3, 2017
Leaks to the press have plagued the Trump administration, and ended up with the resignation of his national security advisor Mike Flynn, while adding to the suspicions of critics that there are nefarious connections between Trump’s team and the Russian government.
Trump has responded with attacks on the media who report what he calls “fake news,” and demanding investigations into the leaks from the government to the press.
Posted in Chuck Schumer, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Politics, Putin, Russia, Russian Ambassador, Russian Hackers, Social Media, Trump, Twitter
According to the Media Research Center, the media is covering Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ meeting with a Russian ambassador many times more than when Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of congress in June of 2012.
Sessions has been accused of not being fully truthful with congress about his conversations with a Russian ambassador while he was a United States senator. Technically, as the question was asked of Sessions, his answer was not considered faulty under the law.
However, the media is treating this as a very large ordeal, having dedicated no less than 72 minutes and 33 seconds to the issue from all three major networks since the Democrats began their accusations of wrongdoing on Thursday.
CBS covered the Session controversy the most, with an overwhelming 28 minutes and 42 seconds. NBC followed with 25 minutes and 12 seconds, while ABC had 18 minutes and 39 seconds of coverage.
On Good Morning America on March 3, Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl quipped, “Both the Russians and the White House has used the phrase “witch hunt” to describe this. And as for the ambassador, George, at some point you get to wondering who didn’t meet with the Russian ambassador on this campaign.”
On the NBC Nightly News March 2, Peter Alexander strongly implied that Sessions had committed perjury, “While the White House is defending Sessions, his testimony under oath remains under scrutiny with critics pointing to this 1999 interview where then Senator Sessions called perjury claims against President Bill Clinton serious allegations.”
Rewind back to 2012 during the Fast and Furious scandal, in which it was suspected that then President Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was involved in a gun running scandal with Mexican cartels. While there was evidence that Holder may have been involved with arming drug running criminals, the media had little interest in covering it.
But that unprecedented move failed to rouse the interest of the broadcast networks. Anticipating the vote later that day, the three broadcast morning shows on June 28 offered a combined 91 seconds of coverage. That night, only NBC offered a full report (2 minutes, 8 seconds), while CBS and ABC limited themselves to brief anchor-read items (30 and 35 seconds, respectively).
The next morning, only NBC’s Today show offered a full report (2 minutes, 50 seconds) along with a pair of short items and a brief mention in an interview with then-Obama aide David Axelrod, while ABC and CBS again offered only short items.
Add it all up, and the unprecedented contempt charge against Obama’s Attorney General earned only 10 minutes, 38 seconds of network airtime, or only slightly more than one-seventh of that spent in the last day-and-a-half over Sessions’ meeting with the Ambassador.
If people have a suspicion that bias runs rampant throughout the media, then these numbers do not put any of those suspicions to rest. In fact, due to actions by the media just like this, it was revealed through a poll conducted by Emerson college that people do not indeed trust the media to handle topics fairly. This has gotten so bad that the American people actually trust President Donald Trump more than media itself.
Posted in ABC, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Eric Holder, Fast and Furious, Fox, Jeff Sessions, NBC, Politics, Russia