Category: Russian investigation

July 22nd, 2017 by Staff Writer

The co-founder of the firm that paid for the creation of the infamous ‘Trump dossier’ said Friday that he would not be fulfilling a request to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and would be asserting his fifth amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

Glenn Simpson’s lawyer released a statement Friday saying that the co-founder of Fusion GPS is on vacation and won’t be able to attend the hearing being held next week.

Simpson also protested that “partisan agendas” had resulted in the expansion of the investigation, saying through his lawyer that they were “profoundly disturbed.”

According to Reuters, the letter asked that Simpson be excused from appearing before the committee since, according to Simpson, the charge that he failed to register as a foreign agent was false.

But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.) instead slapped him with a subpoena Friday. Simpson responded by saying he would invoke his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

“FUSION GPS head Glenn Simpson won’t testify before Senate Judiciary next week, his rep attacks ‘partisan’ hearing and vows to plead Fifth,” reported CNN’s Manu Raju.

FUSION GPS head Glenn Simpson won’t testify before Senate Judiciary next week, his rep attacks “partisan” hearing and vows to plead Fifth

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 21, 2017

“This hearing’s purported focus on FARA [the Foreign Agents Registration Act] is pretext for an exploration of Fusion GPS’ reported work, on behalf of other clients, to investigate the ties of Donald J. Trump, his campaign and their associates to Russia,” the letter from Simpson’s lawyer said.

The “Trump dossier” was central to claims made by U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian government had damaging information on the president that could be used against him. Buzzfeed was later excoriated for their lack of journalistic standards when they published the dossier. U.S. intelligence agencies, however, said that while some aspects of the document were dubious, other claims had been corroborated through their investigation.   

Former Trump campaign official Carter Page has referred to the document as the “dodgy dossier,” in apparent reference to it’s dubious source and questionable claims.

While a Washington opposition research firm was overseeing the unverified dossier about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, that same firm was apparently involved in a pro-Russian lobbying campaign at the same time. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wants answers. In a letter to Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, Grassley demanded to know if the Justice Department is looking into the firm, Fusion GPS, for alleged violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA. The letter cites earlier reporting by POLITICO connecting Fusion GPS to a mysterious lobbying effort last year that tried to derail a human rights sanctions bill that irked the Kremlin. The lobbying campaign occurred at the same time that Fusion GPS reportedly hired a former British spy to gather intelligence on Russia's efforts to tamper with the 2016 presidential election and develop contacts with then-candidate Donald Trump and his associates.

Posted in Chuck Grassley, Donald Trump, Fusion GPS, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump, Trump Dossier

July 22nd, 2017 by Staff Writer

According to a Washington Post report published Friday evening, U.S. officials are in possession of intercepts that included a Russian ambassador saying that he spoke with Jeff Sessions before the election about then-candidate Trump’s campaign policies.

The intercepts were reportedly gained by U.S. intelligence agencies who monitor Russian officials’ interactions communications in the United States and abroad.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Sessions’ meetings with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were the cause of his infamous recusal from the investigations into Russian election meddling and alleged campaign collusion. Although he later said he never discussed any campaign policies in the meeting, he neglected to mention it to a confirmation committee.

The intercept of Kislyak’s alleged comments would contradict his statement and seriously damage the reputation of the attorney general at a time when his place in the administration is already being questioned.

On Wednesday President Trump publicly scolded Sessions for his past decision to recuse himself. He appeared to be upset that the recusal, in his mind, led to the naming of Special Counsel Robert Mueller over the Russian investigations.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said they would decline to comment on the story. “Obviously I cannot comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in a wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that the Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me,” she said, adding that Sessions did not discuss election interference in the meeting.

Some Trump critics questioned whether the story was planted by the administration itself in order to provide a reason and cover for forcing Jeff Sessions out. “Sessions story is suspicious,” tweeted former White House Ethics Lawyer Richard Painter. “Trump wants him fired for not recusing on Russia. Sonebody [sic] leaked intel to get him fired.”

“Irresistible question,” asked MSNBC host Joy Reid, “could Trump team have leaked the [K]islyak intercepts to push Sessions out after he failed to resign yesterday?” She referred to a report that White House officials were shocked that Sessions hadn’t resigned after being berated by Trump in public.

Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions said Thursday he is not planning to resign after President Donald Trump criticized him in an interview with the New York Times. (7/20/17)

Posted in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump

July 21st, 2017 by Staff Writer

Tucker Carlson implored of President Trump that he stop attacking his own attorney general after an interview with the New York Times quoted the president absolutely berating Jeff Sessions for recusing himself. He made the comments on his show on Fox News Thursday.

“Well its been overshadowed by news of war heroes and retired tailbacks, but the president has been in the news today too, as he often is,” Carlson began.

“Last night he went after his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, saying he was angry that Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation,” he added. “If he had to do it over again the president said, he would have hired somebody else to be the AG.”

“Stinging words, but this morning, Sessions seemed to brush them off,” he explained, and played clips of Sessions batting away the criticism from the president.

“We love this job, we love this department,” Sessions said, “and I plan to continue to do so, as long as that is appropriate.”

“I’m totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way,” Sessions told the media.

“Now take a step back and you can kinda see how this all happened,” Carlson said. “The president is a 71-year-old political novice, and all of a sudden he’s the subject of a vague, open-ended investigation, whose goal may be to imprison him or his family.”

“Ask anyone who’s had an independent counsel on his case, and there are a lot of them here in Washington, what that’s like – it’s terrifying,” he added. “The pressure is soul-distorting. You can wind up lashing out at the people around you, even maybe especially, the ones trying to help you the most.”

“So that’s probably what’s going on,” he explained. “And yet attacking Jeff Sessions was still a useless, self-destructive act.”

“The first rule in politics, as in war, as in life, don’t shoot the friendlies,” Carlson advised.

“Sessions is the closest ally Trump has in this administration,” he added. “One of the very few who even understands why the president won in the first place.”

.@TuckerCarlson: “The first rule in politics – as in war, as in life – don’t shoot the friendlies. Sessions is the closest ally Trump has.” pic.twitter.com/ONM8ooKsgr

— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 21, 2017

“Unlike most political appointees,” Carlson continued, “Sessions made big sacrifices to work in this administration. A year ago he was one of the most popular people in the state of Alabama.”

“Many on his staff didn’t want him to endorse Donald Trump but he did anyway,” Carlson said, “purely because he felt it was important. Sessions was worried about an unsecured border and what mass immigration would do to America, even though the biggest effects from those wouldn’t be seen until decades after he was long gone from this Earth.”

“He’s likely the most effective member of the Trump cabinet,” Carlson continued. “In return, the president attacked him in the failing New York Times.”

“That’s not just criticism, it’s an insult,” he said. “It’s also a worrisome sign that the president may be forgetting who is on his side. Goldman Sachs did not elect Donald Trump – America’s middle class did.”

“For God’s sakes, lay off Jeff Sessions,” he implored of Trump, “he is your friend, one of the very few you have in Washington.”

Donald Trump criticized Sessions while speaking to the New York Times for recusing himself in the Russian investigations into collusion and meddling in the U.S. election. The president seemed to think that it was the recusal that lead to the naming of Special Counsel Mueller.

In a wide ranging conversation with the New York Times, President Trump criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, discussed his previously undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit and questioned what he considers conflicts surrounding special counsel Robert Mueller.

Posted in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump, Politics, Robert Mueller, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump, Tucker Carlson

July 21st, 2017 by Staff Writer

Right-wing firebrand Ann Coulter indicated that she thought President Trump was wrong to blame Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the naming of Special Counsel Mueller in the investigations into Russian election meddling and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign.

“Who’s going to tell Trump?” she tweeted Thursday. “It wasn’t Sessions’ recusal that led to Special Counsel; It was Trump’s own boasting to Lester Holt 2 [months] later.”

Who’s going to tell Trump? It wasn’t Sessions’ recusal that led to Special Counsel; It was Trump’s own boasting to Lester Holt 2 mos later.

— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 20, 2017

Coulter was referring to the astounding public criticism that Trump made of his own attorney general in an interview with the New York Times Wednesday.

“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” he said to the New York Times.

“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he added.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair,” he continued,” and that’s a mild word — to the president.”

But Coulter points out that the naming of Mueller as special counsel came after Trump himself admitted to Lester Hold in an interview in May that he fired FBI Director James Comey over his handling of the Russian investigation.

“But are you angry with Mr. Comey because of his Russia investigation?” Holt asked the president.

“I just want somebody that’s competent,” Trump replied. “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 pressed.

“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, 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.”

Special Counsel Mueller expanded his investigation into Russian meddling and collusion into the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign officials with Russians in the run-up to the 2016 election. Some Trump allies, like Fox News’ Sean Hannity, have called for an investigation into Mueller’s supposed conflicts of interest, which he says includes a friendship with former FBI Director James Comey.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team are now investigating President Trumps business transactions. Trump told the New York Times that he thinks thats a violation, even though many of his businesses have involved Russians for years.

Posted in Ann Coulter, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Politics, Robert Mueller, Russian interference, Russian investigation

July 20th, 2017 by Staff Writer

President Trump publicly bad-mouthed his Attorney General to the New York Times Wednesday, saying that had he known he was going to recuse himself that the president would have chosen a different person.

Trump appeared angry as he openly discussed the decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigations into Russian meddling in the U.S. election, and alleged collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” he told the New York Times.

“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he continued.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair,” he concluded,” and that’s a mild word — to the president.”

The outburst appeared to corroborate a report in June that the president was still angry over Sessions’ recusal.

Trump/Sessions rift is real. I’m told Sessions even offered to resign. Asked about that, his spokesperson declined to comment

— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) June 6, 2017

That report from ABC News’ Jon Karl added that Sessions only notified the president that he intended to recuse himself minutes before making the announcement. According to Karl, Trump was subsequently so angry that Sessions’ offered to resign over the matter, as the president was constantly bringing up his actions.

Later when Karl asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer if Trump had confidence in the attorney general, he had a vague response.

Wow — @PressSec cannot say whether the president has confidence in his Attorney General.

— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) June 6, 2017

“I said I have not had a discussion with him on the question. I don’t, if I haven’t had a discussion with him about a subject, I tend not to speak about it,” Spicer eventually answered when pressed.

Sessions recused himself in March from the investigations into Russian election interference and alleged collusion after it was discovered that he neglected to mention a meeting with a Russian ambassador during a confirmation hearing.

Sessions later said that he had not included the meeting because he attended under his office as a U.S. senator, and not as a member of the Trump transition team.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation, according to a New York Times interview.

Posted in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump, Vladimir Putin

July 20th, 2017 by Staff Writer

The Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will be testifying for their investigation into Russian meddling and alleged collusion. They indicated that the public testimony would take place the following Wednesday.

The president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also attended the meeting, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Monday, two days before Trump Jr. and Manafort’s testimony.

Trump Jr. has been at the center of a political firestorm around a June 2016 meeting days after his father, then-candidate Trump, clinched the Republican nomination. In a series of stories by the New York Times, it was revealed that Trump Jr. attended the meeting in hopes of obtaining damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Later he released emails about the meeting showing that he was told the information would be a part of the Russian government’s effort to help Trump win the election.

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” wrote a publicist organizing the meeting in an email to Trump.

“If it what’s you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied. Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer said these were the “fatal words” that provided evidence of campaign officials seeking to collude with the Russian government.

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer that met with Trump Jr., told RT News that she was ready and eager to testify before Congress as well.

“If the Senate wants to hear the real, true story, I, with great readiness, will tell them everything I wanted to tell Mr. Trump (Jr.) and what I wanted to say in Congress last year,” she said.

“Absolutely everything I know about in what ways huge millions of money came into my country, Russia, and returned as billions.” she added, “And there were no taxes paid.”

The president has recently been batting down more accusations about meetings with Russians. It was reported that after a formal dinner at the G20 economic summit, President Trump sought out Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and had a brief, “nearly hour long” meeting with him. Trump called the reporting of the meeting “sick” and “dishonest.”

US President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had another, undisclosed conversation at this month's G20.

Posted in Donald Trump Jr., Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump Jr Russia, Trump Jr. emails, Trump Jr. meeting with Russians

July 19th, 2017 by Staff Writer

President Trump took to his Twitter account Tuesday to slam the account being reported by mainstream media that there was a previously undisclosed second meeting between the president and Russian Federation President Vladimir Trump.

“Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is “sick.” All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany,” the president tweeted. “Press knew!”

Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is “sick.” All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017

He added in a second tweet, “The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!”

CNN reported that a White House official confirmed the meeting, saying it was nearly an hour-long meeting and came after a dinner hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 economic summit on July 7.

They also indicated that there was only a Russian translator present, a fact which raised eyebrows among critics of the president.

A statement from the White House defended the meeting, saying it was not outside of common practice. “It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president’s duties, to interact with world leaders,” the statement read.

The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017

The president’s agenda has faced some stumbling blocks as Democrats and other Trump critics have accused his campaign officials of colluding with the Russian government before the election.

Prior to the New York Times reporting that Donald Trump Jr. and other officials met with Russians while seeking to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton, there was no real evidence of a willingness to collude with foreign governments.

According to the Associated Press, President Donald Trump had another, previously undisclosed conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit it Germany. White House spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton confirmed that Trump and Putin spoke privately at a dinner for world leaders and their spouses at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. The conversation came hours after their first official meeting on July 7, which was originally scheduled to last just half an hour, but stretched on for more than two. Anton would not specify the duration of the meeting. But he said the discussion was casual and should not be characterized as a "meeting" or even a less formal, but official, "pull-aside." "A conversation over dessert should not be characterized as a meeting," he said.

Posted in Donald Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump, Trump Putin G20, Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Putin Trump G20

July 15th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Shepard Smith blew up at the Trump administration during his show when another revelation about the Russian meeting in June 2016 broke into the headlines, apparently contradicting Donald Trump Jr.’s that the whole story was out. He made the comments Friday on Fox News while speaking with Chris Wallace.

“The emails, well in fact, this was supposed to be,” Wallace said, “and what the Trump folks took the meeting to accomplish was the Russian government trying to give information about Hillary Clinton as part of an effort to swing the election to Donald Trump. So, you know you’re exactly right, we’ve been told a variety of stories. We’ve gotten – and who knows if we’ve even gotten to the end of the story, we’ve only got to the end of the story with the emails.”

“I know that we haven’t,” Smith said, “I know that we haven’t because there’s news breaking at this moment, Chris.”

“Fox News can now confirm,” Smith said dramatically turning to the camera. “New, more, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, the lawyer from Russia, the interpreter, this new guy we found about today, and a mystery person. John Roberts confirms there was an eighth person in that meeting.”

“We don’t know there may have been more but there was an eighth,” he added.

“Jared Kushner filled out his form, I think it’s an F-86,” Smith explained, “saying who he had met with and what he’d done. Very important stuff, you can go to prison for messing it up, y’know, intentionally.”

“He went back and added one hundred names and places,” he continued. “None of these people made it. They – we’re still not clean on this, Chris, if there’s nothing there, and that’s what they tell us, they tell us there’s nothing to this, nothing came of it, there’s a nothing-burger, it wasn’t memorable, didn’t write it down, didn’t tell ya about it because it wasn’t anything so I didn’t even remember it!”

“With a Russian interpreter in the room at Trump Tower,” he added sarcastically.

“If all of that, why all these lies?” Smith demanded. “Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you’re clean, come on clean! Y’know?”

“My grandmother used to say, ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,’” he said, paraphrasing a Shakespeare verse.

“The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling!” He exclaimed. “And there are still people out there who believe we’re making it up. And one day they’re gonna realize we’re not, and look around and go, where are we and why are we getting told all these lies.”

“You know, I don’t know what to say,” Wallace responded, almost speechless. I think there’s a lot of truth to everything that you’ve said.”

On Friday it was discovered that the meeting in June 2016 with Trump Jr. and other Trump associates with a Russian lawyer also included a Russian-born lobbyist who is said to have had counter-intelligence experience in Russia, and two unidentified persons. Critics have taken this to show that Trump Jr. had not being completely upfront about all the details of the controversial meeting.

President Trump said that he was proud of the transparency of his son for divulging the emails about the meeting.

CBS4's John Dickerson Reports

Posted in Chris Wallace, Donald Trump Jr., Fox News, Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Shepard Smith, Trump Jr Russia, Trump Jr. emails

July 15th, 2017 by Staff Writer

In yet another surprise development in the ongoing saga over a meeting with a Russian lawyer in June during the election, it appears as if there at least eight persons present that has not been identified yet.

A report Friday afternoon revealed two more people attended than were known previously.

This is in addition to the revelation Friday morning that in attendance was also a lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, who emigrated to the U.S. from Russia. He previously served as a Soviet counter-intelligence officer served in the Soviet military and was accused of hacking into the files of a Russian mining company in 2015. He denied those allegations in court.

This means that the meeting was attended by at least eight people: Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, publicist Rob Goldstone, lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, a representative for the Agalarov family, and a translator.

This doesn’t contradict what Donald Trump Jr. said about the meeting, but adds more elements that he seems to have omitted, even as he says he was being completely transparent about the controversial event.

Trump Jr. and his allies say that the meeting was so unimportant that he simply didn’t think it was worth mentioning after it was completed. “It was such a nothing, I literally wouldn’t have remembered it,” he told Sean Hannity on Fox News Tuesday. 

He claimed that that nothing came of the meeting, no information was exchanged, and that the story was completely out.

“This is everything,” Trump Jr. said, “this is everything.”

People in June 6, 2016 Trump Tower meeting. https://t.co/i9s177eYb7 pic.twitter.com/lT0V70Qqzk

— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 14, 2017

Critics of the president have used the previously-undisclosed meeting as evidence of the theory that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to tilt the election to President Trump and away from Hillary Clinton.

Others like conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer called the meeting unethical and problematic for the Trump administration, even if it was not strictly illegal.

A Russian-American lobbyist says he attended a June 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump's son, marking another shift in the account of a discussion that was billed as part of a Russian government effort to help Trump's campaign. (July 14)

Posted in Donald Trump Jr., Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Sean Hannity Trump Jr, Trump Jr Russia, Trump Jr. emails

July 13th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Natalia Veselnitskaya is at the center of the political firestorm around the meeting in 2016 that Democrats are claiming as proof of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. The Russian lawyer was characterized as an agent of the Russian government’s effort to defeat Hillary, though she denies the connection.

Now questions are arising about how she was in the country in the first place to get that meeting.

According to a report from the Daily Beast, Veselnitskaya didn’t appear to have visa authorization to enter the country when she did in 2016.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York said that Veselnitskaya had been granted an “immigration parole” in 2015, but it expired in early 2016 and wasn’t renewed.

The State Department would not confirm or deny whether Veselnitskaya applied again for a visa in 2016, let alone if a visa was granted. A spokesperson told The Daily Beast the State Department could not comment due to privacy considerations. Veselnitskaya also did not respond to requests for comment.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) is demanding answers from the State Department on the issue. In a letter sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he wrote, “It is unclear how [Veselnitskaya] was still in the country for that meeting despite being denied a visa beforehand and her parole purportedly expiring on January 7, 2016.”

“This raises serious questions about whether the Obama administration authorized her to remain in the country, and if so, why?” he asked.

Some have speculated that the Obama administration had something to do with allowing her in the country, fueling a conspiracy theory that the entire meeting was orchestrated to set up Donald Trump Jr.

Natalia Veselnitskaya is the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016. Her name has not officially been linked to the Kremlin or any pro-Kremlin party or organization.  Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said the Kremlin has never even heard her name before. Veselnitskaya rose to power when she defended Denis Kastyv, a Russian businesses man who was accused of money laundering in the U.S. The case was resolved in New York in May for $6 million, only days before it was set to go to trial.

Posted in Donald Trump Jr., Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Trump Jr Russia, Trump Jr. emails

July 13th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Fox News’ Shepard Smith registered his astonishment with how some people are defending what appears to be meddling by the Russians in our elections. He made the comments on his show Wednesday.

“The [New York] Times reports that the president’s son was told the paper is going to print these things,” he explained, “we’re going to print the emails. And he tweeted copies of the emails instead of replying to requests for content.”

“This was not being transparent,” Smith claimed, “this was the New York Times is gonna publish this, I’m gonna publish it instead.”

“Then there’s the president’s claim that the Russia investigation is a ‘witch hunt.’ Fox News can confirm it is not,” he said. “Current and former U.S. officials say there is absolutely no doubt that Russia interfered in our election, put its thumbs on the scales of Democracy.”

“And that Vladimir Putin ordered the thumbs!” he exclaimed. “And all the meddling, lots if different kinds of meddling!”

“Attempting to change our Democracy from Moscow!” he continued. “And some people seem to think it’s OK.”

“It’s astounding!” he concluded.

Smith was referring to the recent reports from the New York Times detailing a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner with a Russian lawyer just after then-candidate Trump won the Republican nomination. Trump Jr. revealed emails that showed he was receptive to receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.

Shep Smith: “it’s astounding” that anyone is trying to argue Russian meddling in American elections isn’t a massive deal pic.twitter.com/Cu5ofjEEYZ

— Leanne Naramore (@LeanneNaramore) July 12, 2017

Posted in Donald Trump Jr., Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Shepard Smith, Trump Jr Russia, Trump Jr. emails

July 12th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Sean Hannity interviewed Donald Trump Jr. during the political firestorm over his recently revealed meeting with a Russian lawyer in search of damaging information on Hillary Clinton before the election. Trump Jr. implied that he regretted his actions.

Hannity appeared on Martha MacCallum’s show to preview his exclusive Tuesday.

“In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently,” he told Hannity.

“Again, and this is before the Russian mania,” he continued, “this is before they were building it up in the press.”

“For me this was opposition research,” Trump Jr. said, “they had something maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I’d been hearing about but they were probably underreported for years, not just during the campaign.”

“So I think I wanted to hear it out,” he explained, “but really it went no where and it was apparent that wasn’t what the meeting was actually about.”

Hannity blamed the media for exaggerating the scandal, saying that America is in the biggest “informational crisis” in its history.

Hannity told MacCallum that he actually ran out of questions for the son of the president during their meeting as a way of showing how unimportant the story was.

Trump Jr. released the emails he received from a publicist about the controversial meeting before the New York Times could report that he believed he would obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Tuesday it was reported that Special Counsel Mueller would expand his investigation into the meeting and the emails Trump Jr. revealed.

the White House has once again been hit with a fresh controversy over contacts between the president's campaign and Russia. this time the target was Donald Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. his meeting last year with a Russian lawyer led to claims that the president's son entertained working with Russians to spread negative information about rival Hillary Clinton. Donald Jr.'s meeting with the lawyer was seen as problematic Among Trump's widespread group of outside advisers and former campaign officials. It is considered an example of the son's political naivete, but not illegal.

Posted in Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Sean Hannity, Trump Jr Russia, Trump Jr. emails

July 11th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly said there didn’t seem to be much to the story detailing a meeting between a Russian lawyer and members of the Trump campaign before the election, but said that Trump Jr. should have revealed the meeting sooner.

“So the story is that Donald Trump Jr. and his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort who for a short
time managed the trump campaign,” O’Reilly explained in a video at his website, “met with a Russian attorney who knows people in the Kremlin shortly after the Indiana primary, which pretty much sewed everything up for Trump as the Republican nominee.”

“Now the story is interesting,” he added. “It’s interesting, is it any more than that? No, not at this point.”

“But if you look at CNN and MSNBC,” he said, mocking the liberal channels, “Oh Russian collusion! All of that. OK fine.”

“You knew they were gonna do it,” he continued, apparently addressing Donald Trump Jr. “You knew the reason the New York Times dropped it when Trump came back was thinking of another news cycle here, they could resume the Russian collusion narrative. That’s what’s in play. Keep it going, keep it alive.”

“Now, I don’t know what happened,” O’Reilly added. “Trump Jr. says he met with the woman because she had, she said she had some kind of dirt on Hillary Clinton. And so they met with her, and she didn’t have anything and they talked Russian adoption for 20 minutes, and everybody split.”

“OK, did that happen?” he asked rhetorically. “Is that true? I have no blankin’ idea. That’s what Trump Jr. says.”

“He shoulda said it three months ago!” he loudly exclaimed. “You know, get it all out! Any Russian restaurant. Any Russian movie. Anything! Get it out!!”

The New York Times story exposing the meeting was published Sunday, with some Trump critics responding by accusing Trump Jr. of committing treason. Trump Jr. has since hired additional legal counsel to defend himself, and denied all the accusations, saying he was merely looking into opposition research, something many campaigns do.

Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen. https://t.co/ccUjL1KDEa

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017

The meeting was revealed when Kushner revised his declarations on a form to obtain security clearance. He had previously not disclosed the meeting with the Russian lawyer, in addition to other meetings he added in the revision.

On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. reportedly hired New York lawyer Alan Futerfas to represent him in ongoing Russia-related investigations concerning his father's presidential administration. Trump Jr. has faced scrutiny since it was revealed by The New York Times that he met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 after reportedly being promised damaging information on then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He then admitted to the meeting with the lawyer, who allegedly has ties to the Kremlin, after previously denying it. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, has since called on Trump Jr. to testify before the panel.

Posted in Bill O'Reilly, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Politics, Russia Collusion, Russian interference, Russian investigation

June 27th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Rush Limbaugh on Monday theorized that former President Barack Obama may have, perhaps, not interfered with Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential campaign for another reason: Obama didn’t want Hillary Clinton to win the presidency.

“People had that theory bandied about before the election,” Rush said on his radio show.

Limbaugh began, explaining his theory behind the former president’s purported inaction, laying it out bit by bit.

“Bottom line, Obama hears about all of these efforts and the brave struggle to contain it begins, and Obama meets with experts and advisers. They advise him what to do. Obama gives his own counsel,” Limbaugh explained. “At the end of it all Obama decided to do nothing other than call Putin and say ‘cut it out,’ an act of bravery and courage unlike most other in American history. And after telling Putin to cut it out, he then confronted Putin again in China and said, ‘Stop it or else.’ Putin and the Russians quaking away, cowering in laughter at the bravery and courage of Barack Hussein O.”

Limbaugh asserted that for four months — August through November — the Obama administration knew exactly what was going on with purported Russian interference, yet did nothing to stop it.

Similarly to what President Donald Trump tweeted early on Monday morning, Limbaugh said, “Obama didn’t choke. He thought Hillary was gonna win! Trump’s exactly right about this. He thought Hillary was gonna win.”

He later added, “Folks, let’s play this out: what if there is another possibility here explaining why Obama didn’t do anything?”

“What if, as the story says, Putin was trying to elect Trump — again, I, on the record think this is bogus, but that’s what the story said — what if Obama knew Putin was trying to elect Trump and didn’t do anything to stop the Russians because he really didn’t want Hillary to win?”

He later added, “This story says Obama was scared to death it could be done, worried very seriously it was being done and decided to do nothing about it. So people are livid at Obama on the left, and that’s gonna be a larger theme going forward as this massive story gets digested by more and more people. But as it gets digested and as more and more people read it and absorb it, it’s going to also be seen for what it is: a giant, big batch of nothing where Trump is concerned. Big batch of nothing.”

Listen to more of the full segment in the video below.

Posted in Hillary Clinton, Media, President Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh, Russian Hacks, Russian investigation, spells on President Donald Trump

June 27th, 2017 by Staff Writer

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.

President Trump took to Twitter again Monday asking for an apology for the Russia Investigation.

Posted in Brian Stelter, CNN, Journalism, Media Bias, Politics, Russia, Russian interference, Russian investigation

June 24th, 2017 by Staff Writer

CNN host Alisyn Camerota simply refused to stop interrupting Kellyanne Conway after asking Conway the same four questions, even though Conway responded four times.

During a Friday interview, Camerota asked Conway what The White House was planning on doing to thwart further alleged Russian hacks into the United States electoral system.

Conway patiently answered the question in varying ways three times, but Camerota was not satisfied.

“My question for you is ‘What is The White House’ — what is President Trump now doing to prevent Russia from doing this again?” Camerota pressed.

Conway responded, “He has been very clear, on the record, that he believes in any type of numbers of measures to make sure that democracy flourishes, and that voter integrity is intact.”

Conway went on to continue, but Camerota interrupted her once again and said, “Such as? … What is he doing, specifically, to try to stop this?”

“Alisyn, I realize that we just like to say the words ‘Russia, Russia’ to mislead the voters and I know that CNN is aiding and abetting this nonsense as well, but you’ve asked me this same question three times now and I’ve answered it.”

Clearly triggered, Camerota exclaimed halfway through Conway’s remarks, “Kellyanne!”

See the full exchange in the video below.

Posted in Alisyn Camerota, CNN, Kellyanne Conway, Mainstream Media, Media, Russian investigation, Videos

June 23rd, 2017 by Staff Writer

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.”

john Podesta claims there was a qoute "failing" by mainstream media to protect American democracy during the 2016 presidential election. According to breitbart, The former Clinton campaign chairman said in a recent interview that he doesnt believe that the realities of Russian interference in the election were adequately portrayed on by the media. "And I think that was actually a failing on behalf of the mainstream media," says podesta, "particularly some of the major news outlets in our country like The New York Times."

Posted in 2016 election, FBI Director James Comey, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, Politics, Russia, Russian interference, Russian investigation

June 14th, 2017 by Staff Writer

CNN’s Jake Tapper aired a pointed video Tuesday from 1998 showing then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich absolutely pummeling associates of then-President Bill Clinton undermining the credibility of an independent prosecutor. The parallels to modern day events were fairly obvious.

“Newt Gingrich has recently been saying there’s no way Bob Mueller the special counsel looking into the Russian investigation will be fair, and criticizing him,” Tapper explained, “but here is what Newt Gingrich had to say about those people attacking Ken Starr back in 1998.”

“The fact is if he wants to fire Ken Starr he could do it in the morning,” Gingrich said in the video. “And if he doesn’t want to fire Ken Starr he should tell his staff to shut up.”

“Because there’s something,” Gingrich said forcefully before pausing for applause, “there is something profoundly demeaning and destructive to have the White House systematically undermine an officer of the Department of Justice.”

“And when I watch these paid hacks on television,” he continued, “to be quite honest, I am sickened by how unpatriotically they undermine the Constitution of the United States on behalf of their client.”

“Interesting words, in retrospect, uh Gloria,” Tapper said to CNN’s Gloria Borger in modern time, “the thing is we have seen this play out on the other side with Democrats attacking the credibility of an independent prosecutor, in this case an independent counsel, and now we see paid hacks on the other side going after Bob Mueller.”

Pretty sure @jaketapper just called @newtgingrich a “paid hack” live on @CNN #SessionsHearing pic.twitter.com/YekDRT72ws

— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) June 13, 2017

The allies of the White House have pointedly turned their sights on Special Counsel Robert Mueller in recent days, with Newt Gingrich being among the most acerbic. Some noted that his Twitter account showed just how quickly Trump supporters have turned on the independent counsel.

Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. Media should now calm down

— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) May 18, 2017

But on Monday, he joined the chorus of Trump allies attacking the credibility of Mueller:

Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.

— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 12, 2017

Newsmax CEO and friend to Trump, Chris Ruddy, suggested in an interview that the president was looking into firing Mueller. When some pointed out that he had visited with Trump earlier that day and might have spoken to him about it, the connection was eventually denied.

One of President Donald Trump's friends said Monday he believes the President is considering dismissing special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to lead the FBI investigation into Russia's potential ties to the 2016 election.

Posted in Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, obstruction of justice, Politics, Robert Mueller, Russian investigation, Trump

June 9th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Left-wing MSNBC host Chris Matthews had to admit that the testimony Thursday from former FBI Director James Comey collapsed the Russian collusion story that the Democrats have been pushing for months. He made the comments on MSNBC Thursday.

“But the big story has always been,” Mathews explained, “the assumption of the critics of the president, of his pursuers, you might say, is that somewhere along the line in the last year, the president had something to do with colluding with the Russians.

“Something to do, a helping hand, encouraging them,” he added, “feeding their desire, to affect the election in some way, some role they played, some conversation he had with Michael Flynn, or Paul Manafort, or somewhere.”

“And yet what came apart this morning, was that theory,” Matthews said, “because in two regards the president said according to the written testimony of Mr. Comey, ‘go ahead and get anybody satellite to my operation and nail them, I’m with you on that,’ so that would mean Manafort, Carter Page, someone like that.”

“And then he also came across today,” he continued, “what was fascinating, Comey said that basically Flynn wasn’t central to the Russian investigation, that he was touching on it. That there was, of course, Flynn had an honest, we assume, wasn’t honest in his answer on the official forms that he had to fill out to become a national security head.”

“But it only touched on that, it wasn’t really related to that,” he said. “But he could be flipped for that, but in other words, they could flip him because they had him caught on something he dishonestly answered but he wasn’t central to the Russian thing, and I always assumed that Trump was afraid of was that he had said something to Flynn, and Flynn could be flipped on that. And Flynn would testify against the president that he had had some conversation with Flynn in terms of dealing with the Russians affirmatively.”

“And if that’s the case, where’s the there there?” he concluded.

“If it isn’t Manafort because he wants to throw him under the bus, and Flynn wasn’t central to the investigation, where is the concern that Trump has, that has put him on defense for all these months?” he asked. “That’s my question coming out of the morning hearing.”

CBS2s Dick Brennan explained people waited on a long line for the chance to be in the audience, as Comey gave testimony before the panel.

Posted in Chris Matthews, collusion, FBI Director James Comey, James Comey, James Comey firing, Politics, Russian investigation

June 8th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and staff writer for The New Yorker, was fired up over former FBI James Comey’s prepared remarks on Wednesday, calling President Donald Trump’s purported maneuvers an “obstruction of justice.”

During his appearance on CNN, Toobin blasted Trump and said, “There is a criminal investigation going on of one of the President’s top associates, his former national security adviser, one of the most — handful of most important people in the government. He gets fired. He’s under criminal investigation and the President brings in the FBI director and says, ‘Please stop your investigation.’ If that isn’t obstruction of justice, I don’t know what is.”

In his remarks, Comey claimed that Trump prompted him to drop a federal investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, who was dismissed over his failure to disclose Russian communications.

Comey’s statement outright made allegations that the president had high hopes that the former FBI Director would drop the investigation of Flynn.

“[Trump] then said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,’” Comey wrote in his prepared remarks. “I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’ … I did not say I would ‘let this go.’”

Comey’s statement also added that Trump put pressure on him to “lift the cloud” of the Russian investigation, which was initiated to look into possible election interference by the Russians. Comey claimed that Trump said to him, “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”

Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday.

See Toobin’s remarks in the video below.

“If [this] isn’t obstruction of justice, I don’t know what is”: Jeffrey Toobin reacts to Comey’s prepared testimony https://t.co/fCg15m1Sdn pic.twitter.com/qDicj7Ceeh

— CNN (@CNN) June 7, 2017

Posted in CNN, Government, James Comey, Jeffrey Toobin, Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation

June 6th, 2017 by Staff Writer

During an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews,” former Trump adviser Carter Page was put in the hot seat over allegations that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

In a exchange between Matthews and Page, Matthews can be heard repeating over and over “Why are you hiding?” while asking about reports that Page himself had ties to Russia.

Page in April was viewed as a “person of interest” in the Russian investigation.

CNN initially reported that sources told them that Russian intelligence had attempted to recruit Trump aides — like Page — in order to infiltrate the campaign prior to the election.

“We have learned the FBI gathered intelligence last summer suggesting Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisors including Carter Page to infiltrate the Trump campaign,” Pamela Brown told Wolf Blitzer during their April interview.

On Monday, however, Page told Matthews that he was a victim of hacking, and in response, Matthews asked Page whether he believed that Russia “hacked into the DNC” to “try to manipulate” the 2016 election.

“I’m not fully convinced of that,” Page answered.

The former Trump aide’s comments come on the heels that Reality Leigh Winner purportedly leaked intelligence that indicated Russians launched a cyber-campaign to interfere with local election offices during the 2016 election.

Page also fired back at reports that he’d had personal interactions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and noted that Trump could possibly improve U.S.-Russia relations to combat “bigotry and xenophobia against Russians.”

Undeterred, Matthews grilled Page over what he and Kislyak reportedly discussed and asked the former aide “What are you hiding?” several times throughout their discussion.

See the heated exchange in the video below.

Posted in Carter Page, Chris Matthews, Media, MSNBC, Russian investigation

May 31st, 2017 by Staff Writer

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.

President Donald Trump has attacked the use of anonymous sources in news reports for months and now, hes using those same anonymous sources to defend his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Veuer's Nick Cardona (@nickcardona93) has that story.

Posted in Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian Ambassador, Russian investigation, Trump

May 27th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Retired U.S. Navy Officer and MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance made a pretty serious charge against President Trump’s senior aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner, depending on whether a report from the Washington Post was true or not. He made the accusations Friday on MSNBC to Chis L. Hayes.

“You also said that you thought under the Espionage Act,” Hayes asked, referring to the previous panelist saying it sounded like Kushner committed a felony, “what do you mean by that, Malcolm?”

“Right now there’s just take it from the perspective of every intelligence watch officer in the world who is watching the program right now,” he responded. “There are thousands of people who are out there who are on duty who are watching this, who have top secret SCI, special access program clearance, knowing that in one instance, even a fraction of this, would lose their clearances, will have to ask themselves the question they would have to ask in any counter-intelligence environment and that is simply this: Why?”

“What is the motiviational device that Jared Kushner,” he said forcefully, “should this story be true, because we don’t know if it’s entirely true. We don’t even know what the source of this was. The Russians themselves could have leaked this story to create chaos.”

“But why would he want to hide, covert,” he continued, “his communications from the U.S. government, believing that he would want to be able to use a facility, obviously that would have more secure communications to create a back channel that U.S. cryptologic collection couldn’t get.”

“That right there along is covert communications,” Nance said.

“That is indicative of espionage activity of an American citizen that is working in league with a hostile government,” he concluded. “And right now there is no FBI counterintelligence officer in the world right now that does not believe that if this story is true.”

.@MalcolmNance: If the Kushner story is true, it’s “indicative of espionage activity” #inners https://t.co/BWFybFRcqs

— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) May 27, 2017

The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner floated the idea of beginning a back channel of communications between the Trump transition team and the Russian government in order to escape monitoring by U.S. authorities. Their anonymous sources indicated that he made this offer to Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak when they met at Trump Tower in December.

Nance supplemented his comments on MSNBC with a few tweets on this account:

1.Did I sound a little panicked on @chrislhayes over Kushner-Rubsecret comms report. I am. What did he intend to pass? The PDB? Nuke codes?

— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) May 27, 2017

2. If that meeting happened-content aside-Kushner & all who work for him need clearances pulled now! Is this a real Cardinal of the Kremlin?

— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) May 27, 2017

Nance has been a vehement critic of the Trump administration, and at one point cracked a crude joke that his Trump Towers in Istanbul would be his nominee for the first ISIS suicide bombing. Nance, a combat veteran, was also very critical of Trump’s supporters attacking the father of a fallen Muslim soldier during the presidential election.

The White House has declined to comment on the story.

CBS News has confirmed President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is under FBI scrutiny for meetings held with Russian officials, Seth Lemon reports (2:01). WCCO 4 News At Noon May 26, 2017

Posted in Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Politics, Russian interference, Russian investigation, Sergey Kislyak, Trump

May 27th, 2017 by Staff Writer

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.

CBS4's John Dickerson Reports

[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

May 26th, 2017 by Staff Writer

On the heels of two reports from NBC News and The Washington Post that Jared Kushner is purportedly being eyed up by the FBI in the ongoing Russia investigation, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews blasted Kushner and President Donald Trump over White House nepotism.

During Thursday’s airing of “Hardball,” Matthews addressed the reports and voiced his opinion that it was a “bad idea” for Trump to appoint Kushner to any position within the White House.

“I think it was a bad idea to let him become an assistant to the President,” Matthews said. “I think it’s nepotism run wild.”

He also noted Kushner’s omnipresence, and questioned the motivations behind Kushner’s ambitions.

“This is follow the money time,” Matthews said. “I’m watching this guy. This son-in-law. He’s a business guy. We know what he’s doing.”

He added that wherever Trump goes, Kushner follows closely behind.

“He’s making a lot of money,” Matthews noted. “He married into a lot of money … He’s in bed with that family. And the President troops him around with him.”

Further wondering why Kushner — an assistant to the president — was on Trump’s international tour, Matthews asked, “What’s he gotta see the Pope for?! What’s he standing behind Trump for at the Pope’s?! Why’s he there?”

Calling Kushner’s presence “a statement to the world,” Matthews paraphrased his interpretation of Trump’s desire to have his son-in-law by his side.

“If you wanna deal with me,” he explained, “deal with him.”

NBC and The Washington Post both reported on Thursday that Kusher is “now a focus” and is “under scrutiny” in the Russia investigation.

Both outlets reported that Kushner became the focus of the investigation over December meetings with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow due to “the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians,” sources said.

Posted in Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Politics, Russian investigation

May 20th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Rush Limbaugh questioned the validity of the Russian investigations of President Trump and his administration during his radio show on Friday.

Calling what’s unfolding a “silent coup,” Limbaugh lashed out at the treatment of the president by those within his party, the media and rest of the country.

“How do we get no evidence of anything into five investigations on Capitol Hill, numerous media investigations, and the big investigation by the real pros: The CIA, the NSA, and the FBI?” Limbaugh asked. “There’s nothing. There’s not a scintilla. There’s not a whit. There’s no evidence whatsoever.”

“It takes a lot of people conspiring together to make this happen,” Limbaugh continued.

Directly attacking the media over reporting alleged White House leaks, Limbaugh said:

“I think it has a purposeful, studied effort and outcome, which is a coup. We are watching a silent coup here to oust a duly elected president, and this coup is being mounted by career government people who can traffic anonymously and who are protected by people in the media and within the Democrat Party. Stop and think of it, folks. A year. How many…? Hasn’t the Washington Post at one time admitted that they have over 30 anonymous sources for all of this? That’s just one newspaper, 30 anonymous sources there.”

Limbaugh added that The New York Times has their own sources, and wondered aloud how much source overlap existed between the varying publications.

Insisting that there’s no evidence of collusion, Limbaugh pointed to a coverup of the “real” coverup.

“All these deep state career government people, ex-Obama people that are civilians now? We don’t know,” he said. “But it is a lot of people, and there isn’t any evidence. There’s none! … Not only is there no evidence, there’s nothing to suggest the need of a special counsel. They can’t even find a coverup to cover up the fact that there’s no evidence. What is the cover-up?”

Limbaugh added that firing former FBI Director James Comey is not a scandal.

“When you don’t have a crime, then what the hell is being covered up?” he asked. “But they’ve got people believing that there’s a scandal here, and you know what the scandal is? Firing Comey. That’s not a scandal. Firing Comey? The president can do that any time he wants for whatever reason he wants, and he doesn’t need anybody’s permission.”

Posted in Impeachment, Politics, President Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Russian investigation, Special Prosecutor

May 20th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Anderson Cooper made a rather low-brow remark Friday to President Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord in the face of his unconditional defense of everything the president does. It inspired some laughter on their set, and a lot of Twitter reaction.

“I don’t care what he says to the Russian,” Lord remarked, “to the Russians, I mean, he’s the President of the United States, if he wants to say that, if Barack Obama wants to say whatever, if George Bush says ‘I looked into his eyes and saw his soul…’”

“If he took a dump on his desk you would defend it.” 💩@andersoncooper what? 😲pic.twitter.com/nD8ZfZKtVN

— Salvador Hernandez (@SalHernandez) May 20, 2017

“If he took a dump on his desk you would defend it!” Cooper interrupted to laughter from Lord and others on the CNN panel.

“I mean, I don’t know what he would do that you would not defend!” Cooper said, exasperated.

The joke elicited a lot of Twitter reaction:

Not sure if that’s peak Anderson Cooper, or peak Jeffrey Lord. Maybe both. But it’s clearly a historic moment.

— Andrew Coyne (@acoyne) May 20, 2017

For the love of God, @andersoncooper @CNN please get @realJeffreyLord off your air. You elevate his credibility while he diminishes yours

— Hamilton Electors (@HamiltonElector) May 19, 2017

Anderson Cooper just buried Jeffrey Lord..😂😂

RIP#inners https://t.co/w6F252rcPJ

— RespectMyGame (@battletested5) May 20, 2017

Anderson Cooper literally stating Jeffrey Lord’s job description at CNN. https://t.co/wbXjoGseTc

— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) May 20, 2017

This is a journalist? #AndersonCooper https://t.co/oCMxwPWN5T

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) May 20, 2017

@ChrisEvans @andersoncooper @JackKingston Anderson Cooper has given so many iconic journalistic moments and lets not forget that eye roll from a couple days ago. Bless that man✨

— Jocelyne S. 🐸☕ (@trash_president) May 20, 2017

The interaction came on a day where multiple stories broke in the mainstream media with anonymous sourcing intended to damage the presidency.

A major story from the New York Times had the distinction of not being denied by the White House. It detailed the conversation between Russian envoys and the president on a recent meeting at the White House where Trump admitted that the firing of former FBI Director James Comey would ease the pressure of the Russian investigation.

Trump is on his way overseas for the first time as commander in chief. But he leaves behind a cloud of confused lawmakers still grappling with the firing of James Comey, Seth Lemon reports (2:03). WCCO 4 News At 5  May 19, 2017

Posted in Anderson Cooper, Donald Trump, Jeffrey Lord, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation, Trump

May 20th, 2017 by Staff Writer

The figure at the center of the recent political firestorm causing headaches for the Trump administration will answer questions publicly when he testifies before Congress. The highly anticipated testimony of former FBI Director James Comey was announced by Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) Friday.

“The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former director on his role in the development of the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections,” Burr said in a statement, “and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media.”

“I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President. I also expect that Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” said Senator Warner (D-Va.). “Director Comey served his country with honor for many years, and he deserves an opportunity to tell his story. Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it.”

Chairman Burr said the testimony will be scheduled after Memorial Day.

Comey was fired by President Trump May 9 to much shock and surprise – although it is within the power of the presidency to fire the FBI Director, it’s highly unusual, especially in the midst of an investigation of the administation by the FBI. Charles Krauthammer called the firing “inexplicable” while CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it a “grotesque abuse of power.”

After the firing, Trump appeared to warn Comey from a tweet that implied he had tapes of their conversations.

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

The New York Times then dropped a bombshell in the form of a reading of a memo allegedly written by James Comey after a meeting which indicated that Trump tried to dissuade him from his investigation into Mike Flynn, his former national security advisor. The White House has denied the allegation, spurring many to call for Trump to produce the recordings he implied he had of their interactions.

Senator Angus King (I-Maine) said reluctantly that if the Comey memo was accurate that it would be grounds for impeachment based on obstruction of justice charges. It is anticipated that Comey will testify as to the accuracy of the memo.

Former FBI Director James Comey announced the FBI investigation into Russia and the 2016 election on March 9, 2017. Two months later, he was fired. Here's a timeline of the many twists and turns that have happened since.

Posted in Donald Trump, FBI investigation, James Comey, James Comey firing, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation, Senate committee, Trump

May 19th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Right-wing radio talker Rush Limbaugh angrily denounced the naming of a special counsel to the investigation into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. He made the comments on his radio show Thursday.

“So I saw this and my initial reaction was, I was muttering obscenities,” he recalled. “I was mad, I said, ‘who the hell caved on our side? What the hell?’ I’m going through all these emotions! They lost the frickin’ election why are we giving them what they want?’ Going through all that.”

“And I said, OK, what’s this cover?” Limbaugh continued, “And I looked at it, and it’s only Trump and Russia. There’s nothing about the Clintons! There’s nothing about their illegal server! There’s nothing about any of their illegal violations!”

“What in the name of Sam Hill are we doing?” he cried. “Why don’t we just commit suicide? Why don’t we just point the gun at ourselves and be done with this?”

“That was my initial reaction to this,” he concluded. “Now to the extent that it, it depends on what the investigation turns up, but no, this counsel is not looking into any of that, that would be another one.”

His caller, A.T., who began the conversation asked if there was any way the special counsel could end up investigating Hillary.

“Why don’t we get a special counsel on that on that Loretta Lynch letting Slick Willy on the airplane?” he demanded. “I mean the stuff that’s happened here, that the Democrats engage in, and there’s never any call for any investigation, much less special or otherwise.”

“I tell you what would happen here, A.T.,” he continued, “let’s say that somehow some way a special counsel was appointed to look into Hillary’s illegal email server and traffic. Can you imagine the media reaction to that? ‘This is just sour grapes, this is obviously to cover up the obvious crimes Trump has committed!’ Media would just, it isn’t gonna happen.”

“It’s ex-post facto now, well it isn’t, but politically it is,” he explained, dejectedly. “So all of this stuff has to have political pretext. And since there’s nobody in Congress demanding a special counsel for the Clintons, there’s nobody demanding any of that, it’s not gonna happen.”

While the decision to name a special counsel was made by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, the political atmosphere driven by constant scandal likely forced his hand. Special Counsel Mueller is highly respected and trusted among those who know him well – former CIA official Philip Mudd said of him, “he’s not one of the best, he’s the best I ever saw.”

The decision was made Thursday to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign's relationship with the Russian government.

[Ed. Note: This article has been edited for typos.]

Posted in Donald Trump, Politics, President Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Russian investigation, Special Prosecutor, Trump

May 19th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday addressed President Donald Trump’s Twitter claims that he was the subject of a “witch hunt” after a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“The president is entitled to his opinion, but we’re a nation of laws,” Rubio told reporters. “That’s not a criticism of the president. That is a reality that our institutions work. The acting attorney general has the authority to appoint a special counsel and has done so.”

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed as special prosecutor in the ongoing Russian investigation on Wednesday.

Calling Mueller a “person of high esteem,” Rubio admitted that he has “full confidence” that Mueller will “conduct an independent, thorough and fair investigation.”

Thursday saw Trump tweet, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” referencing the appointment of Mueller as special counsel.

The president added, “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed.”

On Wednesday night, former CIA official Phillip Mudd praised Mueller during a televised appearance on CNN with Wolf Blitzer.

“For four and a half years of sitting down the hall from [Mueller] I saw one two three times a day threaten meetings, personnel meetings, meetings with three attorneys general,” Mudd told Blitzer about Mueller’s stern and fair principles.

“I can tell you, every American who thinks that this is a moment of turmoil, whether they like the president or not, should breathe easy tonight,” he said. “Robert Mueller is solid ground. I saw presidents, kings, prime ministers, secretaries of state, CIA directors, the former U.S. Attorney in New York said he’s one of the best.”

Posted in Marco Rubio, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation, Special Prosecutor, Twitter, witch hunt

May 18th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Former CIA official Phillip Mudd heaped praise upon praise for former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was just named as special counsel for the investigation into the alleged collusion of the Trump campaign and the Russian government. He made the comments on CNN Wednesday.

“I understand you know Robert Mueller, you’ve worked with him,” Wolf Blitzer asked. “What do you think?”

“For four and a half years of sitting down the hall from him I saw one two three times a day threaten meetings, personnel meetings, meetings with three attorneys general,” Mudd answered.

“I can tell you, every American who thinks that this is a moment of turmoil, whether they like the president or not, should breathe easy tonight,” he continued. “Robert Mueller is solid ground. I saw presidents, kings, prime ministers, secretaries of state, CIA directors, the former U.S. Attorney in New York said he’s one of the best.”

“He is not one of the best, Robert Mueller,” Mudd emphasized. “He is, the best I ever saw. Leadership, judgement, decision-making, and I know him personally, he would hate me to say this, the man has a heart and a sense of humor.”

“There is nobody better at doggedly pursuing a target without being subjected to any pressures from Congress,” he added, “the president, the media, anybody in the FBI, the attorney general, the deputy attorney general.”

“There is nobody better, Wolf, I can’t say it any clearer,” Mudd concluded.

Former CIA official Phil Mudd who knows Robert Mueller: “Breathe easy tonight,” he’s “the best I ever saw” https://t.co/ZNCssDP2Rv

— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) May 17, 2017

Mueller was named special prosecutor after many Democrats and opponents of the president demanded that the investigation be secured from the influence of the White House. The “Comey memo” revelation from the New York Times possibly helped spur the decision, as it alleges that Trump tried to shut down an FBI investigation into Mike Flynn, his former national security advisor.

Mola Lenghi reports on plans to have Comey testify before House Oversight committee about conversations with President (5-17-2017)

Posted in Donald Trump, FBI Director, FBI investigation, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation, Special Prosecutor, Trump

May 13th, 2017 by Staff Writer

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. 

The White House can't get its story straight on why President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump told NBC News on Thursday that he was going to fire Comey with or without Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's memo criticizing the director. That statement contradicts at least 10 times Trump's top aides and advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, who tried to explain the how and the why the President decided to sack Comey. Tuesday's unceremonious move came amid the FBI's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 election and any connections the Trump campaign had to the hackers.

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

May 13th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Friday’s airing of “Special Report With Bret Baier” saw Charles Krauthammer call President Donald Trump more mafioso thug than president.

Referencing Trump’s Friday tweet that read, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Krauthammer said, “All of a sudden you’re raising something nobody had imagined and saying ‘You better watch out.’ That’s un-presidential, which is kind of a nice way of saying that that sounds more like a mafia boss than the president of a free republic.”

Trump told NBC News’ Lester Holt on Thursday that he outright asked Comey if he was under investigation.

“I said, ‘If it’s possible would you let me know, am I under investigation?’” Trump told Holt. “He said, ‘You are not under investigation,’” and added that Comey told him two more times that he was not under any federal investigation.

After Trump sent his tweet on Friday, many wondered whether or not purported conversations between Trump and Comey were, in fact, recorded.

Despite the tenor of Trump’s tweet, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during his Friday press briefing, said that the president’s comment was “not a threat” and that the tweet “speaks for itself.” Spicer neither confirmed nor denied the existence of any such tapes between Trump and Comey.

“Now we have another new rabbit to chase down another hole,” Krauthammer told Baier, referencing the allegations that Comey may possess recorded conversations between him and the president. “This is … self-inflicted. When you hear Spicer say ‘This isn’t a threat,’ I mean, what is it?”

Krauthammer continued, calling the president’s tweet “unnecessary.”

“People say, ‘Well, what people like about Trump is that he’s unconventional,’” he said. “Well, ‘unconventional’ means ‘stepped outside the bounds of behavior which 44 individuals have tried to stay within, starting with George Washington, who tried to set an example of a certain rectitude and dignity, and to try to talk like, ‘Well you better watch out, or you might get whacked by tapes’ … this is self-inflicted and unnecessary.”

“I agree there was total grounds for getting rid of Comey,” Krauthammer countered. “There was something on both sides of the aisle for the mistakes he made, and perhaps his unfitness for the job. But that would have made it relatively easy to get rid of him in a way that would’ve not stirred up this kind of firestorm, and then when it looks like it’s starting to dab down, to start up with ‘You better watch out something might happen to you.’”

See the full exchange in the video below.

Posted in Charles Krauthammer, James Comey firing, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation, Trump Tapes

May 12th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Charles Krauthammer admitted that though he didn’t necessarily think it was illegal that President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey about the purported ongoing Russian investigation, it wasn’t exactly proper.

Speaking on Thursday night’s “Special Report With Bret Baier,” Baier said, “Clearly, Comey told … President Trump, at least according to him, numerous times that he wasn’t under investigation.”

Posing the question to his panel, which included Krauthammer, Baier asked, “What about this whole thing about asking him at a dinner or on the phone while Director Comey is trying to indicate that he wants to keep the job, whether he — the president — is being investigated?”

Krauthammer answered, “That came up on Tuesday night when we first read the statement from the president, that very odd statement — and by the way, he says I’m not under investigation. The question is, I don’t think it’s illegal for that to be asked or answered, but he surely looks pretty improper. I thought that’s the standard. You are not supposed to tell someone whether they are or not [being investigated].”

Comparing Trump’s questioning of Comey to reports of Bill Clinton’s tarmac discussion with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch regarding the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, Krauthammer went on.

“In fact,” Krauthammer continued, “I think the analogy could be drawn to what happened with Loretta Lynch. We assumed she was improperly approached by Bill Clinton and that he may, or even the fact that he might have asked was, as you showed in the clip earlier, something that Trump himself had called a disgrace. … There is a line here, apparently what we hear from Grassley and Feinstein, this did happened, which clears away one question: is it true? The other, should it have happened? I think that’s still a question.”

See the entire segment in the video below.

Posted in Charles Krauthammer, James Comey, James Comey firing, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation

May 12th, 2017 by Staff Writer

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.

The Trump administration is defending the comments that have been made by the president and his aides regarding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. White Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says they are "consistent." (May 11)

Posted in Lester Holt, Politics, President Trump, Russia, Russian investigation, Trump

May 11th, 2017 by Staff Writer

A copy of James Comey’s farewell letter to colleagues, friends and fellow FBI agents was obtained by CNN on Wednesday, 24 hours after the news broke that President Donald Trump fired the FBI Director from his position at the Bureau.

In the letter, Comey stated that he won’t “spend time on the decision,” or “the way it was executed,” and says that those in receipt of the letter shouldn’t either.

Noting that he “will be fine,” Comey added his hopes that the letter’s recipients “will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”

See the letter in its entirety below.

To all:

I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.

I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.

It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.

If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.

Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.

Jim Comey

Comey learned that he was being fired from his position as FBI Director when he saw the news flash across the screen on the television, according to Michael Schmidt of the New York Times.

Schmidt tweeted, “Comey learned of firing as he addressed FBI employees in LA. TV screens in background flashed news of firing. Letter was then given to FBI.”

Additionally, Schmidt noted that the Department of Justice and the White House had been working on Comey’s dismissal for at least a week prior to it actually happening.

Posted in James Comey, James Comey firing, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation

May 11th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) threatened to use a parliamentary procedure to vote for an independent probe into the allegations of Russian election meddling Wednesday.

Pelosi posted a statement on her social media account decrying Trump’s “brazen firing” of Comey that she says “raises the ghosts of some of the worst Executive Branch abuses.”

.@realDonaldTrump‘s brazen firing of #FBIDirector raises the ghosts of some of the worst Executive Branch abuses. https://t.co/7yORPHGLnQ pic.twitter.com/zzjGvA15rQ

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) May 10, 2017

“The President’s sudden and brazen firing of the FBI Director raises the ghosts of some of the worst Executive Branch abuses,” the statement read. “We cannot stand by and watch a coverup of the possible collusion with a hostile foreign power to undermine American democracy.”

“The interests of justice demand Congress act immediately to create an independent, bipartisan commission to pursue the Trump-Russia investigation free from the Administration’s attempts to silence it,” the statement concluded.

Pelosi sent a letter to members of Congress demanding that if Republicans don’t bring the matter up for vote that Democrats force the issue.

“Speaker [Paul] Ryan [R-Wisc.] must call up this legislation immediately upon our return next week. If Republicans continue to work to hide the truth from the American people, it will be necessary for Democrats to file a discharge petition to force a vote on the [legislation].”

If @realDonaldTrump has nothing to hide, he should welcome an independent commission that will #FollowTheFacts.

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) May 10, 2017

Some Republicans have joined the chorus of voices questioning the motivation behind the firing of FBI Director Comey during the investigation into alleged Russian meddling.

On Wednesday's Morning Joe, Sarah Huckabee Sanders sparred with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Posted in Donald Trump, James Comey, James Comey firing, Nancy Pelosi, Politics, Russian investigation, Trump

May 10th, 2017 by Staff Writer

According to CNN, hours before President Trump fired the FBI Director James Comey, federal prosecutors issued gland jury subpoenas in the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. They were issued to associates of Mike Flynn, the former national security advisor to Trump.

From CNN:

The subpoenas represent the first sign of a significant escalation of activity in the FBI’s broader investigation begun last July into possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

The subpoenas issued in recent weeks by the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, were received by associates who worked with Flynn on contracts after he was forced out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, according to the people familiar with the investigation.

A lawyer for Flynn declined to comment on the story, as did the Justice Department and the FBI, according to CNN.

Flynn has been at the center of speculation by Democrats and Trump detractors since he admitted lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his meeting with a Russian ambassador before the election. Trump fired him, but blamed the media for the leaks that exposed his mischaracterization to Pence.

In testimony before Congress Monday, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said that she had warned the Trump administration about the possibility that Flynn could be subject to extortion by the Russian government based on the lie he had told Pence. She was soon fired, and Flynn resigned only after the lie became public.

Flynn was later accused of breaking the law over payments he received from Russia and Turkey. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) explained the charges in a statement before reporters in April.

“Personally I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz said. “And that is he was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state, and the secretary of the army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment, but to engage in that activity. I see no evidence that he actually did that.”

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates said Michael Flynn could be in a "compromise" situation.

Posted in Donald Trump, FBI investigation, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation, Trump

May 10th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Former Federal Prosecutor and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin absolutely torched President Trump for firing FBI Director James Comey Tuesday while an investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government was ongoing.

“This is an extraordinary moment in American history,” Wolf Blitzer said, asking Toobin to comment.

“You bet it is, Wolf,” he responded, “and it’s a grotesque abuse of power by the president of the United States. This is the kind of thing that goes on in non-Democracies, that when there is an investigation that reaches near the president of the United States, or  the leader of a non-Democracy, they fire the people that are in charge of the investigation.”

“I have not seen anything like this since October 20th, 1973, when President Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor,” he warned.

“This is something that is not within the American political tradition,” Toobin continued. “That firing led indirectly, but certainly, to the resignation of President Nixon, and this is very much in this tradition.”

“This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is something that is completely outside how American law is supposed to work,” he concluded.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Comey’s firing: “This is not normal” https://t.co/ASBNQrCXoc

— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 9, 2017

Comey had also been criticized for an imprecise statement he made before Congress accusing Huma Abedin of committing “hundreds and thousands” of acts of improper document management during her time as Hillary Clinton’s aide while she was Secretary of State.

Reaction to the firing has flooded social media, ranging from praise to calls of fascism and comparisons to Richard Nixon.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey in the fallout over Comey's probe of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's emails last year, saying Comey was no longer able to effectively lead the agency. Jonah Green reports.

Posted in Donald Trump, FBI, FBI Director, FBI investigation, James Comey, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation, Trump

May 9th, 2017 by Staff Writer

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.

Yahoo News Deputy Editor Dan Klaidman spoke with Yahoos Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff about former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence Director James Clappers testimony in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

Posted in James Clapper, Politics, President Donald Trump, Russia, Russian investigation, Twitter, Twitter reaction

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