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As “metal bracelet day” for Donald Trump edges closer…


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Author Topic: As “metal bracelet day” for Donald Trump edges closer…  (Read 334 times)
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« Reply #75 on: January 16, 2018, 10:34:35 am »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=flSYmWkp6Qk
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« Reply #76 on: January 18, 2018, 12:36:51 am »


from The New York Times....

Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller's Russia Investigation

The move marks the first time the special counsel is known to have used a grand jury
subpoena to seek information from a member of President Trump's inner circle.


By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT | Tuesday, January 16, 2008

Stephen K. Bannon arrived to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session on Tuesday. — Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.
Stephen K. Bannon arrived to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session
on Tuesday. — Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.


WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump's associates and Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump's inner circle. The special counsel's office has used subpoenas before to seek information on Mr. Trump's associates and their possible ties to Russia or other foreign governments.

A second subpoena for Mr. Bannon to testify came from a House panel on Tuesday.

The Mueller subpoena could be a negotiating tactic. Mr. Mueller is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel's offices about ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia and about the president's conduct in office, according to the person, who would not be named discussing the case. But it was not clear why Mr. Mueller treated Mr. Bannon differently from the dozen administration officials who were interviewed in the final months of last year and were never served with a subpoena.

The subpoena is a sign that Mr. Bannon is not personally the focus of the inquiry. Justice Department rules allow prosecutors to subpoena the targets of investigations only in rare circumstances.

On Tuesday, he was questioned for 10 hours behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee, which is also conducting a Russian election meddling investigation. The meeting turned contentious as Mr. Bannon repeatedly said he could not answer questions, citing executive privilege. The committee eventually subpoenaed Mr. Bannon to compel him to provide answers.

After the interview, Democrats on the committee accused the White House of exerting influence over Mr. Bannon to keep him from expounding about his time in the West Wing. A senior administration official insisted that the White House had not told Mr. Bannon to exert executive privilege. Mr. Bannon did not address reporters, and a spokesman for Mr. Mueller did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Mr. Mueller issued the subpoena after Mr. Bannon was quoted in a new book criticizing Mr. Trump, saying that Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with Russians was “treasonous” and predicting that the special counsel investigation would ultimately center on money laundering.

After excerpts from the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, were published this month, Mr. Trump derided Mr. Bannon publicly and threatened to sue him for defamation. Mr. Bannon was soon ousted as the executive chairman of the hard-right website Breitbart News.

Some legal experts said the subpoena could be a sign that the investigation was intensifying, while others said it might simply be a negotiating tactic to persuade Mr. Bannon to cooperate with the investigation. The experts also said it could be a signal to Mr. Bannon, who has tried to publicly patch up his falling-out with the president, that despite Mr. Trump's legal threats, Mr. Bannon must be completely forthcoming with investigators.

Prosecutors generally prefer to interview witnesses before a grand jury when they believe they have information that the witnesses do not know, or when they think they might catch the witnesses in a lie. It is much easier for a witness to stop the questioning or sidestep questions in an interview than during grand jury testimony, which is transcribed, and witnesses are required to answer every question.

“By forcing someone to testify through a subpoena, you are providing the witness with cover because they can say, ‘I had no choice — I had to go in and testify about everything I knew’,” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, a prosecutor for the independent counsel that investigated Bill Clinton when he was president.

Significant grand jury activity may undermine the case that White House officials have made for months: that they believe the inquiry is coming to an end and are convinced that the president will be cleared. Mr. Mueller has told Mr. Trump's lawyers that he will probably want to question the president before the investigation concludes, but no interview has been scheduled.

Mr. Bannon has limited firsthand knowledge about two key issues within Mr. Mueller's purview — the president's firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, a decision made without Mr. Bannon present, and the drafting of a misleading statement about the subject of the June 2016 meeting with Russians, in which they promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

But even Mr. Bannon's secondhand knowledge could be used to draw a contrast with statements from people with firsthand knowledge whom Mr. Mueller has already interviewed. And Mr. Bannon was directly involved in a number of other major moments, including the decision-making around the firing of Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser, who was dismissed after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about phone calls with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.

Mr. Bannon also helped run the transition after Chris Christie, now the former governor of New Jersey, was fired as head of that team. And he was the chief executive of the Trump campaign in October 2016 when WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of stolen personal emails from the hacked account of Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.

In “Fire and Fury”, Mr. Bannon was quoted by the author, Michael Wolff, as suggesting that Donald Trump Jr.; the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner; and Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman at the time, were “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for attending the meeting with Russians at Trump Tower. Mr. Bannon said he believed there was “zero” chance that the younger Mr. Trump did not take them to meet his father, who has said he knew nothing about the meeting.

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers,” Mr. Bannon said in the book.

Mr. Trump erupted in anger after the excerpts were published, calling Mr. Bannon “Sloppy Steve” on Twitter and saying he had “cried when he got fired and begged for his job.”

“Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Too bad!”

Days after the excerpts were published, a statement was issued in Mr. Bannon's name in which he tried to back away from his assertions in the book. He said that his reference to treason was aimed at Mr. Manafort, not the president's son. Mr. Bannon did not apologize, however, and though he had approved the statement, an associate sent it to reporters without his knowledge.

The president appeared to ease his anger toward Mr. Bannon at the end of last week. When asked in an interview with The Wall Street Journal whether his break with Mr. Bannon was “permanent,” the president replied, “I don't know what the word ‘permanent’ means.”

People close to Mr. Bannon took the president's comments as a signal that Mr. Trump was aware that his fired strategist would soon be contacted by investigators.

Mr. Trump has a history of reaching out to people he has fired, including those under investigation, directly or indirectly, as he did with Mr. Flynn after he was dismissed and before he struck a plea deal with Mr. Mueller's investigators.

Mr. Bannon has hired William A. Burck of the Washington office of the Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan law firm to represent him in the defamation threats from Mr. Trump and the congressional inquiries. Mr. Burck also represents several current and former administration officials who have been interviewed as witnesses by Mr. Mueller's investigators. Among them are the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, and the former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.


__________________________________________________________________________

Matt Apuzzo and Ali Watkins contributed reporting from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

• Michael S. Schmidt is an American journalist and correspondent for The New York Times in Washington, D.C. and national security contributor for MSNBC and NBC News.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/16/us/politics/steve-bannon-mueller-russia-subpoena.html
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« Reply #77 on: February 02, 2018, 10:00:38 pm »


from The New York Times....

Mueller Zeros In on Story Put Together About Trump Tower Meeting

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has pressed witnesses about a statement hastily
written last summer aboard Air Force One and wants to know more from President Trump.


By JO BECKER, MARK MAZZETTI, MATT APUZZO and MAGGIE HABERMAN | Wednesday, January 31, 2018

After President Trump left Hamburg, Germany, in July with the first lady, Melania Trump, he helped draft a news release that has become a focus of the Russia inquiry. — Photograph: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.
After President Trump left Hamburg, Germany, in July with the first lady, Melania Trump, he helped draft a news release that has become a focus of the Russia inquiry.
 — Photograph: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON — Aboard Air Force One on a flight home from Europe last July, President Trump and his advisers raced to cobble together a news release about a mysterious meeting at Trump Tower the previous summer between Russians and top Trump campaign officials. Rather than acknowledge the meeting's intended purpose — to obtain political dirt about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — the statement instead described the meeting as being about an obscure Russian adoption policy.

The statement, released in response to questions from The New York Times about the meeting, has become a focus of the inquiry by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller in recent months have questioned numerous White House officials about how the release came together — and about how directly Mr. Trump oversaw the process. Mr. Mueller's team recently notified Mr. Trump's lawyers that the Air Force One statement is one of about a dozen subjects that prosecutors want to discuss in a face-to-face interview of Mr. Trump that is still being negotiated.

The revelation of the meeting was striking: It placed the president's son and his top campaign officials in direct contact with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Mrs. Clinton, and an email to the president's son emerged saying that the information was part of Russia's effort to help the Trump campaign. The special counsel is investigating how those revelations were handled in real time in part because the president was involved in his administration's response.

Some lawyers and witnesses who have sat in or been briefed on the interviews have puzzled over Mr. Mueller's interest in the episode. Lying to federal investigators is a crime; lying to the news media is not. For that reason, some of Mr. Trump's advisers argue that Mr. Mueller has no grounds to ask the president about the statement and say he should refuse to discuss it.

What is already clear is that, as Mr. Trump's aides and family members tried over 48 hours to manage one of the most consequential crises of the young administration, the situation quickly degenerated into something of a circular firing squad. They protected their own interests, shifted blame and potentially left themselves — and the president — legally vulnerable.

The latest witness to be called for an interview about the episode was Mark Corallo, who served as a spokesman for Mr. Trump's legal team before resigning in July. Mr. Corallo received an interview request last week from the special counsel and has agreed to the interview, according to three people with knowledge of the request.

Mr. Corallo is planning to tell Mr. Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call with Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, according to the three people. Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Ms. Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting — in which the younger Mr. Trump said he was eager to receive political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians — “will never get out.” That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Ms. Hicks could be contemplating obstructing justice, the people said.

In a statement on Wednesday, a lawyer for Ms. Hicks strongly denied Mr. Corallo's allegations.

“As most reporters know, it's not my practice to comment in response to questions from the media. But this warrants a response,” said the lawyer, Robert P. Trout. “She never said that. And the idea that Hope Hicks ever suggested that emails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false.”


Marc E. Kasowitz, left, the president's personal lawyer, and Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Mr. Trump's legal team, during a news conference last June. — Photograph: Justin T. Gellerson/The New York Times.
Marc E. Kasowitz, left, the president's personal lawyer, and Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Mr. Trump's legal team,
during a news conference last June. — Photograph: Justin T. Gellerson/The New York Times .


Competing Statements

Early on the morning of Friday, July 7th, reporters from The New York Times approached White House officials and lawyers with questions about the Trump Tower meeting a year earlier. The reporters said The Times was preparing a story revealing that the meeting with the Russians had taken place, and asked the White House for more information about its purpose.

The president and senior White House officials were in Germany for the G-20 summit meeting and asked for more time to respond, citing the time difference and conflicting schedules. They scheduled a conference call with the reporters for early the next morning.

The call never happened, so The Times reporters submitted a list of 14 questions about the meeting to the White House and to the lawyers of the Trump campaign aides who attended the meeting. Among the questions: What was discussed, and what did the attendees think was going to be discussed?

President Trump's aides received the list mid-flight on Air Force One on the way back from the summit meeting and began writing a response. In the plane's front cabin, Mr. Trump huddled with Ms. Hicks. During the meeting, according to people familiar with the episode, Ms. Hicks was sending frequent text messages to Donald Trump Jr., who was in New York. Alan Garten, a lawyer for the younger Mr. Trump who was also in New York, was also messaging with White House advisers aboard the plane.

Marc E. Kasowitz, the president's personal lawyer, was not included in the discussion.

The president supervised the writing of the statement, according to three people familiar with the episode, with input from other White House aides. A fierce debate erupted over how much information the news release should include. Mr. Trump was insistent about including language that the meeting was about Russian adoptions, according to two people with knowledge of the discussion.

By early afternoon, The New York Times received a separate statement, from Jamie S. Gorelick, a lawyer at the time for Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser. The statement said little about the meeting, except that Mr. Kushner had “briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr.”

It left nearly all of the questions unanswered — and seemed to put the onus on Donald Trump Jr. to answer them. Nearly four hours later, the statement that had been cobbled together aboard Air Force One was sent to The Times. The statement was in Donald Trump Jr.'s name and was issued by Mr. Garten.

“It was a short introductory meeting,” it read. “I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up.”

According to four people familiar with the discussions, Donald Trump Jr. had insisted that the word “primarily” be included in the statement.

The New York Times published its story about the Trump Tower meeting, with the statement, at 5 p.m. Not long after, the news site Circa published a different version, saying that the June 2016 meeting had been set up “to discuss a Russian policy.” Mr. Corallo, the spokesman for the legal team, said in that story that the Russians had “misrepresented who they were and who they worked for.” He, along with the rest of the president's legal team, was not consulted about Donald Trump Jr.'s statement before it was released.

He suggested that the meeting might have been set up by Democratic operatives, connecting one of the Russians in the meeting, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, to the research firm that helped produce an unverified dossier that contained salacious allegations about Mr. Trump's connections to Russia.


Donald Trump Jr. said in an email in 2016 that he was eager to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton. — Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times.
Donald Trump Jr. said in an email in 2016 that he was eager to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
 — Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times.


White House Unease

The dueling statements, both of which withheld the true purpose of the meeting, created tension at the White House.

Accusations began flying that the botched response made an already bad situation worse. Ms. Hicks called Mr. Corallo, according to three people who relayed his version of events to The New York Times. She accused him of trafficking in conspiracy theories and drawing more attention to the story.

The conference call with the president, Mr. Corallo and Ms. Hicks took place the next morning, and what transpired on the call is a matter of dispute.

In Mr. Corallo's account — which he provided contemporaneously to three colleagues who later gave it to The Times — he told both Mr. Trump and Ms. Hicks that the statement drafted aboard Air Force One would backfire because documents would eventually surface showing that the meeting had been set up for the Trump campaign to get political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians.

According to his account, Ms. Hicks responded that the emails “will never get out” because only a few people had access to them. Mr. Corallo, who worked as a Justice Department spokesman during the George W. Bush administration, told colleagues he was alarmed not only by what Ms. Hicks had said — either she was being naïve or was suggesting that the emails could be withheld from investigators — but also that she had said it in front of the president without a lawyer on the phone and that the conversation could not be protected by attorney-client privilege.

Contacted on Wednesday, Mr. Corallo said he did not dispute any of the account shared by his colleagues but declined to elaborate further.

Even if Mr. Corallo is correct and Ms. Hicks was hinting at an attempt to conceal the emails, doing so would have been nearly impossible. Congress had requested records from Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's campaign chairman; Mr. Kushner; and other Trump campaign officials about meetings with Russians. And lawyers had already copied and stamped the emails for delivery to Capitol Hill.

When the president began questioning Mr. Corallo about the nature of the documents, Mr. Corallo cut off the conversation and urged the president to continue the discussion with his lawyers.

Mr. Corallo told colleagues that he immediately notified the legal team of the conversation and jotted down notes to memorialize it. He also shared his concerns with Stephen K. Bannon, then the president's chief strategist.

Mr. Corallo left the job shortly after the phone call. The recent book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, by Michael Wolff, which was met with angry denunciations by the president, linked Mr. Corallo's resignation to concerns he had about obstruction, but provided no details.

In the days that followed the Air Force One statement, The N.Y. Times revealed that the true purpose of the June 2016 meeting was to obtain damaging information about Mrs. Clinton, which was being offered as “part of Russia and its government's support” for Mr. Trump. The younger Mr. Trump ultimately released the emails after being told The Times was about to publish them.

Within weeks, Mr. Mueller sent out grand jury subpoenas for documents and interviews about the June 2016 meeting.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Jo Becker is a reporter in the investigative unit of The New York Times. She has written about everything from Vladimir Putin's Russia to the Obama administration’s lethal program to kill suspected terrorists to the phone-hacking scandal that threatened Rupert Murdoch's media empire. She is the author of Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality. She previously worked at The Washington Post, The St. Petersburg Times, The Concord Monitor and the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. She won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a Washington Post series of which she was a co-author on Vice President Dick Cheney. She was part of a New York Times team that produced The Reckoning, a series on the 2008 financial meltdown that won the Gerald Loeb Award for Business and Financial Reporting and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for public service. Other awards include the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the George Polk Award for Political Reporting and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and has taught investigative journalism as a fellow at Princeton University. She lives in New York, is wild about her greyhound, Humphrey, and loves riding horses on the weekends.

• Mark Mazzetti is Washington Investigations Editor, a job he assumed after covering national security from The New York Times's Washington bureau for 10 years. In 2009, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the intensifying violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Washington's response. The previous year, he was a Pulitzer finalist for revelations about the C.I.A.'s detention and interrogation program.  He is the author of The Way of the Knife, a New York Times best-selling account of the secret wars waged by the C.I.A. and Pentagon since the September 11 attacks. He is a two-time recipient of the George Polk award.

• Matt Apuzzo is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter based in Washington. He has covered law enforcement and security matters for more than a decade and is the co-author of the book Enemies Within. A graduate of Colby College, he joined The New York Times in 2014 after 11 years with the Associated Press. He teaches journalism at Georgetown University and once successfully argued a motion from the audience in federal court.

• Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent. She joined The New York Times in February 2015 as a campaign correspondent. Previously, Ms. Haberman worked as a political reporter at Politico from 2010 to 2015 and at other publications including the New York Post and New York Daily News.  She was a finalist for the Mirror Awards, with Glenn Thrush, for “What is Hillary Clinton Afraid Of?” which was published in 2014. Her hobbies include singing, and she is married with three children.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • The Real Aim of the Nunes Memo Is the Mueller Investigation

 • VIDEO: Will You Fire Mueller? How Trump Has Responded.

 • Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/us/politics/trump-russia-hope-hicks-mueller.html
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« Reply #78 on: February 02, 2018, 10:00:53 pm »


from The New York Times....

EDITORIAL: The Republican Plot Against the F.B.I.

Mr. Trump and the G.O.P. lawmakers behind the soon-to-be released Nunes
memo are harming the nation in ways that could be difficult to reverse.


By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | Thursday, February 01, 2018

Last March, Mr. Nunes claimed that he had been given intelligence reports that President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies during the campaign. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Last March, Mr. Nunes claimed that he had been given intelligence reports that President Trump and his associates
were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies during the campaign.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


SO THIS is what a partisan witch hunt really looks like.

In a demonstration of unbridled self-interest and bottomless bad faith, the Trump White House and its Republican minions in Congress are on the cusp of releasing a “memo” that purports to document the biggest political scandal since Watergate. To pull it off, they are undermining the credibility of the law enforcement community that Republicans once defended so ardently, on the noble-sounding claim that the American public must know the truth.

Don't fall for it.

Reports suggest that the three-and-a-half-page document — produced by the staff of Representative Devin Nunes (Republican-California), who somehow still leads the House Intelligence Committee despite his own record of shilling for President Trump, and who is supposed to be recused from these matters — has nothing to do with truth or accountability. Rather, it appears to be misleading propaganda from people who are terrified by the Russia investigation and determined to derail it by any means necessary.

Mr. Nunes's cut-and-paste job ostensibly shows that anti-Trump F.B.I. investigators conspired to trick a federal intelligence court into granting them a warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, because of his Russian connections — in that way corrupting the entire Russia investigation from the start. How did the investigators manage this feat? By relying on a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, but hiding from the court that Mr. Steele's work was being funded by Democrats, including Hillary Clinton's campaign, and thus was hopelessly biased.

There's so much deception and obfuscation going on here that it's hard to know where to start.

First, Mr. Nunes and his fellow Republicans have treated the dossier like the holy grail for the Russia investigation, but it didn't reach the F.B.I. until the inquiry was already underway — prompted in mid-2016 by suspicious contacts between Russians and George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Mr. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying about those contacts and is now cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation.

Second, the F.B.I. didn't zero in on Mr. Page for the hell of it. He has been in the government's sights since 2013, when investigators learned he was being targeted for recruitment by a Russian agent. To obtain a warrant to spy on someone like Mr. Page, an American citizen, investigators must show probable cause that he is working as a foreign intelligence agent. This would require reams of documentary and other evidence gathered over the years, of which the dossier would have been only one part. In addition, the 90-day warrant for Mr. Page has already been extended at least once, which means investigators had to show the intelligence court new information, beyond the dossier, justifying the basis of the original warrant.

Third, even if Mr. Nunes shows that investigators did not tell the court who financed the dossier — which originated as a Republican-backed effort during the primaries — that is hardly a scandal. It's not clear that the court, in Mr. Page's case, relied on the dossier at all, but even if it did, courts rarely deny warrants on the grounds that an informant had some bias. They always assume some bias exists, as it frequently does, and then weigh the information in light of that assumption.

Finally, the idea that investigators were out to fool a federal judge shows a profound ignorance of how the intelligence courts actually work, and of the degree of vetting that precedes every warrant application. As one former F.B.I. agent explained, a conspiracy to obtain a warrant based on bad information would have required the involvement of at least a dozen agents and prosecutors, a corrupt or incompetent federal judge and the director of the F.B.I. — all working in concert to undermine Donald Trump.

You could call it all a wild-eyed conspiracy theory, only there's no real theory behind it. Instead, there's a mad scramble to set off this latest smoke bomb, despite pleas to not do so from, among other people, Mr. Trump's handpicked F.B.I. director, Christopher Wray. After Mr. Wray and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, failed to persuade the president's chief of staff, John Kelly, to withhold the memo, the bureau released a highly unusual statement expressing “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

That Mr. Nunes and the other Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are happy to disregard this appeal shows how far down the rabbit hole they've gone. Mr. Nunes hasn't even seen the classified documents underlying his memo, and has refused to show his work even to Republican senators. Is this the behavior of someone concerned with honesty, transparency and good government?

None of this is to say the F.B.I. and the rest of the federal law enforcement apparatus should be immune from criticism or reform. They should be subject to regular oversight and searching scrutiny. But that isn't why Mr. Nunes is pushing his dishonest memo. As Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: “It's not that the government is always right or always wrong about secrecy. It's that Americans would be right to see this release as proof that selective classification is used more often to deceive them than to protect them.”

It would be nice to treat Mr. Trump, Mr. Nunes and their cohort as the junior high school pranksters they resemble, but what they're doing — cynically undermining the nation's trust in law enforcement, fostering an environment of permanent suspicion and subterfuge — is far more dangerous.

The question is whether there are any adults left in the G.O.P. The evidence so far is not encouraging, notwithstanding a sporadic furrowed brow in the Senate. At some level, one hopes, a sense of shame and responsibility to the republic will finally kick in. But that, too, is unlikely. Republicans from the top on down have made it clear, expressly or otherwise, that this is all about winning the political fight directly in front of them, the consequences — and the rest of America — be damned.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/opinion/nunes-memo-fbi-trump.html
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« Reply #79 on: February 02, 2018, 10:01:07 pm »


from The New York Times....

In Trump versus the F.B.I., Trump Will Lose

He may not believe in the rule of law, but tens of thousands
of men and women at the Department of Justice do.


By TIM WEINER | Thursday, February 01, 2018

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, testifying before a House Judiciary committee in December. — Photograph: Pete Marovich/The New York Times.
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, testifying before a House Judiciary committee in December.
 — Photograph: Pete Marovich/The New York Times .


PRESIDENT TRUMP entered office last year as a singular figure. But he has come to resemble two of his predecessors in one crucial respect. Though he's more paranoid than Richard Nixon and more mendacious than Bill Clinton, he seems bent on following them down a road to hell: a confrontation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Like them, he'll lose.

He might win the battle with the bureau over the pending release of a scurrilous memo concocted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, a cudgel created to attack everyone who's been in charge of the federal investigation of Team Trump. He may try to fire them all. But he won't win the war.

We have a good idea what's in the poison-pen four-page memo. It sets out a conspiracy theory about a 2016 national-security wiretap on the once-obscure Trump campaign aide Carter Page. It argues, essentially, that the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and F.B.I. leaders deceived the federal judge who approved the wiretap warrant and extended it in 2017.

The bureau called the memo materially false and misleading in an extraordinary unsigned statement on Wednesday afternoon. Christopher Wray, whom Mr. Trump installed after defenestrating James Comey, has personally emphasized the danger of releasing the memo. The Justice Department calls the document “extremely reckless.”

And yet Mr. Trump has signaled his desire to see it made public, unredacted. He clearly sees the memo as a weapon of political warfare — a way to rid himself of Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees both the F.B.I. and the special prosecutor investigating the White House, Robert Mueller. Mr. Rosenstein has made it clear that he will not fire Mr. Mueller at the president's whim — which, to the president, means he needs to go.

If he ousts Mr. Rosenstein, he might conceivably find a replacement somewhere in the bowels of the Justice Department. He'd want a stooge, a willing executioner, more loyal to him than to the Constitution — someone to blindly do his bidding, fire Mr. Mueller, and suppress the F.B.I. agents leading the investigation of the White House.

Mr. Trump has been transparent in his antagonism. It is not a disinterested belief that the bureau is corrupt and in need of reform. He'd been in office for only six days when F.B.I. agents came to the White House to interview the national security adviser, Mike Flynn, who'd engaged in skulduggery with Russia. Mr. Flynn lied to the F.B.I.

In that moment, the counterintelligence case became a criminal case focusing on the White House. Ever since, the president has done nearly everything in his power to subvert and sabotage the investigators. He fired Mr. Comey for refusing to scuttle the case — and then denounced him as a blackmailing liar. He has denounced the bureau and its leaders in tweets and interviews, and in quickly leaked comments to White House officials.

He now stands on the verge of re-enacting the Saturday Night Massacre, when Nixon forced out his own attorney general and the next man in line in order to sack the special prosecutor investigating Watergate. Nixon's willing executioner back in the October 1973 was the No.3 man at Justice, the solicitor general Robert Bork. At the end of that fateful night, Nixon promised him the next seat on the Supreme Court. It worked out badly for all concerned — Nixon resigned anyway, and Bork's actions were a major strike against him in his unsuccessful nomination to the court.

Where's Mr. Trump's Bork? Could it be the associate attorney general, Rachel Lee Brand, a former professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School and now the third-ranking Justice Department official? Would she want to carry the same weight under which Bork labored for all his life?

Maybe. But as Nixon learned, the president can't fire his way out of this crisis. Despite the degradations and depredations that this president has inflicted on the executive branch, there remains a phalanx of honorable people at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. more beholden to principle than politics, prepared to fall on their swords rather than suborn high crimes. Mr. Wray is one.

When he was sworn in four months ago, he told an audience of F.B.I. agents that he was going to uphold the Constitution and follow the rule of law. “We're going to follow the facts independently, no matter where they lead, no matter who likes it,” he said. “And we're going to always, always pursue justice.”

The framers of the Constitution contemplated there would be times like this. Though they failed to foresee a leader quite like Donald Trump — a man more akin to the mad King George of England than to Madison and Jefferson — they knew not every president would be enlightened. But they did not dream any would be so benighted, so blind as to place personal loyalty above the rule of law.

The president has measured Mr. Mueller for the guillotine for months. As the bloodhounds close in on the Oval Office, he may sharpen his blade and place the prosecutor's head on a pike. If so, he'll have to confront the Constitution. And he'll lose again.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Tim Weiner, a former national security correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of Enemies: A History of the F.B.I. and One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • About 25% of Trump's Re-election Spending Continues to Go to Lawyers


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/opinion/trump-fbi-winner-justice.html
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« Reply #80 on: February 02, 2018, 10:01:51 pm »


Some really great reporting, editoralising and commentary there.

Long live quality news media like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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« Reply #81 on: February 02, 2018, 10:40:42 pm »

nice fake news spin bullshit
you really think trump will lose?

so far you were totally wrong about trump winning the elections
good luck with WP's crazy made up conspiracy theory

the dems have been saying dont release the memo

i think it's because it will expose much dirt on their criminal behavior



i bet it will be an interesting read it must be bad

as they are trying to head it off before it comes out lol Grin






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« Reply #82 on: February 03, 2018, 03:39:45 pm »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2162&v=doOztgjJBdY


memo

https://www.scribd.com/document/370598711/House-Intelligence-Committee-Report-On-FISA-Abuses#from_embed
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« Reply #83 on: February 03, 2018, 04:13:07 pm »


Yet another EXCELLENT editorial from The New York Times……



from The New York Times....

EDITORIAL: We've Got the Memo.
Now What About Trump's Tax Returns?


Since Republicans are now on board with greater transparency,
surely they'll be eager to release more information to the public.


By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | Friday, February 02, 2018

Illustration: Anthony Russo.
Illustration: Anthony Russo.

SERIOUSLY? THAT'S ALL THEY'VE GOT?

The four-page memo that promised to reveal the biggest political scandal in a generation has finally been released. For all the pregame hype, the memo looks less like the next Watergate and more like the next “unmasking”-gate, the 2017 pseudo-scandal that alleged — wrongly — that Obama administration officials had mishandled classified information. That dust-up was orchestrated, coincidentally, by Representative Devin Nunes, the California Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee and whose staff prepared the document released on Friday.

The memo opens darkly, raising “concerns with the legitimacy and legality” of Justice Department and F.B.I. interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. What sort of illegality are they talking about? The memo doesn't say.

Its central assertion appears to be that investigators who sought and received a warrant from the intelligence court to surveil the Trump campaign adviser Carter Page misled the court by failing to reveal the biased evidence they were relying on. First, they included in their warrant application a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, without telling the court that Mr. Steele's research was partly funded by the Clinton campaign. Second, they did not reveal that Mr. Steele had told a Justice Department official that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”

The memo also notes that Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the F.B.I. who stepped down this week, testified to the Intelligence Committee in December that investigators would not have sought the warrant without the information contained in the dossier.

This is all potentially interesting information. How significant is it in context? For starters, what other evidence did the intelligence court rely on in finding probable cause to issue the warrant? The memo doesn't say. What about the court's rationale for issuing three separate extensions, each of which required investigators to present new evidence beyond the dossier? The memo doesn't say. Was any significant piece of information in the dossier found to be inaccurate? The memo doesn't say. Did the court assume bias on the part of Mr. Steele or the funders of his research, as courts regularly do when considering evidence supporting a request for a warrant? The memo doesn't say.

You know what would help to answer questions like these? Even more transparency. It would be useful, for instance, if we could see all of the supporting evidence in the warrant application — with necessary redactions, of course, to protect sources and methods. Also helpful would be the 10-page response memo prepared by Representative Adam Schiff, the committee's ranking Democrat, who, unlike Mr. Nunes, has actually seen the intelligence underlying the application. (The response memo reportedly explains, among other things, that investigators did in fact tell the court that the dossier was politically motivated.)

Surely Mr. Nunes, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the other Republicans who, in the days leading up to the memo's release, expressed a newfound enthusiasm for transparency in government would support releasing this information, wouldn't they? Transparency in government is the lifeblood of a democracy, after all — the bulwark against abuses of power by public officials. As Mr. Ryan said on Tuesday in defending the House's decision to release the memo, “Transparency can reign supreme.”

Since the Republicans are now on board with greater transparency, they will no doubt push President Trump to release his tax returns, as every other major-party presidential nominee has done for the past four decades, won't they?

How about the White House visitor logs, which the Trump administration started hiding from the public last year? Or, say, the names of all foreign governments and officials who have stayed — at their own or at American taxpayers' expense — at Mr. Trump's Washington hotel, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida or at his golf courses and his other businesses since he became president? Or the names of every foreign business with which the Trump Organization has a financial relationship, especially in countries where America has sensitive foreign policy interests, like China, India, Russia, Turkey or Saudi Arabia?

And, of course, Americans should have complete confidence now that congressional Republicans will demand complete transparency from all members of the president's campaign, transition team and administration in describing their dealings with representatives of a foreign power that tried to swing our election — as well as from the special counsel who is investigating those efforts.

The party that demanded the release of Hillary Clinton's emails as a central plank of the 2016 presidential campaign must support all of this and more, right?


__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • G.O.P. Releases Memo on Russia Inquiry

 • Read the Nunes Memo, Annotated

 • House Republicans Release Secret Memo Accusing Russia Investigators of Bias


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/opinion/nunes-memo-trump-taxes.html
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« Reply #84 on: February 03, 2018, 11:27:07 pm »

trying to change the subject hahaha
wonder who will be wearing the handcuffs now Grin

Trump is a winner lol

and soon more memos are coming the worst is yet to come

Dems are toast
trump gave them all enough rope to hang themselves with Cheesy
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« Reply #85 on: February 05, 2018, 04:30:01 pm »


from The New York Times....

Trump's Unparalleled War on a Pillar of Society: Law Enforcement

President Trump has raised fears that he is tearing at the credibility of
some of the most important institutions in American life to save himself.


By SHARON LaFRANIERE, KATIE BENNER and PETER BAKER | Saturday, February 03, 2018

Under attack by President Trump, the deputy F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, was pushed out last week. — Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency.
Under attack by President Trump, the deputy F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, was pushed out last week.
 — Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency.


WASHINGTON — In the days before the 2016 election, Donald J. Trump expressed “great respect” for the “courage” of the F.B.I. and Justice Department for reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server. Sixteen months later, he has changed his mind.

The agencies have been “disgraceful” and “should be ashamed,” President Trump declared on Friday. Under attack by the president, the deputy F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, was pushed out in recent days. Mr. Trump has hinted that he may fire the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein. And his aides fear that Christopher A. Wray, his F.B.I. director, may resign over the dispute with the bureau, although associates doubt it.

The war between the president and the nation's law enforcement apparatus is unlike anything America has seen in modern times. With a special counsel investigating whether his campaign collaborated with Russia in 2016 and whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice in 2017, the president has engaged in a scorched-earth assault on the pillars of the criminal justice system in a way that no other occupant of the White House has done.

The president's focus on a memo drafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee and released on Friday reflected years of conspiracy-minded thinking by Mr. Trump. “Something is going on, folks,” he would warn at his campaign rallies. He has long sought to find the hidden hand at work behind the scenes in government, and he has encouraged supporters' suspicions of a “deep state” organized to resist the policies of an elected president.

At the start of his administration, Mr. Trump targeted the intelligence community for his criticism. But in recent months, he has broadened the attacks to include the sprawling federal law enforcement bureaucracy that he oversees, to the point that in December he pronounced the F.B.I.'s reputation “in tatters” and the “worst in history.”

In his telling, that bureaucracy, now run by his own appointees, is a nest of political saboteurs out to undermine him — an accusation that raised fears that he was tearing at the credibility of some of the most important institutions in American life to save himself.

“I can't think of another time when this has happened,” said Jack L. Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor who headed the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush. “And it's happening largely because the president is being investigated.”

The attacks are having an impact. A SurveyMonkey poll for Axios, a news website, released on Saturday showed that only 38 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the F.B.I., compared to 64 percent of Democrats. In interviews, more than a dozen officials who work at or recently left the Justice Department and the F.B.I. said they feared that the president was mortgaging the credibility of those agencies for his own short-term political gain as he seeks to undercut the Russia inquiry led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

“Thanks to this rhetoric, there is a subset of the public that won't believe what comes out of the Mueller investigation,” said Christopher Hunter, a former F.B.I. agent and prosecutor who left the Justice Department at the end of last year. Mr. Hunter said he worried that juries might be more skeptical of testimony from agents even in criminal trials unrelated to Mr. Trump. “All it takes to sink a case,” he said, “is for one juror to disbelieve the F.B.I.”

For some career professionals, a siege mentality has taken hold. “Until recently, people in the department were in raised eyebrow mode,” said Sharon McGowan, a former principal deputy chief of the appellate section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department who left soon after the new administration took over. “But now they're starting to get worried.”

Since taking office, Mr. Trump has assailed a number of major institutions in society, including Congress, the courts, the news media, intelligence agencies, Hollywood, professional sports and even his own party. But the attacks on law enforcement are tied up with his own political fate as investigators bear down.

The closest analogy historians summon is the Saturday Night Massacre in 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of the Watergate prosecutor, and both the attorney general and his deputy resigned rather than comply, leaving it to the Justice Department's No.3 official to carry it out. Even then, Nixon was publicly targeting the prosecutor, not the institutions themselves.

Ever since, the notion of a president dismissing investigators looking at his own actions had been unthinkable in Washington — at least until Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, last year. President Bill Clinton's surrogates relentlessly criticized Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel investigating him, but ousting him was never a viable option, and as much as Mr. Clinton detested Louis J. Freeh, the F.B.I. director at the time, he did not launch a sustained public attack on him or the agency.


Representative Devin Nunes of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman, whose panel produced a partisan memo that Mr. Trump seized on. — Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times.
Representative Devin Nunes of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman, whose panel produced a partisan memo that Mr. Trump seized on.
 — Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times.


Even before this past week, Mr. Trump had publicly assailed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and left open the possibility that he might even fire him. Last summer, Mr. Trump sought to fire Mr. Mueller, only to back down after the White House counsel threatened to resign, The New York Times reported last month. He also considered firing Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees Mr. Mueller.

“It's scary when someone can use the forces of government for their own benefit, the way Nixon did and the way this president is now doing,” said Sidney Davidoff, a onetime adviser to Mayor John V. Lindsay of New York and one of 20 people on Nixon's original enemies list. “As an attorney and as a private citizen, I'd like to believe that the investigatory agencies are doing a job for the American people, not at someone’s whim. It's not a monarchy.”

Mr. Trump's advisers dismiss such concerns as overwrought. They said the memo, drafted by Republicans led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman, and declassified by Mr. Trump, raised serious and legitimate questions about the way the F.B.I. used information gathered by a former spy paid by Mrs. Clinton's campaign and the Democrats to help justify a warrant for surveillance on a former Trump campaign adviser tied to Russia.

Mr. Trump's critics, his advisers argue, are turning a blind eye to government misconduct out of their own partisan animus toward the president. Neither the F.B.I. nor the Justice Department should be above questioning, they say, and Mr. Trump's willingness to do so should not be taken as a slight against the vast majority of people who work there.

“The president has stated many times that he respects the rank and file of the F.B.I., the 25,000 men and women who do a great job there,” Kellyanne Conway, the president's counselor, said on Fox News. “This particular investigation has taken a lot of twists and turns, and it's led us to a few bad actors who had direct responsibility for an investigation about his political opponent who are obviously biased against him.”

Mr. Trump seized on the memo on Saturday to assert that it renders the Russia investigation moot. “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe,” he wrote on Twitter. “But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!”

For Mr. Trump, the memo represents the latest example of a secret document containing explosive information that shadowy, powerful figures do not want made public, like the famous long-form birth certificate that President Barack Obama was supposedly hiding to cover up that he was born in Kenya. (Mr. Obama eventually released the form, which showed that he was born in Hawaii, and Mr. Trump ultimately acknowledged that Mr. Obama really is a native-born American.)

During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump often seized on documents as a potential holy grail. At one point, it was sealed pages of a congressional report into the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that he argued would show who was behind them. At other moments, he pointed to Mrs. Clinton's deleted emails or the hacked emails of Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, which were released by the website WikiLeaks.

David Strauss, a University of Chicago law professor, said Mr. Trump's accusations against the F.B.I. and the Justice Department were not mere political rhetoric, but messages with consequences. “We have a president who seems to have no understanding of the professional ethos of the Justice Department, who has no understanding how these people think about their jobs,” he said.

Especially upsetting, some former officials said, is that Mr. Trump has publicly taunted specific individuals — a top F.B.I. official, an F.B.I. lawyer and an F.B.I. supervisor.

“It's one thing for the president to criticize political appointees — although it is quite odd for him to criticize his own political appointees,” said Alan Rozenshtein, a lawyer who left the Justice Department's national security division in April and now teaches at the University of Minnesota law school. But to attack career employees at the F.B.I. who are barred by regulations from publicly responding, he said, “that's really bad.”

Josh Campbell, who spent a decade at the F.B.I. and worked directly for Mr. Comey at one time, wrote in The N.Y. Times on Saturday that he was resigning so that he could speak out. “These political attacks on the bureau must stop,” he wrote. “If those critics of the agency persuade the public that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted, they will also have succeeded in making our nation less safe.”

One F.B.I. supervisor in a field office said public shaming of his colleagues had wiped out any desire he had to work at the bureau's headquarters in Washington. “I'd rather chew glass,” he said.

Mary McCord, a former acting assistant attorney general for the national security division, left the Justice Department in May after 23 years. Every new administration, she said, ushered in new priorities and policies. But only Mr. Trump, she said, had put the entire department under a cloud.

“I've never seen attacks on the F.B.I. or the D.O.J. like we've seen in the last year,” she said. “It makes me just really sad.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Sharon LaFraniere reported from Washington D.C., Katie Benner from New York and Peter Baker from West Palm Beach, Florida. Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Adam Goldman from Washington. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

• Sharon LaFraniere is an investigative reporter at The New York Times. Ms. LaFraniere began writing for The Times in 2003, covering southern Africa for the international department. She moved from Johannesburg to Beijing in early 2008 to report on China. For the past four years, she has been based in New York. Before joining The N.Y. Times, Ms. LaFraniere was a reporter and editor at The Washington Post for 20 years. Her last assignment was at its Moscow bureau, where from 1998 to 2003 she covered the Russian region, including war zones in Chechnya and Afghanistan. Ms. LaFraniere received The Gerald Loeb Award in 2013 for international reporting, the Michael Kelly Award in 2006 for her coverage of women in sub-Saharan Africa and the Overseas Press Club Award for business reporting in 1999. Born in Detroit, she received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Ms. LaFraniere is married with three children and resides in the New York area.

• Katie Benner covers the Justice Department for The New York Times. ​She has worked in The Times' San Francisco Bureau covering Apple, venture capital and startups. She helped steer the paper's coverage of the encryption fight between Apple and the FBI and investigated how tech employees chasing the Silicon Valley dream are short-changed by executives and investors. Most recently she's written about sexual harassment in the tech industry and the legal contracts used to keep that behavior a secret​. Before coming to The N.Y. Times, Katie was a tech columnist at Bloomberg. She also spent nearly a decade at Fortune, where she covered financial markets, private equity and hedge funds. Her work includes profiles of Hank Paulson, Robert Schiller and Reid Hoffman as well as features on the 2008 financial crisis and financial fraud investigations.

• Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times covering President Donald J. Trump. He previously covered the presidencies of Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Mr. Baker joined The Times in 2008 after 20 years at The Washington Post. He began writing about Mr. Obama at the inception of his administration, through health care and economic debates, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the re-election campaign and decisions over war and peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. During his first tour at the White House, Mr. Baker was a co-author of the original story breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal and served as The Post's lead writer on the impeachment battle. During his next White House assignment, he covered the travails of Mr. Bush's second term, from the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina to Supreme Court nomination fights and the economy. In between stints at the White House, Mr. Baker and his wife, Susan Glasser, spent four years as Moscow bureau chiefs, chronicling the rise of Vladimir V. Putin, the rollback of Russian democracy, the second Chechen war and the terrorist attacks on a theater in Moscow and a school in Beslan. Mr. Baker also covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was the first American newspaper journalist to report from rebel-held northern Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, and he spent the next eight months covering the overthrow of the Taliban and the emergence of a new government. He later spent six months in the Middle East, reporting from inside Saddam Hussein's Iraq and around the region before embedding with the United States Marines as they drove toward Baghdad. He is the author of four books, most recently Obama: The Call of History, an illustrated history of the 44th president. A native of the Washington area, Mr. Baker attended Oberlin College.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/us/politics/trump-fbi-justice.html
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« Reply #86 on: February 05, 2018, 07:12:45 pm »

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« Reply #87 on: February 19, 2018, 01:32:45 pm »


Yet another of the “fallen dominios” is “squealing like a stuck pig” in an attempt to save his own miserable neck.



from the Los Angeles Times....

Former Trump aide Rick Gates to plead guilty;
agrees to testify against Manafort, sources say


By DAVID WILLMAN | 11:25AM PST — Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rick Gates departs U.S. District Court on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, in Washington D.C. — Photograph: Alex Brandon/Associated Press.
Rick Gates departs U.S. District Court on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, in Washington D.C. — Photograph: Alex Brandon/Associated Press.

A FORMER TOP AID to Donald Trump's presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days — and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

The change of heart by Trump's former deputy campaign manager, Richard W. Gates III, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort's, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case.

“Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,” said a person with direct knowledge of the new developments, adding that the revised plea will be presented in federal court in Washington “within the next few days.”

That individual and others who discussed the matter spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a judge's gag order restricting comments about the case to the news media or public.

Gates' defense lawyer, Thomas C. Green, did not respond to messages left by phone and email. Peter Carr, a spokesman for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, declined on Saturday to comment.

Mueller is heading the prosecutions of Gates and Manafort as part of the wide-ranging investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump or his aides committed crimes before, during or since the campaign.

The imminent change of Gates' plea follows negotiations over the last several weeks between Green and two of Mueller's prosecutors — senior assistant special counsels Andrew Weissmann and Greg D. Andres.

According to a person familiar with those talks, Gates, a long-time political consultant, can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” if he fully cooperates with the investigation. He said that Gates is apt to serve about 18 months in prison.

The delicate terms reached by the opposing lawyers, he said, will not be specified in writing: Gates “understands that the government may move to reduce his sentence if he substantially cooperates — but it won't be spelled out.”

One of the final discussion points has centered on exactly how much cash or other valuables — derived from Gates' allegedly illegal activity — that the government will require him to forfeit as part of the guilty plea.

Gates, 45, who is married with four children, does not appear to be well positioned financially to sustain a high-powered legal defense.

“He can't afford to pay it,” said one lawyer who is involved with the investigation. “If you go to trial on this, that's $1 million to $1.5 million. Maybe more, if you need experts to appear as witnesses.”

The October 27th indictment showed that prosecutors had amassed substantial documentation to buttress their charges that both Manafort and Gates — who were colleagues in political consulting for about a decade — had engaged in a complex series of allegedly illegal transactions rooted in Ukraine. The indictment alleged that both men, who for years were unregistered agents of the Ukraine government, hid millions of dollars of Ukraine-based payments from U.S. authorities.

According to the indictment, Gates and Manafort “laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts” and took steps to evade related U.S. taxes.

If Manafort maintains his not-guilty plea and fights the charges at a trial, the testimony from Gates could provide Mueller's team with first-person descriptions of much of the allegedly illegal conduct. Gates' testimony, said a person familiar with the pending guilty plea, would place a “cherry on top” of the government's already-formidable case against Manafort.

The same individual said he did not believe Gates has information to offer Mueller's team that would “turn the screws on Trump.” The president has repeatedly called the special counsel's investigation a “witch hunt.”

In addition to the charges pending against Gates and Manafort, Mueller has to date secured formal guilty pleas from three individuals. Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who campaigned for Trump and served as the new president's first national security advisor, and George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy advisor to his campaign, have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

On Friday, a Justice Department official announced the guilty plea on identity theft charges of a computer specialist from Santa Paula, California, Richard Pinedo, whose illicit services — unbeknownst to Pinedo — were used by Russian operatives who tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The intrigue was spelled out in an indictment, also made public on Friday, of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on charges of interfering with the American election by exploiting counterfeit identities of individuals and entities.

Gates joined Trump's presidential campaign in June 2016, when the candidate hired Manafort as its chairman. At the Republican National Convention the next month, Gates directly handled the campaign's operations as Manafort's top aide.

Perhaps the most controversial step taken by Trump's campaign at the convention concerned how the U.S. should deal with the tense relations between Russia and Ukraine, which repudiated Moscow in a 2014 revolt.

When a delegate proposed that the Republican platform call for “providing lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine's military in its struggle against Russian-backed armed forces, the Trump campaign defeated the effort. Instead of U.S. weaponry, the convention platform committee accepted the campaign's substitute language, which offered Ukraine "appropriate assistance.''

In mid-August 2016, Trump fired Manafort following reports of possibly improper payments he had received from a pro-Russia political party aligned with his longtime client, Viktor Yanukovych, who was Ukraine's prime minister from 2010 to 2014.

Gates, however, remained with the Trump campaign through the election, serving as a liaison to the Republican National Committee. He also assisted Trump's inaugural committee.


__________________________________________________________________________

• David Willman is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times based in Washington, D.C. He won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2001 for work that prompted the market withdrawal of Rezulin, a widely sold diabetes drug. His subsequent reports on pharmaceutical industry payments to federal researchers triggered a ban of such compensation at the National Institutes of Health. His other national honors include Sigma Delta Chi's top award in 2009 for Washington-based reporting.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-rick-gates-plea-deal-20180218-story.html
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« Reply #88 on: February 20, 2018, 02:21:25 pm »

all these people will go scot free because any evidence they find will be deemed as fruit from a poison tree
because of the illegal way obama spied on trump to help hillary
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« Reply #89 on: February 21, 2018, 01:39:38 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann has a reputation for
hard-charging tactics — and sometimes going too far


Andrew Weissmann would probably lead questioning of Trump.
He's tenacious, smart and feared.


By DAVID WILLIAMS | 11:15AM PST — Monday, February 19, 2018

U.S. attorney Andrew Weissmann. — Photograph: David J. Phillip/Associated Press.
U.S. attorney Andrew Weissmann. — Photograph: David J. Phillip/Associated Press.

WHEN FBI agents raided the northern Virginia home of President Trump's former campaign manager Paul J. Manafort Jr. on July 26, they came with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

They arrived before dawn, forced the front door lock and burst in with a no-knock warrant, tactics typically used in a major drug bust. The agents seized Manafort's tax, banking and real estate records, photographed his expensive antiques and tailored suits, and hauled away a trove of material.

Manafort, once a high-flying Washington lobbyist, now is awaiting trial on a dozen federal charges, including fraud, conspiracy and money laundering of more than $18 million in an elaborate scheme that prosecutors allege extended through the period he led Trump's campaign. He has pleaded not guilty.

The dramatic case is being helmed, in part, by Andrew Weissmann, a senior deputy to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, in the wide-ranging investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump or his aides committed crimes before, during or since the campaign.

At 59, Weissmann casts a broad shadow in the Mueller probe, a veteran federal prosecutor who has built a reputation for aggressive tactics and a no-nonsense demeanor. Both his supporters and his detractors agree he is hard-charging and to be feared.

“He's tenacious, and very smart,” said Bradley D. Simon, a defense lawyer who worked alongside Weissmann as an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn in the 1990s. “He really got enormous results. He won a lot of big, high-profile cases.”

Weissmann's approach — and his expertise in uncovering perjury, obstruction of justice and complex financial crimes — now could pose a mortal threat to Trump's presidency.

Trump's lawyers have sparred with Mueller since last year over whether, and under what conditions, the president would submit to an interview. Weissmann is a likely choice to take the lead in any direct questioning of the president.


Under attack by conservatives

That has made Weissmann a prime target of Trump's allies and surrogates, especially on cable TV. Sean Hannity, whose weeknight Fox News show pummels Trump's presumed foes, has said Weissmann “not only needs to be fired but fully investigated.”

Hannity vilified the prosecutor during 14 episodes in December and January alone, according to transcripts of the show, cable's most watched news program. Other conservative commentators, notably radio's Rush Limbaugh and Fox News' Lou Dobbs and Laura Ingraham, have joined the attack.

The critics often cite Weissmann's political contributions. Federal Election Commission records show he donated a total of $6,650 to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and to the Democratic National Committee from 2006 to 2008.

Weissmann was out of the government at the time, employed by Jenner & Block, a law firm that specializes in corporate litigation.

The contributions by Weissmann and eight other lawyers on Mueller's team led critics to accuse the group of partisan bias. But federal regulations bar the Justice Department or a special counsel from considering political donations as a basis for employment.

Weissmann's critics also cite the supportive email he sent Sally Yates, then the acting U.S. attorney general, on January 30, 2017. Trump had just fired Yates for refusing to enforce his order to ban residents from seven Middle East countries from entering the United States.

Whatever his politics, Weissmann has worked closely in the past with Mueller, a registered Republican who headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013. Weissmann was Mueller's legal advisor for national security in 2005 and later served as FBI general counsel for two years.

Weissmann was leading the Justice Department's criminal fraud section when Mueller recruited him in early June for the special counsel probe. So far, they have overseen indictments of four former Trump aides, plus others.

Manafort and Richard Gates III, Trump's former deputy campaign chairman, face similar charges relating to their lobbying work for the government in Ukraine. The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that Gates, who asserted his innocence in October, will plead guilty in coming days. Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor, and George Papadopoulos, a former campaign foreign policy advisor, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and are cooperating with Mueller's team.

An additional indictment was made public on Friday — charging 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with interfering in the 2016 presidential election by exploiting counterfeit identities of individuals and entities. Those charges are in part related to a separate guilty plea, also unveiled Friday, of a computer specialist from Santa Paula, Richard Pinedo, who admitted to selling fake identifications. Pinedo was unaware his customers included the Russian operatives, according to the documents.

A spokesman for Mueller, Peter Carr, declined to comment on Weissmann's career and said that Weissmann would not comment for this article.

A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Law School, Weissmann first made his mark as a federal prosecutor in New York City in the 1990s, leveraging evidence and threats of lengthy prison sentences to “flip” mob underlings to testify in trials of organized crime bosses.


Gangsters and white-collar crime

In 1997, Weissmann led the team that convicted Vincent Gigante, who headed the powerful Genovese crime family. Gigante had avoided trial for years by feigning mental illness, at times wandering the streets of Lower Manhattan in his bathrobe and slippers, mumbling to himself. New York tabloids dubbed him “The Oddfather.”

But Weissmann's biggest catch was a white-collar case that helped define the go-go years of easy money and lax enforcement: Enron.

After the giant Houston-based energy conglomerate collapsed in 2001, Weissmann helped lead what the FBI called the “most complex white-collar crime investigation” in its history.

He oversaw prosecutions of more than 30 people on charges that included fraud, perjury and obstruction. Three of Enron's top executives were among those convicted.

“If there's something wrong, Andrew Weissmann is the type of person who won't freakin' give up,” said Mary Flood, a lawyer who tracked the Enron cases as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle.

Weissmann also successfully argued in U.S. District Court that Enron's major outside auditor, Arthur Andersen, had covered up the losses at Enron and had shredded documents to hide its role. The long respected Chicago-based firm was convicted of obstructing justice and effectively went out of business in 2002.

But Weissmann soon came under fire for having pushed the legal boundaries.

In May 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of Arthur Andersen. Weissmann had helped persuade the trial judge to advise jurors they could convict the accounting firm regardless of whether its employees had knowingly violated the law.

Writing the court's decision, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist noted that the opposing lawyers had “vigorously disputed” the jury instructions. The judge, Rehnquist wrote, “failed to convey the requisite consciousness of wrongdoing. Indeed, it is striking how little culpability the instructions required” to convict.

Arthur Andersen never recovered. But when Weissmann stepped down as head of the Justice Department's Enron task force two months later, he had cemented his reputation for unsparing tactics.

Weissmann not only sought stiff sentences for those convicted in the Enron scandal. As the cases unfolded, he named 114 individuals as “unindicted co-conspirators.” In interviews, several defense lawyers complained that by dangling the threat of prosecution over so many prospective witnesses, Weissmann blocked testimony that could have helped their clients.

Defense lawyers also have argued that Weissmann and his colleagues failed to turn over potentially favorable evidence in some cases. The row arose during separate appeals lodged by a top Enron executive and four officials at Merrill Lynch, a financial firm that Enron relied on.

An appellate court ruled that the evidence was not “material” enough to have changed the original guilty verdicts. The convictions of three of the Merrill Lynch executives subsequently were overturned for reasons unrelated to the dispute over the evidence.

The episode remains a source of resentment for the defendants and their lawyers.

The evidence would have “contradicted the theory of the government's case at trial,” Sidney Powell, who represented one of the Merrill Lynch executives during his appeal, wrote in her 2014 book, Licensed to Lie.

“Andrew Weissmann is not fit to practice law — much less serve on Mueller's team,” Powell wrote in an email for this article.

Weissmann's former colleagues, on the other hand, admired what they saw as his relentless push to find and punish those responsible for what was in 2001, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

A former FBI agent who worked on the Enron task force recalled how Weissmann confronted two defense lawyers who appeared to be coaching their client during questioning. After halting the interview and excusing the witness from the room, Weissmann warned both defense lawyers they were opening themselves to potential charges of suborning perjury.

“He was not going to be pushed around,” said the former FBI agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity because his current employer did not authorize him to speak to the news media. “If you want to get to the bottom of the truth — if you want justice — you want Andrew Weissmann as the prosecutor on that case.”

Even some of Weissmann's opponents in the Enron case praised his abilities.


‘The top of the food chain’

Mike DeGeurin, a defense lawyer, lauded Weissmann's creative efforts to win the cooperation of his clients — Andrew Fastow, who was Enron's chief financial officer, and his wife, Lea Fastow, a former assistant treasurer at the company.

Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, and his testimony helped convict Enron's top two executives, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, plus the Merrill Lynch defendants.

DeGeurin said he met with Weissmann up to 20 times to negotiate the Fastows' plea deals. The prosecutor accommodated the couple's main request — that their incarcerations be staggered so one parent would always be available for their two young children.

Weissmann allowed Lea Fastow to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, lying on a tax return. DeGeurin said that prevented a judge from sentencing her to more than a year in jail.

“Weissmann was very astute,” DeGeurin said. “I felt I was dealing with the top of the food chain.”

Trump and his lawyers have given mixed signals as to whether the president will consent to questioning. But one of Weissmann's former targets offered a warning to the White House.

James A. Brown, a former Merrill Lynch executive, said he saw “no reason to hide” when Weissmann questioned him before a grand jury 14 years ago.

Brown wound up convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and served nearly a year in prison. Separate convictions for fraud were overturned on appeal, prompting his release.

“My advice to Trump would be: ‘Do not talk to this guy’,” Brown said.


__________________________________________________________________________

• David Willman is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times based in Washington, D.C. He won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2001 for work that prompted the market withdrawal of Rezulin, a widely sold diabetes drug. His subsequent reports on pharmaceutical industry payments to federal researchers triggered a ban of such compensation at the National Institutes of Health. His other national honors include Sigma Delta Chi's top award in 2009 for Washington-based reporting.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Russia investigation leads to guilty plea for lawyer linked to Trump's former campaign aides


http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-weissmann-20180216-story.html
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