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FBI

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Robert Mueller
"But, if you fire me, who will continue the witch hunt?"

President Trump seems to get increasingly frustrated with the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections. He recently criticized special counsel Robert Mueller, the man in charge of the investigation, warning that he would be crossing the line by looking into the president’s personal businesses and finances.

According to recent reports, Mueller has now expanded the investigation to include Trump and his associates’ business transactions. The latest development in the long running Russian investigation is sure to further intensify the feud between the president and the authorities.

Mueller is also looking into potential obstruction of justice by President Trump, following his dismissal of Director FBI James Comey, at the peak of the federal agency’s probe into collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. It was Trump’s decision to fire Comey that later forced him to appoint Mueller as special counsel in the investigation.

While the president has been calling the investigation a “witch hunt,” Mueller has been recruiting some of the most popular lawyers in the country in the past couple of weeks; however, some of the special counsel’s appointees have faced criticism for being donors to several Democratic candidates.

Robert Mueller, who is also a former FBI Director with a reputation to uphold, was appointed as special counsel in the investigation by the Justice Department in May, following Trump’s dismissal of Comey.

In his role as the special counsel, Mueller has all the authority to investigate Russia’s alleged in the presidential elections and also allegations of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Kremlin. While Trump is obviously getting frustrated with the direction in which the probe is headed, legal experts say it’s Mueller’s duty to look at the case from all aspects.

“I am totally not surprised that Mueller is following any leads,” said Steven Cash, a renowned DC attorney. “That’s the way all investigations are conducted, particularly into complex relations of business people.”

However, some Republicans believe Trump is right in accusing Mueller of overreaching.

“Mueller crosses ‘red line’ into potentially all of Trump’s billion$ in transactions. We now face a partisan war of investigative attrition,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) tweeted Thursday.

The spotlight seems to have shifted on to Mueller and the ongoing investigation once again, following Trump’s interview with the New York Times, where the president said that it would be a clear “violation” for Mueller to look into his family’s financial transactions. The president, however, declined to comment on the course of action he would take if such a thing happened.

But Trump did suggest that he had compromising information on the special counsel, stressing on the fact that he interviewed him as a potential replacement for Comey in May.

“The next day, he is appointed special counsel. I said, what the hell is this all about? Talk about conflicts? But he was interviewing for the job,” Trump told the Times. “There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point.”

The president added, “I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.”

The remarks have once again raised speculation that Trump could dismiss Mueller, a decision that many Republicans have constantly warned him against.

Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.), while talking to reporters on Thursday, said that “it would be a mistake to fire Bob Mueller,” calling him “a highly credible individual who will do a good job.”

However, President Trump’s lawyer and member of the American Center for Law & Justice, Jay Sekulow, last month hinted that the president could fire Mueller if he thought the investigation was not headed in the right direction.

“The president has authority to take action,” Sekulow said, while talking to ABC News. “Whether he would do it is ultimately a decision the president makes.”

Conversely, some think that Trump’s remarks about Mueller could be used against him as supporting evidence.

“Mueller like any good prosecutor will be looking at tweets, interviews, the Lester Holt interview, other public and private comments as potential admissions that are indicators of the president’s true intent,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI under Mueller. “I think [Trump] is really on slippery terrain when he makes these public comments that … if charges were to come, could be potentially used as evidence of his intent.”

“Depending how the rest of the case lines up, it could enhance his risk,” Hosko added.

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Senate Hearing
How can you drain the Swamp, when the Swamp has a say in every single one of your Administration's major personnel decisions?

Donald Trump opened the can of worms when he fired FBI Director, James Comey from his position for failing to deal with Hillary Clinton’s emails, and refusing to swear loyalty to him. There was a massive uproar in Washington, and there were even calls for obstruction of justice and impeachment by the Democrats. However, none of that has come to pass, since Trump made the decision on recommendation by his Attorney General, and after Comey testified in front of the senate the matter has been swept under the rug, for the time being at least.

Donald Trump took his time in selecting a nominee for the position of FBI Director, but he has now made his choice, and it is Christopher Wray, who will be testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. The notifications of the hearing have been sent out by the current chairman of the committee, Senator Chuck Grassley.

Making a Statement

Grassley had already made statements to the press about how he was going to hold a confirmation hearing for Wray this month, because he needed to get the Senate’s confirmation before the August break for lawmakers. This comes after he had a meeting with Trump’s nominee regarding his future as the Director of FBI and how he needs to woo lawmakers in Capitol Hill.

It has been nearly a month, since Trump fired James Comey as Director of FBI, because he thought that he was incapable of handling the numerous duties of the FBI, and was doing a poor job of handling the investigation considering relations between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

Leading the Nomination

Trump has now seen Wray fit to lead the FBI in a directorial position, and is confident that he will be able to do a much better job than former director James Comey. Wray also has previous experience, as he was overseeing the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and worked in the capacity of assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

During that time, he handled the Bridgegate scandal of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s (R), and analysts think that he will be grilled about that case in his confirmation hearing. The Democrats, who have been unanimous in their criticism on Trump for dismissing Comey, are supporting the nomination of Wray to be the new Director of the FBI.

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Sean Spicer
"Well, um, what I'm trying to say is that - uh - I don't know. Can you restate the question?"

Sean Spicer finally opened about what then candidate Trump meant when he had asked the Russian hackers to dig into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

It was back in July, Trump had said in a press conference that, “If they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted … Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Spicer stated, that President was joking at the time. We all know that.” He added, “It’s pretty clear they knew all along there was no collusion and that’s pretty helpful to the president.”

“What evidence does [Trump] have to prove that Obama was colluding or obstructing?” a reporter asked.

“they’ve been playing this card on Trump and Russia… If they didn’t take any action, does that make them complicit?” Spicer questioned, while pointing towards the fact that the Obama administration was aware of Russia’s hand in the elections.

“I think there’s a lot of questions about who did what, where, and when,” he added.

The reporter asked, “Is there an element of hypocrisy here, Sean, because this was President Trump on the campaign trail: ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded.’ … How can you accuse President Obama of obstructing when [Trump] was egging Russia on?”

To this Spicer said Trump was “joking, and that “I think the idea was that you had Hillary Clinton with a secret server, that was very clear about what she had done to evade it, and I think that’s probably a bigger concern right now in terms of what they were doing, and the lack of security that they had, ” Spicer said.

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Hillary Concession
Blaming your friends, political allies, and wacky conspiracies is a sure sign of responsible leadership.

In an interview on Sunday, with ABC News’ “This Week’s” George Stephanopoulos, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Minority Leader, said that you shouldn’t blame anyone but yourself for losing an election.

During the interview, Schumer spoke about how Democrats need to move on following their latest defeat in the Georgia special election, where Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff last Tuesday.

“Democrats need a strong, bold, sharp-edged and commonsense economic agenda,” Schumer said. “Policy, platform message that appeal to the middle class, that resonate with the middle class, and show that, and unite Democrats.”

“This economic message platform is going to resonate,” Schumer added. “It’s what we were missing, and it’s not going to be baby steps; it’s going to be bold.”

Moving on, most probably without even realizing it, Schumer said almost the same thing most people have been saying with regards to the way Hillary Clinton has reacted and responded to her defeat by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

“But you lose an election, you don’t blame other people, you blame yourself,” he said.

However, the advice given by Schumer to Democrats doesn’t seem to be in line with Hillary Clinton’s response to the defeat and her strategy of consistently blaming everyone and everything but herself for the loss.

Earlier in May, while talking to the New York Magazine, Clinton said that she would have won the election if James Comey, the former FBI Director, and a few others had not acted against her.

“I would have won had I not been subjected to the unprecedented attacks by Comey and the Russians, aided and abetted by the suppression of the vote, particularly in Wisconsin,” Clinton said.

“Whoever comes next, this is not going to end. Republicans learned that if you suppress votes you win,” Clinton added.

Several Democrats seem to be frustrated with Clinton’s never ending blame game. Most are of the belief that the rhetoric will do more damage than good to the party’s long term chances.

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Doing Time
If you can't do the time, then don't leak memos of your meetings with Trump to the media... as the saying goes.

While, reports have come about indicating that Comey had testified to the Congress that he did in fact took notes on a computer during his meetings with President Trump, and has might as well taken them with him, when he was asked to quit office.

Tom Fitton, President Judicial Watch has released a letter demanding of the FBI to recover informaitot that former FBI Director James Comey had allegedly leaked to the media and then unlawfully removed from the Bureau’s records.

“As you are well aware, former FBI Director James Comey gave sworn testimony last week before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,” wrote Fitton in a June 14 letter.

“Among other things, Mr. Comey confirmed that, while in office, he created various memoranda regarding his meetings with President Trump.”

Although, Comey had declined to refer to Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information, last year, took government related classified information with him, when he left office.

“Mr. Comey also confirmed that, after his departure from the FBI, he provided at least some of these memoranda to a third party, Columbia Law School Professor Daniel Richman, for the purpose of leaking them to the press,” said Fitton.  “Various media outlets now have reported that Professor Richman has provided these memoranda to the FBI. It is unclear whether he still retains copies of the memoranda.”

“These memoranda were created by Mr. Comey while serving as FBI director, were written on his FBI laptop, and concerned official government business,” Fitton added.

“The fact that Mr. Comey removed these memoranda from the FBI upon his departure, apparently for the purpose of subsequently leaking them to the press confirms the FBI’s failure to retain and properly manage its records in accordance with the Federal Records Act.

Even if Mr. Comey no longer has possession of these particular memoranda, as he now claims, some or all of these memoranda may still be in possession of a third party, such as Professor Richman, and must be recovered. Mr. Comey’s removal of these memoranda also suggests that other records may have been removed by Mr. Comey and may remain in his possession or in the possession of others. If so, these records must be recovered by the FBI as well.

As you may be aware, the Federal Records Act imposes a direct responsibility on you to take steps to recover any records unlawfully removed from the FBI. Specifically, upon learning of “any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, corruption, deletion, erasure, or other destruction of records in the custody of the agency,” you must notify the Archivist of the United States. 44 U.S.C. § 3106. Upon learning that records have been unlawfully removed from the FBI, you then are required to initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records. Id.

In the event you fail to take these steps, you should be aware that Judicial Watch is authorized under the law to file a lawsuit in federal district court seeking that you be compelled to comply with the law. Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Kerry, 844 F.3d 952, 955 (D.C. Cir. 2016); Armstrong v. Bush, 924 F.2d 282,296 (D.C. Cir. 1991). Please advise us no later than June 26, 2017 if you intend to take the action required under the law. If we do not hear from you by that date, we will assume that you do not intend to take any action. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

While, it has been highlighted time and again that document leakers, if fund could be charged, yet it is to be noted that this isn’t the first time that the Trump administration has experienced leak of information, during their short time in the office.

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Loretta Lynch
Obstruct Justice! Who? Me?

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (Cali.) in an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Sunday, said that the Senate Judiciary Committee should look into the recently dismissed FBI Director James Comey’s accusations that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to downplay the seriousness of the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

In his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee last Thursday, Comey said that the former attorney general, who led the Department of Juctice under Obama, told him to call the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s email scandal not as an “investigation” but as a simple “matter.” According to Comey, the directives concerned and confused him. He also said that the way Lynch asked him to downplay such a matter, made him “queasy.”

On Sunday, CNN’s Brianna Keilar asked Feinstein: “He felt clearly that Loretta Lynch was giving cover to the Clinton campaign. Was she?”

“I can’t answer that,” Feinstein replied. “I would have a queasy feeling too, though, to be candid with you.”

The senator said, “I think we need to know more about that and there’s only one way to know about it and that’s to have the Judiciary Committee take a look at that.”

A ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein pressed that any investigation into Loretta Lynch’s alleged requests to Comey should be kept separate from the probe into Russia’s meddling with the 2016 presidential elections and any collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

“I don’t think we should mix the two,” she said.

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Mueller Investigation
Are Muleller and Comey plotting together?

Now retired FBI agent James Gagliano is not convinced with how Robert Mueller has been appointed special counsel in the Russian investigation. Gagliano, who has worked under both, former FBI Director James Comey, and Special Counsel in the Russian probe Robert Mueller, who also headed the bureau, says the two men have a special relationship.

According to Gagliano, he’s had reservations since Mueller’s appointment to oversee the Russia probe last month. The decision was announced only two days after Comey shared memos of his conversations with President Trump.

Talking to CNN host Poppy Harlow on Monday morning, Gagliano said referring to Comey and Mueller, “The only thing that has troubled me from the start [is] … why would you appoint a special prosecutor that has a personal relationship with one of the central figures in the investigation.”

Harlow asked Gagliano to elaborate on his concerns with the way things are proceeding.

“My criticism is the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, has a personal relationship with former Director Comey,” he reiterated. “Why would you appoint a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation where a central witness and figure has a personal relationship?”

Harlow then turned to legal analyst Paul Callan, who agreed with Gagliano in saying that Mueller was indeed an “odd choice” to oversee the investigation.

“I think to put [Mueller] in charge of the investigation now of Comey — that, maybe, could be problematic,” he explained.

Gagliano’s remarks come only a few days following Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, when he admitted to leaking memos of his private conversations with the president to “a close friend.”

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter,” Comey said. “I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

The New York Times first published its report on the leaked information on May 16

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What side is he playing today?

Several reports suggest James Comey, the former FBI Director, will publicly testify before a Senate committee that President Trump put him under immense pressure to discontinue the FBI investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s ties to Moscow.

As per CNN, Comey may appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee “as early as next week.” However, it is to be noted that no official date has yet been scheduled. The committee is currently investigating claims that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential elections in its favor.

“The bottom line is he’s going to testify,” an unnamed source told CNN about Comey. “He’s happy to testify, and he’s happy to cooperate.”

On May 09, Comey was suddenly fired by Trump, sparking controversy that the president was trying to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into claims that Russia meddled with the election. American intelligence authorities have claimed that Moscow did seek to impact the 2016 elections in way or another.

The New York Times, earlier in May, reported that Trump asked Comey, while he was still at the bureau, to somehow end the FBI’s investigation into Flynn.

According to a memo that Comey is claimed to have written after a meeting with Trump, the president reportedly told him “I hope you can let this go.”

This Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Comey is willing to testify that Trump asked him “to back off the investigation” into Flynn.

Following his confession that he misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding conversations with the Russian ambassador before Inauguration Day, Flynn resigned from his post as national security adviser to President Trump.

 

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The shave helped.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) discussed the earth shattering report from the New York Times concerning a memo that former FBI Director Comey drafted documenting the suggestion that President Trump made for him to drop the investigation into Mike Flynn.

Gowdy stated that a conviction against Trump is a long way from a headline by the New York Times.

“I read the story, obviously I wanna see the memo,” Gowdy said, “Obviously I want to talk to Director Comey to determine how contemporaneous his recording of the conversation was. But also importantly, not just what was said, but what did Director Comey hear. How did he take it? That can only be done, with all due respect to the New York Times that can only be done by looking at the memo and talking to Director Comey.”

“If you go back to criminal procedure,” he explained, “which is my background, there’s a doctrine called the ‘rule of completeness.’ Whenever part of a document is introduced you gotta be able to look at the entire document. Your viewers and my fellow citizens deserve to see the entire context of whatever conversation may or may not have taken place.”

“And quite frankly,” he continued, “Director Comey deserves the opportunity to come tell us how he heard it, what he heard, how pervasive it was, and how much of the conversation that segment consumed. So we have a story, there’s a reason newspaper articles are not admissible in a courtroom in the United States. I’m not knocking the reporter, the reporter does good work. But we’re a long ways from a conviction, the fact is we simply have a headline in the New York Times.”

Anchor Martha MacCallum asked Gowdy if the report would actually help promote the need of a special prosecutor to be appointed to the Russian investigation.

“I have been resistant in the past but I have been open-minded,” Gowdy answered. “Special counsel is only appropriate if there’s an allegation of a crime. And there are several crimes, potentially at play here. The hacking of the DNC is a crime, I don’t hear people talking about that much. The dissemination of classified information is a crime. General Flynn’s comments to the FBI may or may not constitute a false statement to a law enforcement official. And I’ve heard allegations that this rises to the level of obstruction of justice.”

“So you do have sufficient evidentiary basis for a crime,” he concluded, “but the other half, the other half of the equation is whether or not the Department of Justice or any of the 94 U.S. attorneys can do the job themselves, and I have not been persuaded that all 94 U.S. attorneys, in our country, many of whom are women and men who have nothing to do with politics are incapable of adjudicating this fact pattern.”

The report by the New York Times has put the White House under the spotlight, as Democrats and other critics demand investigations.

Senator Angus King (I-Maine) said that if the report was in fact true, it could lead to Trump’s impeachment. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), on the other hand, sent a letter to the FBI on Tuesday demanding that they hand over all communications between Comey and President Trump to the House Oversight Committee.

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Comey

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump reportedly fired FBI Director James Comey and wasted absolutely no time to begin his search for a new FBI Director to take Comey’s place.

In a letter addressed to Comey, President Trump wrote:

“I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately. While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau. It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”

This letter came almost as a surprise to not just Comey, but also to the public.

As a result of Comey’s firing, reactions from political figures surrounded Twitter:

“Comey Fired!!! Finally.” – Sean Hannity

“Pretty stunning that the deputy atty. general cites Comey’s mishandling of the Hillary emails investigation as the reason for his dismissal.” – Ashley Parker

“This is Nixonian. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.” – Senator Bob Casey

“Trump firing Comey shows how frightened the Admin is over Russia investigation” – Senator Tim Kaine

On the other hand, Republican Sen. of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham released a statement of his own, supporting the President’s decision.

“I know this was a difficult decision for all concerned. I appreciate Director Comey’s service to our nation in a variety of roles, said Graham. And added, “Given the recent controversies surrounding the director. I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well. I encourage the President to select the most qualified professional available who will serve our nation’s interests.”

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