August 30, 2019

DOJ Watchdog Says James Comey Violated FBI Policy In Handling Sensitive Memos

The Justice Department’s inspector general sharply criticized James Comey on Thursday, saying in a report that the former FBI director violated bureau policy in the handling of memos that he wrote after conversations with President Donald Trump.

The report details how Comey handled seven memos he wrote between Jan. 6, 2017 and April 11, 2017, following interactions he had with Trump. The inspector general’s office determined that four of those memos contained information classified as “Secret” or “Confidential.”

Comey, who was fired as FBI director on May 9, 2017, provided four of the memos to his personal attorneys after his ouster. He also gave screen shots of one memo to his close personal friend with instructions to provide the information to The New York Times.

Comey testified on June 8, 2017 to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he directed the friend, Daniel Richman, to share the information with the Times in order to trigger a special counsel’s investigation. The ploy was successful. A day after Richman provided the information to the Times, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. By then, the Justice Department had also opened an investigation into whether Trump tried to obstruct the Russia probe.

Read the entire article

August 29, 2019

Lawrence O’Donnell Complies With Trump Lawyer’s Demand, Retracts Report On Russia-Backed Loans

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell complied with demands from President Donald Trump’s lawyer on his show Wednesday night and retracted his report from the night before that Russian oligarchs co-signed Deutsche Bank loans given to Trump and his real estate company.

O’Donnell also issued an apology for the story and said it “wasn’t ready for reporting.”

Trump’s personal attorney, Charles Harder, demanded the retraction and apology for the report earlier Wednesday and said it was “false and defamatory.”

O’Donnell cited a single source close to Deutsche Bank, Trump’s longtime lender, who said the president’s tax returns and other financial documents showed Russian businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin had backed some of the loans to Trump. O’Donnell said at the end of his show Tuesday that NBC News had not verified his report and it would require further confirmation.

Read the entire article

August 28, 2019

Former NY Fed Chief Urges Federal Reserve to Sway Election Against Trump

Former New York Federal Reserve President Bill Dudley urged his former colleagues on Tuesday not to help President Donald Trump in his trade war against China. He even urged the central bank to consider how its monetary policy might impact the 2020 presidential election.

Dudley urged Federal Reserve officials not to lower interest rates as a backstop while the president continues his battle against China. Trump has recently increased tariffs on Chinese goods and has called on the nation’s central bank to sharply lower interest rates to help fight the trade war against China.

“Central bank officials face a choice: enable the Trump administration to continue down a disastrous path of trade war escalation, or send a clear signal that if the administration does so, the president, not the Fed, will bear the risks — including the risk of losing the next election,” Dudley wrote in a post for Bloomberg.

The former New York Federal Reserve bank president said that the Fed could and should try to influence the election against the sitting president. Mainstream economists often assert that the Federal Reserve has to stay independent from political influence.

Read the entire article

August 27, 2019

Report: Feds Close To Deciding Whether To Indict CNN Analyst Andrew McCabe

The Justice Department is close to deciding whether to indict Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director and newly minted CNN analyst, on charges of lying to the FBI during a media leak investigation.

McCabe’s attorneys met twice last week with Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen regarding the investigation of McCabe, according to The New York Times.

The 21-year FBI veteran was fired on March 16, 2018 after the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Justice Department inspector general determined that he displayed a “lack of candor” at least four times in interviews about his authorization of leaks to the media in October 2016.

The inspector general referred McCabe to the Justice Department for prosecution. The case is being handled by prosecutors in Washington, D.C.

McCabe sued the Justice Department and FBI over his firing Aug. 8. McCabe has claimed he did not lie to the FBI. He also claims he was fired due to political pressure from President Donald Trump.

Read the entire article

August 26, 2019

15 Former Spooks Who Work At CNN And MSNBC Now

  • CNN added to its stable of retired FBI and CIA officials Friday by hiring Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the bureau due to a lack of candor during an internal probe.
  • McCabe is the 10th ex-FBI or CIA official hired by the network in recent years, with MSNBC having hired five.
  • A vast majority of the 15 CNN/MSNBC analysts have pushed the now-debunked theory that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia.

CNN added to its deep roster of former FBI and CIA officials-turned-analysts Friday with the hiring of Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director fired for lack of candor during an investigation last year.

McCabe is the tenth ex-FBI, CIA or intelligence community official CNN has hired during the Trump administration, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis. MSNBC has followed closely behind, having hired five former officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan.

Read the entire article

August 23, 2019

Overstock CEO Resigns Amid Fallout Over ‘Deep State’ Comments

The CEO of online retailer resigned abruptly Thursday amid fallout from his remarks last week about taking part in an FBI “deep state” operation against Russian national Maria Butina.

Patrick Byrne said in a statement to shareholders that he is resigning because his presence at Overstock could complicated “all manner of business relationships.”

Overstock’s shares fell sharply last week after Byrne issued a statement on Aug. 12 regarding the reports in which he criticized the “deep state” investigation of Butina and referred to FBI agents as “Men in Black.”

Byrne was commenting on his reported role as an FBI informant during an investigation of Butina, a 30-year-old Russian national serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

Byrne told a handful of reporters in July that the FBI asked him to keep tabs on Butina after he met her at a libertarian conference in July 2015.

Read the entire article

August 22, 2019

Lindsey Graham Says He Will Advise AG Barr On How To Release Trump-Russia Documents

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Monday he will meet with Attorney General William Barr during the week to discuss how to release documents he said will paint an “ugly and damning” picture of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

Republicans have pressed for the declassification of a slew of FBI and Justice Department documents related to the Russia probe, including FBI interview transcripts known as 302s. Republicans have said some of the information shows the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by relying on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain wiretaps against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“I’m going to meet the attorney general this week to talk to him about how to best tell the story. I don’t want people to conjecture as to what happened,” Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I want you to read it.”

“I want you to see all the 302s that we possibly can give to you. I want you to see the full [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant application. I want to release the transcripts of the confidential informants talking to Papadopoulos,” he said.

Read the entire article

August 21, 2019

Barack And Michelle Obama To Release First Netflix Movie

Barack and Michelle Obama are gearing up for the release of their new Netflix film, American Factory, which explores the United States’ heartland economy.

The Obamas’ film, which largely profiles a factory in Ohio, has been described as “anti-Trump” in a review published in POLITICO.

Trade issues and the loss of manufacturing jobs was one of the biggest themes of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential run, and since becoming president, Trump has been taking on China over trade.

Trump has been urging stronger tariffs and trade protections for decades, singling out America’s trade partners, who he claims are ripping off the United States and hurting workers.

President Obama famously said in 2016 that certain jobs in the manufacturing sector are “just not going to come back.”

Read the entire article

August 20, 2019

Peter Schweizer: Hunter Biden Helped China Buy Our ‘National Security’ Assets

Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s second son, helped facilitate China’s acquisition of Henniges Automotive explained Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and senior contributor at Breitbart News, in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Rick Manning.

He called the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to probe the Obama administration’s 2015 approval of the sale of Henniges Automotive as a “wonderful development.”

Schweizer examined China’s acquisition of Henniges Automotive —  a formerly America-based company developing “dual-use” technologies with military applications — by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a Chinese state-run military contractor. AVIC acquired Henniges in 2015 with a 51 percent stake purchase. The remaining 49 percent was purchased by Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), a private equity firm founded by Hunter Biden and funded with $1.5 billion from the Chinese government via the Bank of China.

“The Chinese government works to gain political allies in the United States by striking commercial deals with the family members of powerful politicians,” explained Schweizer, “and exhibit A in that — it’s not even close when you look at the amount of money and the volume of deals that took place — is with Hunter Biden, with Joe Biden’s son, while he was vice president.”

Read the entire article

August 19, 2019

Lindsey Graham: FISA Abuse Report Will Be ‘Ugly And Damning’ For DOJ, FBI

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said he expects the inspector general’s report into FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign will be “ugly and damning” for the agency and the Department of Justice.

“I want it all out. I want people to see how off the rails this investigation got, and I want people to be held accountable,” Graham said in an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”

Since March 2018, Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz has investigated whether the FBI and DOJ misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in applications for wiretap warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Horowitz told Congress June 25 he had completed the investigation and was in the process of writing a report of his findings. Some Republican lawmakers said the report is likely to come out shortly after Labor Day.

Read the entire article

August 16, 2019

IRS Analyst Who Allegedly Leaked Michael Cohen’s Bank Records To Avenatti Pleads Guilty

An IRS analyst pleaded guilty Wednesday to leaking former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s confidential financial records in 2018 to Michael Avenatti, the embattled celebrity lawyer.

John Fry, an investigative analyst at the IRS’s San Francisco office, was indicted Feb. 28 on charges that he unlawfully accessed and disclosed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) pertaining to Cohen and his businesses. He was also charged with misusing his government computer and illegally using a social security number.

He pleaded guilty to one count Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.

“John Fry was given access to sensitive and powerful government databases containing people’s private financial information,” said David L. Anderson, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, according to WaPo.

“And he was given that access in order to do his job as an investigative analyst. Fry thought that his politics were more important than his obligation to follow the law, and in that he was mistaken.”

Read the entire article

August 15, 2019

Bruce Ohr Gave His Wife’s Fusion GPS Research To The FBI. Here Are The Documents

  • Bruce Ohr provided the FBI with research that his wife, Nellie, did on behalf of opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
  • The Justice Department recently provided some of those documents to Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog group.
  • One of the documents is a spreadsheet that identifies 80 individuals with purported links to Donald Trump and Russian businessmen.

Nellie Ohr kept tabs on dozens of Trump associates and Russian businessmen as part of her work for Fusion GPS, according to government documents released Wednesday.

Ohr’s husband, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, provided the documents to the FBI for its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

One of the documents is an Excel spreadsheet that tracked 80 different individuals with links to President Donald Trump and Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh-born real estate developer who has done business in the past with the Trump Organization. Another is a dossier on Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was convicted for financial crimes related to his work in Ukraine.

Read the entire article

August 14, 2019

‘Spygate’ Professor Claims Immunity Against Russian-British Academic’s Lawsuit

  • Stefan Halper, who allegedly met with Trump aides as an FBI informant, asked a federal judge to dismiss a Russian-British academic’s defamation lawsuit against him.
  • Halper said he has immunity from the lawsuit, which Svetlana Lokhova filed against him in May.
  • Halper does not admit to being an FBI informant, though he argues government agents have qualified immunity against lawsuits.

Stefan Halper, the former Cambridge University professor who allegedly met with several Trump campaign aides as an FBI informant, asked a federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit that a Russian-British academic filed against him in May, saying government agents have immunity from litigation.

Halper does not confirm he was an FBI informant in his motion to dismiss. He also does not admit to being a source for articles about Svetlana Lokhova, the Russia-born academic. But he argues that if he were an FBI informant, he would have immunity afforded to other government agents.

“Private individuals who participate in FBI investigations are subject to the federal common law qualified immunity applicable to government agents,” wrote Halper’s lawyers, Terrance Reid, Robert Moir, and Robert Luskin.

Read the entire article

August 13, 2019

Here Are 4 Dubious Claims In Bruce Ohr’s FBI Notes

  • Bruce Ohr’s FBI interview notes contain at least four dubious allegations that Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson provided the Justice Department official.
  • Ohr relayed details of his interactions with Steele and Simpson during 12 separate debriefings in 2016 and 2017.
  • The Justice Department provided the notes to Judicial Watch on Aug. 8.

Justice Department official Bruce Ohr relayed at least four dubious claims to the FBI that he received from dossier architects Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, according to a review of bureau notes released on Aug. 8.

Ohr met with the FBI at least 12 times in 2016 and 2017 following his interactions with Steele, a former British spy, and Simpson, an opposition researcher working for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC). The Justice Department released heavily redacted notes of the interviews to Judicial Watch.

The notes, known as 302s, show that Ohr told the FBI of four alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign that have either been debunked or were not supported by the special counsel’s report of the Russia probe. 

Read the entire article

August 12, 2019

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr Acted as Conduit Between Christopher Steele and FBI, Even After Steele Was ‘Fired’

Newly released Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records of its interviews with senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr reveal that the FBI used Ohr as a conduit to “pee dossier” author British ex-spy Christopher Steele in 2016 and 2017, even after the FBI officially fired Steele for having unauthorized contacts with the media.

The questionable behavior by Ohr and the FBI during the investigation of the Trump campaign was revealed in FBI interview records known as “302s” recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

“Ohr was corruptly used by the FBI as a conduit to Clinton spy Christopher Steele and the Clinton-DNC spy ring at Fusion, and we now have received 34 pages of ‘302’ report material from the FBI interviews of Ohr — documents that Congress has been seeking but have been unable to get for over a year,” Judicial Watch said in a statement.

The 302s also revealed other questionable practices by Ohr and the FBI throughout 2016 and up to the beginning of the special counsel investigation that began May 2017.

Here are the top takeaways from the records:

Read the entire article

August 9, 2019

Justice Department Releases Bruce Ohr Interview Notes

The Justice Department on Thursday released partially redacted transcripts of interviews Bruce Ohr conducted with the FBI after his contacts with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier.

Ohr, who served as associate deputy attorney general in the Justice Department, had numerous contacts with Steele during and after the 2016 election as part of an investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

The transcripts released Thursday are FBI summaries of interviews Ohr conducted with the FBI following his interactions with Steele, a former British spy

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sued the FBI for the Ohr records.

The FBI conducted its 12 interviews with Ohr from Nov. 22, 2016, through May 15, 2017.

Ohr told the FBI details of what information Steele provided from his investigation of Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia.

Read the entire article

August 7, 2019

FBI Fired Four Employees Over Leaks Since 2016, Investigated 10 More

  • The FBI investigated 14 employees for unauthorized leaks since 2016, and fired four.
  • Judicial Watch released documents of the investigations on Tuesday.
  • In several cases, FBI employees were recommended for termination but received lenient punishment, such as suspension without pay.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated at least 14 employees since 2016 for unauthorized disclosures of bureau information and fired at least four, according to documents released Tuesday.

Several of the FBI employees were recommended for termination, but received lighter punishments, such as suspension without pay.

The documents, which are six pages of summaries of the 14 internal investigations, do not reveal the specifics of each unauthorized disclosure. The summaries are heavily redacted, and include only details of the ultimate decisions of the investigations and when they were closed.

Judicial Watch obtained the records as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Read the entire article

August 6, 2019

WSJ: Government Can’t Help ‘Disturbed Young Men’ Behind Mass Shootings

A common denominator in the rash of mass shootings over the last few years is not just guns but the alienation of “disturbed young men,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) argued in an editorial Sunday.

In the aftermath of last weekend’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton, it is easy to place the blame on access to firearms or a caustic political environment, rather than focus on what kind of people are responsible for mass shootings, the WSJ editorial board contends.

Regardless of what political sphere these lone gunmen operate within, their lives are often characterized by isolation and a lack of a social cocoon outside of government.

“This is one price we are paying for the decline in what the late sociologist Peter Berger called the ‘mediating institutions’ that help individuals form cultural and social attachments. These are churches, business and social clubs like the Rotary, charitable groups, even bowling leagues, and especially the family. Government programs can never replace these as protectors of troubled young people,” the editorial states.

Read the entire article

August 5, 2019

Gowdy Urges Release Of FBI Informant Transcript, Says ‘There Are Going To Be Others’

  • Trey Gowdy urged the release of an FBI transcript he says contains exculpatory information gathered during the bureau’s Trump-Russia probe.
  • Gowdy said in an interview on Fox News that there are likely other transcripts that should be released.
  • The transcript in question is likely to be from a September 2016 conversation between alleged FBI informant Stefan Halper and George Papadopoulos.

Former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy urged the release of FBI transcripts Sunday that he indicated were taken from conversations a bureau informant had during the 2016 presidential campaign with former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.

Gowdy, the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, also said there are likely to be additional transcripts of FBI informant contacts with Trump aides.

Read the entire article

August 2, 2019

Former Government Official Who Invited Carter Page To Event Where He Met FBI Informant Is Coming Under Congressional Scrutiny

  • Congressional investigators have started inquiring about a former State Department official and Cambridge academic who invited Carter Page to the British university in July 2016.
  • Steven Schrage hosted Page at the school, where he met Stefan Halper, an FBI informant. Page told the Daily Caller News Foundation he and Schrage remained in contact until after the election.
  • Rep. Devin Nunes raised questions about Schrage during the hearing with Robert Mueller and again in an interview Sunday on Fox News.

Carter Page’s visit to the University of Cambridge during the heat of the 2016 presidential campaign has long intrigued congressional Republicans looking into the origins of the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign.

Page, an energy consultant who joined the Trump team in March 2016, attended an election-themed conference at the storied British university July 10, 2016, three weeks before the FBI officially opened a counterintelligence investigation of Team Trump. It was at the symposium that Page first crossed paths with Stefan Halper, a Cambridge professor who was also working as an FBI informant.

Read the entire article

August 1, 2019

‘Fundamental Defects’: Judge Dismisses DNC Lawsuit Against Trump Campaign, WikiLeaks Over Stolen Emails

A judge in New York on Tuesday dismissed the Democratic National Committee lawsuit against members of the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, saying they were not legally liable for publicizing emails that Russian hackers stole from the party’s computer systems.

“The DNC has now had three chances to plead a viable complaint and it is not clear how the DNC could plead around the fundamental defects in the current complaint,” Judge John Koeltl said in his decision.

The DNC first sued the Russian government, Trump associates, WikiLeaks and several other individuals April 20, 2018, alleging a conspiracy to steal and disseminate emails 20,000 DNC emails WikiLeaks published July 22, 2016.

The special counsel’s office indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers in the hack July 13, 2018, but did not accuse anyone from WikiLeaks or the Trump campaign of helping steal the documents. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, also said prosecutors did not find evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia.

Koeltl ruled that while the Russian government was behind the theft of DNC emails, Trump campaign associates and WikiLeaks “did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place.”

Read the entire article