May 22, 2019

COHEN ADMITTED IT WAS ‘PLAUSIBLE’ THAT TRUMP WASN’T TELLING HIM TO LIE TO CONGRESS


  • Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen acknowledged he might have misinterpreted what he’s claimed were instructions from President Donald Trump to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
  • Cohen testified in March that he believed Trump was instructing him to lie by telling him to “cooperate” with House investigators in 2017.
  • Cohen said he believed Trump was telling him in coded language to lie, but he admitted it was “plausible” he had misinterpreted Trump’s comments.
  • The testimony, released Monday, further undercuts a BuzzFeed report that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress.

Michael Cohen acknowledged in congressional testimony it was “plausible” that President Donald Trump had not instructed him through coded language to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, as the former Trump lawyer has claimed.

Cohen has testified he believed Trump implicitly directed him to make false statements about the duration of his negotiations during the 2016 presidential campaign on a failed Trump Tower project in Moscow.

Cohen told the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in 2017 negotiations to build the Trump skyscraper ended in January 2016. In fact, Cohen pursued the ill-fated deal through June 2016. He pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s probe to making false statement to Congress, and is serving a three-year prison term for that and other charges.

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May 21, 2019

MICHAEL COHEN ISSUED BLANKET DENIALS OF STEELE DOSSIER CLAIMS IN PRIVATE CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY


  • In sworn congressional testimony earlier this year, Michael Cohen denied all of the salacious claims made about him in the infamous Steele dossier, as well as allegations that President Donald Trump cavorted with prostitutes in Moscow
  • Cohen revealed in the testimony that as many as “half a dozen” people had approached him over the years regarding rumors of a blackmail tape of Trump. But Cohen said that after investigating the rumors and discussed them with Trump, he determined they were false.
  • Transcripts of Cohen’s two-day testimony were released by the House Intelligence Committee on Monday. 

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen issued blanket denials of key allegations made in the infamous Steele dossier in two interviews with the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year.

Cohen told lawmakers that he had heard rumors for several years about a blackmail tape of President Donald Trump that is mentioned in the dossier, but that he came to doubt the footage existed. He also offered a line-by-line rebuttal of the dossier’s claims that he visited Prague in August 2016 to pay off Russian hackers.

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May 20, 2019

GOWDY: FBI HAS PAPADOPOULOS TRANSCRIPTS THAT ARE POTENTIAL ‘GAME-CHANGER’

Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said he is aware of potentially game-changing evidence in the FBI’s Russia probe regarding George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser.

During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Gowdy indicated he has seen FBI transcripts related to Papadopoulos that contain potentially exculpatory information on the question of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

“If the bureau’s going to send in an informant in, the informant’s going to be wired, and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls, there’s going to be a transcript of that,” Gowdy told host Maria Bartiromo.

Gowdy continued:

“Some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist. But they haven’t been made public, and I think one in particular is going — it has the potential to actually persuade people. Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump or love Trump. But there is some information in these transcripts that has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.”

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May 17, 2019

STEELE IDENTIFIED RUSSIAN DOSSIER SOURCES, NOTES REVEAL


  • Christopher Steele told a State Department official a former Russian spy chief and a top Kremlin adviser were involved in an operation to collect compromising information on Donald Trump.
  • The State Department official’s notes also indicate Steele claimed the Russians, Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Vladislav Surkov, were “sources” for the dossier.
  • There is no evidence the compromising material mentioned in the dossier actually exists, raising questions about whether Steele was given disinformation.
  • Trubnikov, the former head of the SVR, also has links to Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who had contact with the Trump campaign.

Dossier author Christopher Steele identified a former Russian spy chief and a top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin as being involved in handling potentially compromising information about President Donald Trump, State Department notes show.

In her notes, State Department official Kathleen Kavalec also referred to the two Russians — former Russian foreign intelligence chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Putin aide Vladislav Surkov — as “sources.”

The references to Trubnikov and Surkov, which have not previously been reported, are not definitive proof that either were sources for Steele’s dossier or that they were involved in an effort to collect blackmail material on Trump.

But the notes are significant because they are the first government documents that show Steele discussing potential sources for the information in his dossier, which the former MI6 officer provided to the FBI.

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May 16, 2019

COMEY AND BRENNAN APPEAR AT ODDS OVER WHO PUSHED TO INCLUDE DOSSIER IN INTEL REPORT


  • A dispute is emerging between former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan over who pushed to include information from the Steele dossier in an intelligence community assessment of Russian meddling.
  • Comey sent an email to FBI staff in December 2016 indicating that Brennan wanted to include dossier information, Fox News reported.
  • A former CIA official is disputing that claim, telling Fox News that it was Comey who wanted to cite the unverified Steele information.

A potential rift is emerging between James Comey and John Brennan over who pushed to include information from the unverified Steele dossier in an intelligence community assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Comey, a former FBI director, sent an email to subordinates in late 2016 indicating Brennan, a former CIA director, wanted to include materials from the dossier in the intelligence community assessment, known as the ICA, Fox News reported.

A former CIA official speaking on Brennan’s behalf is disputing the assertion. The former official told Fox that Brennan and James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence, opposed Comey’s push to include Steele dossier information in the ICA.

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May 15, 2019

BARR REPORTEDLY WORKING CLOSELY WITH CIA TO REVIEW RUSSIA PROBE ORIGINS

Attorney General William Barr is reportedly working closely with the directors of the CIA, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to review the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, as well as surveillance efforts against the Trump campaign.

According to CNN, Barr is working with CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and ODNI Director Dan Coats on the interagency review.

Barr told Congress in April that he planned to form a team within the Justice Department to investigate whether the U.S. government improperly surveilled the Trump campaign.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr told the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 10.

“Yes, I think spying did occur,” Barr repeated, adding, “but the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated.”

“I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

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May 14, 2019

RUSSIA PROBE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE? BARR REPORTEDLY TAPS US ATTORNEY KNOWN FOR INVESTIGATING OFFICIALS

Attorney General William Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham on Monday to dig into the origins of the Russian collusion probe.

The New York Times and Associated Press both reported Monday evening that Barr had tapped Durham to “determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was ‘lawful and appropriate.'”

As several sources noted, Durham had a history of investigating the investigators.

The Associated Press noted that “Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of CIA videotapes and the Boston FBI office’s relationship with mobsters.”

Durham, who currently serves as the chief federal prosecutor for the state of Connecticut, will continue in that position, in addition to his role in the new investigation.

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May 13, 2019

OBAMA WHITE HOUSE TRACKED FOIA REQUEST FOR HILLARY EMAILS THAT WAS IMPROPERLY DENIED


  • Emails released to Judicial Watch show for the first time that the Obama White House kept tabs on a FOIA request for information on Hillary Clinton’s emails that was improperly rejected by the State Department.
  • The State Department claimed in May 2013 in response to the FOIA request that no responsive records existed. The agency’s internal watchdog later determined that denial to be ‘inaccurate and incomplete’ since Clinton used a personal email account to conduct State Department business.
  • “These documents suggest the Obama White House knew about the Clinton email lies being told to the public at least as early as December 2012,” says Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.

The Obama White House kept tabs on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email accounts that the State Department improperly denied, according to newly released emails.

The emails, which were provided to Judicial Watch, show for the first time that the Obama White House was aware of the Clinton-related FOIA request, which the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) submitted to the State Department in December 2012.

The State Department denied the request in May 2013, claiming that no responsive records existed. That despite officials at the State Department, the White House and even President Obama himself knowing that Clinton used a personal email account for government business.

The State Department’s inspector general determined in a report released on Jan. 7, 2016 that the State Department’s denial of the CREW request was “inaccurate and incomplete.”

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May 10, 2019

ALEXANDER DOWNER DEFENDS FBI TIPOFF THAT SPARKED TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE


  • In his most detailed remarks on the topic so far, former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer defended the tip he gave the FBI regarding George Papadopoulos.
  • Downer said that as a “warrior the Western alliance,” he provided the FBI with a memo he wrote after a May 10, 2016 meeting in which he says Papadopoulos mentioned that Russia might release information about Hillary Clinton close to the election.
  • “I don’t know why he told me this,” said Downer, dismissing Papadopoulos’s claims that the diplomat was sent to elicit damaging information about him.

Calling himself a “warrior for the Western alliance,” former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer defended sending in the tip that sparked the FBI’s investigation of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.

In his most extensive interview on the topic to date, Downer gave his version of a conversation he had with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in London in May 2016 that would serve as the catalyst for the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe.

Downer, who served as Australia’s top diplomat to the U.K. at the time, provided a memo he wrote following the meeting to the FBI more than two months later. According to Downer, Papadopoulos mentioned that Russia might have information on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that they could release before the 2016 election.

Downer disputed claims that the ex-diplomat was part of a conspiracy to entrap the campaign adviser.

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May 9, 2019

SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE REPORTEDLY SUBPOENAS DON JR.

The Republican-controlled Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. as part of its Russia investigation, Axios reports.

The subpoena is the first believed to have been issued in any of the Russia investigations for one of President Donald Trump’s children.

According to Axios, the committee wants Trump Jr. to answer questions about his previous Senate testimony.

It is not clear what parts of Trump Jr.’s previous testimony the committee wants to review. The real estate executive has faced scrutiny over his involvement in the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a group of Russians who had offered to provide information about Hillary Clinton. He was also involved in negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation on Nov. 29 to lying to the Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence Committees about the extent of his negotiations on the Trump Tower skyscraper.

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May 8, 2019

PAPADOPOULOS SUSPECTS OTHER 2016 GOP CAMPAIGNS WERE SPIED ON

Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos told Tucker Carlson on Tuesday that he suspects the Obama administration spied on other 2016 presidential primary campaigns.

Papadopoulos, whose meeting with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer was used to open the FBI’s July 31, 2016 counterintelligence probe, says he believes he was being monitored long before he joined the Trump campaign.

“In November of 2015, upon the same month that I was going to the Ben Carson campaign—because people forget that I was on Carson’s campaign before I joined Trump’s campaign—I was living in London and I had been approached by high-level State Department officials and even the CIA in London,” Papadopoulos said.

He continued, “They invited me to the U.S. embassy to meet with me and to basically probe me and to get to know why I’m joining the Ben Carson campaign and what the Ben Carson campaign was really all about. And the man who invited me was David Kovatch, who still works at the U.S. embassy in London. I think he’s directing the Energy Department over there. So clearly, by November 2015, I don’t think that Trump’s campaign was the only one that was under surveillance, quite frankly.”

“I think many of the Republican candidates probably had some sort of illicit surveillance upon their own campaigns, because it wasn’t just Donald Trump who was running for the presidency against Clinton…”

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May 7, 2019

PETER STRZOK SUSPECTED CIA WAS BEHIND INACCURATE MEDIA LEAKS

Peter Strzok suspected CIA employees were behind inaccurate leaks to the press regarding possible Trump campaign contacts with Russia, according to an email the former FBI counterintelligence official sent to colleagues in April 2017.

“I’m beginning to think the agency got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us. Might explain all these weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some of the leaks,” Strzok wrote in an email to FBI colleagues on April 13, 2017.

The email is highlighted in a letter that two Republican senators sent Monday to Michael K. Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community.

In the letter, Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin asked Atkinson if he has investigated whether the CIA or other intelligence community agencies leaked information to the press.

They pointed to a Dec. 15, 2016 text message that Strzok, the lead investigator on the Trump-Russia probe, sent to then-FBI attorney Lisa Page.

“Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive,” Strzok wrote Page.

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May 6, 2019

MUELLER AGREES TO ‘TENTATIVE’ DATE TO TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE JUDICIARY, DEMOCRAT SAYS

Special counsel Robert Mueller has set a “tentative” date of May 15 to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline told “Fox News Sunday.”

Democrats have ramped up calls for Mueller to testify to Congress in the wake of Attorney General William Barr’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1 about his interactions with the special counsel’s office regarding the release of the Russia report.

Mueller, a former FBI director, was unable to establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. He declined to make a decision on whether President Donald Trump should be charged with obstructing the investigation. That left the decision up to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who decided against pursuing an obstruction case.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, offered Mueller a chance Thursday to testify before that panel if he feels the need to correct any statements made by Barr.

Mueller sent Barr a letter on March 27 raising concerns about a four-page memo that Barr sent Congress summarizing the main conclusions of the special counsel’s probe. Mueller claimed that Barr’s letter lacked “context” and had led to misinterpretations in the press. 

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May 3, 2019

STEFAN HALPER’S ‘ASSISTANT’ IN PAPADOPOULOS SPY OPERATION HAS BEEN OUTED


  • A woman who met alongside Stefan Halper in September 2016 with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has been identified in a press report as an FBI investigator.
  • Azra Turk, an alias for the investigator, was tasked by the FBI to accompany Halper during his meetings in London with Papadopoulos.
  • Halper also made contact during the campaign with Trump aides Carter Page and Sam Clovis.

A woman who posed as an assistant to former Cambridge professor Stefan Halper has been identified as an FBI investigator who worked on an intelligence-gathering operation against George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser.

The New York Times reports that the woman, who used the alias Azra Turk, was tasked by the FBI to work alongside Halper during a series of meetings with Papadopoulos in London in September 2016.

The operation, which The Times says yielded little information from Papadopoulos, adds a new wrinkle to “Spygate,” the term that President Donald Trump began using after it was reported in May 2018 that Halper was a longtime CIA and FBI informant.

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May 2, 2019

AG BARR ‘CONCERNED’ THAT STEELE DOSSIER WAS RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday he is reviewing whether the infamous Steele dossier was a product of Russian disinformation.

Barr made the explosive revelation during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding the results of the special counsel’s probe. The investigation severely undercut the Democrat-funded Steele dossier, which alleged a “well-developed conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Barr was asked about the origins of the dossier during an exchange with Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

“Can we state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of the Russian disinformation campaign?” asked Cornyn, a Republican.

Barr replied: “No, I can’t state that with confidence and that is one of the areas that I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative.”

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May 1, 2019

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY ‘UNMASKINGS’ SKYROCKETED LAST YEAR

The National Security Agency (NSA) disclosed the identities of nearly 17,000 U.S. residents and businesses to American intelligence officials last year through a legal — but controversial — practice known as “unmasking,” according to a report released Tuesday.

The number of unmaskings — 16,721 to be exact — marks a 75 percent increase from 2017, which saw the NSA make 9,529 disclosures to intelligence agencies. Between September 2015 and August 2016, the first 12-month period in which NSA statistics were gathered, only 9,215 unmaskings occurred.

The unmasking process has become controversial over the past two years. Republicans have alleged that Obama administration officials abused foreign surveillance laws by making unnecessary unmasking requests of Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as during the presidential transition period.

Susan Rice, who served as President Obama’s national security adviser, told Congress in 2017 that she unmasked the identities of Trump associates who took part in a meeting with officials from the United Arab Emirates in December 2016. Samantha Power, who served as ambassador to the United Nations, said that an associate submitted 260 unmasking requests under her name in 2016.

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April 30, 2019

FBI INVESTIGATING ANTIFA FOR PLOTTING TO BUY GUNS FROM CARTEL FOR ‘ARMED REBELLION’

The FBI is investigating anti-fascist activists for an alleged plot to buy guns from a Mexican cartel in order to “stage an armed rebellion” at the southern border, according to an unclassified document obtained by The Chicago Tribune.

The FBI document, from December of 2018, warns of militant antifa activists planning to “disrupt security operations” at the U.S.-Mexico border. The group allegedly planned to buy guns from a Mexican cartel associate known as Cobra Commander, in order to “stage an armed rebellion at the border.”

The source who provided it to the San Diego Tribune asked the outlet not to publish the six-page document because the investigation is ongoing, and the outlet cited two additional law enforcement officials who confirmed the news. The FBI has warned dozens of law enforcement agencies in both Mexico and the United States of the alleged plot.

Two of the men named in the report told the San Diego Tribune the allegations are absurd.

“It doesn’t make any sense that someone from the United States would purchase guns in Mexico,” Ivan Reibeling, the man known as Cobra Commander, told the outlet. “And the Hondurans certainly didn’t bring money to buy guns. It doesn’t make any sense; in fact it’s extremely absurd to say the Hondurans wanted to attack the United States at the border.

The FBI sent the report marked “priority” to agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the CIA and the National Security Administration.

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April 29, 2019

TRUMP ‘OUTS’ JUDGE NAPOLITANO, SAYS HE CAME ASKING FOR SCOTUS NOD

President Donald Trump tweeted after Saturday’s rally in Wisconsin an attack on Judge Andrew Napolitano, claiming the judge had come to him privately to ask for a Supreme Court nomination.

“Thank you to brilliant and highly respected attorney Alan Dershowitz for destroying the very dumb legal argument of ‘Judge’ Andrew Napolitano….” Trump began, following his praise of Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz with an immediate pivot to an attack on Napolitano.

“….Ever since Andrew came to my office to ask that I appoint him to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I said NO, he has been very hostile! Also asked for pardon for his friend. A good ‘pal’ of low ratings Shepard Smith,” the president concluded.

Trump appeared to be referring to the fallout from the recently-released Mueller report, which Napolitano has argued on his Fox News Digital show “Judge Napolitano’s Chambers” stands as proof that the president obstructed justice.

“Prosecutors prosecute people who interfere with government functions and that’s what the president did by obstruction, where is this going to end? I don’t know, but I am disappointed in the behavior of the president,” Napolitano said, calling that behavior “immoral,” “criminal,” “defenseless” and “condemnable.”

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April 26, 2019

TRUMP SAYS HE WILL DECLASSIFY FBI’S RUSSIA PROBE DOCUMENTS, ‘AND MUCH MORE’

President Donald Trump committed Thursday to declassifying a slew of records related to the Russia probe “and much more.”

Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he was “glad” he waited to declassify the documents until after the end of the special counsel’s investigation.

“I thought that maybe they would obstruct if I did it early, and I think I was right,” Trump said.

Trump has for months considered releasing portions of a classified surveillance warrant application granted in June 2017 against Carter Page, the former Trump campaign adviser. He has also considered declassifying FBI notes of interviews with Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who served as dossier author Christopher Steele’s handler for months after the 2016 election.

Trump ordered all of the documents declassified on Sept. 17, 2018, but reversed course four days later. Trump said at the time that he decided not to declassify the documents after meeting with the Justice Department.

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April 25, 2019

GEORGIAN BUSINESSMAN RELEASES TEXTS WITH COHEN THAT WERE LEFT OUT OF MUELLER REPORT


  • A Georgian-American businessman is calling for a retraction of a footnote in the special counsel’s report that refers to a text message exchange with Michael Cohen about a rumored Trump sex tape.
  • Giorgi Rtskhiladze’s lawyer sent a letter to the attorney general claiming that the Mueller report has “glaring inaccuracies.”
  • The report quoted a text message in which Rtskhiladze told Cohen he was “stopping the flow” of tapes of Trump. But in a text message left out of Mueller’s report, Rtskhiladze suggested he did not believe the rumor. 

A Georgian-American businessman is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of publishing “glaring inaccuracies and misrepresentations” about rumors of alleged sex tapes of President Donald Trump during a visit to Moscow in 2013.

In a letter sent to Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday, a lawyer for the businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, called on the Justice Department to retract a footnote in Mueller’s report mentioning an Oct. 30, 2016 text message exchange he had with attorney Michael Cohen about a rumored Trump tape.

Rtskhiladze claims that the special counsel’s report inaccurately quotes his text message with Cohen. He says that additional text messages not quoted in the report show that he was doubtful about a rumor he had heard from an associate in Moscow about the existence of a tape.

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April 24, 2019

RUSH LIMBAUGH AND TRUMP DISCUSSED ‘GOLDEN SHOWERS’ STORY DURING RECENT GOLF OUTING

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh revealed on Tuesday that he and President Trump “were laughing ourselves silly” during a golf outing this weekend over the infamous “golden showers” claim from the Steele dossier.

In an interview on Fox News, host Martha MacCallum asked Limbaugh if he got the sense during the golf session that Trump was bothered by any part of the Mueller report, which was released last Thursday.

Limbaugh said he didn’t discuss with Trump “what he thought of this and that.” But the golf group did laugh off the most salacious allegation made in the dossier: that Trump was recorded in a Moscow hotel room in 2013 with a group of Russian prostitutes. 

“At lunch after the round, he was telling Lexi about the golden showers story and how ridiculous it is, and everybody was laughing. The fact that the media believed it, the fact that people actually thought that Trump would hire some prostitutes to urinate on a bed because Obama had slept in it, we’re laughing ourselves silly over this as he told the story,” Limbaugh said.

According to the dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC, Trump watched as the Russian prostitutes urinated on each other in a “golden showers” scene.

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April 23, 2019

TRUMP FED PICK STEPHEN MOORE RESPONDS TO ‘CHARACTER ASSASSINATION’ BY CNN

Stephen Moore, one of President Donald Trump’s recent picks to join the Federal Reserve Board, slammed the media on Monday for attacks over old columns he wrote about women in sports.

CNN published an article Monday quoting four columns Moore, a former economic adviser to the Trump campaign, wrote in the early 2000s for National Review magazine. The columns included pithy jokes and commentary about banning female announcers and referees from NCAA basketball games and questioning why ESPN would ever air women’s basketball.

“How outrageous is this? This year they allowed a woman ref a men’s NCAA game. Liberals celebrate this breakthrough as a triumph for gender equity,” Moore wrote. “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women? What’s next? Women invited to bachelor parties?”

“There’s no joy in dunking over a girl,” Moore added about women joining men’s sports. “Never mind that I can’t dunk (except on the eight-foot baskets). If I could, I wouldn’t celebrate dunking over someone named Tina.”

“This was a spoof,” Moore said in a statement to CNN about the columns. “I have a sense of humor.”

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April 22, 2019

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SEEKS 18-MONTH PRISON SENTENCE FOR RUSSIAN AGENT MARIA BUTINA

The Justice Department recommended an 18-month prison sentence Friday for Maria Butina, a Russian national who prosecutors claim helped the Russian government by reporting back to Moscow on key political figures in the U.S.

Prosecutors said in their court filing that Butina “was not a spy in the traditional sense” and is not a trained intelligence officer of the Kremlin. Instead, the government claims that Butina took part in a “spotting and assessing” operation on behalf of the Russian government to identify potential intelligence assets in the U.S.

Butina worked with a Russian government official identified as Alexander Torshin to infiltrate conservative groups like the National Rifle Association and to establish contacts with Republican presidential campaigns, according to prosecutors.

“Acquiring information valuable to a foreign power does not necessarily involve collecting classified documents or engaging in cloak-and-dagger activities,” prosecutors said in Friday’s filing.

“Something as basic as the identification of people who have the ability to influence policy in a foreign power’s favor is extremely attractive to those powers,” it said. “This identification could form the basis of other forms of intelligence operations, or targeting, in the future.”

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April 19, 2019

MUELLER REPORT UNDERCUTS SEVERAL STEELE DOSSIER CLAIMS, THOUGH THE SALACIOUS DOCUMENT IS BARELY MENTIONED


  • The Steele dossier was the FBI’s roadmap for the collusion investigation, but the document is barely mentioned in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
  • But the few references to the dossier paint an unflattering picture of the document, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC.
  • Mueller’s report addresses some of the dossier’s claims about Michael Cohen, as well as the salacious claims about the Kremlin having blackmail material on President Trump.

The infamous Steele dossier, which served as the FBI’s roadmap to its investigation into Trump campaign collusion, is barely mentioned in the special counsel’s report, released on Thursday.

The word “dossier” doesn’t appear at all in the partially redacted report. Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele on behalf of the Clinton campaign, is also not discussed. And Christopher Steele, a former British spy who wrote the dossier, is mentioned by name only 14 times in the 448-page document.

But the few references to the dossier contained in the report undercut many of the claims in the salacious document. And nothing in the Mueller report appears to bolster Steele’s report, which was cited heavily in the FBI’s applications to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Mueller’s report asserts that one of the dossier’s core claims about former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is inaccurate. The report also cites statements from one witness who claimed that a purported blackmail tape of Donald Trump referenced in the dossier was fake.

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April 18, 2019

REPORT: CHRISTOPHER STEELE REFUSING TO MEET WITH DOJ INSPECTOR GENERAL, WHICH IS SCRUTINIZING EX-SPY’S DOSSIER

Christopher Steele declined to meet with the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, which is reportedly poised to cast doubt on the veracity of some of the former British spy’s infamous anti-Trump dossier.

Steele declined the inspector general’s request on the grounds that it would be improper for him to take part “in an internal Justice Department investigation as a foreign national and former British intelligence agent,” Politico reported Wednesday.

The explanation is somewhat ironic given that Steele, a former MI6 officer, provided his anti-Trump research to the FBI as well as to Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official.

Witnesses who have met with the inspector general’s office told Politico that they got the impression that investigators are “going to try and deeply undermine” Steele’s work.

The investigation is also likely “to cast doubt on the veracity of the information Steele provided about [Carter] Page that the FBI included in its application for a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant,” according to Politico.

Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, opened an investigation on March 28, 2018 into whether the FBI abused the FISA by relying on Steele’s dossier to obtain spy warrants against Page. Horowitz’s investigation is expected to wrap up in May or June, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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April 17, 2019

FORMER BRITISH SPYMASTER HAS FLOWN UNDER RADAR IN RUSSIA PROBE, DESPITE LINKS TO KEY FIGURES


  • Sir Richard Dearlove has links to several key players involved in the Trump-Russia investigation, including Christopher Steele, Stefan Halper and Michael Flynn.
  • Despite that, Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has largely avoided media scrutiny, or that of American lawmakers probing the origins of the Russia investigation.
  • Dearlove’s contacts with Steele, the dossier author, also have parallels to the former spy chief’s links to another “dodgy dossier.”

Sir Richard Dearlove has avoided scrutiny during the Russia probe, despite having links to several of the former spies, government informants and targets involved in the U.S. government’s collusion investigation.

Dearlove, who served as chief of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, had contact during the 2016 campaign with dossier author Christopher Steele. He is also a close colleague of Stefan Halper, the alleged FBI and CIA informant who established contact with several Trump campaign advisers. Dearlove and Halper attended a Cambridge political event in July 2016 where Halper had his first contact with Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

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April 16, 2019

‘SCANDALOUS AND IMMORAL’ OR FIRST AMENDMENT SPEECH? JUSTICES MULL ‘FUCT’ TRADEMARK

The Supreme Court spent Monday morning carefully avoiding an obscene four-letter word beginning with “f.”

The justices were considering a challenge to a provision of the 1946 Lanham Act which prohibits the registration of “scandalous and immoral” trademarks. American designer Erik Brunetti, who was denied a trademark for his “Fuct” fashion line, says the law violates the First Amendment.

How the justices would refer to the obscene subject matter at hand was an open question before Monday’s argument. The Supreme Court is a staid, well-mannered institution, while legal briefs filed in the case were necessarily replete with vulgarity. Ultimately the high court avoided any unseemly digressions, with deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart referring to the Fuct brand as “the equivalent of the profane past participle of the paradigmatic profane word in our culture.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch continued in that vein when asking Stewart to explain the government’s seemingly erratic practice where scandalous trademarks are concerned. Some would-be marks which are phonetically similar to profanity are denied, Gorsuch noted, while other similar applications are approved.

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April 15, 2019

MARK MEADOWS EXPECTS CRIMINAL REFERRALS IN DOJ WATCHDOG’S REPORT

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows said Sunday that he expects the Justice Department’s inspector general to issue criminal referrals as part of an investigation into the FBI’s possible abuse of the surveillance courts during the Trump-Russia probe.

“We’re fully anticipating that the [inspector general’s] report will come out as Attorney General Barr said in the next four to six weeks, and I think it’s highly likely that we’ll see criminal referrals coming from them that will correspond with what Chairman [Devin] Nunes has already put forth,” Meadows said in an interview on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Attorney General William Barr told Congress on Tuesday that he expects Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, to issue a report in late May or June. On March 28, 2018, Horowitz opened an investigation into whether the FBI and Justice Department complied with legal requirements to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Meadows, a close ally of President Trump’s, said that he and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan met earlier this week with Horowitz. Both have expressed confidence in Horowitz’s work, and have heightened expectations that the investigation will be favorable to Republicans.

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April 12, 2019

ROD ROSENSTEIN DEFENDS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S HANDLING OF MUELLER REPORT

Outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday defended Attorney General William Barr against allegations that he is misleading Congress and the public about the special counsel’s Russia report.

“He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein said in a rare interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Democrats have accused Barr of releasing misleading information about special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings from his 22-month investigation, which focused on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as whether President Trump tried to obstruct the probe.

Barr sent a letter to Congress on March 24 saying that Mueller was unable to establish that collusion occurred. On the obstruction matter, Barr said that Mueller declined to make a decision one way or the other on whether to recommend a case against Trump.

Barr said that he conferred with Rosenstein and Justice Department lawyers and decided against pursuing a case. Barr said that since there was no allegation of conspiracy, Trump had no underlying crime to conceal by obstruction.

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April 11, 2019

FORMER OBAMA AIDE EXPECTS TO BE INDICTED IN CASE RELATED TO MUELLER PROBE

Gregory B. Craig, who served in the Obama administration as a White House counsel, is said to be expecting charges pursuant to the Mueller investigation.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Craig’s attorneys were expecting him to be indicted “in the coming days” and that the charges would be related to information uncovered by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team during the course of their investigation.

The Washington Post linked Craig to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, saying that “the expected indictment — which his attorneys called ‘a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion’ — stems from work Craig did with GOP lobbyist Paul Manafort on behalf of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice in 2012.”

According to the Post, Craig was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom at the time — a position he resigned in April 2018 amid an investigation into whether the firm’s partners had failed to register as foreign lobbyists while working with Ukraine.

Craig’s attorneys also released a statement claiming their client’s innocence. “Mr. Craig is not guilty of any charge,” they said.

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April 10, 2019

SECOND HASSAN STAFFER ALLEGEDLY HELPED AIDE STEAL MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SENATE DATA


  • A former Senate IT aide to Sen. Maggie Hassan, Jackson Cosko, admitted he stole tens of thousands of documents, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and the contents of the entire network drive from the New Hampshire Democrat.
  • Cosko allegedly used stolen private data about senators to “doxx” Republicans during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.
  • In a plea deal, Cosko — whom Hassan had fired for other misconduct before the theft — said he worked with an accomplice who helped him gain access and wiped his fingerprints.
  • A court case has been opened against Samantha DeForest-Davis, a former Hassan aide who a source with knowledge of the situation said is the alleged accomplice.

A second onetime aide to Sen. Maggie Hassan is implicated in former IT staffer Jackson Cosko’s massive data-theft scheme that was ultimately used to “intimidate” Republican senators by “doxxing” them during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, prosecutors said.

Samantha G. DeForest-Davis, at the time a staff assistant to Hassan, was the aide who allegedly helped Cosko conduct his scheme, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Court records show a case naming her has been opened, and the source confirmed it relates to her alleged role in the data theft.

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April 9, 2019

‘I’M CONCERNED’: OBAMA-ERA FINANCE GURU LAYS OUT WHERE DEMS ARE GOING WRONG

Former President Barack Obama’s finance manager said Monday that the current crop of Democratic candidates vying for the White House is falling well behind those who ran during the 2008 presidential election.

“I have to say it: I’m concerned by how little money the 2020 Dem candidates are raising,” former Massachusetts congressman Rufus Gifford told his Twitter followers. Gifford, who was Obama’s finance director during the former president’s re-election campaign in 2012, went on to highlight reasons for his concerns.

“For context: in Q1 2007 with individuals able to give less money ($2100 vs $2800 now) which was the last time there was a large Dem primary field, the top three candidates were: Hillary: 26 mill Obama: 24 mill (John) Edwards: 14 mill,” he noted before asking one of his Twitter followers why 2020 candidates are not raising money.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reportedly raised a massive amount of money in February, even if some of the party’s candidates are not pulling in as much cash as previous year’s campaigns. The DCCC reported that $3 million came from online donations, with an average online donation of $18.

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April 8, 2019

GIULIANI: NOT WORRIED ‘AT ALL’ ABOUT MUELLER REPORT

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani expressed confidence Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report will not contain damaging information for President Donald Trump.

Giuliani said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” he is “not worried … at all” about the report, “except for little quibbles.”

Giuliani also said he believes the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, should be provided all of the information from the Mueller report he has requested from the Justice Department.

Nadler and other congressional Democrats have accused Attorney General William Barr of engaging in a cover-up of the Mueller findings because the Justice Department has not immediately handed over the report.

Barr has said he plans to release a version of the Mueller report to Congress by the middle of April. He is reviewing the report to determine whether grand jury and classified information has to be withheld.

Democrats’ allegations intensified Friday after it was reported that several members of the Mueller team were frustrated by a letter Barr sent Congress on March 24 laying out the core conclusions of the Mueller probe.

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April 5, 2019

CAMBRIDGE ACADEMIC REFLECTS ON INTERACTIONS WITH ‘SPYGATE’ FIGURE


  • A Cambridge University post-graduate student is speaking out about her interactions with Stefan Halper, a former Cambridge professor who was revealed in 2018 as a longtime FBI and CIA informant.
  • Svetlana Lokhova claims Halper was behind false allegations provided to U.S. intelligence that she attempted to compromise Michael Flynn at an event held at Cambridge in 2014.
  • Halper is known to have made contact with three Trump campaign aides — Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos. His links to Flynn have largely gone unexplored.

Svetlana Lokhova did not get along with Stefan Halper, which is what she says made a dinner invitation to the Cambridge University professor’s home in January 2016 all the more peculiar.

“Halper was a lurking presence with a horrible aura — I avoided him,” said Lokhova, a Cambridge post-graduate student who studies Soviet-era espionage.

Lokhova dodged the invitation to Halper’s home, which she said was sent to her by Christopher Andrew, a Cambridge professor and official historian for MI5, the British domestic intelligence service. But the past three years have revealed new details about Halper and other activities that went on at Cambridge that have caused Lokhova to question why she was asked to that dinner at Halper’s.

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April 4, 2019

HOUSE CHAIRMAN ASKS IRS FOR SIX YEARS OF TRUMP TAXES

The Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee asked the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday for six years of President Donald Trump’s personal tax returns and those of his businesses.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal said he wanted to investigate whether the IRS is following its policy of auditing the sitting president’s and vice president’s tax returns.

“Little is known about the effectiveness of this program. On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately,” wrote Neal, who is seeking records for between 2013 and 2018.

Neal insisted in his letter that he is not seeking Trump’s taxes for political reasons.

“This request is about policy, not politics; my preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the Administration,” he said. “My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship.”

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April 3, 2019

PETER STRZOK’S BOSS THOUGHT EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR MADE HIM VULNERABLE TO FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE

The FBI’s top counterintelligence official told Congress last June that he believed an affair between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page made the two FBI officials vulnerable to foreign intelligence services.

Bill Priestap, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence, told lawmakers in closed-door testimony on June 5, 2018, that he confronted Strzok and Page after hearing rumors that they were having an extramarital relationship.

“But after Pete had been reporting to me for a considerable amount of time, somebody brought to my attention that that behavior might be going on. And so that’s when it — I became aware that that was a possibility,” Priestap said, according to a transcript of his testimony released Tuesday by Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

Priestap, who identified his tipster as either Sally Moyer, a Justice Department lawyer, or Jonathan Moffa, an FBI counterintelligence officer, said that he spoke to Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as well as Strzok and Page, about their affair.

“I felt I owed it to them. Lisa did not report to me, but I felt that they ought to be aware of what was being said. I didn’t ask them if it was true, but they needed to know that that impression was out there,” he said.

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April 2, 2019

FIRMS TIED TO FUSION GPS, CHRISTOPHER STEELE WERE PAID $3.8 MILLION BY SOROS-BACKED GROUP


  • The Democracy Integrity Project, a nonprofit that receives funding from George Soros, paid firms tied to Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele more than $3.8 million in 2017.
  • Tax filings show that The Democracy Integrity Project provided its research to “government entities.”
  • The group’s founder, a former staffer for Dianne Feinstein, has described it as a “shadow media organization” that helps the government.

A nonprofit group partially funded by billionaire activist George Soros paid firms tied to Fusion GPS and dossier author Christopher Steele more than $3.8 million in 2017 to provide research and analysis to “government entities,” according to IRS filings.

The payments made by The Democracy Integrity Project are more than three times what the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS and Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign to investigate Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia.

Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the DNC and Clinton campaign, paid $1 million to Fusion GPS in 2016 to investigate Trump. Fusion GPS in turn paid Steele, a former MI6 officer, nearly $170,000 for a project that resulted in the infamous Steele dossier.

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April 1, 2019

INVESTIGATE STEELE DOSSIER AS RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION, INTEL EXPERTS SAY


  • Robert Mueller’s finding of no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia undercuts the Steele dossier’s core claim of a “well-developed conspiracy” to influence the 2016 election.
  • Intelligence experts said the dossier should be investigated as possible Russian disinformation.
  • “The intelligence community was misled,” an intelligence expert said.

In a deposition for a lawsuit related to the dossier in June 2018, former British spy Christopher Steele acknowledged his infamous report could be the product of Russian disinformation.

But Steele, a former MI6 officer who worked in Moscow, dismissed the possibility he was hoodwinked by Russian operatives who planted anti-Trump dirt.

“All material contained this risk, but that any information that was actually provided would have been subject to scrutiny in respect of this risk,” Steele said in a June 18, 2018, deposition for a lawsuit against BuzzFeed, the original publisher of the dossier.

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March 29, 2019

NELLIE OHR: ‘I FAVORED HILLARY CLINTON’


  • Former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr told Congress in October that she “favored” Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. 
  • A transcript of Ohr’s testimony was published Thursday.
  • Nellie Ohr, whose husband is DOJ official Bruce Ohr, detailed her work for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier.
  • Nellie Ohr said that a Ukrainian lawmaker was one of Fusion GPS’s sources.

Nellie Ohr, a former Fusion GPS contractor and wife to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, told Congress that she “favored” Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, and would not have researched the Democrat as she did Donald Trump.

“I would probably have been less comfortable doing opposition research that would have gone against Hillary Clinton,” Nellie Ohr told a congressional task force on Oct. 19, according to a transcript released Thursday.

“And why is that?” a congressional staffer asked Nellie Ohr.

“Because I favored Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate,” said Nellie Ohr.

She gave research she did on Trump and his associates to her husband, Bruce Ohr, in hopes that he would provide it to the FBI.

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March 28, 2019

FOX NEWS BLOWS CNN, MSNBC OUT OF THE WATER IN AFTERMATH OF MUELLER REPORT

Fox News has continued to dominate cable news ratings in the aftermath of the Mueller investigation’s conclusion.

Special Report with Bret Baier averaged 2.3 million viewers in total with 364,000 in the key age demographic of 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Group. MSNBC’s breaking coverage of the end of the Mueller probe garnered 1.7 million viewers and nearly a quarter-of-a-million in the key demo, whereas CNN only managed to attract 1 million viewers, but did have 291,000 in the age bracket.

Each network altered their coverage for the release of the report.

From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. that night, Fox News averaged 2.5 million viewers, whereas MSNBC had 2 million and CNN had under 1 million.

Further, MSNBC star primetime host Rachel Maddow lost 500,000 viewers from last Monday to this Monday, when she had 2.5 million. Her ratings took an additional hit Tuesday, losing 200,000 more viewers. Her show still produced the best ratings on her network and significantly beat out CNN, who had less than 1 million viewers for each primetime show. 

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March 27, 2019

CNN ANALYST RALPH PETERS: ‘THE STEELE DOSSIER RINGS TRUE TO ME’

Peters speculated that President Donald Trump has acted as an agent of Russia, which is one of the core claims of the Democrat-funded dossier. Peters repeated the familiar argument that Trump will not publicly criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin to make his case.

“He won’t criticize Putin, and why doesn’t he want sanctions? Why has he been slow rolling sanctions? Why does he just dove tail with Putin’s view of the world?” said Peters.

“Anderson, I may be utterly wrong,” he continued. “I may be influenced by my background as an intelligence officer but again, I go back to what has been not addressed: The Steele dossier. Given Trump’s behavioral profile, he was a perfect target and if you want various explanations, the Steele dossier is a viable one.”

Peters’ view of the dossier would seem to be out of whack with Mueller’s conclusions from the Russia probe. That’s because Mueller said in a report provided to the Justice Department on Friday that prosecutors found no evidence of conspiracy or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller said.

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March 26, 2019

MUELLER FINALLY RELEASED HIS REPORT — HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW

Special counsel Robert Mueller has finally released the report that was two years in the making, which found that President Donald Trump did not “conspire” with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

However, the report did not come to any conclusions on whether or not Trump “obstructed justice,” leaving it to Attorney General William Barr to decide.

Barr released a four-page summary of the report Sunday, which included a statement from Mueller that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have said that the president has, in fact, been “exonerated” because the attorney general announced there was a lack of evidence to convict him of a “crime”.

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March 25, 2019

ADAM SCHIFF STILL BELIEVES THERE IS ‘COMPELLING AND INCRIMINATING’ EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION

Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that there is compelling evidence that President Donald Trump colluded with Russian interests during the 2016 presidential election.

The accusation comes as special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation without charging any U.S. citizen with a collusion-related crime, though six Trump associates were charged for unrelated criminal offenses.

“There’s a difference between compelling evidence of collusion and whether the special counsel concludes that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the criminal charge of conspiracy,” Schiff told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“I have trust in [Mueller’s] prosecutorial judgment,” Schiff added. “But that doesn’t mean, of course, that there isn’t compelling and incriminating evidence that should be shared with the American people.”

Schiff listed several episodes as substantiating the collusion charge, including the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and a Kremlin-aligned lawyer, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s post-election conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and erstwhile Trump confidant Roger Stone’s communications with WikiLeaks.

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