September 30, 2019

Report: State Department Official At Center Of Whistleblower Complaint Resigns

Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative to Ukraine, resigned Friday amid fallout from a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump regarding a phone call in July with Ukraine’s president.

Volker was one of five State Department officials that House Democrats said Friday they want to depose as part of an impeachment inquiry of Trump. The whistleblower complaint focuses on Trump’s July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian leader.

Beginning earlier this year, Volker served as a liaison between officials in the incoming Zelensky administration and Rudy Giuliani, the Trump lawyer who pushed the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

It is unclear what role Volker played in helping Giuliani dig up dirt on the Bidens. The Trump lawyer has accused the former vice president of pressuring Ukraine’s president in 2016 to fire a prosecutor who was planning to investigate a Ukrainian energy company linked to Hunter Biden.

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September 27, 2019

ABC Bungles Report That White House Set Preconditions For Trump-Zelensky Meeting

  • ABC News added a major correction to a report that U.S. officials set preconditions for a meeting between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president.
  • ABC inaccurately identified the source of the story, Serhiy Leshchenko, as an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president. 
  • Leshchenko has not been an adviser to Zelensky for months. Leshchenko also disputed the quotes attributed to him in the ABC article, but an ABC reporter said he has a recording of Leshchenko’s remarks.
  • Nellie Ohr testified to Congress in 2018 that Leshchenko was a source of information for Fusion GPS.

ABC News added a major correction to a would-be bombshell report Wednesday that said the Trump administration required Ukraine’s president to discuss Joe Biden as a precondition to meet with President Donald Trump.

The story would have been a huge development in the saga involving a whistleblower who filed a complaint regarding a July 25 phone call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian leader. The whistleblower asserted in the complaint that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son’s Ukrainian business dealings.

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September 26, 2019

Intelligence Director Adamantly Disputes WaPo Report He Threatened To Resign

Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, unequivocally disputed a Washington Post report published Wednesday that he threatened to resign if the White House blocked him from testifying candidly about his handling of a whistleblower complaint concerning President Donald Trump.

“At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now,” Maguire said in a statement minutes after WaPo’s story was published.

“I am committed to leading the Intelligence Community to address the diverse and complex threats facing our nation.”

The WaPo story cited anonymous current and former officials “familiar with the matter.”

Maguire has been caught in a bureaucratic firestorm involving the Intelligence Community Inspector General, the Justice Department and Congress over how to handle a whistleblower complaint an intelligence community official filed Aug. 12.

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September 25, 2019

In Shock Decision, Judge Reverses Conviction Of Michael Flynn’s Lobbying Parter

In a surprise move Tuesday, a federal judge in Virginia acquitted Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn’s who was convicted in July in a case spun off from the special counsel’s investigation.

Rafiekian, who served as vice chairman of Flynn Intel Group, was convicted July 23 of illegally lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government and conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

But Judge Anthony Trenga reversed the jury decision in a 39-page ruling, saying the government’s evidence against Rafiekian “was insufficient as a matter of law” to justify conviction on either count.

He also ruled that Rafiekian would face a new trial if the government successfully appeals the acquittal.

The decision is the latest in a series of setbacks against the Justice Department in cases spun off from the special counsel’s probe.

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September 24, 2019

Donald Trump Rips Joe Biden and ‘Witch Hunt’ Sequel over Ukraine Phone Call

President Donald Trump ridiculed Democrats and the establishment media for their alarm of his conversation with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky about former Vice President Joe Biden.

“It’s just a Democrat witch hunt, here we go again,” Trump said, speaking to reporters as he arrived at the United Nations summit on Monday.

He taunted the establishment media and Democrat coalition for failing with narratives surrounding the Russia investigation and falsely raising the alarm of a looming recession, noting that the hysteria over his Ukraine conversation about Biden was only the latest attempt.

“The one who’s got the problem is Biden,” Trump said, pointing out that Biden was the one who actually threatened in 2014 to withhold aid funding from Ukraine until they fired one of their prosecutors.

The fired prosecutor was investigating Burisma Holdings, where Biden’s son Hunter was getting paid as much as $50,000 a month to serve on its board.

“What Biden did is a disgrace; what his son did is a disgrace,” Trump said, referring to Hunter Biden. “The son took money from Ukraine; the son took money from China, a lot of money from China.”

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September 23, 2019

Report: Trump Pressed Ukraine President To Investigate Biden’s Son, But Didn’t Propose Quid Pro Quo

  • In a July 25 phone call, President Donald Trump pressed Ukraine’s president at least eight times to investigate Joe Biden’s son.
  • The call is said to be central to a whistleblower complaint against Trump.
  • Trump reportedly urged Volodymyr Zelensky to work with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on the investigation, but did not threaten to withhold aide from Ukraine.

President Donald Trump reportedly pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at least eight times to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son in a phone call central to a mysterious whistleblower complaint.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump urged Zelensky in the July 25 call to work with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on an investigation of Hunter Biden, who once served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company that was under scrutiny from a Ukrainian prosecutor.

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September 20, 2019

Reports Identify The Country At Center Of Mysterious Trump Whistleblower Complaint

The Trump phone call at the center of a mysterious intelligence community whistleblower complaint reportedly involves Ukraine.

Both The Washington Post and The New York Times report that an intelligence official who worked in the White House filed the complaint Aug. 12 after growing alarmed about the details of a phone call that President Donald Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Trump and Zelensky, who took office in May, spoke by phone July 25. The Ukrainian government released a read-out of the phone call that said the two leaders spoke about corruption investigations “that have hampered interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has reportedly pushed the Ukrainians to release information about former Vice President Joe Biden’s business ties to Ukraine.

It is still not clear exactly what triggered concern in the whistleblower, who has not been identified. Andrew Bakaj, a lawyer for the whistleblower, declined a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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September 19, 2019

DOJ Inspector General Says Democrats Haven’t Reached Out About FISA Abuse Hearing

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday that House Democrats have not contacted him to testify about his anticipated report on potential FBI surveillance abuse during the Trump-Russia probe.

Republicans quizzed Horowitz at a House Oversight subcommittee about the forthcoming report, which looks at whether the FBI improperly surveilled Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The report is expected to be released in the next several weeks.

Horowitz declined to provide details about the investigation, including whether any current or former FBI officials will be referred for prosecution.

Republicans used much of the hearing to point out that Democrats have shown little interest in discussing the potential FISA abuse issue.

“We haven’t had to my knowledge discussions about testimony or a hearing,” Horowitz told Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan when asked if Democrats have contacted him to testify about the report once it’s released.

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September 18, 2019

‘Screw It’: New Book Says Comey Skirted Protocol To Set Up Fateful Michael Flynn Interview

  • A book released Tuesday says that Jim Comey took advantage of the “chaos” that marked the early days of the Trump presidency to set up a White House interview with Michael Flynn.
  • Josh Campbell, an assistant to Comey, writes that the ex-FBI chief went around normal bureau procedures to authorize the Flynn interview.
  • “We just decided, you know, screw it,” Comey said of the decision to approach Flynn about an interview without White House lawyers.
  • Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell says that the revelation shows that the upper echelons of the FBI tried to “ambush” the former national security adviser.

An FBI assistant to James Comey says in a book released Tuesday that the former FBI director took advantage of the “chaos” of the early Trump administration to set up an interview with Michael Flynn, the national security adviser.

Josh Campbell, who was Comey’s personal assistant at the FBI, writes in “Crossfire Hurricane: Inside Donald Trump’s War on the FBI,” that FBI leadership had “intense discussion” about how to interview Flynn regarding phone conversations he had in December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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September 17, 2019

Ex-Comey Aide Describes How FBI Chief Prepared For Infamous Trump Tower Meeting

  • A new book by Josh Campbell, a former FBI assistant to Jim Comey, reveals new details about an infamous briefing to President Donald Trump about the Steele dossier.
  • Campbell, who is now a CNN analyst, writes that Comey took the unusual step of requesting a top-secret laptop be handy to write notes following the Trump meeting.
  • Campbell’s claim appears to back up an inspector general’s report released on Aug. 29 said that FBI officials and Comey wanted to use the meeting to gather information from Trump as part of the Russia probe.
  • Comey has told a different story in public, saying that the meeting was intended only to make Trump aware of the dossier’s allegations.

In a book to be released Tuesday, a former FBI aide to James Comey describes the lead-up to a briefing where then-President-Elect Donald Trump was first told about allegations in the unverified Steele dossier.

Josh Campbell, who served as special assistant to Comey and is now a CNN analyst, traveled with the then-FBI chief to the Trump Tower meeting, where top intelligence community officials briefed Trump about an assessment of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

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September 16, 2019

Lindsey Graham Teases Bombshell Revelations About Christopher Steele’s Credibility

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Friday that U.S. officials received as many as six warnings that dossier author Christopher Steele was an unreliable source of information regarding President Donald Trump.

Graham discussed the assessment of Steele during a radio interview with host Sean Hannity, but he stopped short of describing all of the information regarding the former British spy because much of it is classified.

“There’s four events that I’m aware of, five actually, where the system was informed that Christopher Steele was an unreliable informant when it came to Trump,” Graham told Hannity.

“Some of them I can’t tell you yet until we get this stuff declassified. But I think it’s going to be five; it may be six,” the South Carolina Republican added later.

Republicans have accused the FBI of abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by relying on Steele’s unverified reports in applications to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

The bureau obtained four warrants to spy on Page, the first of which was granted on Oct. 21, 2016.

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September 13, 2019

Senators: State Department Watchdog Investigated Christopher Steele Meeting, But Failed To Interview Key Participants

  • The State Department’s inspector general investigated an October 2016 meeting involving dossier author Christopher Steele, two Republican senators revealed.
  • But the inspector general failed to interview key participants in the meeting, the Republicans say.
  • Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley are also questioning why the State Department watchdog failed to release a report of its investigation.

Two Republican senators are questioning the State Department inspector general’s handling of an investigation into an October 2016 meeting between department officials and dossier author Christopher Steele.

Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley reveal in a letter released Thursday that the office of the inspector general (OIG) conducted a review of the Oct. 11, 2016 meeting. The watchdog also looked at whether Jonathan Winer, the State Department official who arranged the meeting with Steele, violated the agency’s policies regarding intelligence gathering practices.

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September 12, 2019

Michael Flynn’s Legal Team Lists 40 Documents It Says Will Vindicate Former National Security Adviser

  • Michael Flynn’s lawyers submitted a list of 40 government records they say will vindicate the former national security adviser.
  • Sidney Powell, the lead attorney for Flynn, wants prosecutors to provide documents related to FBI informant Stefan Halper and the infamous Steele dossier and regarding a media leak to The Washington Post in January 2017.
  • Powell also said Justice Department memos exist that indicate Flynn was exonerated early in the Russia probe of being a Kremlin asset.

Michael Flynn’s lawyers want a federal judge to force prosecutors to turn over 40 categories of documents they say will vindicate the former national security adviser, according to a court filing released Wednesday.

The slew of documents include a purported memo a British national security adviser sent Flynn in early 2017 regarding the Steele dossier. Sidney Powell, a lawyer for Flynn, is also seeking Justice Department memos she says show government officials knew early on in the Trump administration that Flynn was not a Russia asset.

Powell cited an internal DOJ document dated Jan. 30, 2017, which she said cleared Flynn of being “an agent of Russia.” Powell also wants FBI interview notes with former Justice Department official Mary McCord that show when she knew that Flynn did not have “a clandestine relationship with Russia.”

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September 11, 2019

Flynn Lawyer Argues Case Should Be Dismissed Over ‘Egregious Government Misconduct’

An attorney for Michael Flynn said in federal court Tuesday she may seek a dismissal of charges against the former national security adviser, citing “egregious conduct and suppression” of exculpatory information in the case.

Prosecutors handling the case had a surprise of their own, telling Judge Emmet Sullivan that they are now reserving the option of recommending jail time for Flynn, instead of just probation. Prosecutors with the special counsel’s team last year recommended that Flynn receive probation without jail time because of his substantial cooperation in several investigations.

But Flynn’s situation has changed dramatically since then. He no longer has to meet with the special counsel’s team since the Russia probe has ended. And in June, he hired a new legal team that has aggressively challenged the government’s investigation of Flynn.

Flynn’s defense attorney, Sidney Powell, told Judge Emmet Sullivan that the legal team has no plans to pull out of a plea deal that Flynn struck with the special counsel on Dec. 1, 2017. Instead, Powell is questioning the basis of the government’s case against Flynn, and may seek to have charges thrown out altogether.

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September 10, 2019

NYT: CIA Extracted Kremlin Spy From Russia Because Of Media Reports, Not Trump

The CIA extracted a longtime Kremlin asset from Russia in 2017 because of concerns that media reports would put him at risk, according to a New York Times report.

The story undercuts a key aspect of a report that CNN published earlier Monday about the CIA operation.

CNN’s Jim Sciutto reported that the CIA extracted the asset due in part to concerns about President Donald Trump’s handling of classified information. Sciutto, who served in the Obama administration, reported that the Russian source was removed soon after Trump met with Russian government officials in the Oval Office in May 2017. U.S. officials became concerned after that meeting that Trump and some in his administration might somehow reveal details about intelligence operations.

But according to The Times, the CIA offered to extract the asset in 2016, well before Trump took office.

The mole rejected the initial offer for exfiltration, but ultimately agreed to leave Russia in 2017, after the CIA raised concerns about increased media scrutiny of the sources the U.S. intelligence community used to determine that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

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September 9, 2019

John Ratcliffe: DOJ ‘Is Going To Have To Indict’ Andrew McCabe

Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe said Sunday he expects Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director who now works as a CNN analyst, to be indicted on charges of lying to the government.

“Here, you have the inspector general stating that Andrew McCabe did that multiple times, and the magic words, did so intentionally and knowing,” Ratcliffe said in an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“I think the Department of Justice is going to have to indict Andy McCabe, simply because to do otherwise would be to admit that there are separate standards for people doing the same thing for the same conduct.”

Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor said that the Justice Department, through the special counsel, “made a cottage industry out of  charging people like General Flynn and George Papadopoulos for lying to investigators.”

McCabe was fired on March 16, 2018 upon the recommendation of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility. An inspector general’s report said that McCabe displayed a “lack of candor” during four interviews about his authorization of a disclosure of information about an investigation of the Clinton Foundation in October 2016.

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September 6, 2019

AOC to Small States: Drop Dead

The Gathering Threat to the Electoral College—and to the U.S. Senate

The left has a hot new cause: getting rid of the Electoral College.  And if the left succeeds in doing away with that venerable institution, its next target, the U.S. Senate, will fall like a dried apple. 

As is so often the case with leftist causes these days; the spearhead is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; being social-media-savvy and telegenic, she’s the star of the progressive A-Team. 

Just on August 20, she ripped into the Electoral College again, calling it a “scam… racial injustice,” which “effectively weighs white voters over voters of color.”  What was needed instead, she continued, is a “one person, one vote system,” in which “all our votes are counted equally.”  AOC was pointing to such possible “reforms” as a national popular vote, which would do away with, of course, the Electoral College. 

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September 5, 2019

Devin Nunes Files Racketeering Lawsuit Against Fusion GPS

  • Rep. Devin Nunes is suing Fusion GPS, the firm behind the Steele dossier, and a liberal watchdog group.
  • The Republican accuses Fusion GPS and Campaign for Accountability of working together to derail his investigation into Fusion GPS.
  • Campaign for Accountability paid Fusion GPS nearly $140,000 for research last year. The group also filed three ethics complaints against Nunes, including one that accused him of leaking information about Fusion GPS.
  • Campaign for Accountability official Daniel Stevens has denied hiring Fusion GPS to investigate Nunes.

Rep. Devin Nunes filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against opposition research firm Fusion GPS and the Campaign for Accountability, accusing the two of smearing him over his investigation into Fusion GPS’s and the Steele dossier.

The complaint, which the California Republican filed in federal court in Virginia, alleges that Fusion GPS and Campaign for Accountability (CfA) worked on a “joint and systematic effort to intimidate, harass, threaten, influence, interfere with, impede, and ultimately to derail” Nunes’ investigation of the dossier, which he directed as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).

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September 4, 2019

FBI Witnesses Said Comey’s Trump Briefing Was Meant To Collect Info For Russia Probe, Report Says

  • A Justice Department inspector general’s report sheds new light on James Comey’s Jan. 6, 2017 briefing to Donald Trump regarding allegations made in the Steele dossier.
  • The report cites witnesses who said that the FBI and Comey wanted to use the briefing to collect information that could be used in the Russia probe.
  • Comey has said that he had the meeting with Trump merely to give him a heads up that the dossier might be published.
  • Rep. Jim Jordan says that the findings suggest that Comey “was out to get the president.”

An inspector general’s report released Thursday says that witnesses told Justice Department investigators that FBI officials wanted to use a briefing that James Comey provided President Donald Trump in early 2017 about sex allegations made in the Steele dossier to collect information that might be of use in the Russia probe.

The witness statements, which are laid out in a scathing 83-page report on Comey, would seem to undercut the former FBI director’s claims about the purpose of the briefing, which was held at Trump Tower on Jan. 6, 2017.

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September 3, 2019

Devin Nunes Warns U.S. About ‘Tech Oligarchs’ Censorship, Bias Against Conservatives: ‘I Am Very Concerned’

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told Breitbart News he is “very concerned” about the rising threat of the “tech oligarchs” at Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other tech giants censoring conservatives in an effort to stymie free speech and push a leftist agenda.

Nunes, who is suing Twitter right now in Virginia, said in an exclusive appearance on Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 this weekend that that company “has been the worst” and that tech companies have gotten away with bias against conservative for years because of a special “carveout” in federal law.

“Well, in general, I have a real concern overall about what I call the ‘tech oligarchs,’” Nunes said. “But Twitter has been the worst, especially to me. So if you look at what they’ve done, specifically to me, is they enforce their rules selectively. So I’m arguing they’ve operated their property negligibly. They’ve been negligent with the operation of their property, and they’re actually content developers. They have had it their way for a long time by having this ability to get out from lawsuits because Congress has actually carved out a special provision in law for them because they were supposed to be an open square—an open public square; they’re the Internet. So they’re not treated like someone like, say, some other kind of product would be treated like a car, for example, or a kitchen appliance. They’ve had this special carveout for 20 years.”

Especially since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Nunes argued, the tech giants have warped their products into pushing a certain ideology rather than being open platforms.

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September 2, 2019

Deep State: Lisa Page, Peter Strzok Conducted FBI’s Review to Classify Comey’s Memos

Former FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the once romantically-linked duo infamous for their anti-Trump text messages, conducted the initial agency review of disgraced ex-FBI chief James Comey’s memos to determine whether the documents contained any potentially classified information.

Working on the initial classification review with Page and Strzok was another member of Comey’s inner circle, James A. Baker, the former FBI general counsel.

Those details were contained inside the report released last Thursday by the Justice Department’s inspector-general.

The IG report related that Strzok characterized himself, Page, Baker, and the Unit Chief of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Law Unit in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel as a “logical subset to sit and go through” Comey’s memos memorializing his conversations with Trump to determine classification.

Strzok told the FBI that it made sense that this team conducted the initial classification review because the members had a lot of “history and experience of working investigations relating to … the disclosure of classified information,” including the FBI’s Clinton email investigation.

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