Shocking memo reveals how Comey disgraced an honorable FBI

The information contained in the memo released by House Republicans on Friday that accused FBI and Justice Department officials of improperly obtaining permission to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser shows a tragic failure of leadership on the part of former FBI Director James Comey.

But importantly, the memo does not in any way reflect on the outstanding work of the more than 35,000 dedicated men and women of the FBI.

It pains me – as a former FBI executive who loves and respects the organization – to say that Comey’s short tenure at the FBI has proven to be the worst thing to happen to the agency since Director L. Patrick Gray was fired during the Watergate scandal.

If the facts stated in the memo are true – despite the highly political nature of congressional committees – then there was either incompetent or deliberate manipulation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court to get approval of the surveillance.

Even new agent trainees at the FBI Academy know better than to use paid opposition research and newspaper articles to support use of one of the most sensitive and intrusive surveillance techniques in the investigative toolbox. If they do use such information, the FISA judge should have been apprised of the origins of the research.

FBI agents are also taught to never mislead any court of law. It’s unlikely the surveillance warrant would have been issued if the FISA judge was aware that political opponents (the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee) had financed the information used to obtain approval of the surveillance.

FISA applications go through extensive reviews at multiple levels of executive management at the FBI and Justice Department. They are signed by the most senior FBI and Justice Department executives before they are presented to the FISA court for approval.

The 2016 FISA approvals in question were signed by none other than FBI Director Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The buck stops there. They were the top two officials in the FBI at the time.

McCabe, enabled by Comey, created an attitude among his inner circle that flaunted well- established laws and regulations. Comey usurped the role of the Justice Department in publicly exonerating Hillary Clinton from wrongdoing in her handling of government emails when she was secretary of state.

At the same time, Comey took highly conflicted Attorney General Loretta Lynch off the hook to formally recuse herself from the Hillary Clinton probe as a result of Lynch’s own inexcusable and inept conduct in meeting former President Bill Clinton while his wife was under Justice Department and FBI investigation.

With his conduct, Comey set in motion a cascading set of events that resulted in the FBI becoming a pawn in a political firestorm. He justified making up his own rules because he felt righteous.

Comey permitted leaks and allowed bias to infect two of the most important investigations ever conducted by the FBI. He clearly permitted his lead investigative agent to predetermine the outcome of the Clinton investigation, while allowing the agent’s biased actions and anti-Trump texts to complicate the role of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in actually getting to the truth of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page – who were carrying on a romantic affair when they traded numerous text criticizing then-candidate Trump – are now star witnesses for the defense in any indictments that come out of Mueller’s office.

Mueller is an honest, fair and non-political professional who took a bullet for his country as a Marine in Vietnam. He is our best chance to learn the truth. And the truth should be good enough for everyone. He served for 12 years as FBI director with many accomplishments, no terrorist attacks on his watch and not a hint of controversy.

Current FBI Director Chris Wray has now taken the helm and is trying his best to right the ship. This is no time for him to resign. He has a lot to overcome in a very difficult task. He must maintain his independence from the president while navigating political controversy coming at him from every direction.

Wray is very deliberately cleaning out the remnants of the Comey cabal on the FBI’s 7th Floor. He has apparently been given a preview of the Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of the conduct of several FBI officials during the Clinton investigation. This inspector general is the same person who outed the Strzok and Page texts.

Now information is circulating that the Republican memo made public is just the tip of the iceberg. Ex-FBI Agents are picking up information that the inspector general’s report will be far more graphic in detailing the misconduct of McCabe, Strzok and others more serious that what is in the memo released Friday.

The Republican congressional memo outlines potentially serious misconduct on the part of the Comey leadership team. Going forward, the FBI should err on the side of transparency. Director Wray should make every effort to declassify the documents and affidavit supporting surveillance approved by the FISA Court.

Such information has been released before. It is better for the FBI to release the information than to have it come from a political body like Congress. Let the public decide for themselves without political spin.

The American people, Congress and the president should sit back and allow Special Counsel Mueller to do his work. This nation has an interest in making sure that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intelligence thugs and mobbed-up oligarchs do not influence our political processes.

It’s time to find out what really happened.

Chris E. Swecker served 24 years in FBI as Special Agent. He retired from the Bureau as Assistant Director with responsibility over all FBI Criminal Investigations. He currently practices law in Charlotte, N.C.

Courtesy: Fox News

Mainstream media reacts angrily to memo, while playing down its contents

The mainstream media didn’t get its way on Friday when the controversial memo detailing alleged government surveillance abuses was released.

But instead of focusing on the contents, the liberal media members who had reservations about the document’s release are harping on negative reactions to President Trump’s decision to make it public.

The House Intelligence Committee released the memo about alleged abuses involving FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, dn Friday afternoon after news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post criticized the decision to do so.

The polarizing memo had liberal media members howling that its release would pose a risk to national security less than 24 hours ago, but the same pundits are now calling it a “dud” and mocking conservatives for overhyping its content.

“It falls well short of what some Republicans promised: to cast doubt on the origins of the Russia investigation,” a prominent bullet point on The Times’ website said shortly after the release.

The home page of The Washington Post featured a trio of headlines that played down the content of the memo, “Ongoing battle between White House and FBI intensifies after memo’s release,” Sentence buried in GOP memo may undercut Trump efforts to discredit Russia probe,” and an opinion piece, “The White House’s laughable spin that releasing the memo is all about ‘transparency,’” were all prominently displayed.

The Associated Press’ wire was packed with angry reaction to the memo and offeref very little about what the document actually said. AP pieces about the memo led with lines including “Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending his deputy in the face of criticism from the president,” “House Democrats are angry about the release of a classified GOP memo” and “The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is challenging the accuracy of a memo.”

A giant headline across the HuffPost page simply stated, “Meh-morandum: This thing’s a dud!”

Former FBI Director James Comey blasted the “dishonest” and “misleading” memo, saying it “inexcusably exposed” classified investigations. Several news organizations used Comey’s reaction as their hook in stories playing down the memo,  with splashy headlines using the former FBI chief’s negative reaction.

Meanwhile, reporters from both CNN and MSNBC have been accused on social media of misleading viewers regarding the content of the memo. NBC News’ Katy Tur “fixed” an inaccurate tweet after critics called her out, while CNN’s Jim Sciutto has been criticizedfor saying that Republicans first paid for the disputed Steele dossier.

Others have picked on the way the memo was written.

NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell said the language in the memo is “mischievous,” while Vox founder Ezra Klein said it read like a “Breitbart article.”

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell issued a statement ridiculing the media coverage of the memo, saying it deserved “Watergate-like media coverage.”

“Now that the memo is public, the media owe it to the American people to report this story fairly and truthfully,” he wrote. “We have witnessed over a year of an unparalleled, deliberate effort by the press to remove a president they despise, and it is time they are held accountable.”

Courtesy: Fox News

 

DOJ recovers missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI agents Strzok and Page

The Department of Justice has recovered missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the DOJ’s inspector general said Thursday.

In a letter sent to congressional committees, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his office “succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices, including text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page that were sent or received between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.”

“Our effort to recover any additional text messages is ongoing,” Horowitz said. “We will provide copies of the text messages that we recover from these devices to the Department so that the Department’s leadership can take any management action it deems appropriate.”

Fox News has learned from U.S. government officials that the inspector general recovered the texts by taking possession of “at least four” phones belonging to Strzok and Page.

StrzokPageSplit

The Department of Justice has recovered missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the DOJ’s inspector general said Thursday.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity had reported Wednesday that the Department of Justice had started to recover some of the texts.

MORE THAN 50,000 TEXTS EXCHANGED BETWEEN FBI OFFICIALS STRZOK AND PAGE

The missing messages have been at the center of a storm of controversy on Capitol Hill, after the DOJ notified congressional committees that there is a gap in records between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017. Strzok and Page are under scrutiny after it was revealed that the former members of Robert Mueller’s team exchanged a series of anti-Trump texts during the presidential campaign.

The gap in records covered a crucial period, raising suspicion among GOP lawmakers about how those messages disappeared.

More than 50,000 texts were exchanged between Strzok and Page, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed Monday. The texts are believed to have taken place during the course of a romantic affair.

Sessions had pledged to figure out how some of their texts went missing.

“We will leave no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available to be produced and will use every technology available to determine whether the missing messages are recoverable from another source,” Sessions said in a statement provided to Fox News. “If we are successful, we will update the congressional committees immediately.”

THOUSANDS OF FBI CELLPHONES AFFECTED BY GLITCH THAT LOST STRZOK-PAGE TEXTS

Federal law enforcement officials told Fox News on Wednesday that thousands of FBI cellphones were affected by the technical glitch that apparently prevented those Strzok and Page messages from being stored or uploaded into the bureau’s archive system.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies during a Judiciary Committee hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RC15A41CCB80

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found missing text messages between two key FBI officials.  (AP)

Horowitz sent his letter confirming the discovery of texts to Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who had inquired about the messages.

The five-month stretch of missing messages covers a period of time that includes President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the firings of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James Comey and the standing-up of former FBI Director Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russian officials during the 2016 election.

President Trump had weighed in on the missing texts, tweeting this week: “Where are the 50,000 important text messages between FBI lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok?”

Republicans, arguing some top officials at the FBI are politically biased against Trump, have seized on the texts.

In one text exchange, Strzok and Page spoke of a “secret society” within the Department of Justice and the FBI the day after Trump’s victory, according to two lawmakers with knowledge of the messages.

“We learned today about information that in the immediate aftermath of [Trump’s] election, that there may have been a secret society of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI — to include Page and Strzok — that would be working against him,” Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said Monday on Fox News.

In another infamous message, Strzok appeared to make reference to an “insurance policy” against a Trump win.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…” he wrote.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

COURTESY: Fox News

The 7 biggest political scandals of 2017

From rumors still swirling around the presidential election to a growing number of sexual misconduct allegations, 2017 has been a year rife with controversy.

Read on for a look back at the seven most notable political scandals of the past year.

Sexual misconduct storm

It’s a bipartisan issue: the mounting waves of sexual misconduct allegations against lawmakers at the national, state and local levels. Post-Harvey Weinstein, there has been a surge of women – and men – who have stood up against the powerful lawmakers who they said sexually harassed or abused them. Some of these lawmakers have seen their careers ended.

Moore’s minor problem

A month before the special Senate election in Alabama, GOP candidate Roy Moore was hit with multiple accusations that he had inappropriate relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. One woman said she was 14 when he inappropriately touched her. The age of consent in Alabama is 16.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore pauses as he addresses supporters at his election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman - RC1EEEE586B0

Judge Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, was accused of sexual misconduct against several teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Moore lost the special election to Democrat Doug Jones.  (Reuters/Jonathan Bachman)

Now 70 years old, Moore has denied the allegations. He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he “generally” didn’t date women who were teenagers when he was in his 30s and would not date someone without her mother’s permission.

After the allegations came to light, several leading Republicans backed away from Mooreand called on him to step aside from the race. However, others – including President Trump and Steve Bannon – continued to support him.

Moore lost the election to Doug Jones, the first Democrat to win a national election in the deep red state in more than two decades.

Franken says farewell

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced that he would resign his seat on Dec. 7 after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct, from groping to forcibly kissing.

U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) arrives at the U.S. Senate to announce his resignation over allegatons of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - HP1EDC71BC400

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said he would resign after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct, but he hasn’t revealed when exactly he would leave the Senate.  (Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)

The former “Saturday Night Live” performer contended that some of the allegations weren’t true but said he would resign as he did not believe he would be able to effectively continue with his job based on the nature of the allegations. His announcement came after dozens of Democrats called for him to step aside.

Franken is expected to resign on Jan. 2, 2018.

The congressmen

Multiple congressmen have been accused of sexual misconduct this year, as well.

Conyers/Farenthold

Multiple congressmen have been accused of sexual misconduct this year. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., retired in December following allegations. And Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said he would not seek reelection.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announced on Dec. 5 that he would immediately retire from the House after multiple women alleged that he sexually harassed them while he was in Congress. Conyers reportedly settled a complaint with a former female staffer for $27,000, who claimed she was fired for rejecting his advances.

Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona also announced he would resign from Congress due to misconduct allegations against him. Franks said he made some female staffers “uncomfortable” when he discussed surrogacy issues with him. He reportedly asked two female employees to be a surrogate for him and his wife.

Franks’ announcement came as the House Ethics Committee said it would probe the matter. He was the third member of Congress to leave in one week due to accusations of sexual misconduct.

The Ethics Committee also announced in December that it was expanding an investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, regarding sexual harassment claims against him. The Office of Compliance, which settles claims against members of Congress, said it settled a sexual harassment claim for $84,000 that an aide said came from Farenthold’s office.

Farenthold announced in December 2017 that he would retire.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., was accused of sexually harassing a former campaign worker. She alleged that Kihuen repeatedly asked her for dates and twice touched her thigh.

Kihuen has apologized for actions that “made her feel uncomfortable” but added that he doesn’t “recall any of the circumstances she described.”

Coast to coast

Allegations of sexual misconduct aren’t just rocking those in Washington, D.C.

California Assembly Majority Whip Raul Bocanegra, a top California Democrat, stepped down as majority whip after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment and “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact.” Bocanegra ended his reelection campaign and said he would resign from the Assembly next year.

In Ohio, Republican state Rep. Wes Goodman resigned after he engaged in “inappropriate behavior related to his state office.” The interaction was believed to have been consensual with another male. The Independent Journal Review reported that as many as 30 individuals accused Goodman of sexually inappropriate behavior and messages.

Before Weinstein

Ed Murray was Seattle’s mayor before he stepped down in September amid multiple accusations of sexual abuse and molestation. Multiple men accused Murray of sexual abuse; Murray has denied the allegations.

ANTHONY WEINER’S SCANDALS, FROM POLITICS TO SEXTING

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner rose to fame with an impassioned speech in Congress in 2010, only to be taken down by a scandal that involved “sexting” multiple women for years. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison in September on federal charges of sending sexually explicit messages to a teenage girl.

Russia, Russia, Russia

It’s been more than a year since Donald Trump was elected president, but allegations that his campaign colluded with the Russian government to beat Democrat Hillary Clinton persist – and his administration continues to deny them.

Robert Mueller was named the special counsel overseeing the investigation and has already charged four people related to the Trump administration and campaign.

Mueller’s moves

The Department of Justice announced the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into Russia’s influence on the presidential election on May 17 –  following a growing Democratic outcry for someone outside the Justice Department to oversee the investigation.

FBI Director Robert Mueller is sworn in to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)," on Capitol Hill in Washington September 17, 2008. REUTERS/Molly Riley - GF2E49H15B501

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was selected to oversee the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.  (Reuters/Molly Riley)

Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions – who was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump –  recused himself from the investigation.

Mueller’s team has already charged four people related to the probe: Michael FlynnPaul ManafortRichard Gates and George Papadopoulos.

Comey’s firing

Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey on May 9 — less than two months after Comey announced the agency was looking into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

FBI Director James Comey arrives for a House Judiciary hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" on Capitol Hill in Washington March 1, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - GF10000329625

President Trump fired FBI director James Comey just a few months after he announced that the agency would look into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.  (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

The White House maintained that Comey was let go due to his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. But Trump has alluded to the notion that he was considering the Russia investigation when he fired Comey.

Comey told a Senate intelligence committee that Trump had asked him to drop the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. The White House said Trump was not attempting to influence Comey.

Manafort’s mess

Paul Manafort resigned as Trump’s campaign manager in August 2016 amid questions regarding his business dealings in Ukraine.

The special counsel took over the criminal investigation into Manafort’s financial dealings – dating back even prior to the presidential election. FBI agents raided his Virginia home earlier this year, and Manafort – along with his associate, Richard Gates – was told to turn himself into federal authorities at the end of October.

Manafort was charged with 12 counts that included: conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money and making false statements to the FBI.

All the president’s children

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, came under fire this year as it was revealed that he took a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign who claimed to have damaging information regarding Hillary Clinton.

Trump Jr./Kushner

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son (left), took a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign who was supposed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law (right), also attended the meeting.

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” an email about the meeting said in part.

Trump Jr. maintained that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, did not have any information to share and instead wanted to discuss other matters, such as the Magnitsky Act and other sanctions.

Also in attendance at the meeting was Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump.

The Price wasn’t right: Trump firings

There was a growing number of people who left the Trump administration in just its first year – a group that includes former press secretary Sean Spicer, chief strategist Steve

Bannon and White House Office of Public Liaison staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Price’s plane

Tom Price officially resigned from his post as Health and Human Services Secretary in September following widespread criticism for his use of private planes to make work trips.

Health and Human Services secretary exits administration amid controversy; John Roberts has details from the White House.

Price had promised to repay the government for the use of his costly flights and vowed never to take a private charter plane again while in his post as secretary. But Trump had suggested that he was considering firing the former Georgia congressman ahead of Price’s resignation.

The Mooch lets loose

Financier Anthony Scaramucci only lasted as the White House communications director for 11 days. But he managed to cause quite the shakeup in his short time in D.C.

White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci speaks after an on air interview at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2017.   REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC11EAA98D50

Anthony Scaramucci was the White House communications director for less than two weeks. He was dismissed from his position after he went on an on-the-record, profanity-laced rant about other members of the Trump administration.  (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

In his first weekend as the communications director for the White House, Scaramucci gave interview after interview and promised that it was time for the Trump administration to hit the “reset button” with the press. And in one particular interview with the New Yorker, Scaramucci’s candor went a bit too far.

Using vulgar language, Scaramucci slammed former administration officials Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.

“Reince is a f—ing paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said during the interview.

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c—,” he also said. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f—ing strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”

Trump ultimately let Scaramucci go.

Omarosa’s season finale 

Omarosa Manigault Newman, the White House Office of Public Liaison’s communications director, will leave the administration in January, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced in December.

Television personality Omarosa takes part in a panel discussion of NBC Universal's series "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" during the 2013 Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, California January 6, 2013. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT) - GM1E917060201

Omarosa Manigault Newman said there was a “lack of diversity” in the Trump administration.  (Reuters/Gus Ruelas)

Details of Manigault Newman’s departure created some drama as it was reported that she was escorted off the White House grounds after resigning.

In an interview following her exit, Manigault Newman decried what she perceived as the lack of diversity in the Trump administration.

“There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge,” the former “Apprentice” star told ABC News. “And at times it was very lonely. Because the majority of them were white men who had their own agendas. Many of them had never worked with minorities, didn’t know how to interact with them.”

Fusion GPS flops

Fusion GPS is the firm behind a controversial and unproven dossier that contained allegations regarding Trump’s connections to Russia – as well as other lurid details about the president.

The firm was originally retained during the election by the conservative website Washington Free Beacon, which wanted opposition research on 2016 candidates but apparently was not involved in the dossier.

Opposition research firm Fusion GPS has been in the spotlight following Donald Trump Jr's meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. How are they connected?

FUSION GPS’S TIES TO THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN, RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: WHAT TO KNOW

But in a bombshell development, it emerged this year that Clinton and the DNC later retained Fusion GPS through lawyer Marc Elias and his firm, Perkins Coie. Then came the Trump dossier.

Clinton reportedly did not know about the dossier until BuzzFeed News published it in January 2017. Democrats have defended it as simply opposition research. But Republicans want to know to what extent it was used to get a surveillance warrant against a Trump associate.

The DNC’s dance

For Donna Brazile, 2017 was a year to come clean.

The former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman was let go as a CNN commentator after leaked emails purported to show that she shared debate questions with the Clinton campaign ahead of the events. She initially denied the accusations, but Brazile eventually admitted in 2017 that the emails she sent to the campaign were “a mistake.”

Democratic National Committee Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation Donna Brazile speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar - HT1EC7Q1ULIGF

Former interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile said she found evidence that the national party worked with Hillary Clinton to give her a leg up for the nomination.  (Reuters/Mike Segar)

But Brazile later addressed rumors — in a big way — that the DNC unfairly favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders, the progressive Vermont senator.

“I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested,” Brazile wrote in her campaign memoir, “Hacks,” which was first excerpted in Politico Magazine.

“By Sept. 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof, and it broke my heart,” Brazile said.

Brazile said she found a joint fundraising agreement document between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund and Hillary for America from August 2015 — just a few months after Clinton announced her candidacy.

“The agreement — signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias — specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised,” Brazile wrote. “Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff.”

Uranium One returns

Through a 2013 deal, Russia-backed company Rosatom acquired a Canadian uranium mining company which has assets in the U.S.

The deal first emerged in news reports in 2015, raising questions about connnections to the Clintons. But it surged back into the headlines this year when The Hill reported the FBI had looked into the agreement and uncovered that some Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in nefarious dealings, which included extortion, bribery and kickbacks.

What's the latest on a controversial uranium deal with Russia that was brokered during Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State?

Because of the deal, Russia is able to own about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity, although experts estimate that Rosatom only extracts about 11 percent of the uranium in the U.S.

The agreement was approved by nine government agencies with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Hillary Clinton’s State Department was one of those agencies, although the former secretary of state has said that she was not “personally involved” in the deal.

OBAMA-ERA RUSSIAN URANIUM ONE DEAL: WHAT TO KNOW

At issue is how the deal came to be. Republicans have largely decried the transaction, especially as some investors reportedly donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and former President Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee in Russia and met with Vladimir Putin around the time of the deal.

But according to The Hill, evidence of wrongdoing by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion in the U.S. who was eventually sentenced to prison, was also discovered by the FBI before the deal was approved.

Christie’s beached

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made quite the splash this year for a number of his decisions — including when he was caught lounging on a private beach after a government shutdown closed public beaches during the first weekend in July.

In this Sunday, July 2, 2017, photo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, uses the beach with his family and friends at the governor's summer house at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. Christie is defending his use of the beach, closed to the public during New Jersey's government shutdown, saying he had previously announced his vacation plans and the media had simply "caught a politician keeping his word." (Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media via AP)

After public New Jersey beaches were shuttered during the Fourth of July weekend due to a government shutdown, Gov. Chris Christie, R, was caught lounging on a private beach.  (AP Photo/Andrew Mills of NJ Advance Media)

“That’s the way it goes. Run for governor, and you can have the residence,” the Republican said in response to critics.

But Christie wasn’t the only governor to make a flop this year. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, R, resigned in April following allegations that he used state money to conceal an affair.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas  and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

COURTESY: Fox News

 

FBI director defends bureau’s integrity as GOP lawmakers press him on Trump, Clinton probes

During questioning from lawmakers on Dec. 7, FBI Director Christopher Wray responded to President Trump’s critical tweets from Dec. 3. 

 December 7 at 2:43 PM
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray defended his agency’s integrity and independence in response to skeptical questioning Thursday from Republicans who repeatedly suggested its personnel are biased against President Trump.

Wray spent the morning being grilled at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee about how FBI personnel — particularly a senior counterintelligence agent now the subject of an internal ethics investigation — handled sensitive probes of Trump and his former political rival, Hillary Clinton.

The agent, Peter Strzok, was removed in July from the investigation being run by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is looking into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian agents during last year’s election.

Strzok, the top agent on that probe, was removed after supervisors learned he exchanged pro-Clinton, anti-Trump texts with a senior FBI lawyer with whom he had an affair, according to people familiar with the matter.

Strzok’s alleged conduct is now the subject of a probe by the Justice Department’s inspector general. Lawmakers tried to make Wray explain exactly what Strzok’s role was in the Trump and Clinton investigations, but Wray declined to provide an answer, citing the ongoing investigation.

The revelations about Strzok prompted Trump to tweet this past weekend that the FBI’s reputation was in tatters.

Asked by the panel’s senior Democrat, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), whether that was true, Wray delivered a lengthy defense of the bureau.

“Congressman, there is no shortage of opinions out there. What I can tell you is that the FBI I see is tens of thousands of agents, analysts and staff working their tails off keeping Americans safe,” Wray said. “The FBI that I see is people, decent people, committed to the highest principles of dignity and professionalism and respect. . . . Now do we make mistakes? You bet we make mistakes, just like everybody who’s human makes mistakes.’’

He said that once the inspector general’s review of FBI conduct has concluded, “we will hold our folks accountable, if that’s appropriate.”

Republicans said Wray needed to prove to them that the FBI was proceeding without picking political favorites.

“It does appear to me that, at the very least, the FBI’s reputation as an impartial, nonpolitical agency has come into question,” said the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). “Even the appearance of impropriety will devastate the FBI’s reputation.”

Goodlatte and other Republicans are pressing the Justice Department to appoint a second special counsel to investigate the FBI’s handling of Clinton-related matters, including an investigation into her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

Nadler warned Wray that he was under attack from Republicans and urged him to publicly rebut criticism from the president.

“I predict that these attacks on the FBI will grow louder and more brazen as the special counsel does his work and the walls close in around the president,” Nadler said. “Your job requires you to have the courage in these circumstances to stand up to the president.’’

Much of the early questions at the hearing concerned Strzok, a senior agent who played a central role in the FBI’s Russia investigation until late July, when Mueller learned of the messages and removed him from the case.

Strzok’s communications with senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page are now being investigated by the Justice Department’s inspector general. Page had also worked on Mueller’s team, but she left that post two weeks before Strzok’s departure for what officials have said were unrelated reasons.

In a remarkable moment, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) read aloud from a list of FBI officials, asking Wray after each name whether that person had shown political bias in their work. After every name, Wray vouched for the person’s character, though he acknowledged he did not know everyone Gohmert named.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said he suspected that Strzok played a central role in requesting surveillance of people close to Trump, adding, “If that happened, that is as wrong as it gets.”

In the wake of revelations about Strzok, conservative lawmakers and activists have intensified their attacks on the FBI, saying his alleged conduct and other issues, such as political donations by lawyers working under Mueller, show the probe is biased against the president. Law enforcement officials note that Mueller is a registered Republican and has been praised for more than a decade as one of the most trusted law enforcement officials in the country.

Democrats defended the FBI from Republican attacks. They also got assurances from Wray that no one was trying to interfere with Mueller’s work.

“As I sit here today, there’s been no effort that I’ve seen to interfere with Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” Wray said, adding that Trump called him once to congratulate him on the day of his installation as FBI chief but that he has not had any “substantive” one-on-one conversations with the president.

Wray became FBI director four months ago after Trump fired Wray’s predecessor, James B. Comey, leading to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. Wray has inherited the political fallout over the Clinton and Trump probes, and he has tried to keep a low profile and steer the agency clear of public political fights.

Thursday’s hearing made clear that his task is getting harder.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said Wray was “walking into contempt of Congress” after the director repeatedly declined to answer questions about Strzok.

And while some Republicans have called for a second special counsel to investigate FBI conduct, others have argued that Mueller’s probe should be shut down or given a time limit to complete its work. Democrats attacked Republicans for suggesting unethical conduct had infected the decision-making process at the FBI.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said Thursday’s hearing showed the need to pass legislation protecting Mueller from being fired.

Some Republicans on the panel picked bigger fights with Wray, criticizing how the FBI conducts surveillance and threatening to vote against renewal of a legal authority due to expire at the end of this year. Wray has made renewal of that authority, called Section 702, a main legislative priority — intelligence officials have long considered it a critical investigative tool to detect and disrupt nascent terrorist plots as well as to gather foreign intelligence.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) heaped scorn upon the FBI’s arguments for the authority, accusing the bureau of withholding key information about how the program works.

Using a mocking tone, Poe said he has been told: “ ‘It’s classified. I can’t tell you that.’ ” Poe said that if he was not given further details about Section 702 surveillance, he would vote against its renewal.

Wray said the FBI regularly shares information with congressional intelligence committees.

At times, Wray sought to turn the conversation away from the current and past probes and talk instead about future threats. He said the department several months ago set up a “foreign influence” task force made up of agents from the cyber, counterintelligence and criminal divisions to “sniff out” efforts to interfere with the 2018 elections. The task force is working with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that election systems are secure, he said. It also coordinates with foreign counterparts and with the U.S. intelligence community.

Share news tips with us confidentially
Do you have information the public should know? Here are some ways you can securely send information and documents to Post journalists.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

McCain blasts Clinton’s post-election memoir: ‘You’ve got to move on’

Sen. John McCain is blasting Hillary Clinton for penning a memoir so soon after her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election while also noting that her problem is “she doesn’t have anything to do.”

“What’s the f—— point? Keep the fight up?” McCain, R-Ariz., says in suggesting in an interview with Esquire published Monday that Clinton erred in writing “What Happened” when she did and then going on a media blitz to promote it.

“History will judge that campaign, and it’s always a period of time before they do,” the senator told writer David Usborne. “You’ve got to move on. This is Hillary’s problem right now: She doesn’t have anything to do.”

McCain, 81, who is being treated for brain cancer, told the magazine that he resisted the temptation to immediately set the record straight about his 2008 loss to Barrack Obama.

“You’ve got to understand that you can’t rewrite history,” he said. “One of the almost irresistible impulses you have when you lose is to somehow justify why you lost and how you were mistreated: ‘I did the right thing! I did!’ The hardest thing to do is to just shut up.”

Clinton published her tell-all in September.

In it, she holds herself partly responsible for her upset loss to Donald Trump.

“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made,” she wrote. “I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want — but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”

But she also casts blame on her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders for his attacks on her during the primary, former FBI Director James Comey for his handling of the investigation into her private emails and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the hacking of her campaign manager’s emails.

Courtesy: Fox News

Thousands of govt docs found on laptop of sex offender married to top Clinton adviser

Thousands of govt docs found on laptop of sex offender married to top Clinton adviser
The State Department admitted the FBI discovered nearly 3,000 government documents on a laptop belonging to the ex-husband of Hillary Clinton’s top adviser, Huma Abedin, conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch said.

The revelation was in response to a May 2015 lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the State Department after it failed to respond to a Freedom of Information request (FOIA) seeking all emails of official State Department business received or sent by Abedin between January 2009 and February 2013 “using a non-state.gov email address.”

Judicial Watch: Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Had 2,800 Government Documents from Huma Abedin http://bit.ly/2gjns9V 

Photo published for Judicial Watch: Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Had 2,800 Government Documents from Huma Abedin

Judicial Watch: Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Had 2,800 Government Documents from Huma Abedin

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop had 2,800 government documents that were sent to his computer by his wife Huma Abedin.

breitbart.com

“This is a disturbing development. Our experience with Abedin’s emails suggest these Weiner laptop documents will include classified and other sensitive materials,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement, naming Abedin’s ex-husband, Anthony Weiner.

“When will the Justice Department do a serious investigation of Hillary Clinton’s and Huma Abedin’s obvious violations of law?” the statement added.

The documents were discovered on Weiner’s laptop after devices were seized as part of an FBI investigation into an allegation that he had engaged in ‘sexting’ with a 15-year-old girl. The discovery of the State Department emails led then-FBI Director James Comey to reopen an investigation late in the 2016 US presidential election.

In July 2016, Comey, exonerated Clinton following the probe into whether the former secretary of state’s private servers had been used to transmit or store classified information. Comey said he referred the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision.

The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General in connection with Clinton’s use of a personal email service during her time as secretary of state.

Comey said from a group of 30,000 emails, 110 in 52 chains had been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.  Eight of those chains contained information that was ‘top secret’ at the time they were sent, 36 contained ‘secret’ information, and eight contained ‘confidential’ information.

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,”wrote Comey.

After finding more documents on Weiner’s laptop, Comey alerted Congress that the agency had reopened its investigation. However, three days before the presidential election the FBI announced that it had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

In August, Judicial Watch released 1,600-plus pages of emails the State Department had turned over under the group’s FOIA lawsuit. The documents included 91 email exchanges that were not previously handed over to the State Department, for a total of 530 emails that were not included in Clinton’s initial 55,000-page disclosure.

Judicial Watch said the State Department is processing 100,000 emails Clinton failed to disclose when she served as secretary of state, some of which were sent by Abedin and found on Weiner’s laptop. Clinton attempted to delete 33,000 emails from her non-government server. The State Department is currently checking about 500 pages per month, following a court order. Judicial Watch said at this rate the documents won’t be fully available until at least 2020.

Courtesy: RT

%d bloggers like this: