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March 2019
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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Sen. Lindsey Graham Says He Encouraged McCain to Give Dossier to FBI

Sen. Lindsey Graham

By Allan Lengel

Ah. The twists and turns inside the Beltway.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham told CNN on Monday that once Sen. John McCain was given the controversial Steele dossier, he encouraged McCain to forward it to the FBI, Axios reports. 

Those remarks come in wake of President Donald Trump’s disparaging remarks about McCain and the dossier.

Trump erroneously tweeted that McCain gave the report to the FBI during the campaign to try and sink him. The report was given in December, after the election.

“I understand that, clearly people are in the McCain world that did some things inappropriate but it was not John McCain,” Graham said. “John McCain did not give it to anybody in the press.”

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George Papadopoulos Claims He Was Duped By FBI Into Admitting He Lied

By Allan Lengel

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is attempting to clear his name in his new book, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In “Deep State Target,” Papadopoulos writes in his interactions with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators  that he was duped by FBI agents into admitting guilt for lying to the FBI, a charge that he served 14 days in prison for, Talking Points Memo reports, citing the Journal story. 

“I realize I misspoke to the FBI,” he reportedly wrote. “The ‘lie’ I was charged with … certainly wasn’t intentional. …  I had to use those words and own them because those were the charges the prosecutors insisted on hitting me with. I am truly sorry I didn’t get the dates right when I talked to the FBI agents. Still, I was never told what my false claims were.”

Papadopoulos  pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a professor named Joseph Mifsud, who allegedly told him that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

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President Donald Trump on Mueller Probe: ‘This Was an Illegal Takedown that Failed’

By Allan Lengel

This was the moment President Donald Trump was waiting for: The end of the Mueller probe and an opportunity to trash the investigation.

“It was a complete and total exoneration,” he said. “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame your president has had to go through for,  before I even got elected, it began and it began illegally… This was an illegal takedown that failed.”

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Ex-FBI Official: Mueller Report is Perhaps Brightest Day for Trump. Questions Why Mueller Let Barr Decide on Obstruction

By Allan Lengel

Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi calls the Mueller report “perhaps the brightest day of the Trump Presidency so far.”

Figliuzzi, who spent 25 years at the FBI  and worked alongside Robert Mueller, tells News 4 Tucson’s Eric Fink he’s surprised by Mueller’s decision to let Attorney General William Barr make the call on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

“He’s allowed Congress to say I see a window of opportunity here because you, sir, did not exonerate him,” Figliuzzi said. “Has Bob Mueller made himself exhibit A as a potential witness in front of Congress having to explain why he chose to do it that way.”

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AG Barr Says Mueller Report Concludes that There Was No Collusion, but Stops Short of Exonerating Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Allan Lengel

Robert S. Mueller III’s report concludes that President Trump nor any of his aides conspired or coordinated with the Russian government’s 2016 election interference,  according to a summary of the special counsel’s key findings made public on Sunday by Attorney General William P. Barr, the New York Times reports.

“[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Barr’s letter stated.

But Barr said Mueller’s team drew no conclusions on whether Trump illegally obstructed justice.

“The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as ‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

The response inside the Beltway was predictable.

Republican leaders said Sunday that the report exonerated Trump and it was time to move on. Some Democratic leaders, despite the report, said it was clear the Trump campaign was involved in collusion with the Russians and the president obstructed justice during the investigation.

“After a long look, after a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side, where a lot of bad things happened, a lot of horrible things happened for our country, it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia,” Trump said, adding that it was “a complete and total exoneration.”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) called the findings a “good day for the rule of law. Great day for President Trump and his team. No collusion and no obstruction. The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report. Bad day for those hoping the Mueller investigation would take President Trump down.”

The Washington Post reports:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a series of tweets he wanted Barr to quickly testify before Congress to explain what the lawmaker called “very concerning discrepancies and final decision-making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report.”

Nadler said Mueller “clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the President, and we must hear from . . . Barr about his decision-making and see all the underlying evidence for the American people to know all the facts.”

Read William Barr’s Letter to Congress


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Weekend Series on Crime: The Philly Mob

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Let the Fun Begin: Mueller Report Handed to Attorney General William Barr

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Allan Lengel

Finally it’s complete — the most anticipated report in Washington in many many years.

Multiple news outlets report that the long-anticipated Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign is complete and has been handed off to Attorney General William Barr.

What comes next is anyone’s guess.

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James Comey: I’m Not Rooting for Mueller to Show Trump is A Criminal

Former FBI Director James Comey on ABC’s 20/20.

By Allan Lengel

Even before he was fired, it was clear to those in the know at the FBI that Director James Comey didn’t care for President Donald Trump. It became even more apparent after he was fired.

But with that being said, Comey writes in an Op-ed piece in the New York Times that he’s not rooting for Robert Mueller to show that President Donald Trump is a criminal.

He writes:

The country is eagerly awaiting the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Many people know what they want it to say — what they feel it simply must say — namely, that Donald Trump is a criminal who should be removed from office. Or that he is completely innocent of all wrongdoing.

But not everyone knows what it “must” say. Even though I believe Mr. Trump is morally unfit to be president of the United States, I’m not rooting for Mr. Mueller to demonstrate that he is a criminal. I’m also not rooting for Mr. Mueller to “clear” the president. I’m not rooting for anything at all, except that the special counsel be permitted to finish his work, charge whatever cases warrant charging and report on his work.

President Trump’s constant attacks on the special counsel, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department over the past two years raised the prospect that he would interfere to stop the special counsel’s work. It is deeply concerning that the president of the United States would try to protect himself by torching the institutions of justice. But he hasn’t used his authority to end Mr. Mueller’s work. (That would have been a crisis of a different order — shutting down the investigation, rather than just trying to undermine its credibility.) So we are in a position to wonder and hope about the report’s content.

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