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Archive for February 6th, 2018

Trump Says Nunes, Who Spearheaded Memo’s Release, Has Makings of ‘Great American Hero’

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republican Devin Nunes, the California congressman who set off a political firestorm by spearheading the controversial release of a secret, much-disputed memo drafted by GOP staff, “may someday” be considered a “Great American Hero,” President Trump said Monday.

Trump, who claimed over the weekend that the GOP-drafted memo “totally vindicates” him in the growing special counsel investigation, tweeted that Nunes is “a man of tremendous courage and grit” who “may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!”

As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes caught widespread criticism, including from members of his own party, for taking the highly unusual step of declassifying intelligence-gathering information over fierce opposition from the FBI and Justice Department. The memo, which the DOJ and committee Democrats vigorously disputed, alleges the intelligence agencies abused their surveillance powers by spying on Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being a Russian agent.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

Trump’s gushing tweet came just hours before the House Intelligence Committee was voted unanimously to support the release of a classified memo drafted by Democrats to counter the surveillance abuse claims.

Now Donald Trump has five days to decide whether he wants to block the document’s release. If he objects to the disclosure, the full House has the option of accepting the decision or trying to override the president in what certainly would set the stage for an ugly, high-stakes standoff with Democrats, some Republicans and federal law enforcement agencies.

A Trump spokesman said the president won’t make a decision until he and a national security team review the memo, which could undermine the president’s narrative that the special counsel probe is part of a “witch hunt” to remove him from office.

Worried Trump Will Lie, President’s Attorneys Urge Him to Decline Mueller Interview

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Worried that President Trump will commit perjury in a proposed sit-down interview with Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, the president’s attorneys are urging him to avoid the perilous encounter.

Just last month, Trump boasted at an impromptu press conference that he was “looking forward” to the interview because he did nothing wrong.

Mueller’s team, which began investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, has turned its attention on the president following accusations that he obstructed justice by trying to interfere with the probe.

His lawyers are worried that Trump, who has a habit of fabricating information to suit his purpose, could be charged with lying to investigators, The New York Times reports

Trump is expected to decide in the coming whether he will agree to the interview. If he doesn’t, Mueller may compel the testimony with a subpoena.

Trump’s Legal Team Explores Appointment of Second Special Counsel to Probe FBI, DOJ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s relentless, unsubstantiated claims that the FBI and Justice Department are conducing a “witch hunt” to purge him from office may get new muscle in the form of a second special prosecutor.

The president’s legal team supports the appointment of another counsel to investigate unfounded allegations that the Robert Mueller probe has been tainted by an anti-Trump bias among investigators and the top ranks of the FBI and Justice Department, Axios reported Monday

To make that happen, the Justice Department would have to appoint a special prosecutor, who would examine claims trumpeted by the president that the investigation has been compromised by law enforcement with a vendetta.

It’s not yet clear whether the Justice Department, which Trump has repeatedly claimed is out to get him, would be open to appointing a second counsel.

Emails Show FBI Shocked, Saddened by Comey’s Firing, Countering Trump Narrative

Special counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s controversial decision to fire James Comey as FBI director last year shocked and saddened many people in the bureau, according to more than 100 pages of emails written by agents in the days following the termination.

While the emails poured in, Trump claimed the bureau had “lost confidence” in its leader, which many inside the FBI feverishly denied and dismissed as the president’s shameless campaign to smear the bureau. 

The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by security analyst Benjamin Wittes, editor of the legal affairs blog Lawfare. The bureau turned over 103 of the 116 emails that were identified.

“We are not going to let this defeat us … it will only make us stronger,” the head of the Knoxville field office emailed her staff. “I know you all know our director stood for what is right and what is true. He truly made us better when we needed it the most.”

The special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office emailed, “I hope this is an instance of fake news.”

The assistant director of the FBI’s Office of Victim Assistance wrote in an email, “Our hearts may be heavy but we must continue to do what we do best, which is to protect and serve the American people.”

The emails starkly contrast with Trump’s contention that morale had plummeted under Comey, who told congressional investigators that the president pressured him to an investigation into a former aide.

Just weeks later, Trump’s Justice Department appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Trump and Russia.