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Tag: carter page

AG Sessions Rebuffs GOP: No Need for Second Special Counsel to Probe DOJ, FBI

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a previous congressional committee for failing to disclose his contacts with Russia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rebuffed calls from Republican lawmakers to appoint a second special counsel to investigate whether the FBI and Justice Department overextended their authority in surveilling a former Trump campaign aide.

Some House and Senate Republicans urged Sessions to make the appointment, continuing to assail the investigation of Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser during Trump’s campaign, as politically motivated.

In a letter to three congressional committee chairmen, Sessions said there’s no need– at least not yet – to appoint a special counsel because the matter is already the subject of two separate investigations  – one by the Justice Department inspector general, the other by the U.S. attorney in Utah. 

“I take the concerns you raise seriously,” Mr. Sessions wrote, adding, “I expect every person in this Department to adhere to the highest levels of integrity, ethics, and and professionalism.”

Sessions’ decision was criticized by some Republicans.

“Mr. Sessions, what’s it going to take?” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a phone interview with Politico. “I’m hopeful this is just one last step Jeff Sessions wants to take before he realizes the obvious, which is there needs to be a second special counsel.”

Republicans Call for New Special Counsel to Probe FBI’s Surveillance of Trump Aide

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in November 2017.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Two prominent House Republicans are urging Attorney General Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether the FBI improperly obtained a warrant to spy on former Trump aide Carter Page.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy pressured Sessions in a letter to appoint a special counsel to review Republican allegations that the FBI misled a federal judge to obtain a surveillance warrant for Page, a suspected Russian agent.

“We think this is a very serious matter regarding conduct by the FBI and by some in the Department of Justice that calls for the appointment of a special counsel who will have subpoena and prosecutorial powers,” Goodlatte told reporters in his Capitol office, Politico reports.

Democrats blasted the request as a diversion.

“These are blatant attempts to distract from and undermine the credibility of Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. “Where there is no crime, there is no criminal investigation for a second special counsel to manage.”

The House Intelligence Committee released a confidential, Republican-drafted memo last month, alleging abuse by the FBI. Democrats later disclosed a rebuttal memo, saying the bureau acted appropriately.

GOP Releases Secret Memo But Fails to Show Anti-Trump Bias in Mueller Probe

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Intelligence Committee publicly released a disputed, Republican-drafted memo on Friday that claims the FBI and Justice Department abused their authority to spy on former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being a Russian agent.

The unprecedented and controversial release of the memo was approved today by President Trump, setting off a political firestorm after he and his Republican allies ignored strong objections from the FBI and DOJ to keep the document classified.

The memo takes aim at what Republicans say is a glaring, suspicious omission in the application for a warrant to wire tap Page. Intelligence officials never mentioned in the application that some of the evidence relies on information by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was financed by the Democratic National Committee and lawyers for Hillary Clinton’s campaign to investigate ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Trump and some of his allies claim the memo supports their repeated assertions that the FBI and DOJ harbor an anti-Trump bias that taints the special counsel investigation that is now focusing on whether the president obstructed justice by interfering wth the nine-month probe. Four former Trump aides have beeb indicted so far as part of the Robert Mueller investigation.

“The Committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust, and the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said in a statement. 

The memo claims the allegations of surveillance abuse “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”

In a rare move, the FBI on Wednesday released a statement expressing “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Democrats slammed the memo as a partisan, misleading campaign to undermine confidence in the special counsel investigation, which could determine the fate of Trump’s presidency. Democrats also pointed out that the memo fails to provide evidence to cast doubt on the Mueller probe.

House Republicans Vote to Release Secret, Disputed Memo on Russia Probe

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Republican campaign to undermine confidence in the FBI and Justice Department, which are overseeing the Trump-Russia investigation, launched its latest offensive Monday over the objections of intelligence officials who warned the move was “extraordinarily reckless.”

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release a secret, much-disputed memo written by their staff that alleges the Justice Department and FBI abused their authority by extending surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser and suspected Russian agent Carter Page.

The memo would advance the Republican and President Trump narrative that the FBI and Justice Department are tainted by political biases. Now Trump, who has indicated he wants the memo released, has five days to review the document and decide whether to release it.

Trump’s Justice Department opposes the memo’s release without an official review because it draws on classified information.

In a letter to the committee last week, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd warned it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the memo and said he was “unaware of any wrongdoing” in extending the surveillance of Page.

The memo claims Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, abused his authority by approving the surveillance extension because it’s based, in part, on research by former British spy Christopher Steele, who had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

After the closed-door vote, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Republicans had voted “to politicize the intelligence process,” The New York Times reports

“Sadly, we expect that the president of the United States will not put the national interest over his own personal interest,” said Mr. Schiff. “But it is a sad day indeed when that is also true of our own committee.”

Memo Reveals President’s DOJ Extended Surveillance of Carter Page on Russian Spy Allegations

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A classified, highly disputed Republican memo reveals that the Justice Department under President Trump approved continued surveillance last spring of Trump campaign associate Carter Page because investigators suspected he was a Russian agent.

The New York Times, citing three people familiar with the document, reports that the memo portrays the Russia investigation as “tainted from the start” because it relies in part on research by former British spy Christopher Steele, who had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The memo, which Democrats claim contains “cherry-picked facts” to craft a misleading narrative, takes aim at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate possible obstruction of justice by the president and collusion with Russian to undermine the 2016 presidential election. Last summer, the president considered firing Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation that so far has led to indictments against four Trump associates.

According to the memo, Rosenstein extended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) order on Page, a former Moscow-based investment banker whom a Russia spy had tried to recruit, according to a 2013 investigation. Carter served as a Trump foreign police adviser until September 2016.

In the memo, Republicans alleges that senior intelligence officials abused the surveillance program to target Trump’s campaign as part of a political bias and failed to properly vet the application.

“The president has been clear publicly and privately that he wants absolute transparency throughout this process,” White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said in a statement. “Based on numerous news reports, top officials at the F.B.I. have engaged in conduct that shows bias against President Trump and bias for Hillary Clinton. While President Trump has the utmost respect and support for the rank-and-file members of the F.B.I., the anti-Trump bias at the top levels that appear to have existed is troubling.”

The Justice Department declined to comment on this report.

FBI Grilled Trump Adviser Carter Page for 10-Plus Hours on Russia

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, has acknowledged he has was extensively questioned by the FBI in March in connection with the ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

In an unverified collection of memos popularly known as the Trump-Russia dossier, Page is accused of being the middleman between the campaign and Russia.

The dossier, written by Christopher Steele, a former British spy who spent years working in Moscow, alleges Page was part of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between (Trump associates) and the Russian leadership.”

Page said he denied the allegations during five FBI interviews that lasted more than a combined 10 hours.

Steele is no stranger to the FBI. During his time on British intelligence agency’s M16 Moscow desk, the FBI repeatedly worked with him on Russia-related investigations.

In a message to CNBC, Page said:

During my extensive discussions with the FBI agents just weeks before Comey’s departure, they acknowledged that I’m a loyal American veteran but indicated that their ‘management’ was concerned that I did not believe the conclusions of the fake January 6 intelligence report. I told them that I learned the lessons from the intelligence failures of the original Dodgy Dossier from 2003 which cost this country thousands of service members lives and over a trillion dollars. Our frank and open conversations gave me confidence that there are still logical, honest individuals at the Bureau who respect civil rights and the Constitution, despite the recent devastating impact on our democracy by self-centered politicians at the top of the Clinton-Obama-Comey regime.

Trump Continues to Smear FBI, CIA And Urges Congress to Hear from Carter Page

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling 
ticklethewire.com

President Trump continues to undermine testimony by the directors of the FBI and CIA, saying congressional members investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia should hear from one of his former advisers, Carter Page.

According to Trump’s narrative, he is the victim of a “witch hunt” by disgruntled Democrats who are looking for excuses for losing the presidential election. But even sources inside his administration say the president is looking for any excuse to undermine what is a serious, fact-based investigation. 

Trump wants Page to testify about what he described as faulty testimony from the U.S. intelligence community.

“So now it is reported that the Democrats, who have excoriated Carter Page about Russia, don’t want him to testify. He blows away their case against him & now wants to clear his name by showing ‘the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan…’ Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted, referring to the former directors of the FBI and CIA.

Despite the president’s insistence on smearing the investigation, the White House said Wednesday it won’t respond to anymore questions about the investigation.

Democrats fired back, saying James Comey was ousted as FBI director in an attempt to disrupt an investigation that some experts said could lead to Trump’s impeachment.

Was Ex-Trump Aide Carter Page a Russian Agent? FBI Investigating

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three years before Carter Page became a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, FBI agents were already concerned about him being influenced by a Russian spy.

So when Page delivered a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow Institute last July while working on Trump’s campaign, the FBI’s curiosity piqued. Agents began digger deeper to determine whether there were any ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign, current and former law enforcement and intelligence official told the New York Times.   

Page, a 45-year-old Navy veteran and businessman, had lived in Moscow for three years. When he stepped down from the Trump campaign in September, the FBI obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor his communications, suspecting he was a Russia agent.

Page is just the latest member of Trump’s campaign or administration to come under fire for connections to Russia.

The investigation is ongoing.