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Tag: election

Comey May Have Wanted to Stay Out of Politics, But He Shaped the Election — N.Y. Times

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A New York Times examination of the 2016 election concludes that while FBI Director James Comey insisted on avoiding politics, he ended up shaping the election.

Reporters Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, Adam Goldman and Eric Lichblau of the New York Times write about the Hillary Clinton email probe:

But with polls showing Mrs. Clinton holding a comfortable lead, Mr. Comey ended up plunging the F.B.I. into the molten center of a bitter election. Fearing the backlash that would come if it were revealed after the election that the F.B.I. had been investigating the next president and had kept it a secret, Mr. Comey sent a letter informing Congress that the case was reopened.

What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Just weeks before, Mr. Comey had declined to answer a question from Congress about whether there was such an investigation. Only in March, long after the election, did Mr. Comey confirm that there was one.

The paper goes on to write:

An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 30 current and former law enforcement, congressional and other government officials, found that while partisanship was not a factor in Mr. Comey’s approach to the two investigations, he handled them in starkly different ways. In the case of Mrs. Clinton, he rewrote the script, partly based on the F.B.I.’s expectation that she would win and fearing the bureau would be accused of helping her. In the case of Mr. Trump, he conducted the investigation by the book, with the F.B.I.’s traditional secrecy. Many of the officials discussed the investigations on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

 

FBI Plans to Launch Special Unit to Investigate Russian Interference in American Politics

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Showing how serious the FBI is about allegations of Russian interference in American politics, the bureau plans to create a special unit at its Washington D.C. headquarters to coordinate the probe.

The special unit also will give FBI Director James Comey “greater visibility into the investigations granular details,” the Financial Times reports.

“It’s meant to surge resources,” one FBI agent said.

The FBI also used temporary units to investigate WikiLeaks.

Because of the high-profile investigation of Russia and the massive amount of resources involved, the special unit allows the inquiry to have a central manager.

“It’s getting unwieldy,” said one person briefed on the plan. “It’s too big and it’s on the front page of the newspaper every day.” 

An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

Poll: Public Largely Supports FBI Investigation into Russian Interference of Election

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The public is largely supportive of the FBI investigation into the possible links between Donald Trump’s campaign team and the Russian government.

The Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that Americans support an investigation by a 17-point margin, 48% to 31%.

The poll also found that about half of Americans believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but only about a third believe the intent was to help Trump win.

Opinions on the investigation are largely determined by whom voters supported in the presidential election. More than 80% of Clinton supporters believe the Russia story is a legitimate issue, while Trump voters disagree, 65% to 22%.

CNN Analyst: Michael Flynn May Be Cooperating with FBI’s Probe of Russia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser who resigned after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his relations with Russia, may be talking with the FBI, a CNN national security analyst believes.

Citing sources, Juliette Kayyem said “Mike Flynn is the one who may have a deal with the FBI.”

He added, “That’s why we have not heard from him for some time.”

But Kayyem later walked back some of her claims, writing on Facebook, “I did not say on this segment that I have any confirmation that he is actually cooperating or that I have talked to anyone who does.”

Kayyem said her sources “are increasingly wondering” whether Flynn is cooperating with the FBI investigation into Russian interference during the presidential election.

Podesta: ‘Forces within the FBI’ Worked Against Clinton During the Presidential Election

John Podesta

John Podesta

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta claimed Monday that “forces within the FBI” worked against the Democratic presidential nominee.

“There are at least forces within the FBI that wanted her to lose,” Podesta said in a taped NewCo. Shift discussion with John Heilemann.

“I’m not sure they really understood the alternative, but they wanted her to lose. I think that’s one possibility.”

Still, Pedesta offered no new evidence to back up his claim. He said FBI Director James Comey used “bad judgment” by notifying Congress just 11 days before the election that the FBI was reviewing emails that may have been related to Clinton’s use a private email server.

Comey “ended up dropping this bombshell in the middle of the election against the advice of the Justice Department, against the long-term practice of Democratic and Republican administrations,” Podesta said.

He added: “If you look at the polling at that period time, that’s when the race began to tighten in that week.”

Former British-Based Spy Authored Controversial Report on Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The author of report on comprising material Russia allegedly has on President-elect Donald Trump is Christopher Steele, a former officer in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, people familiar with him told Reuters. 

Steele spent years working for the agency, known as MI-6, in several cities, including Russia.

Steele is known for working on the corruption scandal involving FIFA, the international soccer’s governing body, and supplied the FBI with the information.

Steele investigated Trump on behalf of unidentified Republicans who opposed Trump.

Steele stopped working with the FBI about a month before the election because he believed the bureau wasn’t interested and was acting too slowly.

Reuters wrote:

Steele’s reports circulated for months among major media outlets, including Reuters, but neither the news organizations nor U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been able to corroborate them.

BuzzFeed published some of Steele’s reports about Trump on its website on Tuesday but the President-elect and his aides later said the reports were false. Russian authorities also dismissed them. 

Associates of Steele said on Wednesday he was unavailable for comment. Christopher Burrows, a director and co-founder of Orbis with Steele, told The Wall Street Journal, which first published Steele’s name, that he could not confirm or deny that Steele’s company had produced the reports on Trump.

Journalist, Researcher Sue U.S. Spy Agencies for Records about Russian Hacking

foiaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An investigative reporter and a researcher at Harvard have filed a open records lawsuit this week against the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence for information about Russia interfering with the U.S. presidential election.

The suit was filed by investigative reporter Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at MIT and researcher at Harvard, after the government agencies failed to provide records, Recode reports

The FOIA seeks information between Congress and the federal intelligence agencies and between the FBI and White House.

The CIA has expressed confidence that Russia interfered in the election in the months leading up to the November contest.

Recode reports:

The plaintiffs seek information about any ongoing investigation into ties between Donald Trump or anyone associated with his campaign and interference from the Russian government in the election. Leopold and Shapiro also asked for communications between Congress and the Republican and Democratic campaign committees, as well as Hillary Clinton’s campaign in reference to Russian involvement with the 2016 presidential race.

Huffington Post Reporter Under FBI Investigation for Twitter ‘Joke’

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Huffington Post editor who joked about “destroying Trump ballots” at a Washington D.C. voting site is under investigation by the FBI, the journalist wrote. 

On Halloween, Nick Baumann tweeted, “I love my job working at a voting site in washington dc destroying trump ballots.”

A day later, Baumann said his tweet was “a joking reference” to the conspiracies peddled by Trump supporters that a man was destroying Trump ballots.

On Nov. 4, Bauman said the FBI called him, but he never called back because he thought it was a prank call. A day later, the FBI called again.

“The reason I’m calling is — I can’t give you too many details over the phone — we recently received some complaints regarding some online postings that were made. I don’t know if you know what that’s in reference to, but would you be willing to sit down with us for a couple minutes tomorrow morning by chance?” the agent asked, according to Baumann.

“I know this may sound ridiculous, but when we receive complaints we have to follow them up no matter what,” the federal agent added.

There has been no meeting, but Baumann wrote, “The investigation is ongoing.”