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Tag: Justice Department

Democrats Claim Republicans Secretly Doctored Trump-Russia Memo

Rep. Adam Schiff.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has accused Republicans of sharing with the White House a “secretly altered” version of a controversial, much-disputed memo alleging the Justice Department and FBI improperly surveilled a former Trump campaign aide during the 2016 election campaign.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the memo, written by Republicans, was altered after the committee voted along party lines to release the document despite warnings from the Justice Department and FBI to keep in the information classified. 

Schiff said the committee members were “never apprised of, never had the opportunity to review, and never approved” revisions made by Republicans before handing off the memo to the president, who is expected to approve the corrosive document’s release.

Schiff is demanding that the memo be withdrawn until a new vote can be held on the revised document, which some Republicans want to use to suggest an anti-Trump bias in the special counsel investigation of the president and Russia.

A spokesman the committee’s chairman, Republican Devin Nunes, claims Schiff is exaggerating the altercations, saying only minor change, including grammatical fixes, were made to the document.

Schiff countered that the changes were “material and substantive” and not approved by the committee, which Democrats say is a violation of congressional practices.

Schiff made the claims in a letter to Nunes.

The White House is expected to approve the memo’s release Friday morning, but claims that the document was doctored may delay the public disclosure.

FBI Clashes with Trump over ‘Grave Concerns’ about Secret GOP Memo

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a rare move, the FBI on Wednesday released a public statement expressing “grave concerns” about the release of a secret, Republican-drafted memo that purports to show the Justice Department and FBI improperly surveilled the Trump campaign during the 2016 election campaign.

The sharply worded statement marks the first public clash between the president and his FBI director, Christopher Wray, as tensions flare over a much-disputed memo that Democrats say is a shameless ploy by Trump allies to undermine the special counsel investigation.

The “F.B.I. was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau said in the statement today. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.

Trump supports the release of the memo because he believes it will undermine confidence in an investigation that ultimately could determine the fate of his presidency.

The Justice Department previously warned it would be “extraordinarily reckless” for the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee to approve the release of the document because it draws from highly sensitive material.

The committee ignored the warnings Monday, voting along party lines to publicly release the four-page document, which claims the Justice Department and FBI – the two agencies overseeing the special counsel probe – abused their authority by extending surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser and suspected Russian agent Carter Page. Trump, who has indicated he wants to publicly release the memo, has three days to sign off on the document’s disclosure.

Some Republicans want to use the document to suggest the special counsel investigation was tainted from the start by an anti-Trump bias.

Democrats dismissed the memo as propaganda in the escalating campaign by the president and his allies to undermine the two agencies tasked with overseeing the ongoing investigation of the president, his campaign and Russia. The probe has produced indictments of four former Trump aides so far, and Mueller plans to soon interview the president to determine whether he obstructed justice by trying to tamper with the investigation.

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have cropped up in the past month to spread support for releasing the document. Many of them have joined a viral hashtag campaign on Twitter – #ReleaseTheMemo – to press for the public disclosure of the memo.

House Speaker Ryan Urges Republicans to Resist Linking Memo to Mueller Probe

Rep.Paul Ryan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Speaker Paul Ryan urged fellow Republicans on Tuesday to resist using a politically divisive memo alleging “shocking” misconduct in the FBI and Justice Department to undermine confidence in the special counsel investigation of President Trump and Russia.

Speaking during a closed-door meeting with Republicans, Ryan implored them not to exaggerate the contents of the four-page memo and to abstain from linking it to the ongoing probe spearheaded by Robert Mueller, a source in the room told The Hill

“First, there are legitimate questions about whether an American’s civil liberties were violated by the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] process,” he told reporters after the meeting. “This is a completely separate matter from Bob Mueller’s investigation and his investigation should be allowed to take its course.”

Ryan’s words of caution come one day after Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release a classified, GOP-drafted memo that alleges the Justice Department and FBI abused their authority by extending surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser and suspected Russian agent Carter Page. 

Some Republicans have already said the memo, which the Justice Department warned would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release, demonstrates an anti-Trump bias in the FBI.

Democrats dismissed the memo as propaganda in the escalating campaign by the president and his allies to undermine the two agencies tasked with overseeing the ongoing investigation of the president, his campaign and Russia. The probe has produced indictments of four former Trump aides so far, and Mueller plans to soon interview the president to determine whether he obstructed justice by trying to tamper with the investigation.

The memo has been delivered to the White House, and Trump has four days to determine whether to approve the document’s release. He initially indicated he supports the memo’s release.

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have cropped up in the past month to spread support for releasing the document. Many of them have joined a viral hashtag campaign on Twitter – #ReleaseTheMemo – to press for the public disclosure of the memo.

President Exaggerates Missing Texts Involving FBI Agent Accused of anti-Trump bias

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump pounced on news that the FBI is missing text messages involving a top counter-intelligence official who was removed from the special counsel’s investigation of Russian meddling because of an anti-Trump bias.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, the president suggested the five months’ worth of missing text messages from the agent, Peter Strzok, is “one of the biggest stories on a long time.”

Trouble is, Trump overstated the number of missing texts – “perhaps 50,000” – prompting the Justice Department to correct the president.

Hundreds of text messages between Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page were released to reporters and Congress last month. The FBI released additional text messages on Friday, saying a computer glitch caused the messages to be improperly stored.

The Justice Department is trying to recover the messages.

Trump and conservative allies have pointed to the messages in an aggressively targeted campaign to suggest the special counsel investigation is a “witch hunt” perpetrated by anti-Trump investigators.

Trump Administration Mulls Jailing Leaders of Sanctuary Cities

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s uncompromising crackdown on illegal immigration may soon include legal consequences, including jail time, for leaders in so-called sanctuary cities.

The Justice Department announced its exploring “what avenues might be available” to file possible criminal charges against local politicians who provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports

Director Kirstjen Nielsen indicated Wednesday that the DOJ was “reviewing what avenues might be available” to hold sanctuary city leaders accountable for their policies that shelter unauthorized immigrants from deportation.

“The context of this is, of course, not only putting my [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers at risk, but also finding an efficient and effective way to enforce our immigration laws,” Nielsen said.

The prospect of filing criminal charges against local officials provoked outrage among some Democrats and civil rights groups.

“In free democracies, you can’t jail people for opposing the president’s policies, policies that courts have found to be lawful,” Vanita Gupta, the chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department, told the New York Times. 

Fox News: Former DEA Official: Holder Was ‘Very Alarmed’ About Hezbollah Probe’s Findings, But There Was No Follow-Up

GOP Trying to Pinpoint DOJ-FBI Leaks to Media That Might Be Creating Anti-Trump Spin

President Trump, via White House

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Political allies of President Donald Trump are working hard to prove a bias on the part of the Justice Department when it comes the Trump-Russia investigation.

In recent weeks, GOP congressional investigators have publicly and privately questioned senior Justice Department and FBI leaders about interactions with reporters covering the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, hoping to expose any leaks by law enforcement to help put an anti-Trump spin on the case, Kyle Cheney of Politico reports.

“There are a number of other inappropriate communications that have transpired between the FBI/DOJ and media outlets that have not been disclosed,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top House conservative and member of the Oversight Committee, according to Politico.

 

FBI Revives Clinton Foundation Probe Amid Politically Charged Claims

Hillary Clinton.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has revived a dormant investigation into the Clinton Foundation following politically charged accusations of corruption.

Agents at the FBI’s field office in Little Rock, where the foundation has offices in the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, is focused on whether donors received favors or special treatment when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state from 2009-13, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Hill, report.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is overseeing the investigation, which quietly became active again a few weeks ago after it stalled before the November 2016 presidential election.

What’s unclear is what prompted investigators to revisit the case.