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Tag: mueller report

Mueller Expresses Frustration with AG Barr’s Characterization of Full Report on Russian Interference

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller shared his misgivings in a letter to the Justice Department about how Attorney General William Barr characterized the special counsel’s full report on the Russia investigation.

In a letter to the Justice Department in late March, Mueller expressed opposition to Barr’s summary, which President Trump used to claim he was exonerated of collusion and obstruction of justice, The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times report.

Mueller complained to Barr that his summary to Congress “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s 448-page report, especially when it came to obstruction of justice.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

After Barr received the letter, he and Mueller, who are longtime friends, also spoke over the phone. Barr said he was pushing for the full report to be released as soon as the appropriate redactions were made.

The discovery of Mueller’s letter came one day before Barr is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. On Thursday, Barr is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrats are likely to hammer Barr over the rift between himself and Mueller.

In Barr’s summary, he said Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr concluded in his summary that he examined the evidence and concluded it was insufficient to rise to the level of charges.

Democrats are questioning whether Barr is acting like an independent, objective attorney general or the personal attorney for Trump.

House Committee Chairman Warns Barr He Can’t Set Terms for Hearing on Mueller Report

AG William Barr testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee fired back at Attorney General William Bar for trying to change the proposed format of his testimony on the Russia investigation this week.

“The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., told CNN on Sunday.

Barr warned committee Democrats that he may not testify to the committee on Thursday unless the format changes.

In addition to allowing five minutes of questioning for each member of the committee, Nadler proposed a second round of questions for both sides to each question Barr for 30 minutes.

Barr has opposed the additional round of questioning, CNN first reported.

The most contentious issue involves the Mueller report and Barr’s four-page summary of it, which Democrats and some others have criticized as one-sided.

Barr also is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The committee’s chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Barr must answer questions about the four-page summary and how it measures up to the full report.

“Well, he gave a four-page summary. Does the report support his summary? Does the report actually indicate there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians?” Graham said during a “Face the Nation” interview Sunday on CBS.

Deputy AG Rosenstein Defended Role in Mueller Report, Fired Back at Critics

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller in May 2017 to investigate Russian interference during the presidential election, fire back Thursday at politicians and journalists who have questioned his handling of the probe.

Rosenstein defended the nearly two-year special counsel investigation, saying “our nation is safer, elections are more secure, and citizens are better informed about covert foreign influence schemes.”

Speaking at the Public Servants Dinner of the Armenian Bar Association, Rosenstein spoke publicly for the first time since Mueller’s report was made public.

“As acting Attorney General, it was my responsibility to make sure that the Department of Justice would do what the American people pay us to do: conduct an independent investigation,” said Rosenstein, who leaves the Justice Department next month.

Rosenstein and Attorney General William Barr made the decision that President Trump did not obstruct justice.

“I did pledge to do it right and take it to the appropriate conclusion,” Rosenstein said. “I did not promise to report all results to the public, because grand jury investigations are ex parte proceedings. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. … We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.”

FBI Believes Russian Hackers Penetrated At Least One Florida County’s Computers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI concluded Russian hackers breached “at least one” Florida county government as part of an operation to infiltrate the state’s computer systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The findings were revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which was released Thursday.

Mueller reported that Russia’s military intelligence agency was able to “gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government.”

Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, attempted to breach other counties’ systems in Florda by sending spearphishing emails to more than 120 email accounts operated by Florida county election officials.

“We understand the FBI believes the operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” Mueller’s report states.

The report did not indicate whether any of Florida’s election results were compromised. Mueller said the FBI and Homeland Security were investigating the incidents.

Florida is a key swing state in presidential elections.

Mueller Report: Sarah Sanders Admitted She Made Up Claims about FBI Agents

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Sarah Sanders gathered in front of reporters the day after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, the White House deputy press secretary made a claim that became an ongoing narrative.

She asserted that “countless” FBI agents had confided in the White House that they no longer had confidence in Comey.

Turns out, she wasn’t telling the truth, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

In an interview with Mueller’s team, Sanders, who has been promoted to press secretary, said the assertion was a “slip of the tongue.”

“She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything,” the report stated.

5 Highlights of Robert Mueller’s Report on Russian Interference

William Barr speaks to reporters about the Robert Mueller report.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on Russian interfere during the presidential election.

Here are five highlights:

1. Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation was unable to clear Trump of obstruction of justice.

“The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment,” the report stated. “At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

2. Mueller’s team decided not to prosecute Donald Trump Jr. and other members of his campaign team for meeting with a Kremlin-linked source in July 2016.

“Taking into account the high burden to establish a culpable mental state in a campaign-finance prosecution and the difficulty in establishing the required valuation, the Office decided not to pursue criminal campaign-finance charges against Trump Jr. or other campaign officials for the events culminating in the June 9 meeting.” the report states, “The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law.”

3. When Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, Trump declared the appointment was the “end of my presidency.”

“According to notes written by Hunt, when Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel has been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked,’” the report states.

4. Mueller explained why he decided not to interview Trump.

“Ultimately, while we believed that we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the President’s testimony, we chose not to do so,” the report states. “We made that decision in view of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation. We also assessed that based on the significant body of evidence we had already obtained of the President’s actions and his public and private statements describing or explaining those actions, we had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.”

5. Mueller’s evidence of “numerous” connections between Trump’s campaign and Russians “was not sufficient to support criminal charges.” 

“While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges,” the report states. “Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeak’s release of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.”

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Ex-FBI Assistant Director: Trump Did Right Thing By Calling For Release of Mueller Report

Chris Swecker

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Chris E. Swecker, who retired from the FBI as an assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division, and currently practices law in North Carolina, endorses the idea of publicly releasing the Mueller report.

In a guest column on Fox News’ website, Swecker writes:

President Trump did the right thing Saturday by calling for the public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report examining Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election and allegations of Trump campaign cooperation with Russia.

Unlike Democrats in the House of Representatives – who are preparing so-called investigations that will be political theater to fuel their 2020 election ambitions – Mueller is conducting a serious probe. The special counsel’s investigation began in May 2017 and is now apparently drawing to a close.

The American people have a right to know what Mueller finds. More than $25 million collected from our taxes has been spent on his investigation. Although the president has frequently denounced the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” – and called it “illegal” and “conflicted” Friday – he still said the report should be released.

 

Completed Mueller Report Could Just Be the Beginning of Trump’s Heartburn

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s looking more and more like the completed Mueller report will only be the beginning of President Donald Trump’s trouble.

Democrats on Monday will launch an “abuse of power” investigation that could be easily transformed into an even more serious process, with an expansive demand for documents from Trump’s government, his family and even his real estate empire, CNN writes on its website.

Trump responded to the mess, as he often does, with a tweet.