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Tag: Republicans

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.

Trump Blasts Leadership of FBI, DOJ Today As He Plans to Release Ahead Politically Divisive Memo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump blasted “the top leadership and investigators” of the FBI and Justice Department this morning, just hours before he is expected to publicly release a secret, much-disputed memo that alleges the two agencies abused their power to spy on one of the president former aides during the 2016 presidential election.

”The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!” Trump tweeted early Friday. 

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Monday to approve the release of the memo written by GOP staff over the objections of the Justice Department, which warned the document’s disclosure would be “extraordinarily reckless.” In a rare move Wednesday, the president’s FBI expressed “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”   

Democrats argue the unprecedented release of confidential material by Republicans is a part of a misleading and desperate effort to undermine the special counsel investigation of Trump, his former and current aides and Russian officials who interfered with the U.S. election.

Even Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan warned GOP members to resist exaggerating the memo’s findings and not to use it to undermine the Robert Mueller investigation, which so far has indicted four former Trump aides.

But it appears, especially from Trump’s tweet this morning, that the president and his allies plan to weaponize the politically divisive memo as part of a larger campaign to erode trust in the intelligence agencies overseeing the Mueller probe, which now is focusing on whether the president obstructed justice by trying to fire or silence top members of the FBI and Justice Department.

NYT: Release of Controversial Memo Resembles ‘A Partisan Witch Hunt’

By Editorial Board
New York Times

So this is what a partisan witch hunt really looks like.

In a demonstration of unbridled self-interest and bottomless bad faith, the Trump White House and its Republican minions in Congress are on the cusp of releasing a “memo” that purports to document the biggest political scandal since Watergate. To pull it off, they are undermining the credibility of the law enforcement community that Republicans once defended so ardently, on the noble-sounding claim that the American public must know the truth.

Don’t fall for it.

Reports suggest that the three-and-a-half-page document — produced by the staff of Representative Devin Nunes (R-White House), who somehow still leads the House Intelligence Committee despite his own record of shilling for President Trump, and who is supposed to be recused from these matters — has nothing to do with truth or accountability. Rather, it appears to be misleading propaganda from people who are terrified by the Russia investigation and determined to derail it by any means necessary.

Mr. Nunes’s cut-and-paste job ostensibly shows that anti-Trump F.B.I. investigators conspired to trick a federal intelligence court into granting them a warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, because of his Russian connections — in that way corrupting the entire Russia investigation from the start. How did the investigators manage this feat? By relying on a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, but hiding from the court that Mr. Steele’s work was being funded by Democrats, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and thus was hopelessly biased.

There’s so much deception and obfuscation going on here that it’s hard to know where to start.

To read more click here. 

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 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.”

Even Republicans Criticize Conservatives’ Hyperbolic Attacks of Trump-Russia Probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The increasingly vicious attacks against the FBI amid the Trump-Russia investigation have gotten so hyperbolic and over the top that even Republicans are calling on members of their party to tone down the rhetoric.

Saying it would be a mistake to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said “The best thing that can happen for everyone, the president included, is that Mueller be allowed to complete his work.”

Richard Painter, the former chief ethics lawyer who served under George W. Bush, continued to blast Republican Congressman Francis Rooney for suggesting a “purge” at the FBI to end political bias.

In a CNN interview Wednesday, Painter said of Rooney, “Tell that congressman and all the rest of them who are shooting their mouths off without any knowledge of the facts that they are just flat-out wrong.”

Painter added: “That doesn’t appeal to my type of Republican. That doesn’t appeal to patriotic Americans, to see the FBI attacked that way.”

Painter bluntly said of those attacking the FBI, “They’re actin like dictators.”

Nevertheless, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., added to the chorus of criticism of the FBI, calling the investigation a “witch hunt,” the same phrase used by President Trump.

“Mueller has demonstrated he is incapable of leading a focused, unbiased review of his initial assignment,” Biggs wrote in the USA Today. “His witch hunt must end.”

Special Counsel Probe Explores Possible Link Between Trump, RNC, Russia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is scrutinizing the Republican National Committee’s joint data operation with Donald Trump’s campaign to determine whether it shared connections with the Russian effort to undermine Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

Two sources told Yahoo News that Mueller’s team began questioning RNC staffers about the joint operation to target voters in critical swing states. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mueller-probe-outgrows-witch-hunt-phase-100045988.html

Mueller’s team is investigating whether the operation, which was managed by the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, “was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate.”

The widening investigation is exploring whether the Trump campaign received voter information stolen by Russian hackers from election databases in several states. Investigators also are trying to determine whether the Trump campaign assisted Russia’s propaganda campaign targeting specific demographics and voting precincts.

Republican Congressman Calls for ‘Purge’ of Biased Agents in FBI, DOJ

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The conservative Republican attack on the FBI’s credibility  continued Tuesday when Rep. Francis Rooney called for the “purge” of the bureau’s “deep state” personnel.

The Florida congressman told MSNBC that the Trump-Russia “investigation is totally off the rails” and that the Justice Department must also clean house. 

“I’m very concerned that the DOJ and FBI, whether you want to call it ‘deep state’ or what, are kind of off the rails,” the Republican said. 

The verbal attacks on the FBI have picked up steam following the discovery that one of the FBI’s top investigators had sent anti-Trump text messages.

In less than a week, Trump slammed former FBI Director James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and outgoing FBI general counsel James Baker, raising questions about whether his criticism amounts to witness intimidation