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Tag: Republicans

Comey, A Long-time Republican, Urges People to Vote for Democrats; Blasts Trump

James Comey (Twitter photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI Director James Comey is stepping outside his box.

Comey, who had been registered as a Republican most of his life, urged “all who believe in this country’s values” to vote for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, CNN reports.

In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Comey called the Republican-held Congress “incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design.”

White House Rebuffs Concerns About Access to Info About FBI Informants

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Is transparency best in this case or simply dangerous?

Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times reports:

The White House has rebuffed concerns among American intelligence and law enforcement officials and ordered that more lawmakers be given access to classified information about an informant the F.B.I. used in 2016 to investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to two American officials with knowledge of the decision.

Both the director of national intelligence and the director of the F.B.I. tried to keep the classified documents tightly restricted, fearing that a broader dissemination of operational reports and other sensitive material could lead to more leaks of detailed information about the role of the confidential F.B.I. informant.

Some American officials believe, in fact, the reason the White House made the decision was to provide political ammunition to President Trump’s Republican allies who have argued — without any evidence — that the F.B.I. investigation was opened in July 2016 as an effort to keep Mr. Trump from becoming president.

Majority of Republicans Believe FBI, DOJ Are ‘Framing’ Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of Republicans believe the FBI is conspiring to frame President Trump as part of the special counsel investigation into connections between his campaign and Russia, according to a new poll from YouGov released Wednesday

Participants were asked, “Do you believe Donald Trump is being framed by the FBI and the Department of Justice?”

The survey found that 61% of Republicans believe he is. Only 17% of Republicans think Trump is not being framed, while 21% are unsure.

Overall, though, only 29% of Americans believe the FBI and Justice Department are conspiring to frame the president.

The poll surveyed 1,500 American adults in early May.

The survey had a margin of error of 3%.

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.”

Special Counsel Probes Sessions’ Russian Contacts at Republican National Convention

Republican National Convention.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was a U.S. senator at the time, had secret conversations with a Russian ambassador at the Republican National Convention and Washington’s Mayflower during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new report. 

Mueller’s team also is questioning attendees of the July 2016 convention in Cleveland about a last-minute decision to remove language from the Republican Party platform that was hostile to Russia, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the special counsel probe. 

Investigators want to know the extent of conversations between Sessions and then-Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak. They also are questioning whether Sessions met privately with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016.

Under oath last year, Sessions originally told lawmakers he had no recollection of contacts between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, but later acknowledged he did.

Because of his contacts with Kislyak, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, which allowed his deputy to appoint Mueller to lead an investigation into collusion and possible obstruction of justice.

Mueller’s team also is inquiring about the removal of language from the GOP’s platform that called for the U.S. to  supply “lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces and greater coordination with NATO on defense planning.”

Diana Denman, a member of the platform committee’s national security subcommittee, told Reuters in 2016 that Trumps team was directly involved in changing the language.

USA Today: ‘Shamefully Silent’ Republicans Must Protect Mueller with Veto-Proof Bill

President Trump, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s “threatening” rhetoric and “brooding instincts” to fire special counsel Robert Mueller should be reason enough for law-and-order Republicans to join Democrats in passing legislation to prevent the president from pulling the plug on the investigation, USA Today argued in an editorial Wednesday. 

“Most Republicans have been shamefully silent about this prospect, made more plausible in recent days by Trump castigating Mueller by name for the first time,” the politically moderate editorial board wrote.

The USA Today argues that it’s not enough that some Republicans are suggesting they would impeach Trump if he fires Mueller. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for example, said it “would be the beginning of the end of his presidency.”

“But can we be sure about that?” the newspaper wrote. “Would a GOP-led Congress that can barely agree on short-term government funding coalesce around the monumental and inevitably partisan task of impeachment?”

The USA Today wrote that Trump would give “contrived” reasons for orchestrating Mueller’s firing and “concocted logic might be enough for die-hard Trump supporters in the House to sway squeamish colleagues into blocking impeachment.”

“Given the stakes, it’s not enough for GOP lawmakers to speak up in support of Mueller, a highly respected Republican, former FBI director and decorated Marine,” the editorial reads. “They also have a duty to safeguard his inquiry. Two bipartisan measures, pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee, would protect him. Both provide judicial review of any termination’s legitimacy. One would challenge the firing before it’s carried out, the other afterward.”

The editorial adds: Pass one of them now, by a veto-proof margin, before it’s too late. 

Republicans Warn Trump of Impeachment If He Fires Mueller Or Interferes in Probe

Sen. Lindsey Graham

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s escalating assault on the FBI, Justice Department and the special counsel team now pursing an obstruction of justice case against the president drew strong warnings from Republicans who are worried about Trump’s next move.

The president ramped up his rhetoric against federal law enforcement leaders and for the first time targeted special counsel Robert Mueller in a string of inflammatory and often misleading tweets over the weekend that have raised concerns that Trump may be setting the stage for Mueller’s termination.

Those concerns were heightened when Trump’s attorney John Dowd, who had refrained from criticizing Mueller in the past, said Saturday he prays Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will “bring an end” to Mueller’s 10-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina warned that any attempts to fire Mueller would trigger impeachment proceedings against the president, who is accused of obstructing justice with the termination of former FBI Director James Comey.

“If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency because we’re a rule-of-law nation,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump made a series of misleading, bold claims against the FBI, Justice Department and Mueller’s team, repeating his assertion that the investigation is a “witch hunt,” despite the special counsel netting indictments against at least 19 people and three companies so far.

Republicans warned Sunday of serious consequence if Trump refuses to cooperate with Mueller’s team.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, pledged “a very, very long, bad 2018” if Trump tries to interfere in the probe. Gowdy also questioned why Trump’s attorney called for the end of the investigation that is rooting out Russians who “attacked our country.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Gowdy said Trump’s attorney should have nothing to worry about if the president is innocent.

“If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible,” Gowdy said.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he did not like how Trump’s administration handled the termination of McCabe, and he defended Mueller’s investigation. 

“I remain confident that the special counsel is going to conduct a probe that is fair and thorough and is going to arrive at the truth and is not going to go down rabbit holes that are not places that we need to be going,” Rubio said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Trump’s White House attorney, Ty Cobb, released a statement later Sunday, saying the president isn’t planning to interfere in the special counsel investigation.

“In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the administration, the White House yet again confirms that the president is not considering or discussing the firing of the special counsel, Robert Mueller,” Cobb said.

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.

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