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Tag: Republicans

GOP Operative Accused of Offering Money for False Claims Against Mueller

Jack Burkman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Right-wing operative Jack Burkman and a shady intelligence firm are accused of offering to pay women to falsely accuse special counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct.

Burkman, who hosts “Behind the Curtain with Jack Burkman,” is a prolific conspiracy theorist and firebrand conservative. He recently offered a $25,000 reward for information about Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while they were in high school.

Details emerged this week that men claiming to work for Burkman and Surefire Intelligence offered to pay women to falsely accuse Mueller of sexual misconduct.

After the allegations surfaced, a far-right website Gateway Pundit posted a document from Surefire Intelligence that claims to have details of a woman who was sexually assaulted by Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

Burkman quickly denied the allegations.

“The allegations of paying women are false,” Burkman tweeted. “The left is trying to defend Mueller against sexual assault allegations so they attack me in desperation. The establishment media knows that Mueller may go down over this—they want to deflect attention.”

Whoever is responsible could be charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering and making false statements, Justice Department officials told Business Insider

What to Expect from Weeklong FBI Probe into Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh makes it to the nation’s highest court may come down to a one-week FBI investigation.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called for an FBI investigation on Friday following an intense and emotional nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think that we ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important,” Flake said just hours after he said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

So what would a week-long FBI investigation entail?

The Republican-led committee called for the probe to be “limited to current credible allegations against the nominee.”

Three women have come forward to claim Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them.

But one of those women’s accusations aren’t being treated seriously, said Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Julie Swetnick, who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her and that she was gang-raped at a party decades ago.

“This investigation is only as good as the scope,” Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Swetnick, told USA TODAY. “If the scope doesn’t include my client and the others who have accused Mr. Kavanaugh, how can it be a credible investigation?” 

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted that the “FBI’s hands must not be tied in this investigation.”

“We need the facts,” she wrote.

But on Friday, President Trump said the investigation “must be limited in scope.”

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said the FBI must determine what “limited scope” means but indicated the probe cannot “be a fishing expedition.”

Following a rally in West Virginia on Saturday, Trump said the FBI has “free rein.”

“Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing things that we’ve never even thought of,” the president said.

The FBI declined to comment.

Most likely, FBI agents will try to determine the veracity of the claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh pulled her into a room, held her down, fondled her and cupped his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. That means interviewing everyone who attended the party, including Mark Judge, whom Ford said stood watch outside the locked room while Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

According to the USA Today, the FBI has contacted Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, who said he exposed himself during a drunken party.

The FBI has the resources to handle special investigations, former bureau officials said.

“They could knock this thing out in a couple of days,” said Jim Davis, a former agent who participated in at least 50 such background inquiries.

The investigation’s findings will be turned over to the White House, which then must share them with the Senate committee.

A full Senate vote could happen later this week or next week.

With a 51-seat majority, all but one Republican must approve the nomination if every Democrat opposes it, as long as Vice President Mike Pence casts the tie-breaking vote in Kavanaugh’s favor.

Republicans Balk at Bill to Protect Russia Investigation As Trump Meets with Rosenstein

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of the special counsel’s Russia investigation hangs in the balance as President Trump decides today whether to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises the federal probe.

The removal of Rosenstein would cause a shake-up at the top of the Justice Department, leaving open the possibility that the new deputy attorney general could end the investigation by firing social counsel Robert Mueller.

This scenario is why Democrats and some Republicans are backing a bill that would make it more difficult for Trump’s administration to end an investigation that has resulted in numerous indictments.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring the bill to the floor, leaving no protections in place to prevent Mueller’s removal.

The bill, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, would allow Mueller to appeal and provide for a judicial review of any attempts to fire him.

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.