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Tag: Russia

LA Times: AG Sessions Must Recuse Himself from Probes of Trump Ties to Russia

AG Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing.

AG Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing.

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

If Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with efforts by Russia to help him defeat Hillary Clinton — a nightmare scenario for which no evidence has been produced so far — it would be first and foremost a political and constitutional crisis. But it also likely would involve violations of federal law. And even if such collusion  didn’t take place, there could be other matters involving Russia and Trump associates that would require decisions by the Department of Justice.

That department is now headed by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, who as a senator from Alabama was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Trump’s candidacy. And President Trump, as he made clear at his stream-of-consciousness news conference last Thursday, rejects concerns about improper relationships between his campaign and Russia as a “ruse” and “fake news” fabricated  “to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats.”

Given these facts, Sessions must recuse himself from any decision pertaining to those relationships

Former DOJ Official Warns Europe of Russia Meddling in Elections

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Justice Department official warned European countries about the risks of Russia launching cyber attacks to meddle in their elections.

Former Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, who served in the Obama administration, said the U.S. wasn’t aggressive enough to deter hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails prior to the presidential election, Reuters reports. 

“What we did was too late,” Carlin said during a panel discussion on election hacking at the RSA cybersecurity conference. “We weren’t bringing deterrence at all to the table.”

U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia hacked the Democratic Paty nan effort to disrupt the election and swing it in favor of Trump.

“Pre-election, it’s vital that not just the United States but partners like Germany, like France make it clear what the red line is, that there’s going to be strong deterrence and that in terms of deterrence, our policy has got to be we are going to take action until the action stops,” Carlin said.

“So there is no ceiling on the level we will ratchet up the deterrence when you are undermining a core value.”

Flynn Lied to FBI about Talking with Russia about Sanctions

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to FBI agents in an interview last month about the nature of his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., current and former officials told the Washington Post

Intelligence agencies intercepted communications that showed Flynn discussed sections against Russia, which he denied to in a Jan. 24 interview with the FBI.

Flynn’s denial may place him in legal jeopardy because it’s a felony offense to lie to the FBI.

Whether Flynn is actually charged is another question. That decision falls to President Trump’s Justice Department.

FBI, Spy Agencies Investigating Links Between Russia And Trump Advisers

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies have launched multiple investigation into President Trump’s relationship with Russia during and after the 2016 election, four national security officials told Bloomberg

The focus is on Trump’s advisers and associates who are suspected of talking with Russian officials.

Federal authorities also are investigating Russia’s efforts to disrupt the presidential election.

Bloomberg wrote:

Trump associates whose activities the agencies are examining include his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, energy consultant Carter Page, longtime Republican operative Roger Stone and Flynn, two of the officials said. Manafort, in a statement to Bloomberg, said he “never had any connection to Putin or the Russian government — either directly or indirectly — before during or after the campaign.”

The FBI has two parallel ongoing investigations, one official said. A counterintelligence investigation is looking at Russian espionage activities and to what extent, if any, they involve communications with or collusion by U.S. officials. The second, a cybersecurity investigation, is probing the hacking of U.S. political groups and operatives.

FBI Investigated Flynn’s Conversations with Russian Ambassador

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Shortly after President took office, the FBI began questioning ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador, the New York Times reports. 

While it’s not yet clear what Flynn said during the interviews, he faces potential felony charges of lying to FBI investigators.

Flynn resigned Monday after it was discovered that he discussed sanctions against Russia with the country’s ambassador.

On Jan. 26, the Justice Department altered the White House that Flynn could be subjected to blackmail by the Russian because of what he said n the phone calls.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump knew Flynn wasn’t truthful with administration officials about the conversations.

“We’ve been reviewing and evaluating this issue with respect to General Flynn on a daily basis for a few weeks, trying to ascertain the truth,” Spicer said.

Detroit Free Press: What Did President Trump Know about Flynn’s Talks with Russia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Editorial Board
Detroit Free Press

What did the president know and when did he know it?

That’s the question reasonable people in the Justice Department, the national security bureaucracy, and the Congress are asking themselves in the wake of Michael Flynn’s abrupt ouster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

Flynn may have set a new indoor record for cabinet-level malfeasance when he was forced to resign scarcely three weeks into his tenure. His departure came after the U.S. Justice Department warned the White House that U.S. intelligence agencies had intercepted a Dec. 29 phone conversation in which Flynn hinted to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that Trump would revisit the punitive sanctions then-President Barack Obama had imposed on Kislyak’s government earlier that day.

Trump has criticized the sanctions, which the Obama administration ordered in retaliation for Russian interference in the U.S. election, and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his restrained reaction to them.

It is illegal for civilians to negotiate foreign policy on behalf of the U.S. government, and Flynn, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, vehemently denied discussing sanctions with Kislyak during the transition. Among the administration officials who rose to his defense was Vice President Mike Pence, who reiterated the national security adviser’s denials in a televised interview.

But Flynn began revising his account last weekend after reports surfaced that the Justice Department had reported the incriminating intercepts to the White House, and in his resignation letter he apologized for providing Pence with what he described as an “incomplete” summary of his telephone conversation with Kislyak.

To read more click here. 

Republican Leadership Calls for FBI Assessment of Trump Media Leaks

whitehouseBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are calling for the FBI to investigate recent media leaks involving sensitive discussions in the Trump administration.

“We are going to be outlining all of our concerns over the last 60 days that appear to all be related, maybe even coordinated in some ways,” committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told Fox News. “I am going to be asking the FBI to do an assessment of this to tell us what’s going on here because we cannot continue to have these leaks as a government.”

Among the leaks are conversations between the now-former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and Russia; phone calls between President Trump and the leaders of Australia and Mexico; and the investigation into Russia’s role in the U.S. election.

“If [the conversation] was picked up inadvertently, then that would have had to been approved by someone in the last administration to actually unmask his name so that the FBI or intelligence officials knew who it was on the other end of the phone talking to the Russian ambassador,” Nunes explained. “If in fact the press reports are right, someone made the decision to deliberately listen to General Flynn’s phone calls and that is, I think, unprecedented, unwarranted, and flat-out wrong.”

FBI Takes Salacious Trump Dossier More Seriously As New Details Emerge

white house big photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI investigation into the 35-page dossier about Donald Trump may be gaining legitimacy with the FBI after new details came to light.

The dossier, which Trump has described as fiction, contains serious allegations about misconduct by Trump and his campaign.

Investigators have corroborated some details in the salacious dossier and are now taking the issue more seriously, the Christian Science Monitor reports. 

The Monitor wrote:

On Saturday, anonymous sources told CBS News that law enforcement officials had begun to take the dossier more seriously as the investigation continues, even among some of the more skeptical law enforcement officials involved with the investigation. The day before, CNN released a report that said “multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials” had corroborated some of the communications associated with the dossier.

According to CNN, the corroboration relates to certain conversations between Russian officials and other Russian individuals described in the dossier. Investigators found that at least some of these conversations actually took place “on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier.” The content of these conversations, however, may not have actually contained any reference to Trump.

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