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Tag: Russia

Goodbye Joe: Lieberman Withdraws Name From Consideration for FBI Director, Citing Possible Conflict of Interest

Ex-Sen. Lieberman/senate photo

Ex-Sen. Lieberman/senate photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex- Sen. Joe Lieberman is no longer in the running for FBI director.

Lieberman sent a  letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday withdrawing his name from consideration for FBI director, citing a potential conflict of interest, ABC News reports.

Lieberman notes that the White House has enlisted Marc Kasowitz — who works at his law firm, to coordinate the administration’s response to the Russia investigation.

“With your selection of Marc Kasowitz to represent you in the various investigations that have begun, I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as a senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner,” Lieberman wrote in the letter.

Lieberman seemed like an unlikely choice, anyways.

His law enforcement background was limited to being attorney general in Connecticut before being elected to the Senate. It’s not likely his nomination would have been received that warmly by the Senate.

Ex-CIA Director: Russia May Have Recruited Trump Aides to Influence Election

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies during Tuesday's congressional hearing. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies during Tuesday’s congressional hearing. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former CIA Director John Brennan said publicly for the first time that he suspected the Russian government may have successfully recruited aides from Donald Trump’s campaign to help influence the presidential election.  

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Brennan told members of the House Intelligence Committee. “It raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

But Brennan said he left office in January before having enough evidence to determine “whether such collusion existed.”

Members of the House Intelligence Committee during the Brennan testimony. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee during the Brennan testimony. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

Brennan, who served as CIA chief during the Obama administration from 2013-2017, said he briefed congressional leaders in August about the “full details” of his suspicions that Russia was trying to influence the presidential election.

“They were very aggressive,” Brennan told lawmakers.

Brennan also criticized Trump for recently sharing classified information with Russian officials, describing the leaks as “very, very damaging … and I find them appalling and they need to be tracked down.”

The hearing, which was ongoing when this story was published, is intended to dig up information about the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s team and Russia.

After the hearing, Brennan will meet with lawmakers behind closed doors to provide information he couldn’t in the open session.

Watch the testimony here.

President Trump Asked Top Intelligence Officials to Help End FBI Investigation of His Campaign

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After President Trump repeatedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to swear loyalty to the president during a one-on-one meeting in the White House in February, the Republican is accused of trying to get two top intelligence officials to intervene.

The Washington Post reports that Trump asked the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency to help him stop a FBI investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. 

Trump wanted the top intelligence officials to public deny the existence of evidence of collusion during the 2016 presidential election.

The requests, which were denied by both men, happened during two separate meetings that could be used to help build the case that Trump was obstructing justice.

Robert Mueller Is Like ‘Batman’ Capable of Saving America, Former Colleague Says

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has an unblemished reputation as an investigator with integrity and will conduct a thorough investigation of Trump’s campaign and Russia without regard for politics, his former second-in-charge said Sunday.

“A line in New York would be Batman’s back to save Gotham, but I think in this case, Batman is back to save America,” Timothy Murphy told John Catsimatidis during an interview on “The Cats Roundtable.”

Mueller has been appointed special counsel to investigate connections between Trump’s campaign and the Russians after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.

Murphy said Mueller has “unquestionable integrity,” so he won’t be conducting a “witch hunt,” a phrased used by Trump to describe the investigation.

“To have someone come in and independently oversee this investigation was a brilliant move,” said Murphy, who worked at the FBI from 1988 to 2011.

Lawmakers Call on Trump to Release Alleged Recordings with Comey


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s suggestion that he may have been recording conversations between himself and former FBI Director James Comey have prompted several senators to call on the president to disclose any related documentation.

Three days after Trump abruptly fired Comey on Tuesday, the president tweeted that “Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, recommended that Trump end all social media posts about the ongoing investigation involving his campaign and the Russians and encouraged the president present what recordings he has.

If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over,” Graham said.

White House Press Sean Spicer decline to provide any insight into the existence of a tape of Trump and Comey.

Lawmakers to Trump: Don’t Appoint Politicians to Replace FBI Director

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawmakers are pleading with President Trump to avoid appointing any politicians to replace FBI Director James Comey.

Trump has come under heavy criticism from Democrats, Republicans and intelligence community for firing Comey while he was investigating any connections between and Trump.

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said Trump is “eroding” the three checks and balances created by the Founding Fathers.

“I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” Clapper said “I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”

Graham is in favor of recruiting from within the FBI.

“It’s now time to pick somebody who comes from within the ranks, or has such a reputation that has no political background at all that can go into the job on Day 1,” said Graham, R-S.C.

“The president has a chance to clean up the mess he mostly created,” Graham said, adding: “I have no evidence that the president colluded with the Russians at all … but we don’t know all the evidence yet.”

Trump Repeatedly Asked FBI Director Comey for His Loyalty at Private Dinner

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just a month before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, the billionaire who pledged to “drain the swamp of corruption in Washington D.C.” invited FBI Director James Comey to the White House for a one-on-one dinner.

After some small talk, Trump got down to business. He wanted to know whether Comey would pledge his loyalty to the president, two Comey associates who are familiar with the dinner told the New York Times. 

It was an unusual request, not only because the FBI director is supposed to be free of political loyalty, but because Comey and the bureau were investigating whether Trump’s campaign team conspired with Russian operatives to interfere in the presidential election.

Comey explained that he could only pledge loyalty to his job and the country, but he promised to always be honest with the president. 

Unsatisfied, Trump repeated that he needed Comey’s loyalty. Again, Comey declined.

Nearly five months later, Trump fired Comey, who had maintained his independence.

Trump’s Bold Choice to Fire Comey May Lead to a Special Prosecutor

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After Donald Trump boldly fired the FBI director in the middle of an investigation into his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia, Democrats said the only way to assure a fair investigation is to appoint a special prosecutor.

Democrats compared Trump’s actions to President Richard Nixon, who tried to obstruct a federal investigation into his inner circle before resigning in 1974.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the investigation must be led by someone independent of Trump, CNN reports

“This investigation must be run as far away as possible from this White House,” Schumer said.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said he wants to hear what Comey knows about the investigation.

“I still want him to come and testify, even as former FBI director,” Warner said in an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, expressed an urgency to appoint a special prosecutor.

“We are careening ever closer to a Constitutional crisis, and this development only underscores why we must appoint a special prosecutor to fully investigate any dealings the Trump campaign or administration had with Russia,” said Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, in a statement.