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Tag: Senate Intelligence Committee

Attorney For Ex-Hill Staffer Accuses Trump, DOJ of Making Inappropriate Comments About Criminal Case

Attorney Preston Burton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lawyer for a former top staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with reporters, alleged Wednesday that the Justice Department and President Donald Trump have made inappropriate comments about the case that could poison the jury pool, the New York Times reports.

Attorney Preston Burton made the remarks on Wednesday as his client, James A. Wolfe, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Burton alleged that government officials, including President Trump, made statements that impugned his client’s character by implying that Wolf  had illegally leaked national security secrets.

The Times reports:

Two of the three charges against Mr. Wolfe related to allegations that he told reporters nonpublic information that he had learned as a result of his role as a staff member of the Intelligence Committee. But none of the false statement charges accuse Mr. Wolfe of leaking classified information.

Mr. Burton pointed to a Justice Department news release about the case, which framed Mr. Wolfe’s purported false statements as arising in “the course of an investigation into the unlawful disclosure of classified information.” He also criticized as “glib” comments made by Mr. Trump on Friday when the president spoke to reporters about the case.

 

 

Trump Lashes Out at FBI and Justice Department on Fox & Friends

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump lashed out at the FBI and Justice Department and even threatened to intervene in the Russia investigation in a rambling, half-hour interview on “Fox & Friends.”

Trump angrily castigated the Justice Department, saying it should be investigating his enemies, not him.

“I am very disappointed in my Justice Department,” Trump said, adding that it’s an “absolute disgrace” that the FBI is investigating his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Trump cited the FBI searches as proof that he is being set.

“That’s not the FBI; that’s a fix,” Trump said.

Trump also said he may back out of his pledge to stay out of the Justice Department investigation.

“I have decided that I won’t be involved. I may change my mind at some point, because what’s going on is a disgrace,” he said.

Raising concerns that he may fire special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt with people in the Justice Department who shouldn’t be there.”

Trump once again congratulated himself on firing then-FBI Director James Comey.

“I did a great thing for the American people by firing him,” Trump said. “Look, Comey is a leaker and he’s a liar and not only on this stuff — he’s been leaking for years.”

Senate Intelligence Leaders Accused Republicans of Leaking Text Messages to Fox News

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee suspect that House Republicans leaked to Fox News confidential texts messages between the panel’s Democratic leader and a Russian-connected lawyer, according to several news sources.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark R. Warner, D-Va., were so alarmed they summoned a rare meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan to inform him of what they consider a careless, partisan attack and a violation of protocol. They also expressed concerns about how Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are handling the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reports

Sen. Mark Warner

The two senators said Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee leaked a batch of text messages between Warner and a lobbyist he had hoped would lead him to the dossier alleging troubling connections between President Trump and Russia. The Senate committee, which also is investigating Russia’s interference, provided the House panel with transcripts of the text messages.

“The speaker heard the senators on their concerns and encouraged them to take them up directly with their counterparts,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.

The House Intelligence Committee, led by controversial Trump ally Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has come under criticism from both sides of the aisle for actions many lawmakers consider diversionary and driven by partisanship. Last month, over the objection of the FBI and Justice Department, Nunes led the drive to release a controversial memo that claims abuses by the federal agencies’ surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

A few days later, Fox News obtained copies of Warner’s text messages, prompting Trump and other Republican allies to suggest the Democrat was up to something surreptitious. 

“Wow! -Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch,” Trump tweeted  at the time. “Warner did not want a ‘paper trail’ on a ‘private’ meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame.”

Warner said he did nothing wrong and notified his committee of the conversations in hopes of setting up an interview with the dossier’s author, the former British spy laid out salacious claims about Trump’s ties to Russia.

Kushner Returns for Another Round of Questions from Congressional Committee

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After insisting he had “nothing to hide” and acknowledged four meetings with Russians, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will return for second day of closed-door interviews with lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee.

Kushner spent two hours Monday answering questions from Senate investigators about his contacts with Russian officials before and after Trump was elected.

After the meeting, Kushner declared he did nothing wrong.

“I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts,” Kushner told reporters during a prepared statement. “And I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information.”

Kushner released an 11-page statement hours before the Senate meeting. 

Kushner to Face Congressional Investigators Today about Ties to Russia

Jared Kushner. Photo by Lori Berkowitz Photography, via Wikipedia

Jared Kushner. Photo by Lori Berkowitz Photography, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Intelligence Committee will privately question senior White House Jared Kushner on Monday as congressional investigators examine claims that President Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election.

Kushner, the son-in-law of Trump, also is scheduled to meet behind closed doors for questioning by the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

The committees also are planning to question Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after negotiating with the men’s attorneys information and a date.

Some lawyers question the wisdom of answering questions that can be used in a future criminal case.

“It’s a very difficult tightrope to walk,’’ said Justin Dillon, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice. “He has to balance the political fallout from taking the Fifth Amendment with the potential criminal fallout of talking.’’

Senate Intelligence Committee Expects to Soon Review Comey Memos

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is expected to soon review memos written by former FBI Director James Comey to document his conversations with President Trump.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Wednesday that he’s received assurances that committee leaders will receive the memos, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

Warner called the memos “critical information we have to have as part of our review process.”

Also on Wednesday, committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said he hopes the panel will be able wrap up its investigation by the end of the year.

As part of the investigation, the committee is expected to interview Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Sessions’ Explanation for Dodging Some Questions Raises Red Flags

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions often refused to answer questions from lawmakers on Tuesday, claiming that he does not have to disclose private deliberations involving the president.

But analysts are questioning whether Sessions’ use of executive privilege was appropriate and just an excuse to avoid answering tough questions.

For example, Sessions declined to say whether he was aware of the White House discussing future pardons if anyone in the Trump circle is charged with colluding with Russia to undermine the presidential election.

“You’re impeding this investigation by refusing to answer questions,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, told Sessions during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday. “I think your silence speaks volumes.”

Sessions acknowledged that Trump has not asserted executive privilege and that the attorney general has no authority to claim it.

“It’s my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer,” Sessions said.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Cornell Law School professor Jens David Ohlin said Sessions did not provide an adequate reason to refuse to answer questions. 

“His justification for refusing to answer the questions was completely incoherent. He claimed executive privilege but then denied that he had done so,” Ohlin said. “It made no sense whatsoever. He’s basically trying to have his cake and eat it, too: claim executive privilege but then pretend that he didn’t. His position has no basis in law, common sense, or logic.”

AG Sessions Dismisses Collusion Allegations with Russia as a ‘Detestable Lie’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions dismissed allegations that he colluded with the Russian government as “an appalling and detestable lie” during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“These false attacks, the innuendo, and the leaks, you can be sure, will not intimidate me,” Sessions said in his opening remarks.

Sessions, however, had trouble recalling whether he had a third discussion with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, saying it’s “possible, but I don’t recall it.”

“If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it,” Sessions said.

Sessions admitted he met twice with Kislyak twice after failing to disclose the conversations during his confirmation hearing.

While Sessions was quick to defend himself against allegations of collusion, he declined to answer numerous questions, including whether he knew of any discussions in the White House about future pardons in connection with the Russia investigation.

Sessions also said it was “inappropriate” to disclose whether President Trump expressed disapproval of Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

The failure to answer questions drew criticism from Democrats.

“You’re impeding this investigation by refusing to answer questions,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said. “I think your silence speaks volumes.”

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