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Tag: testimony

5 Takeaways from Attorney General Barr’s Testimony about Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr testifies on Wednesday.

Attorney General William Barr was defiant Wednesday while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Here are five takeaways from the hearing:

1. Calls for Barr to resign

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, demanded Barr resign, accusing him of lying to Congress and covering up for President Trump.

“You lied to Congress.” Hirono said. “Now we know more about your deep involvement and trying to cover up for Donald Trump. Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign.”

2. “Misleading” testimony

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, accused Barr of “purposely misleading” the committee when he suggested he was “not aware of any challenge to the accuracy of the findings.”

Leahy pointed out that Mueller expressed his misgivings with Barr about his handling of the Mueller report.

“Mr. Barr, I feel that your answer was purposely misleading, and I think others do, too,” Leahy told the attorney general.

3. Barr suggests Trump ‘fully cooperated’

Barr insisted Trump “fully cooperated” with Mueller’s investigation, drawing criticism from Democrats.

Mueller’s report repeatedly indicated that Trump and his team failed to cooperate with a lot of the investigation and that the president refused to sit down for an interview.

The report states, “We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that ‘this is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all of the evidence we have gathered.’ President Trump declined.”

4. Barr has no qualms with Mueller testifying 

When Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, asked Barr if Mueller should testify, Barr responded, “I already said publicly, I have no objection.”

But when Durbin asked if former White House counsel Don McGahn should testify, Barr said, “That’s a call for the President to make.”

Durbin responded, “Well, he’s a private citizen at this point.”

Barr said, “I assume he would be testifying about privileged matters.”

5. Barr refers to Mueller report as “my baby”

Barr testified that Mueller’s report was “my baby” after the special counsel turned it over to the Justice Department.

“His work concluded when he sent his work to the attorney general,” Barr said. “At that point, it was my baby, and I effective overrode the regulations, used discretion, to lean as far forward as I could to make that public. And it was my decision how and when to make it public, not Bob Mueller’s.”

Barr is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

Updated: Trump Directed Cohen to Obstruct Probe by Lying to Congress about Trump Tower in Russia

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

Update: 1:11 p.m. Saturday — The Office of the Special Counsel disputed the BuzzFeed report, and issued the following statement:

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.

BuzzFeed responded by saying that it stands by its story and asked the Office of Special Counsel to clarify what in its report is inaccurate.

_________________________

Report from Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump told his long-time attorney and fixer Michael Cohen lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a bombshell report by BuzzFeed.

If true, Trump and his attorneys would have a hard time arguing the president didn’t attempt to obstruct justice.

But it gets worse for Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has learned that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents,” BuzzFeed reports, citing two federal law enforcement sources involved in the investigation of what happened during and after the 2016 presidential election.    

It’s likely the most damning public finding yet against the president, who continues to insist the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.”

While Trump repeatedly told the public he had no business projects in Russia, he supported a plan for Cohen to visit the country during the presidential campaign and even personally meet with President Putin to get the Trump Tower moving, according to the sources.

“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly told Cohen.

According to BuzzFeed sources, Cohen received help preparing his testimony from attorneys close to the administration. Whether the attorneys knew Cohen planned to lie wasn’t not immediately clear.

After his testimony, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

NSA Head Testifies Trump Failed to Order Action to Combat Russian Meddling

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, head of the NSA and military’s Cyber Command

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A top U.S. intelligence official told lawmakers Tuesday that President Trump has not ordered his agencies to combat Russia’s continuing inference in the American election process, despite what he called the Kremlin’s “sustained aggression.”

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, head of the National Security Agency and the military’s Cyber Command, said his agencies have not been directed by the White House to counter Russian meddling.

“President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity,’” Rogers, who plans to retire in April, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Clearly what we have done hasn’t been enough.”

Rogers is the second senior intelligence official this month to warn that Russian interference continues and the Trump administration has failed to adequately combat the propaganda campaign.

After Trump won the election, he suggested Russian meddling was a “hoax” peddled by the fake media, ignoring his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Moscow waged a disinformation campaign to further divide Americans on hot-button topics like race, gay rights and immigration.  Earlier this month, 13 Russians were indicted on allegations that they ran an unprecedented smear campaign to help Trump get elected.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department to investigate Russian interference, is probing whether Trump or his campaign colluded with Moscow to undermine the election.

3 Takeaways from Sessions’ Testimony about Trump-Russia Contacts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said his hazy memory is to blame for any inconsistent responses he has given to Congress about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians.

Here are highlights of his testimony:

1. Sessions now remembers attending a March 2016 meeting with George Papadopoulos.

Under Oath in October, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no recollection of contacts between the Trump campaign and Kremlin-tied Russians.

But when he heard about the arrest of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos this month, Sessions said he suddenly remembered the aide proposing a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Frankly, I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Sessions told the committee, adding that he believes he advised Papadopuolos to scrap a Trump-Putin meeting. 

2. Sessions dismissed accusations that he committed perjury.

“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory,” Sessions testified. “But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.”

Sessions’ failure to recall key facts about ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials drew heavy criticism.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., listed numerous times Sessions said insisted “I do not recall” while testifying before Congress in the past.

Sessions said the “chaos” of running a presidential campaign makes it easy to forget details about certain events.

“All of you have been in a campaign, but most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign,” Sessions said.

3. Sessions shocked many Republicans when he refused to promise the appointment of a new special counsel to investigation Hillary Clinton and her foundation.

Sessions said there was “not enough basis” to appoint a special counsel, prompting a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who asked what it would take to make the appointment.

“You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are, and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires.”

Jordan said it “looks like” there was enough evidence for a special counsel, pointing to allegations that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

Sessions responded: “I would say ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”

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.”

Comey to Testify That Trump Pressured Him to End Investigation of Top Aide

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In what could be bombshell testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, fired FBI director James Comey plans to confirm that President Trump pressured him to stop investigating a top aide’s ties to Russia, CNN reports. 

Such testimony could set the stage for impeachment hearings because it’s largely considered obstruction of justice for a president to interfere with a federal investigation. Just think former President Nixon, whose demise came after he pressured the FBI to stop investigating his campaign.

Although no date has been set, Comey is expected to provide details of his tense interactions with Trump, who fired the FBI director after the bureau refused to end an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russia during the presidential election. 

Comey has already met privately with Special Counsel Robert Mueller III to determine what testimony would not compromise the investigation.

While a source told CNN that Comey is unlikely to discuss details of the investigation, he is prepared to reveal his interactions with Trump, which include the president pressuring the FBI to end the investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s fired national security adviser. 

Trump Defends Michael Flynn After He Offered to Testify Against the President

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

President Trump is defending former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s offer to testify in ongoing probes of Russian hacking of the 2016 election in exchange for legal immunity.

Trump wrote on Twitter early Friday morning that investigation had become “a witch hunt,” echoing language used by his former campaign adviser’s attorney.

Flynn’s lawyer told The Wall Street Journal one day earlier that the retired lieutenant general is willing to talk to the House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their probes into Russian election meddling and Trump and his aides’ alleged ties to Moscow. But any testimony or interview would have to come with a promise that Flynn would not be prosecuted.

Apple’s Fight Against FBI Over Unlock iPhone Heads to Congress This Week

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple and the FBI will take their fight over a locked iPhone to Congress this week.

FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to lay out his position before the House Judiciary Committee after Apple fought a court order to help the bureau unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, The Hill reports. 

The same day, Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell will make his case in testimony during a second panel.

At issue is Apple’s refusal to create software to disable a feature that wipe a phone of its memory after an incorrect password is entered 1o times in a row.

“This is a huge issue which is very complex. It should not be decided by a single district judge in California, it should be decided right here,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told The Hill this week. But, he added, “I don’t think we’re ready to articulate” what legislation is needed.