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Tag: White House

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.

Sally Yates: Trump ‘Tearing Down the Legitimacy’ of the Justice Department

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General fired by President Donald Trump last year, says the president’s caustic tweets aimed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller are collectively “tearing down the legitimacy” of the Justice Department, Yahoo! News reports.

Yates, speaking at the 2018 Ideas Conference hosted by the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, urged the country not to ignore Trump’s attacks on the rule of law, Yahoo! News reports.

“What I worry about is the normalization of so much that is not normal,” said Yates.

“There is a time-honored tradition at the Department of Justice, at least since Watergate, that is nonpartisan,” Yates said. “There is a wall between the Department of Justice and the White House when it comes to criminal investigations and prosecutions.”

Trump has been hammering away at that wall so often and with such ferocity, she said, “nobody’s rolling their eyes anymore,” Yahoo! reports.

 

FBI Report Contradicts White House Timeline on Rob Porter Abuse

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI revealed that the White House was notified twice about accusations of violent abuse against then-staff secretary Rob Porter, casting serious doubt on the Trump administration’s insistence that it didn’t know about the allegations until much later.

The New York Times reports that FBI sent a detailed timeline to Congress that indicates the White House was twice told of “derogatory information” about Porter.

The FBI provided the timeline to the House Oversight Committee, saying the bureau first sent information on serious allegations of violent abuse to White House Counsel Don McGahn in March 2017.

In August 2017, the White House Personnel Security Office asked for Porter, his ex-wives and girlfriends to be re-interviewed.

Then in November 2017, the FBI said it sent a second, more detailed report to the White House Personnel Security.

The FBI report contradicts White House claims that it was never fully made aware of the allegations.

Trump Lawyer Reportedly Offered Pardons to Two Top Trump Campaign Aides

Trump’s former lead attorney John Dowd.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of Donald Trump’s lawyers floated the idea of pardoning two of the president’s former advisers who have been charged in the special counsel investigation of Russia and Trump’s campaign, The New York Times first reported Wednesday

According to three people with knowledge of the discussions, the lawyer, John Dowd, who resigned last week, broached the possibility of pardons while the special counsel was building cases against the top campaign aides, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort.

The timing of the pardon discussions with the men’s attorneys raise questions about whether the White House was trying to influence Flynn and Manafort to plead not guilty. It’s unclear whether the president was aware of the discussions.

Down denied having the pardon discussions with the advisers’ lawyers.

“There were no discussions. Period,” Dowd said. “As far as I know, no discussions.”

Trump attorney Ty Cobb also denied the report.

“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” he said.

Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty and could face trial as early as this fall.

Hope Hicks Refuses to Answer Questions in Congressional Probe of Russian Interference

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

White House communications director Hope Hicks became the latest former or current Trump aide to refuse to answer questions about the Trump administration as part of a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Saying she was acting on instructions from the White House, Trump’s longtime political aide declined many questions in a closed-door sessions of the House Intelligence Committee.

But under pressure, Hicks answered some questions about the tradition period, committee members told the Washington Post.

Hicks, the White House communications director who served as the spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, is considered a key witness because of her longstanding relationship with the president and his family.

“No one’s asserting privilege; they’re following the orders of the White House not to answer certain questions,” Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill, said after the interview.

“There’s no hope to get all our answers,” he added.

Democrats failed to get the GOP-led committee to serve Hick with a subpoena like was done with former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, who also refused to answer questions.

“There’s apparently one rule for Steve Bannon and another rule for everyone else,” the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), complained after the interview.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Aide Hope Hicks to Meet with House Committee Investigating Russia’s Interference

President Trump at the White House, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s longtime political aide Hope Hicks is scheduled to testify behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee that is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Hicks, the White House communications director who served as the spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, is considered a key witness because of her longstanding relationship with the president and his family.

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.

It’s not yet clear when she will appear before the committee or what questions she will answer. Her scheduled appearance was first reported by CBS News

The Democrats’ top committee member said he’s hoping Hicks won’t “stonewall” the committee like other current and former White House workers who refused to answer questions.

“We hope obviously that she will be fully cooperative, but at this point I don’t know what we can expect, except that we expect her to come in soon and we hope that she will fully cooperate,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday.

Top Trump Advisers Mull Departure over Lingering Feud with President

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Two top advisers to Donald Trump may soon resign from the White House amid longstanding tensions with the president. 

National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly have grown increasingly frustrated with Trump and are considering leaving the administration, four senior administration officials told Reuters

But if the past is any indication, the administration officials said the tensions could blow over. 

The most recent sign of conflict arose over the weekend, when Trump criticized the three-star general for saying the special counsel investigation shows “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

McCaster is considering returning to the Pentagon, officials said. 

A rift between Trump and Kelly grew over the chief of staff’s handling of the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was accused by two-ex wives of domestic violence. 

Turnover has plagued Trump’s administration since he became president in January 2017. 

Trump’s Legal Team Builds Argument Against Sit-Down Interview with Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s legal team is building an argument to prevent the president from a sit-down interview with special counsel Robert Mueller. 

Mueller has requested an interview with Trump as part of the investigation into whether the president obstructed justice.

Although Trump boasted two weeks ago that he has nothing to hide and will answer questions under oath, his lawyers are urging to him to avoid the interview because they fear he will lie and be charged with perjury.

Trump’s legal team plans to present three arguments against an interview, according to the Washington Times

First, they argue, Mueller has been given unprecedented access to White House documents and aides. Second, there is no stated crime. And third, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in 1997, during the Bill Clinton administration, that investigators must first exhaust all other avenues for information before turning to the president.

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