Comey confirms FBI probing if Trump campaign colluded with Russia

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by SueEllenRules!, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. SueEllenRules!

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    Comey Confirms FBI Probing If Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia
    The FBI is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with a covert Russian campaign to interfere with the U.S. presidential election, FBI Director James Comey told Congress Monday, an explosive disclosure that could shadow the Trump presidency.
    • In his opening statement at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said the investigation was being undertaken "as part of our counterintelligence mission," and that he could not disclose any details about it. Normally, he said, the FBI doesn't confirm or deny investigations, but it can make exceptions in cases of major public interest.
    • NBC News and other news organizations had reported the FBI's counterintelligence probe, but Comey's public acknowledgement of it opens a dramatic new chapter in a story that has bedeviled the Trump administration. Comey did not say how long the investigation might last, but experts say counterintelligence investigations can take years to reach conclusions.
    • Before the hearing, Trump argued in a series of tweets that "the Russian story" was "made up" by Democrats, and not a topic for serious inquiry. Comey's disclosure of an ongoing investigation demolishes that argument.
    • Before Comey spoke, the ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, laid out a detailed rendition of public allegations involving former Trump aides Carter Page and Paul Manafort and their contacts with Russians.
    • He suggested that July and August of 2016 was a crucial period in the Russian interference campaign, because it marked the time when the Russians began orchestrating a series of leaks designed to embarrass Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.
    • Schiff then repeated a series of assertions from a dossier written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence operative who alleged that the Trump campaign engaged in a conspiracy with Russian intelligence officials.
    • "Here are some of the matters, drawn from public sources alone, since that is all we can discuss in this setting, that concern us and should concern all Americans," Schiff said.
    • Later, he concluded, "Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don't know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out."
    • On Sunday, Rep. Schiff said there was "circumstantial evidence of collusion," while his Republican counterpart, committee chairman Devin Nunes, said he had seen no such evidence.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/police-shortage-hits-cities-small-towns-across-country-n734721
     
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  2. Snarky's Ghost

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    The Republicans really don't want to expose that collusion if it means the election was out-and-out stolen. The possibility that no Republican has been legitimately elected to the White House since the elder Bush some 28 years ago is too much to consider or bear.

    And the Repubs haven't had this much control of Washington in 90 years, since right before the stock market crashed in 1929.

    Who'd wanna miss that??
     
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  3. Gabriel Maxwell

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    Gowdy and the other GOP clowns were pathetic. A hostile foreign power with thousands of nukes pointed at the US whose leader is a homicidal dictator with an agenda to disrupt western democracies was confirmed to have obstructed the democratic process in the US with a clear preference for Trump over Clinton - they actually testified to that - and would attempt to do that again in 2018 and 2020 and all they care about are the leakers? Yeah, because Deep Throat was the true villain in Watergate, right?
     
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  4. SueEllenRules!

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  5. SueEllenRules!

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    I just read another article that says the FBI investigation of potential links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government started in late July. So why on earth is this just now public knowledge?

    Comey certainly didn't hesitate to hold news conferences when it came to the pointless investigation of Hillary's emails, including violating Justice Department policy with the announcement he made 11 days before the election because it "would be misleading to the American people" not to. So I guess it wasn't critical information for the American people that the Trump campaign was under FBI investigation for possible collusion with a foreign government to steal the election?
     
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  6. SueEllenRules!

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    Trump adviser Roger Stone repeatedly claimed to know of forthcoming WikiLeaks dumps
    In the final months of the 2016 campaign, longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone repeatedly discussed his backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and claimed knowledge of forthcoming leaks from the group, a CNN KFile review of his public statements shows.
    • Stone's comments about WikiLeaks have come under increased scrutiny as the FBI and congressional committees investigate whether Trump associates were involved in Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
    • Stone has repeatedly and publicly denied that he had any contact with Russian officials during the campaign. Stone declined to answer questions from CNN for this story. After this story was published, WikiLeaks tweeted, "WikiLeaks & Assange have repeatedly confirmed that they have never communicated with Stone."
    • But Stone's many statements have fueled suspicions that figures in Trump's orbit played a role in releases of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
    • On July 22 of last year, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 internal DNC emails, which ultimately sparked the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
    • "Guccifer 2.0," the online persona US intelligence officials believe is a front for Russian intelligence, claimed responsibility for the hacks.
    • WikiLeaks began to serially release emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in October. The US intelligence community has attributed those hacks to Russian intelligence.
    • Stone began discussing WikiLeaks and Assange in August 2016. Stone told a local Republican Party group in Florida on August 10 that he had "communicated with Julian Assange." In an interview later in August, Stone suggested that Assange had material that included emails deleted by Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. At other times, Stone said the material released would be related to the Clinton Foundation.
    • On August 21, Stone tweeted that "it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel." Stone claimed in an October 19 Breitbart post that he did not have advanced knowledge that Podesta's hacked emails would be leaked, claiming his tweet was about Podesta's business dealings.
    • In mid-September, Stone said on Boston Herald Radio that he expects, "Julian Assange and the Wikileaks people to drop a payload of new documents on a weekly basis fairly soon. And that of course will answer the question of exactly what was erased on that email server."
    • In late October, Stone told a local Florida television station he only knew of the material that would be released in "a broad sense" from a source who was a friend of Assange.
    • Here's a timeline of Stone's statements:
    Aug. 10:
    Stone tells a local Republican Party group in Florida "I've actually communicated with Julian Assange."

    Aug. 12:
    Stone says on the #MAGA podcast he believes Assange has emails deleted by Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. He adds that he knows he has them and they should be expected to drop in the next three months.

    "In fact I know [Assange] has them," Stone said. "And I believe he will expose the American people to this information in the next 90 days."

    Aug. 14:
    Stone engages in direct messages with DNC hacker Guccifer 2.0, according to direct messages reported by the Washington Times and The Smoking Gun. Stone tells the hacker he was "delighted" Twitter reinstated his account.

    Aug. 15:
    Stone tells World Net Daily he communicated with Assange and forthcoming material will be related to the Clinton Foundation.

    Aug. 16:
    Stone tells radio host Alex Jones he has "backchannel communications" with Assange who has "political dynamite" on the Clintons.

    Stone says in an interview on C-SPAN he's been in touch with Julian Assange "through an intermediary—somebody who is a mutual friend." WikiLeaks would later tweet in response to Stone's appearance, "We are happy to hear true information from everyone. But so far, we have not heard from Mr. Stone."

    Aug. 21:
    Stone says he is not "at liberty to discuss" information he received from Assange. Stone claims he was hacked after speaking with Assange.

    Aug. 21:
    Stone says on The Blaze radio that he had "communicated" with Assange through a "mutual acquaintance."

    Aug 21:
    Stone tweets that "it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel." Stone later says his tweet was about Podesta's business dealings.

    Aug. 21:
    Stone denies Guccifer 2.0 is connected to the Russians on local Maryland radio.

    "The DNC leaks that nailed Deborah Wasserman Schultz in the heist against Bernie Sanders was not leaked by the Russians, it was leaked by Cruccifer [sic] 2, I should say hacked and leaked first by Cruccifer 2, well known hacker who is not in the employment of the Russians and then Wikileaks. So that whole claim is a canard."

    Aug. 26:
    In an interview with Breitbart Radio, Stone says, "I'm almost confident Mr. Assange has virtually every one of the emails that the Clinton henchwomen, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, thought that they had deleted, and I suspect that he's going to drop them at strategic times in the run up to this race."

    Stone says on local Florida radio of Assange and the Clinton Foundation, "Perhaps he has the smoking gun that will make this handcuff time."

    Sept. 16:
    Stone says on Boston Herald Radio that he expects Assange the WikiLeaks to "drop a payload of new documents on a weekly basis fairly soon. And that of course will answer the question of exactly what was erased on that email server."

    Stone adds of Assange, "I am in touch with him through an intermediary."

    Oct. 1:
    Stone tweets, "Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks."

    Oct. 12:
    Stone tells a local Florida radio station that he has "a back-channel communication with Assange, because we have a good mutual friend."

    "That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk. I had dinner with him last Monday," Stone said.

    Oct. 19:
    Stone writes on Breitbart: "I had no advance notice of WikiLeaks' hacking of Podesta's e-mails."

    Oct. 29:
    Stone says on local Florida television that he had no advanced knowledge of the forthcoming hack of Podesta's emails, but says he has a "backchannel contact" to Assange.

    "We have a mutual friend," Stone says.

    When asked about the content of the information shared, Stone said, "Broad information pertaining to the fact that Wikileaks has information pertaining to massive secret surveillance, war, oil, the U.S. election."

    Stone says he only knew about emails being released "in the broad sense." He says he has never met or spoken to Assange and didn't pass any information about it to Trump.

    Jan. 10:
    Stone calls claims that he colluded with Assange "false" in a blog post and says he only knew of forthcoming material because, "Julian Assange of WikiLeaks on numerous occasions had signaled that he had unspecified political dynamite that would shake up the presidential race."

    Feb. 3:
    Stone explains his WikiLeaks contacts in a Reddit ask me anything.

    "I have been forthright about the fact that Julian Assange of Wikileaks and I share a common friend who has communicated with both of us," he writes. "I was simply told Wikileaks was in possession of 'political dynamite' that would 'rock Hillary's campaign,' and they would release it in late October."

    "I had no previous knowledge of the subject of the disclosures, although I've speculated that it would be related to the Clinton Foundation. I've had no advance knowledge of the hacking of Podesta or anyone else. Nor do I believe that Assange is an agent of the Russians, a charge which is yet undocumented with proof and which he denies."

    March 6:
    Stone tweets — then deletes — about communicating with Assange, writing that he "never denied perfectly legal backchannel to Assange who indeed had the goods on #CrookedHillary."

    March 11:
    Stone says charges he colluded with Russian hacker Guccifer are "demonstrably false."

    March 20:
    Stone tweets in response to the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election: "It's only fair that I have a chance to respond 2 any smears or half truths about alleged "Collusion with Russians" from 2day's Intel Hearing."

    https://apple.news/A5TgW8JAsQa2ltcymAbD-7g
     
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  7. BD Calhoun

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    Consider this: If Hillary and the DNC had done everything above board, would the content of the emails have been damaging to them? It's practically treasonous to make that statement around here, but nobody ever sees that side of it. The person allegedly screwed out of the presidency by Russia has condoned election tampering herself, but again, no eyebrows were raised over that.

    People try to put words in my mouth that I don't care that Russia hacked the emails, which isn't true. I don't condone that sort of thing, and if Trump is found guilty of putting them up to it, he should be impeached. However, I'm not going to act like that's the only side of the story. If the emails proved that Hillary and the DNC had been even handed strategically, they wouldn't have been damaging.
     
  8. Gabriel Maxwell

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    The DNC leadership's activities within the DNC carried out with express intent that a certain DNC candidate win the DNC nomination is not even remotely in the same ball park as a foreign power -- which happens to be a long-established adversary of the US with nuclear capabilities -- carrying out a hybrid warfare with a variety of assault practices - the dissemination of illegally obtained emails at strategic moments being just one of the many. And if that foreign power is in the future proven to have been aided by treasonous activities of certain American citizens, then that will have become the greatest political scandal in the history of the US, obliterating anything the DNC may have done.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
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  9. BD Calhoun

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    Of course conspiring with a foreign government to hack and release the rival party's emails is treasonous. If an investigation proves guilt among Trump and his advisers, I fully support prosecution and impeachment.

    However, it's not just the size of the ball park that's important in my opinion. You can't damage a candidate, a party, or force people to resign if they've done nothing wrong to begin with. And while I vehemently disagree with a foreign government illegally obtaining emails, it has exposed how our political parties act behind closed doors. One can only wonder how the Republicans schemed, outside of their involvement with Russia of course.

    That's why I believe both parties should be required to be transparent in their activities instead of operating in the dark. But that's another issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  10. SueEllenRules!

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    John McCain Says Congress Isn’t Credible Enough to Handle the Russia Investigation
    He wants a special committee to take over
    • Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) says that the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election needs to be handled by a special committee because Congress no longer has the “credibility to handle this alone.”
    • Speaking during an episode of For the Record on MSNBC on Wednesday, McCain said that there was no evidence for Rep. Devin Nunes' (R-Calif.) claim that President Donald Trump and his transition team underwent incidental surveillance. McCain immediately followed up by adding that there was also no substantiation for Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) statement rebuking Nunes’ comments.
    • “It’s a bizarre situation,”McCain said. “I think that this back and forth and what the American people have found so far is that no longer does Congress have the credibility to handle this alone.”
    • McCain added that he has stopped trying to interpret what the president said, a response to Trump’s comments that he feels somewhat “vindicated” by the House Intelligence Committee’s disclosure.
    https://apple.news/AVtYsTItaQkykqoXnB3yhXA
     
  11. SueEllenRules!

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    Monitoring May Have ‘Incidentally’ Picked Up Trump Aides, House Member Says
    WASHINGTON — The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Devin Nunes of California, suggested on Wednesday that American intelligence agencies monitoring foreign officials may have “incidentally” picked up communications of Trump transition team members.
    • A short time later, the White House appeared to latch on to Mr. Nunes’s statement as evidence that Mr. Trump was right when he claimed in a series of Twitter posts this month to have been “wiretapped” by the Obama administration during the campaign. “I think it’s startling information,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters.
    • But the intelligence collection described by Mr. Nunes, known as “incidental collection,” indicates that the targets of American intelligence gathering were foreign officials, not specific members of the Trump transition or Mr. Trump himself.
    • In fact, any American citizen who talks, messages or emails with a foreign official under surveillance would be picked up by intelligence agencies. This would include Obama administration officials and private citizens like journalists and business people.
    • It by no means indicates that Mr. Trump himself was under direct surveillance. James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I., told the Intelligence Committee on Monday that the president was at no point the target of court-ordered surveillance during or after the 2016 presidential campaign.
    • Mr. Comey’s statement seemed to settle the matter for everyone outside the White House. But Mr. Nunes, who served on Mr. Trump’s transition team, appeared on Wednesday to reopen the question with his comments, which were often vague.
    • “On numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition,” Mr. Nunes said at a news conference on Capitol Hill. “Details about U.S. persons, details associated with the incoming administration — details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value — were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.”
    • Mr. Nunes declined to say where he learned of the surveillance, but he said none of the information collected had anything to do with the F.B.I.’s investigation into the links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
    • “I want to be clear: None of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of activities,” Mr. Nunes said.
    • Mr. Nunes also said he was not sure whether Mr. Trump’s communications were collected.
    • “When we talk about intelligence products here, we’ve got to be very careful,” Mr. Nunes said. “And what I know right now, it looks like incidental collection. We don’t know exactly how that was picked up. But we’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”
    • Mr. Spicer read Mr. Nunes’s statement during his news briefing Wednesday afternoon and said Mr. Nunes planned to come to the White House this afternoon to brief the president.
    • Intelligence agencies are permitted to record calls even if they involve American citizens.
    • Afterward, when the raw intelligence — in this case, a transcript — is turned into a finished report and distributed to other parts of the government, the name of any American picked up incidentally is normally masked. But names can be unmasked for counterintelligence or counterterrorism investigations, or if they are needed to understand the context of the intelligence or its importance.
    • Knowledgeable officials can also sometimes figure out from the context who the American is. And some senior officials, such as the president or national security adviser, can ask to have the name unmasked.
    https://apple.news/AWrMkFIcdRj6hMg3FbUhuLw
     
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    AP Exclusive: Former Trump campaign chief paid millions to further Putin interests
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned.
    • The White House attempted to brush the report aside Wednesday, but it quickly raised fresh alarms in Congress about Russian links to Trump associates.
    • Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin's government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.
    • Manafort pitched the plans to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.
    • "We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success," Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, "will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government."
    • White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday that President Trump had not been aware of Manafort's work on behalf of Deripaska.
    • "To suggest that the president knew who his clients were from 10 years ago is a bit insane," Spicer said. He noted the AP's reporting "has started to catch a lot of buzz" but said Manafort's work occurred long before he became Trump's campaign chairman. "I don't know what he got paid to do," Spicer said, adding, "There's no suggestion he did anything improper."
    • Manafort's plans were laid out in detailed documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.
    • Manafort confirmed again Wednesday in a statement that he had worked for Deripaska but denied his work had been pro-Russian in nature. He added, "I look forward to meeting with those conducting serious investigations of these issues."
    • An official representative of Deripaska said simply in a statement Wednesday: "There was an agreement between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort to provide investment consulting services related to business interests of Mr Deripaska which now is a subject to legal claims."
    • The disclosures come as Trump campaign advisers are the subject of an FBI probe and two congressional investigations, and they appear to guarantee that Manafort will be sought as a key witness in upcoming hearings. Investigators are reviewing whether the Trump campaign and its associates co-ordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign. Manafort has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and misguided. The documents obtained by AP show Manafort's ties to Russia were closer than previously revealed.
    • Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the disclosures "serious stuff" and more evidence that an independent congressional committee should investigate the Trump administration. "Other shoes will drop," he said.
    • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a frequent Trump critic, said of Manafort: "Clearly, if he's getting millions of dollars from a billionaire close to Putin, to basically undermine democratic movements, that's something I'd want to know about. I doubt if Trump knew about it."
    • Democrats on the House intelligence committee said the new revelations will feature in their investigations.
    • The disclosure "undermines the groundless assertions that the administration has been making that there are no ties between President Trump and Russia. This is not a drip, drip, drip," said Rep. Jackie Speier of California. "This is now dam-breaking with water flushing out with all kinds of entanglements."
    • Deripaska became one of Russia's wealthiest men under Putin, buying assets abroad in ways widely perceived to benefit the Kremlin's interests. U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described him as "among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis" and "a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin's trips abroad." In response to questions about Manafort's consulting firm, a spokesman for Deripaska in 2008 -- at least three years after they began working together -- said Deripaska had never hired the firm. Another Deripaska spokesman in Moscow last week declined to answer AP's questions.
    • Manafort worked as Trump's unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August, a period that included the Republican National Convention that nominated Trump in July. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that he had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine's ruling pro-Russian political party.
    • The newly obtained business records link Manafort more directly to Putin's interests in the region. According to those records and people with direct knowledge of Manafort's work for Deripaska, Manafort made plans to open an office in Moscow, and at least some of his work in Ukraine was directed by Deripaska, not local political interests there. The Moscow office never opened.
    • Manafort has been a leading focus of the U.S. intelligence investigation of Trump's associates and Russia, according to a U.S. official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation are confidential. Meanwhile, federal criminal prosecutors became interested in Manafort's activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukraine assets after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014. No U.S. criminal charges have ever been filed in the case.
    • FBI Director James Comey, in confirming to Congress the federal intelligence investigation this week, declined to say whether Manafort was a target. Manafort's name was mentioned 28 times during the hearing of the House intelligence committee, mostly about his work in Ukraine. No one mentioned Deripaska.
    • On Monday, Spicer had said Manafort "played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time" in the presidential campaign, even though he was Trump's campaign chairman. Spicer on Wednesday said further that Manafort was hired to oversee the campaign's delegate operation. "To be clear, he got the job done on the delegates," Spicer said.
    • Manafort and his associates remain in Trump's orbit. Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak with Trump by telephone. Manafort's former business partner in eastern Europe, Rick Gates, has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions, helped plan Trump's inauguration and now runs a non-profit organization, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda.
    • Gates, whose name does not appear in the documents, told the AP that he joined Manafort's firm in 2006 and was aware Manafort had a relationship with Deripaska but was not aware of the work described in the memos. Gates said his work was focused on domestic U.S. lobbying and political consulting in Ukraine at the time. He said he stopped working for Manafort's firm in March 2016 when he joined Trump's presidential campaign.
    • Manafort told Deripaska in 2005 that he was pushing policies as part of his work in Ukraine "at the highest levels of the U.S. government -- the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department," according to the documents. He also said he had hired a "leading international law firm with close ties to President Bush to support our client's interests," but he did not identify the firm. Manafort also said he was employing unidentified legal experts for the effort at leading universities and think tanks, including Duke University, New York University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
    • Manafort did not disclose details about the lobbying work to the Justice Department during the period the contract was in place.
    • Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, people who lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the department. Willfully failing to register is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, though the government rarely files criminal charges. "I don't know if he violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act," Sen. Graham said, "but it's something I think we all need to know more about."
    • Deripaska owns Basic Element Co., which employs 200,000 people worldwide in the agriculture, aviation, construction, energy, financial services, insurance and manufacturing industries, and he runs one of the world's largest aluminum companies. Forbes estimated his net worth at $5.2 billion. How much Deripaska paid Manafort in total is not clear, but people familiar with the relationship said money transfers to Manafort amounted to tens of millions of dollars and continued through at least 2009. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the secret payments publicly.
    • In strategy memos, Manafort proposed that Deripaska and Putin would benefit from lobbying Western governments, especially the U.S., to allow oligarchs to keep possession of formerly state-owned assets in Ukraine. He proposed building "long term relationships" with Western journalists and a variety of measures to improve recruitment, communications and financial planning by pro-Russian parties in the region.
    • Manafort proposed extending his existing work in eastern Europe to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Georgia, where he pledged to bolster the legitimacy of governments friendly to Putin and undercut anti-Russian figures through political campaigns, non-profit front groups and media operations.
    • For the $10 million annual contract, Manafort did not use his public-facing consulting firm, Davis Manafort. Instead, he used a company, LOAV Ltd., that he had registered in Delaware in 1992. He listed LOAV as having the same address as his lobbying and consulting firms in Alexandria, Virginia. In other records, LOAV's address was listed as Manafort's home, also in Alexandria. Manafort sold the home in July 2015 for $1.4 million. He now owns an apartment in Trump Tower in New York, as well as other properties in Florida and New York.
    • One strategy memo to Deripaska was written by Manafort and Rick Davis, his business partner at the time. In written responses to the AP, Davis said he did not know that his firm had proposed a plan to covertly promote the interests of the Russian government.
    • Davis said he believes Manafort used his name without his permission on the strategy memo. "My name was on every piece of stationery used by the company and in every memo prior to 2006. It does not mean I had anything to do with the memo described," Davis said. He took a leave of absence from the firm in late 2006 to work on Sen. McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
    • Manafort's work with Deripaska continued for years, though they had a falling out laid bare in 2014 in a Cayman Islands bankruptcy court. The billionaire gave Manafort nearly $19 million to invest in a Ukrainian TV company called Black Sea Cable, according to legal filings by Deripaska's representatives. It said that after taking the money, Manafort and his associates stopped responding to Deripaska's queries about how the funds had been used.
    • Early in the 2016 presidential campaign, Deripaska's representatives openly accused Manafort of fraud and pledged to recover the money from him. After Trump earned the nomination, Deripaska's representatives said they would no longer discuss the case.
    https://apple.news/AiiA3o4E5PJmWTP09fPNnUQ
     
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  13. SueEllenRules!

    SueEllenRules! Soap Chat Addict

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    US Officials: Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians
    The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN.
    • This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to one source.
    • The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.
    • In his statement on Monday Comey said the FBI began looking into possible coordination between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives because the bureau had gathered "a credible allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe an American may be acting as an agent of a foreign power."
    • The White House did not comment and the FBI declined to comment.
    • White House press secretary Sean Spicer maintained Monday after Comey's testimony that there was no evidence to suggest any collusion took place.
    • "Investigating it and having proof of it are two different things," Spicer said.
    • One law enforcement official said the information in hand suggests "people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready." But other U.S. officials who spoke to CNN say it's premature to draw that inference from the information gathered so far since it's largely circumstantial.
    • The FBI cannot yet prove that collusion took place, but the information suggesting collusion is now a large focus of the investigation, the officials said.
    • The FBI has already been investigating four former Trump campaign associates — Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Carter Page — for contacts with Russians known to US intelligence. All four have denied improper contacts and CNN has not confirmed any of them are the subjects of the information the FBI is reviewing.
    • One of the obstacles the sources say the FBI now faces in finding conclusive intelligence is that communications between Trump's associates and Russians have ceased in recent months given the public focus on Russia's alleged ties to the Trump campaign. Some Russian officials have also changed their methods of communications, making monitoring more difficult, the officials said.
    • Last July, Russian intelligence agencies began orchestrating the release of hacked emails stolen in a breach of the Democratic National Committee and associated organizations, as well as email accounts belonging to Clinton campaign officials, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.
    • The Russian operation was also in part focused on the publication of so-called "fake news" stories aimed at undermining Hillary Clinton's campaign. But FBI investigators say they are less focused on the coordination and publication of those "fake news" stories, in part because those publications are generally protected free speech.
    • The release of the stolen emails, meanwhile, transformed an ordinary cyber-intrusion investigation into a much bigger case handled by the FBI's counterintelligence division.
    • FBI counterintelligence investigations are notoriously lengthy and often involve some of the U.S. government's most highly classified programs, such as those focused on intelligence-gathering, which can make it difficult for investigators to bring criminal charges without exposing those programs.
    • Investigators continue to analyze the material and information from multiple sources for any possible indications of coordination, according to US officials. Director Comey in Monday's hearing refused to reveal what specifically the FBI was looking for or who they're focusing on.
    • US officials said the information was not drawn from the leaked dossier of unverified information compiled by a former British intelligence official compiled for Trump's political opponents, though the dossier also suggested coordination between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives.
    https://apple.news/AnsrvyU4JT0yGMq0yGmoLJw
     
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  14. Gabriel Maxwell

    Gabriel Maxwell Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    First of all, for those who fall for Trump's ego-soothing lies (parroted by journalistic zeros like Hannity), no - Trump wasn't vindicated. Incidental collection is not wiretapping. If American citizens happen to contact foreign nationals who are being spied on, then that is their fault. And if the conversation happens to pertain to an ongoing criminal investigation we now know began in July 2016, you bet your sweet ass their identity will be unmasked in that intelligence. Leaks to the press are unlawful, yes, but the unmasking is not.

    Second, Nunes proved on Wednesday, by overstepping his boundaries and tipping off Trump and his cronies, that he has no place presiding over that House investigative committee. If anything, he ironically proved he needs to be removed and a special independent prosecutor needs to be appointed immediately.

    I groaned the second he started his line of questioning on Monday, proving he was a Trump surrogate, when he pathetically had the NSA director confirm the voting machines had not been penetrated, going state by state with thin-razor electoral advantage for Trump. That was never a concern! However, the damage the Russians inflicted via releasing illegally obtained emails and disinformation propaganda is actually far worse, as it is impossible to accurately gauge the extent of the impact they had on election results.

    Finally, and regardless of the above, the word is out the top secret intelligence they posses (SIGINT, i.e. intercepted signals, and HUMINT, i.e. intelligence from inter-personal contact) is devastating to Team Trump and people will be ousted and incarcerated over this. Hopefully the orange buffoon will be among them.

    Trump team was of course instantly in damage control mode on that bad, bad Monday for them, transparently and pathetically trying to distance themselves from people like Manafort ("limited role"? he was the freaking campaign manager!) and Flynn ("volunteer"? he ended up being the freaking national security advisor!) prior to the AP story they knew was shortly coming out.

    Get these repugnant criminals with filthy Russians money ties out of the White House!

    Investigate. Impeach. Incarcerate.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
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  15. SueEllenRules!

    SueEllenRules! Soap Chat Addict

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    Rachel Maddow: 'The National Enquirer has been propping up this presidency since the early days of the campaign'

     
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  16. Gabriel Maxwell

    Gabriel Maxwell Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I was going to post about this today. I'm glad Rachel - whose show has been daily must-see-TV in recent weeks - exposed this new narrative. There was a lot of talk about this on Twitter yesterday. They seem to be panicking.

    Yes, National Enquirer is a rag very few take seriously. But that's not the point. The point is - it's run by a Trump pal, who's been defending Trump relentlessly. Case in point? Look at this recent cover from a few weeks ago shouting there was proof for Trump's now-debunked claim:

    [​IMG]

    Flynn may be evil and amoral, but he is also staggeringly incompetent. And with the cover below, as well as that other bizarre story about him discussing kidnapping of Turkish president's foe in the US (reported by Murdoch's Wall Street Journal), Trump and his cronies might really be ready to throw him (and Paul Manafort who's also had a bad week) under the bus.

    By the way, gotta love the idiotic lack of subtlety in this narrative - the "bungling FBI" got tricked, but Trump "came to the rescue" on his white shining horse. After shouting Russia is fake news! for months, of course:

    [​IMG]

    Suddenly, Manafort, Stone and Page all say they want to talk to Congress about Trump and Russia. Are they looking for a deal? Are they ready to sing? Or is it all a part of some kind of ruse. Either way, we'll have a very interesting week ahead.

    Meanwhile here's an interesting take on where things are at the moment, including the Manafort problem:

    "Former NSA analyst says Russia investigations could end Trump's presidency":

    http://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/episod...could-end-donald-trump-s-presidency-1.4035193
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
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  17. SueEllenRules!

    SueEllenRules! Soap Chat Addict

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    Why do I suspect that the average Trump supporter takes it completely seriously?

    They should consider the ramifications of perjury and obstruction of justice and the fate of the key players in Watergate after committing one or both.
     
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  18. SueEllenRules!

    SueEllenRules! Soap Chat Addict

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    Trump administration tried to block testimony on Russia
    Former acting attorney general Sally Yates was asked to appear before a House panel.
    • The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, The Washington Post has learned, a position that is likely to further anger Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the inquiry.
    • According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.
    • Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) abruptly canceled. Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.
    • President Trump fired Yates in January after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend his first immigration order temporarily banning entry to United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.
    • As acting attorney general, Yates played a key part in the investigation surrounding Michael T. Flynn, a Trump campaign aide who became national security adviser before revelations that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States in late December led to his ouster.
    • Yates and another witness at the planned hearing, former CIA director John Brennan, had made clear to government officials by Thursday that their testimony to the committee probably would contradict some statements that White House officials had made, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Ken Wainstein, a lawyer for Brennan, declined to comment.
    • On Friday, when Yates’s lawyer sent a letter to the White House indicating that she still wanted to testify, the hearing was canceled.
    • During a briefing Tuesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer denied that the White House sought to hinder Yates’s testimony. “I hope she testifies, I look forward to it,’’ he said. “To suggest in any way, shape or form that we stood in the way of that is 100 percent false.’’
    • Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said the panel was aware that Yates “sought permission to testify from the White House. Whether the White House’s desire to avoid a public claim of executive privilege to keep her from providing the full truth on what happened contributed to the decision to cancel today’s hearing, we do not know. But we would urge that the open hearing be rescheduled without delay and that Ms. Yates be permitted to testify freely and openly.’’
    • In January, Yates warned White House counsel Donald McGahn that statements White House officials made about Flynn’s contact with the ambassador were incorrect, and could therefore expose the national security adviser to future blackmail by the Russians.
    • In a March 23 letter to Acting Assistant Attorney General Samuel Ramer, Yates’s attorney David O’Neil described the government’s position, following a meeting he attended at the Justice Department on the issue.
    • O’Neil, who declined to comment, noted in the letter that Yates is willing to testify, and that she will avoid discussing classified information and details that could compromise investigations. The correspondence was later shared with the Intelligence Committee.
    • “The Department of Justice has advised that it believes there are further constraints on the testimony Ms. Yates may provide at the [Intelligence Committee] hearing. Generally, we understand that the department takes the position that all information Ms. Yates received or actions she took in her capacity as Deputy Attorney General and acting Attorney General are client confidences that she may not disclose absent written consent of the department,’’ the lawyer wrote.
    • That letter indicates that government lawyers initially argued that Yates was bound by attorney-client confidentiality.
    • “We believe that the department’s position in this regard is overbroad, incorrect, and inconsistent with the department’s historical approach to the congressional testimony of current and former officials,’’ the letter continues. “In particular, we believe that Ms. Yates should not be obligated to refuse to provide non-classified facts about the department’s notification to the White House of concerns about the conduct of a senior official. Requiring Ms. Yates to refuse to provide such information is particularly untenable given that multiple senior administration officials have publicly described the same events.’’
    • The following day, Scott Schools, a senior Justice Department lawyer, replied in a letter to O’Neil, saying the Yates conversations with the White House “are likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege. The president owns those privileges. Therefore, to the extent Ms. Yates needs consent to disclose the details of those communications to [the intelligence panel], she needs to consult with the White House. She need not obtain separate consent from the department.’’
    • That letter, in essence, marked Justice Department officials backing away from the dispute, saying that although they thought executive privilege probably applied to Yates’s discussions, that was a conversation she would have to have with lawyers at the White House, not the Justice Department.
    • In response, O’Neil then sent a letter Friday to McGahn, the White House counsel, saying that any claim of privilege “has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications. Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates’ intention to provide information.’’
    • He closed the letter by saying that if he did not hear back from the White House by 10 a.m. Monday, he would assume that the it “does not exert executive privilege over these matters with respect to the hearings or other settings.’’
    • The same day O’Neil sent that letter, Nunes, the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, said he would not go forward with the public hearing that was to feature Yates’ testimony, among others. The cancellation of the hearing made O’Neil’s deadline moot.
    • On Tuesday, Nunes declined to say if the White House had asked him to cancel the hearing.
    • Reporters also asked Nunes if the Trump administration sought to prevent Yates from testifying, to which he replied: “Look, you guys are just speculating. I’m sorry, whenever there’s time we’ll do a press conference.’’
    https://apple.news/AWo_Hc__KSYeRoksVc1Vx3Q
     
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    SueEllenRules! Soap Chat Addict

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    Trump’s Son-In-Law Jared Kushner To Face Questions On Russia Ties
    Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, met with Russian officials at least twice.
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to question President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner about his contact with Russian officials, The New York Times reported early Monday.
    • Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, would be the most prominent and highest-ranking White House official to face interrogation as part of the Senate committee’s probe into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Early this year, intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had interfered in the U.S. election to help Trump win.
    • White House and congressional officials confirmed to the Times that the committee hopes to question Kushner over his scheduled meetings with Russian officials, including Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
    • It was previously reported that Kushner met with Kislyak at Trump Tower in December, along with former national security adviser Michael Flynn. But the White House confirmed that there was an additional meeting scheduled between Kushner and Kislyak to which Kushner sent an associate in his place.
    • Kushner also met with the head of a state-owned Russian bank. The Obama administration had imposed sanctions on the bank following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Both meetings took place during Trump’s presidential transition in December.
    • The Kremlin downplayed the Vnesheconombank bank meeting.
    • “Tens of meetings were held and one of these meetings was with Kushner’s company and with him,” a Kremlin spokesman said, according to Reuters. “It is routine business.”
    • Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has taken on a prominent role in the White House as a foreign policy adviser to Trump. On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that he will also lead a newly created White House office that reports directly to Trump, the Office of American Innovation, which will focus on policy ideas and strategy.
    • White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks claimed that Kushner’s meetings with Russian officials were routine, as part of his role as a top adviser to Trump.
    • On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that Kushner “volunteered to meet with” the Senate Intelligence Committee and defended Kushner’s meetings.
    • “He met with countless individuals. That was part of his job,” Spicer told reporters at the White House press briefing.
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58d8fa89e4b03787d35a3419?utm_hp_ref=jared-kushner
     
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