Category Archives: President

Trump declares war on the Department of Justice

I’m not quite sure what to make of this report in the New York Times because I have never seen the Justice Department issue a statement such as this before. Don’t Believe Anonymously Sourced Reports, Justice Official Says (this woud put political publications like POLITICO out of business):

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, encouraged Americans in a statement issued late Thursday to be “skeptical about anonymous allegations” after a string of recent news reports about the evolving focus of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election interference and possible collusion with President Trump’s associates.

“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch or agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated,” Mr. Rosenstein said in the statement.

He added: “Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.”

He did not cite specific reports. The Justice Department released Mr. Rosenstein’s statement after 9 p.m., a few hours after The Washington Post reported that the special counsel was investigating the business dealings of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. That report was attributed to unnamed American officials.

Asked about the impetus for the statement, a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. Mr. Rosenstein did not respond to an email seeking comment on Thursday night.

This statement appears directed at reporters covering this scandal. The Times and the Post are not going to disclose their confidential sources, but if reporters are talking to FBI agents or Treasury Department officials in FinCEN about money laundering investigations overseas, or to intelligence officers or their foreign intelligence counterparts in Europe, I would take this as a veiled threat that the FBI may be monitoring reporters communications with their sources overseas. If that is what Rosenstein meant to imply, that is a big effin’ deal.

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(Update) Robert Mueller is assembling a ‘dream team’ of prosecutors

I posted about this earlier, Robert Mueller is assembling a ‘dream team’ of prosecutors, now Wired has an update on some additional hires. Robert Mueller Chooses His Investigatory Dream Team:

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP had almost certainly never heard the name Aaron Zebley before the announcement that the former FBI agent was joining the special counsel investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. But to those who have followed the arc of the bureau during the past twenty years, Zebley’s is a name that underscores just how far-reaching and dogged—and potentially long—the probe will likely be.

* * *

The details of … the capture of one of America’s most wanted terrorists by Zebley and Gaudin—help illuminate the makeup of the special counsel team that former FBI director Robert Mueller is assembling. It’s a team that contains some of the nation’s top investigators and leading experts on seemingly every aspect of the potential investigation—from specific crimes like money laundering and campaign finance violations to understanding how to navigate both sprawling globe-spanning cases and the complex local dynamics of Washington power politics.

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Action Alert: all hands on deck to stop Senate bill to repeal ‘Obamacare’

The next two weeks are “red alert” critical for you to focus your attention on the GOP attempts to repeal “Obamacare” and to destroy the health insurance market and Medicaid with it. GOP Senate leaders aim to bring health-care legislation to the floor by end of June: “The push has been laden with secrecy — and rank-and-file Republican senators are increasingly frustrated that Mitch McConnell and a small group of GOP aides are crafting a bill behind closed doors.”

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post explains, Why Mitch McConnell’s secrecy gambit on his health-care bill could backfire:

Right now, the Republican leadership in the Senate is undertaking an unprecedented effort to write and pass a bill to remake the entire American health-care system in secret, with not a single hearing or committee markup and with its details kept hidden even from many Republican senators. This plan was devised by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who is widely respected for his strategic acumen even by Democrats who believe he has a bottomless void where his soul ought to be.

But is it possible that McConnell’s plan will backfire?

I’ll explain why that might happen in a moment, but it’s important to understand that the secrecy with which this bill is being crafted is a tacit admission on Republicans’ part that its likely effects on Americans’ health care and financial security are so gruesome that it must be kept hidden until the last possible moment, lest the public have time to understand what’s in it.

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Donald Trump under investigation for obstruction of justice

ICYMI, Wednesday was Donald J. Trump’s birthday. Late in the day the Washington Post delivered a birthday card to the president, verifying that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating him for obstruction of justice. Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say:

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said. [The third leg of this investigation.]

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on [1] Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for [2] any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

Trump had received private assurances from then-FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.

Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

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Trump speedbump to Senate repeal of ‘Obamacare’

Last month President Trump hosted a kegger party in the White House Rose Garden to cheer the passage of the American Health Care Act with House members.

Trump said “What we have is something that is very, very, incredibly well-crafted.”

The president also promised to get it through the Senate.

“It’s going to be an unbelievable victory when we get it through the Senate, and there’s so much spirit there,” Trump said.

That was then, this is now. Yesterday, Trump calls House health bill that he celebrated in the Rose Garden ‘mean’:

President Trump told Republican senators Tuesday that the House GOP health-care bill was “mean” and he expects the Senate to “improve” the legislation considerably, according to several Republicans familiar with the gathering.

The meeting came as Senate Republicans were struggling to build support for their health-care rewrite among conservatives who are concerned that the legislation is drifting too far to the left.

Trump’s labeling of the House bill as “mean” was a significant shift of tone that followed months of private and public negotiations, during which he called the bill “great” and urged GOP lawmakers to vote for it. Following the House vote, Trump hosted an event in the Rose Garden to celebrate its passage.

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Bloomberg: Russia’s cyberattacks on U.S. election were more widespread than publicly revealed

While Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was shockingly testifying yesterday that he has received no intelligence briefings on Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, even though he is a member of the National Security Council, Bloomberg News was publishing its investigative into the matter. Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known:

Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step — complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.

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