Tag Archives: FISA Court

House Intelligence Committee chairman has undermined the credibility of the committee

On Thursday, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes Apologized to Intel. Committee Members—But Won’t Explain His Stunt:

On Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chair of the House intelligence committee, blew up the congressional intelligence oversight process. On Thursday morning, at a private committee meeting, he apologized to his colleagues. But, according to a committee source, Nunes would not say what he thought he had done wrong or explain his actions.

Without consulting with the members of his committee—Republicans and Democrats—Nunes on Wednesday held two press conferences, during which he claimed he had been given information indicating that members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team, including possibly Trump, were picked up during lawfully authorized intelligence surveillance of other targets and that their identities were disclosed in intelligence reporting based on these intercepts. Nunes also rushed to the White House to share this information with Trump.

Note: House Intelligence chair partially backs off claim about surveillance of Trump transition team: “The head of the House Intelligence Committee partially backed away from his dramatic claim [on Wednesday] that officials in President Trump’s transition team had been subjects of surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies, with an aide saying that Chairman Devin Nunes did not know “for sure.” “Until Nunes sees the actual documents, he does not know whether any of the transition officials were actually part of the surveilled conversations or were just talked about by others, spokesman Jack Langer said Thursday.” “He’ll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure,” Langer said.

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‘All the president’s men’: following the Russian money and the Foreign Agents Registration Act

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Paul Manafort is gone, but his business associate remains a key part of Trump’s operation:

The White House on Wednesday sought to again distance itself from President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is under increasing scrutiny over his connections to Russian business interests.

But even as Trump officials downplay Manafort’s role, his ­decade-long business associate Rick Gates remains entrenched in the president’s operation. Gates is one of four people leading a Trump-blessed group that defends the president’s agenda. As recently as last week, he was at the White House to meet with officials as part of that work.

Through Manafort, Gates is tied to many of the same business titans from Ukraine and Russia, including Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with strong ties to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Manafort had a multimillion-dollar contract with Deripaska between at least 2005 and 2009 that was aimed at helping the political interests of Putin.

Manafort has acknowledged the contract with Deripaska but denied that it, or any other of their dealings, had anything to do with the Russian government. In a brief interview, Gates described his work as being focused on “supporting the private equity fund started by the firm and democracy building and party building in Ukraine.”

Gates also acknowledged a role in at least two recent, controversial deals involving separate Putin-connected oligarchs, including one other with Deripaska. Both led to lawsuits in which Gates was listed as a partner to Manafort, though Gates said he holds no equity interest in the firm.

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Latest on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Wednesday evening said that he has seen evidence that is “more than circumstantial” of collusion between associates of President Donald Trump and Russia. Schiff: Evidence Of Trump Camp Russia Collusion ‘More Than Circumstantial:

“I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now,” Schiff said on MSNBC after host Chuck Todd noted the congressman’s comment on Sunday that there is “circumstantial evidence of collusion.”

“You have seen direct evidence of collusion?” Todd then asked Schiff.

“I don’t want to go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial, and is very much worthy of investigation. So that is what we ought to do,” Schiff replied.

CNN reported later on Wednesday night that the FBI has evidence that may show that Trump associates communicated with Russian officials about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, citing unnamed U.S. officials. 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.

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House Intelligence Committee chair demonstrates the need for a bipartisan commission and/or special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the U.S. election

I have said before that House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), is the reason why we need to have a bipartisan commission and/or special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the U.S. election as part of its information war against the U.S.  This Trump transition team member just made my point today.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes revealed Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s personal communications may have been picked up by investigators through “incidental collection” pursuant to a legal FISA warrant investigation of foreign nationals.

Remember how Nunes was pushing the GOP conspiracy du jour during the House Intelligence Committee on Monday that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn may have been improperly “unmasked” by intelligence agencies through “incidental collection” pursuant to a legal FISA warrant investigation of foreign individuals and his identity leaked to the press?

Nunes just abused the power of his position — and may have violated the law if he disclosed classified information, which includes the existence of a FISA Court warrant — for a partisan political motive by suggesting, as the White House immediately latched onto after his disclosure, that the “incidental collection” information is the equivalent of “surveillance” of the Donald Trump campaign (it is not) to give the White House cover for Trump’s false tweets that President Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower.

Nunes’ clear implication is that FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers were not fully forthcoming when they testified that there is no evidence to substantiate Trump’s false tweets that President Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower.

Nunes’ intentionally vague statements today were intended to provide grist to the propagandists of the conservative media entertainment complex. He has called into question the credibility of his chairmanship and the House Intelligence Committee investigation.

Nunes should be removed as chair of the House Intelligence Committee and referred to the FBI for investigation if he leaked classified information, including the existence of a FISA Court warrant, for a partisan political motive. If so, he should be forced to resign from Congress.

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Takeaways from the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in U.S. election (updated)

The House Intelligence Committee held its first committee hearing into Russian interference in the U.S. election with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers testifying over five hours. They confirmed what we already know from press reports:

1. There is no evidence to support Donald Trump’s false tweets via right-wing radio host Mark Levin, Breitbart News and Brent Baier of FOX News that President Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower. Period. Full stop.

2. There is no evidence to support White House pres secretary “Baghdad Sean” Spicer’s and Trump’s false claim via 9/11 Truther Andrew Napolitano of FOX News that British intelligence GCHQ “wire tapped” Trump and his campaign. Period. Full stop. Shepherd Smith of FOX News already distanced FOX News from Napolitano’s “utterly ridiculous” claim. Shep Smith: “Fox News Cannot Confirm Judge Napolitano’s Commentary”.

3. The FBI and intelligence agencies are conducting an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election. well, duh!

4. The FBI is conducting an investigation into possible “coordination” between Russia and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. Until today, the FBI had refused to privately acknowledge the existence of an investigation, let alone what it is looking into. This is the “big news” of the day from the hearing.

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Latest on Trump-Putin campaign investigation

The U.S. Justice Department on Friday delivered documents to congressional committees responding to their request for information that could shed light on President Donald Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama ordered U.S. agencies to spy on him. Reuters reports, Justice Dept. delivers documents on wiretap claim to Congress:

The information was sent to the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees, said Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes, said in a statement late on Friday that the Justice Department had “fully complied” with the panel’s request.

A government source, who requested anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said an initial examination of the material turned over by the Justice Department indicates that it contains no evidence to confirm Trump’s claims that the Obama administration had wiretapped him or the Trump Tower in New York.

The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on Monday on allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers will testify and are expected to field questions on Trump’s wiretap claim.

Leaders of both the House and Senate intelligence committees, including from Trump’s Republican Party, have said they have found no evidence to substantiate Trump’s claims that Obama ordered U.S. agencies to spy on Trump or his entourage. The White House has publicly offered no proof of the allegation.

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