Hackers Leak Details of German Lawmakers, Except Those on Far Right Saturday January 5th, 2019 at 7:59 AM

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Hackers Leak Details of German Lawmakers, Except Those on Far Right

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BERLIN — After hackers, later determined to be working for Russia, broke into Parliament’s main computer network three years ago, the government vowed to fortify its cybersecurity. The authorities schooled lawmakers about changing passwords, using two-step identification and other measures to protect online data.
But on Friday, nearly 1,000 lawmakers and other prominent Germans, including rappers, journalists and internet personalities, awoke to find links to their street and email addresses, private chats from social media, bank account details and pictures of their children published on Twitter, in another major breach aimed at the country’s political establishment.
All those attacked had a history of criticizing the far right, whose politicians appeared to be spared, raising suspicion that the hacker or hackers were sympathetic to their agenda, though the authorities said they had no indication yet who was behind the attack.
The breach spread a fresh round of alarm in Germany, a country where citizens especially covet their privacy, and once again raised the disconcerting question of whether even the most vigilant and sophisticated individuals and governments can safeguard their computers and the valuable personal, financial and other sensitive information that resides there.
Even beyond Germany, the attack fit into a building pattern of breaches with the seeming aim of shaking confidence in the political establishment or undermining important players in it.
The weaponization of hacked information has become an increasingly common theme in politics, said Jonas Kaiser, a Harvard University expert who studies online misinformation.
“A lot of leaks and hacking campaigns have become a more normal part of the political discourse,” he said.
The most notable examples were emails from the Democratic National Committee that were stolen during the 2016 election in the United States and have become part of the investigation into whether Russia sought to tilt the vote in President Trump’s favor. On the eve of voting in France’s 2017 elections, hackers similarly made a public dump of what was presumed to be a mix of real and fake emails from the campaign of Emmanuel Macron, now the president.
This time, the leaks went on for more than a month as the hackers teased and dribbled out their bounty. It was only late Thursday, when the Twitter account of a popular German YouTuber, Simon Unge, who has some two million followers, was hijacked that the extent of the attacks finally came into fuller light.
Mr. Kaiser said the authorities would try to determine whether the attack was perpetrated by a state-backed group. The release of personal information by an individual or small group would generate a different response than one done by a government, he said.
Cybersecurity experts said the hacker or hackers appeared to have taken considerable effort to collect and spread the looted information across different servers in an attempt to make tracing them and taking down the data more difficult.
Angela Merkel’s government vowed a thorough investigation. “The German government takes this incident very seriously,” said Martina Fietz, a spokeswoman for the chancellor.
As the country’s main cybersecurity defense team called a crisis meeting to coordinate with domestic and foreign intelligence agencies early Friday, Twitter took down the accounts used by a hacker calling himself GOd that had been broadcasting links to the information since early last month.
The hacker released the information through links published on Twitter in the form of an Advent calendar, where a window is opened every day leading up to Christmas, revealing a picture or treat.
“The first window is for a very special beloved moderator who everyone knows,” read the entry for Dec. 1, which included links to private information from the comedian Jan Böhmermann, who several months ago had started an initiative to discredit a group of far-right internet trolls.
Starting on Dec. 20, Germany’s established political parties appeared, beginning with the Free Democrats and followed by the Left, the Greens and Social Democrats.
Dec. 24 — the final day in the calendar — was reserved for the conservative Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union. The published link led to servers hosting lists of personal information ranging from internal party documents to screen shots of private chat exchanges to images of a personal ID card, front and back.
Only the main opposition force in Parliament, the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, was excluded. Stephan Brandner, a member of Parliament with the party responsible for justice affairs, condemned the hack. “Protection of private data goes for everyone, including politicians, regardless of which party they belong to,” he said.
Germans prize personal privacy — a legacy of abuses by the Nazi- and Communist-era secret police — and the country has long had some of the world’s strictest laws protecting personal information. Germany was the first country to force Google to allow individuals to blur images of their homes on its Street View mapping service, following outrage over the amount of data the company was collecting.
But German defenses have not caught up to German fears, rendering the country exceedingly vulnerable to attacks.
Although the Twitter accounts used for disseminating the information were taken down early Friday, several hours later, many of the servers hosting the information remained accessible.
Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity and privacy adviser, said the attack showed deliberate planning. Dispersing the content among servers across the internet made it more likely the information would remain accessible even after Twitter shut down the account that initially published the links, he said.
“The attacker’s intent is not clear at this moment but it is clear that a considerable effort was put in,” said Mr. Olejnik, who is also a research associate at the Center for Technology and Global Affairs at Oxford University. “It was work intensive.”
Germany’s cybersecurity office said it was investigating whether the data was harvested in a central attack, a series of separate ones originating from different services, or in private communications.
“At this time, there is no indication that the government network was breached,” the office, known by its German initials B.S.I., said in a statement.
Beyond Germany, the hacking adds to concerns about the security of European parliamentary elections in May, which many officials fear are vulnerable to digital interference and disinformation campaigns by hackers or state-backed groups. Last month, European Union officials announced a plan to better coordinate responses to false messages around the elections.
Leading members of the Greens and the Social Democrats said they filed criminal charges against unknown individuals for illegally publishing their personal data. A spokesman for the Left party confirmed that the information of some of its members had been exposed, including that of Dietmar Bartsch, the leader of its caucus in the lower house of Parliament.
Mr. Böhmermann, the first person targeted in the leak, tried several months ago to organize opposition to the far-right group Reconquista Germanica, which spreads disinformation and harasses, provokes and belittles opponents.
The data, which included Mr. Böhmermann’s phone numbers, personal chats and photographs of his two young sons, was advertised as, “Nice things that you can have fun with.”
Germany’s main government network was breached by hackers in 2015, and the authorities worried that information obtained then would be used against politicians leading up to the 2017 election. Those fears were largely unfounded.
Hackers appeared to have again penetrated the German government’s main data network last March— a system that was supposed to be particularly secure and is used by the chancellor’s office, ministries and Parliament.
Luca Hammer, an independent German social media analyst who studies activity on Twitter, said that because no right-wing troll chat groups had picked up the leak, the hacker may have been a single individual.
“They had to get into a popular Twitter account to get noticed,” he said over Twitter. “Therefore I assume they acted alone. But I don’t know.”
The attack prompted warnings in German media about the need for greater vigilance by the government and of how individuals can better protect themselves online.
A commentary in Süddeutsche Zeitung drew a parallel between the cyberattack and terrorism. “Even if in this case nobody has been injured or killed,” the aim of the hack was to trigger “a diffuse fear” in German society at large.
“The question of whether public spaces are safe for the individual turns out to be the same for Facebook and the Outlook mailbox as it is for soccer stadiums and the Oktoberfest,” the paper wrote.
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Russia Or The Far-Right: Who Hacked German Politics? - Google Search

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Russia Or The Far-Right: Who Hacked German Politics? - Google Search

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Russia Or The Far-Right: Who Hacked German Politics?

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© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP
The personal data of hundreds of German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, along with celebrities such as TV presenter Christian Ehring, have been leaked online. In what could turn out to be not only the largest data breach in Germany history but also the most politically explosive, speculation is rife as to who is behind the audacious attack.
The leaked data includes everything from email conversations, ID card images, financial records, family (and not family-friendly) photos, contact details and even faxed communications. It was first posted as part of a Twitter advent calendar on December 1, with further documents relating to more individuals released each day until December 28. Initially the calendar doors opened to reveal information about German celebrities including TV presenters and musicians, but the focus switched to political figures on December 20. Remarkably, German officials were apparently not aware of the leak until January 3. In a statement issued late on January 4, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that a preliminary analysis suggested that the data had been obtained via the "wrongful use of log-in information for cloud services, email accounts or social networks."
The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in Germany sent Forbes a statement that says it is investigating the breach, with the BSI-based National Cyber Defense Center coordinating efforts. The BSI statement says that, at this stage of the investigation, the source of the leaked material is unknown. "Whether the data originates from a single attack on a central service or from multiple attacks on different service providers or private communications is currently under review" it says, continuing "there is currently no evidence of a successful cyber-attack on government networks." This makes it more likely that social media and email accounts could have been targeted, especially given the somewhat random selection of data that has been published.
As Twitter has its European headquarters in Dublin, the BBC reports that German investigators are working with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner to trace the owner of that Twitter account and stop the further distribution of the data involved. The latter may prove to be rather difficult. One security researcher, @thegrugg, has speculated on Twitter that there has been far too much effort put into data takedown prevention for this to have been a lone wolf attacker. Purely in terms on man hours to upload all the data across some 40 download links each with a further four or five mirrors, and another 161 mirrors of the data files themselves. Indeed, every single file upload appears to have at least one mirror. The Grugg tweeted "If I had to guess, I'd say that the leak files were not produced at the same time. The changes in layout and naming suggest that it wasn't one person in one marathon session creating these." But does that necessarily mean that we are talking a state-sponsored threat actor, with Russia being front and center when it comes to finger-pointing, as being behind the attack?
"While actor attribution is notoriously difficult, early indications suggest that the Russian APT group Turla (a.k.a. Snake, Venomous Bear, Waterbug, and Uroboros) is behind the German data breaches" Chris Dawson, threat intelligence lead at Proofpoint said in an emailed statement. Proofpoint researchers point to Turla targeting German interests before "particularly leveraging a G20 summit on the digital economy that took place in Hamburg in October 2017" Dawson concludes. I can understand why Russia actors are in the frame for this attack as the Snake group has repeatedly been thought responsible for campaigns against German government targets including, just last November, an attack on the email inboxes of several German politicians.
Not everyone is convinced though, for a number of reasons. That the leak was so poorly distributed on Twitter, with little media impact until the poster changed tack and started leaking politician's data rather than television and music c-list celebrities, doesn't sound right for the usually slick Russian groups. Why wait to release the potentially explosive, and therefore politically destabilizing, documents? Then there's the small matter of the hackers' own post-breach analysis as highlighted by Max Heinemeyer, director of threat hunting at Darktrace, who points out that they "commented on some of the low-hanging fruits" such as adult images which are easy to spot, but not "the more analysis-intensive email dumps, which might contain explosive material as well." Certainly, if the motivation behind the breach was political destabilization as would be likely for a Russian-backed campaign, you might have expected emails to have been searched for headline material and this then used to bait the media. Sure, the end result has been a media storm but a rather chaotic and unfocused one that currently paints the intelligence and security services in a poorer light than politicians themselves. This could, of course, change quickly if any such sensitive and damaging material is found.
So, we have what would appear to be a group of people prepared to devote many man hours into the organization and uploading of the data together with the creation of hundreds of mirrors to prevent a quick and easy data takedown on the one hand. On the other, we have an apparently not so well organized approach to how best analyze and distribute the compromised data to the widest audience. Does this really sound like it has Russian state-sponsored fingerprints upon it? Although it could easily be an elaborate false-flag operation, some think it has the smell of a less mature threat actor about it; could the increasingly confident far-right of German politics be involved? The one political party that has, at least as far as early analysis of the documents can tell, been spared inclusion in the leak is the far-right AfD. Writing in the Washington Examiner, Tom Rogan argues that "we must not discount the hatred with which the most virulent far-right activists view other German political parties. Their passion for embarrassing or otherwise hurting these parties would be motive enough for an attack that blatantly avoided the AfD." Caitlin Huey, senior threat intelligence analyst at EclecticIQ, would seem to agree. "There are several facts that point towards this hack being orchestrated from an organization leaning politically towards the far right" Huey suggests, continuing "the now suspended @_0rbit Twitter account was following only a few accounts, among which was the notorious anonymousnews.ru." Huey also points out that the @_0rbit account had liked posts from users that were openly outspoken against refugees.
Of course, it is far too early in the post-breach investigations for any certain attribution to be made. Indeed, it may well be the case that, as with so many high-profile breaches, the identity of the attacker(s) remains unknown and best guesses are all we can hope for. One thing regarding the attack, however, seems certain: motivation. Given the random nature of the information concerned along with the somewhat unusual public disclosure methodology, I suspect that a purely financial motivation can be ruled out. If this were about extortion then the documents would have been analyzed for compromising data and the targets approached privately. So, if we rule that out it only really leaves disruption and destabilization of the political status quo and German society beyond. On that basis both Russian state players and far-right political groups have much to gain.
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The big unanswered questions about the Trump investigations

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At this point, when you read a new headline about one thread of the case, it’s beyond not being able to see the forest for the trees. It’s more like not seeing the forest–and the trees and the branches–for the leaves. For the average citizen, it’s almost impossible to step back and get the full picture.
When the scandals first started to pile up, even before he took office, commentators often explained Trump’s immunity to controversy and his improbable victory by citing scandal fatigue. That’s a reference to the Clinton impeachment saga, in which questions about an Arkansas real-estate deal morphed into stains on a blue dress, all of it dominating headlines for months. The public was so exhausted by the whole saga that they started to lose interest and even sympathize with Clinton, boosting his approval numbers and staving off his almost-inevitable impeachment.
But Whitewater feels like a crude chalk drawing next to the Trump saga’s pyramid, with all of its angles, optics, reactions, plot lines, international intrigue, and questions. So many questions.
If Trump weren’t so impulsive and childish, it would seem like a calculated strategy to overwhelm his antagonists. And it worked for a long time, with many Americans just too exhausted by it all to be that outraged–complexity leads to complacency–and his base doubling down on their support.
But in recent weeks, it feels like we’re at a tipping point, with the public’s fatigue turning into frustration and fury. This growing tsunami of scandals is about to mess up the president’s coif and flood the patio at Mar-a-Lago.
All that said, if you’ve got the stamina, keep reading. To give you a better sense of the enormity of it all and a look at the most dramatic parts of the big picture, here are the main unanswered questions about the Trump investigations.
If you start to struggle and need to come up for air, that’s fine. Take a break, drink another pot of black coffee, and come back for more.
Did Trump know about the Trump Tower meeting?
The president has vigorously insisted he wasn’t aware that his son, son-in-law, and campaign manager met with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton in Trump Tower just weeks before the Republican convention in the summer of 2016. But no one outside of his administration and his fiercest defenders really believes him. Even Rob Goldstone, the British publicist who set up the meeting, told me that he assumes Don Trump Jr. told his father before and after the meeting.
It’s a key question because it gets to the heart of the collusion question–if the candidate himself was okay with getting damaging info on his opponent from a foreign country considered an adversary, that may be a serious crime. And when he later drafted a memo to obscure his knowledge of the meeting, that could be considered obstruction.
  • Related questions:
    • When Don Jr. and Emil Agalarov–an Azerbaijani-Russian singer whose family was in talks to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow–had their phone call to set up the meeting, what did they talk about?
    • What was really discussed at the meeting? Goldstone insists it lacked drama and just focused on adoption and an American law that sanctions Russians, without any mention of Hillary Clinton.


Did Michael Cohen go to Prague and meet Russian officials there?
That was one of the claims made in the infamous Steele dossier, much of which has been corroborated. When the dossier was first made public, Cohen vigorously denied traveling to Prague in late August 2016 to meet with Russian officials as part of an effort to cover up connections between Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Per the dossier, Cohen met with Russian official Oleg Solodukhin to discuss “how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team more generally.”
Cohen tweeted a photo of his passport and later showed it to a BuzzFeed News reporter to show that he hadn’t visited Prague. When a McClatchy story later reported that Mueller had evidence of the visit, Cohen called it a “false story” and asserted that he was in L.A. with his son at the time.
Why was a computer server at Trump Tower pinging Russia’s Alfa Bank?
This mystery has bedeviled reporters and computer security geeks alike, ever since late October 2016, when Slate’s Franklin Foer first reported that a server belonging to the Trump organization was communicating with a pair of servers at the bank in Moscow. The anomaly was discovered by researchers and caught their attention since it didn’t appear to be malware or automated communications and it occurred at irregular intervals. Thousands of words have since delved into the details of this mysterious occurrence–and it’s still unclear whether it’s evidence of collusion or just a random manifestation that defies explanation.
It arouses so much interest because it offers the tantalizing possibility of a “collusion” smoking gun–evidence that the Trump campaign, whose data firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested data on millions of Americans via Facebook, may have transferred that info to the Russian government “to help guide its targeting of American voters before the election.” Or it could show that Trump was in hock for millions to the Russians. It could also show nothing at all.
  • Related questions:
    • Did Cambridge Analytica use the servers at Trump Tower to upload or download data?
    • Why did Cambridge Analytica share data on American voters with Lukoil, the Kremlin-owned oil company?
    • What’s the deal with Sam Patten, the longtime Republican operative who was a contractor for Cambridge Analytica and reportedly had ties to Russian intelligence? He attracted the interest of Mueller’s investigators and pleaded guilty to one felony count of failing to register as a foreign lobbyist while working–like Paul Manafort–for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. As with Manafort, Patten received payments through an offshore account in Cyprus.
Did foreign donors contribute to the inaugural committee and how did it spend the $120 million it raised?
Ever since it was reported that Trump’s inaugural committee had raised $107 million, a stunning amount that far surpassed previous inaugurations, questions have swirled about who contributed money and how the money was spent. Just last week, it was reported that federal prosecutors are looking into whether anyone from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia illegally contributed funds to the event via straw donors.
The inaugural committee also spent money at Trump International Hotel in D.C. and Ivanka Trumptalked about charging $175,000 per day for use of the space, though organizers complained that the fee seemed excessive. One of those raising concerns with the president’s daughter was Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, an event planner and friend of First Lady Melania Trump, who was herself paid $26 million for her services during the inauguration. If the price negotiated for the hotel was above market rate, it might reportedly be a violation of tax law.
Inauguration chair Thomas Barrack Jr., who aroused some suspicion due to his own close business ties to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, confirmed his that he was interviewed in 2017 by Mueller’s team. But he said that his lawyer reached out to the special counsel last week and was assured that he was “not under investigation.”


What’s in the president’s tax returns?
It’s the perennial question, and the one which the president has successfully managed to avoid for over three years. As a billionaire with a global business empire (presenting plenty of potential conflicts of interest), his tax returns would be immensely informative, shedding light on everything from possibly fraudulent tax avoidance schemes to any loans to Russian or Chinese banks.
But Trump has so far refused to release the returns, despite the fact it’s been standard practice for presidents for decades, insisting that “you get far more” from his already-public financial disclosure forms. Tax experts dispute that contention, explaining that the actual tax returns reveal much more information about his businesses and sources of revenue. In Trump’s case, it might be less about what’s included in the return than what’s not in there–like a far lower net worth and smaller charitable deductions than he’s claimed.
Does Russia–or any other country–have kompromat on Trump?
The further we get from the publication of the Steele dossier, the less you hear about the “pee tape,” even on late-night talk shows. So far, there’s no evidence for that salacious allegation. While it’s possible that there’s other compromising info on Trump, whether personal or financial, that is holding on to blackmail him, it seems increasingly doubtful. Despite his praise and kind words for Putin, Trump has been tougher than expected on Russia, bombing their troops in Syria and sending lethal weapons to the Ukraine. (Though pulling troops out of Syria and dropping sanctions against Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has warmed Putin’s heart.)
Who allegedly threatened Stormy Daniels and her daughter?
The porn star has slipped from the headlines ever since losing her defamation case against Trump. But last summer, during her 60 Minutes interview, she raised eyebrows with her claim that an unidentified person threatened her in a parking lot in Las Vegas while she was with her daughter and while she was trying to sell her story about an affair with Trump to a supermarket tabloid. “Leave Trump alone,” he said, according to her account, and looked at her daughter, adding, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, released a composite sketch of the man who allegedly made the threat. When Trump mocked Daniels’s claim as a “total con job,” Avenatti sued Trump on her behalf but lost, with the judge demanding that Daniels pay Trump almost $300,000 in legal fees.
Does Trump owe money to Russian oligarchs or banks?
These were the allegations that first piqued the interest of many reporters, some of whom were told about such loans–or guarantees of his existing loans to Deutsche Bank–by sources. So far, he’s asserted that he has “nothing to do with Russia–no deals, no loans, no nothing.”
But there’s more than nothing. The Trump organization was “actively negotiating” a business deal in Moscow with VTB, a sanctioned Russian bank, during the 2016 campaign, according to a memo released by Democratic lawmakers.
And it’s pretty clear that many Russians have put money into Trump real-estate developments from New York to Palm Beach to Panama in recent years, with Don Jr. telling investors in 2008, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
How much revenue does the Trump organization get from foreign governments?
Though Trump put his business assets into a trust managed by his two oldest sons, he didn’t divest those assets, leading to concerns about conflicts of interest between his decisions as president and the business interests of the Trump organization. Last April, the company gave $151,470 to the Treasury Department, claiming that was the sum total of the profits its hotel and resorts have received from foreign governments, but there is no way to ascertain the accuracy of that number.
Earlier this year, it was reported that two foreign government-owned companies pay almost $2 million a year in rent to two Trump properties. And the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks from the White House, was paid $270,000 by Saudi Arabia, when diplomats booked 500 rooms there in late 2016 and early 2017, and other countries including Kuwait and Turkey have spent mucho dineros to put up their officials at the swanky hotel.
Did the Trump campaign know that WikiLeaks was about to dump thousands of emails connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign?
Like a leaky faucet, this angle keeps dripping with new revelations. In recent weeks, new details have emerged about how Trump consigliere and notorious dirty trickster Roger Stone wrote to conservative theorist Jerome Corsi in July 2016, instructing him to contact WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to get Clinton campaign emails. Stone has said he had heard about the impending leak from New York comedian Randy Credico, but recently added that he had also been tipped off by viewing an email from James Rosen, then a Fox News reporter, to blogger Charles Ortel. Ortel confirmed to The Washington Post that he had forwarded Stone the email.
Corsi, according to prosecutors, sent Stone’s request to Ted Malloch, a London-based author. A week later, Corsi informed Stone that Podesta’s emails were about to be leaked. Corsi, who claims that he was not in touch with WikiLeaks, recently rejected a plea deal with Mueller, filed a complaint with the Justice Department alleging prosecutorial misconduct by Mueller, and is suing Mueller for $350 million, accusing the special counsel of lying to him about Trump. And Stone claims that he was not in touch with Corsi about Podesta’s emails until after they were published by WikiLeaks.
Recently, the Guardian reported that Manafort visited Assange in London in March 2016, soon after joining the Trump campaign, though that report has not been confirmed by other outlets.
  • Related:
    • Is the suicide of Republican donor Peter W. Smith related to the Mueller investigation?
    • The mystery of Smith, a longtime GOP donor who spent much of 2016 trying to get his hands on the 33,000 emails deleted by Clinton in order to help the Trump campaign, deepened a few months ago when it was reported that he had met Flynn the year before. In a document he circulated to raise funds for his effort, the former businessman mentions Flynn, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Sam Clovis, a Trump appointee, but all of them later denied any knowledge of Smith and his initiative. A few months after the inauguration, Smith killed himself.
Why did Michael Flynn lie?
The former national security adviser convicted of lying to federal agents about his pre-inauguration conversations with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak just saw his sentencing delayed (after a withering put-down by the judge). His lawyers have claimed that he was not told in advance that lying to the FBI was a crime (which seems a little hard to believe given his decades-long career in government), but Mueller’s team asserted in a memo that Flynn was given multiple chances by agents to correct his false statements.
Why lie, given the extraordinary consequences of such a step? Some speculate that Flynn assumed he may have violated the Logan Act, which makes it illegal for private citizens to conduct unauthorized negotiations with foreign governments, and sought to cover it up.
How much does Vice President Mike Pence know (and when did he know it)?
Maybe it’s not the elephant in the room, but the question definitely lingers in the back of many of these controversies. Pence may seem like he blends into the wallpaper, when he’s not appearing comatose during West Wing meetings, but he’s a canny politician who’s said to harbor his own ambitions for the presidency. And he’s not stupid. So it seems likely that he was at least half-aware of some of these shenanigans, from the Trump campaign’s outreach to shady Russian officials and players to the Trump Tower meeting to who was donating the millions that went to the inauguration.
Why did Erik Prince meet with a Russian financier days before the inauguration?
The Trump donor and founder of Blackwater, the infamous private security company, met with George Nader, an adviser to the leader of the United Arab Emirates, and Kirill Dmitriev, who manages a Russian sovereign wealth fund and is considered close to Vladimir Putin, in the Seychelles islands on January 11, 2017. The meeting aroused suspicion due to the players and the timing–just weeks after Jared Kushner reportedly told Russians about his desire to set up a back channel for communications–with sources telling reporters that it was a way for Trump’s team to secretly negotiate with the Kremlin. Some also saw the meeting as a way for the Emirati and Saudi crown princes to exercise influence the incoming administration. Prince testified in Congress that it was just a business meeting, but the purpose of the meeting has intrigued Mueller’s team. Nader is cooperating with the probe and testified before a grand jury.


What’s on the Apprentice tapes?
Ever since Trump permanently tainted the reputation of Tic-Tacs in the Access Hollywood video, there’s been chatter about the existence of outtakes from The Apprentice that show Trump making racist and sexist comments. Fired aide Omarosa Manigault Newman and comedian/magician Penn Jillette, who appeared on the show in 2012, both claim that such tapes exist. And Tom Arnold has made a comeback with a show, The Search for the Trump Tapes, devoted to just that question, claiming that he’s heard outtakes in which Trump says “every dirty, every offensive, racist thing ever.” And one of the show’s producers, Bill Pruitt, claimed in a tweet that the Access Hollywood tape was nothing, hinting at much worse language in other tapes. The Apprentice’s producer Marc Burnett insists that there are no such tapes, adding that because he sold the show to MGM, the archives are their property. Even so, Burnett claims that they cannot be released because the archives are “contractually confidential.” Trump has vigorously denied making any such offensive comments on the show.
Did Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy have other reasons to resign?
When the Supreme Court justice resigned last summer, it sent shockwaves through Washington, elating conservatives and depressing liberals since it handed Trump his second pick for the high court. But questions were immediately raised about Kennedy’s resignation, since he wasn’t in ill health, and once it was revealed that his son Justin Kennedy once led the real-estate division at Deutsche Bank, which loaned $1 billion to Trump for various real-estate projects when other banks wouldn’t deal with him. Also, Justin Kennedy once escorted Ivanka to watch the Supreme Court hearings. When Trump greeted Kennedy after his first State of the Union speech, he told him, “Say hello to your boy. Special guy.”
There’s also been speculation that Kennedy resigned as part of a deal to protect his son from any Russia investigation since Deutsche Bank’s records have been subpoenaed by Mueller, a claim deemed “not proven” by Snopes.com.
Was Trump connected to the payment of yet another Playboy model?
Everyone knows that Trump got Michael Cohen to pay AMI $150,000 to squash a story by former Playboy model Karen McDougal about her alleged affair with Trump. But The Atlantic’s David Frum has raised questions about former GOP deputy finance chair Elliot Broidy’s $1.6 million payment to former Playboy model Shera Bechard, which was arranged by Trump’s then-lawyer Michael Cohen. Broidy made the first installment of that payment just days before a private meeting with Trump, at which he encouraged the president to crack down on Qatar, the rival of his lobbying client, the United Arab Emirates.
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Timeline of investigations into Trump and Russia (2017) - Wikipedia

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This is a timeline of major events in 2017 related to the investigations into links between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials that are suspected of being inappropriate. Following the timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, this article begins with Donald Trump and Mike Pence being sworn into office on January 20, 2017. The investigations continued in 2018 and 2019.

Trump-Russia Investigations | Brennan Center for Justice

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Photo: Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  Getty Images.
Rarely has the phrase “you can’t tell your players without a scorecard” rung more true than in the multiple investigations of ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
There are now five investigations into the relationships between Trump associates and the Russians. Two committees in the Senate are conducting probes, as are two committees in the House, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller, whose power is like that of a U.S. Attorney, is likely to say little unless he indicts someone.
The Congressional committees are a different story. Some or all of them will conduct public hearings, and there likely will be no shortage of committee members willing to opine about their investigation. Yet, the average person probably does not know which committee is doing what, which committee has issued which subpoenas for what reason, and which committee has held which hearings when.
We’ve compiled five tables that lay out what each investigation is looking at, what they’ve done so far, and critically in the case of the Congressional committees, each panel’s rules for issuing subpoenas. These tables make it easy to penetrate the thicket of inquiries. They will be updated periodically, so while one committee may be grabbing all the headlines, there might be another committee that has issued a wave of subpoenas that may indicate where an investigation is headed.
While there is some overlap, the panels diverge. For instance, the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform is interested in whether former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied about payments from overseas when he applied for a security clearance.
Republicans on that panel have taken up a cause championed by Trump supporters. At issue are intelligence intercepts of Trump aides speaking to foreign officials during the transition. Typically, the names of Americans are not revealed in these intercepts. Yet some Obama officials asked intelligence officials to “unmask” the Trump aides so they could see who was talking. The committee wants to know which Obama aides asked for the unmasking and why.
In fact, no facet of this imbroglio appears too small to escape Congressional notice. The Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism has asked for all warrant applications and court orders relating to wiretaps of Trump, the Trump campaign or Trump Tower. (There is no evidence there ever were any wiretaps; it all stems from a March 4 Trump Tweet: “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory… This is McCarthyism!”)
And does anyone remember Trump’s transition pledge to “donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the United States Treasury”? Well, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform does, and they sent a letter in April to Trump’s lawyer asking for details on the mechanics of the program. In return, they received a nine-page pamphlet distributed to employees about the promise.
If the pamphlet response is an indicator, the Trump-Russia hearings are likely to be contentious, and occasionally dramatic. These tables are essential for anyone who wants to understand what each of the Trump probes is looking for and how.
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A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations

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While popular memory today remembers Watergate as five DNC burglars leading inexorably to Richard Nixon’s resignation two years later, history recalls that the case and special prosecutor’s investigationat the time were much broader; ultimately 69 people were charged as part of the investigation, 48 of whom pleaded guilty or were found guilty at trial.
After three weeks of back-to-back-to-back-to-back bombshells by federal prosecutors and special counsel Robert Mueller, it’s increasingly clear that, as 2018 winds down, Donald Trump faces a legal assault unlike anything previously seen by any president—at least 17 distinct court cases stemming from at least seven different sets of prosecutors and investigators. (That total does not count any congressional inquiries, nor does it include any other inquiries into other administration officialsunrelated to Russia.)
While the media has long short-handed Mueller’s probe as the “Russia investigation,” a comprehensive review of the cases unfolding around the president and the question of Russian influence in the 2016 campaign harkens back to another lesson of Watergate: Deep Throat’s dictum, “Follow the money.”
More than two years in, the constellation of current investigations involves questions about foreign money and influence targeting the Trump campaign, transition, and White House from not just Russia but as many as a half-dozen countries. Prosecutors are studying nearly every aspect of how money flowed both in and out of Trump’s interconnected enterprises, from his hotels to his company to his campaign to his inauguration. While President Trump once said that he’d see investigations into his business dealings as crossing a “red line,” it appears that Trump himself obliterated that line, intermingling his business and campaign until it was impossible for prosecutors to untangle one without forensically examining the other.
Obviously, some of these investigations below may—or will—eventually overlap. Many of the players, particularly those like Michael Cohen, may end up central to multiple cases. And the existence of an investigation does not necessarily mean convictions will follow.
There’s also plenty we don’t know about who else Mueller and other investigators might have in their sights, or who might be cooperating. There’s even a special mystery witness Mueller was fighting in court last week. Notably, most of the open investigations involve known cooperators, not to mention likely millions of documents, telephone calls, recordings, emails, communications, and tax returns assembled by the special counsel and other prosecutors.
Here’s a complete rundown of the various known investigations targeting Trump’s world from local, state, and federal prosecutors:

Investigations by the Special Counsel

1. The Russian Government’s Election Attack: The special counsel moved aggressively to outline and charge the Russian government’s core attack on the 2016 election, which included both active cyber intrusions and data theft by the military intelligence unit GRU and the GRU’s attempted attacks on the US voting system, as well as online information influence operations by the Internet Research Agency, known by the moniker “Project Lakhta.” Numerous threads from this investigation remain unseen—including a possible cooperator inside the Internet Research Agency, Putin’s own involvement, whether any Americans contributed knowingly to the attack, the role of the FSB’s “Cozy Bear” hackers, and whether or how Russia’s expensive and multipronged attack coordinated with contacts between Russian nationals and the Trump campaign over the course of 2016, including the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Mueller has also reportedly been investigating the role of late GOP activist Peter Smith, who had apparently tried to locate stolen emails and make contact with Russian hackers. It’s also unclear what has sparked Mueller’s apparent continued interest in Trump’s campaign tech firm, Cambridge Analytica.
Status: 12 Russian military intelligence officers from the GRU indicted, 13 people indicted from the Internet Research Agency, alongside three Russian companies, and a guilty plea from one California man who unwittingly aided their identity theft. Manafort aide Sam Patten is cooperating with investigators.
2. WikiLeaks: Whether WikiLeaks’ publishing of the emails stolen by Russian hackers connects from Moscow to Trump Tower itself remains an open question. But a leaked aborted plea agreement from conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi makes clear that Trump associates had at least some advance knowledge of what WikiLeaks was planning to publish. How any of that may connect with looming charges facing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and another apparently abandoned deal for him to leave the Ecuador embassy in London is also unclear.
Status: Both Trump aide Roger Stone and Corsi have said they expect to be indicted. Unclear if looming charges against Assange relate to Mueller investigation.
3. Middle Eastern Influence: Potentially the biggest unseen aspect of Mueller’s investigation is his year-long pursuit of Middle Eastern influence targeting the Trump campaign, which the Daily Beast reported last week might become public sometime early next year. As the Daily Beast wrote, “The ‘Russia investigation’ is set to go global.” The investigation appears to center on the role of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, which were eager to help the campaign and, in some cases, have business ties to Trump or presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. Kushner specifically appears to have been a key focus of these foreign efforts: The New Yorker and other news outlets have carefully traced how ChinaQatar, and Saudi Arabia targeted the White House senior adviser.
Status: No public court activity yet, but two key figures are known to be cooperating: Middle East would-be power broker George Nader and Blackwater mercenary group founder Erik Prince.
4. Paul Manafort’s Activity: What began over a year ago with a sweeping money laundering indictmenttargeting Trump’s one-time campaign chair—and resulted in his conviction on eight felonies at trialbefore he accepted a plea agreement on other charges—continues to unfold. In court documents, Mueller has made clear that he’s investigating Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian tied to Russian intelligence. He may also have interest in Kilimnik’s interactions with another Trump associate, real estate investor Tom Barrack, who has also been interviewed by investigators.
Status: Manafort’s been both convicted at trial and accepted a plea agreement; lawyer Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about the Ukrainian work; Manafort associate Sam Patten has pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent; Kilimnik has been indicted for obstruction of justice. Known cooperators include Trump deputy campaign chair and Manafort business partner Rick Gates, who has also pleaded guilty to his own role in the money laundering scheme.
5. The Trump Tower Moscow Project: Just days before Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison for the eight felonies he pleaded guilty to in August, Mueller surprised everyone with a ninth charge. Cohen admitted that he lied to Congress about the status of the Trump Organization’s pursuit of a Trump Tower Moscow, a proposed project that extended longer into the campaign and proceeded into more serious conversations than previously admitted. The special counsel also noted how the project would be worth “hundreds of millions” of dollars, far more than a normal Trump licensing deal, leading to questions about why it would have been so lucrative. The case also connects the Trump Organization’s business deals, and the campaign, directly to the office of Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose government was at the time busily engaged in the attack on the US election. Moreover, according to statements by congressional investigators and documents released from Congress’s own Russia investigation, other figures, including Donald Trump Jr., may face legal exposure about their own testimony on the Trump Tower Moscow project.
Status: Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the status of the project and is cooperating with investigators.
6. Other Campaign and Transition Contacts With Russia: As journalists have pieced together, at least 14 Trump associates had contact with Russia during the campaign and transition, from foreign policy aide Carter Page to would-be attorney general Jeff Sessions. Questions continue to surround many of those contacts, not least of all the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 that included Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort, and which involved hints that the meeting was only “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” as the email setting up the meeting first promised.
Status: Both national security adviser Michael Flynn and foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to charges related to their campaign and transition contacts with Russia. Cohen and Flynn have both provided extensive cooperation to Mueller about the campaign and transition contacts.
7. Obstruction of Justice: Robert Mueller’s appointment stemmed from Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey and fears that the firing was an attempt to obstruct the initial stages of the Russia investigation. But recent court documents hint that Mueller might be assembling a broader obstruction-of-justice case against Trump, one that could potentially argue that the president’s public statements intentionally misled the public in an attempt to limit the scope of the Russia investigation. Even if Mueller decides there’s enough evidence to bring a case here, it seems more likely to get passed along to Congress for consideration of impeachment rather than prosecuted in court.
Status: No public movement yet, but court documents point to the fact that at least Manafort and Cohen have provided evidence useful to this case about their own contacts in 2017 and 2018 with the White House.

Investigations by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York

8. Campaign Conspiracy and the Trump Organization’s Finances: Despite the myriad cases unfolding from the special counsel, the White House’s most immediate legal jeopardy increasingly appears to stem from federal prosecutors in New York digging into Trump’s alleged financial shenanigans. Perhaps the biggest political bombshell amid the last three weeks has been the new revelations around Michael Cohen, “Individual 1” (as court documents have identified Trump), and the hush money payments to cover up extramarital affairs in the final weeks of the 2016 election. Prosecutors have written that Donald Trump himself directed the payments—an indication that they have solid documentary evidence that hasn’t become public yet—and have apparently lined up nearly every other participant in the scheme as a cooperator.
Status: Cohen has already pleaded guilty, and National Enquirer’s David Pecker, its parent company AMI, Cohen, and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg are all cooperating with investigators.
9. Inauguration Funding: Late last week, The Wall Street Journal broke word that prosecutors were digging into the record $107 million raised and spent by the Trump inauguration committee, potentially with concerns about where that money came from and where it went, based in part on documents and evidence seized during the Michael Cohen investigation. Journalists have long raised questions about where the inauguration money went, and the FBI expressed concern about the Russian elites who appeared at the event. We already know that at least some shady money was involved: Manafort associate Sam Patten’s plea agreement includes that he helped a Ukrainian businessman funnel $50,000 to the inauguration.
Status: No public court activity yet beyond Patten, but he is cooperating with investigators.
10. Trump SuperPAC Funding: Related to the news about the inauguration inquiries was word that prosecutors are digging into the funding of a Trump SuperPAC, Rebuilding America Now, where Paul Manafort also played a role.
Status: No public court activity yet, but Manafort aide Sam Patten is cooperating with investigators.
11. Foreign Lobbying: Robert Mueller also handed off information he uncovered during the Manafort money laundering probe to prosecutors in New York. According to news reports, he referred questions about at least a trio of other lobbyists—Tony Podesta, Vin Weber, and Greg Craig—and whether they allegedly failed to appropriately register as foreign agents for work related to Ukraine. Podesta abruptly closed his eponymous lobbying firm last year, and Mueller had previously been interested in the work done by Mercury LLC, Weber’s firm, as well as the law firm Skadden Arps, where Craig worked until earlier this year. Skadden Arps also employed the Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with Rick Gates.
Status: Rick Gates is cooperating with investigators.

Investigations by the US Attorney for the District of Columbia

12. Maria Butina and the NRA: The guilty plea last week by Russian agent and gun-rights enthusiast Butina came with an extensive cooperation agreement, including the possibility of her meeting with investigators without lawyers present. While the most immediate next target of the investigation appears to be Butina’s boyfriend, Republican operative Paul Erickson—he was sent a so-called “target”letter by prosecutors recently—questions have also swirled about 2016 campaign funding by the National Rifle Association and the reach of Russia into the US conservative movement. Notably, Butina attended numerous conservative events—including the inauguration—and brought 11 Russians to the annual prayer breakfast, was photographed with numerous conservative leaders, and even asked candidate Trump a question at an event early in the campaign, giving him an opportunity to praise Russia.
Status: Maria Butina has pleaded guilty and is cooperating.

Investigations by the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia

13. Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova: The alleged chief accountant of the Internet Research Agency was indicted separately earlier this fall by prosecutors in northern Virginia and the Justice Department’s unit that handles counterintelligence and espionage cases, not by Mueller’s special counsel office. Khusyaynova was charged with activity that went above and beyond the 2016 campaign, including efforts to meddle in this year’s midterms. Why she was prosecuted separately remains a puzzle.
Status: Khusyaynova has been indicted.
14. Turkish Influence: According to court documents, Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn contributed to two investigations beyond the Russia probe. While both were redacted in his court case, there are strong hints, including reporting by The New York Times, that one of those two cases includes a grand jury in northern Virginia focused on illegal influence by the Turkish government. According to the Times, “Prosecutors are examining Mr. Flynn’s former business partners and clients who financed a campaign against Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in Pennsylvania whom the Turkish government has accused of helping instigate a failed coup.” Flynn’s own sentencing documents allude to the fact that Flynn handed over voluminous records from his own businesses.
Status: Michael Flynn’s plea agreement includes some details of the case. Flynn is cooperating with investigators.
Investigations by New York City, New York State, & Other State Attorneys General
15. Tax Case: In the wake of a New York Times investigation that found Donald Trump had apparently benefited from upwards of $400 million in tax schemes, city officials said they were investigatingTrump’s tax payments, as did the New York State Tax Department. Longtime lawyer and Trump fixer Cohen also reported in his own court filing that he met with investigators from the New York Attorney General’s Office, although the court filings didn’t explain what the investigation entailed.
Status: Unknown.
16. The Trump Foundation: The New York Attorney General sued the Trump Foundation this summer, charging it with, as The New York Times summarized, “sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.” A judge just ruled last month that the lawsuit can proceed. Now the incoming attorney general has promised even more wide-ranging inquiries in the Trump business world.
Status: Case is proceeding, having cleared initial court tests.
17. Emoluments Lawsuit: The attorneys general for Maryland and DC sent out subpoenas earlier this month for Trump Organization and hotel financial records relating to their lawsuit alleging that the president is in breach of the so-called Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which appears to prohibit the president from accepting payments from foreign powers while in office. The lawsuit’s discovery phase could push voluminous amounts of information into public view about how foreign governments have funneled business to Trump’s organization, like how the Saudi government evidently purchased more than 500 rooms at Trump’s hotel in DC in the months after the election.
Status: Subpoenas have been issued.

Mystery Investigation Underway by Unknown Office

Redacted Case #2: A second redacted Flynn investigation could be one of the other investigations mentioned here, could represent another as-yet-unknown unfolding criminal case, or could be a counterintelligence investigation that will never become public.
Status: Unknown.

Unrelated Criminality Pursued by Other Offices

Identity Theft Cases: The special counsel charged Californian Richard Pinedo with identity theftstemming from the efforts of the Internet Research Agency to create online fake identities. According to prosecutors, Mueller also uncovered through Pinedo other criminal activity, unrelated to Russia, which has been referred to other offices for ongoing investigation. This approach is consistent with Mueller’s conservative interpretation of his own mandate, only holding on to cases that directly inform the core questions of his case.
Status: Investigation ongoing.

More Great WIRED Stories


Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) is a contributing editor for WIRED and the coauthor of Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat. He can be reached at <a href="mailto:garrett.graff@gmail.com">garrett.graff@gmail.com</a>.
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Democrats won't wait for Mueller report to investigate Trump

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WASHINGTON — Democrats appear set on barreling forward with investigations of President Donald Trump, with no intention of deferring until the conclusion of the special-counsel investigation headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, now serving as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told CNN's John Berman on Friday that Democrats intended to pursue investigations immediately.
"We are not going to wait for the Mueller report," he said. "There is plenty for the Judiciary Committee to look into right now."
"Specifically the attempt to have a massive fraud on the American people in terms of rigging an American presidential election and undermining the integrity of the election," Nadler added. "And we have to look into that, whether it's by hush payments or by collusion with Russians or by any other means."
Nadler also said the committee would do everything in its power to ensure the findings of Mueller's report would be made public.
But Nadler also tamped down on talk of impeachment, which has been popular among the new crop of rank-and-file Democrats.
"We have to get the facts," he said. "We will see where the facts lead. Maybe that will lead to impeachment. Maybe it won't. It is much too early."
Thursday night, freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan launched a tirade against Trump and called for his impeachment at a welcoming reception hosted by the liberal activist group MoveOn.
"People love you, and you win, and when your son looks at you and says, 'Momma look, you won, bullies don't win,'" Tlaib said. "I said, "Baby they don't, because we're gonna go in there, we're going to go in and impeach the motherf-----.'"
Nadler dismissed Tlaib's words as unbecoming, adding that any form of impeachment was still a faraway prospect.
"I don't really like that kind of language, but more to the point, I disagree with what she said," Nadler told CNN. "It is too early to talk about that intelligently. We have to follow the facts."
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Where do the investigations related to Trump stand?

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had only been in office for a few hours when a handful of Democrats defied her persistent calls not to begin the new Congress by talking about impeachment.
Just after Pelosi was sworn in Thursday, longtime Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman of California and Al Green of Texas introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. That evening, newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan riled up a supportive crowd by calling the president a profanity and predicting that he will be removed from office.
Tension over impeachment is likely to be a persistent thorn for Pelosi, who will have to balance between a small, vocal group of the most liberal members of her caucus, who want to see Trump removed immediately, and the majority of her members who want to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to finish. Pelosi purposely avoided — and encouraged most fellow Democrats to avoid — any talk of impeachment during the election, believing there could be backlash from voters.
While eager to paint impeachment as the Democrats' only agenda, Trump has also expressed some worry both publicly and privately at the prospect. He has told confidants that he finds the impeachment talk somewhat unnerving, according to an outside adviser who spoke to him in recent days.
The president, who has long fashioned himself as the ultimate winner, told the confidant that he worried that impeachment, even if he retained office, would be a stain on his legacy. And while he thought the impeachment would rally his own base in the 2020 election it could hurt his standing with foreign leaders as he negotiates trade deals, according to the adviser.
While many Democrats might favor impeachment, those calling for it now are largely outliers. Most Democratic lawmakers listened to Pelosi and campaigned on kitchen table issues such as health care and jobs and prefer to keep them at the forefront of the party's focus.
Still, it will be hard for Pelosi to quiet some on her left flank who see their new majority as a direct challenge to Trump.
"Impeachment is on the table," Sherman said. "You can't take it off the table."
Tlaib, who represents a liberal district in Detroit, exclaimed at an event late Thursday that Democrats were going to "impeach the mother------." She didn't back down Friday, tweeting that "I will always speak truth to power." She added the hashtag, "#unapologeticallyMe."
Her spokesman, Denzel McCampbell, said in a statement that Tlaib, one of only two Muslim women in Congress, "was elected to shake up Washington" and will not stay silent.
"The congresswoman absolutely believes he needs to be impeached. She ran and won by making this very clear to the voters in her district," McCampbell said.
Pelosi said Friday at an MSNBC town hall said she wouldn't censor her colleagues, and that Tlaib's language was no worse than things Trump has said.
Still, Pelosi said she didn't like the language and wouldn't use it. She said, as she has many times before, that the House shouldn't move to impeach Trump without more facts and that she believes impeachment is divisive.
The prospect of that division delights Republicans, who have used impeachment calls to fire up their base of voters. Trump immediately seized on the topic, asking in a tweet Friday, "How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong."
Speaking later Friday to reporters in the Rose Garden, Trump said he thought Tlaib's comments were "disgraceful" and she "dishonored herself."
At a meeting at the White House Friday on the government shutdown, Trump opened his remarks with his concerns about impeachment, according to a White House official and a tweet from Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill.
Trump said that Pelosi assured him during the meeting that "we're not looking to impeach you," and that he replied "that's good, Nancy, that's good."
Hammill later tweeted a slightly different recap: "Speaker Pelosi made clear that today's meeting was about re-opening government, not impeachment."
There has been some discussion in Trump's orbit about how to deal with a possible impeachment effort. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led impeachment efforts against President Bill Clinton two decades ago, encouraged conservatives to foster what he believes would be counter-productive impeachment talk among Democrats. The 1998 battle backfired on Republicans, who were seen as overreaching while Clinton's poll numbers rose.
"Make it the speaker's problem, make her deal with the nutty wing of her party," Gingrich said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Top Democrats have so far supported Pelosi's cautious approach to impeachment, with House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler also saying that it is a divisive, even traumatic, process that should only be done with Republican support. Both Nadler and Pelosi were in Congress during Clinton's impeachment.
Sherman and Green forced votes to impeach Trump in 2017 and 2018, but the Republican House blocked those resolutions twice, with the help of many Democrats who said the effort was premature.
Even if the House should approve articles of impeachment — very unlikely at present — a two-thirds-majority vote to convict Trump in the Republican-led Senate and remove him from office would seem out of the question, barring new revelations or a dramatic decline in the president's political support.
Many Democrats on Friday distanced themselves from Tlaib's words. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he doesn't think "comments like these particularly help." House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said the comments were "inappropriate" and go against efforts to reclaim civility.
Other Democrats were more forgiving, even if they disagreed.
"I think some of our new members probably don't realize that you are always on, that when you are a member of Congress, there's always someone listening," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.
Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly said the comments were just "red meat" for Tlaib's supporters.
"I think it's a forgivable sin, an outburst of exuberance with her and her supporters, and I think we all need to move on," he said. "It doesn't reflect the caucus, and I'm sure upon reflection, she might choose other words to describe her feelings."
___
Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman, Deb Riechmann, Alan Fram, Kevin Freking and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.
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Trump Investigations

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Trump-Russia investigation | Us-news | The Guardian

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Trump-Russia investigation

Latest Trump-Russia inquiry news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice.

Trump Investigations - Google Search

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American Nazi and Abwehr | German Espionage and Sabotage | Nazi Espionage: The Abwehr and SD - U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis | U.S. indicts 54 in Aryan group

Kaiser-MAGGA-Mugger-Trump! I will say it short and plain: Make your Abwehr Great Again! Make your Germany Great Again! - 6:55 AM 5/29/2019

2:14 PM 9/1/2020 - The Counterintelligence Investigations of Donald Trump

Anti-Austrian sentiment of New Abwehr in Hapsburg group affair as diagnostic sign in Operation Trump - Google Search

1:04 PM 11/16/2020 - My Comment: The main issue is the Counterintelligence investigations of Donald Trump and his circles which are not even mentioned in this op-ed. We have to think and talk about it, it is too big to be ignored or omitted. M.N.

9:07 AM 9/2/2020 - Counterintelligence Investigations of Donald Trump: Trump presidency has highlighted the fragility of American democracy - The Guardian

The Proposal for the Interdisciplinary Evidence Based Consensus Model in the Counterintelligence Investigations of Donald Trump - By Michael Novakhov, M.D. | A panel of experts highlight the problems with all major claims of the official account of the 9/11 attacks. 9/11 Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation Paperback – September 11, 2018 by David Ray Griffin (Author), Elizabeth Woodworth (Author) - 6:33 AM 1/31/2019

9:02 PM 8/1/2020 - Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks: COVID 19 was not genetically altered virus says geopolitical expert Jamie Metzl-ANI

10:04 AM 9/2/2020 - World War II ended exactly 75 years ago