Trump's AG nominee: Mueller should be allowed to finish work - 9:35 PM 1/14/2019

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Trump's AG nominee: Mueller should be allowed to finish work

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President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general will tell senators "it is vitally important" that special counsel Robert Mueller be allowed to complete his Russia investigation, and said he believes Congress and the public should learn the results, according to remarks prepared for his confirmation hearing.
William Barr also insisted in testimony he'll deliver Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Trump never sought any promises, assurances or commitments before selecting him to be the country's chief law enforcement officer.
In releasing written testimony ahead of his hearing, the Justice Department moved to pre-empt the most significant questions Barr is likely to face from Democrats on the panel — including whether he can oversee without bias or interference the final stages of Mueller's probe into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, and whether he will permit the findings to be made public.
"I believe it is in the best interest of everyone — the President, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people — that this matter be resolved by allowing the Special Counsel to complete his work," Barr said.
He described Mueller, a former Justice Department colleague, as a friend he has known personally and professionally for 30 years. Mueller headed the department's criminal division while Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993.
The special counsel is required to confidentially report his findings to the Justice Department. Barr stopped short of directly pledging to release Mueller's conclusions, but he expressed general support for disclosing the findings, whatever they may be.
"For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law," Barr said. "I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based solely on the law and will let no personal, political, or other improper interests influence my decisions."
The remarks in support of Mueller are intended to reassure Democratic senators troubled by Barr's past comments on the special counsel's probe, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department last year criticizing the inquiry into whether the president had obstructed justice.
He also previously said the president's firing of FBI director James Comey was appropriate and that the Mueller prosecution team, repeatedly criticized by Trump for including prosecutors who have made political stances to Democratic candidates, should have had more "balance."
Those stances raised alarms that Barr could stifle the investigation as it reaches its final stages or make decisions that protect the president. Among the questions an attorney general might have to confront would be whether to approve a subpoena for Trump if he refuses to answer additional questions from investigators, and whether to disclose to Congress whatever report or conclusions Mueller turns in.
Barr, who also moved to quell concerns during private meetings last week with lawmakers, insisted that Trump had "sought no assurances, promises, or commitments from me of any kind, either express or implied, and I have not given him any, other than that I would run the Department with professionalism and integrity."
"As Attorney General, my allegiance will be to the rule of law, the Constitution, and the American people," Barr said. "That is how it should be. That is how it must be. And, if you confirm me, that is how it will be, and I have not given him any, other than that I would run the Department with professionalism and integrity."
The mere fact that Barr felt compelled to deny any sort of commitment or pledge to Trump reflects the delicate and unusual circumstance he finds himself in. He would serve a president who requested loyalty from an FBI director he later fired and who berated — and eventually forced out — his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
Barr's supervisory role in the Russia probe may be especially important since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and has overseen his day-to-day work, expects to leave the Justice Department soon after Barr is confirmed. It is not clear how much of the investigation will be left by then.
Barr would replace acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who declined to recuse himself from the investigation — despite the advice of a Justice Department ethics official and calls from Democrats who cited Whitaker's past critical comments on the probe.
Barr's June memo to top Justice Department officials criticized as "fatally misconceived" the theory of obstruction that Mueller appeared to be pursuing. He said presidents cannot be criminally investigated for actions they are permitted to take under the Constitution, such as firing officials who work for them, just because of a subjective determination that they may have had a corrupt state of mind.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec has said Barr wrote the memo on his own initiative and relying only on publicly available information. She said senior ethics officials were consulted about the memo and have advised that it presents no conflict of interest to Barr's work as attorney general.
In his prepared remarks, Barr said the memo was narrowly focused on a single theory of obstruction that media reports suggested Mueller might be considering. Barr said he wrote it himself "as a former Attorney General who has often weighed in on legal issues of public importance."
"The memo did not address - or in any way question - the Special Counsel's core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election," Barr said.
———
Associated Press writer Michel Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.
Read Barr's prepared testimony: <a href="http://apne.ws/x87UoUn" rel="nofollow">http://apne.ws/x87UoUn</a>
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Trump: 'I never worked for Russia. It's just a hoax' – live updates | US news

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New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is expected to form an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign in the coming days, per AP.
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In his speech this afternoon to the American Farm Bureau Federation in New Orleans, Donald Trumptook credit for the low price of gas and fit in a swipe at Hillary Clinton.
“I’m riding in this incredible car, and I’m driving and I’m looking at gas stations to see how much is the gas,” Trump said in his remarks, according to the Hill. “You think Hillary Clinton would’ve done that? I don’t think so.”
“I’m in the Beast,” he said, referring to the presidential limousine. “The world’s most expensive car. It’s like being in an army tank that goes 50 miles per hour. I’m in the Beast and I’m looking at the gas station. I say, ‘fellas, slow up, I can’t see.’ I say, ‘$1.75!’ That didn’t happen by accident, folks.”

A House Democrat is introducing a formal censure motion Monday against Rep. Steve King over his white supremacy comments.
Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he would be filing the motion, Politico reported.
“He has become too comfortable with proudly insulting, disrespecting, and denigrating people of color,” Rush said in a statement. “As with any animal that is rabid, Steve King should be set aside and isolated.”
King is under fire after he said he did not understand how the terms “white nationalist, white supremacist and western civilization” became “offensive.”
The censure resolution also cites his long history of incendiary comments.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has said action will be taken against him.
Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is also introducing a separate resolution to censure King.
Updated

A bipartisan group of senators is holding their own talks on how to resolve the government shutdown, with negotiations between Donald Trump and Congressional leaders at a standstill.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, is one member of the group, the Washington Post reported.

The White House is denying reports that Ivanka Trump is under consideration to become president of the World Bank.
The Financial Times reported that the first daughter’s name was “floating around Washington” as one possible choice for the World Bank post.
Trump is working on the search process, but she is not a candidate for the job, White House spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said, according to Politico. “Reports that she is under consideration are false,” she said.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, is wondering when Donald Trump is “going to help us open the government.”
Asked about Trump’s rejection of a proposal to let government reopen for three weeks while border wall negotiations continue, she said, “Well, then Mr. President when are you going to help us open the government?” according to CNN.
“It’s just not good for any of us,” she said, describing the situation as an “indefinite state of impasse.”

Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings is being treated for pancreatic cancer.
Hastings, a Democrat, plans to remain in Congress during the treatment, saying that “this is a battle worth fighting,” according to CNN.
“I was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in the midst of this traumatizing news, I found myself wondering not only if I would survive this disease, but also if it would impact my ability to perform my duties,” said Hastings, 82. “Now that I have begun treatment, I feel hopeful about survival and about my ability to continue serving my constituents of Florida’s 20th Congressional district and the nation.”

Senator Bernie Sanders will meet this week with women who say they experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination while working on his presidential campaign, BuzzFeed reported.
Sanders has been hit in recent weeks with complaints about mistreatment of female staffers during his 2016 primary campaign. He is considering another bid in 2020.
The meeting is set for Wednesday, according to BuzzFeed. The women are traveling to Washington to meet with Sanders and members of his senior staff.

Twice as many TSA agents were absent today compared to a year ago, an agency spokesman said.
Agents have been calling in sick as they are required to work without pay during the government shutdown.
This morning, 7.6% of TSA personnel were absent around the country, compared to 3.2% on this day a year ago, TSA assistant administrator for public affairs Michael Bilello said on Twitter.
Airports in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Miami and Houston have closed security lanes due to absences, resulting in long lines.

The government shutdown has already caused the cancellation of 42,726 immigration hearings, according to data compiled by Syracuse University, per a New York Daily News reporter.
About 20,000 hearings are getting cancelled each week.
People whose court dates get cancelled may end up waiting years for a new one.
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"trump under federal investigation" - Google News: Trump: 'I never worked for Russia. It's just a hoax' – live updates - The Guardian

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Trump: 'I never worked for Russia. It's just a hoax' – live updates  The Guardian
President denies to reporters he ever worked for Russia and rejects Republican senator Lindsey Graham's proposal to reopen government.




 "trump under federal investigation" - Google News

Trump: report FBI investigated him as possible Russian agent is 'insulting' | US news

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The FBI launched an investigation into whether Donald Trump had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests – and Trump went to extraordinary lengths to conceal from his own administration the details of his conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to two bombshell reports.
The New York Times reported on Friday that law enforcement officials were so concerned about Trump’s behavior after he fired James Comey as FBI director that they launched a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was acting as a Russian agent, either intentionally or unwittingly.
According to another report by the Washington Post, Trump has taken unusual steps to conceal the contents of his discussions with Putin. After meeting with the Russian president in Hamburg in 2017, the Post reported, Trump took his interpreter’s notes and instructed him not to disclose what was discussed to other US officials.
On Saturday night, Trump was asked by a Fox News host whether he had ever worked for Russia.
“I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,” he said.
He did not give a yes or no answer.
As for his conversations with Putin, he said: “I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn’t care less.”
On Sunday, Democrats said the latest revelations raise serious questions about Trump’s relationship with Putin and Russia.
“Why is he so chummy with Vladimir Putin – this man who is a former KGB agent, never been a friend to the United States, invaded our allies, threatens us around the world, and tries his damndest to undermine our elections?” Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said on ABC’s This Week.
“Why is this President Trump’s best buddy? I don’t get it.”
Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said it was suspicious that Trump has “parroted” the policies of Putin.
“I do think it’s curious that throughout that whole summer when these investigations started, you have Vladimir Putin policies almost being parroted by Donald Trump,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union.
“You had Trump say only nice things about Putin – he never spoke ill about Russia. The Republican campaign doctrines softened on Russia and decreased their willingness to defend Ukraine.”

Warner said the US government still does not know what took place in Trump’s meetings with Putin, including another in Helsinki last summer where Trump appeared to embrace Putin’s claim, rejected by US intelligence, that his country had nothing to do with an interference effort in the 2016 election.
“The American government does not know what was discussed between Trump and Vladimir Putin in that frankly pathetic, embarrassing encounter,” Warner said.
Republicans defended the president, saying the US during his administration has imposed tough sanctions against Russia in response to its interference campaign during the 2016 election and its aggression in Ukraine.
“We’ve been very tough on Russia,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “Look at the sanctions that we have taken with this administration. I know this administration and I know this Congress is very tough on Russia and we will continue to be so. But I want this president to be able to build a relationship, even on a person level, with all the world leaders.”
Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican senator and chair of the homeland security committee, said he had only heard “innuendo” about Trump’s interactions with Russia, not any evidence of improprieties. He said there were legitimate reasons to want to guard the president’s conversations with Putin.
“This is not a traditional president,” he told CNN. “He has unorthodox means, but he is president of the United States. It is pretty much up to him in terms of who he wants to read into his conversations with world leaders. He was burned by leaks in other areas and he was pretty frustrated.”
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally of the president, was more forceful, telling Fox News Sunday: “I am going to ask the FBI director: ‘Was there a counterintelligence investigation opened up regarding the president as being a potential agent of the Russians?’ I find it astonishing.
“If this really did happen, Congress needs to know about it. How could the FBI do that? What kinds of checks and balances are there?”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not answer specific questions about whether he was aware of the FBI counterintelligence work when he directed the CIA.
“The notion that President Trump is a threat to American national security is absolutely ludicrous,” he told CBS.
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Trump Making 'A Lot Of Money' In White House, Elijah Cummings Says

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Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the House oversight committee, is accusing President Donald Trump of reaping substantial financial benefits from his White House job.
In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, Cummings asserted that Trump was making “a lot of money” from the position, implying he was doing so against the law. 
“It’s not okay,” he told Steve Kroft of CBS News. “And, but this is the other piece ― I still believe that people ― the average citizen, the guys on my block, they oughta know if the president is making a deal, whether he’s making it ― making it in his self-interest or that of the country.”
Responding to Cummings’ claims, the White House told “60 Minutes” they “are completely baseless,” adding that it “cannot comment further about ongoing litigation.”
The matter in question is whether the president is seeing an increase in revenue from his business ventures, including golf courses and luxury hotels.
Cummings has made clear his mission to serve as a check on the Trump administration, his staff having sent a total of 51 letters to the White House, the Trump Organization and government officials in search of documents concerning potential investigations that may be launched by his committee.
Among the issues being examined are cabinet members’ private use of government aircraft and foreign money within the president’s businesses.
Trump has already run into trouble on the latter item, being sued by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia who’ve accused him of violating the constitution by taking payments from domestic and foreign governments via his namesake hotel in Washington.
While certain Democrats believe that Cummings should advocate for Trump’s impeachment, he contends the move would be premature and has also taken an interest in spearheading other initiatives including skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

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Story image for Transcripts of two FBI officials closed-door congressional interviews from WPTV.com

Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was 'following ...

<a href="http://WPTV.com" rel="nofollow">WPTV.com</a>-1 hour ago
They debated a range of possibilities, according to portions of transcripts of two FBI officialsclosed-door congressional interviews obtained by ...
Story image for Transcripts of two FBI officials closed-door congressional interviews from The Epoch Times

EXCLUSIVE: Transcripts of Lisa Page's Closed-Door Testimonies ...

The Epoch Times-Jan 10, 2019
Transcripts of two closed-door testimonies by Lisa Page, the former assistant ... The role of FBI Agent Jonathan Moffa and DOJ official George Toscas may have ... The interviews with Page were conducted by Congressional ...
Story image for Transcripts of two FBI officials closed-door congressional interviews from CNN

Comey slams Trump, 'shameful' House Republicans after 2nd Capitol ...

CNN-Dec 17, 2018
... second round of questioning at a closed-door congressional interview. ... He was questioned on the FBI's handling of both the Hillary Clinton ...
Comey slams Trump, House Republicans after 2nd Capitol Hill meeting
International-<a href="http://WPTV.com" rel="nofollow">WPTV.com</a>-Dec 17, 2018
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FBI debated whether Trump followed Russia's direction

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Michael Cohen Is Trump's 'Greatest Threat,' Defense Lawyer Lanny Davis Warns

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“Donald Trump sees Michael Cohen, and I would say justifiably, as the greatest threat to his presidency and what could be criminal and impeachable actions as president,” Davis, who represents Cohen, told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on Sunday.
Davis slammed Trump for Saturday’s Fox News interview in which the president attacked Cohen and his father-in-law as Cohen prepares to publicly testify before Congress next month. Trump claimed Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer, is lying “to get a sentence reduced” and vaguely referenced possible wrongdoing by his father-in-law as “the money in the family.”
“I and most Americans have no idea what President Trump is fantasizing about in demonizing the father-in-law of Michael Cohen ― the father of his wife ― and he won’t even tell us,” Davis said.
The president’s “pattern of incessant attacks” show he feels the walls are closing in, Davis added.
Trump told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro that Cohen ought to stop trying to give up dirt on him and focus on his own father-in-law.
“He’s in trouble on some loans and fraud and taxi cabs and stuff that I know nothing about, and in order to get a sentence reduced, he says, ’I have an idea. I’ll give you some information on the president,’” Trump said of Cohen. “Well, there is no information. But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law because that’s the one that people want to look at because where does that money ― that’s the money in the family.”
Trump told Pirro he didn’t know father-in-law Fima Shusterman’s name. 
Shusterman gave at least $20 million worth of loans from 2017 to 2018 to Yasya Shtayner, a woman whose family runs Chicago Medallion Management Corp., the Chicago Sun-Times reported last year. The business operates 368 cabs, according to the report, including 22 owned by Cohen.
In 1993, just before Shusterman’s daughter married Cohen, Shusterman pleaded guilty to failing to abide by federal reporting rules for major cash transactions, according to The New York Times. He was sentenced to probation. 
Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud, making false statements to a bank, a campaign finance violation and lying to Congress about negotiations for a Trump Tower project in Moscow. He has said in court that Trump directed him to make hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump.
Despite Trump’s personal remarks on Cohen’s family, Davis said Cohen is determined to testify before the House oversight committee, chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
“Mr. Cohen has spoken the truth to date, and on Feb. 7 in front of Mr. Cummings, he will continue to speak the truth,” Davis said.
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A guide to understanding the administration’s spin on terrorists at the border

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Do not shed your crocodile tears for your beloved FBI, our dear Not Exactly The Big (Maybe, Medium?) Brother Barak! They are your Baby now. You own them... - M.N. - 8:35 AM 1/14/2019

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Do not shed your crocodile tears for your beloved FBI, our dear Not Exactly The Big (Maybe, Medium?) Brother Barak! They are your Baby now. You own them and their "Obama's FBI" History, documented by the ACLU, among your other leftist "allies". I do think that you, Your Para-Socialist Majesty, should be investigated too, and very thoroughly. You and Trump are just the two sides of the same coin, and I believe, that both of you are, indeed, the New Abwehr's babes; both probably unwitting, but the degree and the quality of this "unwittingness" have to be explored, examined, and determined. The FBI's "Dishonesty and Corruption", as Gregg named them aptly, may be "endemic", and chronic but these problems, it seems to me, were exacerbated greatly during the Obama Presidency, and this period, in retrospect, might be viewed as the times of the War on the FBI by the New Abwehr and the other opponents. 

Michael Novakhov 

1.14.19

Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Google Search

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"Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation." I agree with you, Gregg. Now we have to think what to do about it. And then we will have to do something. - M.N.

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"Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation." I agree with you, Gregg. Now we have to think what to do about it. And then we will have to do something. - M.N. 

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Story image for Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation from Fox News

Gregg Jarrett: An FBI that is corrupt and dishonest -- Latest reports ...

Fox News-2 hours ago
New York Times: FBI opened counterintelligence probe on Trump to investigate ... Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Gregg Jarrett: An FBI that is corrupt and dishonest -- Latest reports offer only more proof

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Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The latest proof comes in a New York Times report that the FBI initiated an investigation in May of 2017 into whether President Donald Trump was serving as a covert Russian agent.  The accusation itself was ludicrous on its face.  But from a legal standpoint, the FBI's probe constituted an egregious abuse of power.  The Bureau had no probable cause, no evidence, and no reasonable suspicions.  They investigated Trump because they could.  They defied the law, ignored or perverted facts, and debased the integrity of a heretofore-respected law enforcement agency.

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