2:33 AM 2/26/2019 - Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠: Who—or What—Was the FBI’s Mole at the Heart of the Trump Campaign? - By John Schindler | Russia’s Voter Suppression Operation Echoed Trump Campaign Tactics | Operation Trump - Google Search

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Who—or What—Was the FBI’s Mole at the Heart of the Trump Campaign, asks John Schindler. His answer is "SIGINT". Undoubtedly, it was. 
However, the moles within the FBI have to be considered also. The real, human moles on the highest levels of the FBI appear to be quite likely. This might be the old, chronic problem which contributed into all the major and minor disasters in the US political life after WW2. 
This fruitless, maddening, dysfunctional search for the MOLES has to be more efficient and include all the possible tools and tactics. FBI practices have to be examined and reviewed. It is a big and complex job but it seems to be unavoidable. 

Michael Novakhov 


2.26.19

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Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠ 
Who—or What—Was the FBI’s Mole at the Heart of the Trump Campaign?
Russia’s Voter Suppression Operation Echoed Trump Campaign Tactics
Operation Trump - Google Search
Operation Trump - Google Search
Operation Trump - Google Search
Operation Trump - Google Search
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Who—or What—Was the FBI’s Mole at the Heart of the Trump Campaign?

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U.S. President Donald Trump.
U.S. President Donald Trump. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Feds claim vaguely to know a lot about President Donald Trump’s secret Kremlin ties. What’s behind the spy mystery here? How much does the FBI know and how does it know it? At last, we have more than hints.
Ignominiously firing Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director, on January 29, 2018, just 26 hours shy of his retirement, was one of Donald Trump’s more consequential missteps. Kicking the career G-Man out of the Bureau a day short of his pension guaranteed that McCabe would seek payback, and he has gotten it mightily.
McCabe’s memoir, out this month, has shot to the top of bestseller lists, thanks in part to President Trump’s public berating of the author. As is his custom, Trump’s hysterical tweets about the book have significantly boosted sales. Most recently, Trump’s insult that McCabe is a “poor man’s J. Edgar Hoover” got the reply, “I don’t even know what that means.” Really, none of us do at this point.
Trump seems unhinged by all the publicity McCabe’s been getting on his book tour, while the former FBI bigwig’s comments can’t sit well at the White House. McCabe has made clear that the Bureau investigated the president’s Kremlin connections because Trump so frequently parroted Russian propaganda in the Oval Office. In slightly more guarded language, McCabe stated, “I think it’s possible” when asked point-blank if President Trump might be an asset of Russian intelligence.
How exactly top counterintelligence officials in our nation’s capital came to the shocking conclusion that Donald Trump really might be working for the Kremlin is the big question lurking at the heart of the entire Department of Justice investigation into the current administration. Answering that will reveal the core secrets of this presidency and perhaps change American politics forever.
It’s no secret that senior FBI officials knew that something was amiss with candidate Trump and his foreign linkages back in 2016. That summer, the Bureau opened a tightly compartmented counterintelligence investigation into possible Russian espionage connections to Team Trump. Memorably termed CROSSFIRE HURRICANE, that inquiry opened the door to the Special Counsel investigation headed by Robert S. Mueller, III, still in progress today. What exactly the FBI’s initial investigation uncovered remains shrouded behind classification, but we’ve now gotten a big hint about what was really happening that fateful summer.
Like so much of what’s been publicly revealed about CROSSFIRE HURRICANE, it involves Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who back in 2016 were the FBI’s counterintelligence boss and a Bureau attorney, respectively, who were also secret lovers. They exchanged a lot of indiscreet text messages about Trump during the presidential campaign, some of which had no business being in unclassified messages. For their indiscretions, Strzok and Page were run out of the FBI in disgrace, becoming something of an obsession for Team Trump, including the president himself.
Now The Daily Caller has reported what Strzok and Page told Congress last year, in closed testimony, about what was going on with CROSSFIRE HURRICANE back in mid-2016. To make a long spy story short, the lovers were concerned that mounting a serious, sustained counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s ties to Moscow ran the risk of exposing a longtime Bureau intelligence source of great value.
As Page told Congress on July 13, 2018, “If [Trump] is not going to be president, then we don’t need to burn longstanding sources and risk sort of the loss of future investigative outlets, not in this case, but in other Russia-related matters.” Two weeks later, Strzok told Congress that a notorious text exchange with his mistress about a mysterious FBI “insurance policy” actually referred to this shadowy “very sensitive source” who, The Daily Caller noted, “had provided evidence of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
On July 12, 2018, Strzok touched on this sensitive source in his public Congressional testimony:
What we had before us was an allegation that something significant, that members of the Trump campaign may have been working in cooperation with the Russians. Some people were saying, ‘hey look, this sensitive source of information that’s so sensitive, so vulnerable, we shouldn’t put it in danger,’ because sometimes if you go out and do aggressive investigation, if it’s a drug snitch or an intelligence source, you can cause significant harm.
Who, then, was this super-sensitive source providing the FBI with evidence of possible collusion between candidate Trump and the Kremlin? Three individuals are known to have provided information to CROSSFIRE HURRICANE: Alexander Downer, Australia’s high commissioner (i.e., ambassador to Britain), retired British spy Christopher Steele (complier of the notorious dossier about Trump and the Russians), and Stefan Halper, an academic and supposed intelligence source for the FBI and CIA.
To be blunt, none of these men is a plausible fit for the “very sensitive source” whom Strzok referenced. Downer and Halper are mere casual sources, no more than access agents, while Steele’s relationship to CROSSFIRE HURRICANE was already exposed long before Strzok and Page testified before Congress.
The clear implication of what The Daily Caller uncovered is that the FBI had a highly important intelligence source in or near the Trump campaign. In other words, the Bureau had a mole. Protecting that source was deemed more important in the summer of 2016 than stopping the Trump campaign, which the FBI knew or at least strongly suspected was in bed with Vladimir Putin.
Who could be that important to the Bureau? Logic and counterintelligence experience dictate that such a source had to be very close to Donald Trump. The mole’s identity has not been revealed and probably won’t be anytime soon, leaving major questions unanswered about how the FBI knew what it knew back in 2016—all of which is surely known to Team Mueller now.
But what if the mole wasn’t a person? The FBI has long protected super-secret technical intelligence programs, above all signals intelligence, by masquerading their information as coming from (non-existent) human sources. Were Strzok and Page obliquely referring to top-secret-plus SIGINT regarding Trump’s clandestine ties to Moscow?
That would fit with what this column previously reported about the president’s Kremlin ties. As I told you last May, “The counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump was kicked off by not one, not two, but multiple SIGINT reports which set off alarm bells inside our Intelligence Community,” explaining that the initial information came from foreign intelligence partners. I added:
NSA understood quite a bit about Trump’s connections to Moscow, and by mid-2016, it had increased its efforts to get to the bottom of the mystery regarding the candidate’s Russian ties. In response to urgent FBI requests for more information, NSA rose to the occasion, and by the time that Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination in mid-July 2016, ‘We knew we had a Russian agent on our hands,’ as a senior NSA official put it to me recently.
That seems to be the same intelligence which Strzok and Page referred to in coded language, for classification reasons. The Trump White House now is no doubt searching frantically for an FBI mole in their ranks who may not exist. Excellent technical intelligence was always the underpinning of CROSSFIRE HURRICANE, as the FBI has been careful to conceal in order to protect top-secret intelligence sources and methods. The full spy story here, just as with the last major league joint NSA-FBI counterintelligence coup against Moscow, will take decades to be fully revealed to the public.
Who—or What—Was the FBI’s Mole at the Heart of the Trump Campaign?
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Russia’s Voter Suppression Operation Echoed Trump Campaign Tactics

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The big new development in the Russian collusion story is a pair of reports examining how Russian agents used social media to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by trying to suppress black votes, along with those of other demographic groups generally unfriendly to Trump. As NBC News put it, with blunt candor: “Russia Favored Trump, Targeted African-Americans with Election Meddling, Reports Say.”
The two reports were commissioned by the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, which assigned independent researchers to examine Russian influence efforts across multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. This massive influence campaign—it led to more than 300 million engagements from 2015 to 2017, researchers say—was orchestrated by the Internet Research Agency, the Putin-aligned Russian firm, a dozen of whose employees were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February.
An earlier piece at Bloomberg News emphasized that the Russian effort focused particularly on discouraging black Americans from voting:
Among the groups most heavily targeted by the Russians: African-Americans. The researchers found a cross-platform effort to target black Americans, often with memes about police brutality, and later feeding them voter suppression messages. Among the narratives shared with black audiences was a meme "I WON’T VOTE, WILL YOU?" Another said "Everybody SUCKS, We’re Screwed 2016.”
As many Twitter users have noted—and as astute Bloomberg Businessweek readers may remember—this attempt to dissuade black voters sounds eerily familiar. That’s because the Trump campaign itself tried to do something similar: Back in October 2016, just before the presidential election, a colleague and I visited the campaign’s data headquarters in San Antonio, Tex., and were shown examples of stealthy Facebook ads targeting black Americans—so-called “dark posts”—that were meant to sully Hillary Clinton’s image by playing up racially inflammatory comments she’d once made and thereby weaken her black support. Here’s what we wrote at the time:
“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior [Trump campaign] official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans. Trump’s invocation at the debate of Clinton’s WikiLeaks e-mails and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to turn off Sanders supporters. The parade of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and harassed or threatened by Hillary is meant to undermine her appeal to young women. And her 1996 suggestion that some African American males are “super predators” is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls—particularly in Florida.
On Oct. 24, Trump’s team began placing spots on select African American radio stations. In San Antonio, a young staffer showed off a South Park-style animation he’d created of Clinton delivering the “super predator” line (using audio from her original 1996 sound bite), as cartoon text popped up around her: “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators.” The animation will be delivered to certain African American voters through Facebook “dark posts”—nonpublic posts whose viewership the campaign controls so that, as [digital director Brad] Parscale puts it, “only the people we want to see it, see it.” The aim is to depress Clinton’s vote total. “We know because we’ve modeled this,” says the official. “It will dramatically affect her ability to turn these people out.”
In light of the new research reports on Russian meddling, several readers contacted me to ask if I think the Russians colluded with the Trump campaign to discourage black American votes. Could it be pure coincidence that both entities were targeting the same people, at the same time, for the same end, using the same means: social media?
The short answer is: I don’t know. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, Robert Mueller and his investigators may shed light on the answer. For what it’s worth, Parscale and other Trump officials have in the past vehemently denied—including to me personally—colluding with the Russians. (Parscale didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this column.)
As a political reporter, I’ve learned never to rule out anything when it comes to Trump. But there are differences worth pointing out between the black-voter dissuasion efforts I witnessed in San Antonio and the Russian efforts described in the new reports. The key difference, as the researchers describe it, is that Russian agents sought to infiltrate black groups and gain members’ trust over a long period of time in order to manipulate them later on. The Trump campaign ads I saw simply sought to deliver a negative message—or a quick succession of negative messages—in the closing weeks of the campaign to discourage low-propensity black voters from showing up.
Researchers described the Russian social media campaign in detail: “The greatest effort on Facebook and Instagram appears to have been focused on developing Black audiences. There was significant and extensive integration into the Black community, particularly on Facebook, via the creation of a dedicated media ecosystem, the sharing and cross-promotion of legitimate media content, and ongoing attempted development of human assets. The degree of integration was not replicated in the Right-leaning content. ...
“There were several variants of suppression narratives, spread both on Twitter and on Facebook. These included malicious misdirection (text-to-vote scams deployed on Twitter), support redirection (‘vote for a 3rd party!’), and turnout suppression (‘stay home on Election Day!’).
The Trump campaign also wanted black voters to stay home on Election Day. But as officials described it to me at the time, their effort was targeted at a specific group of  voters: Haitian Americans living in South Florida. The Trump campaign targeted them because it was an article of faith among its senior staff that Haitian Americans were susceptible to negative messaging about Hillary Clinton. The conservative author Peter Schweizer argued in his 2015 book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, that many were disillusioned by the Clinton Foundation’s efforts after it made expansive promises about helping to rebuild Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. At that time, Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and her husband was appointed co-chairman of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. This clip from the Clinton Cash movie gives a flavor of the anti-Clinton argument:
Trump’s brain trust had enough faith in this thesis that it didn’t limit the campaign’s efforts to social media. Trump himself visited Miami’s “Little Haiti” neighborhood during a September 2016 campaign swing and promised to “be a friend” to Haitian Americans. News reports at the time, such as this onefrom the Associated Press, suggest that targeting Haitian Americans wasn’t a fanciful notion:
“It is true that some members of the Haitian-American community have questioned where the billions of dollars in earthquake aid went. In March 2015, some Haitian-Americans protested in front of Clinton’s New York office, according to local news reports. Marleine Bastien, a longtime Haitian-American activist and executive director of a Florida-based advocacy group, Haitian Women of Miami, said that six years after the earthquake, there are still questions about how the money has been spent. But more pressing to the Haitian-American community, she said, is the issue of Haitian immigrants detained at the U.S. southern border since late September and then deported.”
None of this rules out the possibility that the Trump campaign and the Russians colluded to discourage black American voters. But neither do Monday’s reports make new connections I can see that add evidence to the suspicion that they might have. Russians wouldn’t have needed inside information to know that discouraging black voters would help Trump. If there’s a danger here for Trump, it’s that the Russians might have offered to help, anyway.
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A pragmatic pact formed in Poland - Opinion

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A pragmatic pact formed in Poland
PARTICIPANTS POSE for a photo during the Middle East summit in Warsaw earlier this month.. (photo credit: REUTERS)
The 60-nation strong conference held in Warsaw last week, intended to “Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” might actually bear fruit. The overarching goal was to achieve a durable peace with normalized multilateral relations between pragmatic nations in the Middle East, or the “ultimate deal,” as US President Donald Trump refers to it. Such peace will unfortunately take more time to ripen, but several key achievements were accomplished in Warsaw en route to the grand goal.
The first is in the conference commencement itself. The fact that a key European capital hosted 60 world leaders, united to confront one common and critical threat – Iran – is significant. Reversing the futile policy of appeasing Iran, which began with Trump’s “Riyadh address” in May 2017, has now become a reality with a large alliance committed to resist Iran’s aggression and manipulation. Even if Germany, home to the conglomerate that helped build an Iranian reactor, has once again chosen the wrong side of history, the alliance against the Iran regime is strong and mounting.
After discrete diplomacy between Israel, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and others in the region over the past decade, this is the first time the leader of the Jewish state and leaders of the prominent Muslim states candidly and productively conversed with a common goal for all to see. Dennis Ross, the US diplomat who served as special Middle East coordinator under Bill Clinton, and who chaired a panel at the conference, said, “There were actual exchanges. That was new and different.” The late Shimon Peres might have envisioned the New Middle East to look like this.
Those who don’t fully realize Iran’s concern over the summit should tune into its state-run Press TV broadcasts to appreciate the conference’s achievement and the Ayatollahs’ attempts to downplay it. A few Western critics also tried downplaying the dramatic setting, dismissing it as nothing more than a politically motivated stunt, timed and intended for internal affairs related to the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and to bolster opinion polls for the American president, with 58 leaders of other world powers serving as props.
Nonsense.
The same critics made similar statements after Netanyahu’s 2015 speech before a joint session of Congress and a disgruntled president, in an attempt to derail the nuclear deal with Iran. The byproduct of that speech did help Netanyahu get reelected, but more importantly, it eventually helped convince American lawmakers to promote a withdrawal from that dire deal.
TIME WILL TELL if the 2019 pact in Poland was as historic as some see it. In the meantime, we can ponder on the statements made by Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who said, “We grew up talking about the Palestine-Israel dispute as the most important issue that we have to see solved... but then at a later stage we saw a bigger challenge. We saw a more toxic one – in fact the most toxic one in our modern history – that came from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” 
And Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, “Iran plays a destructive role everywhere in the region. Look at the Palestinians – who supports Hamas? Who is making a mess in Syria? Iran. Who is trying to smuggle chemical weapons to Kuwait and Bahrain? Iran... If we want peace and stability in the Middle East, we must make clear to the Iranians that they have to behave like a normal country.”
Iran was not the only bystander that took notice of the conference and the change it represented. So did the Palestinians, who once again did not miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity by boycotting the Warsaw gathering. Their leaders might still recall the ill-fated Oslo Accords, signed over 25 years ago, which achieved little else but bloodshed, and a lost generation of leadership for Palestinians. It is now realized that Palestinian veto power to stop normalization in the region is becoming obsolete. Cooperation in the region, for the common good of the pragmatic states, can progress despite Palestinian rejectionism.
The world understands that even if Iran’s plans materialized, and Israel were to somehow disappear, the war in Syria would continue, as would the instability in Iraq and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. So would the civil war between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Arabs led by Saudi Arabia. The pragmatic nations of the world realize that in the quest for a solution, Israel has more to offer than its remote real estate. A clear sign of such recognition was shown this week when Hungarian, Czech Republic, and Slovakian officials announced diplomatic offices in Jerusalem.
The Palestinians will soon need to choose between Iran and pragmatism. Time is not necessarily on their side, and until they are prepared to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state – which they have never done – there will be no peace. In the meantime, their negotiating leverage might continue to deplete. Since taking office, Trump has taken “Jerusalem off the table,” and casually dismissed a US commitment to a two-state solution, saying the sides will decide on the matter, while indicating that he is fine with the one Jewish state. If the Palestinians continue to boycott talks while praying for an impeachment in America or Israel, they may find area C in the disputed territories annexed and the “demand of return” into Israel proper become a non-issue.
The Jared Kushner-organized conference was a powerful follow-up to his father-in-law’s “Riyadh address.” Between the address and the conference, the president has withdrawn from the dubious nuclear deal, imposed stifling sanctions on the Ayatollahs, and more. It’s now time the Saudis and other Sunni states to do more. Their active participation in Poland – alongside America’s vice president and secretary of state, the United Kingdom’s foreign minister, and the prime minister of Israel – was a good sign that a meaningful and pragmatic pact set in Poland is possible.
The writer is a visiting scholar at Georgetown University and a research fellow at the Institute for Counter Terrorism. The views expressed here are his own.
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2016 Presidential Election Investigation Fast Facts

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2016 Presidential Election Investigation Fast Facts ... FBI - In July of 2016, the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation into possible ...
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Operation Trump - Google Search

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Trump unleashing digital juggernaut ahead of 2020

The Hill-8 hours ago
Trump's digital operation in 2016 was so successful he appointed the man widely credited with steering it, Brad Parscale, as his campaign ...
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Court records reveal a Mueller report right in plain view

Associated Press (press release) (blog)-13 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump was in full deflection mode. ... small part of a sophisticated election interference operation carried out by ...
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Trump rolls out massive corporate-style campaign structure for 2020

Politico-Feb 19, 2019
President Donald Trump is assembling a sprawling, corporate-style ... the structure as an attempt to run as functional an operation as possible.
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GOP donors: Trump campaign lacks a strategy to win in 2020

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Operation Trump - Google Search

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Election of Trump as intelligence operation - Google Search

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House Democrats target Trump’s personal finances

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Democrats are raising questions about why Deutsche Bank was willing to lend the Trump Organization money when other banks wouldn’t. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Why did Deutsche Bank lend money to Trump business when others refused?
House Democrats are planning to cross one of President Donald Trump’s red lines: investigating his personal finances.
With special counsel Robert Mueller expected to wind up his work soon, Democrats are launching an investigation to discover why Deutsche Bank was willing to lend the Trump Organization money when other banks wouldn’t and whether Russia was involved.
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The German bank, which has been under scrutiny for its role in Russian money laundering, lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars over the years for his property development ventures.
The House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees have been staffing up for their probes into the bank and Trump's Russia ties. Democrats on the panels say that with Deutsche Bank they are willing to pursue a key area that Mueller may have avoided — crossing what Trump sees as a "red line" into his personal finances.
“There's a heightened need to look into anything that could compromise the president or the country, particularly if it's not being investigated elsewhere," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told POLITICO. "I don't know that to be the case but I just haven't seen any external signs that that's happening."
Democrats won't be confined by boundaries set by the president as they ramp up their probes, so any perceived omissions by Mueller will be prime targets for House committees.
“What does Bob Mueller know?" said Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.), a member of the two committees. "Has he requested information from Treasury? Does he have anything from them? I don't know one way or another. Has he requested anything directly from Deutsche Bank? There seems to be indications not, but we really don't know."
Democrats are skeptical that Mueller showed much interest in Deutsche Bank because of reporting last year that Trump nearly tried to shut down the Russia investigation — prompted by news that Mueller had subpoenaed the lender — but backed down after the special counsel's office denied the stories.
"I'm happy to be proven wrong," Schiff said.
A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the Mueller investigation but said the bank "takes its legal obligations seriously and remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations." The White House referred questions to the Trump Organization, which did not respond to a request for comment.
In his latest financial disclosure filing, Trump reported owing Deutsche Bank at least $130 million.
House Democrats, now armed with their own subpoena power, aren't waiting for the results of Mueller's investigation. Schiff and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) have already agreed to work together on a probe of Deutsche Bank.
"We are moving forward," Schiff said.
For Schiff, Deutsche Bank is a starting point as his committee investigates possible money laundering by the Trump Organization. Waters, who has called for the president's impeachment, has said her inquiry into the "Trump money trail" would also start with the bank.
Waters told CNBC in an interview that aired this month that there was a need to look further into Trump's finances to figure out "whether or not money laundering has been involved and whether or not there are connections with the oligarchs of Russia."
Last year, House Intelligence Committee Democrats outlined concerns they had about Deutsche Bank in a status report on the panel's Russia investigation, which at that time was being run by Republicans. Among their questions: Did Trump's financial exposure via Deutsche Bank or other loans represent a point of leverage that Russia could exploit? Did the Russian government try to court Trump and launder money through the Trump Organization?
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"There's a desire to get the facts around whatever relationship Deutsche Bank might have had with the Trump Organization so that we can just put that behind us, whatever the facts may show," said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who serves on the committees that plan to investigate the bank.
Even House Republicans have raised questions about the German bank. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, asked Deutsche Bank's CEO to lay out what measures the company has taken to respond to money laundering scandals.
McHenry is steering clear of Trump, but he told POLITICO that money laundering for Russians is a major, bipartisan concern and that his inquiry is "directed at solid policymaking."
Further questions have mounted in recent weeks.
Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that bank executives discussed giving the Trump Organization more time to repay $340 million in loans until after a possible second Trump term in 2025 because of concerns that the Trump Organization might default. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Deutsche Bank turned down Trump for a loan in early 2016.
Democrats also have questions about how Trump's businesses were able to rely on cash transactions in the years before he became president to fund real estate development, as opposed to investors' money and debt — and despite a track record of bankruptcy.
“All we know is that there was one period of Donald Trump's before he became president where he was spending cash for his developments all around the world.” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the chairman of a subcommittee with jurisdiction over money laundering issues. “Very few people pay cash when they do a big development. ... He was paying cash at a time when he wasn't supposed to have money. We're going to have to find out why."
Another question, Heck said, is whether anyone was guaranteeing Deutsche Bank's loans to Trump.
"It's a guy who ended up at Deutsche Bank because domestic U.S. banks wouldn't touch him," Heck said. "It begs the question, if nobody else would touch him, was Deutsche Bank's desire to get into the market in the U.S. so strong that they were willing to override as it were all common underwriting practices, or was there another element present? We don't know."
Schiff said Democrats were “staffing up with people that have the appropriate expertise for each of the investigative threads that we are pursuing."
The House Financial Services Committee has recruited Bob Roach, a veteran investigator who oversaw earlier Senate probes into Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and HSBC. Ty Gellasch, a former Senate colleague, described Roach as "remarkably familiar" with money laundering issues and seasoned when it comes to dealing with international banks and their regulators.
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Roach may even share some traits with Mueller himself.
"Bob [Roach] tries to work in a bipartisan way and often more slowly than people might hope," Gellasch said. "He's extremely careful and doesn't investigate by press release. If he's left to work as he wants, the first we'll learn of what he's doing will likely be when the committee schedules its hearing and releases a report."
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9:20 AM 2/25/2019 - “We are going to get to the bottom of this,” Mr Schiff told ABC

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Here’s How Putin’s Russia Is Rebuilding the Iron Curtain

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5:05 AM 2/25/2019 - Quotes of the day: “If this is a witch hunt, Mueller’s found a coven at this point” | “We are going to get to the bottom of this” | "The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen” | M.N. I agree with Mr. Sessions. McCabe just proved with this "rat line" that he is the one with the nose rings and tattoos also...

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Image result for The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” 5:05 AM 2/25/2019 - Quotes of the day: 
    “If this is a witch hunt, Mueller’s found a coven at this point,” said Neal Katyal - Google Search

    “We are going to get to the bottom of this,” Mr Schiff told ABC - Google Search

    "The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” - Google Search 

    M.N. I agree with Mr. Sessions. McCabe just proved with this "rat line" that he is the one with the nose rings and tattoos also but well hidden and conspiratorial ones. 
    The rings and tattoos could be overlooked if they did their job properly. The problem is that we do not really know who "these people" are, and what they are doing. And this problems is as old as the FBI itself, or even older, starting with the Pinkertons, who were much more transparent and down to earth, it seems in retrospect. 

    ________________________________

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    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” - Google Search

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    Story image for The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” from Washington Post

    Andrew McCabe's disturbing account of working for Sessions and Trump

    Washington Post-Feb 14, 2019
    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau's workforce. “They were drunks but ...
    Story image for The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” from Slate Magazine

    Andrew McCabe: Jeff Sessions Complained That He Missed When the ...

    Slate Magazine-Feb 15, 2019
    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau's workforce. “They were drunks but ...
    Story image for The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” from The Daily Herald

    Review: A disturbing account of work under Sessions, Trump

    The Daily Herald-Feb 19, 2019
    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau's workforce. “They were drunks but ...

    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” - Google Search

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    Review: In 'The Threat,' Andrew McCabe's disturbing account of working for Sessions and Trump - Entertainment & Life - The Register-Guard

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    “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump”
    By Andrew G. McCabe
    (St. Martin’s, 274 pages, $29.99)
    He didn’t read intelligence reports and mixed up classified material with what he had seen in
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    Court records reveal a Mueller report right in plain view

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    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump was in full deflection mode.
    The Democrats had blamed Russia for the hacking and release of damaging material on his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump wasn't buying it. But on July 27, 2016, midway through a news conference in Florida, Trump decided to entertain the thought for a moment.
    "Russia, if you're listening," said Trump, looking directly into a television camera, "I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing" — messages Clinton was reported to have deleted from her private email server.
    Actually, Russia was doing more than listening: It had been trying to help Republican Trump for months. That very day, hackers working with Russia's military intelligence tried to break into email accounts associated with Clinton's personal office.
    It was just one small part of a sophisticated election interference operation carried out by the Kremlin — and meticulously chronicled by special counsel Robert Mueller.
    We know this, though Mueller has made not a single public comment since his appointment in May 2017. We know this, though the full, final report on the investigation, believed to be in its final stages, may never be made public. It's up to Attorney General William Barr.
    We know this because Mueller has spoken loudly, if indirectly, in court — indictment by indictment, guilty plea by guilty plea. In doing so, he tracked an elaborate Russian operation that injected chaos into a U.S. presidential election and tried to help Trump win the White House. He followed a GOP campaign that embraced the Kremlin's help and championed stolen material to hurt a political foe. And ultimately, he revealed layers of lies, deception, self-enrichment and hubris that followed.
    Mueller Report In Plain Sight
    FILE - In this June 21, 2017 file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
    AP
    Woven through thousands of court papers, the special counsel has made his public report. This is what it says.

    RUSSIA, LOOKING TO INTERFERE

    Rich in history, culture and modern attractions. Discover the old AND the new, historic landmarks, thrilling theme parks, festivals, dining and more.
    The plot began before Bernie Bros and "Lock Her Up," before MAGA hats and "Lyin' Ted," before there was even a thought of Trump versus Clinton in 2016. It started in 2014, in a drab, concrete building in St. Petersburg, Russia.
    There, a group of tech-savvy Russian nationals, working at an organization called the Internet Research Agency, prepared"information warfare against the United States of America." The battleground would be the internet, and the target was the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
    Using a game plan honed on its own people, the troll farm prepared to pervert the social networks — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram — that Americans had come to depend on for news, entertainment, friendships and, most relevantly, political discourse.
    It would use deception, disinformation and the expansive reach of the electronically connected world to spread "distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general." Ultimately, it would carry a budget in the millions, bankrolled, according to an indictment, by Yevgeny Prighozin, a man so close to the Russian president that he is known as Putin's chef. (Prighozin's company has denied the charges).
    It was a long game. Starting in mid-2014, employees began studying American political groups to see which messages fell flat and which spread like wildfire across the internet. The organization surreptitiously dispatched employees to the U.S. — traveling through states such as Nevada, California and Colorado— to collect on-the-ground intelligence about an America that had become deeply divided on gun control, race and politics.
    As they gathered the research, the trolls began planning an elaborate deception.
    They bought server space and other computer infrastructure in the U.S. to conceal the true origin of the disinformation they planned to pump into America's social media blood stream. They began preparing networks of fake accounts they would use like sock puppets to masquerade as U.S. citizens.
    The Russian trolls set up accounts that appeared to be associated with Black Lives Matter, the Tennessee GOP, Muslim and Christian groups and the American South. By late 2015, as Clinton sparred with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination, and as American media still saw Trump as a longshot to emerge from a crowded Republican field, the Internet Research Agency began secretly buying online ads to promote its social media groups.
    By February 2016, they were ready. A memo circulated internally. Post content about "politics in the USA," they wrote, according to court papers, and "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump— we support them)."
    As disinformation scrolled across American computer screens, an entirely different Russian operation readied its own volley.
    In March 2016, as Clinton and Trump began to emerge as the leaders of their respective parties, Russian military intelligence officers began setting a trap.
    Hackers in Russia's military intelligence, known as the GRU, started sending dozens of malicious emails to people affiliated with Clinton's campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
    Like Watergate, it was a break-in. But this time, the burglary tools were emails disguised to fool people into sharing their passwords and in turn provide hackers unfettered access to their emails. The goal was to collect as many damaging documents as possible that could be released online and damage Clinton's candidacy.
    In a few short weeks, the hackers had penetrated their targets and hit the motherlode: the private Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
    ___

    A RECEPTIVE CAMPAIGN

    While the Russians were hacking, a young Trump campaign adviser named George Papadopoulos received some startling news in London.
    It was April 26, 2016. While traveling through Europe, he had connected with a Maltese academic. The professor, a middle-aged man with thinning gray hair named Joseph Mifsud, had taken a keen interest in Papadopoulos upon learning that he had joined the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser. To dazzle his young friend, Mifsud boasted of his high-level Russian connections and introduced him to a woman named Olga — a relative, he claimed, of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    Mifsud and Olga wanted Papadopoulos to arrange a meeting between Trump aides and Russian officials. Eager to ingratiate himself with the campaign, Papadopoulos brought up his newfound connections in a meeting with Trump and several high-ranking campaign officials, saying he could broker a Trump-Putin summit. When he raised the idea, his lawyers later said,Trump nodded with approval and deferred to another aide in the room, future Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said the campaign should look into it. Sessions would later say he remembered telling Papadopoulos that he wasn't authorized to speak for the campaign.
    When he walked into a London hotel for breakfast with Mifsud, Papadopoulos expected to discuss Russia's "open invitation" to meet with Trump. But the conversation quickly turned to another subject. Mifsud confided in Papadopoulos that Russia had "dirt" on Clinton. What kind of dirt? "Thousands of emails."
    What happened next remains a mystery. Prosecutors haven't revealed exactly where Mifsud got his information or what Papadopoulos might have done with it. The encounter, the first known instance of a Trump aide hearing of stolen emails, would later help kick-start the Russia investigation. But at the time, it was just one of many connections already established between the Trump campaign and Russia.
    Unbeknownst to the public, Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen had been trying to broker a business deal in Russia for the Republican candidate. The proposal was for a Trump Tower Moscow. A letter of intent was signed. Cohen had discussed it with Trump and his children. Cohen had even gone so far as to reach out to the Kremlin directly for help, speaking with an official about ways to secure land and financing for the project.
    While Cohen pursued the deal, another person with Russia ties joined the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort, a longtime Washington insider, had made millions as a political consultant for Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Over that time, Manafort developed a close relationship with a man named Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI says has ties to Russian military intelligence. Manafort also had worked for a Russian billionaire named Oleg Deripaska who is close with Putin.
    But in March 2016, Manafort was looking for a comeback. His business had dried up after Yanukovych was ousted and fled to Russia. The millions that Manafort had hidden from the IRS while enjoying a lavish lifestyle were largely gone. With the Trump campaign, Manafort saw an opportunity to get back on his feet. He and his protege, Rick Gates, quickly worked their way into the highest levels of the campaign, and they began trying to make sure old clients had heard about their new positions.
    As Trump clinched the Republican nomination, Manafort and those around him began preparing for a general election battle against Clinton.
    The Russians did, too. The Internet Research Agency boosted its support of Trump — and disparagement of Clinton. Using stolen identities and bank account information, the troll farm also began buying political ads on social media services, according to Mueller.
    "Donald wants to defeat terrorism ... Hillary wants to sponsor it," read one. "Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote," read another.
    Meanwhile, hackers with the GRU secretly implanted malicious software — called X-Agent — on the computer networks of the DNC and the DCCC. It allowed them to surreptitiously search through the political operatives' computers and steal what they wanted. As the hackers roamed the Democratic networks, a separate group of Russian intelligence officers established the means to release their ill-gotten gains, registering a website, <a href="http://DCLeaks.com" rel="nofollow">DCLeaks.com</a>.
    By May, the Democratic groups realized they had been hacked. The DNC quickly hired a private cybersecurity company, CrowdStrike, to identify the extent of the breach and to try to clear their networks of malware. But they kept it quiet until they knew more.
    On the Trump campaign, Papadopoulos continued to push for a Trump-Putin meeting, unsuccessfully.
    At the same time, another Russian outreach found a willing audience in Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
    In early June, Trump Jr. exchanged a series of emails with a British publicist representing Emin Agalarov, a pop singer in Russia, whose father had partnered with the Trumps on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Emin Agalarov and Trump Jr. had become friendly, and the publicist, Rob Goldstone, had become a common intermediary between the two wealthy sons.
    Over email, Goldstone brokered a meeting between Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer. He said the lawyer had documents that could "incriminate" Clinton and they were being shared as part of the Russian government's support of the Trump campaign. "Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer," Trump Jr. wrote back.
    The meeting was held at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 9. Trump Jr. attended along with Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Participants in the room would later say the meeting was a bust, consumed by a lengthy discussion of Russian adoption and U.S. sanctions. To Trump Jr., the information wasn't useful ammunition against Clinton. He was less concerned that it came from Russia.
    Days later, on June 14, the DNC publicly announced it had been hacked, and pointed the finger at Russia.
    By then, the Russian hackers had launched <a href="http://DCLeaks.com" rel="nofollow">DCLeaks.com</a>. According to Mueller , the DNC announcement accelerated their plans.
    They created a fake online persona called Guccifer 2.0, which quickly took credit for the hack. Through Guccifer, the hackers masqueraded as a "lone Romanian hacker" and released caches of stolen material.
    The efforts attracted the attention of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group led by Julian Assange from his exile within Ecuador's embassy in London.
    On June 22, 2016, the group sent a private message to Guccifer: "Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing."
    Over the next several weeks, WikiLeaks requested any documents related to Clinton, saying they wanted to release them before the Democratic National Convention when they worried she would successfully recruit Sanders supporters.
    We "think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary ... so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting," WikiLeaks wrote.
    Using Guccifer, the Russian intelligence officers transferred the files to WikiLeaks, hoping for a big online splash.
    They wouldn't have to wait long.
    ___

    LEAKS AND CIGARS

    July 22 was supposed to be a big Friday for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The former secretary of state was planning to announce Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. The party's convention was just days away.
    But at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, WikiLeaks stole the limelight, releasing more than 20,000 stolen DNC emails.
    The cascade of stolen material was almost immediately picked up by American news outlets, conservative pundits and Trump supporters, who in the wake of Clinton's FBI investigation for using a private email server, were happy to blast out anything with "Clinton" and "emails" in the same sentence.
    So was Trump. After publicly questioning that Russia was behind the hack of Democratic groups, he took to the stage in Florida to make his famous call to Russia, "if you're listening." He would later begin praising WikiLeaks.
    Smelling a possible political advantage, the Trump campaign reached out to Roger Stone, a close confidant of Trump's who is known for his bare-knuckles brand of political mischief. Stone had been claiming to have connections to WikiLeaks, and campaign officials were looking to find out when Wikileaks would drop its next batch of documents.
    According to an indictment against Stone, after the first release of DNC documents, "a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information" WikiLeaks had regarding Clinton's campaign.
    In August, Stone began claiming he had inside information into Assange's plans. At the same time, he was privately sending messages to a radio host and a conservative conspiracy theorist — both of whom had claimed to have connections to WikiLeaks — seeking anything they knew. (No evidence has emerged that these messages made it to Assange).
    That same month there was a meeting that went to the "heart" of the Russia investigation, according to a Mueller prosecutor. It involved Manafort, and it remains an enigma, at least to the public.
    Court papers indicate Manafort had previously shared polling information related to the Trump campaign with Kilimnik, his old Russian pal. According to emails and court papers, Manafort — looking to make money from his Trump access — had also been in touch with Kilimnik about providing private briefings for the billionaire Deripaska. (There's no evidence such briefings ever occurred).
    Meeting with Manafort and Gates at New York's Grand Havana Room cigar bar on Aug. 2, 2016, Kilimnik brought up a possible peace plan for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. What happened at that meeting is in dispute and much of it remains redacted in court papers.
    But the Mueller prosecutor would note: The men left separately to avoid unwanted attention.
    As the campaign entered the final stretch and Trump's advisers waited for the next WikiLeaks dump, Russian trolls— who had gained hundreds of thousands of social media followers — were barraging Americans with pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rhetoric, using Twitter hashtags such as "#MAGA" and "#Hillary4Prison."
    By early October, Stone was looking for more. On Oct. 3, 2016, ahead of an expected news conference by Assange, Stone exchanged messages with Matthew Boyle, a writer at Breitbart who was close to Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon.
    "Assange — what's he got? Hope it's good," Boyle wrote to Stone.
    "It is," Stone wrote back. "I'd tell Bannon but he doesn't call me back."
    Hours later, Assange held a news conference in which he appeared to waffle on whether he would release additional documents about Clinton.
    Bannon reached out to Stone: "What was that this morning???" Stone chalked it up to a "security concern" and said WikiLeaks would be releasing "a load every week going forward."
    By Oct. 7, the Trump campaign was embroiled in its own scandal. The Washington Post released audio of Trump bragging about sexually harassing and groping women. But within hours, WikiLeaks gave Trump's team a break.
    The first set of emails stolen from Podesta's accounts popped onto WikiLeaks' website. Stone's phone lit up. It was a text message from a Bannon associate.
    "well done," it read.
    ___

    A SERIES OF LIES

    The first documented lie in the Russia investigation happened on Jan. 24, 2017, in the White House office of freshly appointed national security adviser Michael Flynn.
    It was the Tuesday after Trump's inauguration, and Flynn was settling in after a whirlwind presidential transition.
    Since Trump's victory in November, Flynn had become part of Trump's inner circle — and the preferred contact between the Trump team and Russia. In late December, Flynn had asked Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the U.S., to reject or delay a U.N. vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Days later, as the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia for election-meddling, Flynn implored Kislyak not to escalate a "tit-for-tat" fight over punishment imposed on Moscow for election interference.
    But on that Tuesday, when FBI agents asked Flynn about those conversations, he lied. No, he said, he hadn't made those requests of Kislyak.
    Days later in Chicago, other FBI agents confrontedPapadopoulos as he had just stepped out of the shower at his mother's home. Though his mother would later say she knew it was a terrible idea, he agreed to go to their office for questioning, where he misled them about his conversations with Mifsud, the Maltese professor.
    Months later — after Mueller's May 2017 appointment — Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project, saying it ended much sooner than June 2016. Cohen would later say he was trying to be loyal to Trump and match the public messaging of a president who had adamantly denied any business dealings with Russia.
    Even when Trump aides tried to come clean and cooperate with Mueller's team, they couldn't keep their stories straight.
    As he was working out a plea agreement with Mueller, Gates liedto investigators about his and Manafort's Ukrainian lobbying work. Manafort pleaded guilty and agree to cooperate but a judge later determined he had also misled Mueller's team about several matters, including about his interactions with Kilimnik. Those lies voided the plea deal.
    The deceptions played out as Mueller methodically brought criminal cases. He indicted the Russian hackers. He did the sameto the troll farm. He exposed Manafort's tax cheating and his illicit foreign lobbying, winning at trial and putting the 69-year-old political operative at risk of spending the rest of his life in prison. And one by one, his team got guilty pleas from Flynn, Papadopoulos and others .
    Most recently, he indicted Stone, accusing him of witness tampering and lying to Congress about his efforts to glean information about the WikiLeaks disclosures. Despite emails showing him repeatedly discussing WikiLeaks with Trump advisers and others, Stone told lawmakers he had no records of that sort. (Stone has pleaded not guilty.)
    In the backdrop of all this is Trump and his family.
    Mueller's grand jury heard testimony from several participants of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting arranged by Trump Jr., but no charges have been filed.
    The mercurial president himself has made no secret of his disdain for the Mueller investigation and his efforts to undermine it. Mueller has investigated whether any of Trump's actions constituted obstruction of justice, but the special counsel hasn't gone public with what he found.
    And it's unclear if he ever will.
    Read the whole story

    · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” - Google Search

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    Story image for The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” from Washington Post

    Andrew McCabe's disturbing account of working for Sessions and Trump

    Washington Post-Feb 14, 2019
    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau's workforce. “They were drunks but ...
    Story image for The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” from Slate Magazine

    Andrew McCabe: Jeff Sessions Complained That He Missed When the ...

    Slate Magazine-Feb 15, 2019
    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau's workforce. “They were drunks but ...
    Story image for The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?” from The Daily Herald

    Review: A disturbing account of work under Sessions, Trump

    The Daily Herald-Feb 19, 2019
    The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau's workforce. “They were drunks but ...

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