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Tag: Russia

Ex-Deputy AG Rosenstein to Testify Before Senate Committee about FBI’s Probe of Trump’s Campaign

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is set to testify next week at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the FBI’s investigation of President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“Mr. Rosenstein will testify about the new revelations contained in the Horowitz report concerning the FISA warrant applications and other matters,” Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in a statement, KTLA5 reports. “This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation.”

Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russia’s meddling in the campaign in 2017.

Rosenstein is expected to be the only witness during the hearing on Wednesday.

Former DOJ Official Claims Barr Twisted Her Words to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

McCord, who oversaw the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the charges largely hinged on her account about what led up to the bureau’s interview with Flynn, who was President Trump’s first national security adviser.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does,” McCord wrote. “What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with (Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Those apparent lies prompted Mr. Pence and others to convey inaccurate statements about the nature of the conversations in public news conferences and interviews.”

McCord acknowledged the FBI should have coordinated Flynn’s interview with the Justice Department, but said she does not believe the agencies lacked a reason to suspect Flynn may have violated crimes.

“It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious,” she concluded.

McCord concluded, “In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

Barr Claims Russia Probe had No Basis, Was Intended to ‘Sabotage the Presidency’

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr claims that the Russia investigation in the first half of President Trump’s first term had no basis and was nothing short of an effort to “sabotage the presidency,” he told Fox News.

Without offering any evidence to support his claim, Barr described the investigation of Trump as “one of the greatest travesties in American history.”

“Without any basis, they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning actually is what happened after the campaign — a whole pattern of events while he was president – to sabotage the presidency — or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”

Barr also delved into the coronavirus outbreak, defending Trump’s handling and suggesting that some of the states’ stay-at-home measures were “draconian.”

“When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Barr said.

DOJ Moves to Dismiss Charges Against Russians Accused of Running Troll Farms

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department filed a motion Monday to dismiss charges against two shell companies involved in Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election.

The move comes just two weeks before jury selection was to begin in the case against Concord Management and Concord Consulting, which were charged in 2018 as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller probe.

Prosecutors say the companies were using the case to try to gain access to sensitive information that could harm U.S. national security, The New York Times reports.

“Concord has been eager and aggressive in using the judicial system to gather information about how the United States detects and prevents foreign election interference,” prosecutors said in a motion filed in court on Monday.

Appeals Court: DOJ Must Disclose Grand Jury Material to Democrats on House Committee

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to give House lawmakers secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, The Washington Post reported.

The 2-1 decision is a partial victory for House Democrats who have been trying to obtain the grand jury material. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld a district court ruling a year ago, can be appealed to the full court or the Supreme Court.

That means the secret material from the investigation does not yet have to be disclosed.

DOJ Says Surveillance of Carter Page Should Have Ended Earlier

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department says it lacked sufficient evidence to continue surveilling former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017.

The department revealed its assessment that it should have ended the surveillance sooner in a December letter to the Foreign Surveillance Court, which oversees surveillance of suspected foreign spies.

The letter, which was made public Thursday and obtained by Reuters, suggested the DOJ lacked probable cause to continue wiretapping Page.

The letter follows a review by the DOJ’s internal watchdog that concluded the FBI left out evidence evidence and went too far in its investigation of possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Michael Flynn Wants to Withdraw His 2017 Guilty Plea in Mueller Probe

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn wants to withdraw his guilty plea to lying to the FBI during the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, his lawyers said in a court filing obtained by Reuters.

Flynn’s change of heart comes after federal prosecutors reversed course and called for up to six months in prison for Flynn, the only member of the Trump administration to plead guilty in the Robert Mueller probe.

The prosecutors called for the stiffer sentence after Flynn began arguing that prosecutors violated his rights.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Federal Prosecutors Reverse Course, Call for 6 Months in Jail for Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are now calling for up to six months in prison for Michael Flynn, saying the former Trump national security adviser shows no signs of remorse after embracing a combative defense strategy.

The Justice Department initially suggested it was open to probation for Flynn, the only member of the Trump administration to plead guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation. At the time Flynn was cooperating with investigators. But after that, Flynn took a different course and tried in vein to get the case dismissed.

“Far from accepting the consequences of his unlawful actions, he has sought to blame almost every other person and entity involved in his case, including his former counsel,” federal prosecutors wrote in a memo to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. “Most blatantly, the defendant now professes his innocence.”

The sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 28.