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Tag: Russia

Ex-FBI Agent Strzok Calls Trump a ‘Counterintelligence Threat’ in New Book

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent who played a key role in the Russia-Trump investigation, described the president as a “counterintelligence threat” in a new memoir.

Strzok, who spent more than 20 years as a counterintelligence agent before he was removed from the special counsel team over disparaging texts about Trump in 2017, wrote in “Compromised” that he witnessed the president’s “willingness to accept political assistance from an opponent like Russia — and, it follows, his willingness to subvert everything America stands for,” The New York Times reports.

“That’s not patriotic,” Strzok wrote. “It’s the opposite.”

Strzok claimed Trump pressured the FBI to fire him in August 2018 and used the texts to whip up conspiracy theories. In August 2019, Strzok filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI, claiming his termination was politically motivated.

“The reporting about my texts hadn’t only whipped Trump into a frenzy,” Strzok wrote. “It had also sent Republicans in Congress into a righteous peeve, giving them fodder for right-wing indignation that would eventually ferment into the deep-state fairy tale that would consume conservative media.”

In the book, which is set to be released Tuesday, Strzok defended the investigation into Trump’s campaign,

The bureau was “investigating a credible allegation of foreign intelligence activity to see where it led,” Strzok wrote. “It started with Russia, and it was always about Russia.”

DOJ Quietly Limited Special Counsel Probe of Russia, Making It Difficult to Explore Ties to Trump’s Campaign

Rod Rosenstein and Robert S. Mueller III

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department secretly narrowed the focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, a move that prevented authorities from fully pursuing links to Trump’s campaign, The New York Times reports.

Former Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein privately limited the investigation to a criminal one, rather than one that explored authorities’ concerns about counterintelligence issues related to Trump’s connections to Russia.

Rosenstein’s actions all but ensured the investigation “would go nowhere,” The Times wrote, citing former Justice Department and FBI officials.

Publicly, Rosenstein said Mueller’s job was to explore “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government,” which includes counterintelligence issues. Not even the bureau’s then-acting director Andrew McCabe knew Rosenstein had limited the scope of the investigation. Had he known, the FBI would have investigated the counterintelligence issues, McCabe said.

“We opened this case in May 2017 because we had information that indicated a national security threat might exist, specifically a counterintelligence threat involving the president and Russia,” McCabe said. “I expected that issue and issues related to it would be fully examined by the special counsel team. If a decision was made not to investigate those issues, I am surprised and disappointed. I was not aware of that.”

Rosenstein declined to respond to The Times story.

Comey Says He ‘Can’t Imagine’ Being a Target of Probe into Russia Investigation

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey said Sunday that he “can’t imagine” that he’s a target of the Justice Department’s investigation into the origins of the bureau’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Given that I know what happened during 2016, which was a bunch of people trying to do the right thing consistent with the law, I’m not worried at all about that investigation of the investigation,” Comey said on Face the Nation. “Next, I’m sure will be an investigation of the investigation of the investigation. They just want to have an investigation to talk about.”

Comey said he’s had no contact with John Durham, the U.S. attorney tapped to investigate Russian interference and ultimately Trump’s campaign.

The first charges to arise from the investigation were filed against Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty earlier this month to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Trump has long claimed, without evidence, that Comey was part of a”witch hunt” to bring down his presidency.

Trump Attacks FBI Director Wray Over Handling of Inquiry into Russia Investigation

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump criticized his FBI director Christopher Wray on Thursday, saying he should be more “forthcoming” and cooperative with inquiries into the investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016.

When Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo asked Trump if Wray should resign after documents suggested the FBI misled the Senate about the credibility of the Steele dossier, Trump responded that there was an upcoming election.

“I wish he was more forthcoming. He certainly hasn’t been,” Trump said. “There are documents that they want to get and that we have said we want to get. We are going to find out if he’s going to give those documents. Certainly, he’s been very, very protective.”

He added, “Let’s see how Wray turns out. He’s going to either turn out one way or another.”

Hours later, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., spoke in favor of Wray.

“I believe the Director is committed to being helpful – in an appropriate manner – by balancing the needs of privacy for Bureau employees with public transparency for the benefit of the American people,” Graham said in a statement, adding that they had a “very good discussion.”

Trump Pressured Intelligence Agencies to Quash Report about Russia’s Election Interference

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump pressured intelligence agencies to quash part of classified report that revealed Russia was trying to help him win the 2020 election, according to The New York Times Magazine.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) compiled the report, known as a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded that Russia sought to interfere in the election.

As the ODNI was finishing the report, Trump staffers attempted to remove the section about Russia interfering in the election.

“I can affirm that one of my staffers who was aware of the controversy requested that I modify that assessment,” former director of national intelligence Dan Coats tell The Times. “But I said, ‘No, we need to stick to what the analysts have said.'”

Soon after, Trump forced Coats to retire early.

Without Coates at the helm, the NIE soft-peddled the conclusion, stating, “Russian leaders probably assess that chances to improve relations with the US will diminish under a different US president.”

Numerous federal agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but Trump downplayed the reports.

Sally Yates Defends Flynn Investigation, Denies It Was Motivated by Anti-Trump Politics

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Wednesday defended the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, adamantly denying allegations that the probe was politically motivated.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Yates said the impetus for the investigation was concerns about national security after the discovery that Flynn held secretive talks with the Russian ambassador, The New York Times reports.

“General Flynn had essentially neutered the U.S. government’s message of deterrence,” Yates testified. “Far from rebuking the Russians for their attack on our country, General Flynn was conciliatory.”

Yates also said it was “highly irregular” for the Justice Department to call for the dismissal of charges against Flynn.

The Republican-led committee is investigating the probe of Russia’s alleged ties to the incoming Trump administration.

During the hearing, Trump claimed Yates was “part of the greatest political crime of the Century” and that she was “either lying or grossly incompetent.”

FBI Hid Copies of Russia Probe Documents to Prevent Trump from Interfering

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Worried that President Trump would interfere with the FBI investigation into Russia, former FBI Director Andrew McCabe took steps to preserve documents related to the case in case he was ousted, CNN first reported.

McCabe instructed agents to make three copies of key documents and place them in remote locations around the FBI, according to an excerpt from CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s book, “True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump.”

Former FBI Director James Comey’s memos about his conversations with Trump were placed in SENTINEL, the bureau’s case management system.

“McCabe knew that once documents were inside the system, they were virtually impossible to remove,” CNN reported. “With Comey’s memos in the system, the investigators were certain to have access to them – even if McCabe himself would eventually be gone.”

The documents were eventually turned over to Robert Mueller, who was appointed special counsel to oversee the investigation. Those documents proved to be critical to the investigation.

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok Writes Book about Trump And Russia

Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Peter Strzok, the former FBI counterintelligence agent who helped investigate Russian interference during the 2016 election, wrote a book that will be released on Sept. 8.

“Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump” will provide an insider’s view “on some of the most sensational and politically freighted investigations in modern American history, including into whether the 2016 Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the presidential election,” The Associated Press reports.

The book cautions about the potential for foreign influence on Trump.

“Russia has long regarded the United States as its ‘Main Enemy,’ and I spent decades trying to protect our country from their efforts to weaken and undermine us,” Strzok said Tuesday in a statement accompanying the book announcement.

“In this book,” he added, “I use that background to explain how the elevation by President Trump and his collaborators of Trump’s own personal interests over the interests of the country allowed Putin to succeed beyond Stalin’s wildest dreams, and how the national security implications of Putin’s triumph will persist through our next election and beyond.”

Strzok served as a counterintelligence agent and worked for the FBI for more than two decades.

Strzok was fired in 2018 after the release of a series of text messages in which he mocked Trump and said the bureau must “stop” Trump from becoming president.