Posts Tagged ‘Clinton Foundation’

Why are there people from the Clinton Foundation on the Mueller Staff?

June 9, 2018

Mark Penn helped design the Clinton campaign against Ken Starr. He says he’s being consistent. 

A Democrat Dissents on the Mueller Probe

Image result for Hillary Clinton, campaign button

President Trump opened the week in a typical fashion, angrily denouncing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But Mr. Trump appealed to an unlikely authority: Mark Penn, the Democratic pollster who guided President Clinton through his second-term scandals and then served as chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“ ‘Why are there people from the Clinton Foundation on the Mueller Staff?’ ” the president tweeted, paraphrasing Mr. Penn’s appearance on Fox News. “ ‘Why is there an Independent Counsel? To go after people and their families for unrelated offenses…Constitution was set up to prevent this…Stormtrooper tactics almost.’ A disgrace!”

Mr. Penn, now a lecturer at Harvard and a private-equity investor, has condemned the Mueller probe both on television and in columns for the Hill newspaper. These broadsides have turned heads in Washington, especially among fellow Democratic political professionals, who accuse him of selling out. Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide Philippe Reines told the New York Times that Mr. Penn is “making a play for something.” Top Obama adviser David Axelrod charged on Twitter that Mr. Penn’s “reemergence as Mueller-basher seems less like courageous truthtelling than cynical opportunism.”

Mr. Penn says it is his detractors who are putting political interest over principle. “There were not enough Republicans who came out in ’98 against the process,” he tells me, “and there are not enough Democrats who are coming out against the process now.”

By “the process” Mr. Penn means the use of legal tools to settle political differences, a phenomenon he sees as getting worse. “If all politics, even after elections, becomes the politics of personal destruction and destroying our opponents rather than fighting for the next election,” he asks, “what will be left of an ideas-based democracy?”

Mr. Penn helped design what he calls Team Clinton’s “aggressive campaign” against the Kenneth Starr investigation. That inquiry originated with suspicions about the Clintons ’ Arkansas land dealings and culminated with Mr. Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice in testimony arising from a sexual-harassment lawsuit. Mr. Penn sees strong similarities between then and now: “In 1998, the country was being torn apart in an investigation that had gone on for many years and then had segued into some other area, after having really not found anything in the areas in which it was set up.”

The process has intensified this time, as Mr. Trump takes on a more personal role than Mr. Clinton did. Mr. Penn also highlights the involvement of Mr. Obama’s former law-enforcement and intelligence chiefs, including Jim Comey, Jim Clapper and John Brennan. “It’s not unprecedented for a president to criticize an independent or special counsel,” he says. “It is unprecedented for people like Comey, Clapper and Brennan to go out and become full-bore political figures on the talk show circuit blasting the president as though they are pundits and not intelligence professionals.”

In addition to corroding “ideas-based” politics, Mr. Penn believes special-counsel investigations can push administration policy toward the extremes. He is credited with helping nudge Mr. Clinton into the political center in the mid-1990s. But in 1998, he says, Mr. Clinton had to retreat leftward to keep his party united behind him: “Those were the votes for acquittal in impeachment.”

Could the threat from the Russia probe force Mr. Trump to lean more heavily on his populist base? Mr. Penn is certain it already has affected the administration’s calculus on foreign policy. “If the idea was to use Russia as a fulcrum against Iran and China, that policy got blown up,” he says. “It’s not irrational policy,” but “the investigation made it impossible.”

The overarching problem, Mr. Penn contends, is that when law-enforcement agencies conduct “impeachment investigations,” it creates “a separation of powers problem.” He therefore recommends undertaking such probes “only when things are on the surest of grounds.”

Absent a smoking gun, in other words, Congress should take the investigative lead. But what if the political system is so polarized, as now, that lawmakers would be reluctant to challenge a president of their own party? “Elections come around every two years in this country,” he says. While lawyers often view the legal process as the key to accountability, Mr. Penn, a pollster, has a sunny optimism in the ability of the electorate to play that role.

He insists he has been consistent on this point, and there’s a paper trail to prove it. As a college sophomore in 1973, amid the Watergate scandal but before the release of President Nixon’s incriminating White House tapes, Mr. Penn wrote in the Harvard Crimson that the special prosecutor was a “ ‘quasi-constitutional’ mechanism” and that impeachment efforts should proceed with caution.

Critics may object that Mr. Penn has not been a Democrat in good standing for some time. He co-wrote an op-ed last summer urging the party to “move to the center” on cultural issues and focus on defending the Affordable Care Act. He says this advice is “as valid, if not more valid” today, and he hopes Democrats in 2020 pick a moderate nominee who will lead in that direction. He rejects the view that Democrats can win back power by doubling down on their current coalition. “I don’t think it’s possible for the Democratic Party to become a majority party without winning back the working class,” Mr. Penn says, “and continuing to make advancements in the suburbs and particularly with independent women.”

Mr. Penn cites the GOP’s choice of Mitt Romney in 2012 as evidence that a party can moderate. “I don’t think anybody expected during the peak times of the tea party that the Republicans would nominate people like Romney, ” he says. With the right standard-bearer, moving to the center “is a process Democrats could well undertake.”

Is Mr. Penn’s polemical anti-Mueller commentary a sign that he has been seduced by the GOP? No, he insists: Republicans also show no sign of occupying the middle ground that Mr. Clinton once did. But perhaps Mr. Penn’s policy instincts and his hostility to special counsels are related. If politics is a process of messy compromise through which ideas are recontested every two years, then it makes sense to respect election results and meet voters where they are. On the other hand, if the aim of politics is a decisive ideological triumph, then it makes sense to double down on your existing base and support any means, including criminal investigations, to force rivals out of power.

Mr. Penn’s rhetoric on Mr. Mueller has been excessive, but perhaps his views simply reflect a more pragmatic approach to politics—an approach that, alas, may be out of date.

Mr. Willick is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal.

Advertisements

Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all — The FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules

May 21, 2018

The “deep state” is in a deep state of desperation. With little time left before the Justice Department inspector general’s report becomes public, and with special counsel Robert Mueller having failed to bring down Donald Trump after a year of trying, they know a reckoning is coming.

This is about cleaning out and reforming the deep state…

 Mueller grilled pharma giant that paid $400K to Trump lawyer

The DNC Wants A Refund From Hillary Clinton

May 2, 2018

The Democrats want a refund from Hillary Clinton — and they want her to go away, too.

Apparently, Clinton is still cashing in off her failed 2016 campaign.

Image result for Hillary Clinton, book tour, photos

Instead of just donating her campaign email list to the Democratic National Committee, her organization Onward Together is charging the DNC $1.6 Million for access to it. Even Barack Obama gave his email list to the DNC as an in-kind contribution back in 2015, and his list was valued at $1.9 million!

Does Clinton not realize the DNC is “dead broke,” like $6 million in the red? The DNC recently took out another $2 million dollar loan just to to keep its operation running as usual.

Keeping the DNC in debt says a lot about the Clinton organization. The Democrats are desperate for funds for the 2018 midterm elections, yet the Clintons won’t step in and help their own party.
It’s the least they could do, considering the DNC rigged the primary for Hillary.

Follow Stephanie Hamill on Twitter

.
http://dailycaller.com/2018/05/01/dnc-refund-hillary-clinton/

McCabe, the New ‘Deep Throat’ — It Wasn’t Just James Comey That Leaked, Lied and Blamed other FBI Agents

April 17, 2018

By William Mc Gurn
The Wall Street Journal
April 16, 2018 5:54 p.m. ET

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe arrives to testify before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe arrives to testify before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017.PHOTO: ERIC THAYER/REUTERS

Before there was Andrew McCabe, there was Mark Felt. Or, as he is better known, “Deep Throat.”

Both Mr. McCabe and Felt were FBI deputy directors. Both leaked information about an FBI investigation that was under way. Both did so for the sake of their own careers, lied about it to their bosses, and even let other FBI agents take the blame.

Start with Felt, who died in 2008. Though sometimes cast as the noble truth-teller of Watergate—in “All the President’s Men” he was memorably played by a chain-smoking Hal Holbrook—reality is less flattering. Felt saw himself as the rightful heir to J. Edgar Hoover. When he was passed over for L. Patrick Gray III, Felt flattered Gray to his face while sabotaging the new FBI director behind his back.

He also let others take the fall. On a Saturday morning in June 1972, a furious Director Gray summoned 27 agents from the Washington field office to the conference room at FBI headquarters. He then cussed them out over a leak to Time magazine. Paul Magallanes, an FBI agent working the Watergate burglary, said Gray called them all “yellow-bellied sniveling agents” and demanded the guilty party step forward. No one did, of course, and Gray vowed to find out who the leaker was and fire him.

Felt never corrected the record on behalf of his falsely accused brother agents. To the contrary, Deep Throat would himself assume control over the investigation into who was leaking—and use that position to admonish other agents about leaks for which he himself was the culprit.

Mr. McCabe is Felt’s heir. Like Felt, he had a highly personal reason for authorizing a leak to The Wall Street Journal and then denying it. In October 2016, the Journal had raised questions about Mr. McCabe’s impartiality on the Hillary Clinton email investigation by reporting that his wife, Jill, had accepted donations from political action committees associated with Terry McAuliffe —a Clinton friend and former member of the Clinton Foundation board. Now the Journal was following up, and asking about an alleged order from Mr. McCabe telling FBI agents investigating the Clinton Foundation to “stand down.”

To counter the narrative that he might be compromised, Mr. McCabe authorized FBI counsel Lisa Page and a public-affairs officer to tell the Journal about a phone call with a high-ranking Justice official. In this account, Mr. McCabe is the fearless G-man pushing back against Justice complaints that the bureau was still investigating Mrs. Clinton’s family foundation during the election.

In the process the leak made public something Mr. Comey had studiously kept quiet: an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. In a report released Friday, the Justice Department’s inspector general notes that while this disclosure “may have served McCabe’s personal interests,” it did so “at the expense of undermining public confidence in the Department as a whole.”

Mr. McCabe’s disservice to the bureau didn’t stop there. Just as Felt had covered his tracks by shifting blame, Mr. McCabe implicated innocent agents. After the second Journal story appeared, he called the heads of the New York and Washington field offices to berate them for what appears to be his own leak. The head of the Washington office says he was told “to get his house in order.”

Then, in a final Feltian flourish, Mr. McCabe lied to his director.

The IG report says that Messrs. Comey and McCabe give “starkly different accounts” of their conversation about the article containing the leak. Mr. McCabe insists he told Mr. Comey he’d authorized it—and that Mr. Comey had answered it was a “good” idea. Mr. Comey is categorical that Mr. McCabe “definitely did not tell me that he authorized” the leak.

Just two men with different memories? The inspector general thinks not. The circumstantial evidence, the report notes, all runs against Mr. McCabe. Not a single senior FBI official backs Mr. McCabe’s claim that within the bureau people generally knew he’d authorized the leak. It isn’t the only McCabe statement to conflict with accounts given by other agents: At one point, he claimed FBI agents who had interviewed him under oath had wrongly reported he’d denied authorizing the leak.

Back in the early 1970s, Mark Felt leaked information about an investigation in hopes it would eventually lead to his becoming director. In a 1999 interview with Slate’s Timothy Noah, six years before his Watergate role was revealed, Felt rightly declared that if he had been Deep Throat, it would have been “terrible” and “contrary to my responsibility as a loyal employee of the FBI to leak information.”

Today Mr. McCabe stands accused of an unauthorized leak that poisoned the FBI’s relationship with Justice and of a “lack of candor” under oath. President Trump is having aTwitter field day calling Mr. McCabe a liar. But the irony of the McCabe defense is that it hinges on having us believe it was not him but Mr. Comey and other FBI agents who gave the false accounts of his actions.

Write to mcgurn@wsj.com.

Appeared in the April 17, 2018, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mccabe-the-new-deep-throat-1523915645

Democrats gang up on ex-Clinton Foundation head Shalala in run for Congress — Supporters say “Donna Shalala’s Democratic credentials are untouchable and unassailable.”

March 23, 2018
Donna Shalala is pictured. | AP Photo

 

Donna Shalala, a former Bill Clinton Cabinet member, University of Miami president and head of the Clinton Foundation, who is the front-runner to be Democratic candidate in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, has drawn fire from Democrats because of past donations to Republicans. | Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

Updated 

What might have been a smooth ride to Congress for Donna Shalala is instead turning into a demolition derby.

In an open congressional seat in Florida that represents one of the Democratic Party’s best pickup chances in the nation, fellow Democrats are bashing the former Clinton administration Cabinet secretary, accusing her of collaborating with the enemy by contributing to Republican candidates.

Two of Shalala’s seven primary opponents joined together Thursday to criticize her for personally contributing $21,500 to Florida Republicans running for state, local and federal offices over the past decade — including GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who held the seat before announcing her retirement this year.

“It was so jarring and so disappointing to see the newest candidate in the Democratic primary, Donna Shalala, has donated to the Republican incumbent last cycle, has donated in the past to the current Republican running for congress in this very congressional seat, has donated over $20,000 to anti-choice, anti-LGBT, pro-NRA, Republican politicians, and has donated $20,000 to a corporate PAC that has given $125,000 to the NRCC — an organization whose sole goal is to keep a Republican majority, and Paul Ryan as speaker,” retired Circuit Judge Mary Barzee Flores and state Rep. David Richardson said in a joint statement from which each read consecutive passages during a conference call with reporters.

Richardson and Barzee Flores pointed out that the PAC for the Shalala-affiliated company MEDNAX gave $4,875 to Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016. Also, Shalala had personally contributed $500 in 2009 to Rubio’s friend, scandal-plagued former Rep. David Rivera, when he was in the state House, as well as another $500 in 2011 to former state Sen. Frank Artiles, who in 2017 resigned his seat after using racially charged language.

The two Democrats demanded that Shalala explain the donations to Republican and apologize to the Democrats who faced the Republican challengers to whom Shalala contributed, and said she needed to contribute an equivalent amount — about $41,000, including the PAC money — to the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.

Shalala’s campaign said the PAC donations were bipartisan and that she makes no apologies for her contributions to Republicans, which are dwarfed by her Democratic giving.

“Donna Shalala’s Democratic credentials are untouchable & unassailable,” the campaign said in a written statement. “The idea that one of the most iconic and celebrated members of the Democratic Party, who for decades has personally donated A QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, who not only gave tens of thousands of dollars to EMILY’s List but is a founding member of the organization, a woman whose political contributions have gone to Democratic party candidates and causes at a rate of over 90% is somehow not enough of a Democrat, is simply absurd.”

Separately, another Democratic candidate, Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen-Gonzalez, took a shot at Shalala by releasing a jokey video on Twitter last week that criticized her as “Donna Walmarta” for selling a parcel of environmentally sensitive University of Miami land to developers who plan to build a Walmart.

The multi-directional incoming fire underscores Shalala’s front-runner status in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. Independently wealthy, Shalala has earned decades worth of name ID and Democratic chits as Bill Clinton’s Health and Human Services secretary, president of the University of Miami and executive director of the Clinton Foundation.

No other Republican-held congressional seat in the nation voted for Hillary Clinton by such a wide margin over President Trump, 19.6 percentage points.

Richardson and Barzee Flores aren’t the only Democrats aggrieved over Shalala’s past contributions. After Shalala’s campaign reached out to Scott Fuhrman — who ran unsuccessfully against Ros-Lehtinen — for a contribution, he declined with the expletive acronym, “GFY.” His issue: Shalala failed to contribute to him after donating to Ros-Lehtinen in 2016.

Fuhrman then contacted two of his former consultants, Ben Pollara and Eric Johnson, who now work for Barzee Flores and Richardson, respectively. They got to work ganging up on Shalala.

Shalala’s campaign said she’s staying positive and began an earlier-than-usual ad buy this week to emphasize her experience.

When asked by a reporter whether they ever contributed to Republicans, Richardson — the first openly gay state House member — said he recalled giving $250 to an LGBT Massachusetts Republican whose name he couldn’t remember. Barzee Flores said she couldn’t remember any, but state records show she gave $100 to Republican attorney general candidate Lock Burte in 2001.

“I can tell you one thing for sure,” Barzee Flores said, “I’m not going to be making campaign contributions to the likes of David Rivera and Frank Artiles.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/22/donna-shalala-florida-democrats-480728

Andrew McCabe and Consequences

March 18, 2018

The FBI recommends firing its former deputy director.

Former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 7, 2017.
Former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 7, 2017. PHOTO: ALEX BRANDON/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Attorney General Jeff Sessions faces a decision that will be controversial no matter what he does: Fire former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, or overrule the recommendation of the FBI’s own internal investigators.

The recommendation to fire Mr. McCabe isn’t coming from Donald Trump or Russian bots. It comes from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility. News reports say it is based on a finding from the Justice Department’s Inspector General that Mr. McCabe authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a Wall Street Journal reporter about the investigation into the Clinton Foundation—and then lied about it to IG investigators.

The IG report remains secret, but it’s hard to believe the FBI would recommend such punishment if it did not believe Mr. McCabe’s actions were a serious breach of duty. The bureau’s recommendation is in marked contrast to the endorsement from his old boss, former FBI Director James Comey, who tweeted in January that Mr. McCabe “stood tall” as “small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on.” Did St. Jim know about his comrade’s alleged deception?

Mr. McCabe is connected to controversial FBI investigations into both presidential candidates in 2016, and in January he said he would formally retire on March 18 when he would have enough seniority to qualify for his pension. Firing him early could cost him that lifetime payout.

The American people still don’t know what went on at the FBI during those 2016 investigations. Several FBI and Justice officials will soon testify to the House Intelligence Committee. Perhaps Mr. McCabe’s firing would persuade them that there are consequences for untruthfulness. Time and again we have been assured of the FBI’s high standards. Imagine how Mr. McCabe would treat an American citizen who lied to the FBI.

Appeared in the March 16, 2018, print edition.

Andrew McCabe Kept Notes About Conversations With Trump, Gave Them to Mueller — All started with Hillary Clinton’s email

March 18, 2018

John Dowd, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, called for Mueller probe to end ‘on the merits in light of recent revelations’

Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was fired Friday night, at a July 2017 press conference with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was fired Friday night, at a July 2017 press conference with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote memos describing his conversations with President Donald Trump and other events and has turned them over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a person close to Mr. McCabe said Saturday.

The memos, written soon after the events they describe, cover Mr. McCabe’s dealings with the White House and what former FBI Director James Comey told Mr. McCabe about his interactions, according to the person.

That revelation came amid increasingly contentious exchanges Saturday between President Trump and some of the country’s most senior former law-enforcement and national security officials, sparked by Mr. McCabe’s dismissal late Friday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions terminated Mr. McCabe two days before his scheduled retirement, saying internal investigators found Mr. McCabe made an unauthorized disclosure to the media and “lacked candor” on multiple occasions.

The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!

Mr. Trump, in his third tweet on the subject since Friday night, said Saturday afternoon that Mr. McCabe was “caught, called out and fired.” “How many lies? How many leaks?” Mr. Trump said, adding that former FBI Director James Comey “knew it all, and much more!”

Nine minutes later, Mr. Comey responded on Twitter saying, “the American people will hear my story very soon.” He has a book scheduled to be released next month. “They can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not,” Mr. Comey said.

Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.

Mr. Comey himself was fired last May, in an episode that is now under investigation by Mr. Mueller. Mr. Comey testified last year he kept memos of his interactions with Mr. Trump and that he felt Mr. Trump had pressured him to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The volleys Saturday began when Mr. Trump’s personal legal team called for the Justice Department to end the special counsel’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia, after the department fired a senior official who at one time had been involved in looking at that and other politically charged matters.

The lawyer, John Dowd, said he wasn’t calling on the department to fire Mr. Mueller, but rather to end the investigation “on the merits in light of recent revelations.”

Mr. McCabe’s termination immediately spurred furious debate over whether the firing was merited or was an attempt to undermine the Mueller investigation, possibly by casting doubt on the credibility of Mr. McCabe, a potential witness. Mr. McCabe, who was deputy to Mr. Comey, had been removed from his deputy post in January and was due to retire on Sunday.

Mr. Sessions said Friday night that he had terminated Mr. McCabe’s employment “effective immediately” after an “extensive and fair investigation.” Mr. Sessions said both the inspector general and the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Mr. McCabe made an unauthorized disclosure and lacked candor when he spoke under oath on “multiple occasions.”

Mr. McCabe on Friday night said he was fired and his pension threatened because he could corroborate Mr. Comey’s account of interactions with the president.

Mr. Trump said on Twitter Friday night that the action against Mr. McCabe marked a “great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”

Others saw Mr. Sessions’s firing of Mr. McCabe as aimed at the Mueller investigation. “Every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel,’’ Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote on Twitter.

When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/974859881827258369 

In scathing remarks, John Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama and an official in the George W. Bush administration, said on Twitter that Mr. Trump would be seen as a “disgraced demagogue,’’ adding, “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America.”

Mr. McCabe, in a lengthy statement, strongly disputed the allegations, saying that he had the authority to share the information with a reporter and that he “answered questions truthfully and as accurately” as he could “amidst the chaos that surrounded” him. His lawyer said the disciplinary process was rushed and completed “in a little over a week.”

Mr. Dowd, the president’s lawyer, on Saturday called for the Justice Department to follow Mr. Sessions’s “brilliant and courageous example” in firing Mr. McCabe and “bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss, James Comey.”

Mr. Dowd directed his call to end the Russia investigation at Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who appointed Mr. Mueller last year after Mr. Sessions recused himself from the matter.

Mr. Dowd said he was speaking for himself, not the president. Earlier Saturday, he had told the Daily Beast he was issuing the statement on the president’s behalf.

Mr. Trump has been eager to see the investigation wrap up as quickly as possible, describing it as a distraction that is hurting the country. His lawyers have repeatedly laid out public time lines by which they expected the investigation to end, with expected end points that have come and gone.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers are seeking to negotiate a deal with Mr. Mueller that uses an interview with the president as leverage to spur a conclusion to the Russia investigation, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and suit

Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd. Reuters Photo

Tensions will be on further display in coming weeks.

The Justice Department’s inspector general, or in-house watchdog, is expected to issue a report by the end of April that examines the bureau’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email arrangement that is likely to be critical of the FBI and some of its officials. Meanwhile, a book by James Comey, the former FBI director fired by Mr. Trump, is due out on April 17, and it is expected to take sharp aim at the president and his conduct.

The findings into Mr. McCabe’s alleged misconduct deal with an Oct. 30, 2016, report in The Wall Street Journal about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, the Journal previously reported.

Write to Aruna Viswanatha at Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com, Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com and Del Quentin Wilber at del.wilber@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lawyer-citing-mccabes-firing-calls-for-end-to-mueller-probe-1521309707

See also:

Trump Lawyer Says Special Counsel Inquiry Should Be Ended

NYT:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/us/politics/trump-mueller-dowd.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Uranium One Is a Curious Case

February 14, 2018

.

.

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 13, 2018 6:26 p.m. ET

President Obama sought better relations with Russia, in keeping with the policy of presidents at least since FDR.

He acceded in 2010 to a Russian government desire to acquire a company whose assets included a Nevada uranium mine on the widely accepted grounds that economic interdependence helps relations stay on a productive path. And, by the way, Russia cannot cart a uranium mine in Nevada back to Russia. If its national security were ever jeopardized, the U.S. could always seize the mine. So that’s not an issue.

Would it have been embarrassing for the Obama policy if it were known that the uranium assets the Russian government sought to buy had been accumulated by Canadian entrepreneurs working closely with Bill Clinton ? That the Clinton Foundation received $145 million in pledged contributions from people associated with these transactions? That Mr. Clinton had been paid $500,000 for a speech in Moscow?

Yes. It would have raised political difficulties for Mr. Obama’s Russia policy. It would have harmed the reputation of his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. How would such knowledge have flavored a multiagency review in charge of approving the mine deal, inevitably tinged by Obama political interests? Hard to say.

The scandal would likely have remained a political one, not a legal one. But who knows? The Watergate truism that it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup should really be modified. Once any kind of investigation is launched on any pretext, a crime can always be found. That’s a given. Not to relitigate Mrs. Clinton’s emails, but if the FBI didn’t find a basis to charge her aides with obstruction and evidence tampering, it’s only because it didn’t want to. Or take Donald Trump : Any prosecutor should hang up his spurs who can’t find something in Mr. Trump’s checkered business history, starting with federal Title 16, Chapter 1, Subchapter b, Part 23, Section 23.3: “Misuse of the terms ‘hand-made,’ ‘hand-polished,’ etc.”

A slight nuance, of course, is that the Clintons ’ conflict-of-interest baggage was born of exploiting their politically-earned celebrity, and not the other way around. Whether he meant it or not, Mr. Trump recognized and met expectations when he said, on taking office, he no longer would concern himself with the businesses he left behind. He had a much bigger job now. Though Mrs. Clinton would certainly have been expected to say something similar if she were elected president, she would also have been semi-obliged to insist that the Clinton Foundation was but an extension of her lifelong devotion to public service, which she would be continuing in the White House.

As history records, of course, Uranium One is the scandal that didn’t happen, or is happening only belatedly. The Clinton Foundation connection did not become known. Its dealings did not become fodder for partisan opposition to President Obama or his Russia policy. Only recently have we become aware of a new and piquant fact. What if it had been known that the FBI was sitting on a case involving demonstrable malfeasance (bribery and kickbacks) by the Russian company’s U.S. arm? What if an eyewitness who had helped crack the case told the FBI (as he now claims he did) that Russian uranium executives had spoken openly of currying favor with the Clinton Foundation to advance their U.S. business?

The Nevada mine transfer would have been a lot more politically controversial at the time than it was. The Obama Russia rapprochement might have run aground earlier than it eventually did when Russia in 2014 seized Crimea. Mr. Obama might have come to see his secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton, as a political liability.

Which makes it interesting that the FBI, under its then-chief Robert Mueller, appears to have sat on the case—only getting around quietly to announcing a plea deal with the Russian executive five years later, in 2015. It is not necessarily wrong for the FBI to consider the impact on national-security policy of any criminal case that it intends nevertheless to pursue to conviction. But the fact remains: The FBI handled the Uranium One matter in a manner that avoided making immediate trouble for the policy and political interests of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Which means, if a few thousand voters in the upper Midwest had woken up on a different side of the bed in November 2016, the agency’s treatment of Uranium One might be one more subject of investigation by a GOP congress of President Hillary Clinton. Along with: the Steele dossier; the Steele dossier’s role in an FBI application to spy on Trump associate Carter Page ; the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case; the FBI’s investigation (still under way) of a questionable mixing of government and Clinton Foundation business at Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.

In other words, a Clinton presidency would likely be swallowed up in investigative chaos no less than the Trump presidency. There was an awful lot of baggage to go around among the headliners of the 2016 presidential race.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/uranium-one-is-a-curious-case-1518564360

Obstruction of Congress — Justice Department, FBI and the “Deep State”

December 8, 2017
 Mueller, the Justice Department and the FBI aren’t helping the lawmakers’ probe.
.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller departing Capitol Hill on June 21.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller departing Capitol Hill on June 21. PHOTO: ANDREW HARNIK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The media echo chamber spent the week speculating about whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller can or will nab President Trump on obstruction-of-justice charges. All the while it continues to ignore Washington’s most obvious obstruction—the coordinated effort to thwart congressional probes of the role law enforcement played in the 2016 election.

The news that senior FBI agent Peter Strzok exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Hillary text messages with another FBI official matters—though we’ve yet to see the content. The bigger scandal is that the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Mueller have known about those texts for months and deliberately kept their existence from Congress. The House Intelligence Committee sent document subpoenas and demanded an interview with Mr. Strzok. The Justice Department dodged, and then leaked.

The department also withheld from Congress that another top official, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, was in contact with ex-spook Christopher Steele and the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS. It has refused to say what role the Steele dossier—Clinton-commissioned oppo research—played in its Trump investigation. It won’t turn over files about its wiretapping.

And Mr. Mueller—who is well aware the House is probing all this, and considered the Strzok texts relevant enough to earn the agent a demotion—nonetheless did not inform Congress about the matter. Why? Perhaps Mr. Mueller feels he’s above being bothered with any other investigation. Or perhaps his team is covering for the FBI and the Justice Department.

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mr. Mueller, he stressed that he wanted a probe with “independence from the normal chain of command.” Yet the Mueller team is made up of the same commanders who were previously running the Trump show at the Justice Department and the FBI, and hardly distant from their old office.

Andrew Weissmann, Mr. Mueller’s deputy, is chief of the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section and was once FBI general counsel. Until Mr. Strzok’s demotion, he was a top FBI counterintelligence officer, lead on the Trump probe. Michael Dreeben is a deputy solicitor general. Elizabeth Prelogar, Brandon Van Grack, Kyle Freeny, Adam Jed, Andrew Goldstein —every one is a highly placed, influential lawyer on loan from the Justice Department. Lisa Page —Mr. Strzok’s mistress, with whom he exchanged those texts—was on loan from the FBI general counsel’s office.

Does anyone think this crowd intends to investigate Justice Department or FBI misdeeds? To put it another way, does anyone think they intend to investigate themselves? Or that they’d investigate their longtime colleagues— Andrew McCabe, or Mr. Ohr or Mr. Strzok? Or could we instead just acknowledge the Mueller team has enormous personal and institutional interests in justifying the actions their agencies took in 2016—and therefore in stonewalling Congress?

The Strzok texts raise the additional question of whether those interests extend to taking down the president. Mr. Strzok was ejected from Team Mueller for exhibiting anti-Trump, pro-Clinton behavior. By that standard, one has to wonder how Mr. Mueller has any attorneys left.

Judicial Watch this week released an email in which Mr. Weissmann gushed about how “proud and in awe” he was of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates for staging a mutiny against the Trump travel ban. Of 15 publicly identified Mueller lawyers, nine are Democratic donors—including several who gave money to Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Jeannie Rhee defended the Clinton Foundation against racketeering charges, and represented Mrs. Clinton personally in the question of her emails. Aaron Zebley represented Justin Cooper, the Clinton aide who helped manage her server. Mr. Goldstein worked for Preet Bharara, whom Mr. Trump fired and who is now a vigorous Trump critic. The question isn’t whether these people are legally allowed (under the Hatch Act) to investigate Mr. Trump—as the left keeps insisting. The question is whether a team of declared Democrats is capable of impartially investigating a Republican president.

Some want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to clean house, although this would require firing a huge number of career Justice Department lawyers. Some want Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Mueller—which would be counterproductive. Some have called for a special counsel to investigate the special counsel, but that way lies infinite regress.

There is a better, more transparent way. Mr. Sessions (or maybe even Mr. Trump) is within rights to create a short-term position for an official whose only job is to ensure Justice Department and FBI compliance with congressional oversight. This person needs to be a straight shooter and versed in law enforcement, but with no history at or substantial ties to the Justice Department or FBI.

It would be a first, but we are in an era of firsts. Congress is the only body with an interest and ability to get the full story of 2016 to the public, thereby ending this drama quickly. But that requires putting an end to the obstruction.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

Appeared in the December 8, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/obstruction-of-congress-1512691791

**************************************

The Threat of a Deep State Is Real. No, Really.

POLITICS FEATURES DEEP STATE

The Threat of a Deep State Is Real. No, Really.

It wasn’t too long ago that if you saw something like this, you could write it off, because it came out of the mouth of someone like Alex Jones or G. Gordon Liddy—someone you’d have to make an active effort to discover and follow. Such rhetoric was so far underground that odds were you’d never come across it in the first place, but here we have it in primetime:

rog1.png

To be clear, the FBI isn’t “out of control.” And the FBI isn’t “a threat to you, and every American.” What Mr. Tucker Carlson means is the FBI is a threat to the Trump administration.

So that’s the one hand: The FBI is a dark-handed, deep-state political op being run by [this part not made clear but I assume it involves Schumer, Podesta, Soros, and Hillary Clinton] in order to dismantle the Trump agenda at any cost. Not only that, but in Mr. Carlson’s world, the FBI has also already broken the law in its investigation of Trump.

(At this time, I’d like to point out to Mr. Carlson that the FBI isn’t actually investigating Donald Trump; Special Counsel Robert Mueller is, as an independent agent of the Department of Justice outside the FBI.)

A major news network that millions of people take as gospel is saying our existing federal law enforcement apparatus is a secret police force. And if we can’t trust the people in charge of administering the law, then we can’t trust those administrations. Everything the FBI (DOJ) does (against Trump) should be not merely questioned, but rejected outright with great urgency: The agency is out of control.

I don’t think we should accept everything a law enforcement official says as gospel, but I also don’t advocate peddling ego meth in the form of batshit conspiracies not so subtly intended to sow the seeds of legitimizing future violence against the state. The rhetoric might not lead to disastrous consequences, but there’s a good chance it might.

This is one of the consequences of electing a birther. Conspiracy theories have made it into the news. We’ve already seen a conspiratorial fascination with the “deep state,” which has branched this latest volley of insanity. That phrase, “deep state,” still sounds ridiculous to me, something a guy wearing a loupe says to you while he slides an inspirational poster off his basement wall to show off his safe full of commemorative moon landing coins, which he says he can sell you cheap because the moon landing was fake.

Or something this guy says to you.

rog2.png

Analysis: Sessions seeks balance in pondering Clinton probe

November 15, 2017

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — In asking senior federal prosecutors to examine a number of Republican grievances, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to strike a balance.

He appears to be attempting to placate a boss who has repeatedly suggested that Sessions’ own job might be in jeopardy for failing to investigate his Democratic rivals. At the same time, taking another investigation under consideration is a step toward maintaining the credibility of the Justice Department by leaving the actual work of arriving at this determination to senior officials whose findings, while unlikely to please anyone, would have more credibility.

In a letter this week, the department directed senior federal prosecutors to “evaluate certain issues” raised by Republican lawmakers, including whether a special counsel should be appointed to look into allegations that the Clinton Foundation benefited from an Obama-era uranium transaction involving a Russian state company, a deal President Donald Trump himself has continually urged the Justice Department to investigate.

During a hearing on Capitol Hill, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned about the propriety of initiating a criminal investigation of President Donald Trump’s chief political rival, Hillary Clinton. (Nov. 14)

Unlike other members of the president’s Cabinet, the attorney general is construed as mostly an independent operator, under longstanding policy, practice and executive protocol. And the Justice Department is not supposed to be influenced by the White House in deciding which cases to prosecute and which discard after a review. The department’s top staff is a mix of career officials and political appointees who juggle investigations behind closed doors while working more publicly to advance the administration’s law enforcement agenda.

Sessions may be trying to dig himself out of a bind with a move that allows him to say he handled the allegations properly by referring them to prosecutors, who could then credibly close the case without debasing the Justice Department. Neither the letter, signed by Stephen E. Boyd, an assistant attorney general, nor Sessions named the senior prosecutors who will be involved in the review sought by Republicans. But they will most likely be career officials who are accustomed to operating free from federal sway.

While the term “senior prosecutor” could also refer to a politically appointed U.S. attorney, Sessions would face immediate backlash for putting the probe in the hands of a Trump-appointee.

But while this may offer Sessions a greater measure of job security for now, a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday showed he has so far satisfied very few of his critics.

Despite attempts to reassure Democrats to the contrary, the mere issuance of the letter immediately raised alarms that Justice was attempting to do the bidding of the president, who has publicly lamented that he has so little direct influence over the agency’s affairs.

And Republicans, who have long called for an investigation of Hillary Clinton, questioned why a probe hasn’t been underway by now.

“If you are now just considering it, what’s it going to take?” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asked Sessions during the five-hour oversight hearing where the issue consumed a great deal of the focus. Jordan said it looked like there was already enough evidence to appoint a special counsel.

“It would take a factual basis,” Sessions said, adding that “‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”

The committee’s top-ranking Democrat, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, questioned whether Sessions was being improperly influenced by Trump. Sessions said several times that any such review involving Hillary Clinton would be done without regard to political considerations.

“I have not been improperly influenced and would not be improperly influenced,” Sessions declared. “The president speaks his mind. He’s bold and direct about what he says, but people elected him. But we do our duty every day based on the law and the facts.”

Presidents for decades have taken care to avoid being seen as meddling in Justice Department affairs, though they on occasion have expressed personal opinions about specific investigations. President Barack Obama, for instance, once said that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” at the Internal Revenue Service — even as the FBI was still investigating. And he also contended that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server hadn’t harmed national security.

Trump, however, has shown little concern for the traditional boundary between the White House and the Justice Department, tweeting just last week: “People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!”

___

Gurman and Tucker cover the Justice Department for The Associated Press.