Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

Barack Obama criticised for ‘$400,000 Wall Street speech fee’

April 26, 2017

BBC News

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Mr Obama made his first public remarks since leaving the White House on Monday. Getty Images

Former US President Barack Obama is being criticised for reportedly agreeing a $400,000 (£310,000) fee for a speech to a Wall Street bank.

The 44th president has accepted an offer to speak at a healthcare conference hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald in September, US media report.

The deal comes less than 100 days after Mr Obama left office.

In 2009, he told CBS: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”

Mr Obama has reportedly agreed to be a keynote speaker at an event hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, an investment bank that lost more than two-thirds of its staff in the attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.

The fee is nearly twice the $225,000 that Hillary Clinton received for three speeches to Goldman Sachs in 2015.

She was heavily criticised during last year’s presidential campaign for her Wall Street speeches, with activists on both sides of the political spectrum demanding she release the transcripts.

During Mr Obama’s two terms as US president he at times seemed to have strained relations with the financial sector.

He deplored high bonuses paid to bank executives, and said Wall Street shared blame for the 2008 financial crisis.

Some liberals have criticised Mr Obama’s speech decision, with one writer sayingit “will undermine everything he believes in”.

The New York Post, meanwhile, said his speech made him “Wall Street’s newest fat cat”.

twitterImage copyrightTWITTER

Mr Obama appears to be enjoying life after the White House since he left office in January.

On Monday he made his first public remarks about community organising to students at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library is set to be built.

He was pictured kite-surfing in February with Richard Branson off the Virgin tycoon’s private Caribbean island.

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Former US President Barack Obama and British businessman Richard Branson sit on a boat in the British Virgin Islands

Mr Obama went kite-surfing in February with Richard Branson off the Virgin tycoon’s Caribbean island. Reuters

And just this month, he and former First Lady Michelle Obama were pictured aboard music mogul David Geffen’s luxury yacht off French Polynesia.

They were reportedly on holiday with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey.

Mr Obama also took in a Broadway play in New York City before dining with U2’s Bono.

Two months ago the former president accepted an offer from Penguin Random House for two books to be written separately by him and Michelle.

They are expected to receive $65m for the deal.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39710529

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Undated handout photo issued by Virgin.com of former President of the United States Barack Obama who learnt to kitesurf on the British Virgin Islands after he finished his second term as President
Undated handout photo issued by Virgin.com of former President of the United States Barack Obama who learnt to kitesurf on the British Virgin Islands after he finished his second term as President CREDIT: JACK BROCKWAY/VIRGIN.COM

Less than 100 days after he left the White House, Mr Obama has reportedly agreed the deal with Cantor Fitzgerald LP, the mid-sized New York-based investment bank.

He will apparently make a speech at the firm’s health care conference in September.

“Is there an irony here because he spoke incessantly about the income gap and is now earning from those same people he criticized? Yes it is,” Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant, told the New York Post.

“Should we expect it? Yes, we should because all former presidents do this. He went on the attack against Wall Street and now he’s being fed by those same people he called ‘fat cats.’ It’s more hypocritical than ironic.”

Mr Obama spoke publicly for the first time since leaving office on Monday.

“The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can to prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world,” he told students at the University of Chicago.

There was no response from representatives for Mr Obama to the reports of the $400,000 fee.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/25/barack-obama-criticised-400000-wall-street-speech-fee/

Suspected Russia hackers ‘targeted Macron campaign’

April 25, 2017

Researchers say the hacker group Pawn Storm tried to interfere in the campaign of French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron. US spy agencies suspect the group of having links to Russia’s intelligence apparatus.

Symbolbild Cyberangriff (picture-alliance/dpa/MAXPPP/A. Marchi)

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s political campaign was targeted by a hacker group with suspected Russian connections, a report by a cybersecurity research group said on Tuesday, bolstering previous suggestions that the Kremlin has been trying to interfere in the French elections.

Researchers with the Japan-based anti-virus firm Trend Micro said the Pawn Storm group, which is alleged to have carried out a number of high-profile hacking attacks in the West, used so-called “phishing” techniques in an attempt to steal personal data from Macron and his campaign staffers.

“Phishing” employs lookalike websites designed to fool victims into entering sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. Trend Micro said it had recently detected four Macron-themed fake domains being created on digital infrastructure used by Pawn Storm, which is also known as Fancy Bear or APT28.

Trend Micro researcher Feike Hacquebord said that determining who was behind a spying campaign was a difficult challenge in the world of cybersecurity, but that he was almost certain.

“This is not a 100 percent confirmation, but it’s very, very likely,” he said.

Read more: France warns Russia

The Kremlin at work?

Trend Micro did not name any country as being behind Pawn Storm’s activities, but the group is widely suspected of having links to Russia’s security services.

The Kremlin is seen as a keen backer of Macron’s rival in the presidential race, Marine Le Pen, who espouses policies considered as likely to be favored by Moscow, such as France’s exit from the European Union. Macron has always staunchly advocated strengthening, rather than weakening, the bloc.

Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of trying to interfere in the French – or other – elections. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying that claims of the Kremlin’s attempting to influence the election outcome in France were “completely incorrect.”

Pawn Storm is also thought to be behind cyberattacks last summer on the US Democratic National Committee that were suspected to be aimed at undermining Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. Other suspected targets in recent months include media groups such as “The New York Times” and Al-Jazeera.
Read more: ‘Election cyberattacks threat in Germany’

Präsidentschaftswahl in Frankreich Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images/V. Isore/IP3)Macron is widely seen as likely to win the second round of elections on May 7

Attempted intrusions

The head of Macron’s digital campaign, Mounir Mahjoubi, confirmed to The Associated Press that there had been attempted intrusions, but said they had all been foiled.

Mahjoubi also confirmed that at least one of the fake sites identified by Trend Micro had been recently used as part of an attempt to steal sensitive information from campaign staffers.

An internal campaign report lists thousands of attempted cyberattacks since Macron launched his campaign last year. In February, the campaign’s secretary-general, Richard Ferrand, said the scale and nature of the intrusions indicated that they were the work of a structured group and not individual hackers.

Macron, who won the first round of France’s presidential election on Sunday, will face Le Pen in a runoff on May 7.

The French elections were carefully monitored for digital interference following suspicions that hackers backed by Moscow had attempted to influence the US electoral contest in 2016.

http://www.dw.com/en/suspected-russia-hackers-targeted-macron-campaign/a-38580848

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Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security: Cyber Spies Target Germany Ahead of Election, Party Think Tanks Say

April 25, 2017

FRANKFURT — Two foundations tied to Germany’s ruling coalition parties were attacked by the same cyber spy group that targeted the campaign of French presidential favourite Emmanuel Macron, a leading cyber security expert said on Tuesday.

The group, dubbed “Pawn Storm” by security firm Trend Micro, used email phishing tricks and attempted to install malware at think tanks tied to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Feike Hacquebord said.

Hacquebord and other experts said the attacks, which took place in March and April, suggest Pawn Storm is seeking to influence the national elections in the two European Union powerhouses.

“I am not sure whether those foundations are the actual target. It could be that they used it as a stepping stone to target, for example, the CDU or the SPD,” Hacquebord said.

The mysterious cyber spying group, also known as Fancy Bear and APT 28, was behind data breaches of U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Merkel’s party last year, Hacquebord said.

Other security experts and former U.S. government officials link it to the Russian military intelligence directorate GRU. Hacquebord and Trend Micro have stopped short of making that connection.

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Russia has denied any involvement in the cyber attacks.

Since 2014, Merkel has pushed the European Union to maintain sanctions on Russia over its actions in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Her coalition partners, the Social Democrats, back a more conciliatory stance towards Moscow.

“What we are seeing is kind of a replication of what happened in the United States,” David Grout, a Paris-based technical director of U.S. cyber security firm FireEye, said of technical attacks and efforts to spread fake news in Europe.

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Hacquebord said on Monday he had found new evidence that Macron’s campaign was targeted by Pawn Storm. (https://goo.gl/8Ja2Bq)

German officials have told Reuters that politicians fear sensitive emails stolen from senior lawmakers by Russian hackers in 2015 could be released before the election to damage Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term, and her conservative party.

Trend Micro uncovered efforts to break into the accounts of CDU politicians in April and May, 2016. The BSI, Germany’s federal cyber security agency confirmed these attempts but said they were unsuccessful. New attacks in 2017 suggest renewed efforts to gain comprising data is underway, Hacquebord said.

Pawn Storm set up a fake computer server located based in Germany at kasapp.de to mount email phishing attacks against the CDU party’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and a server located in the Ukraine at intern-fes.de to target the SPD’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

A KAS spokesman said BSI warned KAS in early March of “peculiarities” but that a subsequent network scan by the government cyber security agency found “nothing suspicious”.

The BSI declined to comment, as did the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed allegations of Russian involvement.

“We would be pleased if this investigative group sent us the information, and then we could check it,” Peskov told reporters on Tuesday. “Because for now it does not go beyond the boundaries of some anonymous people.”

Trend Micro published a 41-page report charting Pawn Storm attacks over the past two years, building on a dozen previous technical reports (https://goo.gl/WvjuLv). A timeline can be downloaded here (https://goo.gl/npY0OJ).

(Additional reporting by Peter Maushagen in Frankfurt, Andreas Rinke and Andrea Shalal in Berlin and Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow; Editing by Richard Lough)

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“We are noticing attacks against government networks on a daily basis,” Arne Schoenbohm, president of Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

BSI is in close contact with election officials, political parties and German federal states to discuss how to guard against cyber attacks and stands ready to react to potential attacks ahead of the elections, Mr Schoenbohm said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/19/german-cybersecurity-watchdog-raises-attack-alert-level/

Are Russian-Style Hackers and “Fake News” Playing a Role in French Election?

April 25, 2017

Is Russia-Backed ‘Fake News’ Now Being Used in French Elections?

Experts caution that a Kremlin-backed disinformation campaign thought to have been carried out during the 2016 United States election may now be plaguing France.

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Laurentlesax / Shutterstock.com

In the days, weeks and months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a coordinated network of automated social media profiles known as “bots” helped spread what has become known as “fake news” — a term that was popularized once the intelligence community announced their consensus belief that the Kremlin interfered with the election to an unprecedented degree.

Now, experts are looking to the upcoming 7 May 2017 French election runoff with fear that the Russian government is using the same methods that succeeded in fomenting information chaos in the U.S. could similarly disrupt other high-stakes contests in Western democracies.

Experts say the Kremlin aims to weaken such countries from the inside out by waging disinformation campaigns that exploit existing social tensions and promote mistrust in institutions of government and knowledge. Most recently, they have done so with what intelligence experts call “active measures” or cyber activities that spread disinformation to support anti-establishment candidates — like President Donald Trump and France’s extreme-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Such candidates have been buoyed by growing nativist and protectionist sentiments from current global trends in migration that have created an anti-immigrant climate in Europe, the United States and other relatively stable countries where people have in large numbers sought refuge from violence and war in places like Syria.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Russian hack, Clint Watts, a former FBI counterterrorism agent and senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, described Russia’s aims with these activities:

Russian active measures hope to topple democracies through the pursuit of five complementary objectives: One, undermine citizen confidence in democratic governance; two, foment, exacerbate divisive political fissures; three, erode trust between citizens and elected officials and their institutions; four, popularize Russian policy agendas within foreign populations; and five, create general distrust or confusion over information sources by blurring the lines between fact and fiction — a very pertinent issue today in our country.

From these objectives the Kremlin can crumble democracies from the inside out, achieving two key milestones: One, the disillusion of the European Union; and two, the break-up of NATO.

Already, Americans may recognize familiar patterns emerging across the Atlantic Ocean. Kremlin-backed news agency Sputnik’s chief Paris bureau editor Nataliya Novikova advocated her own version of “alternative facts” when quoted in a 17 April 2017 New York Times report about Russia elbowing its way into French politics by saying, “There are many different truths. There has to be a pluralism of truth.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on 24 April 2017 that the campaign of Le Pen’s chief opponent, Emmanuel Macron, has been targeted by a pro-Kremlin hacking group with a phishing infiltration attempt similar to the one that penetrated Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta’s e-mail system:

As part of the attack, hackers set up multiple internet addresses that mimicked those of the campaign’s own servers in an attempt to lure Mr. Macron’s staffers into turning over their network passwords, said Feike Hacquebord, a senior threat researcher for Tokyo-based Trend Micro and the author of the report, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Mounir Mahjoubi, digital director of Mr. Macron’s campaign, confirmed the attempted hacking, saying that several staffers had received emails leading to the fake websites. The phishing emails were quickly identified and blocked, and it was unlikely others went undetected, Mr. Mahjoubi said.

An Oxford University study published on 22 April 2017 found that French voters are being hit with automated political content generated by “bots” like Americans were — but French social media users are more likely to share legitimate news stories. Yet the “junk news” making the rounds in France, according to the study, has a political agenda:

This content [junk news] includes various forms of propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan, or conspiratorial political news and information. Much of this content is deliberately produced false reporting. It seeks to persuade readers about the moral virtues or failings of organizations, causes or people and presents commentary as a news product. This content is produced by organizations that do not employ professional journalists, and the content uses attention grabbing techniques, lots of pictures, moving images, excessive capitalization, ad hominem attacks, emotionally charged words and pictures, unsafe generalizations and other logical fallacies.

After Macron and Le Pen emerged as the frontrunners in the upcoming runoff, their former opponents united in opposition to Le Pen and extremism, but as the New York Times reports, her National Front party has grown in influence — much like relatively extreme viewpoints of both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and now-President Trump surged unexpectedly in 2016. Defeated center-right Républicains party candidate François Fillon said, “Extremism can only bring unhappiness and division. There is no choice but to vote against the far right.”

Bob Murray, a national security fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told us that bots coordinate fake news and propaganda by drumming up noise on social media and forcing a topic to trend, which then causes the news media to respond. It results in a chain reaction of disinformation bouncing between bot accounts, Kremlin-backed news agencies like Sputnik and RT that spread propaganda, then finding its way to what intelligence experts call “white” and “gray” sites, or English-language conspiratorial web sites like InfoWars or Zero Hedge — then, sometimes, to the mainstream news.

These web sites, Murray said, may not even be aware they are sharing the Kremlin’s propaganda or disinformation, but have a general disregard for the truth and are reliable tools for such purposes.

White sites are in the context of fake news, sites that don’t have an agenda of pushing fake news but are incidental messangers — like Breitbart will pick up news stories that aren’t validated, that they haven’t done due diligence [reporting] on, so they end up being propagators of fake news.

Gray sites are sites that carry a mix of real news of fake news and they have some propensity to deliberately push fake news as part of the entertainment value of the site — like InfoWars is something that will push news for a political agenda if not for entertainment and where truthfulness is secondary to throwing red meat to the base.

According to McClatchy, FBI investigators are reviewing the roles that far-right web sites in the U.S. played in facilitating Russia’s propaganda campaign:

Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.

The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.

Investigators examining the bot attacks are exploring whether the far-right news operations took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives. Their participation, however, wasn’t necessary for the bots to amplify their news through Twitter and Facebook.

Murray stressed that while far-right politicians appear to have benefited from Russian hacking efforts in 2016 and possibly 2017 elections, the Kremlin doesn’t favor either political agenda. Instead, its primary goal is destabilization:

The use of the sites certainly is apolitical — it’s politically agnostic, it’s a tool. The Russians are not interested in one party or the other, it’s more about the delegitimization of democratic institutions and Western multinational institutions. I’m sure they have contingency plans regardless of who wins.

Murray called the global push that played out in the United States and seems to be repeating in France “scary” — perhaps the dark logical conclusion of what has become an unavoidably technology-heavy society.

http://www.snopes.com/2017/04/24/fake-news-french-elections/

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Russian Hackers Who Targeted Clinton Appear to Attack France’s Macron

The campaign of the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been targeted by what appear to be the same Russian operatives responsible for hacks of Democratic campaign officials before last year’s American presidential election, a cybersecurity firm warns in a new report.

The report has heightened concerns that Russia may turn its playbook on France in an effort to harm Mr. Macron’s candidacy and bolster that of Mr. Macron’s rival, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen, in the final weeks of the French presidential campaign.

Security researchers at the cybersecurity firm, Trend Micro, said that on March 15 they spotted a hacking group they believe to be a Russian intelligence unit turn its weapons on Mr. Macron’s campaign — sending emails to campaign officials and others with links to fake websites designed to bait them into turning over passwords.

The group began registering several decoy internet addresses last month and as recently as April 15, naming one onedrive-en-marche.fr and another mail-en-marche.fr to mimic the name of Mr. Macron’s political party, En Marche.

Those websites were registered to a block of web addresses that Trend Micro’s researchers say belong to the Russian intelligence unit they refer to as Pawn Storm, but is alternatively known as Fancy Bear, APT 28 or the Sofacy Group. American and European intelligence agencies and American private security researchers determined that the group was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee last year.

On Tuesday, Trend Micro’s researchers plan to release their report detailing cyberattacks in recent weeks against Mr. Macron’s campaign — as well as members of Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung, a political foundation linked to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party — in what appears to be the latest Russian effort to influence political outcomes in the West.

The Kremlin scoffed at the report. Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin, said Monday in Moscow that “this all recalls the accusations that came from Washington and which are still suspended in thin air.” In remarks to Russian news media, he added that Russia had “never interfered” in foreign elections.

But the report’s findings gave some credence to the “strong suspicions” voiced weeks before Sunday’s voting by Mr. Macron’s digital director, Mounir Mahjoubi, that Moscow was the source of what he said had been a barrage of “highly sophisticated” efforts to gain access to the campaign’s email accounts.

Source:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/world/europe/macron-russian-hacking.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Feurope&_r=0

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China’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson discuss Korean Peninsula via phone: Xinhua

April 16, 2017

Reuters

Sun Apr 16, 2017 | 3:27am EDT

China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exchanged views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula via phone on Sunday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said.

Xinhua did not give further details.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and suit

Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in July 2014. Credit Jim Bourg Yang Jiechei has “gotten the better of” John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, our friends in Beijing say…

A North Korean missile “blew up almost immediately” on its test launch on Sunday morning, the U.S. Pacific Command said, hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North’s increasingly defiant arms program.

(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Vladimir Putin DENIES tampering in presidential election and says: ‘Watch my lips: NO’ — (She lost without help from me)

March 30, 2017

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has forcefully denied claims that Russia interfered in the U.S. elections
  • He spoke at a panel on Arctic issues in Archangelsk, Russia just as a Senate intelligence hearing on Russian interference was about to get underway
  • Calls the claims of interference ‘fictional, illusory and provocations, lies’
  • The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the elections and directed hacking into leading Democratic figures and groups
  •  Putin said he wanted to establish ‘good partnership’ with the U.S.
  • Accuses U.S. officials of playing the ‘anti-Russian card’ 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied interfering in the U.S. elections, and he did it by using a famous quote from a U.S. president.

‘Watch my lips, no,’ Putin said.

The Russian strongman made the claim when asked point-blank whether Russia had interfered and whether any evidence to the contrary would get found.

He invoked former President Reagan, although the ‘Read my lips’ quote was actually used by his successor, George H.W. Bush, speaking at a CNBC event on Arctic issues.

Putin said claims of Russian interference were ‘lies’ used for ‘domestic American politics.

'WATCH MY LIPS': Russian President Vladimir Putin emphatically denied interfering in the U.S. elections, saying 'Watch my lips, no'

‘WATCH MY LIPS’: Russian President Vladimir Putin emphatically denied interfering in the U.S. elections, saying ‘Watch my lips, no’

‘All those things are fictional, illusory and provocations, lies,’ Putin continued.

‘All these are used for domestic American political agendas. The anti-Russian card is played by different political forces inside the United States to trade on that and consolidate their positions inside.’

Then he delivered a friendly message to U.S. audiences.

‘We said on numerous occasions and I reiterate that we are confident … And know for sure that opinion polls in the Unites States show that very many people are … friendly towards the Russian Federation and I’d like to tell these people that we perceive and regard the United States as a great power with which we want to establish good partnership relations.’

Putin made the statement when asked point blank about election interference during a panel on Arctic issues

Putin made the statement when asked point blank about election interference during a panel on Arctic issues

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied interfering in the U.S. elections by paraphrasing the famous 'Read my lips' quote. Here he attends a meeting at the polar camp at Alexandra Land Island on March 29, 2017 in Franz Joseph Land, Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied interfering in the U.S. elections by paraphrasing the famous ‘Read my lips’ quote. Here he attends a meeting at the polar camp at Alexandra Land Island on March 29, 2017 in Franz Joseph Land, Russia

Putin said claims of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election were 'fictional, illusory and provocations, lies'

Putin said claims of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election were ‘fictional, illusory and provocations, lies’

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the elections and directed hacking into leading Democratic figures and groups.

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence committee begins its probe of Russian interference, where it will also pursue alleged contacts between Donald Trump associates and Russia.

He spoke at a forum on Arctic issues in Archangelsk, the site of a botched U.S. invasion of the Soviet Union in 1918.

Putin’s claims are at odds with those being made by senior officials from both parties in the U.S. government.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday: ‘There was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic process,’ speaking at a conference in New Delhi.

‘In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war,’ he added.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday in an interview with CBS News, ‘We all knew Russia was trying to meddle with our election. And we already know right now they’re trying to do it with other countries.’

Ryan continued: ‘The world’s super power, the American government needs to do everything we possibly can not only to undercut what they’re trying to do but to uncover what they’re trying to do and help our allies prevent it from happening.’

Putin also said Thursday he is ready to meet with Trump if Finland hosts an Arctic summit. Finland is set to take over the rotating leadership of the Arctic Council.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4364422/Putin-DENIES-tampering-presidential-election.html#ixzz4coWuIOyC
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FBI director James Comey ‘wanted to reveal Russian meddling months before the election but was talked out of it by the Obama administration’

March 30, 2017

  • James Comey presented a draft op-ed to top Obama administration officials during a White House meeting in June or July, sources say
  • The op-ed unveiled information about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election
  • His idea was rejected because officials thought the message would have more impact coming from multiple agencies
  • He revealed last week the FBI is investigating Russian meddling in the election

FBI director James Comey wanted to go public with information about Russia‘s interference in the 2016 election as early as last summer but was reportedly barred from doing so by the Obama administration.

According to Newsweek sources, Comey presented a draft op-ed to top administration officials during a White House meeting in June or July.

‘He had a draft of it or an outline,’ the source said. ‘He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward, what do people think of this?”

FBI director James Comey wanted to go public with information about Russia’s interference in the election last summer but was reportedly barred by the Obama administration

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and ex national security adviser Susan Rice were among those in the meeting.

Comey’s idea was rejected because White House officials thought the message would have more impact coming from multiple agencies and not just him.

‘An op-ed doesn’t have the same stature, it comes from one person,’ the source said.

A second source told Newsweek the op-ed, which Comey would have likely sought to publish in the New York Times, contained the same information as the intelligence report made public on January 6 that said Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to influence the presidential election.

Comey presented a draft op-ed to top Obama administration officials during a White House meeting in June or July but it was rejected, according to Newsweek sources

Comey presented a draft op-ed to top Obama administration officials during a White House meeting in June or July but it was rejected, according to Newsweek sources

Comey’s op-ed was rejected around the same time he publicly revealed details about the investigation in Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The FBI director revealed before the House Intelligence Committee last week that the agency is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

He told the Intelligence Committee the Russians were ‘very noisy’ and ‘unusually loud’ in their hacking of US Democratic party computers.

‘It was almost as if they didn’t care if we found out,’ he added.

He said the FBI is looking at possible links and coordination between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russians. The investigation includes an assessment of potential crimes that were committed.

Because the investigation is ongoing, and it deals with classified information, Comey said he could not share additional details about who the target of the probe is and what conduct is under scrutiny in a public setting.

In July last year Comey told Congress under oath that Clinton was reckless in her use of a private email server and careless in her handling of information but had not committed a criminal act.

Comey revealed last week that the FBI is looking at possible links and coordination between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russians

Comey revealed last week that the FBI is looking at possible links and coordination between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russians

On 28 October Comey alerted members of Congress that more of Clinton’s State Department emails had been found, heightening speculation she could still be charged with mishandling classified materials.

The emails were found on a laptop handed over to authorities by Anthony Weiner – former partner of Clinton adviser Huma Abedin – who was being investigated for a separate matter.

Then, days before the election Comey said the FBI had decided the new batch of emails ‘had not changed our conclusion’ that she had not committed any criminal wrongdoing.

But Trump and his supporters raised the email issue repeatedly throughout the campaign and it is thought to have had a negative effect on Clinton’s trustworthiness among voters.  

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4363070/Comey-wanted-reveal-Russian-meddling-election.html#ixzz4coFx1To0
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Hillary Clinton Is Back From The Woods! — Takes on the Trump administration

March 29, 2017

The Associated Press

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Hillary Clinton, March 28, 2017. AP photo

SAN FRANCISCO — A spirited Hillary Clinton took on the Trump administration Tuesday in one of her first public speeches since she lost the presidential election, criticizing the country’s Republican leaders on everything from health care to the shortage of women appointees in top administration positions.

Cracking jokes about her November defeat and her months out of the limelight since, Clinton spoke to thousands of businesswomen in San Francisco, joking there was no place she’d rather be, “other than the White House.”

Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Clinton faulted the Republican presidential administration repeatedly, including calling its representation of women in top jobs “the lowest in a generation.”

She rebuked White House press secretary Sean Spicer, again not by name, for hours earlier Tuesday chiding a black woman journalist during a news conference for shaking her head.

“Too many women have had a lifetime of practice taking this kind of indignity in stride,” Clinton said.

“I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know all the nasty things they were saying about me. I thought some of them were kind of creative,” she said. “But you just have to keep going.”

 

Clinton declared herself appalled at a much-circulated photo showing an all-male group of Republican lawmakers last month negotiating women’s coverage in health care legislation, noting a social-media parody of it that showed an all-dog panel deciding on feline care.

Last week’s failure of the GOP health care bill, Clinton told a cheering, applauding crowd, was “a victory for all Americans.”

Trump has named four women to his Cabinet, the same number as in former President George W. Bush’s first Cabinet. Trump earlier this week pointed to the work he planned to have his daughter, Ivanka Trump Kushner, do on childcare and other issues involving working women and men in her unsalaried role in his administration.

Clinton has kept a low profile after Trump defeated her for the presidency, except chiefly for sightings while she took walks outdoors with her husband, former President Bill Clinton. She said earlier this month that she intended to start speaking out again on public issues.On Tuesday, she urged voters to resist Trump policies that she said included suspicion of refugees and voter suppression in some areas.

“These are bad policies that will hurt people and take our country in the wrong direction,” Clinton said, relaying what she had become one of her mantras since the November election.

“It’s the kinds of things you think about when you take long walks in the woods,” she said. “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.”

FBI investigating ties between Russia and Trump campaign

March 20, 2017

AFP and The Associated Press

© Nicholas Kamm, AFP | FBI Director James Comey (pictured left) and NSA Director Mike Rogers on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on March 20, 2017

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-03-20

FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the bureau is investigating possible links and coordination between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump as part of a probe of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

The extraordinary revelation came at the outset of Comey’s opening statement in a congressional hearing examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and Trump‘s campaign. He acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he’d been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

“This work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done,” Comey told the House Intelligence Committee.

Earlier in the hearing, the chairman of the committee contradicted an assertion from Trump by saying that there had been no wiretap of Trump Tower. But Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican whose committee is one of several investigating, said that other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.

Comey was testifying at Monday’s hearing along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

Trump, who recently accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping his New York skyscraper during the campaign, took to Twitter before the hearing began, accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election. He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted early Monday as news coverage on the Russia allegations dominated the morning’s cable news.

Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation. U.S. intelligence officials have not publicly raised the possibility of contacts between the Clintons and Moscow. Officials investigating the matter have said they believe Moscow had hacked into Democrats’ computers in a bid to help Trump’s election bid.

The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!

Monday’s hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

The top two lawmakers on the committee said Sunday that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower, the president’s New York City headquarters. But the panel’s ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

“There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

Nunes said: “For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses.”

“We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They’re also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.

It is not clear how much new information will emerge Monday, and the hearing’s open setting unquestionably puts Comey in a difficult situation if he’s asked to discuss an ongoing investigation tied to the campaign of the president.

At a hearing in January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russia, consistent with the FBI’s longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work. His appearances on Capitol Hill since then have occurred in classified settings, often with small groups of lawmakers, and he has made no public statements connected to the Trump campaign or Russia.

Any lack of detail from Comey on Monday would likely be contrasted with public comments he made last year when closing out an investigation into Clinton’s email practices and then, shortly before Election Day, announcing that the probe would be revived following the discovery of additional emails.

(AP)

Related:

FBI Director Comey: Justice Dept. has no information that supports President Trump’s tweets alleging he was wiretapped by Obama

March 20, 2017

James Comey. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images (File Photo)

.

The Washington Post
March 20 at 11:27 AM
.
FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged on Monday the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.
.
Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”
.The acknowledgment was an unusual move, given that the FBI’s practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. “But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest,” Comey said, “it may be appropriate to do so.”

Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the wide-ranging probe’s existence.

He spoke at the first intelligence committee public hearing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with National Security Agency head Michael S. Rogers.

Comey: No information to support Trump’s wiretapping tweets

FBI Director James B. Comey said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that he has no information that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former president Barack Obama. (Reuters)

The hearing comes amid the controversy fired up by President Trump two weeks ago when he tweeted, without providing evidence, that President Barack Obama ordered his phones tapped at Trump Tower.

Comey says there is “no information’’ that supports Trump’s claims that his predecessor Barack Obama ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the election campaign.

“I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ said Comey. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI,’’ and agents found nothing to support those claims, he said. He added the Justice Department had asked him to also tell the committee that that agency has no such information, either.

Under questioning from the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif,), Comey said no president could order such surveillance.

Committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in his opening statement, “The fact that Russia hacked U.S. election-related databases comes as no shock to this committee. We have been closely monitoring Russia’s aggressions for years…However, while the indications of Russian measures targeting the U.S. presidential election are deeply troubling, one benefit is already clear – it has focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the Russian autocrat. In recent years, Committee members have issued repeated and forceful pleas for stronger action against Russian belligerence. But the Obama administration was committed to the notion, against all evidence, that we could ‘reset’ relations with Putin, and it routinely ignored our warnings.”

Nunes said he hoped the hearing would focus on several key questions, including what actions Russia undertook against the United States during the 2016 election and did anyone from a political campaign conspire in these activities? He also wants to know if the communications of any campaign officials or associates were subject to any improper surveillance.

“Let me be clear,” he said. “We know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower. However, it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.”

Finally, Nunes said he is focused on leaks of classified information to the media. “We aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so these individuals can be brought to justice,” he said.

In his opening statement, Schiff said, “We will never know whether the Russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. Indeed it is unknowable in a campaign in which so many small changes could have dictated a different result. More importantly, and for the purposes of our investigation, it simply does not matter. What does matter is this: the Russians successfully meddled in our democracy, and our intelligence agencies have concluded that they will do so again.”

He added: “Most important, we do not yet know whether the Russians had the help of U.S. citizens, including people associated with the Trump campaign. Many of Trump’s campaign personnel, including the president himself, have ties to Russia and Russian interests. This is, of course, no crime. On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history.”

Just hours before the start of the hearing, Trump posted a series of tweets claiming Democrats “made up” the allegations of Russian contacts in an attempt to discredit the GOP during the presidential campaign. Trump also urged federal investigators to shift their focus to probe disclosures of classified material.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information,” Trump wrote early Monday. “Must find leaker now!”

Republican members pressed hard on the subject of leaks to the media that resulted in news stories about contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign or administration officials. Nunes sought an admission from the officials that the leaks were illegal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court act, the law that governs foreign intelligence-gathering on U.S. soil or of U.S. persons overseas.

“Yes,” Comey answered. “In addition to being a breach of our trust with the FISA court.”

One story in particular that apparently upset the Republicans was a Feb. 9 story by The Washington Post reporting that Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, discussed the subject of sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in the month before Trump took office. The Post reported that the discussions were monitored under routine, court-approved monitoring of Kislyak’s calls.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) pressed Rogers to clarify under what circumstances it would be legitimate for Americans caught on tape speaking with people under surveillance to have their identities disclosed publicly, and whether leaking those identities would “hurt or help” intelligence collection.

“Hurt,” Rogers noted.

Rogers stressed that the identities of U.S. persons picked up through “incidental collection” – that being the way intelligence officials picked up on Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak – are disclosed only on a “valid, need to know” basis, and usually only when there is a criminal activity or potential threat to the United States at play.

Rogers added that there are a total of 20 people in the NSA he has delegated to make decisions about when someone’s identity can be unmasked.

The FBI probe combines an investigation into hacking operations by Russian spy agencies with efforts to understand how the Kremlin sought to manipulate public opinion and influence the election’s outcome.

In January, the intelligence community released a report concluding that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin wanted to not only undermine the legitimacy of the election process but also harm the campaign of Hillary Clinton and boost Trump’s chances of winning.

Hackers working for Russian spy agencies penetrated the computers of the Democratic National Committee in 2015 and 2016 as well as the email accounts of Democratic officials, intelligence official said in the report. The material was relayed to WikiLeaks, the officials said, and the anti-secrecy group began a series of damaging email releases just before the Democratic National Convention that continued through the fall.

On Friday, the Justice Department delivered documents to the committee in response to a request for copies of intelligence and criminal wiretap orders and applications. Nunes, speaking Sunday, said the material provided “no evidence of collusion” to sway the election toward Trump and repeated previous statements that there is no credible proof of any active coordination.

But Schiff, also speaking Sunday, said there was “circumstantial evidence of collusion” at the outset of the congressional investigations into purported Russian election meddling, as well as “direct evidence” that Trump campaign figures sought to deceive the public about their interactions with Russian figures.

The concerns about Moscow’s meddling are also being felt in Europe, where France and Germany hold elections this year. “Our allies,” Schiff said, “are facing the same Russian onslaught.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-director-to-testify-on-russian-interference-in-the-presidential-election/2017/03/20/cdea86ca-0ce2-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.2b44421224ec

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

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the bureau is investigating possible links and coordination between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

The extraordinary revelation came at the outset of Comey’s opening statement in a congressional hearing examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and Trump’s campaign. He acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he’d been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

“This work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done,” Comey told the House Intelligence Committee.

Earlier in the hearing, the chairman of the committee contradicted an assertion from Trump by saying that there had been no wiretap of Trump Tower. But Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican whose committee is one of several investigating, said that other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.

Comey was testifying at Monday’s hearing along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

Trump, who recently accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping his New York skyscraper during the campaign, took to Twitter before the hearing began, accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election. He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted early Monday as news coverage on the Russia allegations dominated the morning’s cable news.

Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation. U.S. intelligence officials have not publicly raised the possibility of contacts between the Clintons and Moscow. Officials investigating the matter have said they believe Moscow had hacked into Democrats’ computers in a bid to help Trump’s election bid.

Monday’s hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

The top two lawmakers on the committee said Sunday that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower, the president’s New York City headquarters. But the panel’s ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

“There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” `’There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”

Nunes said: “For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses.”

“We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They’re also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.

It is not clear how much new information will emerge Monday, and the hearing’s open setting unquestionably puts Comey in a difficult situation if he’s asked to discuss an ongoing investigation tied to the campaign of the president.

At a hearing in January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russia, consistent with the FBI’s longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work. His appearances on Capitol Hill since then have occurred in classified settings, often with small groups of lawmakers, and he has made no public statements connected to the Trump campaign or Russia.

Any lack of detail from Comey on Monday would likely be contrasted with public comments he made last year when closing out an investigation into Clinton’s email practices and then, shortly before Election Day, announcing that the probe would be revived following the discovery of additional emails.


PUBLISHED: MARCH 20, 2017, 8:01 A.M.