Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Thu May 18, 2017 8:08 pm

McClatchy
Trump-Russia is now a criminal matter, senators say after ‘sobering’ briefing ...

Graham said Rosenstein did not explain why the investigation had changed. But the characterization suggested that the probe had moved from a general inquiry into whether there had been collusion to one that had identified possible suspects.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also said Rosenstein had declined to provide details of the case, citing “the uniqueness of the investigation.” But even without specifics, he said, the briefing was “sobering.”

“As it became clear how little he was willing to talk about it, it also became clear how broad this investigation that Mueller is about to undertake actually is,” Murphy said. ...

Congressional investigators “will have to be very leery of crossing into Mr. Mueller’s lane,” he [Graham] said. “Mr. Mueller will tell us what we can get and what we can’t.”

“There should be no concern with that,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. He noted, however, that the congressional probes would need to be respectful of the needs of the criminal investigation.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Fri May 19, 2017 11:21 am

Politico
Republicans shove Chaffetz on his way out

A handful of top Republicans have a message for outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz: It's time to relinquish the House Oversight Committee gavel.

Several senior GOP lawmakers are quietly encouraging Chaffetz to step down from his chairmanship soon, even though the Utah Republican doesn’t plan to resign from Congress until June 30. While his retirement announcement Thursday said nothing about his future work, Chaffetz has told lawmakers he’ll be heading to Fox News.

But GOP insiders say Chaffetz has been reluctant to let go of his panel’s leadership before he leaves Congress — and now he’s thrown himself into the thick of the Russia scandal that’s consuming Washington. It’s made for an uncertain transition at the committee and a sore subject for House Republicans. ...

Critics are grumbling that even as Chaffetz was planning his retirement, he summoned newly-fired FBI Director James Comey to testify before his panel next week. Chaffetz said he wants to question Comey about allegations that President Donald Trump tried to pressure him to drop an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The explosive hearing announcement — and Chaffetz’s threat to subpoena related FBI documents should they refuse to hand them over — has annoyed a number of GOP lawmakers. They worry that a major chairmanship transition in the middle of a high-profile probe of the president’s actions could create confusion at the committee.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Fri May 19, 2017 12:00 pm

WaPo
Rosenstein briefs House members in second visit to Capitol Hill

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein returned to Capitol Hill Friday, this time briefing House members a day after he told the full Senate that the White House’s initial account of FBI Director James B. Comey’s firing was not accurate.

Thursday afternoon’s briefing had left several questions unanswered.

Rosenstein told senators that he knew that Comey would be fired before he wrote a controversial memo that the White House initially used as its justification for the dismissal. But lawmakers are still unsure of what exactly President Trump said when he told Rosenstein he intended to fire Comey.

“There are some missing pieces here,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday, accusing Rosenstein of “intentionally” leaving certain facts out. “What did the president say?”

Rosenstein was not asked whether he threatened to resign after Trump suggested his memo prompted Comey’s dismissal. And he did not settle senators’ concerns about maintaining access to witnesses and documents that will be part of the probe run by the new special counsel, former FBI director and federal prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III.
Also, too:
Behind closed doors, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand blast Rosenstein for withholding information

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s meeting with senators on Thursday grew especially heated when he faced questions from two frustrated liberal Democrats, according to multiple people familiar with the meeting.

Rosenstein came to Capitol Hill to discuss the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey and his decision to hire Robert Mueller as a special counsel to probe Russian meddling in last year’s elections. He briefed U.S. senators in what they call “the SCIF,” or a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a below-ground facility in the Capitol Visitors Center that has an area large enough to hold all 100 senators.

In that space, Rosenstein faced especially aggressive questions from Democrats about the scope of the investigation set to be led by Mueller; why Attorney General Jeff Sessions was involved in the firing of Comey; and why Sessions is helping select the new director, according to multiple people.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) especially grilled Rosenstein on Sessions’s role and the scope of Mueller’s new investigation, according to three senators in the room who asked for anonymity to speak frankly about the meeting. Another aide familiar with the exchange described Franken as “heated.” But one of the senators asked to recount the meeting said that Franken and Gillibrand were “passionate” – not rude.

“They weren’t inappropriate, they were asking strong questions that were strongly felt. I didn’t think anybody was inappropriate,” the senator said.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Fri May 19, 2017 2:15 pm

Daily Beast
Rosenstein to Congress: My Memo Didn’t Tell Trump To Fire Comey

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered a stunning rebuke of fired FBI Director James Comey to members of Congress this week—arguing he undermined public confidence in the FBI and damaged the Justice Department.

“In one of my first meetings with then-Senator Jeff Sessions last winter, we discussed the need for new leadership at the FBI,” Rosenstein said, according to prepared remarks released by the Justice Department. “Among the concerns that I recall were to restore the credibility of the FBI, respect the established authority of the Department of Justice, limit public statements and eliminate leaks.”

Rosenstein delivered these remarks on Thursday in a private meeting with the members of the Senate, and again on Friday in a private meeting with the House. He has drawn excoriating criticism over the last week for writing a memo that the White House used to defend President Donald Trump’s firing of Comey.

In that memo, Rosenstein criticized Comey for public comments he made about the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

But Rosenstein also pointed out that his memo didn’t call for Comey to be fired.

“My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination,” he said.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Chilidog » Fri May 19, 2017 2:23 pm

Oy, what a little weasel Rosenstein is

Comey was right to be concerned about his appointment.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by tek » Fri May 19, 2017 5:25 pm

Chilidog wrote:Oy, what a little weasel Rosenstein is

Comey was right to be concerned about his appointment.
:yeah:

Unless Rosenstein grows a spine (and likely ends up fired), he's gonna end up on the wrong side of history.
We are so far down the rabbit hole..

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Fri May 19, 2017 6:56 pm

Politico
James Comey has agreed to testify in a public session at the Senate Intelligence Committee

Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify in a public session at the Senate Intelligence Committee. The hearing will occur after Memorial Day, the committee leaders said on Friday evening.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Foggy » Fri May 19, 2017 7:19 pm

Flynn can ignore the subpoena using the legal doctrine of "No puppet. No puppet. You're the puppet." The District Court of Bun-Dogs will uphold that 3 times out of 5. :P
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by kate520 » Fri May 19, 2017 7:20 pm

:lol:
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Lani » Sat May 20, 2017 7:31 pm

The circle widens.
House Inquiry Turns Attention to Trump Campaign Worker With Russia Ties
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/u ... GFX5uRbZbv
Michael Caputo, who served as a communications adviser to the Trump campaign, has been asked by the House committee investigating Russian election meddling to submit to a voluntary interview and to provide any documents he may have that are related to the inquiry.

The House Intelligence Committee, which is examining possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, made its request in a letter on May 9. Mr. Caputo, who lives near Buffalo and spent six months on the Trump team, worked in Russia during the 1990s and came to know Kremlin officials. He also did work in the early 2000s for Gazprom Media, a Russian conglomerate that supported President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Caputo has strongly denied that there was any collusion between him or anyone else on the campaign and Russian officials. He has also accused the committee of smearing him.

A Democratic member of the panel, Representative Jackie Speier of California, raised Mr. Caputo’s name during the March 20 hearing where James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, testified on Russia’s interference in the election. She noted Mr. Caputo’s work for Gazprom, and the fact that he met his second wife, who is Ukrainian, while working in 2007 on a parliamentary election in Kiev.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Sat May 20, 2017 9:34 pm

Democraticleader.gov - Press Release
Pelosi Calls on Justice Department to Stop Trump White House from Obstructing Special Counsel Mueller’s Investigation, Announces Plans to Introduce Measure Demanding Waiver

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement following a news report that the White House may use ethics rules to try to avoid the full scrutiny of the Trump-Russia federal investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller:

“News reports indicate that the Trump White House is seeking to use the Code of Federal Regulations to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, impugn his credibility and limit the scope of the probe.

“House Democrats call upon Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to fend off attempts to thwart the federal investigation and issue the appropriate waiver now. He should do so today.

“Next week, House Democrats will introduce legislation making clear that Director Mueller’s independence is without question and calling upon the Department of Justice to issue the appropriate waiver immediately.

“These ethics rules were designed to prevent conflicts of interest, not to allow the White House or the President to avoid the full scrutiny of a special counsel or to impugn the credibility of a distinguished public servant.”
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by MsDaisy » Sun May 21, 2017 6:19 am

I didn’t see this posted, (unless it’s in another thread) but I thought it was a very informative and interesting article.

Trump or Congress can still block Robert Mueller. I know. I wrote the rules.
By Neal Katyal
Appointing special counsel Robert Mueller to probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election (and any possible ties to President Trump’s campaign) was the only choice the Justice Department had. This is the best way to deal with the conflicts and potential conflicts of interest these matters posed. In fact, the special-counsel regulations under which Mueller was appointed were written precisely to address a situation like this one. I would know; I wrote them, in 1999.

But it’s also a highly imperfect solution, because it doesn’t foreclose the possibility of political interference in the investigation. The rules provide only so much protection: Congress, Trump and the Justice Department still have the power to stymie (or even terminate) Mueller’s inquiry.

The special-counsel regulations were drafted at a unique historical moment. We were approaching the end of President Bill Clinton’s second term, and no one knew who would be elected president the next year. Presidents of both parties had suffered through scandals and prosecutions under the Independent Counsel Act — Ronald Reagan with Iran-contra and Clinton with Monica Lewinsky. There was a chance to rethink things without either party fearing that it would give its political adversaries an advantage. Attorney General Janet Reno convened an internal working group to study the matter, and I ran that group for 18 months.

Our first decision was to let the Independent Counsel Act expire on June 30, 1999. Independence sounds good in theory, but in practice, it is mutually exclusive with accountability. The more independence you give a prosecutor, the less you make that prosecutor accountable to the public and regular checks and balances. And so we had seen the investigations and mandates of independent counsels mushroom, becoming a headless fourth branch of government. The consensus around this point was so great that sitting independent counsel Ken Starr testified against the act in 1999 and sought its expiration (his own investigation into Clinton, then still going on, was grandfathered).
http://www.washingtonpost.com/postevery ... 3be883b18b
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Mon May 22, 2017 11:18 am

ABC News
Michael Flynn to take the Fifth Amendment and decline Senate subpoena

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to honor a Senate committee's subpoena request for documents relating to Russian interference in the election, a source close to Flynn confirms to ABC News.

The Fifth Amendment gives an individual the right to protect against self-incrimination.

"He will not be producing the documents they sought. He is entitled to decline pursuant to the Fifth Amendment," a source close to Flynn tells ABC News.

To date, Flynn is the only Trump associate whom the Senate has subpoenaed.

Legal experts told ABC News that Fifth Amendment rights do not just apply to someone seated at a witness table. It also allows the individual to decline to produce documents that could potentially be incriminating.

The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Flynn's personal documents on May 10 after the former national security adviser declined to cooperate with their original April 28 request in relation to the panel's investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election and its possible ties to Trump associates.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Mon May 22, 2017 1:52 pm

WaPo
Can Michael Flynn refuse to turn over documents to Congress? Yes — but he risks jail.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s reticence to testify before Congress about his behavior before and after the inauguration of Donald Trump was always obvious. His attorney indicated that Flynn would testify in exchange for immunity back in March — a ploy that seemed designed to muck up any external criminal investigation of Flynn. Such an investigation has since been reported, with subpoenas issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Northern Virginia for records related to Flynn’s business.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Flynn would not comply with a similar subpoena issued by the Senate, prompting an obvious question: Is he allowed to ignore that request?

The answer is yes, in the sense that you can also refuse to comply with an order from a police officer. That is, he can refuse — but there will likely be consequences.

Todd Bussert, a federal criminal defense attorney in Connecticut, spoke with The Post by phone Monday to explain what might happen in response to Flynn’s refusal to turn over the requested documents.

The Fifth Amendment “doesn’t have the same level of protection” when it comes to documents, Bussert said.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by June bug » Mon May 22, 2017 2:19 pm

So ABC says:
Legal experts told ABC News that Fifth Amendment rights do not just apply to someone seated at a witness table. It also allows the individual to decline to produce documents that could potentially be incriminating.
While the Washington Post says:
The Fifth Amendment “doesn’t have the same level of protection” when it comes to documents, Bussert [criminal defense lawyer] said.
Glad that's cleared up! :sarcasm:

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Dan1100 » Mon May 22, 2017 2:24 pm

June bug wrote:So ABC says:
Legal experts told ABC News that Fifth Amendment rights do not just apply to someone seated at a witness table. It also allows the individual to decline to produce documents that could potentially be incriminating.
While the Washington Post says:
The Fifth Amendment “doesn’t have the same level of protection” when it comes to documents, Bussert [criminal defense lawyer] said.
Glad that's cleared up! :sarcasm:
Wikipedia to the rescue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Hubbell

This was the issue in United States v. Hubbell.
The Supreme Court has, since 1976, applied the so-called “act-of-production doctrine.” Under this doctrine, a person can invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against the production of documents only where the very act of producing the documents is incriminating in itself.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Mon May 22, 2017 4:02 pm

The Hill
Manafort, Stone give Russia docs to Senate panel: report

Two of President Trump's key campaign allies have handed over documents requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee amid the panel's probe of Russian election interference, NBC News reported Monday

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and unofficial Trump adviser Roger Stone provided the information to Senate committee's investigators by last Friday's deadline, the report said.

The panel also reportedly sent document requests earlier this month to former Trump policy adviser Carter Page and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Stone and a spokesman for Manafort confirmed to NBC that the two of them fulfilled the committee's request.

Flynn on Monday invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to turn over his records because of the “escalating public frenzy” surrounding the investigation, according to The Associated Press.

The retired general previously said he would testify in exchange for immunity, but neither the House or Senate intelligence committees accepted his offer.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by June bug » Mon May 22, 2017 4:16 pm

Dan1100 wrote:
June bug wrote:So ABC says:
Legal experts told ABC News that Fifth Amendment rights do not just apply to someone seated at a witness table. It also allows the individual to decline to produce documents that could potentially be incriminating.
While the Washington Post says:
The Fifth Amendment “doesn’t have the same level of protection” when it comes to documents, Bussert [criminal defense lawyer] said.
Glad that's cleared up! :sarcasm:
Wikipedia to the rescue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Hubbell

This was the issue in United States v. Hubbell.
The Supreme Court has, since 1976, applied the so-called “act-of-production doctrine.” Under this doctrine, a person can invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against the production of documents only where the very act of producing the documents is incriminating in itself.
Which, by the way, was exactly the argument used by Flynn's attorneys in their letter declining the subpoena.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Kendra » Mon May 22, 2017 5:54 pm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/pol ... df4fb5f906
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s reticence to testify before Congress about his behavior before and after the inauguration of Donald Trump was always obvious. His attorney indicated that Flynn would testify in exchange for immunity back in March — a ploy that seemed designed to muck up any external criminal investigation of Flynn. Such an investigation has since been reported, with subpoenas issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Northern Virginia for records related to Flynn’s business.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Flynn would not comply with a similar subpoena issued by the Senate, prompting an obvious question: Is he allowed to ignore that request?

The answer is yes, in the sense that you can also refuse to comply with an order from a police officer. That is, he can refuse — but there will likely be consequences.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Lunaluz » Mon May 22, 2017 6:32 pm

Breaking from The Washington Post....

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... 0264e72ec6

:snippity: Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work. :snippity:

I am so not surprised.....

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Mon May 22, 2017 6:37 pm

An obstruction trifecta!
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by June bug » Mon May 22, 2017 7:33 pm

Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:An obstruction trifecta!
It's yuuuuuuge - nobody does obstruction as bigly as Donald J. Trump!

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Tue May 23, 2017 9:37 am

Talking Points Memo
Senate Intel Chair Won’t Rule Out Holding Flynn In Contempt Of Congress

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) said Monday night that he would not rule out holding former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents.

“You’ll just have to wait and watch. [Contempt is] certainly one of the avenues that we could pursue,” Burr told reporters regarding Flynn, according to Politico. “It does us no good to have people insist on pleading the Fifth if you’re out trying to get information. The only thing I can tell you is immunity is off the table.”

Lawyers for Flynn informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that Flynn would invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to comply with a subpoena for documents related to the probe into Russian election meddling.

Burr indicated that he was perplexed by the letter from Flynn’s lawyers.

“All I’ve asked him for is documents. I don’t know how you can plead the Fifth on a document request,” Burr said, per Politico.
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Tue May 23, 2017 10:59 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGg8gpGqr-w


WATCH LIVE: Former CIA Director Testifies At Open Hearing On Russia Trump Collusion Investigation
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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Post by Addie » Tue May 23, 2017 11:40 am

Talking Points Memo
Brennan: Intel Showed Contacts Between Russian Officials And People Involved With Trump Camp

Former CIA Director John Brennan confirmed Tuesday to the House Intelligence Committee that “Russia brazenly interfered in the 2016 election process,” saying this fact “should be clear to everyone” by this point.

Then, under questioning from Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-FL), Brennan went further, saying that he left office with “unresolved questions” about whether Russia had worked with any “U.S. persons” involved in the 2016 campaign to influence the outcome.

Based on what he knows about Russia from decades of work as an intelligence officer, Brennan said: “They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including U.S. individuals, to act on their behalf—wittingly or unwittingly,” he said. “I was worried about the number of contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons. Therefore, by the time I left office on January 20th, I had unresolved questions in my mind, as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf again either in a witting or unwitting fashion.”

Brennan said he does not know whether any Americans engaged in “actively conspiring” with Russia, but says he found evidence of contacts between Russian officials and Americans troubling enough to warrant a serious investigation.
Adding:
Politico: Brennan: Russia may have successfully recruited Trump campaign aides

The former CIA director also says the FBI probe into whether Russia meddled in the election is ‘well founded.’
CNN: Ex-CIA chief John Brennan: 'Russia brazenly interfered' in US elections

Washington (CNN)Former CIA Director John Brennan told House Russia investigators Tuesday that Russia "brazenly interfered" in the US elections, including actively contacting members of President Donald Trump's campaign -- but he stopped shy of dubbing it "collusion."
Esquire-Charlie Pierce: The Republicans Just Scored a Spectacular Own Goal

Please, Republicans, stop helping the president*. Keep this up and he's going to end his grand tour of Europe in the dock at the Hague.
New York Times: Former C.I.A. Chief Reveals Mounting Concern Over Trump Campaign and Russia

WASHINGTON — As Russian hackers and propagandists tried to manipulate the American election last year, the C.I.A. noticed a series of suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday.

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan described a nerve-fraying few months as American authorities realized that the election was under attack and worried that Mr. Trump’s campaign might be aiding that fight. His remarks were the fullest public account to date of the origins of an F.B.I. investigation that continues to shadow the Trump administration.
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