"Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation." I agree with you, Gregg. Now we have to think what to do about it. And then we will have to do something. - M.N.

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"Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation." I agree with you, Gregg. Now we have to think what to do about it. And then we will have to do something. - M.N. 

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Gregg Jarrett: An FBI that is corrupt and dishonest -- Latest reports ...

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New York Times: FBI opened counterintelligence probe on Trump to investigate ... Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Gregg Jarrett: An FBI that is corrupt and dishonest -- Latest reports offer only more proof

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Dishonesty and corruption are endemic at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The latest proof comes in a New York Times report that the FBI initiated an investigation in May of 2017 into whether President Donald Trump was serving as a covert Russian agent.  The accusation itself was ludicrous on its face.  But from a legal standpoint, the FBI's probe constituted an egregious abuse of power.  The Bureau had no probable cause, no evidence, and no reasonable suspicions.  They investigated Trump because they could.  They defied the law, ignored or perverted facts, and debased the integrity of a heretofore-respected law enforcement agency.
Why did these rogue officials commit such an outrageous act of malfeasance? In a word, vengeance.  Already incensed that Trump had defeated their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, they grew furious when the president fired Director James Comey on May 9, 2017. In reaction, they sought retribution. What better way to avenge Comey's firing than to launch a counterintelligence investigation of Trump under the false pretense that he committed treasonous acts for the benefit of the Kremlin and at the direction of President Vladimir Putin. Absent credible proof, information could be manipulated to frame Trump while a compliant media would gobble up the leaks and report the damaging charge. The election results could then be undone when the president was driven from office.
To readers of my book, "The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme To Clear Hillary Clinton And Frame Donald Trump,” this comes as no surprise.  As detailed therein, Comey and his faithful confederates at the Bureau twisted facts and contorted the law to absolve Clinton of all criminal acts she most certainly committed in the mishandling of her classified emails while Secretary of State.
On the same day Comey exonerated Clinton, his FBI was furtively meeting with the author of the fictitious anti-Trump "dossier" funded by Clinton and the Democrats.  Although nothing in the phony document was true or ever verified, the FBI used it as a pretext to commence and advance a malicious investigation into whether Trump "colluded" with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.  They also exploited the "dossier" as the basis to gain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, concealing the truth from the intelligence court and deceiving the judges.
Over the next ten months, the FBI failed to corroborate anything in the "dossier."  Bureau agents uncovered no evidence that Trump had somehow conspired or coordinated with Russia to influence the election. Then came the firing of Comey for just cause.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Comey's direct boss, volunteered to author a memorandum recommending his termination for multiple acts of misconduct and serious violations of Justice Department and FBI rules in the Clinton case.  Six former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties endorsed his termination.  Comey was canned for reasons that were entirely merited and had nothing whatsoever to do with the Russia probe.  The president was constitutionally authorized to take such action, which Comey confirmed in a letter to his colleagues at the FBI.
As I noted in my book, "Almost immediately, demands for impeachment of President Trump were heard in the corridors of Congress.  The liberal media were crazed with excitement over the prospect that the president had obstructed justice in trying to block the Russian investigation.  In truth and in law, neither scenarios were remotely rational."
When the people we entrust to enforce the law become the lawbreakers, they must be held accountable.
Among those who were aggrieved over Comey's firing was his loyal lieutenant, Andrew McCabe, who became Acting FBI Director, as well as bureau lawyer Lisa Page and her paramour, Peter Strzok, a top counterintelligence agent.  Page and Strzok were intimately involved in the "collusion" investigation and were virulently opposed to the president both politically and personally, as evidence by their numerous anti-Trump text messages.
In the eight-day period after Comey's termination, top officials at the FBI decided to take action.  They would originate a counterintelligence investigation of Trump for being a foreign agent of Russia.  Critically, they had no evidence or even reasonable suspicion to support their operation.  They simply despised Trump and chose to misuse their positions of power in an illegal act of reprisal.  
Once again, the FBI needed a pretext.They coalesced around the idea that Comey's firing might constitute obstruction of justice if it was intended to stop or impede the original Russian probe. In other words, the president must surely be a Russian agent if it can be shown that he wanted to halt the Russian probe.  According to the New York Times, Trump made two comments that served the FBI's improper purpose.  They are worth examining.
First, Trump wrote a letter to Comey thanking him for telling him three times that he was not under investigation. Comey later confirmed that he had, in fact, told the president he was not under investigation. Obviously, Trump wanted the American public to learn that he was not personally being investigated for Russian "collusion."  Yet, Comey refused to disclose this truth.  How this letter can, therefore, be viewed plausibly as obstruction of an investigation is baffling. Trump wanted to promote the truth, not conceal it.
Second, Trump gave an interview to NBC News two days after Comey was dismissed in which he made reference to the Russia investigation. How is this evidence of obstruction?  It is not.  As I explained in my book, "A rigorous reading of what Trump said confirms that his intent was not to interfere with or end the Russia investigation, but to place someone who was neutral and competent in charge."  In fact, Trump told NBC that he might want to lengthen the investigation to get to the bottom of any wrongdoing.  This is hardly evidence of a corrupt purpose to interfere in an investigation as the law of obstruction demands. 
The FBI's illegitimate decision to begin an investigation of Trump as a Russian agent based on an obstruction premise was a false and fabricated excuse.  This is shown by the testimony of McCabe who appeared before the Senate Intelligence committee after Comey was fired.  He stated, "There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date."  Days later, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Congress, "There never has been...any political interference in any matter under my supervision in the Department of Justice."  Six days before he was fired, Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that no one had told him to stop something for a political reason.  "It's not happened in my experience," he said.
Not only did these key people involved in the Russia case affirm that the president never interfered or obstructed, there was no other evidence that Trump was working for the Russians that would have justified the FBI's punitive decision to launch its investigation. Both Comey and Page testified before House investigators that by the time the director was fired and Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed there was no hard evidence of "collusion."  The investigation had been running for ten months. Comey admitted, "In fact, when I was fired as director, I still didn't know whether there was anything to it."  Nevertheless, top officials at the FBI opened their investigation of Trump in May of 2017 without sufficient evidence and in direct violation of FBI and DOJ regulations.  They broke the law.  And they did it to depose Trump.
The FBI was not alone in its attempt to remove Trump from office.  According to another New York Times story, Rosenstein also sought retribution by proposing to secretly record the president in an attempt to gain some damaging information about him. He allegedly suggested that he and others wear hidden devices to record their conversations with Trump and discussed recruiting Cabinet members to remove him under the Constitution's 25th Amendment.  Three top FBI officials confirmed various elements of Rosenstein's efforts to mount the equivalent of a palace coup.  The Deputy Attorney General has consistently resisted requests by Congress to question him about his actions.
It is now undeniable that critical decisions made by senior FBI leadership were driven by political bias and personal animus, not sustainable facts or credible evidence. These powerful officials could not abide that Donald Trump had emerged, against their wishes, as the duly elected president of the United States.  They could not accept that he had unceremoniously shown Comey the door.  In an act of rank retaliation, they decided to abuse their positions of power to drive him from office.  They invented facts and ignored the law to subvert our system of justice and undermine the democratic process.  They compromised essential principles and betrayed the nation's trust.  Their conduct was, and is, unconscionable. 
When William Barr takes office as our nation's next Attorney General, he must review their actions and present all evidence of wrongdoing to federal prosecutors and, if appropriate, a grand jury.  When the people we entrust to enforce the law become the lawbreakers, they must be held accountable.  No one is above the law.
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Donald Trump makes bizarre White House confession

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When a reporter accuses Donald Trump’s White House of being a panicked and chaotic mess, and Trump responds to the report by yelling “fake news” and frantically invoking words spelled in all capital letters, it speaks for itself. But during Trump’s meltdown, he made a particularly bizarre admission about his White House being a ghost town.

Here’s what Trump let slip during his tirade: “In fact, there’s almost nobody in the W.H. but me, and I do have a plan on the Shutdown.” He then went on to reveal that he absolutely does not have a plan. And why admit there’s no one in the White House but him? Sure, it’s the weekend, and it’s in the midst of a government shutdown. But most people are going to interpret this as an acknowledgment that most of Trump’s top people have resigned in protest, or been fired in scandal, and most of them have not been replaced.

This comes just a couple weeks after Donald Trump famously tweeted “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House.” This is just weird, and it keeps getting weirder. Trump really, really, really, wants us to know that he’s alone in the White House, at a time when he’s increasingly in danger of being ousted from the White House.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

Cambridge Analytica’s parent pleads guilty to breaking UK data law

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Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Elections, has been fined £15,000 in a UK court after pleading guilty to failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued by the national data protection watchdog, the Guardian reports.
While the fine itself is a small and rather symbolic one, given the disgraced political analytics firm went into administration last year, the implications of the prosecution are more sizeable.
Last year the Information Commissioner’s Office ordered SCL to hand over all the data it holds on U.S. academic, professor David Carroll, within 30 days. After the company failed to do so it was taken to court by the ICO.
Prior to Cambridge Analytica gaining infamy for massively misusing Facebook user data, the company, which was used by the Trump campaign, claimed to have up to 7,000 data points on the entire U.S. electorate — circa 240M people.
So Carroll’s attempt to understand exactly what data the company had on him, and how the information was processed to create a voter profile of it, has much wider relevance.
Under EU law, citizens can file a Subject Access Request (SAR) to obtain personal data held on them. So Carroll, a U.S. citizen, decided to bring a test case by requesting his data even though he is not a UK citizen — having learnt Cambridge Analytica had processed his personal data in the U.K.
He lodged his original SAR in January 2017 after becoming suspicious about the company’s claim to have built profiles of every U.S. voter.
Cambridge Analytica responded to the SAR in March 2017 but only sent partial data. So Carroll complained to the ICO which backed his request — issuing an enforcement notice on SCL Elections in May 2018, days after the (now) scandal-hit company announced it was shutting down.
The company pulled the plug on its business in the wake of the Facebook data misuse scandal, when it emerged SCL had paid an academic with developer access to Facebook’s platform to harvest data on millions of users without proper consents in a bid to create psychological profiles of U.S. voters for election campaign purposes.
The story snowballed into a global scandal for Facebook and triggered a major (and still ongoing) investigation by the ICO into how online data is used for political campaigning.
It also led the ICO to hit Facebook with a £500,000 fine last year (the maximum possible under the relevant UK data protection law). Although the company is appealing.
The SCL prosecution is an important one, cementing the fact that anyone who requests their personal information from a U.K.-based company or organisation is legally entitled to have that request answered, in full, under national data protection law — regardless of whether they’re a British citizen or not.
Commenting in a statement, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “This prosecution, the first against Cambridge Analytica, is a warning that there are consequences for ignoring the law. Wherever you live in the world, if your data is being processed by a UK company, UK data protection laws apply.
“Organisations that handle personal data must respect people’s legal privacy rights. Where that does not happen and companies ignore ICO enforcement notices, we will take action.”
The Daily Beast reports that at today’s hearing, at Hendon magistrates court, the court was told that the administrators of Cambridge Analytica and its related companies had now provided relevant passwords to the ICO. Cambridge Analytica had previously failed to supply these passwords.
This means the regulator should be able to gain access to more of the data it seized when it raided the company’s London offices in March last year. So it’s at least possible Carroll’s SAR might eventually be fulfilled that way, i.e. by the regulatory sifting through the circa 700TB of data it seized.
However Carroll told TechCrunch he’s hoping for a faster route to get to the truth of exactly what the company did with his data, telling us there’s still “a March court event that could yield our end goal: Disclosure”.
The March 18 hearing will address concerns about insolvency and joint administrators, according to Carroll.
“Why would they rather plead guilty to a criminal offense instead of complying with disclosure required by UK DPA ‘98. What are they hiding? Why has it come to this?” he added.
“Testing the Subject Access Request in this way is an important exercise. Do regulators and companies really know how to fully execute a Subject Access Request? How about when it escalates to a matter of international importance?”
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Trump's Putin problem seizes the spotlight in a time of turmoil - CNN - 6:20 AM 1/14/2019 - operation trump and new abwehr demiurge - Google Search

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White House Sought Options to Strike Iran

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Trump's Putin problem seizes the spotlight in a time of turmoil

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A weekend of bombshells deepened the most intractable mystery of Donald Trump’s presidency — one that could eventually dictate his fate — over his deference to Vladimir Putin and behavior that often favors Russia’s goals.
Stunning revelations included a disclosure that the FBI opened a probe amid fears that Trump was covertly working for Moscow and detailed his “extraordinary” efforts to hide the content of his private talks with Putin.
The reports — from The New York Times, CNN and The Washington Post — took intrigue about Trump and Russia to a surreal new level, even after two years of shocking developments borne out of Moscow’s election meddling in 2016.
In an interview with Fox News on Saturday evening, Trump denied he was trying to conceal details of his dealings with Putin.
“I’m not keeping anything under wraps. I couldn’t care less. I mean, it’s so ridiculous. These people make it up,” Trump said.
But the deeply reported accounts beg the question why Trump, given the knowledge that he and his campaign are being investigated for links to Russia, so often acts in a manner that sharpens suspicion about his ties to Moscow.
There is also growing concern in Washington about the consequences of a situation where the Kremlin knows exactly what went on in Putin’s meetings with Trump around the world, but his own top foreign policy aides do not.
The situation is bound to raise new questions about Trump’s past business relationship with Russia and whether the Kremlin has information that is being used to compromise the President and may explain what often appears to be efforts to obstruct the investigation into his conduct.
If, as the White House says, Trump has no compromised relationship with Russia, why does he go out of his way to hide his interactions with Putin? Does he perhaps not trust his own team not to leak details of their meetings?
The latest reports are already exacerbating a febrile atmosphere in Washington, which is polarized over a government shutdown triggered by a dispute over Trump’s border wall that is now entering its fourth week.
The possibility that House Democrats could eventually seek to impeach the President has been a reverberating presence in the capital for months, and the latest reports about Trump and Russia will hardly calm the mood.

The Putin mystery

The White House bitterly attacks the media over its coverage of Trump and Putin, most recently in a pair of statements by spokeswoman Sarah Sanders over the weekend.
But neither the President nor his aides have ever offered an adequate explanation of why so much that the President says or does — from his praise to Putin, his denigration of US intelligence agencies over their assessments of Russian election meddling and his hostility to US allies — often favors the Kremlin.
While there is so far no proof that Trump is under Russia’s influence, such a scenario — though stunning, given that he is the President of the United States — would help explain why his policies so often seem to favor Moscow.
This includes his hostility to NATO, his sudden announcement of a US withdrawal from Syria that the Kremlin supports, his recent comment that the Soviet Union was justified in invading Afghanistan in 1979 and his willingness to accept Russia’s version of the election meddling allegations.
Trump’s warmth towards authoritarian leaders, disdain for international organizations, support for Britain’s exit from the European Union and coolness towards liberal, international democracy also help further Putin’s goal of discrediting the political institutions and credibility of the West.
Even the chaos and political polarization Trump has fomented in America fits Putin’s desire to see the world’s top democratic powers discredited and in turmoil, and may be a lasting payoff of Russia’s activity in 2016.
Some observers have seen such activity in itself as a form of collusion with Russia — a hostile power — in plain sight, even while Trump’s team is under investigation for alleged campaign transgressions.

Trump under siege

The new developments follow weeks of damaging revelations and filings surrounding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which has revealed repeated links between Trump associates and Russia at a time when the Kremlin was running a 2016 intelligence operation to put Trump in office and a pattern of lying about those contacts.
The President has responded to the weekend’s staggering reports by going on the attack, again denying there was any “collusion” between his campaign and Russia in 2016 and reacting to the report that the FBI investigated why the President was seeming to act in ways that benefited Russia after he fired the bureau’s director James Comey by alleging it is a symptom of corruption with the nation’s preeminent law enforcement agency.
When asked on Fox News Saturday about the Times report, Trump said, “It’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked” and claimed that he had probably been tougher on Russia than any other previous president.
It’s true that the Trump administration has taken some steps that fit into an authentically hardline policy towards Moscow. This includes sanctions against Russia for election meddling and approving the sale of lethal arms to Ukraine, a step the Obama administration did not take.
But Trump’s own felicity toward Putin — on show at the Helsinki summit last year — often seems to undermine his own administration’s policy.
In the coming days, Democrats will try to block a move by the administration to ease sanctions against Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to the Russian leader and is an associate of jailed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Senior Democrats on Sunday painted the latest developments involving Trump and Russia as a grave turn in the investigation. They’re readying a sweeping oversight effort into what happened in 2016, and Trump’s personal and business relationships with Moscow.
“I think we’re seeing these independent actions, even independent of Mueller, which is the lead-up and some of the rationale about why this investigation started and why so many Americans, like myself, have been concerned for so long,” said Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Warner also raised the case of Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate of Manafort who is regarded as a Russian intelligence asset. A botched legal filing last week by Manafort’s lawyers revealed that the former campaign chairman had passed proprietary campaign data to Kilimnik.
Trump’s legal team has played down the issue. But the big unanswered question is whether the President was aware of Manafort’s behavior or whether he was acting alone.
There have been several other revelations that undermine the idea that there was no collusion between Trump associates in Russia. They include the conversations between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to Washington during the presidential transition. The willingness of the President’s son to meet a Russian lawyer in the hope of getting “dirt” on Hillary Clinton’s campaign also fanned suspicion.

Republicans shrug off latest bombshells

Republicans, publicly at least, tried to downplay the latest developments.
“There is an incredible divide between Washington and the rest of the country when it comes to Bob Mueller and the Russia investigation,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The mainstream media, Washington, is obsessed with it. And when you get outside the Beltway, I don’t find anybody concerned with this at all.”
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson was not concerned at the implications of the Post report, which said Trump confiscated his interpreter’s notes taken in his meetings with Putin and banned them from talking about what went on with other administration officials.
“This is not a traditional President. He has unorthodox means. But he is President of the United States. It’s pretty much up to him in terms of who he wants to read into his conversations with world leaders. That’s just the basic fact,” Johnson said.
And South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham strongly pushed back on the report that the FBI opened an investigation into why Trump was working in ways that seemed to benefit Russia.
“I find it astonishing and to me, it tells me a lot about the people running the FBI. … I don’t trust them as far as I throw them,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The solidarity of the GOP senators was a sign, that for now at least, the new intrigue has not shaken Trump’s hold on the Republican base over Russia — a foundation tended daily by conservative media pundits who rarely let up their attacks on Mueller.
But, that is not a guarantee that the political ground will not shift when Mueller delivers his final report.
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Operation Trump By The New Abwehr Demiurge, as Linked Together By Michael Novakhov - Reviewed on 1.13.19 Sunday January 13th, 2019 at 4:21 PM The FBI News Review

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Blog – Trump Investigations Report

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The CIA’s Super-secret Weapon: Putin’s overwhelming love for Baby Donald! 

The New Abwehr Hypothesis Of The Operation Trump – By Michael Novakhov

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Democrats say Mueller must finish investigation of Trump’s Russia ties - U.S.

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Democrats say Mueller must finish investigation of Trump’s Russia ties

(Tribune News Service) — New reporting raises further questions about President Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia and emphasizes the need to ensure that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is finished without interference, Senate Democrats said Sunday.
The New York Times reported Friday that the FBI opened an investigation in 2017 to determine whether the president had worked, knowingly or unknowingly, on behalf of Russia and against U.S. national interests. On Saturday, a Washington Post story said Trump went to great lengths to hide details of his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The reports build on previous questions about Trump’s connections with Russia that need to be investigated, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election must be allowed to finish to provide the answers, he said.
That process will start with seeking assurances this week during the confirmation hearing for William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, said Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat.
“Bill Barr had better give us some … ironclad, rock-bottom assurances in terms of his independence and his willingness to step back and let Mueller finish his job,” Durbin said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Trump attacked the Times story Saturday. It said which said his firing of FBI Director James Comey prompted the FBI to open an investigation. The president said he fired Comey for cause, and that the investigation was started “for no reason and with no proof” of wrongdoing. In an interview Saturday night, Trump also said he “couldn’t care less”’ if details from his conversations with Putin were released.
“It’s so ridiculous, these people make it up,” Trump said on Fox News. He said, as he did on Twitter Saturday, that he’d been tougher on Russia than recent U.S. leaders.
Trump should be judged by his actions in response to questions about whether he was compromised by Russia, and investigations should “get past the innuendo,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on NBC that he’ll consider whatever evidence is produced by Mueller but that “I’m not going to base it on unsubstantiated media reports.”
The staff of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has sent 51 letters asking for documents related to investigations involving Trump that the committee may open, according to a story on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” The issues include the private use of government-owned aircraft by Cabinet members and the flow of foreign money into Trump’s businesses, an excerpt released by the network said.
“We’ve got to hit the ground, not running, but flying,” Cummings said.
©2019 Bloomberg News
Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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Democrats say they will step up investigations after new reports on Trump and Russia

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With a new Democratic majority in the House, freshly anointed committee chairs are pledging to use their expanded powers to look into Trump and Russia, including the ability to subpoena witnesses and sensitive documents.
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., who now heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said his panel would hold hearings about what he called Trump's "bizarre relationship with Putin and his cronies."
In a statement issued Saturday night, Engel suggested that secrecy about what was said when Trump met with the Russian leader �� to the extent of keeping his national security team in the dark —was of paramount concern.
"Every time Trump meets with Putin, the country is told nothing," Engel said. "America deserves the truth, and the Foreign Affairs Committee will seek to get to the bottom of it."
Republican allies of the president said the acts of concealment described by the Post, including Trump's demand that an interpreter hand over the U.S. side's only notes of a private meeting with Putin in Hamburg, Germany, were well within his authority.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said on CNN's "State of the Union that "this is not a traditional president."
"He has unorthodox means," Johnson said. "But he is president of the United States. It's pretty much up to him in terms of who he wants to read in to his conversations with world leaders."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Democrats had been stymied in previous efforts to learn what was said between Trump and Putin during a summit last year in Helsinki, Finland �� but signalled that was about to change.
"Last year, we sought to obtain the interpreter's notes or testimony, from the private meeting between Trump and Putin," he said in a statement. "The Republicans on our committee voted us down. Will they join us now?"
Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, said: "Shouldn't we find out whether our president is really putting 'America first?'"
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, who is travelling in the Middle East, dismissed the possibility that Trump acted on Russia's behalf, calling it an "absolutely ludicrous" notion.
"The idea that's contained in the New York Times story, that President Trump was a threat to American national security, is silly on its face, and not worthy of a response," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, said it was "curious" that as investigations were beginning in 2017, "you had Vladimir Putin policies almost being parroted by Donald Trump."
Asked on CNN whether he thought Trump ever worked on behalf of the Russians and against American interests, Warner said: "That's the defining question of our investigation, and the Mueller investigation.
"You had Trump say only nice things about Putin. He never spoke ill about Russia."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump's staunchest defenders, suggested that the FBI's reported counter-intelligence investigation showed malfeasance by senior bureau officials.
"It tells me a lot about people running the FBI," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday" when asked about the Times report. He blamed news leaks by people "with an agenda."
While Trump's purported toughness on Russia has been a major talking point among his defenders, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that he would force a vote on a resolution to disapprove of the administration's decision to ease sanctions on companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced plans to relax the sanctions last week.
Calling the Treasury Department's proposal "flawed," Schumer issued a statement Sunday urging the Senate to "block this misguided effort" by the administration. A simple majority would be needed to proceed.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, played down the latest Russia revelations as of little interest to anyone outside the nation's capital.
"Washington is obsessed with this," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Beyond the Beltway, the interstate highway ringing Washington, he said, "I don't find anybody concerned with this at all."
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You're darn right Donald Trump is a Russian spy

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This weekend we learned that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump a year and a half ago. This is different from collusion, or any other term that’s entered the equation up to this point. Counterintelligence is treason stuff. It’s spy stuff. This isn’t about Trump working with the Kremlin; it’s about Trump working for the Kremlin, and being a part of the Kremlin. It’s time we change our terminology.
It’s no longer accurate to merely refer to Donald Trump as a Russian asset. The word “asset” refers to anyone who has been targeted by a foreign government to do its bidding, sometimes with the kind of subterfuge involved that prevents the target from even knowing he’s doing the foreign government’s bidding. That does not at all describe the relationship between Donald Trump and the Kremlin.

This is a guy who publicly asked the Kremlin to illegally hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, who publicly trashed the United States while standing next to Putin, and who met with the Russians in the White House to celebrate the firing of James Comey. These are just the things Trump has been comfortable doing in public. That’s before getting to the Russian spy stuff he’s done that’s been so severe, he’s felt compelled to do it in private.

Just because Donald Trump has done some of his Russian spy stuff out in the open, it doesn’t mean he’s not a spy. Maria Butina’s Russian spy craft included taking selfies with the American politicians she was attempting to turn, and then posting them on social media for all to see. So yeah, some spy work is done in plain sight. We all agree that Butina is a Russian spy; in fact she pleaded guilty to it. Trump’s instructions to take over the GOP on behalf of the Kremlin are really no different.

The strangest argument out there right now is that Donald Trump is too incompetent and too stupid to be acting as a spy for the Russians. This seems to be based on the popular notion that people are only recruited to be spies if they’re smart and good at it. But we’ve seen it doesn’t work that way. This is the same Kremlin that tried to recruit an idiot like Carter Page.

So yeah, it’s time to start referring to Donald Trump as a Russian spy, because that’s what he is. You can call him an alleged Russian spy if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but that’s not necessary, because he’s already publicly confessed to being a Russian spy on more than one occasion. So let’s stop fighting the terminology, and call it like it is: there’s a Russian spy in the Oval Office. And soon he’ll go to prison for it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report
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Donald Trump lashed out at Mick Mulvaney during shutdown meeting with Democrats

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British Prime Minister warns country may not leave European Union if Parliament rejects her deal
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Democrats warn Donald Trump against obstruction of Michael Cohen

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The Associated Press's White House reporter Jonathan Lemire describes how President Donald Trump changed his opinion and reaction to the Michael Cohen matter. (Dec. 14) AP
Don’t obstruct. That was the message from three top Democrats to President Donald Trump on Sunday.
In a joint statement, Reps. Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler warned Trump against efforts to “discourage, intimidate or otherwise pressure” his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who has agreed to publicly testify Feb. 7 before the House Oversight Committee.
“The integrity of our process to serve as an independent check on the Executive Branch must be respected by everyone, including the President. Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress,” the statement read. “The President should make no statement or take any action to obstruct Congress’ independent oversight and investigative efforts, including by seeking to discourage any witness from testifying in response to a duly authorized request from Congress.”
The statement came in response to Trump’s appearance on Saturday night on Fox News, when he told Jeanine Pirro that Cohen “should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at.”
Trump added: “Because where does that money – that’s the money in the family. And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father – he’s trying to get his sentence reduced. So, it’s pretty sad."
When Pirro asked for Cohen’s father-in-law’s name, Trump answered, “I don’t know, but you’ll find out, and you’ll look into it because nobody knows what’s going on over there.”
Cummings, Schiff and Nadler are prominent Democratic chairmen, of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence and Judiciary, respectively.
In December, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for what U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley called a “veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct.” He took the blame in court, citing his “blind loyalty to the man that caused me to choose the path of darkness.”
Known as Trump’s longtime fixer, Cohen has acknowledged arranging hush money payments before the 2016 election to two women, adult film star Stormy Daniel and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed affairs with Trump. He has implicated Trump in the payments, saying he made them at his direction.
In a statement after agreeing to testify, Cohen said, “I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, exits federal court, Aug. 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges involving bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. Drew Angerer, Getty Images
18 Photos
Michael Cohen: Trump's personal lawyer in the spotlight
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building, in New York, Aug. 21, 2018. Richard Drew, AP
Robin Bell, left, and Sorane Yamahira look at their work projected on the Trump International Hotel, July 23, 2018, in Washington. In a city with a long tradition of leftist street activism, Bell has become something of a local celebrity. Every few weeks, Bell puts messages of protest on the side of the Trump International Hotel. He's called President Donald Trump a pig and a racist, used smiling poop emojis, and taunted the president with images of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Alex Brandon, AP
Michael Cohen leaves the U.S. Courthouse in New York after a scheduled hearing on May 30, 2018.Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY
Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for President Trump, exits the Loews Regency Hotel, May 11, 2018 in New York City. Drew Angerer, Getty Images
Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, leaves Federal Court after his hearing at the United States District Court Southern District of New York, April 16, 2018, in New York. Officials with the FBI, armed with a search warrant, raided Cohen's office and two private residences last week. YANA PASKOVA, GETTY IMAGES
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks outside U.S. Federal Court with her lawyer Michael Avenatti (R) in Lower Manhattan, New York on April 16, 2018. Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims to have had a consensual sexual encounter with Donald Trump a decade ago, said April 17, 2018 that she is pursuing legal action against the president because she is "done being bullied.""I'm tired of being threatened, intimidating me, and trying to say that you'll ruin my life and take all my money and my house," Daniels said on ABC's "The View.""I'm done being bullied," Daniels said of legal threats from Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, who is now embroiled in his own legal troubles."I'm done," Daniels said. EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
In this courtroom sketch, Joanna Hendon, right, one of President Donald Trump's lawyers, speaks as the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen, left, sits next to one of his own attorneys Todd Harrison, center, with porn star Stormy Daniels visible in the audience between Cohen and Harrison, during a federal court hearing in New York, April 16, 2018. Attorneys for Cohen and Trump tried to persuade U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood to delay prosecutors from examining records and electronic devices seized in the raids on the grounds that many of them are protected by attorney-client privilege.ELIZABETH WILLIAMS VIA AP
Attorney Michael Cohen, US President Donald J. Trump's long-time personal attorney arrives at Federal Court for a hearing in New York on April 16, 2018. JUSTIN LANE, EPA-EFE
(L to R) Todd Harrison and Joseph Evans, attorneys for Michael Cohen, arrive for a court proceeding regarding the search warrants served on President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, at the United States District Court Southern District of New York, April 13, 2018 in New York. Cohen and his lawyers were asking the court to block Justice Department officials from reading documents and materials related to his relationship with President Donald Trump that they believe should be protected by attorney-client privilege. Officials with the FBI, armed with a search warrant, raided Cohen's office and two private residences earlier in the week. DREW ANGERER, GETTY IMAGES
Michael Cohen takes a phone call as he sits outside near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York. YANA PASKOVA, GETTY IMAGES
CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King, left, Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti, CNN news anchor Don Lemon and FOX News talk show host Sean Hannity pose for a selfie at The Hollywood Reporter's annual 35 Most Powerful People in Media event at The Pool on Thursday, April 12, 2018, in New York. In court hearings on April 16, 2018, it was revealed that the client list of presidential lawyer Michael Cohen also includes Sean Hannity, one of the president's biggest supporters. EVAN AGOSTINI, INVISION/AP
In this Sept. 19, 2017 file photo, President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen appears in front of members of the media after a closed door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Federal agents carrying court-authorized search warrants have seized documents from Cohen according to a statement from Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan. He says that the search warrants were executed by the office of the U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York but they are “in part” related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Andrew Harnik, AP
The actress Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, performs at the Solid Gold Fort Lauderdale strip club on March 9, 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Stephanie Clifford who claims to have had an affair with President Trump has filed a suit against him in an attempt to nullify a nondisclosure deal with Trump attorney Michael Cohen days before Trump's 2016 presidential victory.Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Michael Cohen's lawyer David Schwartz appeared on Megyn Kelly TODAY on March 29, 2018 to discuss the Stormy Daniels lawsuit against President Trump and her attorney's motion to depose Trump and Cohen. Schwartz called the case "completely frivolous." Nathan Congleton, NBC
Michael Cohen, right, President Donald Trump's personal attorney walks with his attorney Stephen M. Ryan, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 24, 2017, after an interview with the House Intelligence Committee. Susan Walsh, AP
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, steps out of a cab during his arrival on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 19, 2017. Cohen testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session. Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP
(L to R) Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for National Security Advisor, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry talk with each other in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016, in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team were in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. Drew Angerer, Getty Images
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