Why the FBI's counterintelligence probe of President Trump should be investigated | "Who Watches the FBI Watchmen?" | Did Obama use FBI to pressure Menendez to drop his opposition to new Cuba policies? And how did he do it? Investigate Obama, his Presidency, and the Obama's FBI!

Why the FBI's counterintelligence probe of President Trump should be investigated

Fox News Legal Analyst Gregg Jarrett Calls for Disbanding FBI Amid Trump Investigation

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Did Obama use FBI to pressure Menendez to drop his opposition to new Cuba policies? And how did he do it? Investigate Obama, his Presidency, and the Obama's FBI! 

Robert Mueller's Probe: Trump's Russian Collusion Still Up in the Air

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"Making the click-through worthwhile: Do we want the FBI launching counterintelligence investigations of presidents and other elected officials on its own authority? Who asked the Gillette corporation to lecture America’s men about good behavior? And what do you know about the real record of Kamala Harris?

Who Watches the FBI Watchmen?"

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Investigate it: sen. bob menendez, fbi, obama, cuba connections - Google Search

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Investigate it: sen. bob menendez, fbi, obama, cuba connections - Google Search

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sen. bob menendez, fbi, obama, cuba - Google Search

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sen. bob menendez, fbi, obama, cuba - Google Search

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Menendez’s Views on Cuba and Iran Show Rifts With Obama

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In 2010, Mr. Menendez and the president clashed after Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate in a special election for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, lost a lopsided election to Scott Brown. A White House official was quoted anonymously blaming the loss on Mr. Menendez, then chairman of the party’s Senate campaign arm.
Mr. Menendez has also battled with the Justice Department over a public corruption investigation that he said was instigated by Cuban spies to discredit him.
At the same time, aides to Mr. Menendez say that he has been a reliable partner to the president, moving scores of his nominees through the Foreign Relations Committee and engineering bipartisan agreements on tricky international issues, like the authorization of the use of force in Syria in 2013.
“He is a center of gravity, the only guy who can bridge the left and the right and get something forward,” Adam Sharon, Mr. Menendez’s communications director, said of the senator. “It’s not confrontational or adversarial or being a thorn in the president’s side, but him being a leader, bridging the divides so that something can get done.”
But Mr. Menendez has taken umbrage at recent treatment by the president.
The senator, who was invited by Mr. Obama to travel with him on Air Force One during a visit to Lakehurst, N.J., two days before the shift in Cuba policy was announced, has since suggested that he is angry to have been left out of the talks that preceded it. “To be notified when it’s going to happen is not consultation,” he said last week.
Mr. Menendez also said he took “personal offense” at the president’s suggestion during a closed-door exchange last month that supporters of the Iran sanctions bill were motivated by politics. Some of the people there interpreted the comment as a thinly veiled reference to pressure from pro-Israel groups that back a hard line against Iran. (Mr. Menendez has received $341,170 over the last seven years from such groups, more than any other Democrat in the Senate, according to Maplight, a nonpartisan research group.)
His pledge last week, in a letter also signed by nine other Democratic senators, to delay an Iran sanctions vote until late March gave Mr. Obama the breathing room he had been seeking on the nuclear talks with Tehran.
But it also came with a threat: If no deal is struck by then, Mr. Menendez will side with Republicans to approve the sanctions, bringing like-minded Democrats with him. “It’s our intention to move forward at that time,” he said.
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Bob Menendez - Wikipedia

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2015 federal indictment on corruption charges

 Q&A interview with former U.S. attorney Randall Eliason on the Menendez indictment and trial, September 17, 2017C-SPAN
In 2013, reports surfaced that a federal grand juryin Miami was investigating Menendez regarding his role in advocating for the business interests of Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, one of his close friends and major donors.[148][149] On April 1, 2015, the United States Department of Justice indicted both Menendez and Melgen, charging Menendez with—among other crimes—briberyfraud, and making false statements.[150] According to the indictment Menendez asked top State Department officials to pressure the Dominican Republic'sgovernment into enforcing a port-security contract that would benefit Melgen's company while at the same time Melgen was promising to give $60,000 to Menendez's political campaign.[151] Prosecutors also charged that Menendez acted as Melgen's "personal senator," helping obtain visas for several of Melgen's girlfriends.[152][153]
In return, Menendez is accused of accepting a range of perks from Melgen, including trips on Melgen's private jet, three nights at a five-star Paris hotel, a round of golf at a private club in West Palm Beachand access to an exclusive Dominican resort - some of which Menendez allegedly didn't report on financial disclosure forms.[150] Melgen also donated a substantial amount of money to benefit Menendez's political campaigns, and prosecutors claim that $750,000 of those contributions were tied to personal benefits Menendez accepted.[154][155]
Menendez voluntarily stepped down as ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee after his indictment.[156] Menendez's trial began on September 6, 2017, before Judge William H. Walls of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.[153] On November 16, 2017, the judge declared a mistrial due to the jury's continuing inability to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges.[157] On January 31, 2018, the Justice Department announced they were dropping all charges against Menendez.[4] The Menendez case was strongly shaped by McDonnell v. United States, the 2016 Supreme Court decision to dismiss the corruption conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, which narrowed the legal definition of public corruption and made it harder for prosecutors to prove that a political official engaged in bribery.[158][159]
In April 2018, Menendez was "severely admonished" by the United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics in a letter.[160][161]
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sen. bob menendez - Google Search

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Story image for sen. bob menendez from Fox News Insider

WATCH: Rob Schmitt Confronts SenMenendez on Puerto Rico ...

Fox News Insider-3 hours ago
"Fox & Friends First" host Rob Schmitt tracked down SenBob Menendez in Puerto Rico Monday after the New Jersey lawmaker was ...
Story image for sen. bob menendez from Vox

Why the White House is attacking Democrats for traveling to Puerto ...

Vox-19 hours ago
If there is any progress by Senate Republicans or the White House to ... Bob Menendez (D-NJ) hanging out on a beach in Puerto Rico aired no ...
Trump blasts Democrats, Menendez among them, for Puerto Rico trip ...
<a href="http://NJ.com" rel="nofollow">NJ.com</a>-19 hours ago

OUR EYES! Pic of SenBob Menendez on the beach in PR inspires ...

Twitchy-Jan 13, 2019
The picture of SenBob Menendez on the beach tells us exactly how little they are working while simultaneously damaging this editor's eyes for ...
Story image for sen. bob menendez from Shore News Magazine

Bob Menendez Enjoying Romp in Puerto Rico as Government ...

Shore News Magazine-Jan 13, 2019
Spotted: SenBob Menendez on the beach at a resort in Puerto Rico on Day 22 of the partial government shutdown. Reports say dozens of ...
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Fox News Legal Analyst Gregg Jarrett Calls for Disbanding FBI Amid Trump Investigation

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We have stumbled through the looking glass many times and in many ways in this era of Donald Trump, American president. Our fearless leader does not seem to hold many fixed views beyond the idea Donald Trump ought to have more money and people ought to say nice things about him on the teevee. As a result, he can often go shooting down the rabbit hole in a spasm of self-interest, particularly as he sinks deeper into grave legal peril. His Republican allies, eager to prove their loyalty to El Jefe—and, more importantly, The Base they need to keep reelecting them in their gerrymandered districts—often launch themselves after him, only to find themselves at dinner with the Mad Hatter.
Seldom has our new bizarro world been on show like it was Monday night on The Fox News Channel. Various Republicans have, for months now, taken to attacking the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the nation's most powerful law-enforcement organization that they once thought very honorable indeed. Not anymore, you see: the FBI has been investigating The Leader, including, according to The New York Times this weekend, exploring whether Trump might be a Russian asset after he fired FBI Director James Comey. El Jefe has, in turn, been attacking the FBI.
So it's time for the various freakish fauna of the netherworld to really blossom.
(Leave aside, for the moment, this scene from Fox News: Sean Hannity, who long covered up that he shared a lawyer with the president—Michael Cohen, now headed to federal prison for three years—and who is one of the president's main advisers—but rarely discloses this conflict-of-interest to his viewers—is playing host to a Legal Analyst who wrote a book called The Russia Hoax. Also featured: Mark Meadows of the far-right Freedom Caucus and Mark Penn, the former Clinton adviser whose job now seems to be to go on Fox News to concern-troll Democrats about moving too far left. There really isn't even a pretense that what's being discussed is what is actually happening out in reality. Everyone, including viewers, likely prefers it that way.)
Not for the first time, Trump's thrashing about in the interests of self-preservation have served up a very palatable meal indeed for lefty types and scrambled the political spectrum. Here is a conservative calling for more oversight of law enforcement! Calling attention to the potential for abuse! Demanding accountability for leadership! Surely, this new philosophical breakthrough will filter down to, say, how conservatives process the event when a police officer shoots an unarmed black man. Surely, it will lead conservatives to reexamine the FBI's conduct through much of the 20th century, a record which includes wiretapping and threatening Martin Luther King, Jr. and at-times-illegal operations to counter political dissidents in the Black Panther Party and the antiwar movement during Vietnam.
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And surely it is not tailored specifically to this case, which Legal Analyst Gregg Jarrett completely misrepresented when he suggested there was "no probable cause, no credible evidence." There was publicly available reason for suspicion before the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into Trump, who had called for the Russians to hack his political opponent from the podium. (Later, we learned the Russians tried to hack Clinton's server the same day.) Who knows what still hasn't become public, but would have been available to the FBI? Trump shared classified information with Russian ambassadors in the Oval Office, and, of course, fired Comey over the investigation. By the way, he invited those Russians to the Oval the day after he fired Comey—and told them firing that "nut job" eased the pressure of the Russia probe.
This new concern for law-enforcement overreach would be very promising indeed if we didn't all know that it will be abandoned at the first moment of convenience. (On the flip-side, liberals' new knee-jerk support for the intelligence community because it has opposed Trump may have staying power.) After all, right-wingers are already concern-trolling over a completely non-analogous incident involving President Obama. It's not that they don't want the Feds to have vast and formidable powers—it's that they want them used only against Certain People. That group does not include the president, no matter what he's done.
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Robert Mueller's Probe: Trump's Russian Collusion Still Up in the Air

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Making the click-through worthwhile: Do we want the FBI launching counterintelligence investigations of presidents and other elected officials on its own authority? Who asked the Gillette corporation to lecture America’s men about good behavior? And what do you know about the real record of Kamala Harris?
Who Watches the FBI Watchmen?
The New York Times reported this weekend:
In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
Today the boss writes:
The Times story is another sign that we have forgotten the role of our respective branches of government. It is Congress that exists to check and investigate the president, not the FBI. Congress can inveigh against his foreign policy and constrain his options. It can build a case for not reelecting him and perhaps impeach him. These are all actions to be undertaken out in the open by politically accountable players, so the public can make informed judgments about them.
The Times went to note that special counsel Robert Mueller “took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.”
(This is the 609th day of the Mueller investigation. Remember when we were hearing that Mueller “is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections”? Good times, good times.)
If Mueller did find evidence that Trump was working on behalf of Russia, I’d hope he would tell the public sooner rather than later. This doesn’t seem like the kind of conclusion that you can leave sitting on your desk during a long weekend.
If he and his team didn’t find any evidence that Trump was working on behalf of Russia . . . this means that the FBI just launched an investigation into the personal matters of the president of the United States in a fit of baseless paranoia. Trump might have a ludicrously optimistic and naive perspective on Russia, but that’s not a crime. A lot of us thought the previous president had a ludicrously optimistic and naive perspective on Iran. That wasn’t sufficient evidence to launch an investigation of whether Barack Obama was an agent of Tehran.
Back during the 2016 campaign, more than a few Democrats argued that the FBI had a slew of agents with an axe to grind against Hillary Clinton. The Guardian quoted an unnamed agent who described the bureau as “Trumpland.” The Washington Monthly contended that “very senior FBI agents in the New York field office went rogue with their ‘deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton’ by leaking information to congressional Republicans and being insubordinate when told to ‘stand down’ on investigations that had no merit.”
In The Atlantic, Adam Serwer argued:
Elements of the nation’s premier law-enforcement agency, acting out of a variety of motives, injured not Trump’s candidacy, but that of his opponent. For all Trump’s complaints about the FBI, without the intervention of members of both the FBI rank-and-file and Bureau leadership, he might still be living in Trump Tower.
Maybe some people believe that there’s only one form of political bias within the walls of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and they think FBI agent Peter Strzok was just being fair, even-handed and objective when he texted Lisa Page that “we’ll stop” Trump in August 2016. It’s worth noting that the FBI inspector general did not see it that way.
Because of the possibility of conscious or subtle political bias affecting FBI officials’ judgment regarding decisions about investigations of political figures, in these circumstances, every “i” needs to be dotted, every “t” crossed. If you’re going to make a giant accusation like the president being a foreign agent, you had better have a significant amount of really compelling evidence.
Of course, Trump is his own worst enemy in this area. For example, if your political opposition keeps accusing you of being a Russian stooge, you would want to emphasize your opposition to Russia’s aggression — and from time to time, the president has done this. But he also keeps gravitating towards proposals that align with Russian strategic goals: “Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
You can’t save a guy who keeps choosing to put a fork in the electrical socket, over and over again.
Hey, Fellas, Maybe It’s Not Such a Good Idea to Lecture Your Customer Base
Dear God, this new Gillette ad looks like a hideous mash-up of every bad idea that could possibly come from a group of ad executives who asked, “Hey, how can we monetize the #MeToo movement?”
It begins with images from old Gillette commercials – which, let’s face it, were about as “old school masculinity” as you could get: the old “The Best a Man Can Get” commercials celebrated success, fitness, sports triumphs, the adoration of a beautiful woman, and fatherhood – all of those good things in life that just wouldn’t feel complete without their brand of razor. More recently they’ve used celebrities. Their commercial from last year with inspiring Seattle Seahawks rookie Shaquem Griffin – “Your Best Never Comes Easy” is really good.
The new ad features what looks like bad sketch comedy of unscrupulous male behavior and cliché villains: bullies chasing a boy; social-media hate; a condescending CEO; and in an image that really bugged me, an endless line of suburban dads at a barbeque, watching one boy pummel another, and shrugging, “Boys will be boys.” (Suburban dads make such convenient villains, don’t they? They have no formal rights associations that object to negative portrayals or threaten boycotts. You can portray them as hapless dopes or closeted monsters and no one’s ever going to protest your movie, television show, or commercial.)
The commercial throws in what appears to be a hip-hop video and a generic sitcom scene of a man pinching a maid’s behind. Hey, Gillette, 99.99 percent of the men watching this commercial didn’t create those videos or sitcoms. But I do know a big razor company that advertised on those shows!
Then we get another heavy-handed sketch-comedy level series of scenes of good men chastising others for bad behavior, particularly catcalling. One dad finally intervenes in the backyard barbeque wrestling match. One dad with a young son chases down a gang bullying another teen. Everything feels ham-fisted, just beating the viewer over the head with the message with all of the subtlety and authenticity of the old afterschool specials. The whole thing sounds like a hectoring, nagging lecture to all men for the sins of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and R. Kelly.
The commercial concludes, “The boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.” I agree completely — and I think that fact is so darn important that I don’t like seeing the sentiment used to sell razors.
Ben Shapiro looks at the statistics on parenting and teachers and observes, “More and more young boys lack male influence altogether. This isn’t to suggest that toxic male influence doesn’t exist — of course it does. But that toxic male influence has always been generated by peers rather than parents.”
This is a big, complicated, emotionally charged topic, where it’s proving all too easy to slide from denouncing bad behavior to denouncing “traditional masculinity” and masculine traits in toto, as the American Psychological Association recently demonstrated. At least the psychologists have a professional duty to contemplate what attitudes and behaviors are healthiest for men. Gillette is a $17 billion razor company that’s losing market share. Who asked them?
Meet the Real Kamala Harris
It’s another 20 things you should know about a Democratic presidential contender, this time Kamala Harris. She’s the tough-on-crime prosecutor with a not-so-great felony conviction rate in cases that go to trial and who refuses to pursue the death penalty for cop killers. She’s tough on some targets, though — parents of truant children. She insists that illegal immigrants are not criminals and in fact are eligible to become lawyers. She loves civil asset forfeiture and familial DNA searching, where the cops compare crime scene DNA to samples collected on geneology web sites and DNA testing companies. She wants to “reduce funding for beds in the federal immigration system,” rejects calls to hire more border-patrol personnel, and wants to “reduce funding for the administration’s reckless immigration enforcement operations.” She’s defended a ban on gun advertising that a judge ruled was “unconstitutional on its face.”
Her record is a much more target-rich environment than those glossy profile pieces would suggest. Can’t wait for these Democratic primary debates to begin.
ADDENDUM: A sharp observation from John Hayward: “A good deal of pathological online behavior is driven by sedentary people looking for a jolt of adrenaline. Outrage gets their hearts beating a little bit faster and gives them a fleeting taste of triumph.”
Would Americans be nicer to each other if we got out more?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Issues Follow-Up to President Trump's Address
Trump's Birth Control Effort Blocked
Next Up: Trump's Birth Control Effort Blocked

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William Barr Confirmation Hearing: Attorney General Nominee Says Mueller Must Be Allowed to Complete Inquiry

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For example, Mr. Barr said that if a president directed the Justice Department to close an investigation to protect himself or his family, that would violate the Constitution. And asked by Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, whether a president could pardon someone in exchange for a promise not to incriminate him, Mr. Barr said “that would be a crime.”
— Charlie Savage
11:08 A.M.

Barr will consult with ethics advisers on whether to recuse from oversight of the Mueller investigation.

When asked by Mr. Leahy whether he should recuse himself from the Mueller investigation over his memo criticizing one aspect of it, Mr. Barr vowed to consult government ethics lawyers.
Oversight of the investigation has been a fraught issue at the Justice Department. Mr. Trump has long openly sought a loyalist to oversee the inquiry, and he quickly soured on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he decided to recuse himself from it, ultimately handing over supervision to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.
The acting attorney general installed after the president fired Mr. Sessions, Matthew G. Whitaker, decided last month not to recuse despite the recommendation of ethics advisers that he do so because he had publicly criticized the investigation on CNN and elsewhere before he joined the department.
— Katie Benner
11:05 A.M.

A Trump confidant approached Barr in 2017 about joining the president’s legal team.

A month after Mr. Mueller was appointed in 2017, one of the president’s confidants reached out to Mr. Barr to gauge his interest in joining Mr. Trump’s legal team. Mr. Barr demurred, telling the confidant, David Friedman, who is the ambassador to Israel, that he had recently taken on a corporate client. “I didn’t want to stick my head into that meat grinder,” Mr. Barr explained on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Mr. Barr briefly met with president, who asked how well he knew Mr. Mueller and whether he considered the special counsel to be straightforward and fair.
“I told him how well I know Bob Mueller and the Barrs and Muellers were good friends and would be good friends when this was all over and so forth.” Mr. Barr told senators. He said he gave the president his cellphone number but did not hear from him again until he was being considered in recent months to replace Mr. Sessions as attorney general.
— Michael S. Schmidt
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Opinion | Donald Trump: The Russia File

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If, beleaguered or bemused by the onrush of scandal and political antics, you’re searching for some index of just how truly not-normal American governance has become, you might consider this: Standing on the White House lawn on Monday morning, his own government shut down around him, the president of the United States was asked by reporters if he was working for Russia.
He said that he was not. “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question, because it's a whole big fat hoax,” President Trump said.
Yet the reporters were right to ask, given Mr. Trump’s bizarre pattern of behavior toward a Russian regime that the Republican Party quite recently regarded as America’s chief rival. Indeed, it’s unnerving that more people — particularly in the leadership of the Republican Party — aren’t alarmed by Mr. Trump’s secretive communications with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and reliance on his word over the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.
The Times reported last week that the F.B.I. started a counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Trump in 2017 after he fired James Comey, the bureau’s director, to determine whether Russia had influenced him. The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the president has concealed details about his meetings with Mr. Putin even from officials of his own administration — going so far, on at least one occasion, as to confiscate his interpreter's notes.
These revelations joined a long list of suspicious incidents and connections between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.
The Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in order to get Mr. Trump elected, of course. America’s intelligence community agrees on that. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is examining what happened before and after Election Day between the campaign and Mr. Putin’s government.
But Mr. Trump’s behavior simply since he’s been in office hasn’t given any peace of mind even to those willing to give him the benefit of the doubt — at least, those outside the Republican leadership.
In the past month, the president announced that American troops would pull out of the conflict in Syria, something that the Russians have long called for. Mr. Trump subsequently said the Soviet Union was right to invade Afghanistan in 1979, parroting Russian revisionist history by claiming it was seeking to quell terrorism.
This month, it was revealed that federal prosecutors had accused Mr. Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort of sharing political polling data in 2016 with an associate linked to Russian intelligence, the most direct evidence to date that the campaign may have tried to coordinate with Russia.
Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is pushing to end sanctions against companies owned by Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch closely tied to Mr. Putin. Those sanctions were put in place in 2018 in retaliation for Russian meddling with the election.
Despite Mr. Trump’s insistence that he has been “much tougher on Russia” than previous presidents, he sure has a strange way of showing it. Throughout his time in the White House Mr. Trump has praised leaders aligned with Mr. Putin, like Marine Le Pen in France and Viktor Orban in Hungary. He has praised Mr. Putin outright.
At the same time, the president has fired broadside after broadside at the twin pillars of stability in Western Europe: the European Union and NATO. He reportedly suggested that France leave the blocand repeatedly called into question whether the United States would stand by its commitments to the military alliance. Weakening Western unity, as evidenced by those organizations, has long animated Russian foreign policy.
Some of these moves are consistent with Mr. Trump’s isolationism and pronounced yen for authoritarians, and perhaps also with his demonstrated ignorance of history.
It’s harder to come up with a rational excuse for Mr. Trump’s secrecy about his dealings with Mr. Putin, or for why, in 2017, he shared highly classified information from Israel with the Russian foreign minister in a meeting in the Oval Office while also boasting about relieving heat from the investigation into his possible Russia ties by firing the F.B.I. director. Mr. Trump has also sided with Mr. Putin and against the conclusions of American intelligence agencies by denying that the Russian government tampered with the election.
While Mr. Trump has plenty of kind words for a foreign leader who doesn’t have America’s best interests at heart, he seems to be willing to heap no end of abuse on his fellow Americans, particularly those in the F.B.I. and the Justice Department who have sworn to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
On Monday, Mr. Trump lashed out at F.B.I. agents for opening the counterintelligence investigation against him, calling them “known scoundrels.”
With the House of Representatives newly under Democratic control, Mr. Trump might finally receive meaningful oversight that could help either uncover wrongdoing or put Americans’ minds at ease about their president.
On Sunday, the new Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, urged his Republican colleagues to back his effort to obtain notes or testimony from the interpreter present at the meetings between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump.
“Shouldn’t we find out whether our president is really putting ‘America first?’” Mr. Schiff tweeted.
This is not a new or unexplored possibility, even among Republicans at one time.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” Kevin McCarthy, who was then House majority leader, told his fellow Republicans at a closed-door meeting, The Washington Post first reported, shortly before Mr. Trump won his party’s nomination for the White House in 2016.
Dana Rohrabacher, a 15-term congressman from California who lost his bid for re-election in November, was such a staunch supporter of Moscow on Capitol Hill that the F.B.I. concluded that Russian spies were trying to recruit him.
Mr. McCarthy said later that his line about Mr. Trump being paid by Moscow was a quip that landed flat.
What’s no laughing matter is the unwillingness of the Republican Party to cast a critical eye upon a sitting president who has so flouted accepted practice for dealing with any foreign leader — not to mention one as adversarial as Vladimir Putin.
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on FacebookTwitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.
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Live Updates: William Barr’s Confirmation Hearing for Attorney General - The New York Times

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  1. Live Updates: William Barr’s Confirmation Hearing for Attorney General  The New York Times
  2. Attorney General Nominee Promises to Allow Mueller to Finish His Work  The New York Times
  3. Watch live: Attorney general nominee Barr testifies in confirmation hearing  NBC News
  4. Senate takes on man to decide Mueller probe fate  CNN
  5. Trump Attorney General nominee Bill Barr – Swamp master or destroyer?  Fox News
  6. View full coverage on Google News
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James Clapper: I'm sure FBI's probe into whether Trump was Russian asset 'justified' - Fox News

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James Clapper: I'm sure FBI's probe into whether Trump was Russian asset 'justified'  Fox News
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper defended the FBI following the recent revelations about an investigation into whether President Trump ...

James Clapper: I’m sure FBI’s probe into whether Trump was Russian asset ‘justified’

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper defended the FBI following the recent revelations about an investigation into whether President Trump was working on behalf of Russia, calling the action "justified."
According to a bombshell report from the New York Times late last week, the FBI launched a counterintelligence probe into the president immediately following the firing of FBI Director James Comey to determine whether or not he was a Russian asset. Trump vehemently denied to reporters on Monday that he had any ties to Russia.
Clapper, who is now a CNN commentator, called Trump’s denial “amazing” and “explosive.”
“I certainly can’t recall anything comparable involving a president in over my 50-plus years in intelligence and I was in the intelligence community during Watergate, but nothing happened then that approaches this,” Clapper told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.
The report led to criticism from Trump allies that the FBI overreached in a mission to go after the president.
But the former DNI doubled down on his previous remarks that the FBI would have been “derelict in their duty” if they didn’t launch their counterintelligence probe into Trump.
“Given the track record, the behavior of then-candidate Trump then President Trump, and then the firing of Jim Comey, and the acknowledgment on television publicly that he did because the investigation of the Russia thing, and it just seems to me that the FBI taking its counterintelligence responsibility seriously would want to look into what’s going on here,” Clapper said. “... So I think the FBI was justified. I’m sure this wasn’t a casual thing done after discussion around the water fountain or coffee break.”

Why the FBI's counterintelligence probe of President Trump should be investigated

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Readers of this blog may be interested in my Lawfare post about the news that the FBI made President Trump the subject of a counterintelligence investigation after he fired their boss. My take:
The political and bureaucratic motives mixed into this incident are reminiscent of the motives mixed into the decision to launch an investigation of Russia and the Trump campaign, the decision to rely on Christopher Steele's research despite his partisan funding, and the decision to interrogate national security adviser Michael Flynn in the slipperiest of fashions. There are reasons why all of these things might have seemed necessary to honest, committed cops just doing their job. But they also offer a roadmap for how to abuse counterintelligence authority to serve partisan ends—a roadmap that more or less begins where the civil liberties protections of the 1970s end.
My concern is that we're not taking that risk seriously because so many former officials and commentators believe that President Trump deserves all this and more. Some of them still hope that the election of 2016 can be undone, or at least discredited. This leads to a perseverating focus on leaks and scraps from the investigation and a determined lack of concern about the investigation's sometimes tawdry origins. (Yes, I'm talking to you, #BabyCannon!)
If we're going to prevent future scandals, we need to look at both. We need to know the answers to a lot of questions that are not being seriously addressed today: To what extent was politics involved in the decision to open the Trump-Russia investigation; to what extent did politics drive its direction; to what extent was politics involved in the Obama administration's transition intelligence leaks; and, finally, to what extent was politics involved in adding the president to the counterintelligence probe?
The only independent review of any of these questions seems to be the investigation launched by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. He's examining the FISA application for Carter Page. That's a good start, but it's only a start. It's a commonplace insight that President Trump's norm-defying conduct has triggered norm-defying payback by others. I'm sure we're going to learn about the first, but we can't ignore the second.
It's time to expand the Horowitz inquiry, or something like it, into all of these events.
Read the whole story

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Why the FBI's counterintelligence probe of President Trump should be investigated

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Readers of this blog may be interested in my Lawfare post about the news that the FBI made President Trump the subject of a counterintelligence ...

Mueller Probes an Event With Nunes, Flynn, and Foreign Officials at Trump’s D.C. Hotel


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