Friday, April 20, 2018

Historic? North Korea announces end to missile testing as Trump cites 'big progress'




North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced Friday that his country will be suspending missile testing and closing a nuclear test site, several reports said.

"From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles," the Korean Central News Agency said, according to Yonhap News.

"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test."

The announcement comes amid preparations for a meeting later this year between President Trump and the North Korean dictator. During the summit, Trump said he expected to talk with Kim about denuclearizing the hermit kingdom.
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North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress! Look forward to our Summit.
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“North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site,” Trump tweeted following the announcement. “This is a very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress! Look forward to our Summit.”

News of the testing suspension follows the revelation earlier this week that Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director and secretary of state nominee, met with Kim in North Korea over Easter weekend to lay the groundwork for the prospective meeting with Trump. The meeting, Trump said, could occur by early June.

Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!

Trump said Pompeo's meeting "went very smoothly" and said a "good relationship was formed."

"Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea," he said.


However, Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he would walk away from talks with Kim if he thought they were "not going to be fruitful."

"I hope to have a very successful meeting," Trump said during a joint news conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "If we don't think it's going to be successful, we won't have it. If I think it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go. If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting."

North Korea's decision Friday was made in a meeting of the ruling party's Central Committee, during which Kim, according to the Korean Central News Agency, said, "Nuclear development has proceeded scientifically and in due order and the development of the delivery strike means also proceeded scientifically and verified the completion of nuclear weapons.


"We no longer need any nuclear test or test launches of intermediate and intercontinental range ballistics missiles and because of this the northern nuclear test site has finished its mission," he said.

North Korea also vowed to actively engage with regional neighbors and the international community to secure peace in the Korean Peninsula and create an "optimal international environment" to build its economy.

The country's diplomatic outreach in recent months came after a flurry of weapons tests, including the underground detonation of a possible thermonuclear warhead and three launches of developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to strike the U.S. mainland.

Fox News' Christopher Jones, Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A READER’S COMMENTS:

If Trump pulls this off, he will go down as one of the greatest presidents. He is already headed that way!

BREAKING: Justice Department Watchdog Probes Comey Memos Over Classified Information


By Byron Tau and Aruna Viswanatha

The Justice Department inspector general is conducting an investigation into classification issues related to memos written by former FBI director James Comey. PHOTO: RALPH ALSWANG/ABC/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former FBI director has said he considered the memos, which he gave to a friend to release to media, personal documents

WASHINGTON—At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified, according to people familiar with the matter, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.


Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. 

He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bureau officials upgraded it to “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.

The Justice Department inspector general is now conducting an investigation into classification issues related to the Comey memos, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

Mr. Comey has said he considered the memos personal rather than government documents. He has told Congress that he wrote them and authorized their release to the media “as a private citizen.”

Mr. Comey gave four total memos to his friend Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Columbia Law School, people familiar with the matter said. Three were considered unclassified at the time and one was classified.

As FBI director, Mr. Comey had the legal authority to determine what bureau information was classified and what wasn’t. Once he left government, however, the determination fell to other officials.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Mr. Comey of mishandling classified information in a bid to discredit the former FBI director, who he fired last year. The public feud between the two men has intensified this week, as Mr. Comey has granted several interviews while promoting a memoir that is highly critical of Mr. Trump.

“James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Friday.

In interviews, Mr. Comey has called Mr. Trump “morally unfit” to serve in the White House. He and Mr. Richman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds,” Mr. Comey told ABC News this month.

The situation around Mr. Comey’s handling of his memos is analogous to the investigation the FBI under his leadership conducted of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

While serving as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton used a personal email server rather than a government account. After leaving government, thousands of her emails were determined to have contained classified information.

Mrs. Clinton’s defense was that they weren’t classified at the time she circulated them and were only upgraded to classified later. A small number of her emails were determined to have been classified at the time they were sent. Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans said Mrs. Clinton should have been charged, while Democrats said the investigation was without legal basis and was mishandled—particularly Mr. Comey’s decision to announce shortly before Election Day that he was reopening the probe. Mrs. Clinton lost the election to Mr. Trump.

No charges were ever filed against Mrs. Clinton or her aides and Mr. Comey said that his investigation found no evidence of intent to violate the laws governing the handling of classified information.

Mr. Comey’s memos were written contemporaneously to create a record of his interactions with Mr. Trump. He told Congress last year he hadn’t kept written records of his interactions with previous presidents but decided to do so with Mr. Trump because of the “nature of the person.”

Mr. Comey has said he intended to get the information to the public through the media by giving the memos to Mr. Richman—in part to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor designed to continue the FBI’s investigation without political inference.

“My judgment was, I need to get that out into the public square,” Mr. Comey told Congress last year. “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons. I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Those memos formed the basis for Mr. Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, in which he accused the president of trying to shut down an investigation into purported Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president has denied trying to thwart the probe.

Mr. Comey’s tactics were successful—special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed shortly after he was fired as FBI director. Mr. Comey’s memos are now part of the wide-ranging probe being conducted by Mr. Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he fired Mr. Comey last year, allegations that Mr. Trump denies. Russia has denied interfering in the election.

“I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document. That combination of things I had never experienced before, but had led me to believe I got to write it down and write it down in a very detailed way,” Mr. Comey told the committee.

The memos were given to Congress this week. They were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Much of the material in the memos has been previously disclosed in congressional testimony and Mr. Comey’s book.


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A READEAR’S COMMENTS:

Paul Kriegh
:  
Now that the democrats have been caught trying to overthrow a sitting president. The DNC has just filed a lawsuit suing the trump campaign. They are backpedaling because they know there charade of trumps conspiracy has been found out to be them instead.
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Rudy Giuliani to join Trump’s legal team



Former New York City mayor and U.S. attorney Rudy Giuliani is joining President Trump’s legal team, Fox News confirmed on Thursday.

Giuliani, who has been close friends with Trump for years and reportedly was under consideration for a cabinet post, told The Washington Post that he joined the team with the intent of bringing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe to a conclusion.

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani told the outlet.

Mueller, Giuliani told The Post, should be left to complete his investigation. "My advice on Mueller has been this: He should be allowed to do his job, he’s entitled to do his job.”

Before he was the mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001, Giuliani served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1999.

"The President said, ‘Rudy is great.  He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country,’" Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement.

"I have had the privilege of working with Mayor Giuliani for many years, and we welcome his expertise," Sekulow added. "Mayor Giuliani expressed his deep appreciation to the President for allowing him to assist in this important matter. 

In a statement, Mayor Giuliani said, ‘It is an honor to be a part of such an important legal team, and I look forward to not only working with the President but with Jay, Ty, and their colleagues.’"

Giuliani made the decision to join Trump's legal team in the past few days following a dinner with the president ealier this month at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, the Post reported.

The former mayor, a vocal advocate for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, was reportedly being considered for secretary of state following Trump's victory. Giuliani, at the time, said he wasn't interested in becoming Trump's attorney general. 

Ultimately, the president picked Rex Tillerson for the State Department and Jeff Sessions for attorney general.

Fox News' John Roberts contributed to this report.


ALERT: Goodlatte, Gowdy, and Nunes on the Comey Memos


By Paul Mirengoff | POWERLINE



Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes released the following statement after the Committees received James Comey’s memos. Their statement is, I believe, spot on:

We have long argued former Director Comey’s self-styled memos should be in the public domain, subject to any classification redactions. These memos are significant for both what is in them and what is not.

Former Director Comey’s memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated. 

The memos also made clear the ‘cloud’ President Trump wanted lifted was not the Russian interference in the 2016 election cloud, rather it was the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier.

The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. 

While former Director Comey went to great lengths to set dining room scenes, discuss height requirements, describe the multiple times he felt complimented, and myriad other extraneous facts, he never once mentioned the most relevant fact of all, which was whether he felt obstructed in his investigation.

The memos also make certain what has become increasingly clear of late: former Director Comey has at least two different standards in his interactions with others. 

He chose not to memorialize conversations with President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, Secretary Clinton, Andrew McCabe or others, but he immediately began to memorialize conversations with President Trump. 

It is significant former Director Comey made no effort to memorialize conversations with former Attorney General Lynch despite concerns apparently significant enough to warrant his unprecedented appropriation of the charging decision away from her and the Department of Justice in July of 2016.

These memos also lay bare the notion that former Director Comey is not motivated by animus. He was willing to work for someone he deemed morally unsuited for office, capable of lying, requiring of personal loyalty, worthy of impeachment, and sharing the traits of a mob boss. Former Director Comey was willing to overlook all of the aforementioned characteristics in order to keep his job. In his eyes, the real crime was his own firing.

The memos show Comey was blind to biases within the FBI and had terrible judgment with respect to his deputy Andrew McCabe. 

On multiple occasions he, in his own words, defended the character of McCabe after President Trump questioned McCabe.

Finally, former Director Comey leaked at least one of these memos for the stated purpose of spurring the appointment of a Special Counsel, yet he took no steps to spur the appointment of a Special Counsel when he had significant concerns about the objectivity of the Department of Justice under Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

As we have consistently said, rather than making a criminal case for obstruction or interference with an ongoing investigation, these memos would be Defense Exhibit A should such a charge be made.

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Weasel moves with Jim Comey

By 
Scott Johnson | POWERLINE


Responding to long-standing requests from congressional committees reiterated this week, the Department of Justice has finally released redacted copies of the seven memos drafted by former FBI Director James Comey summarizing his conversations with Donald Trump. The department is expected to deliver unredacted versions of the memos to the committees on Friday via a secure transfer.

Although he prepared the memos in the course of his professional duties as FBI Director, Comey took the memos with him when President Trump fired him. Although four of the memos contained classified information (according to Senator Grassley), Comey gave four of the seven memos to his Columbia Law School friend (later identified as his alleged lawyer) Daniel Richman for the purpose of leaking the contents to the New York Times. The identification of possible criminal and professional misconduct committed by Comey implicit in the facts and the memos make a good law school exam in any number of courses.

President Trump is not only more sinned against than sinning. He emerges unscathed. That’s my take. Not so Comey.

I have uploaded the memos posted by the New York Times with its story and embedded them below via Scribd. There is much more to be said, but I invite interested readers to take a look with your own eyes.

Quotable quote: “I don’t do sneaky things. I don’t leak. I don’t do weasel moves.”

Below are two pages of the Comey Memos posted on Scribd:



Pages 3 to 15 of this Email (above are pages 1 and 2)  are at:  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/04/weasel-moves-with-jim-comey.php 


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James Comey's memos leak, inflame special counsel commotion


By Daniel Chaitin | Washington Examiner

Memos drafted by former FBI Director James Comey, recounting several conversations he had with President Trump before getting fired last spring, tell of a man obsessed with an intelligence dossier containing salacious allegations about his ties to Russia and securing loyalty from those who worked in his administration.

The memos were sent to Congress Thursday evening after top Republican committee chairmen demanded the Justice Department hand them over, and in short order they were shared with the media, intensifying a heated debate on the special counsel investigation and leaks.

The Washington Examiner obtained the 15 pages of redacted memos which document the seven conversations Comey had with Trump from Jan. 7, 2017, through April 11, 2017.

In his notes, Comey wrote about how Trump repeatedly broached the topic of the Trump dossier, a salacious and largely unverified document written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and partially funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign, which asserted that Russia had leverage on Trump with damaging information. 

That included the "Golden Showers thing," a reference to an alleged encounter at a hotel in Moscow where he ordered Russian prostitutes to pee on a bed used by former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama.

“The President said ‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense but that Putin had told him ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world,’” Comey wrote about at one point, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Comey recalled Trump griping in January 2017 about the "serious judgment issues" of then-former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who soon after resigned under pressure and later pleaded guilty in federal court for to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Amid banter about cracking down on leaks, Trump quipped about throwing journalists in jail, according to a February 2017 memo.

The notes were also telling about Comey himself, who claimed he once told Trump, "I don't do sneaky things, I don't leak, I don't do weasel moves."

Despite this assurance, Comey did leak at least one memo to a professor friend of his shortly after he was fired in May. The professor then shared its contents with the New York Times. Comey later testified that he had hoped this would lead to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He got his wish with Robert Mueller.

Comey's leaking has become the center of a debate in Washington about whether he acted improperly and created unsound footing for the special counsel probe.

"Tragedy that a special counsel investigation was launched by leaking of the memos (which Comey has admitted). No basis in the memos to trigger a criminal investigation & it is to the discredit of [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein that he caved to the pressure of the media/Democrats & appointed Mueller," tweeted Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., Thursday evening.

Like DeSantis, Trump accused Comey of leaking classified information. 

He also declared Thursday evening that the memos show his 2016 campaign did not collude with Russia -- something which Mueller's team is examining -- and proves he did not attempt to obstruct justice.

"James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?" Trump tweeted.

Despite the uproar, the memo in question in which Comey recalls Trump asking him to back off the investigation into Flynn, is marked unclassified -- a point that is lost among some Republicans, argued former Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller on MSNBC late Thursday.

"That memo was actually unclassified and that's important because this has been the subject of a good bit of dispute, a good bit of criticism from Republicans on the hill who tried to argue that he leaked classified information by doing so," he said.

Following the leak of the memos, the three Republican chairmen who led the push to secure Comey's notes, accused the former FBI director of harboring a bias against Trump, which they said was evident by his decision not to memorialize his conversations with other top officials, including former President Barack Obama, former Attorney General Lynch, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his former deputy, Andrew McCabe. 

This, wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., showed Comey exhibited "at least two different standards in his interactions with others.”

McCabe was fired last month after being found to have repeatedly "lacked candor" about the authorization of leaks to the media by a recently released Justice Department inspector general report.

Pushing back against the Republican front was Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the oversight panel. He hailed Comey's memos as providing "strong corroborating evidence of everything he said about President Trump — that the President wanted his personal loyalty, that he wanted to end the Russia investigation, and that he wanted Michael Flynn to walk."

Noting that Comey's account was corroborated by handwritten notes from another top DOJ official at the time, Dana Boente, Cummings said, “President Trump’s interference was a blatant effort to deny justice, and Director Comey was right to document it as it happened — in real time.”

The memos' public unveiling came just days after the release of Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, which recounts his experiences working at the FBI and expands his side of the story about his relationship with Trump.

As part of the accompanying book tour and TV interview blitz, Comey sat down with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who grilled him about the memos right after they were leaked Thursday evening.

Comey mentioned he hadn't had access to his memos in a while and couldn't recall if they mentioned anything significant that was mentioned in his book. He told Maddow that, with the leak of his memos, he was "Okay with transparency," and said he assumes the DOJ "went through the steps to make sure that it wasn't jeopardizing an ongoing investigation."

He admitted that writing these memos was not something an FBI agent would normally do, but he noted he was director and not an agent.

Comey also explained why he felt the need to write memos of his interactions with Trump, mentioning he was worried about speaking alone with the president about "things that were relating to him and to the FBI's core responsibilities" and "given the nature of the person, as I understood the president-elect, he might not tell the truth about those if it ever became an issue."


Kelly Cohen, Diana Stancy Correll, and Katie Leach contributed to this report.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

GOP reps refer Comey, Clinton, McCabe for criminal investigation




Nearly a dozen Republican members of Congress on Wednesday sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department and FBI seeking an investigation of former bureau boss James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, ex-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Hillary Clinton in connection with 2016 campaign controversies.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions already announced last month he had assigned a federal prosecutor to review some of those broader issues, while resisting calls for a second special counsel. But the referral represents an escalation of Republican pressure to probe top Democrats and Trump critics.
  
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and 10 other House lawmakers want an investigation into potential violations that cover everything from the handling of the Clinton email probe to the anti-Trump dossier’s funding to the Uranium One controversy. They made their case in a letter sent Wednesday to Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and U.S. Attorney John Huber, whom Sessions named to lead the previously announced evaluation.

Complaining about “dissimilar degrees of zealousness” in the investigations into Clinton and Trump campaign associates, they wrote:

“Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately.”

They named Comey, Clinton, Lynch, McCabe, FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and several others as figures who should be investigated.

The Comey section focused in part on a statement Comey drafted before interviewing Clinton as part of the email probe. Republicans have long called it an exoneration statement that effectively cleared her months before the case was over. 

The GOP letter suggested this presents a conflict with Comey’s September 2016 congressional testimony in which he said they made the decision not to recommend criminal charges after interviewing Clinton.

“They made this determination months before,” DeSantis, who is running for Florida governor, told “Fox & Friends.” “The lack of candor with the Congress is something that needs to be investigated.”

Comey brushed off the claims during an interview Wednesday on ABC’s “The View.”

Asked about the letter, Comey said "the accusations are not true," but added that he has confidence in the inspector general, which is already reviewing the handling of the email probe.

"Let's let the institution do its work," he said.

Comey also defended the early draft statement on the conclusion of the Clinton case in his newly released book.

“Any investigator or prosecutor who doesn’t have a sense, after nearly a year of investigation, where their case is likely headed, is incompetent. Prosecutors routinely begin drafting indictments before an investigation is finished if it looks likely to end up there, and competent ones also begin thinking how to end investigations that seem likely to end without charges,” Comey explained in "A Higher Loyalty."

The GOP lawmakers also cited Comey’s decision to write and share memos detailing conversations with Trump. 

The potential violations they cited included perjury and unauthorized removal of classified documents – though Comey has maintained the memos did not contain classified material.

As for Clinton, the GOP lawmakers cited a single concern – that a lawyer representing her 2016 campaign paid the firm behind the research that led to the controversial anti-Trump dossier. The letter argued that they disguised the payments by not properly disclosing them to the Federal Election Commission.
A Clinton spokesman slammed the referral as “pathetic” and politically motivated.

“House Republicans have seen the numbers and are running scared as we head into midterm season. They should focus on working for the people they are asking to reelect them, not do Trump’s bidding. It’s pathetic,” Nick Merrill said. 

The referral's Lynch section cited an alleged threat of “reprisal” against an informant in the Uranium One case, which dealt with the controversial Obama administration deal that gave Russia partial control over the U.S. uranium supply. 

The lawmakers also hit McCabe over the same issues raised in a recent DOJ inspector general report that found he leaked to the media and later lied about it. The former FBI deputy director was fired last month by Sessions just days before he would have been eligible for a lifetime pension after it was determined that he misled investigators.

The section on Strzok and Page focused on their “interference in the Hillary Clinton investigation.” The two FBI officials, who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team for a short period and were romantically involved, frequently shared anti-Trump text messages.

Lastly, the lawmakers asked that Sessions investigate personnel connected to the “compilation of documents on alleged links between Russia and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump known as the 'Steele dossier.'" 

The letter cites those individuals as McCabe, Comey, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI General Counsel Dana Boente, among others. 
The dossier was presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to obtain a warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Comey signed three FISA applications for Page, while McCabe and current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who oversees the Russia probe), Yates and Boente each signed at least one. 

In a footnote to the letter, the lawmakers wrote that “due to the possible involvement of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in signing an application for continued surveillance on Carter Page, Rosenstein should be recused from any examination of FISA abuse.” 


It's Official: DOJ Inspector General Refers Lyin' McCabe To Federal Prosecutor For Possible Criminal Charges


By Matt Vespa | Townhall


Katie’s touched upon the GOP letter officially referring former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Director James Comey, and Hillary Clinton for a criminal investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray officially received the letter yesterday:

Eleven House Republicans have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray officially referring Hillary Clinton, fired FBI Director James Comey, fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for criminal investigation.

FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were caught sending hundreds of anti-Trump text messages during the Clinton investigation, have also been referred for criminal investigation. 

U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was tapped by Sessions a few weeks ago to investigate the FBI's handling of the Clinton email probe, was copied on the request.

Now, the nonpartisan, Obama-appointed Department of Justice Inspector General has sent his report to a federal prosecutor to see if Mr. McCabe should be charged with a crime.

McCabe was torched in the IG report, where he was cited for lying under oath three times and misleading investigators concerning an unauthorized media disclosure to The Wall Street Journal over the Clinton Foundation (via WaPo):

The Justice Department inspector general referred its finding that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators who were examining a media disclosure to the top federal prosecutor in D.C. to determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime, according to people familiar with the matter.

The referral to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office occurred some time ago, after the inspector general concluded McCabe had lied to investigators or his own boss, then-FBI Director James B. Comey, on four occasions, three of them under oath.

It was not immediately clear how the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office responded to the referral, or whether prosecutors there are conducting their own investigation or believe criminal charges are appropriate. 

A referral to federal prosecutors does not necessarily mean McCabe will be charged with a crime.

The Justice Department, the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office and a spokeswoman for McCabe declined to comment Thursday.

Last week, Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent to Congress a report blasting McCabe. 

It says he inappropriately authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to the media, then lied repeatedly to investigators examining the matter. The report — which quickly became public, though it was not released by the inspector general — laid out in stunning detail allegations McCabe had deceived investigators about his role in approving the disclosure, even as he lashed out at others in the FBI for leaks.

McCabe, though, disputes many of the report’s findings and has said he never meant to mislead anyone.

Lying to federal investigators is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, and some legal analysts speculated in the wake of the report that the inspector general seemed to be laying out a case for accusing McCabe of such conduct. The report alleged that one of McCabe’s lies “was done knowingly and intentionally” — which is a key aspect of the federal crime.

The FBI and DOJ were reportedly at odds over this probe and the report reconfirmed that the bureau was investigating the nonprofit for possible felonious activity following a flurry of stories that seemed to show the foundation as being a bed of unethical behavior; a bank for favors to sum it up for those who gave very large amounts of money. 

Devlin Barrett wrote the article that detailed the tension in October of 2016, which set off a mole hunt within the bureau, even though McCabe ordered it.

McCabe was fired in March, hours away from collecting his multi-million dollar pension.

In the past couple of days, McCabe, Comey, and Lynch have thrown each other under the bus. 

The Comey-McCabe flare up is especially popcorn-worthy since Comey had tweeted support for McCabe, adding he was a man who served with distinction at the FBI. Also, he issued an internal review of him while he was still FBI director due to the WSJ leak. 

I mean one could argue that we’re really getting into James Jesus Angleton territory here, the top CIA counter-intelligence agent who said that deception is the state of the mind and the mind of the state.

Whatever the reason, Comey launched the internal probe that destroyed McCabe’s career (via Daily Beast):

James Comey appears to have inadvertently played a role in his deputy Andrew McCabe’s expulsion from the FBI.

According to a source familiar with the investigation that led to McCabe’s firing, Comey—then FBI director—asked the bureau’s internal Inspection Division to look into an Oct. 30, 2016, Wall Street Journal story that included leaks from inside the bureau. T

he Inspection Division took on the case and started trying to determine who was responsible for the leak. When they realized McCabe, the bureau’s deputy director, was a likely culprit, they handed off the investigation to the Justice Department’s inspector general, according to an IG report released late last week.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited that detailed IG report when he announced McCabe had been fired barely before he was eligible for his retirement.

[…]

The story that followed left Comey deeply upset because it highlighted extraordinary tensions between senior leadership at the bureau and a top official at Justice Department headquarters, according to the IG report.
Comey raised concerns about the article in a staff meeting the next day.

[…]

McCabe and Comey later discussed the piece in person. The two men gave the inspector general vastly different characterizations of that conversation. In McCabe’s version, McCabe told Comey that he authorized the two FBI officials to share details of the conversation about the Clinton Foundation investigation with the Journal. Comey “did not react negatively, just kind of accepted it,” according to McCabe.

In Comey’s version, however, McCabe never told him he authorized the leaks to the Journal. Comey was “very concerned” about the story and thought it would be toxic for the FBI’s relationship with Justice Department headquarters. And according to Comey, McCabe said he had nothing to do with it.
“I have a strong impression he conveyed to me, ‘it wasn’t me, boss,’” Comey told the inspector general.

Well, at least McCabe has a rather sizable defense fund. 

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UPDATE: McCabe’s lawyer calls referral by nonpartisan Obama-appointed IG “unjustified.” He doesn’t expect charges to be filed against the former FBI deputy director: (via AP):

A lawyer for fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe says a criminal referral to prosecutors about his client is “unjustified.”

Attorney Michael Bromwich confirmed the referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington in a statement Thursday.

It comes amid an inspector general report that concluded that McCabe misled investigators about his role in a news media disclosure.

The referral doesn’t mean he will be charged, but it does mean he could face a criminal investigation.

In his statement, Bromwich says the standard for an inspector general referral “is very low.”

He says he’s already met with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s office and is confident that, “unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the US Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute.”