More on Trump and the Russia probe

It has been revealed that just after Donald trump fired FBI chief James Comey the the FBI investigated whether Trump was secretly working for Russia. Trump has slammed the report (in the New York Times) but didn’t answer a question on whether he had worked for Russia in a friendly Fox interview.

New York Times:  F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

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.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

If the president had fired Mr. Comey to stop the Russia investigation, the action would have been a national security issue because it naturally would have hurt the bureau’s effort to learn how Moscow interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Americans were involved, according to James A. Baker, who served as F.B.I. general counsel until late 2017.

Trump does what he often does when something awkward comes up – attacked the source and ex-FBI leaders.

“Funny thing about James Comey. Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike. After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn’t know anything (a lie), my firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop.”

White House response (Sarah Sanders):

“This is absurd. James Comey was fired because he’s a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI.

“Unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push American around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia.”

Fox News: Republican uncovered secret FBI debate over Trump motivation for Comey firing during House questioning

A House Republican’s line of questioning uncovered revelations that in May 2017 senior FBI leadership debated whether President Trump was directed by the Russian government to fire FBI Director James Comey, Fox News has learned.

Contacted by Fox, U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, confirmed his questions to former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker uncovered the claims, some of which were first reported Friday by the New York Times.

Ratcliffe called the Baker transcript leak “selective,” adding that the full transcript of the Oct. 18 interview, which is undergoing a classification review by the FBI and the Justice Department, reveals “that in May 2017, political bias infected senior FBI leadership, and emotion — not evidence — drove their decision making.”

A separate source said Baker told investigators the internal FBI debate over the president’s decision to fire Comey on May 9, 2017, included personnel who have since left the bureau for cause, retired, or have been demoted.

Ratcliffe said he was surprised to read Friday’s New York Times report, which quoted part of his Baker interview, and reported that after the Comey firing “law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior” that they began investigating whether Trump was working on behalf of Russia.

The House Republican would not further describe the contents of the Baker transcript but said it was clear, based on his direct questioning of Baker, that in May 2017 “FBI senior leadership could not accept Comey was fired for cause and the president had the constitutional authority to terminate Comey.”

Ratcliffe said he was aware of the Baker revelations in October, and House Republicans had been working through proper channels to make the entire transcript public.

In a phone interview with a friend at Fox News (Jeanine Piro) Trump avoided answering a question about Russia:

The president was also asked to respond to a recent New York Times report that alleged that the FBI had investigated him for working on behalf of Russia.

“I think it’s the most insulting thing I have ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written and if you read the article you see that they found absolutely nothing.”

“If you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other … probably any other president, period, but certainly the last three or four presidents.”

I don’t think ‘the folks in Russia’ are the people to ask about that.

Trump also addressed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election, saying “it’s all nonsense.”

“Here’s the bottom line. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no anything. … It’s a witch hunt.”

That is still uncertain. The Robert Mueller investigation into Russian collusion has not yet revealed anything major against Trump. Time will tell whether it has found information that will be damaging for Trump or his family. In the meantime, the saga and slagging match will continue.

Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen is set to testify in congress next month, before he heads to prison in March to start a three year sentence. This could be awkward for Trump. However Cohen may be limited in what he can say.

Fox News:  Michael Cohen, seeking vindication, can’t use most ammunition against Trump

While President Trump’s former personal lawyer turning on him before a House committee will be a television spectacle, Cohen’s allies say he will testify under great constraints.

Cohen may have important new information that he has disclosed to Robert Mueller in 70 hours of interviews with prosecutors, but if so, he won’t be able to reveal it.

The major limitation, as Cohen has said, is that he can’t discuss anything still under investigation by the special counsel. That means Cohen, who is still hoping for a reduction in his sentence, can’t answer questions about Russian collusion or the proposed real estate project in Moscow. It also means he can’t address the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a Russian lawyer (who was recently indicted on money-laundering charges).

The New York lawyer wants to explain why he went to work for Trump, why he is ashamed of having worked for Trump, and how he made the decision last July to turn on his longtime benefactor, who has called him a “weak person” and a “rat.”

Part of that explanation will focus on Cohen’s view that while certain behavior might be tolerable in a private businessman, the standards are very different when that person becomes president.

Cohen will offer personal anecdotes about his service to Trump and what he has termed his complicity in “dirty deeds,” the sources say. These would likely be unflattering blasts from the past but could have little to do with his record as president.

Trump has survived many unflattering blasts from the past before.

Everyone will have to wait until the Mueller investigation reveals what it has found out about what dealings Trump or his family or associates may have had with Russia in the 2016 election campaign.

 

 

Leave a comment

38 Comments

  1. David

     /  January 14, 2019

    You would imagine a liberal news organisation would be outraged that Comey had such a cult like following at the very top of the FBI, where a few key players have been fired for misconduct and were hideously biased, that an investigation was nearly launched with absolutely no evidence and for purely political purposes.
    The FBI has form and if the media wont hold them to account just because it was Trump on the receiving end then that is not a good situation and they have no right to the “fourth estate” moniker.

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  January 14, 2019

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  January 14, 2019

        Griffy.. something to start the day on a RIGHT note.

        https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/1998-trump-people-quote/

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  January 14, 2019

          Yep. That quote has now long been known to be as false as the hundreds of Trump’s seemingly endless series of repeated lies that have been comprehensively disproved. Trump’s hundreds of miles ahead on false claims. Absolutely the biggest & worst liar ever! The man’s what they used to call a pathological liar.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  January 14, 2019

            I don’t think that spiel will change Griffy’s bs.

            Reply
            • Griff.

               /  January 14, 2019

              The quote might be bullshit .
              The sentiment is not .

            • High Flying Duck

               /  January 14, 2019

              You’ve summed up the quality of MSM coverage of Trump perfectly there. Truth isn’t important because they think the sentiment is correct.

            • Duker

               /  January 14, 2019

              So Trump hasn’t lied his arse off every day he’s been president….no siree

    • Duker

       /  January 14, 2019

      “an investigation was nearly launched with absolutely no evidence”

      It was a national security investigation- part of the FBIs role as the US counter intelligence agency. They do them all the time, as its not a normal criminal probe after a crime is comitted

      Reply
      • David

         /  January 14, 2019

        There was no evidence of anything they were just pissy that Trump fired their beloved leader which is a shocking way for a law enforcement outfit to operate.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  January 14, 2019

          They could see from their own agents the collusion between Trumps campaign and Russia.

          There were, according to the Moscow Project, “101 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia linked operatives,” and “the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.”
          Was Trump himself a russian asset – you dont know till you start a formal investigation, but plenty of circumstantial evidence.
          Its well known he had been laundering money for russian mob through inflated real estate deals in NY area

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/here-are-18-reasons-why-trump-could-be-a-russian-asset/2019/01/13/45b1b250-174f-11e9-88fe-f9f77a3bcb6c_story.html

          sure some of its ‘scare mongering’ to our eyes in NZ , but in US they read it very very different.
          eg Syria was previously close to Russia and Iran, the US ‘pulling out’ doesnt change Assads friends.
          US invasion of Iraq turned that country into an ally of Iran

          Reply
  2. George

     /  January 14, 2019

    It’s “get Trump time’ from the fake news regardless of a string of failures to do so.
    And it’s getting just a tirch boring.
    Especially here where we have no input, control, voice or lately, interest.

    Reply
  3. thespectrum

     /  January 14, 2019

    Good to have a thread on Donald Trump for a change 🙂

    Reply
  4. thespectrum

     /  January 14, 2019

    How about a YourNZ Trump free article week

    Reply
  5. thespectrum

     /  January 14, 2019

    How about a no reference to lefties or righties for a week?

    Reply
  6. thespectrum

     /  January 14, 2019

    Even better how about we change our political allegiances for a week.
    See what living on the dark side is like ?
    Who’s up for the challenge?

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  January 14, 2019

      As I dont support any party or identify as left or right does that mean I have to support them all and go both directions at once ?
      Just asking.

      Reply
  7. sorethumb

     /  January 14, 2019

    Down With Trump!

    Reply
  8. Patzcuaro

     /  January 14, 2019

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  January 14, 2019

      Interesting concept. One that is used daily for many nefarious purposes by groups of people more interested in stock market prices and influencing decisions. I don’t think they are interested in the welfare of humanity.

      Reply
  9. thespectrum

     /  January 14, 2019

    @Patzucuaro. If you did not have a country where it is as easy to buy a gun as it is to buy a coke then you would not need security at schools

    Reply
  10. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 14, 2019

    Impeachment is a political issue insofar as, so long as there’s the political will, a president can be impeached for anything, even lying about a consensual blowjob immaterial to an investigation into financial scandal. Just consider the pure political bias the GOP patented in impeaching Bill Clinton.

    But impeachment is also a legal question. The US Constitution mandates that the president be removed from office if they are impeached and convicted not just for the grab bag of “high crimes and misdemeanors” — where Congress exercises the political will to decide whether a blowjob merits impeachment — but also the crimes of treason and bribery.

    There’s no chance that trump will be named in a treason charge. But there’s a very good chance he will be named in a conspiracy involving a quid pro quo trading dirt and real estate deals for sanctions relief and other policy considerations. And not just in regard to Russia. Netanyahu’s also benefited mightily from trump’s election.

    Being president shouldn’t be a ‘get out of jail free’ card while continuing with crimes.

    Finally, some numbers in relation to trump’s cosy relationship with Putin:
    There were 101 known contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition.
    Those contacts included at least 28 meetings.
    16 members of the Trump team participated in those contacts, and 12 more are confirmed to have known about them. Those 28 people include all three campaign leaders, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  January 14, 2019

      Keep your fingers crossed, Joe. The mental well being of many liberals rely on Trump being impeached.

      Reply
  11. thespectrum

     /  January 14, 2019

    @Corky. The mental well being of many Conservatives rely on Trump not being impeached.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  January 14, 2019

      I don’t see that. I see this: You can’t tell me these people would survive a non impeachment finding in favour of Trumpy. These drips are primed for a breakdown. But, what happens if Trumpy is impeached? That could potentially be worse for these liberals.

      Reply
      • thespectrum

         /  January 14, 2019

        I am not a Don fan but ideas of impeachment are silly and are not good for any one. America operates better when they have 2 terms for the Dem’s and then 2 terms for the Rep’s. Calls for impeachment are entertainment politics as is the endless Trump narrative. Most people don’t have the desire, the energy or the intellect to understand the complexity of politics.
        So celebrity politics is more popular for the masses so the media just serves up what the majority want. What else can the media do?

        Reply
        • Patzcuaro

           /  January 14, 2019

          I’m not sure that 2 terms of Trump chaos would be beneficial for the US and world as a whole, it certain would benefit Russia and China.

          Reply
          • thespectrum

             /  January 14, 2019

            @Patzcuaro. There is no Trump Chaos. Its just business as usual in the states. Don was a media celeb prior to his Presidential campaign. The media just pump up the stories because folks expect a Celeb President. American politics is infotainment nowadays. Its just like NFL every one cheering for their side. All hoopla.

            Reply
            • Patzcuaro

               /  January 14, 2019

              A partial shutdown of government would tend to support the chaos theory and the consequences for those effected by the partial shutdown are a little more serious than an NFL game. Maybe entertainment for those on the sideline.

            • Corky

               /  January 14, 2019

              And there has never been a shut down before? It’s quite simple..give Trump the wall – not because he’s Trump- but for national security.
              What is the roadblock in peoples heads when they don’t understand the first priority of any government – protection of state and borders.,

            • thespectrum

               /  January 14, 2019

              @Patzcuaro
              “partial” shutdown…..”tend” to support “chaos” “theory”.
              All very general mistification.
              I bet you all unpaid wages/salaries will be refunded in full. Almost no one will lose their house/rental or go hungry.
              And yes it is entertainment for those on the sideline
              who’s taxes will help refund those out of pocket.
              Its a win win situation.

            • thespectrum

               /  January 14, 2019

              @Corky.
              I think the Dems should give Don his wall also.
              Its a win win for the Dems.
              The Reps have to authorize the wall and it’s cost of course
              If the wall fails the Dems win. (We were forced into it)
              If the wall succeeds the Dems win ( we did the right thing)
              Any fall out from their Latin vote can be blamed on Don.
              When the Dems are reelected next time any
              financial problems can be blamed on the wall.
              What are the Dems waiting for?

            • Corky

               /  January 14, 2019

              Never thought of it that way, Spectrum. But, yes, I would agree. The Dems, looking at it from that angle have nothing to lose.

        • Duker

           /  January 14, 2019

          Impeachment silly ?
          The republicans should have thought of that when they ‘did’ Bill Clinton for minor breaches.
          Its pretty clear now there was collusion between Trumps senior campaign people and Russians to get Hilary Clinton.
          And in general Trump has a lot of corruption surrounding him- much as Nixon was . Is he completely squeaky clean, theres bound to be something that comes out. We ares already climbing up that ladder with his personally directed conspiracy to evade campaign finance laws on the ‘hookergate’ payments.
          As you would know the US is very tough on conspiracy laws , something minor can end up with a 5 yr jail term. Even in NZ conviction of any charge that ‘carries a sentence of 2 yrs’ means you are out of parliament . Banks only had home detention
          for his deliberate signing of a false return but he had to resign

          Reply
          • thespectrum

             /  January 14, 2019

            @Duker. I am so glad Hillary did not win. Reps in opposition like Nats in opposition are vicious and vile because they believe they should always be in power. If Hillary had won the Reps facing 4 terms in opposition would have been at their most vile “the old ugly witch” attacks would have made the Trumedia circus look like siesta time. Being the first women to contest the Presidency was enough.

            Reply
  12. Patzcuaro

     /  January 14, 2019

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s