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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted to investigators that she made up comments about FBI agents having lost confidence in former Director James Comey – calling it a “slip of the tongue.”

The admission came on page 72, of Volume Two of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and referred to a May 10, 2017, briefing Sanders gave the day after President Donald Trump fired Comey, who’d been overseeing the FBI probe of Moscow’s interference.

His axing led to Mueller’s appointment.

The report stated Sanders ‘fessed up that her declaration that agents had lost confidence in Comey was made “‘in the heat of the moment’” and that it “wasn’t founded on anything.”

Here’s how the Mueller report described it:

“When a reporter indicated the ‘vast majority’ of FBI agents supported Comey, Sanders said, ‘Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.’ 

“Following the press conference, Sanders talked to the President, who told her she did a good job and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments.

“Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the tongue.’ She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Attorney General William Barr was “disingenuous and misleading” when he said special counsel Robert Mueller’s report cleared President Donald Trump of wrongdoing and ignored what was in the report itself, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said Thursday, adding Congress must have the opportunity to see the full unredacted report and its supporting evidence.

“It is clear that special counsel’s office conducted an incredibly thorough investigation and the special counsel made clear he did not exonerate the president, and the responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the president accountable for his action,” Rep. Nadler said in a press conference.

Earlier on Thursday, just after Barr presented his outline of Mueller’s report, Nadler said he had sent Mueller a letter requesting his testimony before his committee by May 23. Thursday afternoon, he said that testimony is vital, as Barr’s summary on the report differed from the findings themselves.

“It’s no longer surprising” Barr decided to withhold the full report from Congress, Nadler said, as he has also refused to provide the documentation that has been requested through his committee.

“We clearly can’t believe what Attorney General Barr tells us,” Nadler said. “Congress must bet the full unredacted along with the evidence by counsel Mueller. Congress requires this material to perform our constitutionally mandated responsibilities.”

Meanwhile, Nadler said he does think Mueller wrote the report as a “roadmap” for its continued investigation, but Barr is trying to frustrate that intent through redactions and other actions.

He also said it is still “too soon” to be discussing possible impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election detailed a series of actions by President Donald Trump to impede the probe, raising questions about whether he committed the crime of obstruction of justice.

The release on Thursday of the 448-page report that disclosed the findings of a 22-month investigation represented a watershed moment in Trump’s tumultuous presidency.

Mueller did not make a conclusion on whether Trump, whose presidency has been overshadowed by the Russia investigation, had committed obstruction of justice but did not exonerate him either.

The report provided fresh details of how the Republican president tried to force Mueller’s ouster, directed members of his administration to publicly vouch for his innocence and dangled a pardon to a former aide to try to prevent him from cooperating with the special counsel.

It also concluded, as Barr announced last month, that Trump and his campaign had not engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia during the election.

Barr in March concluded that Trump had not broken the law, but told a news conference on Thursday that Mueller had detailed “10 episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense.”

Trump appeared to be in a celebratory mood, saying at a White House event with wounded U.S. troops that he was “having a good day” following the report’s release, adding, “It’s called no collusion, no obstruction.”

The report’s disclosure, with portions blacked out by Barr to protect some sensitive information, is certain to launch a new political fight in Congress and on the 2020 presidential campaign trail, as Trump seeks re-election in a deeply divided country.

Trump has long described Mueller’s inquiry as a “witch hunt.”

The report stated that when Jeff Sessions, Barr’s predecessor as attorney general, told Trump in May 2017 that a special counsel was being appointed by the Justice Department to look into allegations that the Republican’s campaign colluded with Russia, Trump slumped back in his chair and said, “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Some Democrats in the House of Representatives have spoken of launching impeachment proceedings against Trump in Congress but top Democrats have been notably cautious. Any such effort would be unlikely to be successful because Trump fellow Republicans controls the Senate, which would decide the president’s fate.

The inquiry laid bare what the special counsel and U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a Russian campaign of hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, denigrate 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and boost Trump, the Kremlin’s preferred candidate. Russia has denied election interference.

In analyzing whether Trump obstructed justice, Mueller looked at a series of actions by Trump, including his attempts to remove Mueller and limit the scope of his probe and efforts to prevent the public from knowing about a June, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York between senior campaign officials and Russians.

In June 2017, Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to tell the then-acting attorney general that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed, the report said.

It also said there was “substantial evidence” that Trump fired James Comey as FBI director in 2017 due to his “unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation.”

Mueller cited “some evidence” suggesting Trump knew about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s controversial calls with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office, but evidence was “inconclusive” and could not be used to establish intent to obstruct.

The report said Trump directed former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ask former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to say the Russia investigation was “very unfair.”

Before the report’s release, Barr gave a news conference at the Justice Department as he sought to shape the narrative on the document’s findings.

One of a handful of people to have seen the report before its release, Barr emphasized, as he had said last month, that Mueller did not conclude there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

“President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office and the conduct of some of his associates,” Barr said.

Barr seemed to offer cover for Trump’s actions by saying the report acknowledges that “there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.”

Mueller’s team did not issue a subpoena to force Trump to give an interview to the special counsel because it would have created a “substantial delay” at a late stage in the investigation, the report said.

It said Mueller accepted the longstanding Justice Department view that a sitting president cannot be indicted on criminal charges, while still recognizing that a president can be criminally investigated.

The report also cited Mueller’s repeated efforts to convince Sessions to resume oversight of the probe after he had recused himself because of his own prior contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

Mueller said evidence he collected indicates that Trump intended to encourage his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, not to cooperate with the investigation and that the evidence supports the idea that Trump wanted Manafort to believe that he could receive a presidential pardon.

The report said the special counsel’s team determined there was a “reasonable argument” that the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., violated campaign finance laws, but did not believe they could obtain a conviction.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Source: Fox News Politics

Contrary to Democrat claims President Trump sought to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, he actually cooperated to an unprecedented extent, according to former independent counsel Ken Starr.

Starr, who was the independent counsel who investigated the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals during the Clinton administration, made the comment on “America’s Newsroom” Thursday:

“The president famously does not hold things back. He hated this whole thing, called it a witch hunt. But…actions speak louder than words.

“For the White House counsel to spend 30 hours answering questions of Bob Mueller and his staff is extraordinary, talk about unprecedented,” Starr said. “That’s an unprecedented level of cooperation with a special counsel investigation.”

TRUMP BLASTS RUSSIA PROBE

Starr added: “Here is a key that no one should lose sight of — Bill Clinton committed crimes. Richard Nixon committed crimes. Whatever this report shows, the bottom line is no crimes are being charged by those who are charged with making that decision — that’s the Justice Department.”

Attorney General William Barr told reporters at a morning press conference that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report recounts 10 episodes involving President Trump that were investigated as potential acts of criminal obstruction of justice. Barr said Mueller did not reach a “prosecutorial judgment” and that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded the evidence was not sufficient to establish the president committed an offense.

Barr said Trump did not exert executive privilege over any information included in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. He said the White House counsel reviewed a redacted version of the report before Trump decided not to invoke executive privilege.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Barr has said redactions in the report’s release are legally mandated.to protect four broad areas of concern: sensitive grand jury-related matters, classified information, ongoing investigations and the privacy or reputation of uncharged “peripheral” people.

On “America’s Newsroom,” Starr said: “We shouldn’t forget this all began about collusion, and so I think this will be very helpful [in] reminding us that while the Russians attempted to reach out to Trump campaign folks, apparently those efforts were not accepted or [were] rebuffed. I think that will be a big plus sign for President Trump and the integrity of the campaign.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Justice Department on Thursday released to Congress and the public Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his nearly two-year investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.

READ THE REPORT

As stated in Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary last month, and reiterated again at his press conference earlier Thursday morning, the special counsel did not find evidence of collusion with members of the Trump campaign and Russia.

“While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal,” the special counsel report stated.

The special counsel report also added that the evidence about the controversial June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with members of the campaign and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, and WikiLeaks’s “release of hacked materials” was “not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.”

“Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” the report said.

The version of the nearly 500-page report that the Justice Department made public Thursday includes redactions, consistent with Barr’s plan to black out portions of the document—including grand jury material, information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods, any material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions and information that could implicate the privacy or reputational interests of “peripheral players.”

Democrats, for weeks, demanded to see the full, unredacted report, and blasted Barr for resisting their requests. Barr, though, said that along with the help of the special counsel’s office, he planned to “color code the decisions from the report and provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has already vowed to move “very quickly” to issue subpoenas for the full report should he and his colleagues not be satisfied with the amount of, and basis for, redactions.

The partisan warfare that has marked the probe from the start extended into the report’s release day, with Barr coming under fire from Democrats for his decision to hold a press conference in advance. Barr already had come under fire from Democrats after he issued a four-page summary of the special counsel report, where he stated there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign.

The special counsel also reviewed whether the president had obstructed justice in any way, but ultimately did not come to a conclusion on that issue. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, though, said the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

Rosenstein defended Barr’s conduct last week and told The Wall Street Journal that the idea Barr was trying to mislead people was “completely bizarre.”

The evidence detailed in the report related to allegations of obstruction of justice, though, is likely to come under intense scrutiny from congressional Democrats, and could be used in their sweeping Trump-related investigations.

The president’s legal team, in anticipation of obstruction of justice claims in the report, has prepared their own report to counter the allegations.

“They assumed all along that there was going to be a finding of no collusion, so the rebuttal is about obstruction,” a source close to Trump’s legal team told Fox News. “They are preparing a rebuttal to presumed allegations which will be refuted.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Jake Gibson, Catherine Herridge and Bill Mears contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

Americans are apparently having a blast killing time as they anxiously prepare for the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on the Russia investigation — a moment they have been waiting for since the investigation began in May 2017.

Attorney General William Barr will deliver the nearly 400-page document to Congress via CDs between 11 a.m. ET and noon. The information will be provided to the public shortly after on the special counsel’s website.

Barr gave everyone a small preview of what’s to come during an early Thursday news conference. Once again, he stressed the special counsel found “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

WHAT TIME WILL THE MUELLER REPORT BE RELEASED? WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE DOCUMENT DUMP

But there are some key details that lawmakers and the public are eager to learn more about, particularly the issue of obstruction of justice. The Mueller probe did not reach a conclusion on whether President Trump committed this offense, but Barr and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was not sufficient evidence on that front.

It’s up to Barr to determine how much information Congress will see.

He confirmed Thursday he redacted any information he deemed inappropriate or harmful to a person’s character if he or she has not been charged with a crime. Classified information, grand jury items, closed-door testimony and information that could hinder an ongoing case will also be protected.

“As you will see, most of the redactions were compelled by the need to prevent harm to ongoing matters and to comply with court orders prohibiting the public disclosure of information bearing on ongoing investigations and criminal cases,” Barr said.

BARNES & NOBLE OFFERS FREE MUELLER REPORT DOWNLOAD

Though Barr claimed the redactions would be “limited,” Twitter users had a field day envisioning what the documents would look like. Dozens of redaction memes flooded the social media site Thursday — many reposting fake documents covered in black bars.

One Twitter user posted a snippet of a redacted snippet of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18.

“Barr’s redacted version of Sonnet 18….,” the user wrote, along with a meme that revealed six words of the literature.

Another bleeped out the lyrics to Rick Astley’s popular song “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

“The redacted #MuellerReport is out! And this is what it reveals…,” a user tweeted.

Actor Rainn Wilson, known for his role as Dwight Schrute on “The Office,” also joked about potential redactions.

“They just released the Mueller Report!” Wilson captioned a meme of a document that only contained the phrases “moreover” and “in that same vein.”

“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” used the hype about the release to promote the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 27.

A sports fanatic jokingly posted an “advanced copy” of the report that jabs the Washington Nationals baseball team.

“The Nationals Bullpen is a complete disaster,” the fake document reads.

Here’s a look at some other memes and responses people have posted in anticipation of Mueller’s findings.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Attorney General William Barr sparred with a reporter during a brief press conference Thursday in which he laid out the release of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into the Russia probe.

During his prepared statement to the press, Barr explained his and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s decision to clear President Donald Trump of any obstruction in relation to Mueller’s investigation. He said that Trump faced “an unprecedented situation.”

BARR AFFIRMS MUELLER PROBE FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF RUSSIA-TRUMP COLLUSION, PREPARES TO RELEASE REPORT

“As he entered office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office and the conduct of some of his associates,” Barr read of his statement, adding that there was “relentless speculation” in the media about the president’s culpability. “Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact, no collusion.”

In her question to Barr, CBS News White House Correspondent Paula Reid brought up his use of the word “unprecedented” and how his comments were “quite generous to the president and his feelings and emotions.”

“It just seems like there is a lot effort – to go out of your way to acknowledge how this was difficult for him,” she added.

Barr appeared to bristle at the question, responding with his own: “Is there another precedent for it?”

“No,” the reporter answered.

“OK so unprecedented is an accurate description,” he said.

The reporter tried to ask Barr about people who are concerned that he is trying to protect the president.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Barr did not acknowledge her question and moved on.

The attorney general said Thursday that his department would be released the lightly redacted report to the public by 11 a.m. that morning.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz said Thursday’s release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated Russia report exonerates President Trump.

In the moments ahead of Attorney General William Barr’s press conference on Thursday Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor, said he expected Barr’s remarks to be a “reflection of the summary he has already given.”

Speaking on “Fox & Friends” Thursday Chaffetz added, “I think it is very telling when the attorney general put out a statement and said, not only did the president rebuff the push by Russia to try to collude, but did so multiple times. That was one of the most telling things.

“I think the Democrats are scrambling. I don’t think they know what to do. I think it is part of their demise and I think it’s a big part of why I think Donald Trump will be reelected in 2020.”

MUELLER PROBE HAS COST TAXPAYERS MORE THAN $25 MILLION, SPENDING REPORT REVEALS

Last month, Mueller submitted his almost 400-page report to the Justice Department for review by the attorney general and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In a letter to Congress, Attorney General Bill Barr relayed some of the primary findings of the report, stating the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election. Democrats blasted Barr for what they called his “unacceptable” handling of the initial summary of that document.

Barr said he identified four areas of the report that he believed should be redacted, including grand jury material and information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods.

“Probably the most explosive and consequential thing that’s going on right now won’t be revealed today and that is the report by the Inspector General Michael Horowitz,” Chaffetz said Thursday.

TRUMP ALLIES AWAIT RESULTS OF TWO INTERNAL PROBES THAT COULD EXPOSE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION BACKSTORY

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Horowitz as the inspector general was appointed by Barack Obama. He was confirmed by the Senate unanimously and for the last year he’s been looking at what did the senior echelon at the FBI do when they have this highly documented bias and toward Donald Trump, did they take inappropriate action to spy on the president and his campaign team? We already know the answer to that is yes. To what degree and are there prosecutions, that will come out in the next month or two.”

The U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed at a panel discussion last month that his office is continuing to review potential surveillance abuses by the FBI, a review that began last year.

Source: Fox News Politics

Both lawmakers on Capitol Hill and members of the general public are on pins and needles as they wait for Attorney General William Barr to dump a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly 400-page report on the Russia investigation Thursday.

Google searches for “Mueller report” spiked early Thursday — just before Barr was expected to take to a podium at a scheduled 9:30 a.m. ET news conference to present his interpretation of the report’s findings before releasing the full document to Congress.

IN MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE, TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

“I’m committed to ensuring the greatest degree possible of transparency concerning the special counsel’s investigation consistent with the law,” Barr said Thursday.

Here’s what you need to know about the expected document dump.

What time will the Mueller report be released?

Barr took the stage to discuss his views on the materials at a 9:30 a.m. ET news conference, which is available to view via live stream.

After the news conference, the report will be delivered to Congress on CDs between 11 a.m. and noon and then posted on the special counsel’s website to the wider public. Fox News will also provide live updates and highlights on the documents online Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, Barnes & Noble also provided curious readers instructions on how to download the nearly 400-page document.

WHO IS ROBERT MUELLER? 3 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION’S SPECIAL COUNSEL

“Be the first to read THE MUELLER REPORT for free! Pre-order today and it will be delivered to your NOOK Library upon expected release,” wrote Barnes & Noble, adding that those who don’t have the NOOK Library can download the NOOK reading app to read a PDF or “direct replica” of the report on their smartphones.

Which portions will be redacted?

It’s up to Barr to determine how much information Congress will see.

Barr will redact any information he deems inappropriate or harmful to a person’s character if he or she has not been charged with a crime. Classified information, grand jury items and closed-door testimony will also be protected.

According to Barr, these types of confidential information are broken down into four categories.

  1. Secrecy, grand jury materials
  2. Information that the IC believes would disclose sources and methods
  3. Information that would impair the investigation and prosecution of other ongoing cases
  4. Information that implicates the privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties

“To ensure as much transparency as possible, those redactions have been clearly labeled to readers can tell which redactions correspond to which categories,” explained Barr during his early morning news conference.

“As you will see, most of the redactions were compelled by the need to prevent harm to ongoing matters and to comply with court orders prohibiting the public disclosure of information bearing on ongoing investigations and criminal cases,” Barr continued.

BARNES & NOBLE OFFERS FREE MUELLER REPORT DOWNLOAD

At a later date, the Justice Department also plans to provide a “limited number” of members of Congress and their staff access to a copy of the Mueller report with fewer redactions than the public version, according to a court filing Wednesday.

During his confirmation hearing, Barr stressed that he would be as transparent as possible while following federal laws.

“I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel’s work,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, adding that he doesn’t believe Mueller would be involved in a “witch hunt.”

Why did Barr get to view the documents first?

When the investigation — which began in May 2017 — concluded, Mueller first released his final report to Barr, who was overseeing the special counsel since he took office in February.

“At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel,” Cornell Law School explains in a blog post detailing the federal regulations.

Throughout the two-year probe, Mueller has also been required to flag any documents that detail any impending prosecutions or witness interviews, among other actions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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