Investigation

Allan Lichtman | Distinguished Professor of History, American University

It may be heresy outside of President Trump’s circle to criticize Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but criticism is justified. Since the administration of Ulysses S. Grant in the 1870s, special prosecutors or special counsels have conducted investigations involving presidents that are independent of the president or his political appointees. This independence sometimes led to clashes with presidents as in Saturday Night Massacre when President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Yet, without independent investigations, Congress and the public can have no confidence in their results.

Unfortunately, Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings raised more questions than it answered. Here are five main takeaways.

Special Counsel Mueller Compromised His Obstruction Investigation

According to Barr summary of Mueller’s findings on obstruction: “The special counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”

But rather than making a recommendation on obstruction, Mueller shattered nearly 150 years of precedent and voluntarily compromised the independence of his investigation by punting to Attorney General William Barr. The attorney general is not only a political appointee, but he was also on record before his appointment in saying that essentially a president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice.

Obstruction of justice by itself is a serious crime and a basis for impeachment. In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee, including a third of Republicans, voted an article of impeachment against President Nixon for obstructing investigations of the Watergate break-in even though he was not charged with involvement in the crime. In 1998, the full House voted an article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton for obstructing the investigation of his private consensual affair with Monica Lewinsky. Nearly every House Republican voted for this article and most Senate Republicans voted to convict Clinton for obstruction.

If the charge of obstruction turns on a president’s state of mind, why did Mueller fail to submit written questions on obstruction to the president and decline to press for an in-person interview?     

We Need to See the Full Mueller Report

As a historian I deal with primary source documents — in this case the full Mueller report. I know from experience that a summary of a primary document is often incomplete and misleading especially when prepared by an interested party like Barr, who has in the past denigrated the Mueller investigation.

Congress and the public must have an opportunity to view the full Mueller report and draw their own conclusions. The American people agree. A Morning Consult poll taken in late February found that 68 percent of registered voters said that the report should be made public. Only 10 percent said that it should not, with 22 percent undecided. Without access to the full report we’ll get only spin from Republicans and Democrats, further undermining the people’s fragile confidence in the institutions of their government.

Don’t Think of the Investigation as Wins and Losses

We should not think about the Mueller investigation like a sports contest with wins and losses for the president. We should think about what is good for the nation. It is good for the nation if an American president did not conspire with a hostile foreign power to rig an election. It is also good for the nation if the president did not obstruct the course of justice. However, obstruction remains an unsettled question that requires examination of the full report and further inquiry by Congress.

The Barr Summary Passes Over a Critical Finding of the Mueller Investigation

We know from Mueller’s indictments, that a critical finding of his investigation, looking forward, not backward, is that the Russian interfered massively in America’s 2016 presidential election. Yet the Barr summary barely mentions this interference in but a single line saying, “The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with these efforts.” Regardless, it now behooves President Trump to explain precisely what steps the American government will now take to protect the 2020 election from similar interference by the Russians or any other hostile foreign power.

There are Unanswered Questions on the Russia Connection

The Barr summary quotes the Mueller report as absolving the president and his associates of conspiring with the Russian government. But Barr leaves many questions unanswered. For example, we need to know how Mueller accounted for the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner with Kremlin-connected Russians. The Russians had openly promised dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Why did the Special Counsel failed to interview Don Jr. and Kushner about this meeting and other Russian connections?   

We need to know how the special counsel explained away Campaign Chair Paul Manafort’s offer to provide Russian oligarch Oleg Derispaska privileged access to the Trump campaign. We need to know how Mueller dealt with Manafort’s meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian with ties to Russian intelligence, to whom he provided internal Trump campaign polling information. We need to know why there were some 100 contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians and why none of the contacts were reported to the FBI, even after the bureau warned the campaign about overtures from Russians.

Were all these contacts all merely coincidence? We still don’t know.

Allan J. Lichtman (@AllanLichtman) is distinguished professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C. and author of “The Case For Impeachment.”


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Allan Lichtman | Distinguished Professor of History, American University

It may be heresy outside of President Trump’s circle to criticize Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but criticism is justified. Since the administration of Ulysses S. Grant in the 1870s, special prosecutors or special counsels have conducted investigations involving presidents that are independent of the president or his political appointees. This independence sometimes led to clashes with presidents as in Saturday Night Massacre when President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Yet, without independent investigations, Congress and the public can have no confidence in their results.

Unfortunately, Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings raised more questions than it answered. Here are five main takeaways.

Special Counsel Mueller Compromised His Obstruction Investigation

According to Barr summary of Mueller’s findings on obstruction: “The special counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”

But rather than making a recommendation on obstruction, Mueller shattered nearly 150 years of precedent and voluntarily compromised the independence of his investigation by punting to Attorney General William Barr. The attorney general is not only a political appointee, but he was also on record before his appointment in saying that essentially a president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice.

Obstruction of justice by itself is a serious crime and a basis for impeachment. In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee, including a third of Republicans, voted an article of impeachment against President Nixon for obstructing investigations of the Watergate break-in even though he was not charged with involvement in the crime. In 1998, the full House voted an article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton for obstructing the investigation of his private consensual affair with Monica Lewinsky. Nearly every House Republican voted for this article and most Senate Republicans voted to convict Clinton for obstruction.

If the charge of obstruction turns on a president’s state of mind, why did Mueller fail to submit written questions on obstruction to the president and decline to press for an in-person interview?     

We Need to See the Full Mueller Report

As a historian I deal with primary source documents — in this case the full Mueller report. I know from experience that a summary of a primary document is often incomplete and misleading especially when prepared by an interested party like Barr, who has in the past denigrated the Mueller investigation.

Congress and the public must have an opportunity to view the full Mueller report and draw their own conclusions. The American people agree. A Morning Consult poll taken in late February found that 68 percent of registered voters said that the report should be made public. Only 10 percent said that it should not, with 22 percent undecided. Without access to the full report we’ll get only spin from Republicans and Democrats, further undermining the people’s fragile confidence in the institutions of their government.

Don’t Think of the Investigation as Wins and Losses

We should not think about the Mueller investigation like a sports contest with wins and losses for the president. We should think about what is good for the nation. It is good for the nation if an American president did not conspire with a hostile foreign power to rig an election. It is also good for the nation if the president did not obstruct the course of justice. However, obstruction remains an unsettled question that requires examination of the full report and further inquiry by Congress.

The Barr Summary Passes Over a Critical Finding of the Mueller Investigation

We know from Mueller’s indictments, that a critical finding of his investigation, looking forward, not backward, is that the Russian interfered massively in America’s 2016 presidential election. Yet the Barr summary barely mentions this interference in but a single line saying, “The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with these efforts.” Regardless, it now behooves President Trump to explain precisely what steps the American government will now take to protect the 2020 election from similar interference by the Russians or any other hostile foreign power.

There are Unanswered Questions on the Russia Connection

The Barr summary quotes the Mueller report as absolving the president and his associates of conspiring with the Russian government. But Barr leaves many questions unanswered. For example, we need to know how Mueller accounted for the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner with Kremlin-connected Russians. The Russians had openly promised dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Why did the Special Counsel failed to interview Don Jr. and Kushner about this meeting and other Russian connections?   

We need to know how the special counsel explained away Campaign Chair Paul Manafort’s offer to provide Russian oligarch Oleg Derispaska privileged access to the Trump campaign. We need to know how Mueller dealt with Manafort’s meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian with ties to Russian intelligence, to whom he provided internal Trump campaign polling information. We need to know why there were some 100 contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians and why none of the contacts were reported to the FBI, even after the bureau warned the campaign about overtures from Russians.

Were all these contacts all merely coincidence? We still don’t know.

Allan J. Lichtman (@AllanLichtman) is distinguished professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C. and author of “The Case For Impeachment.”


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller listens at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing about the FBI on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, listens during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller acted honorably, President Donald Trump said on Monday, days after the fellow Republican wrapped up his Russia probe with no evidence of criminal collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

Asked if he thought Mueller acted honorably, Trump told reporters at the White House “yes.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Source: OANN

William Davis | Contributor

Ivanka Trump responded Sunday to the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation by tweeting a famous quote from former President Abraham Lincoln.

“Truth is generally the best vindication against slander,” the quote reads.

With her not-so-subtle tweet, the eldest daughter of President Donald Trump became the latest member of Trump-world to take a victory lap after Mueller’s 675-day-long investigation concluded that neither the president nor members of his campaign attempted to collude with Russia. (RELATED: The Media’s Russia ‘Bombshells’ Look Even Worse Now That Mueller Found No Collusion)

“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller wrote, according to a letter sent by Attorney General Bill Barr to Congress. (RELATED: White House Reacts To Mueller Report Release)

The Trump family has approached the nearly two-year-long investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election with confidence. In an interview with ABC News last month, Ivanka said that she had “zero concern” about the probe.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks past his daughter and White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump to participate in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in the White House State Dining Room in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

U.S. President Donald Trump walks past his daughter and White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump … REUTERS/Leah Millis

“There’s nothing there, yet it’s created weeks and weeks and months of headlines,” she said at the time. “So, no, I have zero concern.”

The full Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, but Barr’s letter has widely been seen as a victory for the president and his family, after nearly two years of speculation and rumors. President Trump himself tweeted Sunday night that the report was a “Complete and Total EXONERATION.”

“No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,” Trump said. “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Democratic House committee chairmen who want to keep looking into claims of collusion and obstruction on the part of President Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign will not find anything that special counsel Robert Mueller was not able to find over the course of his lengthy investigation, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said Monday.

"Bob Mueller, who had unlimited time, unlimited money, unlimited resources, 40 FBI agents working with 20 federal prosecutors couldn't find any evidence of any crimes," the Texas Republican, a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "What in the name of God's green Earth makes anyone think that Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and Elijah Cummings could find what Bob Mueller couldn't?"

Ratcliff noted that in the Senate, where Republicans control the Judiciary Committee, Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has already agreed there are questions surrounding the push for the Mueller investigation.

He also called it "disappointing" so many people are saying the investigation is not over and said the House does not need to investigate what Mueller already has.

Ratcliffe said he has spoken with Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and learned he hopes to be finished with his own report on Trump by May or June.

Further, he said John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, has "been dispatched" to look into the potential that "criminal aspects" might have come into play behind the Mueller probe.

"Between those investigations, the American people will hopefully get answers to those questions much sooner than later," Ratcliffe said.

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller informed top U.S. Justice Department officials three weeks ago that he would not be reaching a conclusion on whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice during the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, a U.S. Justice official said Monday.

The decision by Mueller not to reach a determination was “unexpected,” the person added, speaking anonymously in order to discuss private conversations involving U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who received the news.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called for a new special counsel at a Monday press conference that would look into the FBI and DOJ to see what led to the Russia investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Graham said he plans to ask Attorney General William Barr to set up a new special counsel to look into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant process, saying he would like someone similar to special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the investigation.

“Was it a ruse to get into the Trump campaign?” Graham said at the press conference. “I don’t know but I’m going to try to find out.”

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham delivers remarks about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during a mark up hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Graham said he did not know what the timeline of the second special counsel would be, but that he would be in touch with Barr to determine the next steps.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

Vice President Mike Pence celebrated the results of the Mueller investigation Sunday saying, “Today is a great day for America.”

The vice president referred to the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation, which were announced on Friday in a letter from Attorney General William Barr to Congress. The findings contained no evidence of collusion between Russia and any member of the Trump family. Barr also said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would not charge President Donald Trump with any charges of obstruction of justice. (RELATED: White House Reveals Next Steps on Mueller Report)

“Today is a great day for America, President Trump and our entire administration,” Pence said in a statement.

“After two years of investigation, and reckless accusations by many Democrats and members of the media, the Special Counsel has confirmed what President Trump said along; there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.”

“The Attorney General also confirmed that there was no obstruction of justice. This total vindication of the President of the United States and our campaign should be welcomed by every American who cherishes the truth and the integrity of our elections.”

“In the days ahead, the American people can be confident that the President and our entire administration will continue to focus where we always have, on the issues most important to our country.” (RELATED: Sanders: ‘It’s A Great Day In America’ After Mueller Report)

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Peter Biar Ajak, the South Sudan country director for the London School of Economics' International Growth Centre based in Britain, arrives at the courtroom in Juba
Peter Biar Ajak, the South Sudan country director for the London School of Economics’ International Growth Centre based in Britain, arrives at the courtroom in Juba, South Sudan March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

March 25, 2019

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A former World Bank economist whose detention in South Sudan has caused an international outcry was one of seven men charged on Monday with insurgency and sabotage, more than seven months after his arrest.

Peter Biar Ajak, who is country director for his native South Sudan for the International Growth Centre which studies emerging economies at the London School of Economics, had been held since last July.

He had not appeared in court until last Thursday, despite months of calls by U.S. senators and other international figures for him to be charged or released.

Biar’s lawyer and lawyers for the other defendants denied the charges against them, which were brought on Monday under anti-terrorism and security laws.

Appearing in court on Monday, Biar repudiated a document that was presented as his statement.

“The investigation was conducted under gunpoint to my head,” he said.

His lawyer, Monyluak Kuol, asked for the case to be dismissed, telling the court Biar was a civilian with no connection to the charges against him.

Ajak Mayol Bior, lawyer for one of the other defendants, businessman Kerbino Wol, said no act of terrorism had been committed and charges of arms possession were fabricated.  

A childhood refugee from the long war that ended with South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in 2011, Biar fled to the United States as a youth, was educated at Harvard and Cambridge and later worked at the World Bank. His supporters say he was promoting South Sudan’s peace process when he was arrested.

South Sudan has been in a state of civil war since 2013, two years after its founding, after political disagreements between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy, Riek Machar, degenerated into a military confrontation.

At its peak, the conflict uprooted a quarter of the country’s population of 12 million and devastated its oil-dependent economy. A regionally brokered deal last year, which had Machar return to government again as Kiir’s deputy, ended the fighting although pockets of violence remain in some parts.

(Writing by George Obulutsa)

Source: OANN

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

The Supreme Court denied an appeal Monday from an unknown foreign entity disputing a grand jury subpoena issued in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which is now complete.

Little is known of the case, which is under seal — the identity of the foreign corporation, the country in which it is based, and the nature of the subpoena are all unknown.

The entity, which is a foreign financial institution, contested the subpoena under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and the laws of its own country. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected those arguments, prompting an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The entity warned of far-reaching effects on U.S. foreign policy were the D.C. Circuit’s ruling allowed to stand.

“The D.C. Circuit broke from the FSIA’s text, this Court’s precedents, other circuits’ holdings, and the longstanding rule in America and abroad that one sovereign may not exercise criminal jurisdiction over another,” the company wrote in its petition to the high court. “If left to stand, the ruling would wreak havoc on American foreign policy — possibly alienating U.S. allies, undermining diplomatic efforts, and inviting reciprocal treatment abroad for American agencies and instrumentalities.”

The Trump administration asked the Court to reject the appeal. (RELATED: When Clarence Thomas Speaks)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2019. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2019. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Chief Justice John Roberts intervened at an earlier phase of the litigation, temporarily blocking a contempt order that issued after the company refused to comply with the subpoena in December 2018.

The full Court ultimately let that order take effect in January. As a result, the company has been subject to a $50,000 fine for each day it failed to furnish the items the subpoena sought.

The Court gave no reasoning for denying Monday’s appeal, as is typical of orders of that nature.

The special counsel submitted his completed report to Justice Department leadership Friday. Attorney General William Barr shared a general summary of that report to Congress on Sunday. Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

There have been no conversations about President Donald Trump issuing pardons for any of his associates who have been charged or pleaded guilty as part of the U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, the White House said Monday.

There has been "no discussion that I'm aware of" regarding pardons, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. Fellow White House spokesman Hogan Gidley also told MSNBC in an interview that the White House has not had any conversations about such pardons.

Gidley said he did not know whether any lawyers for Trump's associates had approached the White House counsel about pardons.

Mueller's team finished up work on Friday and submitted its findings to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who issued a four-page summary on Sunday. Barr said the Special Counsel's Office had found no evidence of criminal collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia in the 2016 election but had left open the issue of whether Trump had tried to obstruct justice.

Still, Mueller's investigation led to charges and guilty pleas against dozens of people, including a series of Russian nationals and companies as well as several top Trump advisers, such as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and former adviser Roger Stone.

"We have a very rigorous process that relates to pardons," Gidley told MSNBC.

Source: NewsMax

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has more "breathing room" on deciding whether to seek impeachment charges against President Donald Trump following the end of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Politico reports.

Mueller delivered the results of his investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William Barr last week. Barr later released a summary of his findings, and wrote Mueller did not find evidence of collusion.

Pelosi has repeatedly warned impeaching Trump would not be a quick or simple process, and called for Democrats to wait until the special counsel completed his report before deciding whether or not to seek Trump's impeachment.

"I think her instincts were correct, that we're putting way too much into the Mueller report, and what if it disappoints?" Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., told Politico. "What did we really think Mueller was going to do?"

He added the report "exposes some of those early calls [for impeachment] for being premature and not based on the evidence at hand. And I think it sets that back. It doesn't let [Trump] off the hook, but you cried wolf way too early."

Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, added "not only was Nancy wise, but because of her experience she was able to lead us and guide us in the right direction on this. It also takes a certain level of strength and character to be able to deal with this in today's [environment]."

Source: NewsMax

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence that the Trump campaign or any Trump associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
  • That finding deals a heavy blow to Democrats and some in the media who have pushed at least seven different theories of collusion over the past two-plus years.
  • Many of those theories derived from the infamous Steele dossier.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller put a nail in the coffin for the numerous conspiracy theories that the Trump campaign worked with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 election.

Over the past two years, at least seven main theories of collusion have appeared in the press and through the infamous Steele dossier.

Former Trump associates Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone were all alleged at various points to have colluded with Russia. The infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was also alleged to be where collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia occurred.

And then there was the case of Peter Smith, the late GOP operative who allegedly worked with hackers to track down Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

The theories percolated in the media, often stoked by Democrats like California Rep. Adam Schiff, who said he saw “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion.

But Mueller dispelled those theories in a report of his 22-month investigation.

“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller wrote, according to Attorney General William Barr. (RELATED: Justice Department Details Mueller’s Conclusions: No Collusion)

Mueller found no evidence that Trump, his associates, or other Americans worked with Russians to release emails through WikiLeaks. He also found no evidence that Trump associates helped the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company that planted disinformation on American social media networks.

Here are those seven conspiracy theories.

Carter Page

The Steele dossier alleges that Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser, took part in a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” between the Trump campaign and Russian leadership. According to former British spy Christopher Steele, Page was working under the direction of Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, to carry out the conspiracy.

“The reason for using WikiLeaks was ‘plausible deniability’ and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team,” alleged Steele in a memo in late July 2016.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Carter Page, former foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, speaks to the media after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. The committee is conducting an investigation into Russia's tampering in the 2016 election. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Carter Page, former foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, speaks in November 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In exchange for the help, Trump’s team agreed to side with Russia on the Ukraine issue.

According to Steele’s Aug. 10, 2016 memo, Page had “conceived and promoted” the idea of releasing stolen DNC emails through WikiLeaks in order to swing Democrats away from Hillary Clinton and towards Bernie Sanders.

Steele also claimed that Page met in Moscow with two Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin, in early July 2016. Diveykin is alleged in the dossier to have told Page about blackmail material on both Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Page has vehemently denied the allegations from the dossier, which the FBI used to obtain four surveillance warrants against the former Trump aide.

Page was not charged in the Mueller investigation.

George Papadopoulos

The FBI’s initial collusion theory involved Papadopoulos, a 32-year-old energy consultant.

On July 31, 2016, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Papadopoulos based on a tip the bureau had received from the Australian government.

Alexander Downer, the Australian High Commissioner to the U.K., had claimed that during a May 10, 2016, meeting in London, Papadopoulos told him that Russia had information on Hillary Clinton that it planned to release later in the campaign.

Papadopoulos said that two weeks before that meeting, he had breakfast in London with another diplomat, Joseph Mifsud, who told him that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

Papadopoulos insists that he did not tell anyone on the campaign about Mifsud’s remarks and that he did not view, handle or disseminate Clinton emails.

He pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2017, to lying to the FBI about the extent of his contacts with Mifsud, but he was never charged with a more serious crime.

He served a 14-day prison term and is releasing a book Tuesday.

Michael Cohen

The former Trump lawyer is accused in the dossier of visiting Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials for the purposes of paying off hackers.

“The agenda comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign,” reads Steele’s Dec. 13, 2016, memo.

The dossier’s allegations against Cohen were viewed as some of the strongest claims of collusion that have surfaced during Russia gate.

Cohen has vehemently denied the claims since BuzzFeed published the dossier. On Feb. 27, after he had been sentenced in the special counsel’s probe to three years in prison, Cohen testified that he has never been to Prague.

The testimony was seen as a knockout blow for the dossier’s credibility. Mueller’s findings seemingly ended all debate on the matter.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Dec. 12 on charges of tax evasion, bank fraud, illegal campaign contributions and making false statements to Congress.

Paul Manafort

In addition to being linked in the dossier to Carter Page, the former Trump campaign chairman was found to have sent cryptic emails during the campaign referencing Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who was locked in a business dispute with Manafort.

The special counsel also focused Manafort’s role in sending polling data during the campaign to two Russian oligarchs.

“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in an email to an associate on July 7, 2016, The Washington Post has reported.

In April 2016, shortly after he joined the Trump team, Manafort asked the same associate in an email how he could use his new position to “get whole.”

The email has widely been interpreted as Manafort suggesting that he would use his job on the Trump campaign to settle his debts with Deripaska.

But little came of Manafort’s links to Deripaska. Manafort was convicted in federal court in Virginia on Aug. 21, 2018, on charges related to his Ukraine consulting work. He cooperated with the special counsel after pleading guilty on Sept. 14, 2018, to working as an unregistered foreign agent of Ukraine.

The special counsel’s office hinted at times that prosecutors had evidence that dealt with the core issues of the investigation, but they never presented the evidence during court hearings.

Manafort was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison on March 13.

Trump Tower

Democrats have seized on a June 9, 2016, meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians as the strongest verifiable evidence of collusion to emerge during the Russia saga.

Trump Jr. accepted the meeting after receiving an email on June 3, 2016, from Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who worked for Russian pop star Emin Agalarov.

In the email, Goldstone said that Agalarov’s billionaire father had met with Russia’s “Crown prosecutor” and wanted to offer the Trump campaign “with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very helpful to your father.”

Trump Jr. accepted, writing: “If it is what you say I love it.”

Donald Trump, Jr. greets supporters at campaign stop for Republican senate nominee Patrick Morrisey and Republican candidate for the House of Representatives Carol Miller ahead of the 2018 midterm elections at Phillips Machine Service in Beckley, West Virginia, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Donald Trump, Jr. greets supporters in Beckley, West Virginia, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Goldstone responded to say that a “Russian government attorney” would fly to the U.S. for the meeting.

Trump Jr. attended the meeting with Manafort and Jared Kushner. Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya attended along with Goldstone and several other Russians.

All attendees have claimed that the meeting was a waste of time and that no information regarding the campaign was exchanged.

Veselnitskaya provided the campaign with a short memo containing research compiled by Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that, ironically, commissioned the Steele dossier. Veselnitskaya was working at the time with Fusion GPS on an investigation of Bill Browder, a London-based financier who spearheaded the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions law opposed by the Kremlin.

Mueller investigated the Trump Tower meeting. Goldstone and other attendees appeared before Mueller’s grand jury.

Goldstone responded to Mueller’s finding of no collusion in a message to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“After 2 years, Robert Mueller has delivered his report, stating there was no collusion in the 2016 Presidential election,” Goldstone said. “That includes my email to Donald Trump Jr. and the subsequent Trump Tower meeting … which as I have stated from the beginning, had nothing to do with collusion.”

Veselnitskaya was indicted by prosecutors in Manhattan related to her work against Bill Browder. No other Trump Tower attendees other than Manafort were charged by the special counsel.

Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi

One theory of collusion that emerged over the past year was that Trump confidant Stone and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi were linked to WikiLeaks.

Prosecutors keyed in on Stone because of tweets he sent and remarks he made in August 2016 that suggested he had inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails stolen from Democrats.

Stone said in interviews that he had communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. On Aug. 21, 2016, he tweeted that it would “soon [be] the Podesta’s time in the barrel.”

Stone has insisted that he had no direct contact with WikiLeaks or Assange. He also claims that he did not know that WikiLeaks would release Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails in October 2016.

Roger Stone at Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center on July 29, 2017 in California. (John Sciulli/Getty Images)

Instead, he’s maintained that he received tips about the timing and seriousness of the email releases from Randy Credico, a left-wing activist who is friends with a WikiLeaks attorney.

Stone released text messages that showed Credico providing information about the timing of the email releases.

Corsi was a focus because of emails he sent in August 2016 in which he suggested he had inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.

“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” Corsi wrote in the Aug. 2, 2016, email to Stone, seemingly referring to Assange, who lives under asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

“One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”

“Time to let more than Podesta to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC.”

Corsi was offered a plea deal by the special counsel but says he rejected it. Prosecutors wanted him to plead guilty to making false statements about exchanging WikiLeaks-related emails with Stone.

Corsi said he deduced on his own that WikiLeaks had Podesta’s emails and that he had no contact with anyone affiliated with the group.

Stone was indicted by the special counsel on Jan. 24, but not on charges related to conspiracy with Russia or WikiLeaks. He was instead charged with making false statements to the House Intelligence Committee regarding his discussions about WikiLeaks with associates and Trump campaign officials.

Peter Smith

One of the more bizarre collusion conspiracy theories involved Peter Smith, a GOP donor and political operative who lived in Chicago.

The Wall Street Journal first reported in June 2017 that Smith worked with numerous conservative operatives and hackers to obtain the 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from her private server.

The conspiracy theory came to encompass close Trump associates, including Michael Flynn. Smith wrote in correspondence that he had been in contact with Flynn regarding the effort to hunt down Clinton’s emails.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Mueller was asking witnesses about the Smith operation. The story festered in the media, with follow-up reporting from BuzzFeed.

Smith died by suicide on May 14, 2017.

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  • Carter Page is speaking out for the first time in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding that nobody on the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.
  • Page was Prime Suspect #1 in the government’s collusion investigation. He was a target of illegal government leaks to the media.
  • But Page said he was “not even slightly” worried he would face indictments by Mueller.

Carter Page insists he was never worried about being indicted in the special counsel’s probe, which ended on Sunday with more of a whimper than a bang.

“Not even slightly,” the former Trump campaign adviser insisted to The Daily Caller News Foundation on Sunday when asked if he ever expected to be charged in the investigation.

“That’s why I laughed at this stuff all along,” he said.

Page, 47, was at one point in time a major focus of the Russia investigation, which was led by special counsel Robert Mueller and played out in the media.

In a letter to Congress, Attorney General William Barr said Mueller found no evidence that President Donald Trump, Trump associates or members of his campaign conspired with Russia to sow disinformation or release emails stolen from Democrats. (RELATED: Mueller Finds No Collusion)

The letter exonerates Trump. It also exonerates Page, who was a volunteer national security adviser for Trump’s team.

Page was one of four initial targets of that counterintelligence investigation, which was formally opened by the FBI on July 31, 2016. Dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation started with George Papadopoulos, another young Trump aide who joined the campaign at the same time as Page.

During the probe, Page faced perhaps the most intrusive media and government scrutiny other than Trump himself. He faced it all without the base of support enjoyed by Trump, or his financial means.

Page was placed under government surveillance, was targeted by at least one FBI informant, and was the subject of a series of leaks by government officials to the media. He was also the target of public ridicule, allegations that he was a Russian agent and the death threats that accompanied such an explosive charge. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cambridge Prof With CIA, MI6 Ties Met With Trump Campaign Adviser During Campaign, Beyond)

FBI Director Robert Mueller III testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Dec.14, 2011 in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Page, a Naval Academy graduate, dispels the idea that he’s a victim.

He says Trump was the true target and that he was collateral damage.

Page has said he had interactions over the years with the FBI and CIA, largely because of his work in Moscow, where he worked as a consultant during the 2000s. He landed back on the U.S. government’s radar just after he joined the Trump campaign in March 2016. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey and other U.S. officials discussed Page after he joined Trump’s team. The FBI deployed a longtime informant, Stefan Halper, to make contact with Page in July 2016.

The pair met at an event held at Cambridge University on July 11-12, 2016 where the upcoming U.S. election was the topic of discussion. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was in attendance, as was Sir Richard Dearlove, a former chief of MI6.

Halper, a colleague of Dearlove at Cambridge, approached Page at the conference, and the pair remained in contact through September 2017, the same month the FBI’s fourth and final Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant expired.

It is still unclear what information the FISA warrants and Halper recovered from Page. But Page’s absence on the roster of indictees in the Mueller investigation suggests they didn’t find much.

The FBI appears to have applied for the first FISA against Page in September 2016, around a month before obtaining the warrant on Oct. 21, 2016.

Applications that have been declassified and released show the Steele dossier was a major component of the investigation. Compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by Democrats, the dossier makes several serious allegations against Page, all of which he denies.

Steele claimed in his 35-page report that Page worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to conspire with the Russians. It was also Page’s idea to release emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee through WikiLeaks, Steele’s sources said.

The dossier also alleges that Page met with two sanctioned Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin, during a trip to Moscow he made just before his Cambridge visit. During an alleged conversation with Sechin, the dossier says that Page offered to lobby against Russian sanctions in exchange for a brokerage stake on a deal involving Rosneft, the Russian oil giant.

Steele, a former MI6 officer, shared those allegations with reporters, including Michael Isikoff at Yahoo! News. On Sept. 23, 2016, Isikoff published an article laying out the claims about Page. It would later be revealed that Isikoff was one of a handful of reporters who Steele met with at the behest of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign and DNC to investigate Trump.

Republicans in Congress have investigated the FBI’s applications for the FISA warrants. They say that bureau officials withheld key evidence from FISA Court judges regarding the provenance of the Steele dossier, which remains unverified.

That investigation is expected to intensify now that Mueller has closed his investigation. Page is among those supporting the probe.

Page was also targeted with a series of damaging media leaks that he believes were tied to his decision to speak out publicly about the dossier’s allegations. His first television appearance was with PBS’s Judy Woodruff on Feb. 15, 2017, a month after the dossier was published by BuzzFeed.

Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson listens as his lawyer, Joshua Levy, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson on Capitol Hill on Oct. 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

On April 3, 2017, a story broke in BuzzFeed that Page was targeted for recruitment in 2013 by two Russian spies. Page was not accused of wrongdoing in the case. One of the Russian spies was recorded calling Page an “idiot.” Nevertheless, Page’s contacts with Russian operatives fit into the prevailing narrative that he had illicit ties to Russia. James Wolfe, a senior staffer for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has since been identified as leaking information to BuzzFeed for the report. He pleaded guilty to lying about contacts with the BuzzFeed reporter, who he was dating at the time.

A bigger bombshell landed a week after the BuzzFeed report.

On April 11, 2017, The Washington Post broke the news that Page was the target of a FISA application. In order to be targeted with that type of surveillance, the FBI and Justice Department would have had to present probable cause that Page was working clandestinely as an agent of Russia.

The source for that leak of classified information has yet to be identified.

“I think it’s all interrelated, right?” Page said when asked whether the leaks were a response to his media appearances. “It’s all retribution.”

The Washington Post leak had its intended effect, Page argues.

The argument at the time was that if the FBI felt that Page was a Russian agent, then surely he must have been. That thesis has since come under scrutiny as it became clear the FBI relied heavily on the Democrat-funded dossier to meet that probable cause standard.

Even Halper, the FBI-CIA informant, hinted to Page that collusion was a non-starter.

“It seems attention has shifted a bit from the ‘collusion’ investigation to the ‘contretempts’ [sic] within the White House,” Halper wrote in a July 28, 2017 email to Page.

“I must assume this gives you some relief,” he continued, urging Page to “be in touch when you have the time. Would be great to catch up.”

Twenty-six months after its publication, none of the major allegations in the dossier have been verified. There is strong reason to doubt many of its claims.

Michael Cohen, the former Trump fixer, has denied one of the dossier’s most serious collusion allegations under oath. On Feb. 27, he told Congress that he has never visited Prague, which is where the dossier claims Cohen visited in August 2016 to pay off Russia-linked hackers.

The dossier has other inaccurate information about Cohen. The source who provided information to Steele was also an intermediary for allegations about Page.

Page is vague when asked about his dealings with the FBI and the Mueller team. He has recently — albeit reluctantly — acknowledged he testified to Mueller’s grand jury on Nov. 1, 2017. He told TheDCNF that he was informed that he was not a target of the investigation.

“I was never even asked any question which comes anywhere near the zone of illegality. Not by a long shot,” he said.

He hinted he was informed during the course of the investigation that he was not a target. Federal prosecutors place individuals involved in investigations into three separate categories: witness, subject and target.

Page made an analogy to salsa: “mild, medium or hot.”

“I was the mildest of the mild,” he said.

Page concedes that if he has one regret, it’s not speaking out forcefully against allegations that began trickling into the press about him in the run-up to the 2016 election. He said if he had not been so easy-going in the face of allegations he was a Russian agent, he could have avoided further surveillance and media attention.

“If I had fought about the witch hunt earlier, all of this stuff wouldn’t have transpired,” he said, noting his relative obscurity made him an easy target for investigators, in the media and in government.

“It’s a lot easier to paint a picture on a blank slate,” he added.

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Attorney General William Barr told Congress Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller did not find collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, destroying two years of media speculation and bad reporting.

The obsession to prove collusion has dampened the media’s journalistic abilities, leading to a seemingly endless list of corrections, retractions and apologies.

In light of Mueller concluding his investigation, we’ve compiled a list of some of the worst media screwups in the history of Russia theories.

1. CNN Accuses Don Jr. Of Wikileaks Collusion

Last December, CNN’s Manu Raju reported that Wikileaks emailed Donald Trump Jr. to give him access to stolen documents a full 10 days before they were released to the public.

Unfortunately for CNN, it turns out their sources gave them the wrong date. Don Jr. actually received an email with access to the stolen docs on Sept. 14, 2016, after they had already been released publicly.

2. ABC Tanks Stock Market With Fake Flynn News

ABC was forced to suspend Brian Ross after he falsely reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump ordered him to make contact with the Russians.

The stock market dropped a few hundred points at the news — but it turned out to be fake.

ABC clarified that Flynn was actually prepared to testify that Trump asked him to contact Russia while the administration was transitioning into office. Pretty standard preparation for an incoming president.

3. The Mooch Is NOT Under Investigation

CNN earns another spot on this list for their shoddy reporting about former Trump adviser Anthony, “The Mooch,” Scaramucci. In June, CNN relied on a single unnamed source to claim that Scaramucci was under investigation for a meeting he took with a Russian banker prior to Trump’s inauguration.

The Mooch denied the story and CNN later gave him a much-deserved apology. Oh … and three CNN employees resigned over the botched piece.

4. Bloomberg’s Dirty Deutsche Bank Scoop

Bloomberg initially reported in December that special counsel Robert Mueller had “zeroed in” on Trump by subpoenaing Deutsche Bank records for the incoming president and his family.

Bloomberg later admitted that Mueller was looking for records relating to “people affiliated” with Trump.

5. Sessions Exonerated

Last May, CNN was sure that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had botched protocol when he didn’t list meetings he had with the Russian ambassador on his security clearance forms. To CNN and other establishment media outlets, this was proof that Sessions was hiding something related to Russia.

A little over six months later, CNN quietly walked back the scandal, explaining the FBI sent emails informing Sessions’ aide that he did not need to disclose the meetings on his forms because they were carried out in the course of his duties as a senator.

6. Russians Aren’t Just Hacking The Election — They’re Hacking Our Power Grid

The Washington Post claimed in January 2017 that Russians were hacking the U.S. power grid through a company in Vermont, only to change the story to say that only one laptop was infiltrated. It turns out that one laptop was never even connected to the power grid.

7. Republicans Funded The Dossier! 

A number of news outlets have consistently claimed that Republicans initially paid for the anti-Trump Steele dossier, failing to note that Steele wasn’t even contracted by Fusion GPS until after the GOP donors pulled funding. The Republican donors say they paid Fusion for standard opposition research and that they have zero connection to the dossier.

The media has perpetuated this falsehood so consistently that even former FBI director James Comey was confused, repeating the lie in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier.

8. CNN Gets Comey Prediction Wildly Wrong

Prior to former FBI director James Comey’s congressional testimony last June, CNN asserted that Comey was prepared to contradict a key claim by President Trump — that Comey told him he was not under investigation.

Sadly for them, Comey’s prepared testimony was released with the line, “During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower … I offered that assurance [that he was not under investigation].”

9. The ’17 Intel Agencies’ Lie

The media perpetuated a false claim from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for months, insisting that all 17 intelligence agencies agree that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. The New York Times, for example, rated that claim as true only to later say the exact opposite.

Only four intelligence agencies ultimately deemed Russia responsible for meddling because the other 13 have no business making judgments on the claim. As The NYT succinctly explained, “The rest were doing other work.”

10. Manafort Notes Are A Nothing Burger

NBC botched its big scoop claiming that Paul Manafort’s notes from a meeting with a Russian lawyer included the word “donations” near a reference to the Republican National Committee.

Turns out, not only did the word “donations” not appear in Manafort’s notes, but the word “donor” didn’t, either. POLITICO had to correct the NBC report, leaving the legacy network looking awfully embarrassed.

11. NBC Issues Cohen Correction

NBC issued a major correction in May on a story about wiretaps and Michael Cohen.

NBC initially claimed that federal investigators were listening in on Cohen’s phone calls, but it turns out they had what’s called a “pen register warrant,” which means they could see who Cohen spoke to on the phone but could not hear what was said.(RELATED: MSNBC Issues HUGE Correction To Michael Cohen ‘Wiretap’ Story)

12. Did Cohen Go To Prague?

A McClatchy report stated that special counsel Robert Mueller had evidence that Michael Cohen visited Prague in the summer of 2016, which seemed to corroborate the portion of the Steele dossier claiming Cohen visited Prague at that time to meet with a Kremlin official.

However, no other outlets ever confirmed the report and Cohen told Congress during an open hearing in February that he has never been to Prague. (RELATED: Here’s Why You Should Be Skeptical Of That Michael Cohen Prague Story)

13. Busted BuzzFeed 

The special counsel’s office disputed a 2019 report by BuzzFeed claiming that Trump directed his lawyer to lie about a potential business deal in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The BuzzFeed report was used to float impeachment proceedings and obstruction of justice charges against the president, but Mueller’s team disputed the core premise of the reporting.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

14. Lanny Davis Obliterates CNN’s Trump Tower Story

CNN reported in July that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that the president had knowledge in advance of a Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russians.

ut Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said in August that CNN’s reporting got “mixed up” and that Cohen had no information related to the Trump Tower meeting. Cohen said the same to Congress on two separate occasions.

CNN doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on its reporting, despite a series of issues with the report.

15. NPR Accuses Don Jr. Of Perjury

NPR published a report in November insisting that Donald Trump Jr. lied to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow because his statements conflicted with those of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

However, NPR failed to realize that the piece of Trump Jr.’s testimony they quoted was about a different project.

“Trump Jr.’s statements about work on a Trump Tower Moscow that ended in 2014 referred to negotiations with Aras Agalarov,” The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Chuck Ross explained. “Felix Sater, a businessman with links to Cohen and Russian officials, tried to make a Trump Tower Moscow happen in 2015.”

16. Mic Claims Russian Spy Infiltrated The Oval 

Shortly after it was revealed that a Russian spy was attempting to infiltrate right-wing networks, Mic writer Emily Singer claimed that same Russian spy was present during an Oval Office meeting with Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov.

Singer claimed Russian spy Maria Butina was spotted in a photo of the meeting, citing the fact that she has red hair like the woman in the photo.

The woman in the photo is actually NSC staffer Cari Lutkins. 

This story was originally published in May 2018 but has been updated with additional information regarding the delivery of Mueller’s report to Attorney General Bill Barr. 

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Source: The Daily Caller

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway called on Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California to resign Monday after the release of Robert Mueller’s Russia report.

“When you’re talking about collusion and talking to Russia, and conspiracies and obstruction of justice for two years with no proof other than people leaking to you or you just, you just guffawing with the anchor next to you and fake lawyers on TV and the journalists who are pretending to be lawyers for that moment. You’re calling us all … You’re saying that we did not win fairly and squarely,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

“You in fact running around jutting your jaw out and saying ‘I’m worried about the effect of institutions.’ You were disparaging the institutions. You were demeaning and deriding our great democracy — The presidency of the United States. Adam Schiff should resign,” she continued. “He has no right as somebody who has been pedaling a lie day after day after day. Unchallenged. Unchallenged and not under oath. Somebody should have put him under oath and said, ‘Do you have evidence? Where is it?’ Because Bob Mueller already ran the fair and the full investigation. And any partisan, politicized investigation from here on in will never have the credibility of the Mueller investigation.”

WATCH:

Attorney General William Barr delivered his report on the Mueller probe to Congress Sunday, and wrote that Trump and his campaign team did not collude with any Russian entities during the election. Barr also said there was no evidence to suggest Trump obstructed justice.

Conway said the media has gotten away with being overly biased and has yet to pay for their mistakes with Russia and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions To Congress — No Collusion)

“There is not a single person in the media who got the 2016 elections so chronically and embarrassingly wrong [and] lost their jobs. And they probably won’t here, too. Look what they did to Brett Kavanaugh. The second most popular story in the Trump presidency was the Russian collusion fake hoax nonsense. The most covered stories I read last night in a condensed period of time was Brett Kavanaugh,” she said earlier in the interview.

“And they treated him the same way. That is a microcosmic version of what they tried to do to President Trump and his campaign and his family for the last two years. It’s a drive-by. They abandoned all standards, all personal ethics, all professional duty. Do you realize major papers in this country won Pulitzer prizes over their reporting over something that is totally fake? Over 13,000 stories combined by two major print outlets and two major cable stations not named Fox News. And as somebody who engages with those people [as] much as I can, and tries to get out there, we were basically were being told we were liars.”

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Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway called on Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California to resign Monday after the release of Robert Mueller’s Russia report.

“When you’re talking about collusion and talking to Russia, and conspiracies and obstruction of justice for two years with no proof other than people leaking to you or you just, you just guffawing with the anchor next to you and fake lawyers on TV and the journalists who are pretending to be lawyers for that moment. You’re calling us all … You’re saying that we did not win fairly and squarely,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

“You in fact running around jutting your jaw out and saying ‘I’m worried about the effect of institutions.’ You were disparaging the institutions. You were demeaning and deriding our great democracy — The presidency of the United States. Adam Schiff should resign,” she continued. “He has no right as somebody who has been pedaling a lie day after day after day. Unchallenged. Unchallenged and not under oath. Somebody should have put him under oath and said, ‘Do you have evidence? Where is it?’ Because Bob Mueller already ran the fair and the full investigation. And any partisan, politicized investigation from here on in will never have the credibility of the Mueller investigation.”

WATCH:

Attorney General William Barr delivered his report on the Mueller probe to Congress Sunday, and wrote that Trump and his campaign team did not collude with any Russian entities during the election. Barr also said there was no evidence to suggest Trump obstructed justice.

Conway said the media has gotten away with being overly biased and has yet to pay for their mistakes with Russia and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions To Congress — No Collusion)

“There is not a single person in the media who got the 2016 elections so chronically and embarrassingly wrong [and] lost their jobs. And they probably won’t here, too. Look what they did to Brett Kavanaugh. The second most popular story in the Trump presidency was the Russian collusion fake hoax nonsense. The most covered stories I read last night in a condensed period of time was Brett Kavanaugh,” she said earlier in the interview.

“And they treated him the same way. That is a microcosmic version of what they tried to do to President Trump and his campaign and his family for the last two years. It’s a drive-by. They abandoned all standards, all personal ethics, all professional duty. Do you realize major papers in this country won Pulitzer prizes over their reporting over something that is totally fake? Over 13,000 stories combined by two major print outlets and two major cable stations not named Fox News. And as somebody who engages with those people [as] much as I can, and tries to get out there, we were basically were being told we were liars.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Phillip Stucky | Contributor

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued that it was a great day for America when the Mueller report was sent to Attorney General William Barr on a Monday edition of “New Day” on CNN.

“To be clear, I think it’s a day America has looked forward to for a long time,” Sanders said. “It’s a great day for America when a decision like this comes forward and, frankly, it’s a great thing that we can move back, that the media and everyone can move back to focusing on things like the economy, the defeat of ISIS and rising wages in this country. The things that the president’s been focused on the last two years.”(RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions To Congress-No Collusion)

President Donald Trump also appeared pleased with the results of the Mueller report, tweeting Sunday “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly found no evidence of collusion with Russia either from Trump or from his family.

“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller wrote, according to Barr’s letter.

Members of the media had to deal with the fact that the Mueller narrative was no longer true after the report.

“After two years, multiple investigations, millions of taxpayer dollars, nonstop media coverage and lies about @realDonaldTrump… What do we have? NO COLLUSION,” GOP Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel wrote on Twitter Sunday.

Source: The Daily Caller

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S.
The U.S. Supreme Court building is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

March 25, 2019

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a bid by a unidentified company owned by a foreign government to contest a grand jury subpoena related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s now-completed inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, though the justices’ action does not force the firm to comply.

A federal judge has imposed an ongoing fine of $50,000 a day against the company, which had asked the justices to hear its appeal of a December lower court ruling that upheld a judge’s decision to hold it in contempt for refusing to fulfill the document request made in the subpoena.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal in a brief order with no noted dissents from any of the nine justices.

Mueller submitted a final report on his findings to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Friday. On Sunday, Barr said Mueller did not find a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

The case has remained a high-profile mystery, with the Supreme Court and lower courts declining to identify the company, the country that owns it or the specific purpose of the subpoena. The company has said it was a witness – as opposed to a suspect – in Mueller’s investigation.

Court filings show that the company has a U.S. office, though it has said it possesses no relevant documents in the United States. Court papers detailing its legal arguments have been made public but all information about the specific facts of the dispute are redacted.

The Supreme Court in January refused to put the lower court ruling on hold. According to court filings, the daily fine imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell started accruing on Jan. 15, so the company could now owe more than $3 million. Such fines accrue until the grand jury is no longer sitting. It is unknown whether the grand jury has completed its work.

The subpoena was issued in July 2018. Howell in September ordered the company to comply.

The legal question is whether the company is protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a law that allows foreign countries to avoid being sued in U.S. courts. The law does not cover commercial activities. The company argues that this law protects it not just in civil cases but also in criminal cases. The company also argued that foreign governments are immune from contempt findings in U.S. courts.

Lawyers for the company said in the court papers the lower court ruling it is contesting “would wreak havoc on American foreign policy – possibly alienating U.S. allies, undermining diplomatic efforts, and inviting reciprocal treatment abroad for American agencies.”

On behalf of Mueller’s office, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, asked the justices not to take up the case, deeming the lower court rulings correct.

The redacted court filings showed that the investigation involved in the case was the Mueller probe. Mueller neither concluded that Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe, nor did he exonerate him of obstruction.

Mueller charged a series of Russian individuals and three Russian companies. The conviction of former Trump campaign chairman involved his concealment from the U.S. government of millions of dollars he was paid as a consultant to pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians. Manafort has been sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison in two criminal cases brought by Mueller’s team.

Trump denied collusion and obstruction. Russia denied interfering in the election

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a Dec. 18 ruling that was not made public until Jan. 8, concluded “there is a reasonable probability the information sought through the subpoena here concerns a commercial activity that caused a direct effect in the United States.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: OANN

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S.
The U.S. Supreme Court building is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

March 25, 2019

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a bid by a unidentified company owned by a foreign government to contest a grand jury subpoena related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s now-completed inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, though the justices’ action does not force the firm to comply.

A federal judge has imposed an ongoing fine of $50,000 a day against the company, which had asked the justices to hear its appeal of a December lower court ruling that upheld a judge’s decision to hold it in contempt for refusing to fulfill the document request made in the subpoena.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal in a brief order with no noted dissents from any of the nine justices.

Mueller submitted a final report on his findings to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Friday. On Sunday, Barr said Mueller did not find a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

The case has remained a high-profile mystery, with the Supreme Court and lower courts declining to identify the company, the country that owns it or the specific purpose of the subpoena. The company has said it was a witness – as opposed to a suspect – in Mueller’s investigation.

Court filings show that the company has a U.S. office, though it has said it possesses no relevant documents in the United States. Court papers detailing its legal arguments have been made public but all information about the specific facts of the dispute are redacted.

The Supreme Court in January refused to put the lower court ruling on hold. According to court filings, the daily fine imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell started accruing on Jan. 15, so the company could now owe more than $3 million. Such fines accrue until the grand jury is no longer sitting. It is unknown whether the grand jury has completed its work.

The subpoena was issued in July 2018. Howell in September ordered the company to comply.

The legal question is whether the company is protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a law that allows foreign countries to avoid being sued in U.S. courts. The law does not cover commercial activities. The company argues that this law protects it not just in civil cases but also in criminal cases. The company also argued that foreign governments are immune from contempt findings in U.S. courts.

Lawyers for the company said in the court papers the lower court ruling it is contesting “would wreak havoc on American foreign policy – possibly alienating U.S. allies, undermining diplomatic efforts, and inviting reciprocal treatment abroad for American agencies.”

On behalf of Mueller’s office, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, asked the justices not to take up the case, deeming the lower court rulings correct.

The redacted court filings showed that the investigation involved in the case was the Mueller probe. Mueller neither concluded that Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe, nor did he exonerate him of obstruction.

Mueller charged a series of Russian individuals and three Russian companies. The conviction of former Trump campaign chairman involved his concealment from the U.S. government of millions of dollars he was paid as a consultant to pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians. Manafort has been sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison in two criminal cases brought by Mueller’s team.

Trump denied collusion and obstruction. Russia denied interfering in the election

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a Dec. 18 ruling that was not made public until Jan. 8, concluded “there is a reasonable probability the information sought through the subpoena here concerns a commercial activity that caused a direct effect in the United States.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: OANN

The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from a company owned by an unidentified foreign government that has refused to turn over information demanded by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The justices didn't comment Monday in turning away the company, which is racking up a fine of $50,000 a day for not complying with the grand jury subpoena for documents.

Mueller turned over his report to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, but the status of the grand jury is unclear.

Fines have been accruing since Jan. 15 and could total nearly $3.5 million. New daily fines stop once the grand jury is discharged.

Mueller found no evidence President Donald Trump's campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election but reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Trump claims vindication.

Source: NewsMax

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

Personal attorney to President Donald Trump and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani says the Democrats who said accused Trump of “collusion” with the Russians should apologize.

Giuliani called the Democratic leadership “shameless” as they continue to suggest the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation leaves doubt about Trump’s innocence.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to Fox & Friends about the release of the Mueller report, March 25, 2019. Fox News screenshot.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to Fox & Friends about the release of the Mueller report, March 25, 2019. Fox News screenshot.

“I think they’re shameless,” Giuliani told Fox & Friends Monday morning. “You would think they would have the decency to say, ‘I was wrong. I made a mistake.’” (RELATED: Top Ranking Democrat Says The Mueller Report Doesn’t Matter: ‘We Know There Was Collusion’)

The former mayor declared that Trump has “been absolved, vindicated, exonerated — you pick the word.”

After listening to a string of Democrats who all indicated they believed beyond a doubt that Trump had colluded with Russia to win the 2016 president leadership, Giuliani noted, “These people are unhappy with the finding. Shame on them! Shame on them!”

On Sunday, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders demanded “the whole damn report,” even though significant portions cannot be released due to security and privacy concerns.

Just some of the Democrats who were certain that President Trump was guilty of collusion with the Russians. Fox News screenshot

Just some of the Democrats who were certain that President Trump was guilty of collusion with the Russians. Fox News screenshot

Commenting on the Mueller probe and how they sent SWAT teams to arrest people in their homes, the presidential lawyer said, “They conducted this investigation as if this were a terrorism … or organized crime case.”

Referring to some of the members of Mueller’s team as “rabid partisans” Giuliani said, “If they can’t find [proof], it’s not there. There was no obstruction of justice. There was no collusion.” (RELATED: CNN Forced To Admit Mueller Report Vindicates Trump)

He insisted, “Every American should breathe a sigh of relief” over the release of the Mueller probe and its indication that the president did not commit “these crimes.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election in McClean, Virginia
U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election in McClean, Virginia, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 25, 2019

By Makini Brice and Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Monday it was up to the U.S. Justice Department to decide if detailed findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation would be made public, a day after the attorney general said President Donald Trump had been cleared of any collusion.

Mueller wrapped up his investigation after nearly two years on Friday and submitted his findings to Attorney General William Barr, who on Sunday released a four-page summary saying there was no evidence of criminal collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. Mueller’s report left unresolved whether Trump obstructed justice.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin on Monday said President Vladimir Putin was ready to improve ties with the United States following the release of Barr’s summary and called on the United States to formally recognize there was no collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Trump last week openly backed the public release of the report from the investigation, which he had repeatedly lambasted as a “witch hunt.”

The Barr summary handed Trump a political victory ahead of his 2020 re-election effort, even as Democratic challengers and lawmakers vowed to press on with other investigations into his business and personal dealings.

Democrats also called for the full findings from Mueller to be released to Congress and the public and vowed to call Barr to appear before lawmakers to answer questions.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that while Trump wanted the special counsel’s report to come out, it was not up to him.

“I think that the president is doing exactly what he should and that’s leaving that decision into the hands of the attorney general and we’ll see what decision he makes on that front,” Sanders said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” program on Monday.

Sanders declined to comment on whether Trump would invoke presidential privilege to withhold any information. But Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, said it “would be very inappropriate” to release the president’s written answers to the special counsel, saying they were confidential. Despite lengthy negotiations, Mueller never obtained an in-person interview with the president.

“As a lawyer, you don’t waive privileges and you don’t waive investigative detail absent either a court order or an agreement between the parties,” Sekulow told CNN in an interview, adding that Barr would make the final decision.

Trump embraced the summary’s findings, retweeting Barr’s assessment and related headlines news media despite years of decrying the “fake news” as #ReleaseTheFullMuellerReport trended nationwide on social media.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in a on a conference call with reporters, called on Washington to make the first move to reset ties and repeated Moscow’s denial of any interference in U.S. elections and internal affairs or those of any other country.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also said the allegations of election meddling against a number of Russians were politically motivated.

Mueller’s investigation led to charges and guilty please against dozens of people, including a series of Russian nationals and companies as well as several advisers to President Donald Trump, including this former campaign chairman and national security adviser.

(The story was refiled to add the dropped word “said” in the first paragraph)

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Makini Brice; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said Monday the release of the Mueller report marked the best day of Donald Trump’s presidency and called it “good news” for all Americans.

“If the appointment of Robert Mueller was the worst day of his presidency, the release of Robert Mueller’s report was the best day of his presidency,” Scarborough said Monday.

“So that’s a big headline. But also another big headline. It is good news. Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike. It is good news that the president of the United States did not conspire with Russia to influence the 2016 election.” (RELATED: Scarborough Says Supreme Court Will Decide If Trump Can Be Indicted Or Not)

WATCH:

Attorney General William Barr delivered his report on the special counsel probe to Congress Sunday, and wrote that Trump and his campaign team did not collude with any Russian entities during the election. Barr also said there was no evidence to suggest Trump obstructed justice either.

Scarborough continued to defend Mueller and said the country can rest soundly knowing Trump did not collude with the Russian government in any way.

“And we know, because unlike Donald Trump and the right-wing hacks that were chopping Robert Mueller to pieces for two years, we know that Robert Mueller actually is an honorable man. And we can put our heads on the pillows tonight and know that while Donald Trump did a lot of terrible things and acted abhorrently during this investigation and tried to undercut the rule of law, we know at least … we can have confidence that the president of the United States did not collude with Vladimir Putin and Russia. Right? Good news,” he said.

You can Follow Nick on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

A view shows a Russian one rouble coin in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a Russian one rouble coin in this picture illustration taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

March 25, 2019

By Andrey Ostroukh

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian rouble strengthened on Monday to remain the world’s best-performing currency year-to-date as it received a boost from details of a report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

A U.S. investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find that any of President Donald Trump’s campaign officials knowingly conspired with the Russian government in the 2016 election, according to details of the report released on Sunday.

The news dominated Russian media on Monday, raising hopes that Washington could refrain from imposing more sanctions against Moscow, something that proved harmful to Russian markets in recent years.

“The probability of harsh sanctions against Russia declines,” said Alexei Antonov, an analyst at Alor Brokerage.

“Conceptually, it should be supportive (for Russian assets) if we now assign a slightly lower likelihood to sanctions,” said Guido Chamorro, a portfolio manager at Pictet Asset Management.

Russian officials welcomed Mueller’s report. The Kremlin said Russia was ready to improve ties with the United States, while a senior lawmaker proposed a “reset” in ties with Washington.

The issue of relations between Trump and Moscow is likely to remain in focus in the foreseeable future, analysts at Sberbank CIB said.

“Two congressional committee hearings on Russia have been scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, so there is a risk of negative headlines,” they said.

The rouble gained 0.6 percent to 64.30 at 1219 GMT , heading towards its strongest level since August 2018 of 63.63 which it hit last week. The rouble has gained more than 8 percent against the greenback this year.

Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.5 percent stronger at 72.74.

The rouble retains support from month-end tax payments that usually prompt export-focused companies to convert their dollar revenues to meet local liabilities. This month, tax payments are higher than usual.

The Russian bond market showed a limited reaction to the U.S. report.

Yields of 10-year benchmark OFZ treasury bonds, which move inversely with their prices, declined to 8.22 percent from 8.31 percent seen late on Friday, the day they moved higher following the central bank’s decision to hold rates.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, shed 0.3 percent to $66.85 a barrel but remained supportive for Russian assets as it hovered near 2019 highs.

Russian stock indexes erased earlier losses and headed higher. The dollar-denominated RTS index climbed 0.7 percent to 1,221.8 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was little changed at 2,492.3 points.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh,; Additional reporting by Marc Jones, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Toby Chopra and Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump would likely not object to at least a partial release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on NBC Monday morning.

“I don’t think the president has any problem with it. . . . He’s more than happy for any of this stuff to come out because he knows exactly what did and what didn’t happen and now frankly the rest of America knows. They know there was no collusion, they know there was no obstruction and it’s a complete and total exoneration of the president,” Sanders said when asked if Trump would support the release of the report.

Presidential lawyers Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani said in multiple media interviews Sunday that they defer to Attorney General Bill Barr on whether the full Mueller report should be released. Barr delivered a letter, which detailed the top line findings of the Mueller report, to lawmakers Sunday afternoon. (RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions To Congress, Determines No Collusion) 

Trump celebrated the results of the report on Twitter Monday morning.

Barr quoted Mueller’s finding that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” and the report  “does not conclude that the President committed a crime,” but “it also does not exonerate him.”

Democratic lawmakers have called nearly unanimously for the full report to be released, noting that they do no trust Barr’s mere quoting from sentences of the report. Democrats have fixated on Mueller’s declaration that he does not exonerate Trump from obstruction of justice and compiled evidence to the contrary.

Source: The Daily Caller

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has fueled 533,074 web articles since its inception in May 2017, according to NewsWhip data cited by Axios.

After nearly two years of saturated media coverage of the topic, Attorney General William Barr delivered a report of the special counsel’s investigation to Congress Sunday. Barr wrote in a memo that the special counsel found no evidence the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

The investigation continues to dominate headlines — all four stories on the front page of The New York Times were Mueller-related Monday. (RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions To Congress – No Collusion)

The more than 530,000 articles on “Russia and Trump/Mueller” generated an additional 245 million likes, comments and shares on Twitter and Facebook since May 2017, according to Axios. That is not counting all of the airtime the investigation (and pundits’ opinions) received on cable news.

U.S. President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up sign to supporters who applauded as he returned to the White House after spending the weekend in Florida March 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up sign to supporters who applauded as he returned to the White House after spending the weekend in Florida on March 24, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

MSNBC seems to lead the pack when it comes to Mueller coverage, with over 4,200 posts mentioning the Mueller probe popping up when searched, according to research by the Republican National Committee (RNC). The RNC also found that 1,965 CNN stories mentioned the Mueller investigation since May 2017, while 1,156 by The New York Times mentioned it and 1,184 by The Washington Post.

The Mueller report seemingly attracted more coverage than other issues Americans also care about. For example, WaPo published 192 more stories about the Russian interference probe than about the Trump administration’s defeat of the Islamic State, according to research by the RNC.

Many pundits on the right called out members of the media for allegedly rooting for a different outcome in the Mueller probe.

“Mueller: no evidence of collusion [with] Russia. Now will the media who invested so much in this narrative accept it, remembering that they are not supposed to root for outcomes? Or will they hold on, looking for ways to save face on their earlier (wrong) predictions/coverage?” former NBC host Megyn Kelly wrote on Twitter Sunday.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

Send tips to [email protected].

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code
A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 25, 2019

By Paul Day and Paresh Dave

MADRID/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An independent study lead by an academic group in Spain has shown that what personal information can be collected by pre-installed programs on new Android mobile devices is expansive and faces little oversight.

The investigation by the public Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, IMDEA Networks Institute and Stony Brook University looked at apps pre-installed on Android devices from 2,748 users, spanning 1,742 unique devices from 214 vendors across 130 countries.

The study did not look at whether the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation laws would bring greater oversight to pre-installed apps on Android devices.

Though Alphabet Inc’s Google owns Android, its open source nature enables device makers to customize the operating system and package other apps with the operating system before delivering them to users.

The study found the setup posed a potential threat to users’ privacy and security because the pre-installed apps request access to data that similar apps distributed through Google’s Play app store cannot reach.

Pre-installed apps often cannot be uninstalled, and Google may not be performing as rigorous security checks of them as it does for app store versions, the researchers found.

“There is a lack of regulation and transparency and no one seems to be monitoring what these stakeholders and apps do,” said co-author of the study Juan Tapiador.  

Google said it provides tools to equipment manufacturers which helps them make sure their software does not violate Google’s privacy and security standards.

“We also provide our partners with clear policies regarding the safety of pre-installed apps, and regularly give them information about potentially dangerous pre-loads we’ve identified,” a Google spokesperson said.

Pre-installed apps recently have drawn increased scrutiny. A U.S. Department of Justice criminal probe into Facebook, which worked with hardware makers to ensure its app would be on users’ devices, is examining those partnerships, the New York Times reported last week.

The authors of the study noted their paper did not focus on any software developers in particular but was a rather a study in the lack of regulation and transparency that surrounded pre-installed apps found on new devices.

Facebook, which has said it is cooperating with multiple government investigations into its handling of users’ private data, said partnering with mobile operators and device manufacturers on pre-installations immediately give users the best experience on its social network.

(Editing by David Evans)

Source: OANN

Derek Hunter | Contributor

Today’s show is all about the Mueller report and how Democrats and the media are dealing with their grief. It turns out, they still aren’t letting the facts stand in the way of their narrative.

Listen to the show:

Nothing short of Robert Mueller frog-marching President Donald Trump out of the White House was ever going to be enough for leftists who were convinced the president has a sock drawer full of Rubles and Vladimir Putin’s direct number on his iPhone. The special counsel’s report ended the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election with no indictments of any Americans for anything related to collusion and no evidence either.

Democrats, both elected and in the media, who spent the last 2 years swearing there were bags full of smoking guns, spent the weekend scrambling to convince their audiences that they weren’t lied to. They failed. We have all the audio and analysis.

The usual suspects retreated to their safe spaces — CNN and MSNBC — to claim more investigation is needed. Journalistic fossil CNN contributor Carl Bernstein even had that gall to praise the media’s coverage of the whole affair. Apparently, like most of America, he doesn’t watch CNN.

You have to hear it all to believe it.

Please help spread the word about The Daily Daily Caller Podcast. Please take a minute to rate and review on iTunes, share on social media and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode:

The Daily Daily Caller Podcast is a daily look and mocking of the news from a conservative perspective. Hosted by Derek Hunter, it is available in audio form Monday-Thursday and will have a video option on Fridays.

Derek Hunter is a columnist and contributing editor for The Daily Caller and author of “Outrage, INC: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood” from HarperCollins, available nowPick Up a copy, or several copies, here. Send compliments and complaints to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @derekahunter.

Source: The Daily Caller

Derek Hunter | Contributor

Today’s show is all about the Mueller report and how Democrats and the media are dealing with their grief. It turns out, they still aren’t letting the facts stand in the way of their narrative.

Listen to the show:

Nothing short of Robert Mueller frog-marching President Donald Trump out of the White House was ever going to be enough for leftists who were convinced the president has a sock drawer full of Rubles and Vladimir Putin’s direct number on his iPhone. The special counsel’s report ended the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election with no indictments of any Americans for anything related to collusion and no evidence either.

Democrats, both elected and in the media, who spent the last 2 years swearing there were bags full of smoking guns, spent the weekend scrambling to convince their audiences that they weren’t lied to. They failed. We have all the audio and analysis.

The usual suspects retreated to their safe spaces — CNN and MSNBC — to claim more investigation is needed. Journalistic fossil CNN contributor Carl Bernstein even had that gall to praise the media’s coverage of the whole affair. Apparently, like most of America, he doesn’t watch CNN.

You have to hear it all to believe it.

Please help spread the word about The Daily Daily Caller Podcast. Please take a minute to rate and review on iTunes, share on social media and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode:

The Daily Daily Caller Podcast is a daily look and mocking of the news from a conservative perspective. Hosted by Derek Hunter, it is available in audio form Monday-Thursday and will have a video option on Fridays.

Derek Hunter is a columnist and contributing editor for The Daily Caller and author of “Outrage, INC: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood” from HarperCollins, available nowPick Up a copy, or several copies, here. Send compliments and complaints to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @derekahunter.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO - Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi
FILE PHOTO – Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi, India, September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

March 25, 2019

By Sylvia Westall

MUSCAT (Reuters) – Qatar Airways threw its support behind Boeing on Monday as the U.S. planemaker faces its biggest crisis in years after deadly crashes of its flagship 737 MAX jet.

Regulators grounded the worldwide MAX fleet after an Ethiopian Airlines MAX crash killed all 157 people on board this month, wiping nearly 15 percent off shares in the world’s biggest planemaker.

“We have confidence in the Boeing airplanes and we are sure they will find the issue they had which is still under investigation,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told reporters in Muscat.

Qatar Airways, one of the largest Middle East carriers, is a major Boeing customer. It has ordered 20 MAX jets and committed to buying a further 40. It has taken delivery of five of the aircraft, according to Boeing’s website.

The airline will delay the April delivery of a single MAX jet until the cause of the crash is known, Baker said.

“I am sure that the aircraft will get back into the skies soon and that Boeing will get to the bottom of what happened and if there is something technical wrong that they will find a fix for it,” he said.

Attention has focused on the anti-stall system, known as MCAS, and the sensors that activate it. MCAS pushes the plane’s nose down if it believes it is ascending at too steep an angle.

Qatar Airways will attend a Boeing briefing this week on software and training updates for the MAX, Baker said.

The MAX is an upgrade to Boeing’s best-selling 737 narrowbody jet and only entered service in 2017. Boeing has booked orders worth more than $500 billion for the MAX.

The Ethiopian crash is the second fatal crash involving the MAX jet. In October, a MAX operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air fatally crashed killing all 189 on board.

Baker said he believed the worldwide grounding was driven by public perception. Passengers around the world asked airlines to change flights or refunds to avoid flying on the MAX after the Ethiopian crash.

“The regulator had to act to give confidence to the people, that the regulators were looking after their interests,” he said.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Louise Heavens and Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A view inside the lobby of the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square in New York
FILE PHOTO: A view inside the lobby of the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square in New York City, U.S., November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Beth Pinsker

NEW YORK(Reuters) – It sounds like it should have been impossible to miss, but it took more than a year for an industrial equipment company to discover $12,000 worth of doggie day spa charges on an employee’s expense reports.

Level upon level of corporate management also failed to detect that the same employee was running a scheme to sell more than $200,000 in company equipment on eBay.

Only a fraction of expense reports are closely examined, so it is no wonder that companies experience more than $7 billion in annual losses from fraud, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

By using robots, instead of relying on random spot checks, companies are catching fraud more than twice as fast and fraud losses are halved, said Andi McNeal, director of research for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

That is what happened when the industrial equipment company put in place an artificial-intelligence program from Oversight Systems, which was able to quickly ferret out the culprit.

“It started out as a small infraction that led to an investigation that led to other things,” said Terrence McCrossan, chief executive of Atlanta-based Oversight Systems, which audits about $2 trillion worth of employee spending each year and works with employers like the U.S. Department of Defense, McDonald’s and General Electric.

The expense reporting universe is being overhauled to use artificial intelligence to get a 100 percent overview of employee submissions. In addition to monitoring fraud, companies are streamlining the way employees file expenses.

Soon, employees around the world will stop fussing with paper receipts and crying over hotel bills, then waiting weeks to get reimbursed while their paperwork travels through the corporate labyrinth. Managers will no longer be stuck in the middle of the process, policing spending, and companies will stop losing so much money to waste and fraud.

TEST CASES

Some changes have already occurred, ranging from corporate card charges that automatically attach to electronic expense reports to seamless experiences for business travelers who stay at approved hotels.

One of SAP Concur’s newest offerings is Concur Detect by AppZen, which does a 100 percent audit of incoming expense reports.

AppZen analyzes expenses by looking for risk. Only about 10 percent of expenses that flow through a company have a problem that needs to be addressed, said Anant Kale, CEO of AppZen, based in San Jose, California.

The algorithm can clear expense reports with no issues almost instantly, so that these employee outlays can be reimbursed as quickly as two days.

If a charge has a red flag, it goes to a human auditor. One Concur Detect customer, Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc, said it had reduced the number of expense reports that required review by one-third.

Kale has been surprised by the kind of problems that are popping up since AppZen’s 2016 launch.

“Employees are claiming the same expense multiple times. That happens more often than you can imagine,” Kale said. “It’s not fraud, but an honest mistake.”

AppZen also finds many expenses that are disallowed by corporate policy. Some of these are for strip clubs, in-room movies during business travel or charging gifts at a hotel shop.

Oversight Systems has identified questionable expenses like eyelash extensions, lost sunglasses and an employee who billed for a new shirt after he spilled coffee on himself on the way to a meeting.

There is also true fraud. Oversight Systems, for instance, found an employee who expensed for parking over and over using the same receipt each time. By the time the fraud was discovered, the parking lot no longer even existed.

What makes the difference between catching wrongdoers and companies’ losing money? Better compliance and making audits more efficient, said the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ McNeal.

As much as machines can learn and improve their performance, people are more complicated. AppZen, for instance, has yet to run a clean screen on a company where it catches no problems, no matter how much effort a company puts into employee education and catching disallowed expenses before they are filed.

“You’re never going to get all of them to comply – that’s just human nature,” McNeal said. “You’re just trying to let the fewest grains get through the sieve.”

(Editing by Lauren Young and by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

The Nike swoosh logo is seen outside the store on 5th Ave in New York
The Nike swoosh logo is seen outside the store on 5th Ave in New York, New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

March 25, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators fined U.S. sportswear maker Nike 12.5 million euros ($14.14 million) on Monday for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products of five European football clubs and the a football federation.

The European Commission said Nike’s illegal practices occurred between 2004 to 2017 and related to licensed merchandise for FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma and the French Football Federation.

The sanction came following a two-year investigation triggered by a sector inquiry into e-commerce and bans by some retailers on cross-border sales of some products.

($1 = 0.8839 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

Source: OANN

Russia is reacting with an "I told you so" on Monday in state media after the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Moscow's involvement in the U.S. presidential election didn't find evidence of collusion.

Wrapping up 22 months of the investigation, Mueller's report that was delivered over the weekend found no evidence that U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign conspired with Russian officials to influence the 2016 election.

The released summary, however, didn't clear the president of improper behavior regarding Russia but didn't establish that "he was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," Mueller said in a passage from the report quoted by U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

Russian officials and state media who have vehemently denied that the Kremlin wanted Trump to win and was helping him in the campaign on Monday relished the news.

"The results of Mueller's investigation are a disgrace for the U.S. and its political elites," Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the information committee at the Federation Council, tweeted on Monday. "All of the accusations were proved to be trumped up."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had a more muted reaction on Monday, saying that Russia has never interfered in elections in other countries and "doesn't intend to do so."

"It's hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if it isn't there," he said.

Thirty-four people, including six Trump aides and advisers, were charged in the investigation. Twenty-five are Russians accused of election interference either through hacking into Democratic accounts or orchestrating a social media campaign to spread disinformation on the internet.

Russian authorities over the past months portrayed the Mueller probe as a witch hunt against Trump and a tool of the Democratic Party to fan the flames of the anti-Russian sentiment in the U.S.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the Federation Council, on Monday described the probe and the discussions around it as "two years of incessant lies."

State-owned Channel One on its morning news show suggested that U.S. media had been consciously whipping up the hysteria about possible collusion in order to sway the public opinion against Russia.

"There were so many fake scoops: the one about the non-existent back channel between Washington and Moscow, the one about the so-called Russia Dossier with the Kremlin's alleged compromising information on Trump," Channel One's U.S. correspondent said. "But will the viewers hear the rebuttals now?"

The conclusions of the probe led some to believe that Trump will have a free hand now to improve ties with Russia.

"There's an opportunity to reset out relations but the question is whether Trump will take the risk," Kosachev said.

Source: NewsMax

A miner works inside the Novovolynska-9 coal mine in Novovolynsk
A miner works inside the Novovolynska-9 coal mine in Novovolynsk, Ukraine August 2, 2018. Picture taken August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

March 25, 2019

By Natalia Zinets

NOVOVOLYNSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian police are investigating two companies and a factory over a coal deal which some anti-corruption campaigners say epitomizes the difficulties of doing business in the east European country.

The sums involved in the deal are small but the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, an independent watchdog, says it illustrates the lack of transparency in Ukrainian business, an issue in a presidential election on Sunday that has cost President Petro Poroshenko support.

State-run coal company Volynvuhillia ordered the Novovolynska-9 mine it oversees in Novovolynsk, northwestern Ukraine, to sell coal to privately held Ukrainskiy Natsionalniy Product (UNP), company documents show. A contract was agreed in December 2017 and sales began two months later.

Volodymyr Yurkiv, the mine’s director at the time, told Reuters he complained to the energy ministry about the contract because it allowed UNP to pay eight percent less for its coal than the minimum price set by the ministry for private buyers.

He and trade unions also protested to the ministry when miners went unpaid as Volynvuhillia spent on other projects and went into the red. Police are now probing Volynvuhillia over the non-payment of 5.9 million hryvnias ($220,000) in salaries from July 15 to Sept. 5, 2018, suspecting unnamed UNP officials of lining their pockets while the miners struggled to make ends meet, according to court documents. Police declined to name the officials.

Energy ministry figures show wage arrears in state mines had reached 138.8 million hryvnias by Jan 1. Former Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk told Reuters the arrears were largely caused by company officials spending money that should go to salaries on big purchases such as equipment because of the kickbacks that often go with such purchases.

Asked about the sales contract with UNP, Andriy Pylypiuk, acting manager of Volynvuhillia, said the coal purchase price in the original contract was an error that was corrected after the deal and that UNP quickly started paying more for its coal.

Company documents seen by Reuters confirmed the price increase.

Pylypiuk said his company supported selling to UNP because no other firm wanted to buy coal from Novovolynska-9 and that UNP had offered to pay up front. He denied wrongdoing.

Andriy Dombrov, who owns UNP, declined to answer Reuters’ questions. Police provided no details of how the investigation is going. The energy ministry declined comment.

(For election graphic click https://tmsnrt.rs/2EEQ22R)

COAL ENRICHMENT

A second police investigation is underway into an arrangement under which Volynvuhillia pays a local factory to enrich, or clean, the coal sold to UNP. Police are probing whether this arrangement, part of the sales contract between UNP and Volynvuhillia, is a criminal conspiracy.

Mykhailo Bondar, head of a parliamentary subcommittee on the coal industry, says Lvivska Vugilna Compania (LVC) enrichment factory is being paid for a job it does not do because it lacks the technology needed. Yurkiv said the coal had previously gone directly to electricity generators without being enriched.

Andriy Vengryn, who is a principal at LVC as well as a representative of UNP, denied any wrongdoing in the deal with Volynvuhillia. He confirmed LVC is doing the enriching and said the factory needs the extra coal to improve its financial well-being, telling Reuters: “I am in full compliance with the law.”

He added that under his management LVC had been rescued from the verge of bankruptcy. “There are a lot of unfair rumors about me,” he said.

When Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk tried to step in last May, his order that the deal with UNP be canceled was not acted on. Nasalyk did not respond when asked about his order not being carried out.

A special energy ministry commission has twice recommended Pylypiuk’s dismissal, in March last year and in May. But the energy ministry said Pylypiuk had provided written justifications for his and Volynvuhillia’s actions and that it found no grounds to dismiss him.

“The deal between UNP and Volynvuhillia epitomizes many of the problems of doing business in Ukraine,” Andriy Savin, a lawyer at the Anti-Corruption Action Centre in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, told Reuters. “Such deals show why foreign investors are so wary of investing in Ukraine.”

“This (situation around the sales deal between Volynvuhillia and UNP) … is undermining Poroshenko’s authority,” said Mykhailo Volynets, leader of the Ukrainian miners’ trade union.

Looking ahead to this month’s election, he said the situation helped explain why people “want changes, new faces in power,” he said.

Poroshenko’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment but the president has dismissed such criticism in the past.

“We launched the first decisive battle against corruption in Ukraine — we have created reliable independent anti-corruption bodies … We have cleared the stable of corruption schemes in the energy sector and public procurement,” he said in January.

($1 = 26.8645 hryvnias)

(Writing by Matthias Williams, Editibg by Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham sent a cryptic message to James Comey on Sunday, hinting at what might be in store for the former FBI director.

It began with a photo Comey tweeted earlier in the day, captioned simply, “So many questions.”

“Could not agree more. See you soon,” Graham tweeted at Comey in response.

Graham, who is currently the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has long promised an investigation into alleged FISA abuse — which he believes may have played a role in the early stages of the Mueller investigation — along with investigations of key players like McCabe and Rosenstein. (RELATED: Lindsey Graham Pledges Investigation Of McCabe, Rosenstein Over ‘Bureaucratic Coup’)

In pursuit of those ends, Graham has already requested all FBI and DOJ documents related to investigators’ attempts to verify allegations made in the Steele dossier.

The South Carolina senator’s Sunday tweet appeared to indicate that Comey should also expect to spend some time before the Senate Judiciary committee in the near future.

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

The summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “raises as many questions as it answers," and thus the full document should be released to the public, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said in a joint statement on Sunday, The Hill reported.

"The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay," the Democratic Party leaders said.

They issued the statement after Barr sent a letter to Congress summarizing the key findings of Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia.

Barr stated in the letter that Mueller found no conclusive evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. However, on the issue of obstruction of justice, the attorney general wrote that “while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.”

Several Democratic presidential candidates emphasized that point to press for a full release of the report.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tweeted that "The American public deserves the full report and findings from the Mueller investigation immediately – not just the in-house summary from a Trump Administration official." 

Source: NewsMax

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report sounds like a “law school exam,” where he shirked his job and didn’t have “the guts” to make a decision on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Sunday during an appearance on Fox News where he also slammed CNN personalities and guests who “misinformed the American public.”

Mueller turned in his final report Friday, and Attorney General William Barr on Sunday in a letter to Congress said the investigation concluded there was no collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

On the topic of potential obstruction of justice on the part of President Donald Trump, the special counsel referred the question of criminality to the attorney general.

“I thought it was a cop out for him to say there was not enough evidence to indict, but it’s not an exoneration, and we’re going to put a report out,” Dershowitz told anchor Shannon Bream “… It sounds like a law school exam. That’s not the job of the prosecutor. The job of the prosecutor is to decide yes or no. Make a decision.”

The TV personalities and guests on CNN who predicted Mueller’s probe would result in indictments for collusion and obstruction “should be hanging their heads in shame,” Dershowitz added.

“I have to tell you, they should be hanging their head in shame when you think about how many people went out on a limb and predicted there would be indictments for obstruction, there would be indictments for collusion, there would be indictments for this and for that,” he.

“They made it seem like it was an open and shut case, and they misinformed the American public, and they have to have some public accountability when you say things that turn out not to be true.”

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded that nobody associated with President Donald Trump’s campaign “conspired or knowingly coordinated” with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr says he does not see enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.

But that does not necessarily mean Trump is in the clear – he still faces multiple investigations into his business and other aspects of his political campaign, and Democrats are launching a wave of probes from Capitol Hill.

Following are some possible next steps as Washington continues to wrestle over Russia’s role in the election, the conduct of Mueller’s investigation and other aspects of the Trump-Russia saga.

HOW MUCH OF MUELLER’S REPORT CAN BE MADE PUBLIC?

Barr said he wants to release as much of Mueller’s report as he can, as long as it does not undermine legal proceedings that should be kept secret, such as grand jury interviews, or interfere with other ongoing investigations. He is now going through the report to determine what can be released.

Democrats are pressing Barr to release the entire report so they can draw their own conclusions. If he does not do so, expect a protracted tug-of-war that could end up in court.

THE QUESTION OF OBSTRUCTION

Foremost on Democrats’ minds is whether Trump obstructed justice by interfering with Mueller’s probe and other investigations.

Barr says he did not, but he adds that Mueller presented evidence on both sides of the question. Democrats will press for access to Mueller’s full report – as well as the underlying evidence he collected over the course of an investigation that interviewed 500 witnesses and issued more than 2,800 subpoenas.

The Democratic chairs of six House of Representatives committees said on Friday they expected that evidence to be turned over on request to their panels, which cover everything from taxes to banking.

The House Judiciary Committee is also expected to continue its own investigation into alleged obstruction of justice after requesting documents from 81 people and organizations several weeks ago.

TRUMP’S ALLIES SAY IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON – OR MAYBE NOT

The Russia probe has dogged Trump’s presidency from his first months in office. Trump allies say it is now time to move on and focus on substantive issues like trade and the economy.

But some of Trump’s biggest supporters on Capitol Hill do not want to put the issue to rest just yet.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican, has said he wants to investigate whether top officials at the Justice Department discussed forcing Trump from office, and is pressing the FBI to hand over documents relating to their surveillance of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser on Trump’s election team.

BARR ON THE HILL

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said he planned to ask Barr to testify before his committee to explain why he thought Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice.

Many Democrats are already suspicious of Barr’s views on the issue. As a private lawyer, Barr wrote an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department last year arguing that Mueller’s obstruction inquiry was “fatally misconceived” and saying that presidents have “all-encompassing” authority over law enforcement investigations, even those that relate to him directly.

Barr’s views of presidential power are relevant not only when it comes to obstruction of justice but other issues like how much the administration is required to cooperate with congressional investigators – which will be a key issue over the next two years.

Barr faced pointed questions from Democrats during his January confirmation hearing. Any session devoted to obstruction of justice and presidential powers could be much more contentious.

MUELLER SPEAKS?

Mueller has not spoken publicly over the course of the 22-month investigation, but that might change now that his work is done.

Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff have said they may try to get him to testify in front of Congress. The questioning might be relatively polite – as a former FBI director and decorated Vietnam War veteran, Mueller is one of the most respected people in Washington.

But his testimony may not be that revealing. Mueller has cultivated a reputation as a scrupulous prosecutor, and he may not be willing to discuss evidence or reach conclusions not contained in his report. Also, as special prosecutor, he is required to defer to Barr as to what can be disclosed to the public.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Ross Colvin and Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he returns to the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as the president returns from a weekend in Florida at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 25, 2019

By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to win the presidency in 2016 gives the president a powerful weapon to use against his Democratic opponents and a potential boost to what is shaping up to be a tough bid for re-election in 2020.

Mueller’s conclusion that neither Trump nor his aides conspired with Russia in 2016 takes away a central charge that Democrats have flung at Trump for two years – that he did not win the presidency fairly or cleanly. The allegations have played out on an endless loop on cable TV news shows, overshadowing Trump’s presidency from day one.

Democrats have vowed to continue congressional investigations into the 2016 election campaign and Trump’s business practices. But without the solid foundation of a Mueller report that found evidence of any crimes by the president, they now risk seeming to overplay their hand.

“This is a gold star day for Donald Trump,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “Now the shackles are off. He’s able to demonize the news media and Democrats as perpetuating what he calls a hoax. And he’ll be able to use his innocence as fodder for the campaign trail.”

The question for Trump now is whether he will be able to bring a minimum of discipline to his campaign messaging and to the presidency itself.

History suggests he will have trouble with self-discipline. Just last week, he was immersed in a strange fight with a dead man, sharply criticizing the late Republican Senator John McCain and falsely accusing him of being at the root of some of the collusion allegations against him.

He has also been prone to making baffling abrupt decisions, such as occurred last week when he called off a round of sanctions against North Korea before they had even been imposed.

Despite the Mueller report’s conclusions, Trump remains an intemperate president, eager to lash out at any and all critics and perceived slights.

“This was an illegal takedown that failed,” Trump said on Sunday, even though Mueller left open the question of whether the former real estate magnate had attempted to obstruct the Russia probe, which did find extensive evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

“Now is the time to get back on the offense on the economy and growth,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed. “This is a good time to get back to a real healthy dose of message discipline for the entire administration, department-wide and the White House. That’s what you do when something like this happens.”

Trump, on a golfing weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, got the news in his private quarters at his Mar-a-Lago retreat from White House counsel Emmett Flood, and watched TV coverage of the Mueller report in his cabin on Air Force One.

Trump’s initial comments in reacting to the Mueller conclusion suggests he is not inclined to move past the investigation.

Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One for the flight back to Washington, Trump called for Democrats to be investigated, expanding on his often repeated assertion that the Mueller probe was Democrat-inspired. Mueller was appointed by Trump’s Department of Justice in 2017 after he fired FBI director James Comey.

“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,” Trump said. “Before I even got elected it began, and it began illegally.”

Trump’s comments could foreshadow an effort by his supporters to seek payback for the cloud that has hung over his time in the White House.

“I’m interested in moving on and trying to get this behind us, but people have to pay for what they’ve done for the past two years,” said former Trump campaign aide David Bossie. “We must investigate the investigators.”

CHALLENGES FOR DEMOCRATS

Trump’s path to re-election remains a perilous one. Analysts say he will probably need to win the Midwestern states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, just as he did in his improbable 2016 victory, and Democrats are already pouring resources into those states.

Trump will foreshadow his campaign message on Thursday night when he headlines a “Make America Great Again” rally in Michigan.

Trump supporters viewed the Mueller report as a blow to the more than a dozen Democrats who are campaigning for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

“This is very problematic for any Democrat who’s running for president in 2020 that was hoping they would face a weakened or beaten-down President Trump,” former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said. “In fact, President Trump will likely see a ratings boost coming out of this and a strong tailwind pushing him toward the upcoming election.”

Reuters/Ipsos polling has shown that Americans decided early on in Mueller’s investigation whether they thought Trump was guilty of collusion or not. The polling found few undecided voters.

Brinkley said Democrats will need to adjust their tactics and emphasize their differences with Trump’s record on issues ranging from healthcare and climate change to immigration.

“Some of those charges are going to have to rise to be the main charges against Trump,” he said, noting there was fatigue with the Russia issue.

(Reporting By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Ross Colvin and Chris Reese)

Source: OANN

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did something extraordinary on Wednesday.

He spoke.

Appearing before the Supreme Court is rather like meeting your spouse’s family for the first time. The questions are relentless, probing and impolite. One hundred questions over the course of an hour-long argument is typical. Attorneys arguing cases can expect an interruption from a justice just moments into their presentation, and it is not unusual for the justices to interrupt one another.

Yet Thomas is generally an observer at the blood sport that is oral argument. Since taking the bench in 1991, he has rarely asked questions of the attorneys arguing before the Court. His silent stretches run so long (he did not ask one question from 2006 to 2016) that the very fact of his speaking is a news event.

The questions he asked Wednesday, in a dispute concerning racism in jury selection, were his first questions in almost three years and his second intervention this decade.

Thomas is alone in this approach to argument among his colleagues. His silence draws curiosity and ire in equal measure, particularly since he is widely regarded as the most gregarious of the justices.

Scholarly treatment of Thomas’s silence is similarly mixed. One 2017 journal article in the Northwestern University Law Review from Professors RonNell Andersen Jones and Aaron Nielson compiled and reviewed every question Thomas has ever asked during oral argument, encompassing his service on the Supreme Court and his prior work on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Jones and Nielson concluded that Thomas is an adept questioner who should intercede more often.

“Reviewing these questions demonstrates that although Thomas has not frequently spoken, when he has posed questions, they have been thoughtful, useful, respectful, and beneficial to his colleagues of whatever ideological stripe,” the study reads.

Jones and Nielson noted Thomas’s questions focus intensely on the text of the law. Following the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, they suggest oral arguments would benefit from a questioner with Thomas’s “laser-like focus on the text.”

“Putting aside the merits of textualism as an ending point, or even as a starting point, in statutory interpretation, the merits of having an active voice in oral argument that demands investigation of and discussion about the statutory language seem incontrovertible,” they write.

“With Justice Antonin Scalia’s departure from the Supreme Court, the need for a justice to ask these sorts of questions is obvious,” they add.

When Thomas does ask questions, Jones and Neilson say, they tend to come near the end of the argument. His Wednesday inquiries came during a brief rebuttal period, only after the attorney asked if there were any remaining questions. The justice himself speculated that his delicate approach to questioning is a function of his southern pedigree during an event at the University of Kentucky in April 2012.

“Maybe it’s the southerner in me,” Thomas wondered. “Maybe it’s the introvert in me, I don’t know. I think that when somebody’s talking, somebody ought to listen.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, at center, awaits the arrival of former President George H.W. Bush's casket at the Capitol Rotunda on December 3, 2018 (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Justice Clarence Thomas, at center, awaits the arrival of former President George H.W. Bush’s casket at the Capitol Rotunda on December 3, 2018 (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Others are more harsh in their appraisal of Thomas’s silence. Writing in the Florida Law Review in 2009, David Karp argued Thomas’s approach to oral argument is ultimately self-defeating. (RELATED: Clarence Thomas Clerks Dominate Trump’s Judicial Appointments)

Perhaps more than any other justice in modern history, Thomas is intensely interested in course correction. He does not believe the Court ought to abide by cases which offend his vision of the Constitution, and he regularly invites litigants to bring challenges to foundational decisions he believes are wrong. In February alone he released opinions criticizing and New York Times v. Sullivan (a landmark freedom of the press case), Gideon v. Wainwright (establishing a right to counsel for indigent defendants) and Roe v. Wade.

Thomas is a prolific opinion writer who has pressed his judicial philosophy over dozens of lone dissents and concurring opinions. Karp says Thomas could better advance his own views and enrich the Court’s internal debate by contributing to oral arguments.

“Through his silence, Justice Thomas not only evades the deliberative process, but he also diminishes his own influence,” Karp wrote. “Justice Thomas’s silence allows advocates to ignore him and his views.”

“Because of his willingness to rethink the constitutional order, Justice Thomas would force the Court to reconsider basic premises,” Karp added.

Karp believes the role of oral argument in the deliberative process makes Thomas’s silence especially strange. The justice told Newsweek in 2007 that his views on a given case are well-developed by oral argument. Before arguments he reads legal briefs from both sides, additional filings from interested parties, the decisions below, the record of facts, and discusses his thoughts with his law clerks. As such, in Thomas’s view, the argument is not especially important to the disposition of a case.

But Karp is skeptical of that perspective, arguing that it is unbelievable that even the most gifted jurist could approach the complex work of the Supreme Court without questions.

“It seems unbelievable that Justice Thomas genuinely has no questions to ask about any of the nation’s most difficult cases,” Karp wrote. “Even the most learned judge with well-developed outlooks on the law should have questions.”

The Supreme Court will hear cases through Wednesday touching partisan gerrymandering and the power of federal agencies.

Sarah George and Paul Ingrassia contributed research. 

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Source: The Daily Caller

“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” — Letter to Congress from Attorney General William Barr

Now that the findings of the Department of Justice have exonerated the president, will Democrats follow their own advice, admit there was no collusion or obstruction and Move On?

The liberal activist organization of that name was founded a generation ago when Congress investigated and tried to impeach President Clinton. Congress didn’t take the advice of legal experts and constitutional scholars then, and unfortunately it looks like Democrats intend to repeat the mistake.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) says regardless of the report’s findings, he will pursue investigations even “broader” than what the special counsel has done with 2,800 subpoenas, 500 witnesses, some 500 search warrants and more than $25 million over the last two years.

Democrats and the media should be trying to heal the nation not divide us. Instead, Democrats intend to spend the next two years subpoenaing and dragging every member of Trump’s administration, his family and business associates to testify before their committees.

Nadler says he’s doing it to protect “the rule of law.”

But will House Democrats really respect the institutions and traditions of American jurisprudence? If the past is prelude, the answer to that questions is, sadly, no.

Democrats did away with the presumption of innocence for Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Kavanaugh, with his family and the American people paying the price Now, Democrats are now ready to abandon other bedrock principles of American justice.

One of the most basic principles is equality before the law!

The Constitution prohibits double jeopardy. It’s a matter of basic fairness — no one should be victimized by vindictive prosecutors armed with the power of government and $25 million in financial backing of the U.S. Treasury.

Congressional Democrats’ endless investigations, leaks and political machinations violate the spirit of that constitutional prohibition. Americans understand that, no matter what the spin or who stands accused. The constitution guarantees fair and equal justice for every American regardless of who they are!

Democrats want to convict President Trump in the court of public opinion to set the stage for impeaching him. That’s what Rep. Nadler told George Stephanopoulos: “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.” Fortunately Mueller’s exoneration of President Trump will make that extremely difficult to do, despite media persecution and false news stories,

The Democrats are ready to violate another norm of legal precedent by asking Attorney General Barr and the DOJ to release every scrap of paper the special counsel gathered.

Prosecutors normally don’t release confidential material gathered during an investigation out of respect for the privacy of individuals not charged with a crime.

”The normal procedure is that unless there’s a damn good reason, you don’t release grand jury material,” Nadler said a generation ago when he opposed releasing the evidence behind the Ken Starr report.

Nadler and fellow Democrats accused the Judiciary Committee of seeking the background material to build a public case for impeaching President Clinton.

“They don’t think there is enough of a vote for impeachment yet out in the public,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), the second ranking Democrat on the committee, said. “So what you have a very one-sided, partisan effort to release material, before the president gets a chance to review it or respond to it, that makes the president look bad.”

Nadler took a page from that playbook and now demands the raw material Mueller obtained to build his own case for impeaching President Trump. Furthermore, he says the White House “should not get an advance look at the report” or the evidence.

That’s quite an about face from the Jerry Nadler of 1998 who fought for Clinton to have time to look at the Starr report. “The president is asking for two days. The Republicans say no,” he said bitterly.

The DOJ does not release such information to protect the innocent. Furthermore, the Trump administration has a legal right to review the report, prepare a response, rebuke any false accusations and information covered by executive privilege. 

As for an impartial hearing, President Trump can expect no better from House Democrats than Senate Democrats gave Judge Kavanaugh.

Chairman Nadler already convicted the president of obstruction of justice before seeing the attorney general’s letter and the Mueller report.

House Democrats don’t care that the special counsel found the president did not collude with the Russians or obstruct justice. They will continue their investigations, attempts to smear the president. Like Javert obsessed with Jean Valjean, Democrats can’t help themselves.

All Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, should be celebrating the fact investigators found no evidence of collusion. However, Democrats won’t take the finding of no collusion or obstruction for an answer.

That tells you they were never pursuing the truth, just a political vendetta and a different outcome for the 2016 election. Their obsession with President Trump will only further divide the nation, not help unite us.

Rep. Nadler says he wants to protect the rule of law and “the institutions we depend on for our democratic form of government.”

But Democrats are weakening those institutions by engaging in relentless political warfare. Voters elected Congress to address the very real challenges our country faces — an opioid epidemic, China’s economic aggression, the crisis on our southern border, the difficulty of raising a family, to name, just a few.

Our system is founded on belief in equal justice under the law. All will be held accountable.

We hope the politicians, intelligence officials, journalists and media executives who fed Americans unfounded speculation, conspiracy theories for the last two years that have done incalculable damage to our country and its institutions will be held accountable.

Preserve the principles of justice on which our incredible country was founded.

Kimberly Guilfoyle (@KimGuilfoyle) is vice chairwoman of America First Policies, a nonprofit organization supporting key policy initiatives that will work for all citizens in our country and put America first.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

The text of Attorney General William Barr's letter to congressional lawmakers outlining the principal conclusions reached by the special counsel in the Russia probe (with footnotes below):

March 24, 2019

Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:

As a supplement to the notification provided on Friday, March 22, 2019, I am writing today to advise you of the principal conclusions reached by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and to inform you about the status of my initial review of the report he has prepared.

THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

On Friday, the Special Counsel submitted to me a "confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions" he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c). This report is entitled "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election." Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.

The report explains that the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations. In the report, the Special Counsel noted that, in completing his investigation, he employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.

The Special Counsel obtained a number of indictments and convictions of individuals and entities in connection with his investigation, all of which have been publicly disclosed. During the course of his investigation, the Special Counsel also referred several matters to other offices for further action. The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public. Below, I summarize the principal conclusions set out in the Special Counsel's report.

Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The Special Counsel's report is divided into two parts. The first describes the results of the Special Counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts. The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel's investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: "(T)he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." (1)

The Special Counsel's investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election. As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.

The second element involved the Russian government's efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

Obstruction of Justice. The report's second part addresses a number of actions by the President – most of which have been the subject of public reporting – that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. After making a "thorough factual investigation" into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as "difficult issues" of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

The Special Counsel's decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime. Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel's office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel's obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president. (2)

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction. Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department's principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of- justice offense.

STATUS OF THE DEPARTMENT'S REVIEW

The relevant regulations contemplate that the Special Counsel's report will be a "confidential report" to the Attorney General. See Office of Special Counsel, 64 Fed. Reg. 37,038,37,040-41 (July 9,1999). As I have previously stated, however, I am mindful of the public interest in this matter. For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel's report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.

Based on my discussions with the Special Counsel and my initial review, it is apparent that the report contains material that is or could be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which imposes restrictions on the use and disclosure of information relating to "matter(s) occurring before (a) grand jury." Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(2)(B). Rule 6(e) generally limits disclosure of certain grand jury information in a criminal investigation and prosecution. Id. Disclosure of 6(e) material beyond the strict limits set forth in the rule is a crime in certain circumstances. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 401(3). This restriction protects the integrity of grand jury proceedings and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of a grand jury are used strictly for their intended criminal justice function.

Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the 6(e) material that by law cannot be made public. I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all 6(e) information contained in the report as quickly as possible. Separately, I also must identify any information that could impact other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other offices. As soon as that process is complete, I will be in a position to move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.

***

As I observed in my initial notification, the Special Counsel regulations provide that "the Attorney General may determine that public release of' notifications to your respective Committees "would be in the public interest." 28 C.F.R. 600.9(c). I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you.

Sincerely,

William P. Barr

Attorney General

(1) In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign "coordinated" with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined "coordination" as an "agreement_tacit or express_between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference."

(2) See A Sitting President's Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. 222 (2000).

Source: NewsMax

The text of Attorney General William Barr's letter to congressional lawmakers outlining the principal conclusions reached by the special counsel in the Russia probe (with footnotes below):

March 24, 2019

Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:

As a supplement to the notification provided on Friday, March 22, 2019, I am writing today to advise you of the principal conclusions reached by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and to inform you about the status of my initial review of the report he has prepared.

THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

On Friday, the Special Counsel submitted to me a "confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions" he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c). This report is entitled "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election." Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.

The report explains that the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations. In the report, the Special Counsel noted that, in completing his investigation, he employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.

The Special Counsel obtained a number of indictments and convictions of individuals and entities in connection with his investigation, all of which have been publicly disclosed. During the course of his investigation, the Special Counsel also referred several matters to other offices for further action. The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public. Below, I summarize the principal conclusions set out in the Special Counsel's report.

Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The Special Counsel's report is divided into two parts. The first describes the results of the Special Counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts. The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel's investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: "(T)he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." (1)

The Special Counsel's investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election. As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.

The second element involved the Russian government's efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

Obstruction of Justice. The report's second part addresses a number of actions by the President – most of which have been the subject of public reporting – that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. After making a "thorough factual investigation" into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as "difficult issues" of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

The Special Counsel's decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime. Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel's office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel's obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president. (2)

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction. Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department's principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of- justice offense.

STATUS OF THE DEPARTMENT'S REVIEW

The relevant regulations contemplate that the Special Counsel's report will be a "confidential report" to the Attorney General. See Office of Special Counsel, 64 Fed. Reg. 37,038,37,040-41 (July 9,1999). As I have previously stated, however, I am mindful of the public interest in this matter. For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel's report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.

Based on my discussions with the Special Counsel and my initial review, it is apparent that the report contains material that is or could be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which imposes restrictions on the use and disclosure of information relating to "matter(s) occurring before (a) grand jury." Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(2)(B). Rule 6(e) generally limits disclosure of certain grand jury information in a criminal investigation and prosecution. Id. Disclosure of 6(e) material beyond the strict limits set forth in the rule is a crime in certain circumstances. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 401(3). This restriction protects the integrity of grand jury proceedings and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of a grand jury are used strictly for their intended criminal justice function.

Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the 6(e) material that by law cannot be made public. I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all 6(e) information contained in the report as quickly as possible. Separately, I also must identify any information that could impact other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other offices. As soon as that process is complete, I will be in a position to move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.

***

As I observed in my initial notification, the Special Counsel regulations provide that "the Attorney General may determine that public release of' notifications to your respective Committees "would be in the public interest." 28 C.F.R. 600.9(c). I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you.

Sincerely,

William P. Barr

Attorney General

(1) In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign "coordinated" with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined "coordination" as an "agreement_tacit or express_between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference."

(2) See A Sitting President's Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. 222 (2000).

Source: NewsMax

Former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday tweeted a quixotic photo of himself gazing up into trees along with a caption that said, “so many questions,” following reports that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found no collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

The post came after Attorney General William Barr submitted to Congress his summary of the main conclusions from Mueller’s investigation.

Mueller did not find Trump’s campaign or associates conspired with Russia, Barr wrote, and did the special counsel did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute obstruction of justice.

“In cataloguing the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view, the (Mueller) report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department’s principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense,” Barr wrote.

Mueller, though, did not exonerate the president.

Trump, though, said the findings exonerated him.

This was an illegal takedown that failed and hopefully somebody's going to be looking at the other side," Trump told reporters on Sunday.

Mueller’s probe started in May 2017 after Trump’s sudden decision to dismiss Comey.

Source: NewsMax

Illustration photo of a Japan Yen note
A Japan Yen note is seen in this illustration photo taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

March 24, 2019

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Japanese yen hovered near a six-week high on Monday while Asian shares are expected to start lower as risk assets fell out of favor on growing worries about an impending U.S. recession, sending global bond yields plunging.

In Asia, Nikkei futures pointed to a weak start for Japan. Australian shares fell 0.3 percent at the open while New Zealand’s benchmark index faltered 0.9 percent.

Investors also kept one eye on the details of a nearly two-year U.S. investigation which found no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s election team and Russia, in a major political victory for the U.S. President.

U.S. stock futures were marginally higher during early Asian hours.

On Friday, all three major U.S. stock indexes registered their biggest one-day percentage losses since Jan.3 with the Dow sliding 1.8 percent, the S&P 500 off 1.9 percent and the Nasdaq dropping 2.5 percent.

Concerns about the health of the world economy heightened last week after cautious remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve sent 10-year treasury yields to the lowest since early 2018. Adding to the fears of a more widespread global downturn, manufacturing output data from Germany showed a contraction for the third straight month.

In response, 10-year treasury yields slipped below the three-month rate for the first time since 2007. Historically, an inverted yield curve – where long-term rates fall below short-term – has signaled an upcoming recession.

“We have re-run our preferred yield curve recession models, which now suggest a 30-35 percent chance of a U.S. recession occurring over the next 10‑18 months,” said Tapas Strickland, markets strategist at National Australia Bank.

Typically a 40-60 percent probability sees a recession within the next 10-18 months, Strickland added, basing the analysis on previous recessions.

“The risk of a U.S. recession has risen and is flashing amber and this will keep markets pricing a high chance of the Fed cutting rates.”

Much of the concerns around global growth is stemming from Europe and China which are battling separate tariff wars with the United States. Political turmoil in Britain over the country’s exit from the European Union is also a major overhang for risk assets.

On Sunday, Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial British Prime Minister Theresa May must announce on Monday she will stand down as soon as her Brexit deal is approved.

The British pound was last flat at $1.3209 after three straight days of wild gyrations. The currency slipped 0.7 percent last week.

Politics was also in focus in the United States.

The long-awaited Mueller report into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to help Trump defeat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, marked a major milestone of his presidency as he prepares for his 2020 re-election battle.

In currency markets, the Japanese yen – a perceived safe haven – held near its highest since Feb. 11. It was last off 0.1 percent at 110.04 per dollar.

The Australian dollar, a liquid proxy for risk play, was down for its third straight session of losses at $0.7072.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Less than one year ago, the Washington Post and the New York Times won Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of something that, according to Mueller’s report, did not exist.

In April 2018, both newspapers were awarded Pulitzers for their coverage of possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Politico reported at the time:

The New York Times and Washington Post each won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting on Monday, capping off a newsroom battle last year for scoops on links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, the focus of an ongoing special counsel investigation into the 2016 election.

And on Sunday, Attorney General William Barr delivered a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions to Congress — that summary indicated that Mueller, over the course of nearly two years, had found no evidence of collusion. (RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions)

Upon being reminded of those Pulitzers — and the reason they were awarded — Donald Trump Jr. argued that they ought to be replaced with “fake news awards.” He tweeted, “There should be a recall.”

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

The prevailing media narrative was that the Mueller report was going to damage President Donald Trump — but as the details began to roll out, many criticized the media as being hardest hit.

Attorney General William Barr delivered a summary of Mueller’s conclusions to Congress on Sunday, and the takeaway was that the special counsel had found no evidence of collusion or obstruction of justice.

Many were quick to pile on, blaming media personalities for perpetuating a narrative that now appears to be based wholly on faulty premises.

Donald Trump Jr. jumped into the fray as well, taking direct aim at specific outlets and challenging “honest journalists” to hold them accountable. (RELATED: Trump Jr. Lays Into ‘Sick And Twisted Conspiracy Theories’ Of ‘Collusion Truthers’)

A few people then pointed out that the Washington Post and the New York Times won Pulitzers “for their supposed stellar reporting on Trump’s treasonous activity with Russia.”

Trump Jr. responded with a plan to make a quick correction. “They should convert those Pulitzer’s to #fakenews awards,” he said.

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

High-profile Democrats repeatedly promised the public they would see evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

But special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s 2016 election meddling, according to a four-page letter that Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress on Sunday.

“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” Barr’s letter states.

Mueller’s findings are a major blow to Democrats like California Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, who repeatedly asserted as fact Trump colluded with Russia. (RELATED: Bob Menendez Claimed Trump Could Be ‘An Agent Of The Russian Federation)

Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters guaranteed in September 2017 that Trump colluded with Russia.

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Congresswoman Maxine Waters addresses the audience at the ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ Sojourner Truth lunch, during the three-day Women’s Convention at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., October 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

“Here you have a president who I can tell you and guarantee you is in collusion with the Russians to undermine our democracy,” Waters said.

Waters predicted in December 2017 that Mueller’s report is “going to lead right to, not only collusion, obstruction of justice, money laundering.”

Swalwell, Schiff and other Democrats didn’t wait for Mueller to finish his investigation to claim that collusion had already been proven.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) (L) and committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) return to a closed-door hearing with Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, following a vote at the U.S. Capitol March 06, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The evidence is pretty clear that there was collusion between  the Trump campaign and the Russians,” Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal told MSNBC in February 2018.

Swalwell in February 2018 published a powerpoint titled “Evidence of Collusion” that failed to include any evidence of collusion. He repeated his assertion of Trump-Russia collusion on several occasions, despite lacking the evidence to substantiate it.

Schiff, too, claimed there was evidence of collusion before learning Mueller’s conclusion.

“You can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion — pretty compelling evidence,” Schiff declared on February 17.

Hours before receiving Barr’s memo on Sunday, Schiff was still defending the collusion narrative.

“There’s a difference between compelling evidence of collusion and whether the special counsel concludes that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the criminal charge of conspiracy,” Schiff said.

“I have trust in [Mueller’s] prosecutorial judgment. But that doesn’t mean, of course, that there isn’t compelling and incriminating evidence that should be shared with the American people,” he added.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler similarly refused to accept Mueller’s lack of evidence for collusion.

“We know there was collusion,” Nadler said Sunday. “Why there’s been no indictments, we don’t know.”

WATCH:

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Source: The Daily Caller

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump was right about the Russia investigation.

McConnell says Attorney General William Barr's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation confirms Trump's account that there was "no effort" by his campaign "to conspire or coordinate with Russia" to influence the 2016 election.

The Republican leader said he appreciates Barr's goal of "producing as much information as possible" from Mueller's investigation. But McConnell declined to call for the report's full release, as many Democrats want.

McConnell also warned Russia's ongoing efforts to interfere in U.S. institutions "are dangerous and disturbing."

Source: NewsMax


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