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

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    Professor Pigworth's Avatar
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    F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

    Poor Honest Don. As well as obstruction of justice and other lesser crimes, which might at this point be a given, he could also be looking at a charge of criminal conspiracy.

    It's almost like he was working really, really hard and stupidly to draw maximum attention to his nefarious activities.

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

    WASHINGTON — In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

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

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

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

    The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.

    The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.

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

    “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Mr. Baker said in his testimony, portions of which were read to The New York Times. Mr. Baker did not explicitly acknowledge the existence of the investigation of Mr. Trump to congressional investigators.

    No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. An F.B.I. spokeswoman and a spokesman for the special counsel’s office both declined to comment.

    Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, sought to play down the significance of the investigation. “The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing,” Mr. Giuliani said on Friday, though he acknowledged that he had no insight into the inquiry.

    The cloud of the Russia investigation has hung over Mr. Trump since even before he took office, though he has long vigorously denied any illicit connection to Moscow. The obstruction inquiry, revealed by The Washington Post a few weeks after Mr. Mueller was appointed, represented a direct threat that he was unable to simply brush off as an overzealous examination of a handful of advisers. But few details have been made public about the counterintelligence aspect of the investigation.

    The decision to investigate Mr. Trump himself was an aggressive move by F.B.I. officials who were confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president’s verbal assaults on the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt.”

    A vigorous debate has taken shape among some former law enforcement officials outside the case over whether F.B.I. investigators overreacted in opening the counterintelligence inquiry during a tumultuous period at the Justice Department. Other former officials noted that those critics were not privy to all of the evidence and argued that sitting on it would have been an abdication of duty.

    The F.B.I. conducts two types of inquiries, criminal and counterintelligence investigations. Unlike criminal investigations, which are typically aimed at solving a crime and can result in arrests and convictions, counterintelligence inquiries are generally fact-finding missions to understand what a foreign power is doing and to stop any anti-American activity, like thefts of United States government secrets or covert efforts to influence policy. In most cases, the investigations are carried out quietly, sometimes for years. Often, they result in no arrests.

    Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.

    Other factors fueled the F.B.I.’s concerns, according to the people familiar with the inquiry. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an F.B.I. informant, had compiled memos in mid-2016 containing unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.

    In the months before the 2016 election, the F.B.I. was also already investigating four of Mr. Trump’s associates over their ties to Russia. The constellation of events disquieted F.B.I. officials who were simultaneously watching as Russia’s campaign unfolded to undermine the presidential election by exploiting existing divisions among Americans.

    “In the Russian Federation and in President Putin himself, you have an individual whose aim is to disrupt the Western alliance and whose aim is to make Western democracy more fractious in order to weaken our ability, America’s ability and the West’s ability to spread our democratic ideals,” Lisa Page, a former bureau lawyer, told House investigators in private testimony reviewed by The Times.

    “That’s the goal, to make us less of a moral authority to spread democratic values,” she added. Parts of her testimony were first reported by The Epoch Times.

    And when a newly inaugurated Mr. Trump sought a loyalty pledge from Mr. Comey and later asked that he end an investigation into the president’s national security adviser, the requests set off discussions among F.B.I. officials about opening an inquiry into whether Mr. Trump had tried to obstruct that case.

    But law enforcement officials put off the decision to open the investigation until they had learned more, according to people familiar with their thinking. As for a counterintelligence inquiry, they concluded that they would need strong evidence to take the sensitive step of investigating the president, and they were also concerned that the existence of such an inquiry could be leaked to the news media, undermining the entire investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election.

    After Mr. Comey was fired on May 9, 2017, two more of Mr. Trump’s actions prompted them to quickly abandon those reservations.

    The first was a letter Mr. Trump wanted to send to Mr. Comey about his firing, but never did, in which he mentioned the Russia investigation. In the letter, Mr. Trump thanked Mr. Comey for previously telling him he was not a subject of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

    Even after the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, wrote a more restrained draft of the letter and told Mr. Trump that he did not have to mention the Russia investigation — Mr. Comey’s poor handling of the Clinton email investigation would suffice as a fireable offense, he explained — Mr. Trump directed Mr. Rosenstein to mention the Russia investigation anyway.

    He disregarded the president’s order, irritating Mr. Trump. The president ultimately added a reference to the Russia investigation to the note he had delivered, thanking Mr. Comey for telling him three times that he was not under investigation.

    The second event that troubled investigators was an NBC News interview two days after Mr. Comey’s firing in which Mr. Trump appeared to say he had dismissed Mr. Comey because of the Russia inquiry.

    “I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it,” he said. “And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

    Mr. Trump’s aides have said that a fuller examination of his comments demonstrates that he did not fire Mr. Comey to end the Russia inquiry. “I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people,” Mr. Trump added. “He’s the wrong man for that position.”

    As F.B.I. officials debated whether to open the investigation, some of them pushed to move quickly before Mr. Trump appointed a director who might slow down or even end their investigation into Russia’s interference. Many involved in the case viewed Russia as the chief threat to American democratic values.

    “With respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life,” Ms. Page told investigators for a joint House Judiciary and Oversight Committee investigation into Moscow’s election interference.

    F.B.I. officials viewed their decision to move quickly as validated when a comment the president made to visiting Russian officials in the Oval Office shortly after he fired Mr. Comey was revealed days later.

    “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to a document summarizing the meeting. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/u...gtype=Homepage



    Trump, when he thinks back on all the suckers he scammed throughout his life who either did business with him or who voted for him.

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    SackMan518's Avatar
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    Yawn, more talk of investigations that are actually coverups for the misdeeds of those no longer in office or who failed to get elected.

    Sack
    “‘I looked for someone among you who could build walls or stand in front of me by the gaps in the walls to defend the land and keep it from being destroyed. But I couldn’t find anyone." Ezekiel 22:30

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    212frawk's Avatar
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    On the reporting of this story.....

    On May 11th, 2017, two days after Trump fired Comey, the President gave an interview to NBC in which he said that, when he fired Comey, he was thinking,

    “You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”

    And you talk to people who are familiar with this: once he got on Lester Holt and he said this, the F.B.I. is, like, “He is telling us why he did this?

    The President of the United States got up on television and said, ‘I did this because of Russia.’ ”

    They are, like, “What the fuck?,” right? [ed. note: lol]

    Once again it is the President and these self-inflicted wounds.

    The President said that, and forgive the F.B.I. for taking him at his word.

    And that led to the opening of the investigation on Trump himself, before the appointment of the special counsel.


  4. Rock on:

    HipKat (01-12-19),Professor Pigworth (01-13-19)

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    SackMan518's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 212frawk View Post
    On the reporting of this story.....

    On May 11th, 2017, two days after Trump fired Comey, the President gave an interview to NBC in which he said that, when he fired Comey, he was thinking,

    “You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”

    And you talk to people who are familiar with this: once he got on Lester Holt and he said this, the F.B.I. is, like, “He is telling us why he did this?

    The President of the United States got up on television and said, ‘I did this because of Russia.’ ”

    They are, like, “What the fuck?,” right? [ed. note: lol]

    Once again it is the President and these self-inflicted wounds.

    The President said that, and forgive the F.B.I. for taking him at his word.

    And that led to the opening of the investigation on Trump himself, before the appointment of the special counsel.
    Now you do know that Rod Rosenstein recommended to President Trump that he fire Comey right?
    Sack
    “‘I looked for someone among you who could build walls or stand in front of me by the gaps in the walls to defend the land and keep it from being destroyed. But I couldn’t find anyone." Ezekiel 22:30

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    BuffaBri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SackMan518 View Post
    Now you do know that Rod Rosenstein recommended to President Trump that he fire Comey right?
    No, Trump decided to fire Comey and put a letter together as a statement of reason why and put Russia in as one of those reason. Rosenstein saw this letter and said no no you can't do that it looks really really bad let me put a statement of the reasons why. Rosensteins version mentioned Hillary's emails. Trump then soon after had a Russians over for dinner or whatever and was overheard saying something about getting rid of Comey and Russian ivestigation. Then he goes on TV and again says he wanted to get rid of the "Rusher" investigation.

    What hurts so bad is that he is not even a good criminal and then the fools he dupes are even stupider.

  7. Rock on:

    HipKat (01-13-19)

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    SackMan518's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuffaBri View Post
    No, Trump decided to fire Comey and put a letter together as a statement of reason why and put Russia in as one of those reason. Rosenstein saw this letter and said no no you can't do that it looks really really bad let me put a statement of the reasons why. Rosensteins version mentioned Hillary's emails.
    Then you need to re-educate yourself.

    Rod Rosenstein's letter recommending Comey be fired

    Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.


    In so many words, Rosenstein clearly endorses removing Comey.
    Sack
    “‘I looked for someone among you who could build walls or stand in front of me by the gaps in the walls to defend the land and keep it from being destroyed. But I couldn’t find anyone." Ezekiel 22:30

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    212frawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SackMan518 View Post
    Then you need to re-educate yourself.

    Rod Rosenstein's letter recommending Comey be fired

    Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.


    In so many words, Rosenstein clearly endorses removing Comey.
    It doesnt matter what rosenstein thought. this is about fatass and his overt need to get rid of comey to put a stop to the russia investigation. From the NY Time story:

    ..... a letter Mr. Trump wanted to send to Mr. Comey about his firing, but never did, in which he mentioned the Russia investigation. In the letter, Mr. Trump thanked Mr. Comey for previously telling him he was not a subject of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

    Even after the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, wrote a more restrained draft of the letter and told Mr. Trump that he did not have to mention the Russia investigation — Mr. Comey’s poor handling of the Clinton email investigation would suffice as a fireable offense, he explained — Mr. Trump directed Mr. Rosenstein to mention the Russia investigation anyway.

    He disregarded the president’s order, irritating Mr. Trump. The president ultimately added a reference to the Russia investigation to the note he had delivered, thanking Mr. Comey for telling him three times that he was not under investigation.

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    BuffaBri (01-13-19)

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    Professor Pigworth's Avatar
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    More desperate denials from the liar-in-chief, President Trumpsky.

    Trump Denies Hiding Detail of Putin Summit Talks from Staff

    US President Donald Trump has denied hiding details of conversations with Russia's Vladimir Putin, saying he is "not keeping anything under wraps".

    The Washington Post alleges that on at least one occasion in 2017 he took away his interpreter's notes after talks.

    And there is reportedly no record of his one-on-one, two-hour discussion with Mr Putin in Helsinki last year.

    Mr Trump's relations with Russia before his election in 2016 are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation.

    Investigators led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller are trying to establish whether there was any collusion between Mr Trump's campaign team and the Russian state to help get him elected.

    Earlier this week the New York Times reported that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence inquiry into whether Mr Trump was secretly working for Russia after he sacked FBI director James Comey in 2017.

    This alleged inquiry was eventually merged into the Mueller investigation.

    In 2016, US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had launched cyber-attacks and planted fake news stories on social media in a bid to boost Mr Trump and damage his rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton

    What did Mr Trump say about the Putin story?

    "I'm not keeping anything under wraps," Mr Trump told Fox News while referring to the latest report. "I couldn't care less."

    He said he had talked in Helsinki to the Russian leader "like every president does" and that they had had a "great" conversation about "very positive things" such as the economy.

    "Anybody could have listened to that meeting," he said. "That meeting is open for grabs. The whole Russia thing is a hoax."

    The US president said he met one-on-one with many world leaders but the meetings with Mr Putin were all that were focused on.

    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the story was so outrageously inaccurate it didn't even warrant a response.

    What did the Washington Post report?

    The paper says Mr Trump concealed details of his conversations with Mr Putin from senior officials in his administration, quoting unnamed current and former US officials.

    After a meeting with Mr Putin in Hamburg in 2017, Mr Trump took possession of his interpreter's notes, the paper says.

    In Helsinki, the two presidents spoke behind closed doors for two hours with only their interpreters present.

    Former officials say this is at odds with practices of previous US presidents.

    The Washington Post adds that Mr Trump "generally has allowed aides to listen to his phone conversations with Putin".

    How far on is the Mueller inquiry?

    Robert Mueller has spent 20 months investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, and possible collusion between the Trump's campaign and Moscow.

    It has already put some of Mr Trump's closest associates in the dock.

    His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for campaign finance and fraud crimes while his campaign chief Paul Manafort was convicted of financial fraud.

    The US president has repeatedly described the inquiry as "a witch hunt".

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46855079



    Trump, when he thinks back on all the suckers he scammed throughout his life who either did business with him or who voted for him.

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    SackMan518's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 212frawk View Post
    It doesnt matter what rosenstein thought. this is about fatass and his overt need to get rid of comey to put a stop to the russia investigation.
    The facts are that Rosenstein recommended the firing. Trump fired Comey. An investigation was then opened on Trump over the firing. (Whether he said it was over Russia or not is immaterial, the guy should have been fired for his handling of Clinton alone.) Rosenstein appointed Mueller to oversee that.

    The whole thing is a giant circle jerk. There's no proof of collusion, there was no collusion and everyone who's been convicted has been done so for things they did before joining Trump's campaign which aren't even "collusion" and for things that aren't even crimes. The Russian indictments are a joke, they'll never get those people from Russia and they know it but it makes their investigation look more legit. Seriously, you guys need tin foil hats...

    Sack
    “‘I looked for someone among you who could build walls or stand in front of me by the gaps in the walls to defend the land and keep it from being destroyed. But I couldn’t find anyone." Ezekiel 22:30

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    212frawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SackMan518 View Post
    Seriously, you guys need tin foil hats...
    says the guy with the blindfold on.... we should start calling you birdsack lol.

    Here, listen to this, it will clear up rosenstein's role in the firing for you along with some other very interesting insight into this business.

    https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the...ast/e/58151364

    you should invest the 44 minutes into this listen. but in case you dont, the RR stuff is at the 30 min mark of the recording and lasts just a couple of minutes. give it a go, it's fascinating

    https://www.documentcloud.org/docume...ey-firing.html

    https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news...e-941854787582

  14. Rock on:

    HipKat (01-14-19)

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