WASHINGTON — It started with her emails.Hillary Clinton's emails were hacked — through both Democratic National Committee servers and the private account of her campaign chairman — and released on the website Wikileaks.The intelligence community pointed the finger at Russia, and officials later said they believed the operation was part of a deliberate effort to sway the 2016 presidential election.There is, as of yet, no direct, public evidence that President Trump knew anything about the hacking — though he did say last July that he hoped Russia would be able to find official emails missing from Clinton's home server.But as tends to happen in Washington (see Watergate, 1972-1974 and Whitewater, 1993-1998), one controversy can beget another until the central question becomes not what the president did, but whether he obstructed the investigation."They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for … [Read more...] about Election to obstruction: The many tentacles of the Trump-Russia investigation
On May 17, the Justice Department announced the appointment of former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to investigate any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.Trump responded by calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”At a May 18 press conference, Trump said: “Well, I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt. And there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign — but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians, zero.”Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the decision to appoint a special counsel just days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey told Congress on March 20 that the FBI had opened an investigation last July into “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between … [Read more...] about Fact check: What does the appointment of a special counsel mean for the Russia investigation?
President Trump on Wednesday continued to bash the ongoing investigations into possible collusion between associates of his presidential campaign and Russia, this time calling into question why ex-foreign policy adviser Carter Page wouldn't publicly testify before a House panel:To be clear, Page, who is under congressional and FBI scrutiny because of his contacts with Russia, said he will not testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee. He had planned to do so, in part to rebut statements from former CIA director John Brennan, who earlier testified he had "unresolved questions" about whether Moscow did get Trump campaign officials to act on its behalf.When asked whether he was prohibited from rebutting Brennan's testimony, Page told USA TODAY, "That is a credible theory."As he has in the past, Trump likened this new development in the Russia investigation to a "witch hunt."Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House … [Read more...] about President Trump slams Democrats, Russia investigation over Carter Page
WASHINGTON – Robert S. Mueller III, the former FBI director tapped by the Justice Department on Wednesday to be a special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, has spent most of his life in public service.Mueller, 72, was named to head the FBI one week before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks – and spent the next 12 years at the helm of the agency, a tenure second in length only to J. Edgar Hoover.At his confirmation hearings, Mueller vowed that his highest priority would be “to restore the public’s confidence in the FBI."Mueller’s arrival to the FBI came after turbulent times that included the agency's deadly confrontation with Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas; the discovery of FBI agent-turned-Russian-spy Robert Hanssen; and the disclosure of documents withheld from lawyers representing convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. By many accounts, Mueller succeeded. When Mueller stepped down as FBI chief in … [Read more...] about 7 things to know about Robert Mueller, new special counsel for Russia investigation
WASHINGTON — Indiana’s John Pistole couldn’t be happier with the choice of his former boss — former FBI Director Robert Mueller — to be a special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.“Bob Mueller is an outstanding choice because he is apolitical and follows the rule of law, and follows the evidence wherever it leads, regardless of political outcomes,’’ said Pistole, who served as Mueller’s deputy and is now president of Anderson University.Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Wednesday he was appointing Mueller to head the FBI’s investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 president election and related matters.The news comes as President Donald Trump and his administration grapple with the fallout from explosive revelations earlier this week that former FBI director James Comey kept notes of a February meeting indicating Trump asked him to close the … [Read more...] about Hoosiers praise choice of Robert Mueller as special counsel for Russia investigation
WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has indicated that he is not yet inclined to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the FBI's inquiry into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.The ultimate decision on whether to seek an outside counsel, which Democrats have demanded following President Trump's abrupt dismissal of FBI director James Comey on Tuesday, falls to Rosenstein because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any involvement in the Russia probe.The latest details on Rosenstein's position on the matter, which was first reported by CNN, comes as the Justice Department leader agreed to brief the full Senate on his role in President Trump's firing of Comey.Rosenstein, who along with Sessions recommended Comey's dismissal, informed Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer's office on Friday that he would meet with senators next week, according to Matt … [Read more...] about Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein not ready to appoint special prosecutor for Russia investigation
WASHINGTON – In his first appearance as acting FBI director, Andrew McCabe told a Senate panel Thursday that the abrupt dismissal of Director James Comey has not impeded the bureau's ongoing inquiry into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government."Simply put, you cannot not stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing,'' McCabe assured the Senate Intelligence Committee. McCabe was appointed to lead the bureau following President Trump's abrupt firing of Comey on Tuesday. "We don't curtail our activities. We continue to focus on our mission to get the job done.''In firing Comey, President Trump said he appreciated the former director's three separate assurances that he was not under FBI investigation.Yet McCabe declined to respond to a question about whether Comey did indeed assure Trump that he was not a target of bureau's ongoing counterintelligence probe. The acting director said he was not in a position … [Read more...] about Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe: Comey’s firing won’t impede Russia investigation
WASHINGTON — Recent revelations that money from Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped pay for a dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia have drawn comparisons to a meeting that Trump campaign officials had at Trump Tower last year with Russians promising "dirt" on Clinton.The Trump Tower meeting has become just one focal point in a sweeping investigation by three congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.But President Trump and some of his allies have pointed to the Democrats' funding of the dossier to allege that it is the "real" Russian collusion scandal because it included some information from Russian sources.Are the two actions really comparable? Here's a look:According to a story first reported by The Washington Post last month, lawyers representing the Clinton campaign … [Read more...] about Russia investigation: Are the Trump Tower meeting and the Trump dossier comparable?
President Trump's son-in-law and close adviser Jared Kushner has caught the attention of federal investigators for his contacts with Russian officials, according to a person familiar with the inquiry who was not authorized to speak on the record.At this time, Kushner is not regarded as a formal target of the probe. The FBI is investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia in connection with Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election.Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, along with ex-Trump campaign associates Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Carter Page, are active subjects of the investigation.Flynn has so far refused to turn over documents related to Senate Intelligence Committee, invoking the Fifth Amendment in his rejection of a Senate subpoena. Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., did not rule the possibility that the Senate could try to hold Fylnn in contempt for his refusal.USA TODAY reported last week that a current White … [Read more...] about Jared Kushner under FBI scrutiny in Russia investigation
WASHINGTON -- How did the brother of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman become a subject of inquiry in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Trump's ties to Russia?On Monday, John Podesta's brother, Tony, announced he was leaving his firm, the Podesta Group, shortly after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an aide were charged with crimes in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Podesta’s firm worked with Manafort, who was charged on multiple counts along with his longtime business partner, Rick Gates, over activities that occurred before they worked for President Trump.The Podesta Group was helping Manafort’s company on behalf of a group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. That a high-powered Democratic lobbying firm became involved with Manafort, a longtime Republican Washington power broker, might seem curious. The firm became one of Washington's top performing … [Read more...] about Who is Tony Podesta and why is he under scrutiny in Bob Mueller’s Russia investigation?