fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election expected soon, Tucker Carlson on Monday night discussed the media’s role in spreading the narrative that then-candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia to take the White House.

“The [Christopher Steele] dossier and the special counsel has already accomplished their goal in the mind of many Democratic supporters, which is that this whole thing was actually changed, the votes were changed,” The Hill media reporter Joe Concha said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Rod Rosenstein… the deputy attorney general said that not one vote had changed.”

Carlson and Concha expressed dismay that CNN and other media outlets reported on the now-debunked anti-Trump dossier when the information clearly had been unverified.

RUSSIAN TECH FIRM USED IN HACKING OF DEMOCRATS, MCCAIN’S ASSOCIATE DISSEMINATED STEELE DOSSIER, UNSEALED DOCUMENTS SHOW

Concha in particular took issue with Steele admitting he used “CNN’s iReport,” a “user-generated” website, for some information in his dossier.

“That is shocking to me. I can’t believe that isn’t getting more coverage,” Concha told Carlson.

The website appears to be deactivated.

Carlson said many media outlets helped spread false information to Americans by pushing the Russia collusion narrative with false information and openly wondered if they regretted their reporting.

“Do you think anyone in the press, at [CNN] or the others, will feel bad that they’ve been lying to their viewers for two years?” Carlson asked Concha.

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“I think many people have a problem with the media because there is no contrition,” Concha said, “that when mistakes are made, people don’t just say straight-up about excuses, ‘we got it wrong, we’re sorry, we’re going to try better next time.’ Think about the last time you ever heard that from any major media person.”

He cited a Monmouth University poll from last year in which 77 percent of Americans believed “fake news” happened at least occasionally, saying it helped prove the media had lost of the trust of many Americans.

Source: Fox News Politics

The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, voted for the resolution calling for any final report in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to be made public, but told Fox News on Sunday it was unnecessary.

“It was a political stunt by the Democrats who felt that they could divide Republicans into voting no upon it because at the end of the day after I looked at it, when they dropped it … they said this is nothing but simply a first-year law student’s restatement of what the regular regulations say that Mr. (Attorney General William) Barr is going to have to do,” he said on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

The House voted unanimously Thursday for the resolution, a symbolic action designed to urge Barr into releasing as much information as possible when the investigation is concluded.

The Democratic-backed resolution, which passed 420-0, comes as Mueller appears to be nearing an end to his investigation. Lawmakers in both parties have maintained there will have to be some sort of public resolution when the report is done — and privately hope that a report shows conclusions that are favorable to their own side.

Four Republicans voted present: Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie.

The nonbinding House resolution calls for the public release of any report Mueller provides to Barr, with an exception for classified material. The resolution also calls for the full report to be released to Congress.

“We know and you know, as you said earlier, that there’s not going to be collusion here. This is where it is going to be … very hard for the Democrats. All this was. Don’t be fooled by this. This was simply a stunt because they thought they could divide Republicans to make us look bad as not being transparent,” Collins said Sunday. “I have no problem being transparent with what we see is coming forward, and it’s within the regulation to say that this was nothing more than a political stunt.”

He called the resolution an act of nothingness.

“This is the sad part we’re at right now, Maria,” he told Bartiromo. “They have no agenda, they have nothing that they can actually put on the floor, so they wasted an entire week of the American taxpayers’ dollar to actually put a report on the floor that said nothing, basically except the same thing the regulations say that Mr. Barr needs to do so.”

WORLD LEADERS INCLUDING TRUMP ANGERED BY NEW ZEALAND VIOLENCE

President Trump tweeted Saturday: “I told leadership to let all Republicans vote for transparency. Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter. Play along with the game!”

It’s unclear exactly what documentation will be produced at the end of the probe into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia, and how much of that the Justice Department will allow people to see. Mueller is required to submit a report to Barr, and then Barr can decide how much of that is released publicly.

Barr said at his confirmation hearing in January that he took seriously the department regulations that said Mueller’s report should be confidential. Those regulations required only that the report explain decisions to pursue or to decline prosecutions, which could be as simple as a bullet-point list or as lengthy as a report running hundreds of pages.

“I don’t know what, at the end of the day, what will be releasable. I don’t know what Bob Mueller is writing,” Barr said at the hearing.

Democrats said they were unsatisfied with Barr’s answers and wanted a stronger commitment to releasing the full report, along with interview transcripts and other underlying evidence.

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Republicans have agreed — to a point. In making an argument for transparency, Republican leaders have pointed to Barr’s comments and the existing regulations, without explicitly pressing for the underlying evidence.

Collins concluded Sunday to Bartiromo: “We just call their bluff, and just say, fine we can vote for this, because this is actually what Bill Barr said he is going to do. Why are we wasting the American people’s time?”

Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump on Saturday backed bipartisan calls in Congress for FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election to be made public.

“Play along with the game!” the president told Republicans.

“On the recent non-binding vote (420-0) in Congress about releasing the Mueller Report, I told leadership to let all Republicans vote for transparency,” he tweeted. "Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter.”

MUELLER’S REPORT ON RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT FINALLY DROPS?

The House voted on Thursday in support of a nonbinding resolution to encourage Attorney General William Barr to release the report, amid continuing concerns in some quarters that it won’t be made public. Four Republican lawmakers voted present.

Since the measure is nonbinding, Mueller, Barr and Trump cannot be forced to release more information to Congress and the public than the Justice Department and federal law require. Republicans were quick to point out – despite their support for the resolution – that because the resolution does not have the force of law, it had little sway over whether or not the report is released to the public.

Some Democrats have expressed concern that the administration may seek to keep the report under wraps, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., claiming that Barr indicated he’d exploit legal "loopholes" to hide Mueller’s final report from the public and resist subpoenas against the White House.

"I will commit to providing as much information as I can, consistent with the regulations," Barr told Blumenthal during his confirmation hearing in February, when asked if he would ensure that Mueller’s full report would be subject to public review.

TRUMP SAYS ‘THERE SHOULD BE NO MUELLER REPORT,’ CALLS PROBE ‘ILLEGAL’

While Trump has been open to the report being released, it has not stopped him from continuing to be critical of the investigation as a whole — calling the probe “illegal” and “conflicted” as recently as Friday. He also repeated his assertions that there was no collusion between his 2016 campaign and Moscow to affect the outcome of the presidential contest.

“So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed, and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

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“This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime. Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win,” he continued. “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”

Whenever Mueller does submit his report, Barr will review it and is expected to create his own report explaining the findings to Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

The attorney general is ultimately the official who decides what, if anything, in the report can become public.

Fox News; Brooke Singman and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former British spy Christopher Steele confessed that he used an unverified report submitted to a CNN website, where “random individuals” can post information, for his salacious anti-Trump dossier.

Steele made the awkward revelation during a deposition last year in a case involving Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, who claims his companies Webzilla and XBT Holdings were defamed by Steele after the dossier was published by BuzzFeed.

RUSSIAN TECH FIRM USED IN HACKING OF DEMOCRATS, MCCAIN’S ASSOCIATE DISSEMINATED STEELE DOSSIER, UNSEALED DOCUMENTS SHOW

Steele was asked during the deposition how he verified allegations about Gubarev’s companies and whether he found “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla,” according to the newly released transcripts of the deposition.

“We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport,” Steele said.

But CNN iReport, which appears to be no longer active — though archives remain accessible online — states that it’s a “user-generated site” and warns that “the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”

“The stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”

— CNN iReport disclaimer 

Even the site’s banner included the slogan “Unedited. Unfiltered. News.”

Former British spy Christopher Steele confessed that he used an unverified report submitted to a CNN website, where “random individuals” can post information, for his salacious anti-Trump dossier.

Former British spy Christopher Steele confessed that he used an unverified report submitted to a CNN website, where “random individuals” can post information, for his salacious anti-Trump dossier.

When asked whether the former British spy understood how the website actually worked, he confessed that “I do not have any particular knowledge of that” and noted he didn’t understand at the time that the site has “no connection to any CNN reporters.”

“Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” an examiner asked Steele.

He replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has [sic] some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

“No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has [sic] some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

— Christopher Steele

According to the archive copy of the iReports site, the website specifically notes that none of the users who submit content can be described as working for CNN.

“Being an iReport.com user and creating and uploading content to iReport.com does not mean that you work for CNN, and you should never represent yourself as working for CNN,” the site’s FAQ section read.

COURT FILES REVEAL ROLE OF MCCAIN, ASSOCIATE IN SPREADING ANTI-TRUMP DOSSIER

The dossier authored by Steele alleged that Gubarev’s companies “used botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘alerting operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership” and that Gubarev himself played a “significant” part in the operation while “under duress” from the Russian security agency FSB.

The latest revelation of using unconfirmed sources put the dossier’s legitimacy further into question, especially since the FBI extensively relied on the dossier in its warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking to surveil Trump aide Carter Page.

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Steele and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence, were hired by Glenn Simpson’s U.S. based company, Fusion GPS, to work on the dossier and promote its contents to journalists. Fusion GPS received $1.8 million via the law firm Perkins Coie, with the money paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Newly unsealed court filings show the office of the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shared with the FBI and a host of media outlets the unverified dossier that alleged the Russians had compromising information on now-President Trump.

McCain had denied being the source for BuzzFeed after it published the dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but had acknowledged giving it to the FBI.

RUSSIAN TECH FIRM USED IN HACKING OF DEMOCRATS, MCCAIN’S ASSOCIATE DISSEMINATED STEELE DOSSIER, UNSEALED DOCUMENTS 

In a newly unsealed declaration from September, former senior counterintelligence FBI agent Bill Priestap confirmed that the FBI received a copy of the first 33 pages of the dossier in December 2016 from McCain.

In another filing, David Kramer – a former State Department official and McCain associate – said in a Dec. 13, 2017, deposition that the dossier was given to him by author and former British spy Christopher Steele, which he then provided to more than a dozen journalists at outlets including CNN, BuzzFeed and The Washington Post. The details were first reported by The Daily Caller.

The report was also shared with State Department official Victoria Nuland, Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

The filings were unsealed as part of an ongoing libel case against BuzzFeed by a Russian businessman.

In that deposition, Kramer said that McCain gave a copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9. Kramer told investigators that it was the sense from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson that “having Senator McCain provide it to the FBI would give it a little more oomph than it had had up until that point.”

MCCAIN ASSOCIATED SHARED UNVERIFIED STEELE DOSSIER WITH BUZZFEED, COURT FILING SAYS

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” he said.

Kramer also described how BuzzFeed News reporter Ken Bensinger came to get hold of the dossier, before the outlet became the first to publish it in its entirety.

INSIDE THE TRUMP DOSSIER HANDOFF

He said that he showed Bensinger the dossier in December at the McCain Institute, but did not allow him to take pictures of it. But Kramer said he left Bensinger alone to read the memos and, in that time, Bensinger took photos of the dossier.

Kramer said he panicked when he saw that BuzzFeed News had published the document in its entirety online on Jan. 10, and immediately sought to have it taken down.

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“I called Mr. Bensinger, and my first words out of my mouth were ‘you are gonna get people killed,’” he said.

The FBI extensively relied on the dossier in its warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking to surveil Trump aide Carter Page — even though some of the dossier’s claims have been called into question, including a claim that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to pay off Russian hackers and other more salacious claims about Trump himself.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Lukas Mikelionis and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham announced Friday the panel will investigate alleged discussions between high-ranking Justice Department officials about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.

Graham, R-S.C., penned a letter Friday to Attorney General William Barr, requesting documentation of the discussions which allegedly involved Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is set to leave the Justice Department shortly, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and others.

MCCABE REP DOWNPLAYS DOJ DISCUSSIONS ON USING 25TH AMENDMENT TO OUST TRUMP

“The Committee is deeply concerned with these discussions and whether they essentially indicate that two of the highest ranking law enforcement officials in the United States were discussing what amounts to a coup against the President,” Graham wrote to Barr. “Accordingly, the Committee plans to conduct oversight into these discussions and related matters.”

The alleged conversation took place on May 16, 2017, at Justice Department headquarters, Fox News reported in September. Sources told Fox News that McCabe, Rosenstein and former FBI counsel Lisa Page, among others, were in the room.

Rosenstein, who was tasked with oversight of the Russia investigation after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal, reportedly told McCabe that he might be able to persuade Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to begin proceedings to invoke the 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment includes a section allowing the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members to declare a president “unable” to perform the job.

Last month, McCabe, as part of a media blitz to promote his new book, mentioned the controversy in an interview with CBS News. He said that Rosenstein discussed the 25th Amendment option in a manner that was “absolutely serious,” and offered to wear a wire to record Trump.

McCabe’s spokeswoman, however, said McCabe did not participate "in any extended discussions" on the issue.

“He was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein regarding the 25th Amendment,” McCabe spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said last month.

MCCABE, ROSENSTEIN MUST TESTIFY TO EXPLAIN CLAIM THAT DOJ DISCUSSED REMOVING TRUMP, GOP LEADERS SAY

Rosenstein, as he did when the controversy first surfaced, largely denied the allegations.

"The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references.  As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment," a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Graham requested all documents and communications to “show the names, titles, and business addresses of all personnel who participated in any meeting” with Rosenstein and McCabe between May 9, 2017—the day former FBI Director James Comey was fired—and May 17, 2017—the day Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel.

Graham gave Barr a deadline of March 29 to comply with the document requests.

Graham’s request comes after House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., last month urged Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to call McCabe and Rosenstein to testify before the committee.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

For weeks, rumors have been swirling that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is nearing the end of his years-long Russia investigation — and lawmakers on Capitol Hill are eager to make his final report public.

The House of Representatives unanimously voted (420-0) Thursday in favor of a resolution to urge Attorney General William Barr to release Mueller’s full report to Congress and the country for the sake of "transparency." The probe was intended to examine Russian election interference and whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 election — and has since resulted in charges for several former Trump campaign associates, though none have directly related to collusion.

Trump called the investigation "illegal" and "conflicted" this week, arguing Mueller should have never been appointed in the first place.

WHAT IS ‘COLLUSION,’ AND IS IT A CRIME? RUSSIA INVESTIGATION’S BUZZWORD EXPLAINED

“THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!” Trump exclaimed in a tweet after claiming "collusion" was an excuse invented by Democrats after Hillary Clinton lost the election.

Here’s a look at what happens when Mueller finally drops the long-awaited files that spell out his findings.

Mueller submits his report to Barr

When the investigation — which began in May 2017 — concludes, Mueller will release his final report to Barr, who has been overseeing the special counsel since he took office in February.

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

ANDREW WEISSMANN, A TOP PROSECUTOR ON MUELLER TEAM, TO LEAVE SPECIAL COUNSEL’S OFFICE ‘IN NEAR FUTURE’

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

Barr reviews the documents

Attorney General William Barr will be the first to receive the official copy of Mueller's report.

Attorney General William Barr will be the first to receive the official copy of Mueller’s report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

It’s currently unclear what documentation will be produced at the end of the probe, but it’s up to Barr to determine how much information Congress will see.

“He could write a two-sentence explanation — or he could write something very detailed,” Andrew Kent, a professor at Fordham University School of Law, previously told The Washington Post. “There appears to be a great deal of discretion vested by the regulations to determine how detailed a report to write. The regulations don’t limit that.”

He is obligated to tell members of Congress why Mueller decided to end the investigation but he’s not legally required to provide any supporting paperwork, according to The New York Times.

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

In a February letter to Barr, Democratic leaders argued that Trump, given his status, should not fall under those categories of protection.

"I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel’s work."

— William Barr

"Although we recognize the policy of the Department to remains sensitive to the privacy and reputation interests of individuals who will not face criminal charges, we feel that it is necessary to address the particular danger of withholding evidence of misconduct by President Trump from the relevant committees," the lawmakers wrote.

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

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

Congress receives Barr’s summary of the report

Once Barr sifts through what’s anticipated to be a lengthy report — which could take days or even weeks to fully read — then he will give lawmakers a summary.

If lawmakers are dissatisfied with the documents Barr has provided, they could call for hearings or private depositions seeking more information.

WHO IS WILLIAM BARR? 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

"This is going to be a legal battle," Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., commented on the likelihood of lawmakers attempting to seek confidential information from the report, according to USA Today.

Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who is in private practice in Chicago, expressed doubt that lawmakers would subpoena the report or call on Mueller to discuss the high-profile case publicly.

"This notion that Congress is going to throw a subpoena on Bob Mueller and say, ‘Box up all the grand jury stuff, and give it to me’: I think that’s a fantasy," Cotter told USA Today.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump declared Friday that “there should be no Mueller Report,” blasting the special counsel’s Russia investigation as “illegal” and “conflicted” following the release of new details about the early days of the probe.

“So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed, and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

LISA PAGE TRANSCRIPTS REVEAL DETAILS OF ANTI-TRUMP ‘INSURANCE POLICY,’ CONCERNS OVER FULL-BLOWN PROBE

“This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime. Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win,” he continued. “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”

The president’s tweets come as speculation mounts over when Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team will complete the investigation and submit a report to Attorney General William Barr.

The latest signal that the investigation could be coming to a close is the expected departure of top prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who led the charge on the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. As of this week, Manafort will face 81 months in prison.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, A TOP PROSECUTOR ON MUELLER TEAM, TO LEAVE SPECIAL COUNSEL’S OFFICE ‘IN NEAR FUTURE’

The special counsel’s office confirmed to Fox News on Thursday that Weissmann will be leaving Mueller’s team “in the near future.” A spokesman for New York University Law School also told Fox News Thursday that they were in talks with Weissmann, who had done work with the university in the past, to return to the Law School.

Whenever Mueller does submit his report, Barr will review it and is expected to create his own report to send to Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to explain the special counsel’s findings. The attorney general is ultimately the official who decides what, if anything, in the report can become public.

The president’s renewed criticism of the investigation, meanwhile, comes after hundreds of pages of transcripts were released from fired FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok’s and former FBI counsel Lisa Page’s closed-door interviews before the House Judiciary Committee last summer.

In her testimony, Page confirmed that FBI officials had little evidence at the start of the investigation in August 2016.

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Page said that the FBI “knew so little” about whether the allegations were “true or not true,” and had a “paucity of evidence because we are just starting down the path” of vetting the allegations.

Strzok and Page, who came under fire after it was revealed they exchanged numerous anti-Trump text messages, both worked on the FBI’s initial investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election. The two also served, for a short period of time, on Mueller’s team.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok defended his affair with now-former FBI counsel Lisa Page during a closed-door appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last summer, repeatedly denying the relationship presented a security risk when challenged by GOP aides, according to a newly released transcript of his testimony.

Strzok, who was fired from the bureau after months of scrutiny regarding anti-Trump text messages between him and Page, confirmed he was involved in an extramarital affair when asked about it during his interview before the committee on June 27, 2018.

GOHMERT UNLOADS ON ‘SMIRKING’ STRZOK: ‘HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU LOOK SO INNOCENT INTO YOUR WIFE’S EYES AND LIE TO HER’

But Strzok was also asked by Art Baker, the GOP investigative counsel for the committee, whether that affair could have made him "vulnerable to potential recruitment" by "hostile intelligence service[s]."

“Yeah, I don’t think I would characterize it that way,” Strzok said. “I think it is not so much any particular action as it is the way that action might be used to coerce or otherwise get somebody to do something. I can tell you that in no way would that extramarital affair have any power in coercing me to do anything other than obeying the law and doing honest, competent investigation."

Baker continued to press Strzok as to whether the affair could have been a “vulnerability” should he have been approached by a foreign intelligence service.

“I would absolutely respond not, you know – and, well getting into you know terms of art here, one argument is you would tell the service, ‘Let me get back to you.’ I would immediately go report that to my superiors and see how they wanted to follow up,” Strzok explained. “But it is—I absolutely would not have been vulnerable or even let alone consider any sort of recruitment attempt.”

The details emerged in a lengthy transcript released Thursday by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman welcomed the publication in a written statement, saying:

“Pete welcomes the release of the transcript of his closed-door testimony, which we have been calling for since he voluntarily testified last June. It is further evidence that, contrary to the impression that the President’s allies in Congress tried to create with their selective and often inaccurate leaks, Pete at all times discharged his duties honorably, patriotically, and without regard to his personal political opinions.”

Later during the closed-door hearing, GOP senior counsel Ryan Breitenbach raised the affair topic again, asking Strzok whether the Justice Department or the FBI knew about his and Page’s “indiscretions.”

LISA PAGE TRANSCRIPTS REVEAL DETAILS OF ANTI-TRUMP ‘INSURANCE POLICY,’ CONCERNS OVER FULL-BLOWN PROBE

“I don’t know what they did or didn’t. I would tell you—and I think why it’s relevant that—why I’m saying this isn’t necessarily relevant is that my understanding of Bureau regulation is that, whatever morally you may think of an extramarital affair, it is not prohibited by Bureau regulation or policy,” Strzok explained, further defending his relationship with Page.

“Certainly if somebody is in your chain of command, if there’s any sort of impropriety or favoritism, or things like that, it is. But simply an extramarital relationship is not,” he said.

Strzok was again asked whether he thinks his affair would have made him “susceptible to potential exploitation” by a foreign intelligence service. Strzok again said, “I do not.”

“My existence of an extramarital affair is not anything that ever could’ve been used to coerce me,” Strzok said. “It is not anything that could have been used to, you know, blackmail me, or otherwise, you know, exploit a vulnerability.”

Strzok and Page both worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team—with Page serving a short detail and returning to the FBI over the summer of 2017, and Strzok, later, being removed from his post and reassigned to the FBI’s human resources division following the revelations of their anti-Trump text messages, uncovered by the Justice Department inspector general.

Strzok was asked whether the FBI or Mueller’s office knew of their relationship when they were transferred from the team.

“I don’t know the answer to how widely that was or was not known within the FBI,” Strzok said. “And I just don’t – having answered that a couple of times now, truly, I can’t tell you—I mean, outside of the setting and everything going on, this has been—and the use and publicity of all this, extraordinarily painful and harmful and hurtful to my family. And I just don’t want to continue engaging in that process.”

During Strzok’s public congressional testimony last July before the judiciary and oversight committees, the affair itself was not a major focus of the committee’s questioning — until Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, blasted Strzok in deeply personal terms.

“The disgrace is what this man has done to our justice system,” Gohmert said during the hearing on July 12, 2017. “I can’t help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page?”

Democrats erupted with objections, saying Gohmert’s comments amounted to “intolerable harassment of the witness.”

Strzok and Page communicated on their work phones to hide their affair from their spouses, according to the inspector general report released in June 2017.

The two were also assigned to the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and handling of classified information, a case that was nicknamed "Midyear Exam" or "MYE" inside the bureau. Page resigned from her post as FBI counsel in May 2018. Strzok was fired from his post in August 2018.

Source: Fox News Politics

The House of Representatives voted Thursday in favor of a resolution to encourage Attorney General William Barr to release Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report to both Congress and the country amid Democratic fears information about the investigation would not be made public.

The resolution enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support and passed in a floor vote 420-0. Four Republican lawmakers voted present.

“Congress will not accept any effort to bury this report,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of House Intelligence Committee, said on the House floor Thursday. “Anything less than full transparency would be unacceptable.”

Since the measure is a non-binding resolution, Mueller, Barr and President Trump cannot be forced to release more information to Congress and the public than the Justice Department and federal law require. Republicans were quick to point out that – despite their support for the resolution – because the resolution was non-binding, it had little sway over whether or not the report is released to the public.

ROSENSTEIN, FMR FBI DIRECTOR MCCABE NEED TO TESTIFY ABOUT APPARENT PLOT TO REMOVE TRUMP, GOP SAYS

Barr testified during his confirmation hearings in February that, as he understands the regulations governing the special counsel, the report will be confidential – and any report that goes to Congress or the public will be authored by the attorney general.

Some Democrats sounded the alarm after Barr’s testimony, with Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal charging that Barr indicated he’d exploit legal "loopholes" to hide Mueller’s final report from the public and to resist subpoenas against the White House.

"I will commit to providing as much information as I can, consistent with the regulations," Barr had told Blumenthal when asked if he would ensure that Mueller’s full report was publicly released.

Mueller’s team is still leading several prosecutions, including against longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone on charges of witness tampering and lying to Congress, and against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who awaits sentencing on charges he lied to FBI agents during the Russia probe. Flynn is cooperating as part of a separate Foreign Agents Registration Act case regarding lobbying work in Turkey as part of his plea deal.

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Thursday’s resolution vote came on the same day it was announced that one of Mueller’s top prosecutors in the Russia investigation will soon leave his post – prompting more speculation that the probe is wrapping up.

Andrew Weissmann, who will leave the investigation reportedly to teach at New York University, helped build the case against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was recently sentenced to more than seven years in prison following two cases related to the Mueller probe.

Weissmann has been a frequent target of conservative legal interest groups and supporters of the president. Author Michael Wolff said former Trump advisor Steve Bannon told him that Weissmann was like "the LeBron James of money laundering investigations."

Fox News’ Gregg Re and Luis Casiano contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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