Garry Kasparov: Donald Trump has more Russian connections than Aeroflot

The chess champion slams Putin over his manipulation of American democracy.

From HuffPost:

Legendary chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov delivered a one-two punch Monday against Russian President Vladimir Putin — and Donald Trump — as he warned of the very serious threat to American democracy that the Kremlin “dictator” continues to pose to America.

“Trump has more Russian connections than Aeroflot,” Kasparov said, referring to the Russian airline in a speech Monday at the Common Good Forum in New York. “I believe in coincidences, but I also believe in the KGB.”

The Russian dissident and human rights activist also accused Trump on MSNBC Monday of “trying to divert” the investigation of Russian interference into the U.S. presidential election to “minor details.” Trump’s “attempts to move away from the core of this investigation into some foolish stories just demonstrates that he is quite desperate, and that he wants to control this process by tweeting and by shouting,” Kasparov added.

Trump’s new fury has been directed at his latest claim that the FBI planted a mole in his campaign, and he ordered the Justice Department to investigate. Last year, he claimed that the Obama administration had ordered the FBI to wiretap meetings in Trump Tower. There is no evidence that happened.

Kasparov suspects that serious secrets about Putin and Trump’s relationship have yet to emerge. It’s suspicious, said Kasparov, that while Trump is “not shy of criticizing anybody or anything, from NATO to Meryl Streep, [he] always refrains from saying one negative word about Vladimir Putin.”

Read the whole thing …

Holder: DOJ, FBI should reject Trump’s requests

Holder, who served as attorney general under former President Barack Obama from 2009-2015 — and has mooted the possibility of a 2020 presidential campaign — has often publicly criticized Trump.

From The Hill:

Former Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday urged Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials to “simply say no” to President Trump’s demand for an expanded investigation into his claims of FBI wrongdoing as it relates to his campaign.

“More DOJ norms being eroded. Trump — a SUBJECT of the investigation — wants access to material related to the inquiry,” Holder tweeted.

Read the whole thing …

Trump’s Latest FBI Attack Stuns, Saddens Justice Dept. Officials: ‘We’re in Venezuela’

“‘You can’t overstate how critical it is that people who have information trust us to protect them,’ said a federal prosecutor, adding that Trump is working to break that trust.”

From the Daily Beast:

President Donald Trump’s latest round of attacks on the FBI has left morale at the Justice Department at a new low, with officials bemoaning what they view as a full-frontal assault on their institution.

“It’s a deliberate campaign to delegitimize institutions where the people who are inside those institutions are professionals and giving up lots of money for the jobs that they’re doing and it’s extremely demoralizing,” said one current federal prosecutor.

“As my father used to say, history goes forward and backward. And things go backward when the trust in bedrock institutions — which are trustworthy, by the way — is diminished for the benefit of a few. It accelerates, and you wake up one day and we’re in Venezuela.”

Trump has been pushing a conspiracy theory that the FBI sicced a spy on his campaign during the election season. In reality, a longtime FBI informant—per numerous reports—spoke with several Trump campaign officials, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, and shared the information with FBI investigators. The Daily Caller reported the name of the person believed to be that informant.

Read the whole thing …

US Department of Justice to probe Trump campaign infiltration

“The US Department of Justice will investigate whether FBI agents spied on President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign for inappropriate purposes.”

From BBC News:

In a tweet, Mr Trump said he wanted to know whether his predecessor’s administration ordered such a move.

The call comes after US media reports suggesting the FBI had an informant meeting campaign aides.

US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein said action would be taken if any infiltration was found.

“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Mr Rosenstein said in a statement.

There is already an investigation into all aspects relating to Mr Trump’s campaign for the 2016 election and whether Russia tried to influence the outcome.

Mr Trump’s latest demand came amid a series of tweets on Sunday denouncing a “witch hunt” that, he said, had found no collusion by his campaign with Russia.

Read the whole thing …

Comey casts doubt on judge who slammed Mueller probe

In asserting his views on an investigation he could not “possibly know enough about,” the judge went too far.

From Politico:

Former FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday criticized a judge who voiced skepticism about the prosecution of Paul Manafort, saying the judge’s comments about overstepping were themselves going too far.

“I don’t know how a federal judge could possibly know enough about an investigation … to offer a view like that,” Comey said in an interview with The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis last week told Justice Department prosecutors that he thought the financial crimes charges against the former Trump campaign chairman were really about “getting information that Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever.”

Read the whole thing …

The reckoning of the FBI has begun  

From PJ Media:

Friday’s firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, based on a report from the Office of Professional Responsibility, is only the beginning of what is likely to be the most explosive series of revelations in American history.

Forget Watergate. It will be the distant past once the Inspector General’s reports — there apparently will be more than one — start to come out. This will be the “Gate of Gates.”

From the FBI and across the intelligence agencies an astonishing number of people are going to find themselves accused, one can safely predict at this point, of some atrocious behavior in a free republic. And it will not just be the small change of Peter Strzok (the dimwitted director of counter-intelligence) and his gal pal Lisa Page. It will include — on one level or another — James Comey, Loretta Lynch, John Brennan, James Clapper, Susan Rice and, almost inevitably, Barack Obama, not to mention others known and unknown.

All these people’s reputations will be damaged forever for the pathetic purpose of getting Hillary Clinton elected president and later for their determination to manipulate the FBI and intelligence agencies to wound as severely as possible Trump’s presidency. That they didn’t stop to think that they might be wounding America at the same time is extraordinarily selfish and nauseating.

Read the whole thing …

Trump celebrates the firing of ‘choirboy’ FBI deputy McCabe days before his retirement  

From DailyMail.com:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has fired Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s former No. 2 official who was deeply involved in the agency’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Russia’s role in the 2016 US election.

Sessions announced the firing on Friday, saying that an investigation indicated that McCabe had lied under oath — a major ethical violation for an FBI official and potentially a criminal offense.

President Donald Trump, who has long called for McCabe’s firing but said the decision was up to Sessions, chimed in just after midnight on Twitter, calling the ouster ‘a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI — A great day for Democracy.’

‘Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!’ Trump continued. Trump fired Comey as FBI director last May.

The latest sacking came just two days before McCabe planned to retire after more than 20 years of FBI service, yanking the full government pension he would have otherwise qualified for. The pension was said to be worth about $1.8million.

Read the whole thing …

Democratic memo: FBI was investigating Trump campaign associates weeks before receiving dossier  

“The document’s release opens a new partisan front in a battle that has consumed the House Intelligence Committee and has all but derailed its efforts to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

The other side of the story:

The FBI team investigating the 2016 Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians had already opened inquiries into multiple people connected to the campaign when it received a controversial dossier alleging illicit ties between then-candidate Trump and the Kremlin, a Democratic memo released by the House Intelligence Committee revealed Saturday.

The dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, wasn’t provided to the FBI’s counterintelligence team until mid-September 2016, according to the memo. By then, the counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s campaign was seven weeks old. “The FBI had already opened sub-inquiries into … individuals linked to the Trump campaign,” according to the findings of the committee’s nine Democrats.

The committee posted the heavily redacted 10-page document Saturday after weeks of wrangling between the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Justice Department officials over the contours of classified material he hoped to release. […]

The Democratic memorandum was meant as a counterweight to a GOP memo that Trump declassified three weeks earlier, claiming that FBI officials misled a secret court to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump camp foreign policy adviser Carter Page. The Republican memo argued that the so-called Steele Dossier was at the heart of the FBI’s request for a surveillance warrant on Page — and that the agents who sought it failed to disclose to a federal judge that Steele’s work was financed by the campaign of Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

The Democratic memo, though, reveals that the FBI did inform the judge of Steele’s political intentions — that he was “likely looking for information that could be used to discredit” Trump. And FBI officials indicated that Steele himself was not advised that the work he was doing was on behalf of the Clinton campaign. […]

The memo also reveals that the FBI’s application to spy on Page — and three subsequent renewals — were approved by four different judges, all appointed by Republican presidents.

In addition, the memo suggests the FBI corroborated elements of Steele’s dossier pertaining to Page when it sought renewals. It also emphasizes that the bureau didn’t rely on the dossier’s most salacious allegations to obtain a warrant to spy on Page.

The Democratic memo indicates that the FBI’s fact-finding contradicted Page’s testimony to the House Intelligence committee in November about his meetings with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. The passage on elements of the dossier that may have been corroborated is heavily redacted, but alludes to Page’s contacts with Russian officials on his 2016 trips to Moscow.

In a statement, Schiff said: “The Democratic response memo released today should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court].”

“Our extensive review of the initial [surveillance] application and three subsequent renewals failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests,” he said.

Peter Schweizer: Robert Mueller’s FBI ‘completely ignored’ Russian corruption in 2010 Uranium One deal

In a Monday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight, Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, said that the FBI apparently ignored evidence of Russian involvement in the uranium market “when they approved the deal back in 2010.”

Schweizer said that “Robert Mueller — director of the FBI between 2001 and 2013 — must have known of corrupt dealings related to the Uranium One deal in 2010.

From The Hill on October 17, 2017:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.

Spokesmen for Holder and Clinton did not return calls seeking comment. The Justice Department also didn’t comment.

The FBI has dropped the ball so badly on mass shooters and Russian election meddling they should be renamed the Federal Bureau of Incompetence  

By Piers Morgan:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s official website couldn’t be any clearer about the purpose of the organisation.

‘The mission of the FBI,’ it reads, ‘is to protect the American people.’

As for the role of its much-vaunted Special Agents, the FBI defines their job as: ‘Staying ahead of the threat through leadership, agility and collaboration.’

Hmmm.

Where do those two bold statements of intent sit today, I wonder?

It’s hard to imagine there has even been a worse week for the FBI in its 109-year history.

First, they were forced to admit they spectacularly dropped the ball on the Florida mass shooter.

On January 5 this year, the FBI received a call to its Public Access Line, a service specifically set up to encourage people to report crimes or threats.

This wasn’t a vague call to the hotline’s West Virginia call center.

It was very, very specific.

‘A person close to Nikolas Cruz,’ read the FBI statement, ‘provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behaviour, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.’

What should have happened next is blindingly obvious.

‘Under established protocols,’ the statement continued, ‘the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life (and) forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.’

You THINK?

But staggeringly, shamefully, it wasn’t.

As the FBI conceded, ‘the information was not provided to the Miami field office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.’

Sorry, WHAT?

How is it even possible that such a detailed, terrifying warning could be ignored?

FBI Director Christopher Wray said: ‘It is up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly.’

Well yes, Mr Wray.

Thanks for the reminder of what the FBI is supposed to do with tips like that.

But an American WAS vigilant, and DID contact you with concerns, and you acted improperly, and not just slowly but non-existently.