Category: FBI

This week in the Trump-Russia investigation: Mueller follows the…

This week in the Trump-Russia investigation: Mueller follows the money as FBI probe hits 1-year mark

  • The FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election turned 1 year old this week, and President Donald Trump marked the occasion as only he can: by mocking it.
  • “Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia or Ohio or Pennsylvania?” Trump asked during a West Virginia rally on Thursday. “Are there any Russians here tonight? Any Russians?”
  • Trump — who has repeatedly described the FBI’s probe and other investigations into his presidential campaign’s alleged ties to Russia as a “witch hunt” — told supporters at the rally that Democrats invented the “totally made-up Russia story” because they have “no message, no agenda and no vision,” and that allegations of collusion were “fake.”
  • But the investigations continued to ramp up this week as special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly impaneled a grand jury as part of his probe, a sign of the investigation’s increasing scope. Here’s what happened in the Trump-Russia investigations this week. (8/5/117, 4:1 0PM)

Trump just warned Robert Mueller not to look into his finances —…

Trump just warned Robert Mueller not to look into his finances — it might be too late for that

  • In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, President Donald Trump warned special counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller not to look into his personal finances.
  • Moments after that interview was released, the Times released a separate story reporting that banking regulators are already taking a deep look into Trump’s relationship with the German banking giant Deutsche Bank, and they expect to soon be hearing from Mueller as well. Read more (7/19/17)

Trump suggests that the FBI director should report directly to him

  • Also in the interview with the Times, Trump suggested that he believes the FBI director should report directly to him, not the attorney general.
  • In a portion of the interview that picks up with Trump talking about Nixon, Trump claims that the FBI director was always supposed to report to the president of the United States, and only began reporting to the Justice Department out of “courtesy.” Read more (7/19/17)

Trump says he wouldn’t have appointed Sessions if he knew he’d recuse himself from the Russia matter

  • Finally, in the same interview with the New York Times, Trump told reporters that he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general if he had known he would recuse himself from the Russia matter.
  • “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.” Read more (7/19/17)

FBI investigation into Bernie Sanders’ wife could spell trouble…

FBI investigation into Bernie Sanders’ wife could spell trouble for the senator

  • The FBI investigation into a land deal brokered by Jane Sanders is heating up, the Washington Post reported Monday, an inquiry that could potentially imperil husband Bernie Sanders’ political future.
  • The investigation into Jane Sanders, who served as an adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for both his Senate and presidential bids, centers around a land deal she brokered while serving as president of Burlington College, a small and now-defunct school in Vermont.
  • Sanders is accused of fabricating the amount of money prospective donors had pledged to help the school secure the purchase of a $10 million plot of land on Lake Champlain. Read more (7/10/17)

Did Trump obstruct justice? Five officials briefed on the matter…

Did Trump obstruct justice? Five officials briefed on the matter say Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is investigating President Donald Trump personally for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. Read more

Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly investigating whether…

Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly investigating whether Trump obstructed justice

  • Five officials briefed on the matter say Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the FBI investigation into Russian election, is investigating President Donald Trump personally for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
  • According to the Post, a bevy of high-ranking officials including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers and Rogers’ former deputy Richard Ledgett have all agreed to be interviewed. The officials added Mueller is investigating Trump’s associates for “any evidence of possible financial crimes,” the Post reported. Read more (6/14/17)

Trump calls federal probe into whether he obstructed justice “phony”

  • Trump responded publicly Thursday morning to the report that he’s now personally under federal investigation for possibly obstructing justice, calling the entire special counsel probe “phony.”
  • “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story,” Trump tweeted. “Nice.”
  • The president’s claim, however, that the FBI found no proof of collusion is unverified. That investigation is still ongoing with special counsel Robert Mueller. Read more (6/15/17 7 AM)

Trump says he’s “100%” willing to testify…

Trump says he’s “100%” willing to testify under oath about James Comey meetings

  • Trump on Friday said he’s “100%” willing to testify under oath about what was said in his meetings with former FBI Director James Comey.
  • Trump made the assertion during a joint press conference with the Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, in the White House Rose Garden.
  • He also said he never told Comey that he “hoped” Comey could let the investigation into Michael Flynn go.
  • “I didn’t say that,” Trump said, which amounts to accusing Comey of perjury — or willfully lying after taking an oath to tell the truth.
  • Trump went on to add that, “there’d be nothing wrong if I did say it,” referring to an ask to let the Flynn investigation go.
  • Reporters also asked Trump about whether he taped his conversations with Comey, as he suggested in a tweet last month.
  • But Trump refused to answer. “I’ll tell you about it over a very short period of time,” Trump said, referring to the tapes. Trump added that, “You’re going to be very disappointed” with his answer — not saying either way whether the tapes existed or not. Read more (6/9/17)

House Intelligence Committee sets deadline for Trump to produce taped Comey conversations

  • Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation set a deadline for Trump to produce any taped communications between Trump and former FBI Director James Comey, saying if the tapes exist, Trump must submit them to the committee by June 23.
  • The deadline comes as Trump and top aides have continually declined to comment on whether tapes of those conversations — which Trump suggested he had — are real. Read more (6/9/17)

Trump accuses James Comey of making “false statements and…

Trump accuses James Comey of making “false statements and lies”

  • Trump broke his twitter silence Friday, accusing Comey of lying during his bombshell testimony, yet still declaring himself to be vindicated.
  • Trump’s tweet amounts to accusing Comey of lying under oath — a serious charge against Comey, a career law enforcement official. Read more (6/9/17 9:40 AM)

The fallout from James Comey’s testimony entangles Donald Trump

  • The responses to Comey’s Senate hearing were predictably partisan and incendiary. Remember: Comey called President Donald Trump a liar, “plain and simple,” in his testimony Thursday.
  • Comey also said Trump pressured him to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn, leaked his own memos to help force creation of a special counsel and hinted that special counsel will investigate whether Trump obstructed justice. 
  • And in a closed hearing, Comey told senators Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have had a third undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador. Read more (6/9/17 9:40 AM)

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James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • “The explanations, the shifting explanations confused me and increasingly concerned me,” Comey said of his firing. Trump’s subsequent reasoning for firing him “were lies, plain and simple.”
  • “It confused me when I saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the Russia investigation and learned again from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the Russia investigation,” Comey said.
  • Comey also confirmed that at the time of Flynn’s firing — when Trump asked Comey to “let this go” — Flynn was under criminal investigation. 
  • In yet another bombshell moment at the hearing, Comey said he took meticulous notes about his interactions with Trump because he was concerned Trump “might lie about the nature of our meeting.”
  • Comey worried Trump sought something amounting to quid-pro-quo in order to keep his job.
  • Comey testified, under oath, that he worried Trump had called him to the White House in order to get something in return for keeping his job. 
  • “My common sense told me that what’s going on here is he’s trying to get something here for granting me the chance to stay in my job,” Comey said. This is a developing story (6/8/17 10:45 AM)

Comey says he “took it as a direction” when Trump said he “hoped” he could let the Flynn investigation go

  • “I took it as a direction,” Comey said. “This is the president of the United States with me alone saying, ‘I hope this.”
  • Comey added, “I didn’t obey that, but that’s how I took it.”
  • After Trump tweeted a suggestion there are tapes of his conversations, Comey said he hoped Trump actually had the tapes he alluded to.
  • “I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said.
  • Marco Rubio was the first bring up leaks. In his line of questioning, Rubio brings up leaks on the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged Russian collusion. “We’ve learned more from newspapers than our own hearings,” Rubio said.
  • Comey says Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “continued engagement” in the Russia investigation would be “problematic”
  • Comey suggested that there is more to Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation than is publicly known. This is a developing story (6/8/17 11:20 AM)

Comey says he wanted an appointment of a special counsel

  • Comey revealed that after he was fired, he told a friend to share his memos with a reporter in order to spark the appointment of a special counsel.
  • Comey described the friend as a “professor at Columbia Law School,” prompting the school’s website to crash.
  • Trump’s lawyer will make a statement after Comey’s hearing.
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan defends Trump: As Comey testified, Ryan offered a defense of Trump, telling reporters Trump is “just new to this” and that he doesn’t understand protocol.
  • Comey to Trump: “Release all the tapes”– “I’m good with it,” Comey said, saying he consents to the release of the purported tapes Trump said he had of their conversations. This is a developing story (6/8/17 12 PM)

Update: Trump’s lawyer accuses Comey of lying under oath

  • In a statement after James Comey’s testimony, Trump’s personal lawyer accused Comey of lying under oath.
  • Marc Kasowitz, the attorney representing Trump, said Trump never told Comey, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Comey testified on Thursday that in a private meeting, Trump asked him for “loyalty.”
  • “Of course, the office of the president is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in the administration,” Kasowitz said after accusing Comey of lying. 
  • He also tied Comey to anonymous leaks from federal agencies, saying “Mr. Comey has now admitted he is one of those leakers.”
  • Kasowitz also accused Comey of leaking “privileged information” by giving the NY Times access to memos of Comey’s meetings with Trump.
  • But the Times story wasn’t published until after Trump had already told NBC’s Lester Holt about his conversations with Comey, mentioning that the Russia investigation factored into his decision to fire Comey. 
  • For that conversation to be a leak of “privileged information,” said information would have to have been first revealed by Comey. Read more (6/8/17 3 PM)

6 key takeaways from the James Comey hearing on Trump and…

6 key takeaways from the James Comey hearing on Trump and Russia

1. No one told Comey to end the Russia probe. The former FBI director said President Donald Trump and other officials never asked Comey to end the investigation into possible Russian hacking during the presidential election. Comey also confirmed Trump was not personally under investigation.

2. Comey said Trump pressured him to not investigate national security adviser Michael Flynn. As Trump asked other top officials to leave him alone with Comey, the former FBI director told the committee he was thinking, “I knew something was about to happen I needed to pay very close attention too. … Why would you kick everybody out of the Oval Office?”

3. He refused to say whether he believed Trump obstructed justice. Comey took Trump’s “let it go” comment about the Flynn investigation “as a direction.” Comey highlighted that Trump’s comment came the day after Flynn was fired. He also revealed, for the first time, that Flynn was under criminal investigation.

4. Comey tried to force the creation of a special counsel. He told the committee that he directed a Columbia Law School professor to leak the contents of his memos to a journalist to raise the chances a special counsel would be appointed. Mic confirmed this account.

5. The testimony was personal. Because of “the person” he was speaking with, Comey said he felt compelled to take notes after any conversation with Trump. He had not done that with two previous presidents. “I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of the meeting,” Comey told the committee. “I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in.”

6. Trump never asked about or tried to intervene in other FBI investigations. While stating the FBI runs thousands of inquiries simultaneously, Comey said the Flynn investigation was the only one Trump took a particular interest in. The statement was revealing because it demonstrated the president was focused solely on the Flynn inquiry. Read more (6/8/17 2 PM)

James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence…

James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • “The explanations, the shifting explanations confused me and increasingly concerned me,” Comey said of his firing. Trump’s subsequent reasoning for firing him “were lies, plain and simple.”
  • “It confused me when I saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the Russia investigation and learned again from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the Russia investigation,” Comey said.
  • Comey also confirmed that at the time of Flynn’s firing — when Trump asked Comey to “let this go” — Flynn was under criminal investigation. 
  • In yet another bombshell moment at the hearing, Comey said he took meticulous notes about his interactions with Trump because he was concerned Trump “might lie about the nature of our meeting.”
  • Comey worried Trump sought something amounting to quid-pro-quo in order to keep his job.
  • Comey testified, under oath, that he worried Trump had called him to the White House in order to get something in return for keeping his job. 
  • “My common sense told me that what’s going on here is he’s trying to get something here for granting me the chance to stay in my job,” Comey said. This is a developing story (6/8/17 10:45 AM)