Republican allies of President Donald Trump attacked the FBI's probe of his 2016 presidential campaign on Wednesday but failed get to former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to agree that former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation was unfounded.
Republican allies of President Donald Trump attacked the FBI’s probe of his 2016 presidential campaign on Wednesday, but failed to get a key witness to agree that former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was unfounded.
At the opening of the hearing, former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended his 2017 decision to appoint Mueller to investigate Russian election interference and numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“I still believe it was the right decision under the circumstances.” Under oath - Rosenstein told a Senate panel that he was unaware, at the time, of any factual problems with warrant applications he approved for FBI surveillance of Trump's 2016 campaign officials.
"Every application that I approved appeared to be justified based on the facts it alleged, and the FBI was supposed to be following protocols to ensure that every fact was verified." But he acknowledged that he later became aware of problems: "Investigative reviews published by the Inspector General in December 2019 and March of 2020 - those investigative reviews revealed that the FBI was not following the protocols." Republicans, led by panel Senator Lindsey Graham, blasted the probe - code named 'Crossfire Hurricane' - saying the president’s campaign was treated unfairly.
(GRAHAM): "This investigation, Crossfire Hurricane, was one of the most corrupt, biased, criminal investigations in the history of the FBI and we would like to see something done about it." But Rosenstein defended the investigation: (ROSENSTEIN): “I talked to Mr Mueller at that time and subsequently about the importance of making sure that everybody on his investigation understood that whatever their political views, they needed to set that aside and make sure the investigation was not affected by any bias." (FEINSTEIN): "And do you believe that was carried out?" (ROSENSTEIN): "I do, because I have confidence in Mr. Mueller’s integrity.” Senator Dianne Feinstein - the panel’s top Democrat - accused Senate Republicans of trying to help Trump attack both the Russia probe that overshadowed his presidency and Joe Biden at an already tumultuous time.
"Congress should not conduct politically motivated investigations designed to attack or help any presidential candidate.
This would be true at any time but even more so now as our nation confronts the brutal police killing of George Floyd and its aftermath and remains in the middle of a public health and economic crisis." The Justice Department inspector general found numerous errors in the Crossfire Hurricane probe, including mistakes in seeking surveillance approval, but no political bias.
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday agreed to rehear arguments that could potentially lead to the reopening of the case against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser. Gavino Garay has more.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller is defending his office's prosecution of Roger Stone. As part of Mueller's Russia investigation, Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing Congress. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Mueller said Stone is still a convicted felon, despite President Donald Trump's commutation of Stone's sentence. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a bid by President Donald Trump's administration to avoid disclosing to the House Judiciary Committee grand jury materials related to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report documenting Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, but justices likely won't rule on the case until after the Nov. 3 election. Colette Luke has more.
Justice Department prosecutor Aaron Zelinksy will testify to Congress this week about the sentencing of former GOP strategist Roger Stone. According to Business Insider, Zelinsky will say that senior leadership improperly interfered in Stone's sentencing recommendation for political reasons. Zelinsky worked on the former special counsel Robert Mueller's team during the FBI's Russia probe. Stone's conviction was one of the most high profile victories they secured.
On Tuesday, Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden named Kamala Harris his running mate. It's the first time since 2008 that a woman was named the Vice Presidential nominee on a major party ticket. In 2008, Alaska governor Sarah Palin was named John McCain's VP on the Republican party's ticket. Republicans quickly slammed the media for what they called "sexist" coverage of Palin. In an interview with Good Morning America, Palin reflected on how she was treated.
[NFA] A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Biden's choice of running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, is more popular than he is with female voters, and even one in four Republican voters approve of Harris as a vice presidential pick. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.
On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham defended Dr. Anthony Fauci following a slew of attacks against him from the White House. "We don't have a Dr. Fauci problem," Graham told reporters. Graham said the country needed to focus on how to get things back to normal. "I have all the respect in the world for Dr. Fauci. I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, frankly." Graham's comments came after the White House circulated misleading talking points over the weekend.
[NFA] Republican President Donald Trump's verbal attacks on a woman of color could further undermine his efforts to win female voters, and polls suggest the California Democrat and vice presidential candidate is viewed by Republican voters in a better light than presidential contender Joe Biden. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.