FBI Increasingly Politicized Under Comey and Mueller – BY: Bill Gertz – 12.6.17 – Washington Free Beacon | “Out Of Control” – FBI Considers Itself Above The Law, Threat To Every American | A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now. – The Washington Post 

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We do need the comprehensive, in-depth, objective investigation, reassessment, and reevaluation of the FBI – M.N. – 12.4.217

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FBI Increasingly Politicized Under Comey and Mueller – BY:  – 12.6.17 – Washington Free Beacon |  “Out Of Control” FBI Considers Itself Above The Law, Threat To Every American | A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now. – The Washington Post – 3:38 AM 12/5/2017 

FBI Increasingly Politicized Under Comey and Mueller – 12.6.17

BY: 

mikenova shared this story from Washington Free Beacon.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, once America’s storied crime fighting agency, is under fire for an

increasing leftward politicization

blamed on recent liberal directors and a bureaucracy operating with nearly unchecked power.

Once a bastion of conservative anti-communism under long-time director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI has become one of the more liberal political agencies of government, and some critics say

appears increasingly to operate outside normal constitutional controls.

The shift is the result of a bureaucratic culture that emerged in the 1990s and was fueled by its two most recent former directors, James Comey and Robert Mueller, who ran the agency for the past 16 years. Mueller headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, when Comey took over and served until he was fired by Trump in May.

Both former directors currently are at the center of a fierce political debate over the FBI’s competency and integrity.

“People are finally tumbling to the realization that

this [FBI] has become a proto-KGB,”

said a former senior intelligence official with extensive experience in counterintelligence.

“We’re in a constitutional crisis. These guys are playing out a silent coup against an elected official.”

President Trump castigated the FBI this week in unusually harsh tweets and comments.

Commenting on disclosures that the Justice Department’s inspector general launched an investigation of political bias by senior FBI Agent Peter Strzok working for Mueller’s Russian election meddling probe, Trump compared the FBI’s lenient approach to Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server while secretary of state with the recent case of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about post-election contacts with Russia.

“Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI ‘agents role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness,” the president declared.

On Tuesday, Mueller appeared to counter the comments by leaking word he has issued subpoenas for bank records at Deutche Bank related to Trump and members of his family.

The leak produced a spate of news stories under the ongoing liberal narrative of the past year of alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, a narrative lacking hard facts.

The problem of the FBI,

according to national security strategist Angelo Codevilla, is more

the result of careerism and an out of control bureaucracy

than liberal politicization of the ostensibly nonpartisan FBI, the nation’s most powerful law enforcement agency and main domestic counterspying and counterterrorism agency.

Im afraid that the explanation is all too simple: Bureaucratsemployees of large organizationsfigure out on which side their bread is going to be buttered,” Codevilla said. “They learn to think, feel, and do what advances their careers.”

Under President Barack Obama, the FBI suffered a string of failures

that critics blame on the FBI being pressured by liberal, politically correct policies that emphasized diversity and multiculturalism of its workforce over competence and results.

The problem is evident whenever a U.S.-based terror attack or other major crime takes place and

the FBI, seemingly ever on the lookout for ways to protect its reputation, puts out word to pro-FBI news reporters that the problem is less serious than it is.

That was the case shortly after several major Islamic terror attacks in the United States when Bureau officials initially put out word the attacks had no link to terrorism.

Similarly, when North Korea conducted a major cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, the FBI agent heading the probe at first said there was no foreign involvement in the hack.

In another case last June, after an anti-Trump gunmanand Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) supportershot a congressman and four other people in Alexandria, the FBI sought to minimize the politics of the incident. The agent running the investigation, Tim Slater, told reporters the shooting was “spontaneous,” despite evidence the shooter had a list of targeted members of Congress.

John Guandolo, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, has criticized the FBI for caving in to pressure from Muslim groups in watering down its training of agents by limiting references to Islam and jihad, or holy war.

“I am not aware of any time in the FBI’s history when FBI leadership was so incapable of performing their duties as they are today,” Guandolo said.

“The FBI’s inability or lack of desire to aggressively pursue obvious major threats to the republicthe Marxist and Islamic movements for instanceis stunning and frightening.”

Guandolo said that instead the FBI is working with “our Islamic enemy.”

“In fact, all three of the Muslim organizations listed on the FBI’s website as ‘Outreach Partners’ are Muslim Brotherhood organizations,” he said.

Additionally, liberal left or Marxist inclinations appear to motivate some of the FBI’s key leaders.

Guandolo said FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was promoted by Comey despite internal leadership reviews that questioned his fitness.

Congressional Republicans are investigating whether McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton email probe.

McCabe’s wife, a Democrat, received payments of some $700,000 from a political action committee affiliated with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of Clinton, during a failed bid to run for the state senate.

The president’s online criticism of the FBI was followed by comments he made Monday calling the FBI’s treatment of Flynn “very unfair” compared to how the Bureau treated Clinton during last year’s election-year investigation into the misuse of her private email server.

“I feel badly for Gen. Flynn. I feel very badly. Hes led a very strong life,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I will say this, Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and they destroyed his life. I think its a shame.”

The president referred to the July 2, 2016, FBI interview of Clinton regarding her use of a private email server used while she was secretary of state to send some highly classified information and the deletion of emails after published reports of the private server revealed the existence of it.

Clinton, according to the FBI summary of the interview, asserted she did not recall being given a security briefing on handling information held in Special Access Programs (SAP), the government’s most sensitive secrets. Some SAP information on drone strike targeting was found on her private email server.

Days after the FBI interview, Comey issued his now famous public statement recommending against prosecuting Clinton for mishandling classified information, despite evidence the mere presence of the secret information is a crime.

Comey also would later disclose that under political pressure for Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch he agreed not to refer to the email scandal as an investigation and instead call it a “matter.”

Comey also granted immunity from prosecution for two key witnesses, Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson. The immunity prevented the FBI from conducting searches for evidence. The immunity deal also required the FBI to destroy the two aides’ laptops after they were searched, a step that potentially eliminated evidence of a crime.

In October, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) revealed that Comey had decided in May 2016months before the FBI probe of Clinton was completedthat he was planning to issue a statement exonerating Clinton.

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second, that’s no way to run an investigation,” the senators said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray in August. “The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”

An FBI source said Comey’s politically charged handling of the Clinton email probe upset many of the FBI’s agents who saw it as a disheartening indication of political bias in favor of Clinton.

Trump fired Comey in May prompting the Justice Department to create the special counsel investigation headed by Mueller, a long-time Comey associate.

The more recent disclosures that one of Mueller’s investigators, Strzok, is under investigation for anti-Trump bias is now raising new questions about the integrity of the special counsel probe and whether it too has reached a pre-determined outcome against the president.

The FBI also is under fire from Congress for refusing to provide documents to congressional investigators looking into the Democrat-funded private intelligence dossier at the center of Republicans’ investigation into the potential misuse of security agencies for political ends.

The Bureau has so far refused to provide the House Intelligence Committee with details on how it pursued salacious allegations regarding Trump and the Russians contained in the dossier produced by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said this week he is drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Wray, the FBI chief, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for failing to disclose to Congress earlier Strzok’s political bias against Trump.

Nunes revealed Strzok was involved in the Clinton email probe in addition to Mueller’s election meddling probe and that hiding those facts from Congress was “a willful attempt to thwart Congress constitutional oversight responsibility.”

“This is part of a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this committees oversight work, particularly oversight of their use of the Steele dossier,” Nunes said. “At this point, these agencies should be investigating themselves.”

Security experts said it is likely that

Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who specializes in Russian spying,

has been the driving force behind the mainly Democratic political narrative that Russia stole the 2016 election from Clinton and gave it to Trump.

Congress wants to question him about what role the discredited Steele dossier played in the FBI’s Russian election meddling investigation.

One irony of the FBI’s zealousness on the Russian election influence probe is that for many years during the 1980s, the FBI refused to acknowledge that Moscow at the time was engaged in similar sophisticated disinformation and so-called “active measures” operations against the United States.

Under the Reagan administration, the FBI was forced to investigate and take steps to counter Moscow’s intelligence-driven influence operations.

Now it seems the FBI is convinced, despite the lack of evidence, there was a Russian conspiracy to elect Trump and it is searching for a way to prove its theory.

Observers say a major problem for the FBI today is a lack constitutional oversight and controls. Bureau leaders have created the myth that the White House or any agency cannot have any control over the FBI.

That is not true. While it would be illegal for the White House to interfere or corrupt FBI investigations, the Constitution makes clear the FBI, as an executive branch agency, is ultimately responsible to the president.

Under the Comey-Mueller bureaucracy, however, the FBI seems to regard itself as a power center answerable to no one, critics say.

According to FBI sources, FBI agents and other personnel have been told unequivocally that they are not to have any dealings with the White House, and that doing so risks career-ending measures.

As for Congress, the FBI for years also has stonewalled overseers under both Comey and Mueller.

Even routine requests for FBI documents and information have been rejected or ignored, and congressional overseers have not taken action to force the FBI to comply.

The lack of congressional oversight and administration controls have left the FBI with enormous power and little accountability.

The former intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity over concerns about FBI retaliation, said the mindset of Comey, Mueller and others of their group is that they are going to punish Trump for his criticism of the FBI.

“Mueller, Comey, and Rosenstein are going to make Trump pay for having dissed the bureau,” the former official said.

A spokesman for Mueller did not respond when asked if the special counsel probe has been tainted by Strzok’s involvement.

“Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the special counsels office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation,” the spokesman said.

An FBI spokesman defended the FBI’s handling of the issue of Islamic threat training and said the Defense Department and not the FBI was the first to refer to the Fort Hood terror attack as workplace violence.

On Strozk, FBI spokesman Andrew Ames referred to the statement on the matter.

“The matter is an ongoing investigation by the Office of Inspector General, consistent with well-established processes designed to objectively, thoroughly and fairly determine the facts regarding potential wrongdoing,” the statement said.

“The FBI has clearly defined policies and procedures regarding appropriate employee conduct, including communications,” the statement added. “When the FBI first learned of the allegations, the employees involved were immediately reassigned, consistent with practices involving employee matters.

The FBI employees are held to “the highest standards of integrity, independence and professionalism, as the American public rightly expects.”

Disclosure: The Washington Free Beacon was once a client of Fusion GPS, which produced the Steele dossier. That relationship ended in January 2017. For more information, see here.”

The post FBI Increasingly Politicized Under Comey and Mueller appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now. – The Washington Post

When FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen was revealed to have committed espionage against the United States, it didn’t mean that even one other member of the bureau was guilty of Hanssen’s sins, but it did require a painstaking review of all of Hanssen’s activities and inputs, as all of them had to be reconsidered in light of his treasonous behavior.

Tucker Carlson: “Out Of Control” FBI Considers Itself Above The Law, Threat To Every American

RealClearPolitics

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A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now. – The Washington Post
FBI director tells staff to ‘expect — and welcome’ tough questions – CNN
A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now. – Washington Post
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Little peace, and our strength is ebbing: A report from the Reagan National Defense Forum. – National Review
James Comey, Sally Yates and Eric Holder defend FBI after Trump’s Twitter attack – Washington Post
Michael Flynn Investigation Sparks Concern About a Politicized FBI – LifeZette
Michael Flynn shouldn’t have lied about doing the right thing
If Michael Flynn’s ‘crime’ is all Robert Mueller has, it is time to move on – USA TODAY
Russia-Trump: President criticised for attacking FBI – BBC News
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A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now. – The Washington Post
 

mikenova shared this story .


Robert S. Mueller III. (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

 

December 4 at 6:11 PM

The Post reported that a former top FBI official, Peter Strzok, who had been assigned to and then removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, had “exchanged politically charged texts disparaging [President] Trump and supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton” and that Strzok was “also a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.”

This is a blockbuster revelation, carrying the possibility of shattering public confidence in a number of long-held assumptions about the criminal-justice system generally and the FBI and the Justice Department specifically. The Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate Strzok’s actions as soon as possible.

The Strzok report comes on heels of the widely derided Justice Department investigation into IRS discrimination against conservative groups, including the disposition of allegations against IRS senior official Lois Lerner, and after the wildly erratic behavior of then-FBI Director James B. Comey during 2016. It also follows the vote to hold then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress — the first ever against a sitting member of the Cabinet — with 17 Democrats voting in support. Mix into this battering of the Justice Department’s and FBI’s reputations the still-murky charges and counter-charges of abuse of “unmasking” powers during the waning days of the Obama era.

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As a result, a large swath of responsible center-right observers are now demanding a full review of the investigation and prosecution powers wielded by the Obama-era Justice Department and FBI. Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in the National Review on Saturday that President Trump should call for a second independent counsel to investigate abuse of the counterintelligence authorities under President Barack Obama, abuses he suggests were undertaken to protect the controversial Iran deal on nuclear weapons.

This is an excellent idea. The new special counsel could also review Strzok’s texts and, more crucially, his conduct throughout 2015 and 2016. Strzok may be completely innocent of anything except an off-handed joke that the straight-laced Mueller deemed necessary to punish in a display of a “Caesar’s wife” sort of purity of purpose. But if his texts to FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal a partisan animus towards Trump or admiration for Clinton, then the bureau and the department have a huge problem on their hands and not just with Strzok and Page.

When FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen was revealed to have committed espionage against the United States, it didn’t mean that even one other member of the bureau was guilty of Hanssen’s sins, but it did require a painstaking review of all of Hanssen’s activities and inputs, as all of them had to be reconsidered in light of his treasonous behavior.

If Strzok’s texts reveal deep animus towards Trump or an operational effort to tilt one or more investigations, then all of his actions have to be reviewed to assure the public’s confidence in the bureau. That one or two agents or officials of the bureau are discovered to have been acting from improper motives would be bad enough. To try and sweep those activities under the rug would be worse. Against the backdrop of other recent controversies, it would be disastrous.

Step one is a quick publication of the questionable texts. All of them. The public has a right to know what the predicate for Mueller’s extraordinary action was. The public also deserves a detailed account of Strzok’s (and Page’s) duties and authorities during the years in question. If an NBA official was discovered to have purposefully thrown even one game, every game in which he had carried a whistle would be under the microscope. That’s how it works.

Unless there’s a coverup.

Nevertheless, just as Hanssen was “one bad apple” who didn’t spoil the bunch, so even an out-of-bounds Strzok doesn’t necessarily mean anything about the FBI beyond him. To get to the truth, and restore confidence in federal law enforcement, better a special counsel to conduct the inquiry, bring any necessary charges and make a report — someone without ties to the president or his opponents.

They do exist, such men and women. Former federal judges make excellent candidates. But we need one appointed right now.

FBI director tells staff to ‘expect — and welcome’ tough questions – CNN
 

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The Post reported that a former top FBI official, Peter Strzok, who had been assigned to and then removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, had exchanged politically charged texts disparaging [President] Trump and supporting 
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Trump Has Now Urged Seven Officials to Help End the Russia Probes
 

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President Donald Trump has pushed at least seven officials to put an end to investigations at various levels of government into whether his campaign helped Russia meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

On Thursday The New York Times revealed that over the summer Trump urged members of the Senate—including those leading the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation—to wrap up their investigations.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, Republican Richard Burr, said in an interview that Trump made a request “something along the lines of ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible.’”

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President Donald Trump speaks with reporters at the White House on November 28. The president has reportedly asked several officials to end the Russia investigations as soon as possible. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

However, a Republican senator who spoke to Burr told the Times that Trump had been “very forceful” in conversations with Burr. Another senator, who also remained anonymous, told the paper Trump called other congressional members, asking them to lean on Burr to end the investigation.

Burr said other members of his committee told him of similar calls they received from Trump but said he didn’t feel pressured to end the probe, chalking up the president’s actions to inexperience.

According to lawmakers and aides, Trump also approached Republican Senator Roy Blunt, who sits on the committee, and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, with requests to end the investigations quickly.

Related: Has Michael Flynn flipped? Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team reportedly met with his lawyer

The news brings to seven the total number of officials Trump has asked to help end the multiple investigations moving forward in both branches of Congress and the Department of Justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is pushing ahead with his investigation of whether Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading one of the investigations.

Congress started its investigation early this year after key American intelligence agencies compiled a report that found Russia worked to undermine Trump’s campaign rival Hillary Clinton and assist his campaign.

The latest news is a “huge story,” wrote attorney Norm Eisen on Twitter Thursday because it “corroborates a corrupt motive” for Trump’s firing of Comey on May 9.

Eisen, a former White House special counsel for ethics and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, published a report in October arguing that Trump obstructed justice by attempting to intervene in the investigations.

In a letter written by Comey ahead of his testimony to Burr’s committee in June, he wrote that Trump had pressured him on several occasions to end the part of the investigation examining former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Writing about a rare private meeting between the president and his top law enforcement official in February, Comey said Trump tried to pressure him into “letting Flynn go.” The request came after Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about contact he had had with the Russian ambassador. Trump made a similar request to him in a phone call, Comey said.

During closed testimony before Burr’s committee and in separate interviews with Mueller’s legal team in June, two top Trump administration intelligence officials said the president approached them to defend him publicly against the investigations, multiple sources told CNN.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said Trump asked them to state publicly that his campaign did not work with Russia to interfere in the election. A report by The Wall Street Journal in June cited sources who said Trump also called Rogers to state publicly that there is no evidence his campaign colluded with Russia.

Officials who spoke with The Washington Post in June said that Trump applied pressure to CIA Director Mike Pompeo in March when he kept Pompeo and Coats behind after a meeting to complain about Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation. Coats reportedly told other officials that Trump had asked for an intervention. It is not known whether Trump asked Pompeo directly to intervene.

Trump’s request came after Comey testified before Congress that the FBI was investigating whether Trump’s campaign worked with Russia during the election campaign.

“Who believes at this point he didn’t obstruct justice?” former Department of Justice public affairs director Matthew Miller‏ wrote on Twitter Thursday.

“Pressuring senators to end an investigation that impacts him & those close to him could be further evidence of obstruction of justice by the President,” wrote Noah Bookbinder‏, an attorney who co-wrote the report with Eisen, on Thursday. He called Trump’s behavior “part of a pattern of conduct.”

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Behavior and Law: M.N.: FBI, get your hands off the Sciences!!! We d…: We do need the comprehensive, in-depth, objective investigation, reassessment, and reevaluation of the FBI M.N. In my humble opinion, w…

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M.N.: FBI, get your hands off the Sciences!!! We do need the comprehensive, in-depth, objective investigation…
 

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M.N.: FBI, get your hands off the Sciences!!! We do need the comprehensive, in-depth, objective investigation, reassessment, and reevaluation of the FBI. The FBIs darling special, professional, and VIP informants made the nice careers for themselves in Psychiatry, including the leadership positions in the American Psychiatric Association, not because of their intellectual or other abilities, but because of their special affiliation with the FBI, and informing on the researchers who have these abilities. Some psychiatric Mata Haries apparently would not even stop at using their sexual connections for these purposes.
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Personally, besides the FBIs blatant and undue interference in political matters, I am especially concerned about the FBIs interference in Science, and in Psychiatry. For example, the FBIs interference in Anthropology is the well known and the well-established fact.
8:47 AM 12/4/2017 – Dear Mr. Clapper…
 

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Putin, Trump and ISIS ‘main threats to liberal values,’ European deputies say
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The deputies of the European Parliament who form Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) at a meeting in Amsterdam say that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump along with the Islamic state are the 
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The Turkish government has issued a warrant for the arrest of a former officer in the United States Central Intelligence Agency, which Ankara claims was instrumental in the failed July 2016 attempt to topple the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The move comes amidst heightened tensions in relations between Ankara and Washington. The two NATO allies have partially revoked entry visas for each others citizens, while it is alleged that Michael Flynn, US President Donald Trumps former national security advisor, had an illegal agreement with Turkey to help abduct a Turkish dissident cleric living in Pennsylvania and help transport him to Turkey.

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All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next?
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The Flynn plea deal makes clear that he was not acting as a lone ranger in his communications with Russian officials, including the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. Documents show that Flynn was told to call the Russians and other key 
Russia investigation sheds new light on Jared Kushner’s involvement with MoscowLos Angeles Timesall 683 news articles »
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Is Vladimir Putin really the evil genius behind Donald Trump?
Toronto Star
I expect Flynn wouldn’t have bothered lying to the FBI about conversations with, say, the Canadian ambassador on matters of mutual interest. But, in this climate, talking to the Russians was simply one step too far. The ostensible reason is the widely 
Kremlin says Flynn didn’t influence Putin’s decision to not retaliate against US sanctionsNBCNews.com
Kremlin denies that Flynn persuaded Putin to hold off on retaliatory sanctionsWashington Postall 46 news articles »
Russia edges in as key power broker with North Korea – Nikkei Asian Review
 

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Nikkei Asian Review
Russia edges in as key power broker with North Korea
Nikkei Asian Review
Unlike China, Russia traditionally has little economic leverage over Pyongyang. But the Putin administration is believed to have given the North Korean issue high priority. Moscow likely sees its role as go-between as a bargaining chip with the U.S and more »
Who’s an Oligarch? Rich Russians Fret Over US Sanctions Label – Bloomberg
 

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Bloomberg
Who’s an Oligarch? Rich Russians Fret Over US Sanctions Label
Bloomberg
The U.S. law, which Trump grudgingly signed on Aug. 2 after it passed Congress with a veto-proof margin, instructs the Treasury, together with the State Department and intelligence agencies, to identify officials and oligarchs as determined by their 
Changing the rules: what comes after a Putin election victory?Financial Times
Is Vladimir Putin really the evil genius behind Donald Trump?Toronto Starall 19 news articles »
Little peace, and our strength is ebbing: A report from the Reagan National Defense Forum. – National Review
 

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National Review
Little peace, and our strength is ebbing: A report from the Reagan National Defense Forum.
National Review
Various speakers called out Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and, more broadly, radical Islamic terrorism as threats to the peace and security of the United States. Retired General Jack Keane bluntly stated that China was trying to dominate its region 
HR McMaster talks North Korea threat, Michael Flynn dealFox Newsall 27 news articles »
James Comey, Sally Yates and Eric Holder defend FBI after Trump’s Twitter attack – Washington Post
 

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Washington Post
James Comey, Sally Yates and Eric Holder defend FBI after Trump’s Twitter attack
Washington Post
Over the past few weeks, former FBI director James B. Comey’s Twitter feed has been filled with inspirational quotations, Bible verses and nature photographs many of them timed around remarks made by the president who fired him. On Nov. 11, he 
As Mueller probe deepens, Trump says he didn’t ask Comey to stop investigating FlynnLos Angeles Times
Comey back in the spotlight after Flynn makes a dealThe Hill
‘I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn’: Trump goes on tweetstorm about the FBIFlorida Times-Union
Chicago Tribune –Business Insider
all 2,122 news articles »
Michael Flynn Investigation Sparks Concern About a Politicized FBI – LifeZette
 

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LifeZette
Michael Flynn Investigation Sparks Concern About a Politicized FBI
LifeZette
Flynn, Trump defenders say, was the victim of hysteria about alleged Russian hacking into 2016 Democratic email accounts. But his plea had nothing to do with the hacking, the ostensible focus of the Justice Department’s special investigation. Instead
Trump Says FBI Credibility Is in Tatters, Denies Telling Comey to Stop Flynn ProbeSlate Magazine (blog)
Trump’s morning tweetstorm appears to have been inspired by ‘Fox & Friends’Los Angeles Times
‘I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn’: Trump goes on tweetstorm about the FBIWashington Post
Chicago Tribune –MSNBC
all 2,329 news articles »
Michael Flynn shouldn’t have lied about doing the right thing
 

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James S. Robbins, Opinion columnist Published 6:00 a.m. ET Dec. 4, 2017

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn(Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo, epa)

On Friday, President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a perfectly legal conversation he had during the presidential transition with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn should not have lied, and why he chose to remains a mystery, but the substance of the single-count indictment against Flynn shows that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has strayed far from its original purpose.

We have come down quite a way from the hyperventilation about Russia “hacking the election” a year ago. What happened to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s claim, later promoted by Hillary Clinton, that there were 1,000 Russian agents planting anti-Hillary fake news stories in key swing states? Or that Russians had delivered Wisconsin to Trump? All the conspiracy theorists have so far are a few Facebook ads that can’t credibly be shown to have changed even one vote.

More: With Flynn’s guilty plea, is it Trump impeachment time yet?

More: Tillerson State Department ouster is overdue, but won’t solve the Trump problem

Flynn was fully in his rights making the call to Kislyak. Despite the best efforts of the anti-Trumpers, it is still not illegal to talk to Russians. Even Democratic former CIA director and Defense secretary Leon Panetta said it was a “stretch” to say these contacts broke the law.

The dust-up seems mainly to be about the decorum of presidential transitions. Days after the 2016 election, the Trump team cautioned the Obama administration against pursuing new and damaging foreign policy initiatives that did not align with Trump’s priorities.

“I don’t think it’s in keeping with the spirit of the transition,” one of president-elect Trump’s national security advisers told Politico on Nov. 10, 2016, “to try to push through agenda items that are contrary to the president-elect’s positions.”

The Trump transition team feared, for good reason, that the lame-duck Obama administration was poisoning the well with Russia, and pursuing spiteful anti-Israel policies on the way out the door. Trump asked Flynn, his soon-to-be national security adviser, to open a semi-official channel to Russia through its ambassador to discuss future cooperative efforts against the Islamic State and the United Nations vote on an anti-Israel resolution. As lawyer Alan Dershowitz argued, “Not only was that request not criminal, it was the right thing to do.”

The phone call to Kislyak, and any other such contacts with foreign officials, should be viewed in that context. This was not, for example, on the level of colluding with shadowy Russian intelligence contacts to create disinformation to try to swing the election, as the authors of the Clinton-connected Trump smear dossier did.

There was ample precedent for the president-elect to put out feelers to foreign leaders.

  • A memo from the Podesta files released by WikiLeaks shows that the Obama team had planned for the “president-elect and senior officials (to) begin confidential policy consultations with key actors in U.S. and abroad” between Thanksgiving and Inauguration Day.
  • Obama also openly used emissaries and go-betweens to meet with foreign leaders during his transition.
  • And for overwrought members of “the resistance” who think the unenforceable Logan Act is suddenly in play, recall that in 2008 then-candidate Obama arranged substantive foreign policy discussions with numerous foreign dignitaries and leaders during an overseas campaign trip before the election.

More: Hijab Barbie: Perfect Christmas gift for non-Muslim parents who want to stick it to Trump

POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media

An erroneous ABC News report that Trump had dispatched Flynn to make contact with Russia before the election appears to have caused a massive stock market selloff. The report was corrected, and reporter Brian Ross was suspended. The important takeaway of ABC’s fake news outbreak is that since the Trump team’s outreach to Russia took place after the election, it implies there were no channels to Moscow before the fact. This puts a stake in the heart of the collusion theory.

A CNN analyst speculated that instead of outright coordination, there was an implicit quid pro quo for Russia getting Trump elected. This might be called the “grasping at straws” gambit.

On Sunday, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., resurrected the notion that Trump obstructed justice by firing then-FBI Director and Bible scholar James Comey. But again, this is a weak and constitutionally suspect narrative.

The real obstruction might be found in the Mueller investigation itself. The legitimacy of the FBI witch hunt against Trump was further damaged by reports that leading FBI investigator Peter Strzok, who had spearheaded the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s sketchy home-brew email server, was demoted because of anti-Trump texts he exchanged with co-worker Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

This is hardly an unbiased investigation. If the type of process crime that Flynn was nailed for is all the Mueller team can come up with, it is time to move on.

James S. Robbins, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and author of This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive, has taught at the National Defense University and the Marine Corps University and served as a special assistant to the secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration. Follow him on Twitter: @James_Robbins.

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If Michael Flynn’s ‘crime’ is all Robert Mueller has, it is time to move on – USA TODAY
 

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USA TODAY
If Michael Flynn’s ‘crime’ is all Robert Mueller has, it is time to move on
USA TODAY
On Friday, President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a perfectly legal conversation he had during the presidential transition with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak 
Trump’s lawyer offered a dubious explanation for Trump’s bombshell tweet about Michael FlynnBusiness Insider
Trump’s Lawyer: President Knew Michael Flynn Lied To FBI Before Firing James ComeyHuffPost
Trump Says He Fired Michael Flynn ‘Because He Lied’ to FBINew York Times
CNN –Los Angeles Times
all 2,174 news articles »
Russia-Trump: President criticised for attacking FBI – BBC News
 

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BBC News
Russia-Trump: President criticised for attacking FBI
BBC News
The president seized on news that an FBI officer had been dismissed from the investigation after he was discovered to have made anti-Trump remarks in text messages, tweeting: “Report: ‘ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE’ Now it all starts to 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Senate ‘Putting Together’ Obstruction of Justice Case Against President TrumpTIME
Huckabee: Mueller’s investigation needs to be investigated after FBI agent firedThe Hill
Why Was An FBI Agent Removed From The Russia Investigation? Here’s What You Need To KnowElite Daily
Daily Mail –Washington Examiner –The National
all 2,268 news articles »

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