11:22 AM 9/16/2017 – FBI – Current News and Selected Articles Review

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Investigate the Investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI!

Saved Stories – 1. FBI
Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could destroy each other
Hacker who harassed CIA, FBI directors sentenced to 5 years – Albany Times Union
Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe? – Antiwar.com
Bannon confirms he opposed firing of FBI Director Comey – ABC News
Bannon confirms he opposed firing of FBI Director Comey – Washington Post
Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the ‘biggest mistake in modern political history’ – Washington Post
Robert Mueller’s Brilliant Move Against Trump’s Pardon Power – The Nation.
Mueller Is Right to Follow the Money – Foreign Policy (blog)
Hacker who harassed leaders from CIA and FBI is sentenced to 5 years in prison – Washington Post
Mueller Wants to Talk to Hope Hicks Over Misleading Russia Statement – Daily Beast
Mueller wants to speak with six key Trump aides – Axios
FBI Looking Into Equifax Data Breach – Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Did lesbians cause Hurricanes Irma and Harvey? God knows. – Washington Post
Reports detail Mueller’s pursuit of Trump WH aide interviews – CNN International
Trump tortured Spicer and Priebus. Now they get to tell investigators about Trump. – Washington Post
Special counsel Robert Mueller has long list of potential White House witnesses in Russia probe – USA TODAY
Russias Fake Americans The New York Times
The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election The New York Times
Mueller gives White House names of 6 aides he expects to question in Russia probe – Washington Post
The hollowing out of the federal workforce – Washington Post
Mueller wants to speak with White House staffers about Trump Jr. controversy – Fox News
How to Stifle Policing – City Journal
FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe – Reuters
What happens when a presidency runs on #FakeFears? Real fears are ignored. – Washington Post

 

1. FBI from mikenova (10 sites)
fbi – Google News: FBI warning people of phone scam – KCRG
mueller – Google News: Mueller adds money laundering expert to focus on Kushner’s shady international dealings: report – Raw Story
The World Web Times wwtimes.com: Mnuchin and Pompeo should recuse themselves from the Russia investigation The Washington Post
fbi – Google News: Church removed music director amid FBI investigation – Sacramento Bee
fbi – Google News: Church Removed Music Director Amid FBI Investigation – U.S. News & World Report
fbi – Google News: Inside FBI training: The art and science of a bomb investigation – ABC News
fbi – Google News: FBI says scammers target Nebraska, Iowa college students – News & Observer
fbi – Google News: FBI says scammers target Nebraska, Iowa college students – McClatchy Washington Bureau
james b. comey – Google News: Week 17: Bannon the Critic Pans the Scandal Everyone’s Binge-watching – Politico
fbi aclu report – Google News: Juggalo March: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know – Heavy.com
mueller – Google News: Why Trump Should Worry More About Congress Than About Mueller – The Atlantic
fbi – Google News: Judiciary considers subpoenas for Manafort, FBI officials – Las Vegas Sun
mueller – Google News: Letter: Robert Mueller and his team are still actively investigating – Worcester Telegram
mueller – Google News: Facebook gave more Russian ad details to special counsel Mueller than to Congress – CNBC
fbi – Google News: FBI auditor: Silva made home payments with club funds – Stockton Record
fbi – Google News: Animal rights organization says FBI search at Erie sanctuary related to ‘rescue’ of piglets from Utah – Boulder Daily Camera
mueller – Google News: Bills to protect Mueller from firing will get hearing this month – The Recorder
mueller – Google News: Report: Facebook gave special investigator Robert Mueller detailed info on Russian ad buys – TechCrunch
mueller – Google News: Facebook Has Told Mueller More About Russian Ad Spending, Source Says – Bloomberg
mueller – Google News: Facebook handed Russia-linked ads over to Mueller under search warrant – CNNMoney
mueller – Google News: Facebook handed Russia-linked ads over to Mueller under search warrant – CNNMoney

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M.N.: “It is a big question, how much power the FBI really has and should have, and how much of it is illusionary”: “Comey’s Secret Power” – WSJ, and other news stories

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Former FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill, June 8.

Source: Comey’s Secret Power – WSJ

M.N.: Our human tendency to look for the scapegoats is the universal defense mechanism. I think it is easy but simply and bluntly unfair to accuse Comey of all these “sins”: “He made himself investigator, judge and jury… extraordinary abuse of his megaphone… rekindled the case only 11 days before the election… Comey’s investigation was a charade…”. Comey did what in his best understanding, reasoning, and opinion, he had to do; and probably any FBI Director would take the similar actions, the difference being more in style than substance. “Self-righteousness” might not be the most efficient attitude in the investigative work but it is not a crime and is not a sign of abuse of power. 

“Now that’s power”, says the author. It is a big question, how much power the FBI really has and should have, and how much of it is illusionary, and how much of it is real. The power to inform the public, and to inform it correctly, is, it seems to me, a part of the real powers. 

It might be easier for us to approach the true understanding of the events, drama, and confusion related to 2016 elections, if we keep in mind that the hostile intelligence services involved in these events might have planned and designed the dirt heaping on both candidates, thus logically necessitating the official investigations of both of them, and deliberately forcing the FBI’s minds and hands in these directions. We still do not know the true circumstances and the ultimate players behind all of this, and hopefully, Mr. Mueller’s and other investigations will leave no stone unturned in addressing all the circumstances, leads, suspicions, and clues.

However, in assessing these events, we do have to look into the FBI’s role in them not only as the state investigative body but as a participating political actor which it became in the process of elections.

The legitimate and pressing questions are:

Did the FBI overstep their boundaries in interfering, overtly or covertly, with the political process? Who were and who are these actors, what were their motivations, background, and connections?

Mr. Strzok resignation or removal from the Mueller’s team apparently became one of the puzzles related to these concerns.

Did the FBI leadership, which, naturally, is quite a heterogeneous body, try to influence and sway their Director unduly, using as a convenient shield his apolitical reputation and well known moral standards, the qualities which the author called “self-righteousness” and “sanctimoniousness”? Is this kind of the attitude on the part of the upper echelons of the FBI leadership something of the historical tradition within the Bureau: they do whatever the heck they want, ruling their branch offices as their fiefs, and expect the FBI Director to protect and to defend them in all the circumstances?

These questions would fit into the broader set of issues reassessing the FBI’s true power and role; past, present, and future, in social, cultural, and the political life of this country, their moda operandi, and above all, their efficiency in handling the truly formidable, new, unprecedented challenges and problems within the realm of the National Security, that we are facing today.

The FBI’s true powers are not only investigations and the legal and legalistic truncheons, but the ability to understand, to analyze, to assess, and to a certain realistic degree, to direct, in a healthy way, and without crude or undue, or illegal political interference, the social moods, movements, thinkings, rational and irrational, of the country.

All these issues, and not only any particulars of any single FBI Director and his leadership style, should be the foci of attention when we address them and when we contemplate the FBI’s future roles.

As for  Mr. Comey, I think he tried to do his best to shape the FBI as the moral, responsible, and morally responsible force and organization. Did he succeed at this in his relatively short tenure? It is a separate question which became closely related, and maybe even entangled with the issues and questions of 2016 elections. All these questions should be addressed as the complex, in a broad investigative sweep, not just narrow “who did what, when, and why”, in Mr. Muellers’s, Congressional, and other investigations. The answers are important in determining the future directions of the American Democracy.

Michael Novakhov

9.8.17

Comey’s Secret Power – WSJ

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J. Edgar Hoover’s abuse of power as FBI director led Congress and the Justice Department to put new checks on that most powerful and secretive of offices. By the time Congress finishes investigating James Comey’s role in the 2016 presidential election, those safeguards may be due for an update.

Powerful as Hoover was, even he never simultaneously investigated both major-party candidates for the presidency. Mr. Comey did, and Americans are now getting a glimpse of how much he influenced political events.

Mr. Comey’s actions in the Hillary Clinton email probe are concerning enough. He made himself investigator, judge and jury, breaking the Justice Department’s chain of command. He publicly confirmed the investigation, violating the department’s principles. He announced he would not recommend prosecuting Mrs. Clinton, even as he publicly excoriated her—an extraordinary abuse of his megaphone. Then he rekindled the case only 11 days before the election.

An inquiry by the Senate Judiciary Committee has now shown that Mr. Comey’s investigation was a charade. He wrote a draft statement exonerating Mrs. Clinton in May, long before he bothered to interview her or her staff. This at least finally explains the probe’s lackluster nature: the absence of a grand jury, the failure to follow up on likely perjury, the unorthodox immunity deals made with Clinton aides.

But the big development this week is a new look at how Mr. Comey may have similarly juked the probe into Donald Trump’s purported ties to Russia. The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump “dossier.” That dossier, whose allegations appear to have been fabricated, was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and then developed by a former British spook named Christopher Steele.

But the FBI had its own part in this dossier, and investigators are finally drilling down into how big a role it played, and why. The bureau has furiously resisted answering questions. It ignored the initial requests for documents and has refused to comply with the House committee’s subpoenas, which were first issued Aug. 24. Republicans are frustrated enough that this week they sent orders compelling FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appear before the committee to explain the obstruction.

One explanation is that the documents might show the FBI played a central role in ginning up the fake dossier on Mr. Trump. To this day, we do not know who hired Fusion GPS to gather the dirt. The New York Times early this year reported, citing an anonymous source, that a wealthy anti-Trumper initially hired Fusion to dig into Mr. Trump’s business dealings, but the contract was later taken over by a Clinton-allied group. That’s when Fusion shifted its focus to Russia and hired Mr. Steele.

The question is when the FBI got in on the act. The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”

Who was Mr. Steele’s friend at the FBI? Did the bureau influence the direction of the Trump dossier? Did it give Mr. Steele material support from the start? The timing matters because it could answer the vital question of why the FBI wanted the dossier. Here’s one thought: warrants.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees spying activities, is usually generous in approving warrants, on the presumption law-enforcement agencies are acting in good faith. When a warrant is rejected, though, law enforcement isn’t pleased.

Perhaps the FBI wanted to conduct surveillance on someone connected to a presidential campaign (Carter Page?) but couldn’t hit what was—and ought to be—a supremely high bar for getting such a potentially explosive warrant. A dossier of nefarious allegations might well prove handy in finally convincing the FISA court to sign off. The FBI might have had a real motive to support Mr. Steele’s effort. It might have even justified the unjustifiable: working with a partisan oppo-research firm and a former spook to engineer a Kremlin-planted dossier that has roiled Mr. Trump’s entire presidency.

Now that’s power.

Mr. Comey’s meddling has never seemed to stem from some hidden partisan impulse, but rather from an overweening self-righteousness. But power can be misused as much in the hands of the sanctimonious as the corrupt. And it’s overdue for congressional investigators to get to the bottom of precisely how much power Mr. Comey was exercising.

Write to <a href=”mailto:kim@wsj.com”>kim@wsj.com</a>.

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Comey’s Secret Power – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

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Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Comey’s Secret Power
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
By the time Congress finishes investigating James Comey’s role in the 2016 presidential election, those safeguards may be due for an update. Powerful as Hoover was, even he never simultaneously investigated both major-party candidates for the 

Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports – KOSU

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KOSU
Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports
KOSU
The irony is that, on the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump railed against “anchor babies” — a demeaning name for children born to a noncitizen mother in a country to gain new citizenship for the child. And yet, according to the Daily Beast, the and more »

Feds put the screws to Rudy Giuliani to try to get him to flip on Donald Trump 

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If you’ve been wondering why you haven’t heard from or about Rudy Giuliani of late, we now have some answers to that. The Feds just took aggressive action which can only be interpreted as an attempt at pressuring him into flipping on Donald Trump, and it’s safe to assume he’s been laying low all of this time because he’s known what was coming. Suffice it to say that this latest development doesn’t look good for him.

Awhile back, Giuliani got himself tangled with Reza Zarrab, who’s been awaiting trial in the United States for a series of alleged financial crimes. Zarrab was operating his business out of Trump Towers Istanbul, making it suspicious that Giuliani – a Trump campaign surrogate – was attempting to meddle in the case. Once this was revealed, Giuliani all but disappeared from the public radar. Now the Feds are bringing indictments against pretty much everyone involved in the Giuliani-Zarrab mess.

Yesterday the Department of Justice posted a press release revealing that it was bringing indictments against four of the co-conspirators in the mess (link). Although the press release does not mention Giuliani, it does mention that Dana Boente is involved in this latest move – and that tells us a lot. Boente is the U.S. District Attorney for Eastern Virginia, even though this case is playing out in the Southern District of New York.

Boente also serves as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security. He was also the one who helped get the initial grand juries in the Trump-Russia investigation underway in his Eastern District of Virginia, which have since been taken over by Robert Mueller. Even though Rudy Giuliani is still serving as Reza Zarrab’s quasi-attorney, this latest move reads like an attempt at getting co-conspirators to flip on then both – and the whole reason to nail Rudy is to get him to flip on Trump when it comes to election collusion shenanigans.

The post Feds put the screws to Rudy Giuliani to try to get him to flip on Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe – Reuters

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CNN International
FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Thursday he has “not detected any whiff of interference” by the White House into the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Speaking publicly for the 
FBI Director Wray: No ‘whiff of interference’ with Mueller investigationCNN International
Wray: No Signs of Interference Into Russia ProbeNewsmaxall 18 news articles »

In wake of Donald Trump Jr’s incriminating testimony, Robert Mueller quickly targets Donald Trump’s senior staff

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Just hours after Donald Trump Jr admitted to Congress that he had initially lied to the media about the nature of his meeting with Russian government representatives, Robert Mueller is already springing into action. The Special Counsel is now targeting Donald Trump’s entire Senior Staff with regard to how Trump tried to obstruct justice in relation to that meeting.

Palmer Report pointed out immediately after Junior’s testimony that he had confirmed that his father had instructed him to lie to the media about the meeting, thereby unwittingly nailing his father for obstruction of justice (link). Sure enough, CNN is now reporting that Mueller is quickly zeroing in on that discussion (link) – and he’s targeting Trump’s senior staff in the process.

Donald Trump crafted his son’s initial false statement about the Russia meeting while he was on Air Force One with his senior staffers. That makes them witnesses at the least, and co-consirators in obstructing justice at the most. If Mueller can compel these senior staffers to testify about what Trump said during that plane ride, then he’ll have first-hand witnesses of Trump’s obstruction. Moreover, he’ll only need to flip one of them, by convincing them that it’s better to come clean than to face potential criminal charges.

Donald Trump Jr admitted to Congress today during his testimony that he had met with the Russian government representatives at Trump Tower during the election, in the hope of obtaining secret information about Hillary Clinton (link). While he still insists this is somehow harmless in intent, it means that he conspired with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the election – a crime. Donald Trump’s attempt at covering up his son’s collusion meeting isn’t merely obstruction of justice – it also demonstrates that he understood the collusive and illegal nature of his son’s Russia meeting.

The post In wake of Donald Trump Jr’s incriminating testimony, Robert Mueller quickly targets Donald Trump’s senior staff appeared first on Palmer Report.

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FBI chief sees no sign of political interference in Russia probe

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FBI director Christopher Wray said on Thursday he had seen no sign of political interference in the bureau’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I can say very confidently I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation,” he told a conference of national security industry executives in Washington.

Making his first remarks on the matter since taking office one month ago, Mr Wray also said he had “enormous respect” for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the probe. Earlier this summer, after the president privately expressed frustration with the special counsel, prominent Republicans such as Senator Lindsey Graham warned Mr Trump against firing him.

The FBI has assigned several agents to do the investigative leg work for Mr Mueller. “I have confidence in them to do their jobs professionally,” Mr Wray said.

Agents in the bureau’s counter-intelligence division also are working to thwart any future election meddling by Russia. “I’m very impressed with the strides that are being made on that front,” said the director.

Mr Trump turned to Mr Wray to run the FBI after firing former director James Comey in May over his handling of the Russia allegations. At the time, Mr Trump said he had been irked that Mr Comey was still investigating his ties to Russia, which the president called a “made-up story”.

Mr Wray, who was sworn in as FBI director on August 2, headed the Department of Justice’s criminal division from 2003 to 2005 and later became a corporate defence attorney.

I can say very confidently I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation

His white-collar clients included New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was accused of engineering a traffic jam on a Hudson River bridge to punish a political adversary, and Credit Suisse, which in 2014 became the first major US bank in more than two decades to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing in helping Americans evade paying US taxes.

Since taking office, Mr Wray said that he had reviewed classified evidence supporting the intelligence community’s January 6 public assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally directed “an influence campaign” aimed at the presidential election.

Mr Putin sought to undermine public confidence in American democracy and hurt the election prospects of Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s rival in the race for the White House. “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference” for a Trump win, the intelligence community concluded.

Mr Wray repeated what he said during his Senate confirmation hearing, that he had “no reason to doubt the conclusions” of the intelligence community about Russia’s meddling.

Follow David J Lynch on Twitter: @davidjlynch

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President Donald Trump gives tax reform speech in North Dakota – YouTube

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trump – Google Search

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Inside Donald Trump’s Deal With the Democrats on Debt, Harvey Aid

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>3 hours ago
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sat in the Oval Office on Wednesay, listening to his Treasury Secretary argue against a Democratic …

Thursday’s Morning Email: Hurricane Irma Barrels Through Caribbean

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Killing at least 9.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

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In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaMark <a href=”http://Agnor/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Agnor/Shutterstock.com</a>

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

12. Artistas Asensios

The gang is involved in numerous illegal activities and is famed for its involvement with the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel. While the gang may not be as active as it once was, it has been to engage in a few murders here and there.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaSeb c’est <a href=”http://bien/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>bien/Shutterstock.com</a>

11. Norteño

The Norteños gang was formed in Northern California, and was specifically created to counter the growing influence of Surenos, a gang which had ties to the Mexican Mafia.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAndrey <a href=”http://Burmakin/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Burmakin/Shutterstock.com</a>

10. Crips

One of the largest organized crime groups in America, Crips, boasted a membership of more than 30,000 criminals, back in 1999. The gang is notorious for its violent crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com</a>

9. Bloods

Bloods is ironically the bitter rival of aforementioned gang Crips, whose primary members are African Americans.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com</a>

8. Texas Syndicate

The Texas Syndicate was established as a prison gang in order to counter other gangs preying on native Texans, and are still largely a prison gang though some of their members engage in other forms of criminal activity as well.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com</a>

7. MS-13

MS-13 is one of the biggest threats to the fight against organized crime in the country, according to the US Attorney’s office. This group consists of over 6,000 members and is considered to be the first street crime group in the US to be described as a transnational criminal enterprise.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com</a>

6. Latin Kings

The oldest Hispanic crime group in the world, the Latin Kings are involved in various illegal activities including drug trafficking and weapons trafficking, which explains its appearance among the biggest organized crime groups in America.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaPer <a href=”http://Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com</a>

5. Paisa

Established in Colombia, Paisa consisted of paramilitary members who established themselves as drug traffickers. However, the group’s influence has waned in recent years and its power has been called into question as well. However, as evident from this report, the group still holds some sway, especially in cross border crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAfrica <a href=”http://Studio/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Studio/Shutterstock.com</a>

4. Mexican Mafia

Despite its name, the organization was established in the US and despite only a few hundred members, has managed to successfully carry out criminal activities on a large scale.

3. Tango Blast

An even bigger threat than MS-13, Tango Blast, established in Houston, has over 19,000 members and earns most of its profits through criminal activities such as human trafficking.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://GongTo/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>GongTo/Shutterstock.com</a>

2. Barrio Azteca

Another gang established in Texas, the Barrio Azteca has engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and contract killing, to name a few of their crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaArtem <a href=”http://Furman/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Furman/Shutterstock.com</a>

1. Sureños

Topping the list of the biggest organized crime groups in America is Sureños, a rival of the earlier mentioned Norteños. Sureños pay homage and respects to the Mexican Mafia, and carry out most of the dirty work of the Mafia, such as human trafficking, hence allowing them to claim the top slot.

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12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

1 Share

In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaMark <a href=”http://Agnor/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Agnor/Shutterstock.com</a>

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

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12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America – Insider Monkey (blog)

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Insider Monkey (blog)
12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America
Insider Monkey (blog)
The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the 

The Early Edition: September 7, 2017 


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Byron York: Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier

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A standoff could be developing.

Source: Byron York: Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier

Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier

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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, want to interview two high-ranking FBI officials about some key aspects of the bureau’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation — the Trump dossier, the firing of James Comey, and more. But the FBI doesn’t want those officials to talk — even though the Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the FBI, and even though the request is bipartisan, and even though there appears to be no conflict with the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation conducted by special prosecutor James Mueller.

A standoff could be developing.

It began on July 11, when Grassley and Feinstein wrote letters to James Rybicki, who was Director Comey’s chief of staff, and Carl Ghattas, head of the bureau’s national security branch. “The committee is investigating the removal of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference in the 2016 election, and allegations of improper interference in law enforcement investigations,” the chairman and ranking member wrote. “Please make yourself available for a transcribed interview during the week of July 24, 2017.”

It didn’t happen. On July 27, Samuel Ramer, the acting assistant attorney general, wrote to say that Rybicki and Ghattas would not be talking. Noting the Mueller investigation, Ramer said, “Under these circumstances and consistent with the department’s long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters, the department cannot make Mr. Ghattas or Mr. Rybicki available for transcribed interviews at this time.”

Grassley and Feinstein did not agree. They knew that committee staff, Republican and Democrat, had had so-called “de-confliction” discussions with Mueller’s office on how the Senate investigation might proceed without interfering with Mueller’s criminal probe. And they didn’t see a conflict. So on August 25, Grassley and Feinstein wrote another letter, this time to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“The department declined to make Mr. Ghattas and Mr. Rybicki available for interviews because of pending matters and their current work on those matters with Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Grassley and Feinstein wrote. “However, in our de-confliction discussions with the Special Counsel’s office, we have clarified that the committee intends to limit the scope of the interviews to avoid that concern. There is no intent to seek information about these witnesses’ current work with the Special Counsel’s office. Rather, we seek their independent recollections, as fact witnesses, of events that occurred before and including Director Comey’s removal.”

The two lawmakers asked the Justice Department to get in touch by September 1 to schedule the interviews. “We appreciate and expect the department’s voluntary cooperation with this important request,” they wrote.

Including the words “expect” and “voluntary” was notable, because it essentially meant, “Don’t make us force you.” If they are united, the chair and the ranking minority of a Senate committee can make a lot of trouble for an agency under their oversight. Grassley and Feinstein, veterans of many years in the Senate, know that very well.

The Justice Department does, too. But September 1 came and went with no department effort to set up the interviews.

Now, it is not clear what is next. Grassley and Feinstein appear to be determined to talk to Rybicki and Ghattas. It is obvious that both men know a lot about what went on in the FBI in the last couple of years. As far as the Trump dossier specifically is concerned, they could be able to shed light on the FBI’s reported decision in October 2016 to support work on the dossier, which at the time was an anti-Trump opposition research project funded by Clinton donors. Grassley has said that decision “raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.” There’s no doubt he wants to learn more about it.

Finally, sharp-eyed readers may have noticed the name of James Rybicki in the news in the last few days. He was one of the FBI officials cited in a letter from Grassley and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham suggesting that Comey may have decided to exonerate Hillary Clinton in the email investigation before Clinton and more than a dozen other witnesses were even interviewed. The senators based the charge on Rybicki’s interview with the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel. (They took care to note that, despite the name, the Office of Special Counsel is completely separate from and not related to the Robert Mueller investigation.) Rybicki, as Comey’s chief of staff, obviously knew a lot about the email investigation.

Now Grassley and Feinstein want to know what Rybicki, as well as Ghattas, knows about the dossier, the Comey firing, and other events that make up the broadest definition of the Trump-Russia affair. But first, they’ll have to get past the Justice Department’s determination to keep things secret.


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Time for a Full Investigation… of the FBI | Roger L. Simon

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“…It is the reputation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation itself that is even more dangerously tarnished.  The conventional wisdom is that there are plenty of good, patriotic civil servants in the FBI — and that is undoubtedly true — but not since the days of J. Edgar Hoover has the organization’s leadership been so suspect, their opaque decision-making process so fraught with defensive self-preservation  and political bias. Sometimes, it seems the “G-men” spend far more time dodging FOIA requests —  redacting almost everything in sight, lest it be “misunderstood” by we in the great unwashed — than in stopping crime. That may not be so, but the reasons for the perception are undeniable.

Something must be done and quickly.  The latest revelations about Comey make the recusal of Mueller more urgent, but the overall situation is yet more severe.  The FBI itself needs some form of investigation and reorganization. A true reform.  Otherwise a huge percentage of the country will continue to distrust it and that distrust, pending the results of the closely tied Mueller-Russia inquiry, will only continue to grow.  That is untenable in a democratic republic.

Failing that, we might as well rename the FBI as the GDS — the  Guardians of the Deep State.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn’t Already. He procrastinates on Twitter @rogerlsimon.

Source: Time for a Full Investigation… of the FBI | Roger L. Simon

Time for a Full Investigation… of the FBI

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What happens to a country whose most important police force — and its key investigators — is no longer telling the truth to the citizens of that nation? Nothing good, I’m sure most would agree.  There’s almost no point in going through all the analogies to despotic regimes. Writers from George Orwell to Arthur Koestler have already done it for us.

But those analogies come immediately to mind following two revelations regarding our Federal Bureau of Investigation that surfaced this week. In one instance, the FBI refused to turn over documents regarding the Hillary Clinton emails because of — wait for it — “lack of public interest.”

The head of the FBI Records Management Division wrote Ty Clevenger, a New York Attorney who filed the FOIA request in March 2016, to inform him that his request was being denied in late August.“You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, reads. “Therefore, records regarding your subject are withheld pursuant to FOIA exemptions.”

It’s hard to imagine what was going on in the mind of Records Management Division head David M. Hardy when he wrote — or was forced to write by some unknown superior — such a risible lie, but things have only gotten worse from there.  Now we learn that then FBI director James Comey may never have planned to find Clinton guilty in the first place.

While the transcripts of those interviews are heavily redacted, they indicate that Comey started working on an announcement clearing Clinton in April or May of last year, before the FBI interviewed 17 witnesses in the case, including Clinton and some of her top aides.Clinton was interviewed for several hours on July 2, just three days before Comey’s announcement.

Defenders of Comey insist this early draft exonerating Clinton is standard FBI practice, but, not surprisingly, none of them mention that a similar draft deeming Clinton culpable has not surfaced.  One doubts it exists.

To millions of Americans, Hillary Clinton was as guilty as O.J. Simpson.  You would have to be an imbecile not to think she didn’t know she was doing something illegal secreting her professional emails as secretary of State on a private server hidden in a bathroom. And yet James Comey’s ultimate decision on Clinton depended on her putative ignorance after literally decades of government service.

No wonder he vacillated so many times in his statements and actions.  Only someone completely without conscience wouldn’t have.  And  Comey should have a guilty conscience because it is now becoming increasingly clear he was looking for way to exonerate Clinton virtually no matter what. The famous Bill-Loretta tarmac meeting was an unnecessary embarrassment, as was Lynch instructing Comey to call the investigation a “matter.”  This was ultimately, as the Italian film goes, “The Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion.”  That is why she was never interviewed under oath and so many of her subalterns were let off free or allowed to destroy records and negotiate the most outlandish requests that neutered the inquiry. That is why we have never seen the tens of thousands of erased and supposedly missing emails.

M.N.:

Investigate the investigators!

Save America!

Reform the FBI now!


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At CIA, a watchful eye on Mike Pompeo, the president’s ardent ally – The Washington Post

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Source: At CIA, a watchful eye on Mike Pompeo, the president’s ardent ally – The Washington Post

At CIA, a watchful eye on Mike Pompeo, the president’s ardent ally

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As CIA director, Mike Pompeo has taken a special interest in an agency unit that is closely tied to the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, requiring the Counterintelligence Mission Center to report directly to him.

Officials at the center have, in turn, kept a watchful eye on Pompeo, who has repeatedly played down Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and demonstrated a willingness to engage in political skirmishes for President Trump.

Current and former officials said that the arrangement has been a source of apprehension among the CIA’s upper ranks and that they could not recall a time in the agency’s history when a director faced a comparable conflict.

“Pompeo is in a delicate situation unlike any other director has faced, certainly in my memory,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a CIA official for 23 years who served in Russia and held high-level positions at headquarters, “because of his duty to protect and provide the truth to an independent investigation while maintaining his role with the president.”

[Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault]

Trump, Russia and the opposition research firm run by ex-journalists

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What is Fusion GPS and did it receive Russian government funds as it investigated Donald Trump?What is Fusion GPS and did it receive Russian government funds as it investigated Donald Trump?(Video: Meg Kelly/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

What is Fusion GPS and did it receive Russian government funds as it investigated Donald Trump? (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

The Russia issue has complicated Pompeo’s effort to manage a badly strained relationship between the agency and a president who has disparaged its work and compared U.S. intelligence officials to Nazis. Amid that tension, Pompeo’s interactions with the counterintelligence center have come under particular scrutiny.

The unit helped trigger the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia by serving as a conduit to the FBI last year for information the CIA developed on contacts between Russian individuals and Trump campaign associates, officials said.

The center works more closely with the FBI than almost any other CIA department does, officials said, and continues to pursue leads on Moscow’s election interference operation that could factor in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a former FBI director.

Pompeo has not impeded that work, officials said. But several officials said there is concern about what he might do if the CIA uncovered new information potentially damaging to Trump and Pompeo were forced to choose between protecting the agency or the president.

“People have to watch him,” said a U.S. official who, like others, requested anonymity to speak frankly. “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.”

A second former CIA official cited a “real concern for interference and politicization,” saying that the worry among some at the agency is “that if you were passing on something too dicey [to Pompeo] he would go to the White House with it.”

Pompeo has attributed his direct supervision of the counterintelligence center to a desire to place a greater emphasis on preventing leaks and protecting classified secrets — core missions of the center that are also top priorities for Trump.

Trump on Russia investigation: ‘They’re trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want’

President Trump dismissed allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia at a rally in Huntington, W. Va., on Aug. 3. President Trump dismissed allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia at a rally in Huntington, W. Va., on Aug. 3. (The Washington Post)

President Trump dismissed allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia at a rally in Huntington, W. Va., on Aug. 3. (The Washington Post)

Having the center report to him was designed “to send a signal to the workforce that this was important and we weren’t going to tolerate misbehavior,” he said at a security conference in Aspen, Colo., last month.

CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani described the suggestion that Pompeo might abuse his position as “ridiculous.”

Executive-order guidelines prohibit the CIA from passing information to the White House “for the purpose of affecting the political process in the United States,” Trapani said. “The FBI and special counsel’s office are leading the law enforcement investigation into this matter — not CIA. CIA is providing relevant information in support of that investigation, and neither the director nor CIA will interfere with it.”

Pompeo, 53, arrived as director at the CIA just days after Trump delivered a self-aggrandizing post-inaugural speech at agency headquarters. Appearing before a wall of carved granite stars that commemorate CIA officers killed in the line of duty, Trump used the occasion to browbeat the media and make false claims about the size of his inauguration crowds.

Pompeo has worked to overcome that inauspicious start, winning over many in the CIA workforce with his vocal support for aggressive intelligence gathering, his command of complex global issues and his influence at the White House. Pompeo spends several hours there almost every day, according to officials who said he has developed a strong rapport with the president.

But Pompeo is also known for berating subordinates, aggressively challenging agency analysts and displaying the fierce partisanship that became his signature while serving as a GOP member of Congress.

When asked about Russian election interference, Pompeo often becomes testy and recites talking points that seem designed to appease a president who rejects the allegations as “fake news” conjured by Democrats to delegitimize his election win.

“It is true” that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Pompeo said at Aspen, “and the one before that, and the one before that . . . ”

The phrasing, which Pompeo has repeated in other settings, casts last year’s events as an unremarkable continuation of a long-standing pattern, rather than the unprecedented Kremlin operation described in a consensus report that the CIA and other agencies released in January.

Russia’s intervention in 2016 represented “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort,” the report concluded. Its goal went beyond seeking to discredit U.S. democratic processes, the report said, and in the end was aimed at trying “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”

Pompeo has taken more hawkish positions on other areas of tension with Russia, saying that Moscow intervened in Syria, for example, in part because “they love to stick it to America.”

Almost all CIA directors have had to find ways to manage a supposedly apolitical spy agency while meeting the demands of a president. But Trump, who has fired his FBI chief and lashed out at his attorney general over the Russia probe, appears to expect a particularly personal brand of loyalty.

“It is always a balancing act between a director’s access to the president and the need to protect CIA’s sensitive equities,” said John Sipher, a former senior CIA official who also served in Russia. “Pompeo clearly has a more difficult challenge in maintaining that balance than his predecessors given the obvious concerns with this president’s unique personality, obsession with charges against him, lack of knowledge and tendency to take impulsive action.”

Pompeo has shown a willingness to handle political assignments for the White House. Earlier this year, he and other officials were enlisted to make calls to news organizations — speaking on the condition of anonymity — to dispute a New York Times article about contacts between Russians and individuals tied to the Trump campaign. Pompeo has never publicly acknowledged his involvement in that effort.

He has also declined to address whether he was approached by Trump earlier this year — as other top intelligence officials were — to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion with Russia or to intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to urge the FBI to back off its investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Pompeo has, by all accounts, a closer relationship with Trump than others who did field such requests, including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers.

Pompeo was exposed to Trump’s wrath over the Russia investigation on at least one occasion, officials said. He was among those present for a meeting at the White House earlier this year when Trump began complaining about the probe and, in front of Pompeo and others, asked what could be done about it.

Trapani, the CIA spokesman, declined to address the matter or say whether Pompeo has been questioned about it by Mueller. Pompeo’s conversations with Trump “are entitled to confidentiality,” Trapani said, adding that “the director has never been asked by the president to do anything inappropriate.”

Pompeo spends more time at the White House than his recent CIA predecessors and is seen as more willing to engage in policy battles. In interviews and public appearances, Pompeo has advocated ousting the totalitarian regime in North Korea, accused the Obama administration of “inviting” Russia into Syria and criticized the nuclear accord with Iran.

Pompeo has also come under scrutiny on social issues. As part of an effort to expand chaplain services to CIA employees — which Trapani said was in response to requests from the agency workforce — Pompeo has consulted with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-gay hate group. Perkins has described that characterization as “reckless.”

When Trump came under criticism for failing to specifically condemn Nazi sympathizers taking part in protests in Charlottesville — instead lamenting violence by “many sides” — Pompeo defended the president in a CBS interview, saying that Trump’s condemnation of bigotry was “frankly pretty unambiguous.”

Pompeo inherited an agency that had undergone a major reorganization under his predecessor, combing analysts and operators in a constellation of “centers” responsible for geographic regions, as well as transnational issues such as terrorism.

Pompeo’s alterations have been minimal. He added two centers — one devoted to North Korea and the other to Iran. All but the counterintelligence unit fall under Pompeo’s deputy on the CIA organizational chart.

Pompeo, who met with Russian intelligence officials in Moscow in May, would have been entitled to full briefings from the counterintelligence center even without making that bureaucratic tweak. But asserting more control of the unit responsible for preventing leaks probably pleased Trump, who has accused U.S. spy agencies of engaging in a smear campaign to undermine his presidency.

U.S. intelligence officials have disputed that spy agencies are behind such leaks but acknowledge broader concerns about security issues, pointing to episodes including the CIA’s loss of a vast portion of its hacking arsenal, which was obtained this year by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

A descendant of the unit led by legendary CIA mole-hunter James Jesus Angleton, the counterintelligence center is run by a veteran female CIA officer who has served extensively overseas in Europe, East Asia and Russia. She was also one of the main authors of the CIA’s internal review of a deadly suicide bombing that killed seven agency employees in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009.

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“I think she’s wary about the administration,” said a former colleague who also described her as “someone who would not fall in line” if she suspected interference in the center’s role. Preventing the center from sharing information with the bureau would be difficult — an FBI official serves as head of the center’s counterespionage unit.

Last year, the center played an important part in detecting Russian efforts to cultivate associates of the Trump campaign. Former CIA director John Brennan testified in May that he became “worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons” and alerted the FBI.

The center has since been enlisted to help answer questions about key moments in the timeline of Trump-Russia contacts, officials said, possibly including the meeting that Donald Trump Jr. held in June with a Russian lawyer.

“Who sent her on the mission — was it Russian intelligence or on her own initiative?” a former official said, referring to the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. “Mueller can’t do anything on that without the agency.”

Julie Tate, Adam Entous and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

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· · · · · · · · · ·

CIA Staff Reportedly Worried About Pompeo As FBI Pursues Russia Probe – Talking Points Memo

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As the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election moves forward under special counsel Robert Mueller, some staff members at the CIA are concerned about Director Mike Pompeo’s role overseeing the CIA subdivision working most closely with the FBI, according to a Thursday evening report in the Washington Post.


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CIA Staff Reportedly Worried About Pompeo As FBI Pursues Russia Probe – Talking Points Memo

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Source: CIA Staff Reportedly Worried About Pompeo As FBI Pursues Russia Probe – Talking Points Memo

CIA Staff Reportedly Worried About Pompeo As FBI Pursues Russia Probe – Talking Points Memo

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Subscribe to TPM Prime for a better reading experience, exclusive features and to support our reporters’ award-winning journalism.

As the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election moves forward under special counsel Robert Mueller, some staff members at the CIA are concerned about Director Mike Pompeo’s role overseeing the CIA subdivision working most closely with the FBI, according to a Thursday evening report in the Washington Post.trump

Upon becoming CIA director, Pompeo required that the CIA’s Counterintelligence Mission Center, which has passed on information to the FBI about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and continues to aide the FBI in its probe, report directly to him.

This move has made some staffers particularly wary of Pompeo’s leadership, per the Post, as he must balance his role leading the FBI with his loyalty to Trump. The CIA director has  downplayed the Russia probe and Russia’s election interference, telling attendees at a conference in Aspen, Colorado that Russia has interfered in several U.S. elections.

Per the Washington Post:

Pompeo has not impeded that work, officials said. But several officials said there is concern about what he might do if the CIA uncovered new information potentially damaging to Trump and Pompeo were forced to choose between protecting the agency or the president.

One unnamed CIA official told the Post that there is a “real concern for interference and politicization” with Pompeo and that some staff at the CIA worry “that if you were passing on something too dicey [to Pompeo] he would go to the White House with it.”

Asked about this, CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani told the newspaper that such concerns are “ridiculous.”

“The FBI and special counsel’s office are leading the law enforcement investigation into this matter — not CIA. CIA is providing relevant information in support of that investigation, and neither the director nor CIA will interfere with it,” he told the Post.

Read the full report here.

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· ·

What Does the Special Counsel Need to Prove?

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Despite intense debate about the scope of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, there is broad agreement that “collusion” with the Russian government is at the heart of it. Yet that term, which is used on a daily basis on cable news, has no legal meaning. Mueller’s recent moves—from subpoenaing Paul Manafort’s financial records to working with a Ukrainian hacker—make more sense if you understand how working with the Russians can be a crime.


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“This is a counterintelligence operation first and foremost.” – Inside Robert Mueller’s Army | FBI News and Selected Articles in brief – 11:18 AM 8/24/2017

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“This is a counterintelligence operation first and foremost.”

To probe alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel has essentially built his own miniature Justice Department. Meet the experts he’s recruited.

Source: Inside Robert Mueller’s Army

In conclusion

To be sure, the most interesting parts of Mueller’s investigation are likely happening far from public view. Most of the coverage of the probe has focused on its criminal component. But Mueller’s top priority is likely a counterespionage operation, which James Comey confirmed was underway when he testified before Congress (and before his firing).

Naveed Jamali, a former double agent for the FBI who dealt with Russian espionage in the U.S., said this part of the effort won’t necessarily have to do with criminal charges or court proceedings.

“The goal with a counterintelligence operation is to detect and neutralize threats,” said Jamali, author of How to Catch a Russian Spy. “That’s it. If you apply that to the Mueller probe, anything that was used by the Russians against us during the election is a threat that has to be neutralized. That doesn’t mean that it has to be brought to court.”

Simply proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who interfered with the 2016 election on behalf of Russia and how they did it would be a significant success for the probe, he added.

“The legal part of this is so fucking boring,” he added. “This is a counterintelligence operation first and foremost.”

mueller – Google News

Inside Robert Mueller’s Army – Daily Beast


Daily Beast
Inside Robert Mueller’s Army
Daily Beast
The following details—gleaned from conversations with people familiar with President Donald Trump’s legal team, as well as intelligence experts and friends of the people working for special counsel Robert Mueller—help explain the broad range of legal 

Inside Robert Mueller’s Army

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In a secure location in southwest Washington, D.C., with access to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility for classified material, 16 of the country’s top lawyers have passed the last several months working on an investigation that will likely be as consequential as it is secretive.

The following details—gleaned from conversations with people familiar with President Donald Trump’s legal team, as well as intelligence experts and friends of the people working for special counsel Robert Mueller—help explain the broad range of legal and counterintelligence experts he’s assembled. Mueller has essentially built his own miniature Justice Department.

Andrew Weissmann

Weissmann has spent most of his career in the Justice Department—first in the Eastern District of New York, and now at Main Justice. He’s on detail from his position overseeing fraud prosecutions to work with Mueller.

It isn’t their first tour of duty together. Weissmann was Mueller’s general counsel at the FBI for years.

A former FBI official who worked with him there told The Daily Beast that unlike many government attorneys, Weissmann rarely equivocated or dilly-dallied about decisions.

“He was not a paper tiger,” the former official said.

The former official said Weissmann argued doggedly for the FBI’s positions when officials there disagreed with the legal views of attorneys at DOJ headquarters—and was sometimes willing to raise his voice and use obscenities.

“This isn’t gonna fuckin’ stand!” Weissmann yelled at one meeting where FBI officials discussed their differences with the Justice Department, according to that source.

It’s a trait that won him fans at the FBI, and countless foes among criminal defense lawyers. Weissmann generated enormous anger for the hardball tactics he used when he ran the Enron probe—especially his prosecution of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which resulted in more than 20,000 people losing their jobs and zero convictions. One prominent white collar defense attorney vowed that Weissmann would never work in private practice because he was so despised over the Andersen case. Despite that, Weissmann made a pit stop at the private firm Jenner & Block for a few years before returning to the FBI.

James Quarles

Quarles is part of the old guard of Washington lawyers and worked on the Watergate prosecution. Besides Mueller himself, Quarles seems to deal with Trump’s legal team more than just about anybody else on the probe.

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“Ty [Cobb, one of the president’s lawyers] and I have had excellent relations with [Quarles] and Bob [Mueller], and we are very much appreciative,” said John Dowd, one of the president’s attorneys.

Along with Weissmann, Quarles is one of the most senior people on Mueller’s team. A person familiar with Mueller’s management style said it’s safe to assume Weissmann and Quarles have managerial roles on the probe.

Quarles was a partner at WilmerHale—the predominantly Democratic law firm where Mueller worked before becoming the special counsel—along with a host of other attorneys involved in the probe.

Those include Jamie Gorelick, who was second in command at the Justice Department under Janet Reno and who has represented Jared Kushner on issues related to his security clearance; and Reg Brown, also a partner at the firm, who represented Paul Manafort until about two weeks ago. (Multiple sources told The Daily Beast that Manafort is facing financial strain because of legal costs.)

Aaron Zebley

Zebley is a Mueller whisperer. He was Mueller’s chief of staff at the FBI, often acting as a go-between for Mueller and the bureau’s senior officials, according to Ron Hosko, formerly an assistant FBI director. Mueller mentored Zebley and guided him through the bureau, according to a former DOJ official.

Zebley seems to have a pretty good poker face.

“You could you be giving him your view and he could be thinking, ‘This guy’s a complete idiot’ or ‘This information is completely misshaped!’ and you’d never know,” said a former FBI official who worked with him.

Zebley accompanied Mueller when he briefed the Senate Judiciary Committee on his investigation, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Jeannie Rhee

Besides Weissmann, Rhee is the attorney whose presence on Mueller’s team has most irked the president’s allies. She previously represented the Clinton Foundation and was an official in the Justice Department’s prestigious Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Obama administration.

A person familiar with the president’s legal team said its representatives have tried to communicate to the special counsel that they worry Rhee’s presence on the team could result in it moving in a partisan direction.

People who know Rhee say that’s laughable. John Bies, who worked alongside her in OLC, said Rhee felt deep personal responsibility for the work of the office.

“She was anxious and had a real sense of responsibility about getting it right,” he told The Daily Beast.

Rhee was also a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., where she worked on the prosecution of teachers’ union officials who embezzled millions of dollars to buy tickets to Wizards games and fur coats, according to The Washington Post. And though conservative media figures have criticized Rhee for past contributions to Democrats, she supported the confirmation of Republican Rachel Brand as associate attorney general.

Michael Dreeben

A longtime Washington attorney told The Daily Beast it’s unthinkable that Mueller would have executed the search warrant to raid Manafort’s house without the sign-off of Michael Dreeben.

On the team investigating Russian interference, Dreeben’s legend is second only to that of Mueller’s. Dreeben has spent years in the solicitor general’s office of the Justice Department and has argued before the Supreme Court more than 100 times.

Numerous Washington lawyers said he knows more about U.S. criminal law than anyone else on the planet. One attorney described him as “a demigod of the legal world, respected and feared by everyone in the realm of criminal law.”

Peter Vincent, a former senior DHS official, said Dreeben is an “absolute superstar.” Harold Koh, the top lawyer at the State Department under President Barack Obama, called Dreeben a “brilliant, brilliant lawyer.”

“He’s extremely rational, like Mr. Spock,” Koh added. “He’s not a joker.”

Bies, who has also worked with Dreeben, said the Star Trek comparison was apt “only if you recognize that Dr. Spock was half human, and has emotions in addition to rationality.”

Andrew Goldstein

Goldstein is one of a handful of New Yorkers who headed to D.C. to work on the probe. He’s on detail from his post as head of the Southern District of New York’s public corruption unit. Before taking that job—where he prosecuted New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and helped dismantle the Liberty Reserve criminal enterprise, which laundered hundreds of millions of dollars using online currency—he was a staff writer for Time magazine, where he covered the Columbine shooting.

Goldstein is the son of Jonathan Goldstein, who was the United States attorney for the District of New Jersey. President Richard Nixon nominated him for that post in 1974.

Elkan Abramowitz, a criminal defense attorney who has practiced in New York for years and has dealt with Andrew Goldstein on legal matters, said he’s widely respected.

“What really is important about him is his judgment,” Abramowitz told The Daily Beast. “He’s very temperate and solid. I would trust his judgment. For example, if he were to conclude that there was insufficient evidence, his judgment could be relied on. If he were to conclude otherwise, his judgment also could be relied on.”

Elizabeth Prelogar

Before heading to the firm Hogan and Lovells and then to the solicitor general’s office, Elizabeth Prelogar was a Fulbright scholar in Russia (and speaks Russian). Neal Katyal, who worked with Prelogar and Dreeben as acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, said she was “perhaps the best young lawyer with whom I have ever worked.”

“If I were hand-picking a team of the very best lawyers in the nation, regardless of whatever the issues in a case may be, both of them would be at the top of the list,” he added, “and I know that sentiment is shared by both Republican and Democratic lawyers alike.”

Prelogar is widely viewed as a rising star in the Justice Department.

Brandon Van Grack

Brandon Van Grack is referred to by friends as “BVG.” Josh Geltzer, who heads Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, worked down the hall from Van Grack when they were both in the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

“It would absolutely make sense that a small team like this would want him at their core because of how impossible it is not to get along with him,” Geltzer said.

Van Grack prosecuted counter-espionage cases and is on loan to the probe from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he is on the national security and international crime unit.

Van Grack has prosecuted a host of crimes that seem to provide extremely relevant experience for his work with Mueller. He’s gone after a member of the Assad-aligned Syrian Electronic Army, helped lock up an Iranian national who tried to smuggle sophisticated technology out of the U.S., and helped successfully prosecute a Michigander who tried to spy for China.

His biggest claim to fame, though—and “fame” may be too strong a word here—is his work prosecuting Ardit Ferizi, a hacker who shared a kill list with ISIS. That was the first time the Justice Department convicted a hacker for providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Rush Atkinson

Like Van Grack, Atkinson has worked in the Eastern District of Virginia on espionage cases and in the DOJ’s National Security Division. He’s on detail to the special counsel from the fraud section of the DOJ’s criminal division, where he worked under Weissmann.

Zainab Ahmad

Of the younger lawyers on Mueller’s team, Ahmad has by far the highest profile. The New Yorker profiled her earlier this year because she has successfully prosecuted 13 terrorism suspects, according to the magazine, and has yet to lose in court.

Aaron Zelinsky

Zelinsky, who went to Yale for undergrad and law school, clerked for Judge Thomas Griffith, a George W. Bush appointee. He also worked under Rod Rosenstein when he was U.S. attorney for Maryland—two GOP-friendly résumé lines that critics of the Mueller probe never mention.

Zelinsky also worked under Koh at the State Department during the Obama administration, where he helped handle hostage negotiations. When American journalist Clare Gillis was held hostage in Libya, Koh said Zelinsky spoke with her family every night.

“The guy was mid- to late-20s, talking to a family that doesn’t know whether their daughter is alive or dead, and are eager for scraps of info,” Koh said. “And he showed tremendous discretion. He never over-promised.”

Koh said Zelinsky also had impressive foresight. At one point, the State Department determined Gillis’s captors were moving her toward Tripoli.

“Aaron comes to me and says, ‘I think we need to call NATO HQ and tell them not to bomb that road,’” Koh said.

Gillis was ultimately freed, along with fellow hostage James Foley. Foley was later taken captive in Syria and beheaded in 2014 by ISIS fighters.

Adam Jed

Jed is one of the only people on Mueller’s team who has never worked as a prosecutor. The Harvard Law graduate has held several posts in the Justice Department, most recently handling appellate litigation in the Civil Division.

“He’s a very smart careful appellate lawyer,” said Bies. “The fact that him and the other solicitor general’s office people were brought in shows Mueller’s playing the long game and thinking carefully about where things will go—not just in the investigation, but down the road when they have to litigate issues in the courts.”

One attorney who practices federal criminal defense noted that Jed has experience handling asset forfeiture, which could be useful if the probe deals with property purchased using criminal proceeds.

Greg Andres

Like Weissmann and Ahmad, Andres worked in the Eastern District of New York U.S. attorney’s office—where Judge Beryl Howell, who is overseeing Mueller’s D.C. grand jury, and former attorney general Loretta Lynch were also prosecutors. During Andres’ time in Brooklyn, he worked on organized crime cases, just like Weissmann.

Andres’ wife, Judge Ronnie Abrams, recused herself from two cases involving the Trump family because of her husband’s work.

Andres is one of the most celebrated trial lawyers currently practicing law. He prosecuted mafia figures and white collar criminals before going into private practice.

In an interview with Law360 published in May 2016, Andres said trial lawyers should always project confidence.

“Be confident, straightforward and well prepared,” he said. “Judges, juries and adversaries can sense a lack of conviction and are unforgiving with respect to overstatement or misrepresentations. Emphasize the strengths of your case but acknowledge and concede the weak facts or legal precedent. Failing to cite adverse authority or hiding bad facts can be devastating.”

In conclusion

To be sure, the most interesting parts of Mueller’s investigation are likely happening far from public view. Most of the coverage of the probe has focused on its criminal component. But Mueller’s top priority is likely a counterespionage operation, which James Comey confirmed was underway when he testified before Congress (and before his firing).

Naveed Jamali, a former double agent for the FBI who dealt with Russian espionage in the U.S., said this part of the effort won’t necessarily have to do with criminal charges or court proceedings.

“The goal with a counterintelligence operation is to detect and neutralize threats,” said Jamali, author of How to Catch a Russian Spy. “That’s it. If you apply that to the Mueller probe, anything that was used by the Russians against us during the election is a threat that has to be neutralized. That doesn’t mean that it has to be brought to court.”

Simply proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who interfered with the 2016 election on behalf of Russia and how they did it would be a significant success for the probe, he added.

“The legal part of this is so fucking boring,” he added. “This is a counterintelligence operation first and foremost.”

 __________________________________________

CNN: Probe Investigators Find Another Email From A Trump Top Aide About A Russia Meeting

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Rick Dearborn sent an email to campaign officials with information about a person trying to connect them with Putin, CNN said.

Thursday’s Morning Email: Government Shutdown Threat Looms Over Border Wall Faceoff

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Neither side looks ready to compromise.

Will Trump Be the Death of the Goldwater Rule?

Saved Stories – 1. FBI
Inside Robert Mueller’s Army – Daily Beast
Arkansas Democratic Party calls for resignation of state senator under FBI investigation – Times Record
7:54 AM 8/24/2017 Trump clashed with multiple GOP senators over Russia Politico
8:42 AM 8/24/2017 Selected Stories In Brief: US probe finds another email trying to connect Trump officials, Putin: CNN Reuters and other 25 stories
Clapper said, I cannot make any comment about his mental health, his sanity or any of that sort of thing. All that I can comment on really is the behavior Ive observed, and I find that worrisome. James Clapper: Concerned by Jekyll-Hyde Trump pattern CNN International
Will Trump Be the Death of the Goldwater Rule? The New Yorker | Hundreds of pages of new details on Trump-Russia dossier and Pee Pee Tape are on verge of being released Thursday August 24th, 2017 at 9:30 AM Palmer Report
No, Robert Mueller Is Not Radioactive – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Mueller Turns Up The Heat With Unusual Search Warrant In Russia Probe – NPR
Senate confirms Wray as FBI director – Washington Post
Ivanka to the rescue? Her interruptions have eased two recent interviews with President Trump. – Washington Post
James Comey has book deal; publication set for next spring – Washington Times
Justice Department to examine race-based admissions in universities – Los Angeles Times
James Comey is writing a book and we know he’s been keeping thorough notes – Washington Post
James Comey, Former F.B.I. Director, to Publish a Book Next Spring
The Police State Trump Is Building Is Far More Destructive to American Democracy Than Any Collusion with Russia – AlterNet
Statement by FBI Director Christopher Wray – Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
New FBI director tells agents: ‘You can count on me to stand with you’ – ABC News
Chris Wray sworn in as FBI director – CNN
New FBI Director FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
Former FBI Director James Comey gets book deal; plans to tell ‘unheard anecdotes’ – WCVB Boston
FBI officials warned they might have to testify against Trump: report – The Hill
FBI arrested cyber expert who ended WannaCry attack: US Marshall Service – Reuters
FBI Arrested Cyber Expert Who Ended WannaCry Attack: US Marshall Service – New York Times
FBI arrests security expert who stopped WannaCry ransomware attack (Updated) – TNW
Becoming an Agent – Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
Saved Stories – None
Inside Robert Muellers Army | FBI News and Selected Articles in brief 11:18 AM 8/24/2017
An FBI agent says there are 4 types of people and you can’t earn someone’s trust without knowing theirs – Business Insider
FBI’s Manafort raid included a dozen agents, ‘designed to intimidate,’ source says – Fox News
7 times Trump tried to call off the dogs on Russia – Washington Post
FBI arrests Chinese national connected to malware used in OPM data breach – CNN
FBI: 12 People in DC Area Stole Thousands of Credit Card Numbers … – NBC4 Washington
The 20 Key Questions Mueller’s Russia Investigation of Trump Must … – Newsweek
Former FBI Director Comey Joins Howard University For Lecture Series – NPR
Trump, Russian Collusion and Mueller: What Does the Special Counsel Need to Prove? – Newsweek
James Comey will deliver Howard University’s opening convocation keynote address – Washington Post
Howard University Hires Former FBI Director James Comey – TIME
Trump obsessed with Russia probe, rage-dialing GOP over legislation to ban him from firing Mueller – Boing Boing
The generals have Trump surrounded – Washington Post
Mueller issues grand jury subpoenas related to Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting – Madison.com
Inside Robert Mueller’s Army – Daily Beast
Arkansas Democratic Party calls for resignation of state senator under FBI investigation – Times Record
7:54 AM 8/24/2017 Trump clashed with multiple GOP senators over Russia Politico
8:42 AM 8/24/2017 Selected Stories In Brief: US probe finds another email trying to connect Trump officials, Putin: CNN Reuters and other 25 stories
Clapper said, I cannot make any comment about his mental health, his sanity or any of that sort of thing. All that I can comment on really is the behavior Ive observed, and I find that worrisome. James Clapper: Concerned by Jekyll-Hyde Trump pattern CNN International
Will Trump Be the Death of the Goldwater Rule? The New Yorker | Hundreds of pages of new details on Trump-Russia dossier and Pee Pee Tape are on verge of being released Thursday August 24th, 2017 at 9:30 AM Palmer Report
No, Robert Mueller Is Not Radioactive – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
‘Consumed’ with Russia scandal, Trump keeps clashing with Republicans – MSNBC
CNN: Probe Investigators Find Another Email From A Trump Top Aide About A Russia Meeting
Russia probe: New email found from top Donald Trump aide trying to set up Putin meeting – The Independent
Today in Trumpworld August 24 – Politico
1. FBI from mikenova (10 sites)
mueller – Google News: No, Robert Mueller Is Not Radioactive – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The World Web Times wwtimes.com: Will Trump Be the Death of the Goldwater Rule? The New Yorker | Hundreds of pages of new details on Trump-Russia dossier and Pee Pee Tape are on verge of being released Thursday August 24th, 2017 at 9:30 AM Palmer Report
The World Web Times wwtimes.com: Clapper said, I cannot make any comment about his mental health, his sanity or any of that sort of thing. All that I can comment on really is the behavior Ive observed, and I find that worrisome. James Clapper: Concerned by Jekyll-Hyde Trump pattern CNN International
The World Web Times wwtimes.com: 8:42 AM 8/24/2017 Selected Stories In Brief: US probe finds another email trying to connect Trump officials, Putin: CNN Reuters and other 25 stories
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The World Web Times wwtimes.com: 7:54 AM 8/24/2017 Trump clashed with multiple GOP senators over Russia Politico
fbi – Google News: FBI searching for man who tried to rob northeast Albuquerque bank – KRQE News 13
fbi – Google News: Arkansas Democratic Party calls for resignation of state senator under FBI investigation – Times Record
mueller – Google News: Inside Robert Mueller’s Army – Daily Beast
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fbi – Google News: FBI investigating state senator over River Valley Sports Complex – Hot Springs Village Voice
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mueller – Google News: Mueller issues grand jury subpoenas related to Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting – Madison.com
fbi aclu report – Google News: Free Speech? What’s That? – Power Line (blog)
mueller – Google News: Mueller issues grand jury subpoenas related to Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting – Gwinnettdailypost.com
james b. comey – Google News: The generals have Trump surrounded – Washington Post
mueller – Google News: Trump obsessed with Russia probe, rage-dialing GOP over legislation to ban him from firing Mueller – Boing Boing
mueller – Google News: Protesters in Eden Prairie ask Paulsen to support Mueller’s Russian probe – SW News Media

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