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Blackwater founder Erik Prince helped fund effort tied to obtaining Clinton's emails



Blackwater founder Erik Prince helped fund effort tied to obtaining Clinton's emails
By John Bowden - 04/18/19 02:48 PM EDT

Blackwater founder Erik Prince was involved in funding an effort to verify if a cache of stolen emails purporting to be from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server were legitimate, according to special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Prince in 2016 was approached by Barbara Ledeen, an aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and agreed to fund the hiring of a tech expert to verify if the emails were from Clinton's server, which was the subject of a 2016 FBI investigation.

"Ledeen claimed to have obtained a trove of emails (from what she described as the 'dark web') that purported to be the deleted Clinton emails. Ledeen wanted to authenticate the emails and solicited contributions to fund that effort. Erik Prince provided funding to hire a tech advisor to ascertain the authenticity of the emails," reads a section of the Mueller report, which was released Thursday.

"According to Prince, the tech advisor determined that the emails were not authentic," the report continues.

Prince, who advised the Trump campaign throughout 2016, admitted last month to have also been involved in a key meeting at Trump Tower during the campaign. At that meeting, businessman George Nader told top members of the campaign that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were interested in supporting President Trump's bid for the White House.

Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, previously testified before Congress that he only had an "unofficial" role with the Trump campaign, limited to placing yard signs and attending fundraisers. But in March he told Al Jazeera he had discussed Iran policy with top members of the campaign.

Prince and Nader have both been asked to cooperate in the House Judiciary Committee's ongoing investigation into the president and his advisers.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 03:49 PM (6 replies)

Sarah Sanders Admitted to the Special Counsel that She Lied About Comey


1 hour ago
Sarah Sanders Admitted to the Special Counsel that She Lied About Comey
She says her claims about the former FBI director were a “slip of the tongue.”

We’re still making our way through a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on the Russia investigation, but one of the early revelations that has emerged is the extent to which President Donald Trump’s officials have lied on his behalf. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders produced one sizable whopper in May 2017, in the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey’s firing, when she suggested that he was unpopular among the bureau’s rank and file.

After a reporter claimed that a “vast majority” of agents supported Comey, Sanders replied, “Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.”
That response was “not founded on anything,” Mueller’s office concluded after interviewing Sanders, who told special counsel staffers she had made a “slip of the tongue.” The report also says she spoke to the president after that press conference and he told her she did a “good job and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments.”

The lack of evidence for this sentiment didn’t stop Trump from latching on to it in an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News a day later. He said the FBI was in “virtual turmoil” under Comey.

Andrew McCabe, then acting FBI director, defended the bureau’s ousted leader in a congressional hearing that week, telling lawmakers that Comey “enjoyed broad support in the FBI and he still does to this day.” A survey of FBI employees released a year later by Lawfare backed up McCabe’s description. “Morale at the FBI had in fact improved during Comey’s tenure, and the former director was widely admired among FBI personnel,” the site found. It was only under Christopher Wray, Comey’s successor, that morale plummeted and employees expressed “less confidence in the ethics and vision of the bureau’s new leadership,” the New York Times noted.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:49 PM (3 replies)

Kellyanne Conway declares Mueller report's release 'best day' since Trump's election

Kellyanne Conway declares Mueller report's release 'best day' since Trump's election
By Brett Samuels - 04/18/19 02:15 PM EDT

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway declared Thursday "the best day" since President Trump's election, reveling in the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's full report.

Conway spoke to reporters at the White House, where she swiped at Democrats and the media after Mueller's investigation and downplayed any potentially damaging information included in the more than 400-page document, which did not implicate Trump in conspiracy with the Russian government or obstruction of justice.

"I called this a political proctology exam," Conway said of the report, claiming Trump had received a "clean bill of health."

Mueller's report did not establish that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. On obstruction of justice, Mueller looked at 10 episodes and did not exonerate Trump, but Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was not sufficient evidence to charge the president.

Conway said she read the entire report.

"That should make people very good about democracy," Conway said of the report's main findings. "And it should make people feel really great that a campaign I managed to its successful end did not collude with any Russians."

"We’re accepting apologies today, too, for anybody who feels the grace in offering them," she added.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:44 PM (16 replies)

Mueller Report Finds Trump Tried to Control Russia Investigation

Mueller Report Finds Trump Tried to Control Russia Investigation
The effort included “non-public efforts to control [the Mueller probe], and efforts in both private and public to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.”
Justin Miller,
Betsy Woodruff
04.18.19 9:34 AM ET

Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that President Trump tried to control the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and encouraged witnesses not to cooperate—but Attorney General William Barr decided that wasn’t a crime.

At a press conference ahead of the Mueller report’s release, Barr went out of his way to explain how he disagreed with Mueller’s legal theories and explain away Trump’s behavior. Barr proclaimed Trump’s innocence and justified the president’s actions as the understandable behavior of a man persecuted by political opponents.

But when the report was finally released to the public, it outlined 10 episodes of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, including: ordering James Comey to drop the FBI investigation into national security advisor Michael Flynn; directing the White House counsel to fire Mueller; dictating a message to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the Mueller probe; telling witnesses publicly not to cooperate; having Cohen not contradict him in congressional testimony about Trump Tower Moscow.

“The president engaged in... conduct involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both private and public to encourage witnesses not cooperate with the investigation.”
— Mueller Report


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 12:29 PM (4 replies)

Lindsey Graham 'not interested' in calling Mueller to testify before Judiciary Committee

Lindsey Graham ‘not interested’ in calling Mueller to testify before Judiciary Committee
By Emma Dumain
April 18, 2019 11:38 AM, Updated 20 minutes ago

Lindsey Graham has no plans to ask White House special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

The South Carolina Republican, reached by phone by McClatchy as he traveled on official business in Rwanda, said he was “not interested” in hearing from Mueller, the lead author of the just-released report detailing the years-long investigation into whether President Donald Trump colluded with Russia and obstructed justice.

Graham could face increased pressure to invite Mueller to appear before the committee, which he chairs.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, has asked Mueller to come speak to members of his panel, and Attorney General William Barr said at a press conference earlier Thursday morning he had no problem with Mueller testifying on Capitol Hill.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 12:07 PM (9 replies)

The attorney general just pre-spun the Mueller report for Trump

The attorney general just pre-spun the Mueller report for Trump
Barr spun everything in Trump’s favor — and literally walked offstage when he was called on it.
By Zack Beauchamp@zackbeauchampzack@vox.com Apr 18, 2019, 10:17am EDT

Attorney General William Barr’s Thursday morning press conference on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report was a whitewash.

There’s no other way to describe it.
Barr, who claimed beforehand that the press conference would focus on process, spun the report’s conclusions before it was released and expected reporters to ask questions about a document they had not even seen. He literally uttered the phrase “no collusion” to describe Mueller’s conclusions — providing a perfect sound bite to play on loop on cable news in the president’s favorite phrasing.

Barr repeated this and similar talking points multiple times during his prepared statement. He put tremendous effort into explaining why Trump’s behavior during the probe should be seen as justified and in no way constituted obstruction. He even praised the president for providing “unfettered access” to documents and said the White House “fully cooperated” with the investigation, despite Trump’s refusal to submit to an interview with Mueller.

At the end, when a reporter asked if it was improper for the attorney general to spin the report to the public before it was released, Barr literally walked off the stage.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 11:20 AM (0 replies)

Fox's Chris Wallace: Barr sounded like a counselor to Trump rather than AG

Fox's Chris Wallace: Barr sounded like a counselor to Trump rather than AG
By Joe Concha - 04/18/19 10:31 AM EDT

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said Attorney General William Barr sounded like a counselor to the president during his press conference Thursday ahead of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

"The Attorney General seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions," Wallace told "America's Newsroom" anchors Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith.

"Really, as I say, making a case for the president," he added.

Barr offered a staunch defense of President Trump on Thursday morning during a press conference, where he previewed the report's findings and explained why they led him to conclude that Trump had not obstructed justice.

Barr called the report a vindication of Trump over the allegations of collusion with Russian officials.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 10:41 AM (5 replies)

Could Al Franken Make a Comeback? Amy Klobuchar Said Former Senator Has A Third Act

Could Al Franken Make a Comeback? Amy Klobuchar Said Former Senator Has A Third Act
By Marie Solis On 4/15/18 at 2:43 PM EDT

There may be more to come for former Senator Al Franken, who resigned his post in January after facing sexual misconduct allegations from multiple women.

At Sunday’s TimesTalk panel for women senators — which featured Senators Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Heidi Heitkamp and Amy Klobuchar — Klobuchar said she expects her former colleague and friend to make a comeback.

“He’s had two acts and he’s still going to have a third,” Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, told the crowd about Franken.

The Minnesota Democrat said she’s stayed in touch with Franken, and spoke to him just this weekend.

Klobuchar didn’t join the cohort of Democrats who called for Franken to step down in December, when a photo of Franken apparently grabbing a woman’s breasts resurfaced. The photo led to a landslide of accusations from women who said they’d been groped or otherwise harassed by the congressman, who’d built a reputation partly based on his support for women’s equality.

Despite criticism from some that Franken had been forced out, Klobuchar maintained that Franken had made his own choice, one informed by the calculation that the allegations against him would make it difficult to do his job in the Senate.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 09:34 AM (11 replies)

Pelosi Urges Mueller to Testify Publicly to 'Restore Trust' in Handling of Report



Pelosi Urges Mueller to Testify Publicly to ‘Restore Trust’ in Handling of Report
Reuters / Jeenah Moon

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have urged Robert Mueller to testify in both the House and Senate to “restore public trust” in the handling of the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The House Speaker and Senate Minority leader released an early morning statement hours before Attorney General William Barr is set to release a redacted version of the report. Democrats expressed outrage Wednesday over the report's planned release being held until after Barr holds a press conference Wednesday morning. “Attorney General Barr's regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning—hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it—have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” wrote the leading Democrats. “We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel's investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible. The American people deserve to hear the truth.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 08:17 AM (6 replies)

Buttigieg in Des Moines: 1,600 attend rally planned for 50 people


Rebecca Falconer
Apr 17, 2019
Buttigieg in Des Moines: 1,600 attend rally planned for 50 people

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg's Tuesday night town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, was so packed, it was standing room only — despite his expectations that only 50 people would turn up, the Quad City Times reports.

Details: More than 1,600 people turned out to hear the South Bend, Indiana, mayor speak at the rally inside the gymnasium of Franklin Junior High School. It's another sign interest in him is continuing to soar, despite being relatively unknown at a national level when he entered the race in January.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 07:52 AM (2 replies)
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