All posts by MPolitics

Trump Contends FBI Chief He Fired Should Be Jailed

U.S. President Donald Trump contended Sunday that James Comey, the FBI director he fired who has written a scathing new book on the Trump presidency, should be imprisoned, claiming that he revealed classified information and lied to Congress.

Trump unleashed a new broadside on Comey hours ahead of a widely publicized television interview with the former chief of the country’s top law enforcement agency. Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” is set for publication Tuesday and has already soared to near the top of bestseller lists because of pre-sales.

In the book, Comey likens Trump to a “mafia boss” and referred to his presidency as a “forest fire.”

Watch related video by VOA’s Michael Bowman:

“The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail),” Trump said on Twitter, apparently claiming wrongly that the notes Comey wrote about private meetings with Trump and talked about publicly were classified. It was not immediately clear what Trump was referencing in his contention that Comey lied in testimony before congressional committees.

“I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty,” Trump said, disputing a key contention made by Comey. “I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His ‘memos’ are self serving and FAKE!”

Trump declared, “Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!”

Comey wrote in the book, “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.” Comey claimed Trump was particularly concerned about unproven allegations that in 2013 he had watched as prostitutes urinated on a bed in a Moscow hotel, asking Comey to investigate to disprove it.

Comey is kicking off his national publicity tour promoting sales of the book with a Sunday night interview on ABC News. After Trump assailed the book, Comey replied on Twitter, “My book is about ethical leadership & draws on stories from my life & lessons I learned from others. 3 presidents are in my book: 2 help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership; 1 serves as a counterpoint. I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful.”

Trump assailed Comey for acknowledging that shortly before Trump’s November 2016 election victory, he considered the fact that Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, was leading in national polls over Trump as the FBI chief reopened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to handle classified information when she was secretary of state several years before.

“Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!,” Trump said.

The U.S. leader also revisited a June 2016 incident, when Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, met privately with then-attorney general Loretta Lynch on an airport tarmac at a time when Lynch was overseeing the FBI’s email investigation involving Hillary Clinton in which Hillary Clinton was weeks later cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

“Comey throws AG Lynch ‘under the bus!'” Trump claimed. “Why can’t we all find out what happened on the tarmac in the back of the plane with Wild Bill and Lynch? Was she promised a Supreme Court seat, or (to stay on as attorney general in a would-be Clinton presidency), in order to lay off Hillary. No golf and grandkids talk (give us all a break)!”

Trump also railed again about last week’s FBI raid on the New York office and home of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in search of documents related to hefty hush money payoffs shortly before the election to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump a decade before he ran for the presidency. Trump has denied both purported liaisons.

U.S. legal principles shield from disclosure conversations lawyers hold with their clients — attorney-client privilege — unless they are plotting criminal activity.

“Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past,” Trump tweeted. “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!”

 

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Gun Rights Advocates Hold Rallies in US State Capitals

Gun rights supporters gathered in Atlanta and dozens of other U.S. state capitals Saturday at a time when many Americans are pressing for tougher restrictions on weapons.

According to a early Associated Press count, more than 135 people attended the rally in Atlanta, and more were arriving. Most of them were armed, and some held signs as they listened to speeches. A few people wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts made videos but didn’t interact with the ralliers.  

About 400 people, as estimated by an AP reporter, attended the rally in front of Delaware’s statehouse to support the right to keep and bear firearms. Some of those participating on Dover’s legislative mall openly carried rifles and handguns. Others carried American flags and flags reading “Don’t Tread on Me.”

In all, a group called the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans said organizers had permits for gatherings in 45 states. They encouraged supporters to bring unloaded rifles in states where it’s legal.

The rallies came less than three weeks after hundreds of thousands marched in Washington, New York and elsewhere to demand tougher gun laws after the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.

Daniyel Baron helped organize the Delaware rally. The former Marine said he feared the current gun-restriction efforts were a precursor to eventual prohibition of all gun ownership.

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Justice Department Further Presses 3 Sanctuary Jurisdictions

The Justice Department has sent another round of letters to the so-called sanctuary cities of Seattle and Oakland and the state of Vermont demanding further proof that they are cooperating with immigration authorities.

The letters sent Thursday warn that the department could use subpoena power to force Seattle and Vermont to provide documents. The department is seeking a legal opinion from Oakland on whether its policies violate a federal statute requiring information sharing with federal immigration authorities.

The Justice Department has threatened to deny grant money to communities that refuse to share such information. It’s part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on cities and states that refuse to help enforce U.S. immigration laws.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan denounced the department’s subpoena threat Friday, saying the city complies with federal immigration law.

 

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Justice Department Further Presses 3 Sanctuary Jurisdictions

The Justice Department has sent another round of letters to the so-called sanctuary cities of Seattle and Oakland and the state of Vermont demanding further proof that they are cooperating with immigration authorities.

The letters sent Thursday warn that the department could use subpoena power to force Seattle and Vermont to provide documents. The department is seeking a legal opinion from Oakland on whether its policies violate a federal statute requiring information sharing with federal immigration authorities.

The Justice Department has threatened to deny grant money to communities that refuse to share such information. It’s part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on cities and states that refuse to help enforce U.S. immigration laws.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan denounced the department’s subpoena threat Friday, saying the city complies with federal immigration law.

 

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Ryan Endorses McCarthy for House Speakership, NBC Says

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to be his successor, NBC News reported Friday.

“We all think that Kevin is the right person,” the Wisconsin lawmaker said in an interview airing Sunday on Meet the Press.

Ryan said Wednesday that he would not seek re-election in November, dealing a blow to fellow Republicans and President Donald Trump before the congressional elections.

The announcement dismayed some Republicans already concerned about their prospects with U.S. voters in November. Now they fear they may have to deal with a House of Representatives leadership struggle when the party should focus on defending its congressional majorities and advancing Trump’s agenda.

Ryan’s endorsement, however, gives McCarthy an edge in the leadership contest.

Ryan told NBC he believed having McCarthy step in would work toward a smoother transition in House leadership.

“We have made a huge, positive difference in people’s lives, and people are more confident as a result of it,” Ryan said. “This leadership team has done that, and so I really do envision a more seamless transition, versus, say, the time when I came in.”

Another name circulating as a possible Ryan replacement was House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. He and McCarthy are expected to wage a furious effort to raise campaign funds for fellow House Republicans to shore up support for their potential leadership aspirations.

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members have at times clashed with Ryan and other Republican leaders, said he was also open to pursuing the role of speaker.

“We have six more months to prove Republicans deserve to keep the majority. If and when there is a speaker’s race, colleagues have approached me about running, and that’s something I’m open to doing,” Jordan said in an statement emailed Friday to Reuters.

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Ryan Endorses McCarthy for House Speakership, NBC Says

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to be his successor, NBC News reported Friday.

“We all think that Kevin is the right person,” the Wisconsin lawmaker said in an interview airing Sunday on Meet the Press.

Ryan said Wednesday that he would not seek re-election in November, dealing a blow to fellow Republicans and President Donald Trump before the congressional elections.

The announcement dismayed some Republicans already concerned about their prospects with U.S. voters in November. Now they fear they may have to deal with a House of Representatives leadership struggle when the party should focus on defending its congressional majorities and advancing Trump’s agenda.

Ryan’s endorsement, however, gives McCarthy an edge in the leadership contest.

Ryan told NBC he believed having McCarthy step in would work toward a smoother transition in House leadership.

“We have made a huge, positive difference in people’s lives, and people are more confident as a result of it,” Ryan said. “This leadership team has done that, and so I really do envision a more seamless transition, versus, say, the time when I came in.”

Another name circulating as a possible Ryan replacement was House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. He and McCarthy are expected to wage a furious effort to raise campaign funds for fellow House Republicans to shore up support for their potential leadership aspirations.

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members have at times clashed with Ryan and other Republican leaders, said he was also open to pursuing the role of speaker.

“We have six more months to prove Republicans deserve to keep the majority. If and when there is a speaker’s race, colleagues have approached me about running, and that’s something I’m open to doing,” Jordan said in an statement emailed Friday to Reuters.

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Justice Dept. Report: Fired FBI Deputy Director Misled Investigators

A Justice Department report accuses fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe of lacking candor and misleading investigators.

The report by the Justice Department inspector general’s office claims that McCabe misled investigators about his role in a news media disclosure about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just days before the 2016 election.

McCabe was fired last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the recommendation of FBI officials who had knowledge of the inspector general’s findings.

The report, released to lawmakers and the public Friday, alleges that McCabe authorized FBI officials to speak with a Wall Street Journal reporter about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. It said McCabe later misled FBI officials when questioned about his actions.

McCabe denies misleading investigators.

McCabe says when he believed his answers to the inspector general were misunderstood, he went back and tried to correct them. His lawyer says the inspector general unfairly tried to conclude its work before McCabe could retire with a full pension.

In a statement Friday, an attorney for McCabe disputed the Justice Department findings and said the rush to fire him was “unprecedented, unseemly and cruel.”

McCabe was fired two days before he was planning to retire, potentially denying him part or all of his pension.

McCabe is close to former FBI director James Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017. McCabe has called his firing “retribution” and said he was singled out because of the “role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath” of Comey’s firing.

Trump has publicly criticized McCabe for “lies and corruption” and wrote on Twitter that his firing was a “great day for Democracy.”

On Friday, Trump tweeted that “McCabe was totally controlled by Comey” and that the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia was “made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!”

McCabe has fired back, saying his dismissal was part of the Trump administration’s “ongoing war” on the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Mueller, who was appointed after Comey was fired, is investigating whether Russia attempted to meddle in the election. He also is investigating whether Trump’s actions, including firing Comey, constitute obstruction of justice.

Some information is this report was provided by The Associated Press.

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Justice Dept. Report: Fired FBI Deputy Director Misled Investigators

A Justice Department report accuses fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe of lacking candor and misleading investigators.

The report by the Justice Department inspector general’s office claims that McCabe misled investigators about his role in a news media disclosure about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just days before the 2016 election.

McCabe was fired last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the recommendation of FBI officials who had knowledge of the inspector general’s findings.

The report, released to lawmakers and the public Friday, alleges that McCabe authorized FBI officials to speak with a Wall Street Journal reporter about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. It said McCabe later misled FBI officials when questioned about his actions.

McCabe denies misleading investigators.

McCabe says when he believed his answers to the inspector general were misunderstood, he went back and tried to correct them. His lawyer says the inspector general unfairly tried to conclude its work before McCabe could retire with a full pension.

In a statement Friday, an attorney for McCabe disputed the Justice Department findings and said the rush to fire him was “unprecedented, unseemly and cruel.”

McCabe was fired two days before he was planning to retire, potentially denying him part or all of his pension.

McCabe is close to former FBI director James Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017. McCabe has called his firing “retribution” and said he was singled out because of the “role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath” of Comey’s firing.

Trump has publicly criticized McCabe for “lies and corruption” and wrote on Twitter that his firing was a “great day for Democracy.”

On Friday, Trump tweeted that “McCabe was totally controlled by Comey” and that the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia was “made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!”

McCabe has fired back, saying his dismissal was part of the Trump administration’s “ongoing war” on the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Mueller, who was appointed after Comey was fired, is investigating whether Russia attempted to meddle in the election. He also is investigating whether Trump’s actions, including firing Comey, constitute obstruction of justice.

Some information is this report was provided by The Associated Press.

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Ambassador Haley: Trump Not Yet Decided on Syria Response

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Friday that President Donald Trump is still weighing options in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria that Washington believes President Bashar al-Assad carried out.

“Our president has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria,” Haley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “But should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree. It will be in defense of a bedrock international norm that benefits all nations.”

Haley told reporters on her way into the council session that she would be returning to Washington on Friday for more meetings on a potential response.

“I am unbelievably proud of how President Trump has looked at the information, analyzed, not let anyone rush him into this, because he has said from the beginning — we have to know when we’re right, we have to know all the information, we have to know that there’s proof and we have to know that we’re taking every precaution necessary should we take action,” she told reporters.

At least 40 people were killed and hundreds sickened in last week’s attack in Douma, in eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.

“At some point, you have to do something,” Haley said. “At some point, you have to say enough.”

Syria has denied using chemical weapons, but Haley criticized the Syrian president for the repeated use of chlorine and sarin gas on civilians.

“Let’s be clear: Assad’s most recent use of poison gas against the people of Douma was not his first, second, third, or even 49th use of chemical weapons,” the U.N. ambassador said. “The United States estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times. Public estimates are as high as 200.”

Russia

She chastised Russia for steadfastly protecting Assad from accountability with its Security Council veto and for not living up to its obligations in making sure Syria gave up all of its chemical weapons under a 2013 deal.

“Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and its cover-ups,” Haley said.

Russia called Friday’s Security Council meeting, the fourth day this week it has discussed Syria. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said his government has worked “robustly and fully” to de-escalate tensions in international relations. He said Moscow sponsored and supported the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) sending a fact-finding mission to Douma to investigate, but the U.S., Britain and France had rejected it.

“Thereby, these countries have demonstrated they have no interest in an investigation,” Nebenzia said. “The sole thing they have an interest in is to oust the Syrian government and, more broadly, to deter and contain the Russian Federation.”

A measure put forward by Moscow supporting an OPCW investigation, but not a mechanism to attribute blame for chemical attacks, failed to pass the Security Council on Tuesday, garnering support from six of the 15 council members.

OPCW inspectors have arrived in Syria and are scheduled to begin collecting samples Saturday in Douma.

Britain, France

The United States has been in close consultations with allies Britain and France on what response it should take.

French envoy Francois Delattre said Assad’s government had “reached a point of no return” with its most recent chemical weapons attack.

“This is a situation to which the world must provide robust, united and steadfast response and this is our responsibility,” Delattre told the council Friday.

He said France would “shoulder its responsibility to end an intolerable threat to our collective security,” and ensure respect for international law and Security Council resolutions.

“The use of chemical weapons cannot be allowed to go unchallenged,” said British Ambassador Karen Pierce. “The British Cabinet has agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, and we will continue to work with our friends and allies to coordinate an international response to that end.”

As the international community waits to see if there will be a military response, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the dangers of escalation.

“Increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation,” he said. “In my contacts with you — especially with the Permanent Members of the Security Council — I have been reiterating my deep concerns about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiraling out of control.”

Guterres added that the situation in Syria is now the “most serious threat to international peace and security.”

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