Russian interference probes - UPDATES

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Marie
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Senate Intel Cmte hearings: Did Trump try to obstruct an investigaion?

Postby Marie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:57 am

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 10:00am
(3 hours)
Witnesses:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
DNI Director Dan Coats
NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 10:00am
(3 hours)
Witness:
Former FBI Director James Comey

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Comey to Sessions, 'Don’t leave me alone with Trump'

Postby Marie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:16 am

Comey to Sessions, 'Don’t leave me alone with Trump'
By Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo
nytimes.com
6/6/2017

HIS UNWILLINGNESS to be alone with the president reflected how deeply Mr. Comey distrusted Mr. Trump, who Mr. Comey believed was trying to undermine the F.B.I.’s independence as it conducted a highly sensitive investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, the officials said.

By comparison, Mr. Comey met alone at least twice with President Barack Obama.

A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment on Mr. Comey’s request. A Justice Department spokesman, Ian Prior, said, “The attorney general doesn’t believe it’s appropriate to respond to media inquiries on matters that may be related to ongoing investigations.”

The Justice Department typically walls off the White House from criminal investigations to avoid even the appearance of political meddling in law enforcement. However, Mr. Trump has repeatedly injected himself in law enforcement matters, and never more dramatically than in his private meetings with Mr. Comey.

“You have the president of the United States talking to the director of the F.B.I., not just about any criminal investigation, but one involving his presidential campaign,” said Matthew S. Axelrod, who served in senior Justice Department roles during the Obama administration and is now a partner at the law firm Linklaters. “That is such a sharp departure from all the past traditions and rules of the road.”

But that raises one of the questions Mr. Comey will have to answer in his testimony on Thursday. If he believed that Mr. Trump was trying to get him to end an investigation, why did he not tell anyone about it? Mr. Trump’s defenders note that Andrew G. McCabe, the acting director of the F.B.I., has said that “there has been no effort to impede our investigation.”

Asked Tuesday about Mr. Comey’s coming testimony, Mr. Trump replied, “I wish him luck.”

Current and former law enforcement officials say Mr. Comey kept his interactions with Mr. Trump a secret in part because he was not sure whom at the Justice Department he could trust. F.B.I. officials were also unsure whether what Mr. Trump had done was a crime or how the conversation could be corroborated. So, not wanting agents and analysts working on the case to be influenced by what the president wanted, Mr. Comey kept the circle of officials at the F.B.I. who knew about his interactions with Mr. Trump small.

Mr. Comey’s decision to keep his interactions with Mr. Trump a secret from the Justice Department were the latest example of how he set himself apart from the department throughout his tenure as F.B.I. director. Several times during the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal email server last year, for example, Mr. Comey made decisions without the Justice Department’s knowledge or approval, often to the consternation of Loretta Lynch, then the attorney general.

Mr. Comey has said he made those decisions — which have been praised and criticized along partisan lines — to protect the F.B.I.’s independence. “In a legal sense, we’re not independent of the Department of Justice,” Mr. Comey told Congress last month. “We are spiritually, culturally pretty independent group, and that’s the way you would want it.”

Mr. Comey is also likely to be asked Thursday what he told Mr. Trump about the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump has told aides and said publicly that, on three occasions, Mr. Comey assured him he was not under investigation. Current and former law enforcement officials said that when the investigation was handed over last month to a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Trump was not a target. But it is not clear what, if anything, Mr. Comey told the president about whether he was being investigated.

While Justice Department policy allows officials to tell people whether they are the target of an investigation, prosecutors — not F.B.I. agents — handle such discussions. “We typically do not answer that question,” Mr. McCabe testified recently. Former officials say Mr. Comey anticipated that the president might ask whether he was being investigated, and consulted his advisers on how to delicately sidestep the question. The officials were not aware of how Mr. Comey decided to answer.

When the Justice Department transferred the Russia investigation to Mr. Mueller, it gave him the authority to investigate whether the president broke any laws by trying to obstruct the case or by firing Mr. Comey. As F.B.I. director, Mr. Comey wrote a detailed memo after every major phone call or meeting with Mr. Trump and left the memos in the bureau’s files when he left. As special counsel, Mr. Mueller has access to those memos, but the F.B.I. declined a request from the Senate Intelligence Committee for copies, citing the ongoing investigation. It is unclear whether Mr. Comey still has copies of all of them or plans to read from them during his testimony.

According to people briefed on the memos, they describe not only what Mr. Trump said, but also details such as his tone and where he was sitting. In one memo, Mr. Comey described a dinner with Mr. Trump at the White House a week after the inauguration in January. Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to pledge his loyalty, but Mr. Comey refused.

Two weeks later, on Feb. 14, Mr. Trump kicked Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Sessions and other senior administration officials out of the Oval Office so he could have his one-on-one conversation with Mr. Comey, according to people briefed on one of Mr. Comey’s memos. It was in that conversation that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to end the investigation into Mr. Flynn and encouraged him to investigate leaks, the people said.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo Mr. Comey wrote describing that meeting. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/us/p ... .html?_r=1

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Trump asked DNI Dir. to persuade Comey to drop Flynn-Russia connection probe

Postby Marie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:30 am

DNI director told associates Trump asked him to intervene with Comey on FBI Russia probe
By Adam Entous
washingtonpost.com
6/6/2017

The nation’s top intelligence official, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats, told associates in March that President Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials.

On March 22, less than a week after being confirmed by the Senate, Coats attended a briefing at the White House together with officials from several government agencies. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey’s handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates.

Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 race.

After the encounter, Coats discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey as Trump had suggested would be inappropriate, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters.

The events involving Coats show the president went further than just asking intelligence officials to deny publicly the existence of any evidence showing collusion during the 2016 election, as the Washington Post reported in May. The interaction with Coats indicates that Trump aimed to enlist top officials to have Comey curtail the bureau’s probe.

Coats will testify on Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Lawmakers on the panel said they would press him for information about his interactions with the president regarding the FBI investigation. The question of whether the president obstructed the Russia investigation is also expected to take center stage this week with Comey’s highly anticipated testimony on the Hill on Thursday.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... aed48ba12e

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Re: Russian interference probes - UPDATES

Postby Marie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:53 pm

I can't find any recent approval/disapproval ratings for Comey. Anybody know?

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Today's LA Times front page: 'Trump's "Loyalty" Demand'

Postby Marie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:07 pm

Good grief, it looks like the Daily Planet!

Image

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Re: Today's LA Times front page: 'Trump's "Loyalty" Demand'

Postby Marie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:22 pm

And...

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Donald, please. Remember the lesson of Clinton. At least don't say that to a grand jury.

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Read Comey's prepared stmt to Sen. Intel Cmte, released 1 day ahead of the hearing

Postby Marie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:31 pm

You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Marie
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June 8, 2017 hearing w/James Comey

Postby Marie » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:52 pm

You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Re: June 8, 2017 hearing w/James Comey

Postby Marie » Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:40 pm

From Twitter --
Best thing today about Team Trump response to Comey testimony, Michelle Wallace on MSNBC: "We're covering a goat rodeo." That sums it up!

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Re: June 8, 2017 hearing w/James Comey

Postby Marie » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:32 am

Thursday I was describing (to my DH) the similarity of Trump's treatment of Comey to my own experience w/an employer after reporting being sexually harassed -- and then tonight Ana Marie Cox noted the same similarities in Comey's treatment by Senators (incl. some who should know better) in the hearing. And apparently Ana Marie wasn't the only one.

The point she was making was that predator behavior is about power; hence the eerily familiar vibe women were getting, regardless of Comey's size and gender.

https://twitter.com/JustAnotherFed_/sta ... 76/photo/1

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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The Sessions Session 6/13/2017

Postby Marie » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:29 pm

Attorney Gen. Sessions to testify publicly tomorrow before the Senate Intelligence Cmte.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKBN1920QO

(Bear in mind, the Atty Gen has cancelled twice at the last minute, so we'll have to see how this goes...)

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Electoral system hack far wider than previosly reported

Postby Marie » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:03 pm

Russian cyber hacks on U.S. electoral system far wider than previously revealed
Attackers said to take measure of voting systems, databases
By Michael Riley
bloomberg.com
June 13, 2017, 5:00 AM EDT

RUSSIA'S CYBER ATTACK on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed. The hack includes incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step -- complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.

The new details, buttressed by a classified National Security Agency document recently disclosed by the Intercept, show the scope of alleged hacking that federal investigators are scrutinizing as they look into whether Trump campaign officials may have colluded in the efforts. But they also paint a worrisome picture for future elections: the newest portrayal of potentially deep vulnerabilities in the U.S.’s patchwork of voting technologies comes less than a week after former FBI Director James Comey warned Congress that Moscow isn’t done meddling.

“They’re coming after America,” Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the election. “They will be back.”

A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington declined to comment on the agency’s probe.

Russian officials have publicly denied any role in cyber attacks connected to the U.S. elections, including a massive “spear phishing” effort that compromised Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, among hundreds of other groups. President Vladimir Putin said in recent comments to reporters that criminals inside the country could have been involved without having been sanctioned by the Russian government.

Such operations need not change votes to be effective. In fact, the Obama administration believed that the Russians were possibly preparing to delete voter registration information or slow vote tallying in order to undermine confidence in the election. That effort went far beyond the carefully timed release of private communications by individuals and parties.

In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database.

One former senior U.S. official expressed concern that the Russians now have three years to build on their knowledge of U.S. voting systems before the next presidential election, and there is every reason to believe they will use what they have learned in future attacks.

As the first test of a communication system designed to de-escalate cyber conflict between the two countries, the cyber “red phone” -- not a phone, in fact, but a secure messaging channel for sending urgent messages and documents -- didn’t quite work as the White House had hoped. NBC News first reported that use of the red phone by the White House last December.

The White House provided evidence gathered on Russia’s hacking efforts and reasons why the U.S. considered it dangerously aggressive. Russia responded by asking for more information and providing assurances that it would look into the matter even as the hacking continued, according to the two people familiar with the response.

“Last year, as we detected intrusions into websites managed by election officials around the country, the administration worked relentlessly to protect our election infrastructure,” said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for former President Barack Obama. “Given that our election systems are so decentralized, that effort meant working with Democratic and Republican election administrators from all across the country to bolster their cyber defenses.”
Illinois Database

Illinois, which was among the states that gave the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security almost full access to investigate its systems, provides a window into the hackers’ successes and failures.

In early July 2016, a contractor who works two or three days a week at the state board of elections detected unauthorized data leaving the network, according to Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois board of elections. The hackers had gained access to the state’s voter database, which contained information such as names, dates of birth, genders, driver’s licenses and partial Social Security numbers on 15 million people, half of whom were active voters. As many as 90,000 records were ultimately compromised.

But even if the entire database had been deleted, it might not have affected the election, according to Menzel. Counties upload records to the state, not the other way around, and no data moves from the database back to the counties, which run the elections. The hackers had no way of knowing that when they attacked the state database, Menzel said.

The state does, however, process online voter registration applications that are sent to the counties for approval, Menzel said. When voters are added to the county rolls, that information is then sent back to the state and added to the central database. This process, which is common across states, does present an opportunity for attackers to manipulate records at their inception.

Illinois became Patient Zero in the government’s probe, eventually leading investigators to a hacking pandemic that touched four out of every five U.S. states. Using evidence from the Illinois computer banks, federal agents were able to develop digital “signatures” -- among them, Internet Protocol addresses used by the attackers -- to spot the hackers at work. The signatures were then sent through Homeland Security alerts and other means to every state. Thirty-seven states reported finding traces of the hackers in various systems, according to one of the people familiar with the probe. In two others -- Florida and California -- those traces were found in systems run by a private contractor managing critical election systems.

(An NSA document reportedly leaked by Reality Winner, the 25-year-old government contract worker arrested last week, identifies the Florida contractor as VR Systems, which makes an electronic voter identification system used by poll workers.)

In Illinois, investigators also found evidence that the hackers tried but failed to alter or delete some information in the database, an attempt that wasn’t previously reported. That suggested more than a mere spying mission and potentially a test run for a disruptive attack, according to the people familiar with the continuing U.S. counterintelligence inquiry.
States’ Response

That idea would obsess the Obama White House throughout the summer and fall of 2016, outweighing worries over the DNC hack and private Democratic campaign emails given to Wikileaks and other outlets, according to one of the people familiar with those conversations. The Homeland Security Department dispatched special teams to help states strengthen their cyber defenses, and some states hired private security companies to augment those efforts.

In many states, the extent of the Russian infiltration remains unclear. The federal government had no direct authority over state election systems, and some states offered limited cooperation. When then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said last August that the department wanted to declare the systems as national critical infrastructure -- a designation that gives the federal government broader powers to intervene -- Republicans balked.

Only after the election did the two sides eventually reach a deal to make the designation.


Relations with Russia remain strained. The cyber red phone was announced in 2011 as a provision in the countries’ Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers to allow urgent communication to defuse a possible cyber conflict. In 2008, what started during the Cold War as a teletype messaging system became a secure system for transferring messages and documents over fiber-optic lines.

After the Obama administration transmitted its documents and Russia asked for more information, the hackers’ work continued. According to the leaked NSA document, hackers working for Russian military intelligence were trying to take over the computers of 122 local election officials just days before the Nov. 8 election.

While some inside the Obama administration pressed at the time to make the full scope of the Russian activity public, the White House was ultimately unwilling to risk public confidence in the election’s integrity, people familiar with those discussions said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... -elections

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Re: The Sessions Session 6/13/2017

Postby Marie » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:55 pm

Mike Huckabee asserts:
AG is top atty in Exec branch; serves @POTUS

No, Huck -- the AG is the head of the Justice Department; he works for US, to oversee the administration of the LAW.

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Marie
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Pence lawyers up

Postby Marie » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:59 pm

Pence has hired a lawyer
https://twitter.com/JoyAnnReid/status/8 ... 9077246977

Remember last Nov. when he went to court to seal his emails and congressional docs? (why have a congressional library then?)

What's he hiding, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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User avatar
Marie
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Posts: 32218
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Location: In front of my computer

Re: The Sessions Session 6/13/2017

Postby Marie » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:50 pm

Image

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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