Democrats are upset by Attorney General William Barr’s comments that members of the FBI were spying on the Trump campaign when they should be more upset that a presidential administration was “intruding” into the 2016 election, Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Friday.
“We’ve seen that political bias,” the Georgia Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “He is being honest here and moving on to the (special counsel Robert) Mueller report, and we’ll confirm what we already know.”
Collins said he does think that Mueller reset the story when he spoke of spying and it’s a “good thing, (as) we’ve been talking about this from day one, not simply what the reports are.”
Meanwhile, Democrats who wanted to get the Mueller report finished are not happy with it because they don’t like its conclusions, so “they are trying everything else.”
Former FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday he did not know what Barr was talking about with comments about spying, because the FBI and Department of Justice were conducting court-ordered surveillance. Collins said it is “getting old for Comey” to continue to pop up.
“He is getting scrutinized for something he is a part of,” said Collins. “He doesn’t like the term of what was happening. He has to answer those questions again. His light will continue to fade.”
Collins added that he thinks the difference between the words surveillance and spying are “a matter of wording.”
“(Bill Barr) wanted to make sure he said it was spying,” said Collins. “They were looking into a campaign and what was going on here.”
Political consultant W. Samuel Patten, who pleaded guilty to illegally steering foreign money to President Trump’s inaugural committee, was sentenced to probation by a federal judge Friday, avoiding any jail time.
The investigation into Patten was a spin off of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she considered Patten’s cooperation with the Mueller investigation in handing down a lenient sentence. In addition to the three-year probation, Jackson also sentenced Patten to 500 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine. The sentence is so far the most lenient sentence handed down to a guilty plea resulting from the Trump-Russia probe.
“I fully recognize the seriousness of my conduct and the crimes that I committed,” Patten said to Jackson just before the sentencing. “I behaved as though the law didn’t apply to me and that was wrong.”
Patten, 47, who worked closely with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was charged last year by federal authorities with failing to register as a foreign agent when he steered $50,000 from a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician to Trump’s inauguration. The complaint filed against Patten alleged that he worked as an unregistered agent from 2014-2018, violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
“None of them were minor and all of them were absolutely intentional,” Jackson said of the violations. “This isn’t a mere technicality and it wasn’t an oversight. You hid and misrepresented the true nature of the work on behalf of the Ukrainian party. I’m probably most troubled by that because it goes beyond the failure to register.”
The maximum sentence for his charge is five years in federal prison.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week they are both ready to sit down together to try to work out a long-elusive deal on immigration reform in response to a growing humanitarian crisis along the southern border.
Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking to reporters at the Democratic retreat in Leesburg, Va., said she is “pleased to see” news reports that McConnell, R-Ky., “is ready to talk about” about an immigration deal.
McConnell told reporters on Thursday it is “past time” to negotiate with Democrats on immigration and he is willing to talk to Pelosi about it “now.”
While lawmakers normally avoid taking up major policy initiatives when a presidential election is looming, they may have no choice.
A sudden surge in family units attempting to cross into the United States illegally has overwhelmed the nation’s border security system.
So far this year, 240,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended entering the United States, some at ports of entry, but mostly at points in between along the southwest border.
The increase accelerated after July 2015, when a federal judge ruled that illegal immigrant parents must be released with children soon after they are apprehended.
The court ruling attracted mass family migration from Central America as adults learned bringing children to the U.S. border would prevent them from being detained or immediately sent home.
Even Pelosi acknowledged Friday it has created “a humanitarian crisis.”
The GOP wants to change the nation’s asylum laws and rules governing the treatment of apprehended illegal immigrants in order to discourage the recent wave of mass migration from Central America.
Finding a bipartisan deal with Democrats, however, would likely require a comprehensive plan that addresses illegal immigrants already living in the United States.
While McConnell did not specify what should be included in a deal, Pelosi said “what we need to do is sit down and have comprehensive immigration reform.”
She added, “I’m glad Mitch McConnell has said he’s willing to do that.”
Democrats and Republicans have tried but failed to pass immigration reform legislation numerous times over the past 15 years.
Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, while Republicans have sought stronger border security provisions.
Pelosi said none of the current problems along the border can be fixed without tackling comprehensive immigration reform.
“I think the president is beginning to realize that has to happen,” Pelosi said.
Americans are in danger of ignoring casual lies by President Trump, making him a bigger threat in a sense than Russian actors trying to interfere in U.S. elections, according to former FBI Director James Comey.
“I’m sure Russia is engaged in efforts to undermine all manner of American institutions, but the president of the United States tweets lies about those institutions nearly every day,” Comey said Thursday at a Hewlett Foundation event near San Francisco. “He does it so often that we’ve become numb to it. And there’s danger in that numbness.”
Trump fired Comey in May 2017 over what he later said was an effort to shut down a probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. Since then, the president has regularly targeted Comey for criticism over Twitter.
“I wake up some mornings and the president’s tweeted I should be in jail. You know what I do? I laugh and I go, ‘Oh, there he goes again.’ I don’t follow him on Twitter, so I only see it if one of you retweets it. But I laugh. And that laughing is dangerous.”
Comey also disputed Attorney General William Barr’s claim that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.
“I don’t understand what the heck he’s talking about,” Comey said. “But when I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning because the FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as ‘spying.’”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the UK government should not extradite Julian Assange to the US, where he faces a computer hacking charge.
The Wikileaks co-founder was arrested for a separate charge at Ecuador’s London embassy on Thursday, where he had been granted asylum since 2012.
Mr Corbyn said Assange should not be extradited “for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
Meanwhile, Ecuador’s leader expressed anger at how Assange had behaved.
Australian-born Assange, 47, sought refuge in the Knightsbridge embassy seven years ago, to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped. But Ecuador abruptly withdrew its asylum and invited the police to arrest Assange on Thursday.
After his dramatic arrest, he was taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court and found guilty of a British charge of breaching bail. He spent Thursday night in custody and is facing up to 12 months in prison for that conviction.
The Met said it cost an estimated £13.2m to police Ecuador’s London embassy between June 2012 and October 2015, when the force withdrew the physical presence of officers.
The Swedish authorities are now considering whether to reopen an investigation into the allegations of sexual assault, which Assange denies.
The US government has also charged him with allegations of conspiracy to break into a computer, relating to a massive leak of classified US government documents. The UK will decide whether to extradite Assange, and if he was convicted, he could face up to five years in jail.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “this is all about Wikileaks and all of that embarrassing information about the activities of the American military and security services that was made public”.
But she said Assange should also face the criminal justice system if the Swedish government charged him.
Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation into Assange into 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of the allegations – a necessary step in proceeding with the case – while he remained in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Assange battle ‘now political’
In a tweet, Mr Corbyn shared a video said to be of Pentagon footage – which had been released by Wikileaks – of a 2007 air strike which implicated US military in the killing of civilians and two journalists.
The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale said backing Assange is not without political risk and will not find universal favour among Labour MPs – but Mr Corbyn’s intervention “means the battle over Assange’s future will now be as much political as it is legal”.
The editor of Wikileaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, has expressed fears that the US could file more serious charges against Assange, and that if he was convicted he could be behind bars for “decades”.
Mr Hrafnsson added that Assange had been thrown “overboard” by Ecuador – and the country was “horrible” to treat him like that.
‘He was a problem’
Meanwhile in Ecuador, President Lenin Moreno criticised Assange, claiming that after spending seven years in the country’s embassy he had dismissed Ecuador by describing it as an insignificant country.
“We had treated him as a guest,” he said. “But not anymore.”
Ecuador’s ambassador to the UK, Jaime Marchan, also previously said Assange had been “continually a problem” while he was living in the embassy.
Meanwhile, a man who is alleged to have links with Assange has been arrested while trying to leave Ecuador, the country’s officials said.
The man – who has been identified by supporters as a Swedish software developer called Ola Bini – had been trying to board a flight to Japan.
Assange is due to face a hearing over his possible extradition to the US on 2 May.
During a briefing at the White House following Assange’s arrest, US President Donald Trump was asked by reporters if he stood by remarks that he made during his election campaign when he said he loved Wikileaks.
“I know nothing about Wikileaks,” said Mr Trump. “It’s not my thing.”
He added: “I’ve been seeing what happened with Assange and that will be a determination, I would imagine, mostly by the attorney general, who’s doing an excellent job.”
Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said they would be fighting the extradition request. She said it set a “dangerous precedent” where any journalist could face US charges for “publishing truthful information about the United States”.
She said she had visited Assange in the police cells where he thanked supporters and said: “I told you so.”
Assange had predicted that he would face extradition to the US if he left the embassy.
Meanwhile, Australia said it had received a request for consular assistance after Assange was taken from the embassy.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Assange will not get “special treatment” and will have to “make his way through whatever comes his way in terms of the justice system”.
The arrest was welcomed by the government on Thursday. Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons: “This goes to show that in the UK, no-one is above the law.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the arrest was the result of “years of careful diplomacy” and that it was “not acceptable” for someone to “escape facing justice”.
Assange set up Wikileaks in 2006 with the aim of obtaining and publishing confidential documents and images.
The organisation hit the headlines four years later when it released footage of US soldiers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.
Former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010 for disclosing more than 700,000 confidential documents, videos and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website. She said she only did so to spark debates about foreign policy, but US officials said the leak put lives at risk.
She was found guilty by a court martial in 2013 of charges including espionage. However, her jail sentence was later commuted.
Manning was recently jailed for refusing to testify before an investigation into Wikileaks’ role in revealing the secret files.
JULIAN Assange’s dating profile from 2006 has been unearthed – where he branded himself a “pig-headed intellectual” and “87 per cent slut”.
The then 36-year-old created the profile on OkCupid in December, shortly after launching infamous WikiLeaks, the site that would land him fame and finally arrest.
Assange is now facing decades in prison after he was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in a dramatic arrest in London last night.
He’s expected to face charges in the US after prosecutors filed for his extradition over the WikiLeaks scandal.
After seven years in hiding, this dramatic shift has unearthed a multitude of dirt on the hack’s life, the latest being his dating profile.
In it he writes: “WARNING: Want a regular, down to earth guy? Keep moving. I am not the droid you’re looking for. Save us both while you still can.
“Passionate, and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy.
“Such a woman should [be] spirited and playful, of high intelligence, though not necessarily formally educated, have spunk, class & inner strength and be able to think strategically about the world and the people she cares about.”
LOOKING FOR LOVE
The unusual relationship request is accompanied by five photographs resembling Assange, the main one being a close-up smiling picture.
It’s captioned: “The author, facing the rising sun after an all puzzle contest.”
Confirming the validity of the profile, OkCupid co-founder Sam Yagan said: “This is real, as best we can tell.
“We have manual and automatic systems in place to prevent fraud. We can tell when a profile is created, from where — and we’re not going to say.
“If the profile is a ruse, then whoever did it went to elaborate lengths. And if someone faked this in 2006, that person has done an amazing job predicting the future.”
This is real, as best we can tell
The bizarre revelation was made on blog Frugal Brutal Beauty in 2010.
Assange goes under the name ‘Harry Harrison’, the pen name of an American author of science-fiction books whose protagonist, “Slippery Jim,” is a globetrotting con man.
‘Harry’ was extremely active during his first month on the site, according to Yagan, completing 42 personalty tests. Most members only complete one, if any.
Although his specific answers aren’t available, it is possible to see the results, which included:
- The Politics Test: Strong Democrat
- The Death Test: Dead at 83
- The Intellectual Sexiness Test: 85 intellectual sexiness!
- The Atheist Test: 75 per cent – The Ardent Atheist
- The EXTREMELY advanced MATH Test: 84 on the MathDorkOMeter
In addition, Harrison answered the site’s “match questions,” which show that he’s 27 per cent more arrogant, 12.3 per cent kinkier and 10.5 per cent “less capitalistic” than OkCupid’s seven million members.
Yagan admits Assange’s profile attracted “several” responses.
A hairy and dishevelled Assange spent 2,487 days holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid sex assault claims in Sweden claims.
He feared being sent to the States – where he was wanted over an alleged hacking conspiracy with whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
During that time his health has deteriorated as a result of a lack of sunlight, a Wikileaks source told the Mirror.
In court yesterday, the 47-year-old was blasted a “narcissist who can’t get beyond his own self interest” as he was found guilty of skipping bail in 2012 – relating to his time at the embassy.
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
- Julian Assange found guilty of skipping bail in UK and could face a year in jail
- He was arrested after 2,487 days holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London – costing taxpayers more than £10m
- Assange went into hiding in August 2012 to avoid facing extradition to Sweden over sex assault and rape allegations
- He is also wanted in US for on suspicion of espionage and publication of sensitive government documents
- Assange fears he could face death penalty if extradited to US over WikiLeaks scandal
- Ecuadorian President said Assange’s release dependent on not facing extradition to country with death penalty
- Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said “UK courts will decide” his future
- It’s been revealed Assange staged ‘dirty protests’ while in Ecuador’s embassy
Fury as Diane Abbott defends Assange saying, ‘It’s not about rape charges’
Revolting Assange faces DECADES in US prison after being dragged from embassy
THE SUN SAYS
You think our nation is humiliated now? Wait until MPs revoke Article 50
From Chelsea Manning to Macron’s emails, a decade of revelations by Wikileaks
Assange was arrested after ‘smearing POO on the walls of Ecuadorian Embassy’
He now faces a battle against extradition to the US where he was today charged over the Iraq War Logs.
Swedish lawyers want to reopen the sex allegations which first sent Assange into hiding – a move which has cost the British taxpayer more than £10m.
He will now learn his fate at Southwark Crown Court on May 2.
Thousands of Twitter accounts known as “bots” targeted Bernie Sanders supporters to rally support for the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election after Sanders’ loss to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary.
Researchers at Clemson University collaborated with the Washington Post on a report that found tens of thousands of tweets sent from bot accounts controlled by Russian agents drew parallels between the populist, working-class messages of the Trump campaign and that of Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont.
“#BlackMenForBernie Leader Switches to Trump! I will Never Vote for Hillary, Welcome aboard the Trump Train,” said one tweet sent by a Russian bot. The account described itself as a “Southern., Conservative Pro God, Anti Racism” Twitter user from Texas.
Another Russian bot, called “Red Louisiana News,” tweeted: “Conscious Bernie Sanders supporters already moving towards the best candidate Trump! #Feel the Bern #Vote Trump 2016.”
In an effort to have Sanders’ supporters defect from Clinton’s Democratic Party, the bots also highlighted questionable tactics Sanders’ supporters claimed took place in order to rig the Democratic nomination process for Clinton.
“I think there is no question that Sanders was central to their strategy. He was clearly used as a mechanism to decrease voter turnout for Hillary Clinton,” said Darren Linvill, researcher and Clemson University associate professor of communications.
The analyzed tweets “give us a much clearer understanding of the tactics they were using. It was certainly a higher volume than people thought.”
Nearly 12% of voters who supported Sanders in the Democratic primary crossed party lines and voted for Trump in the general election, according to a post-election survey by NPR. The numbers are particularly stark in light of Trump’s upsets in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which clinched the election for him.
Last month, Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary committees, briefing them of the “principal conclusions” in Mueller’s Russia investigation. The summary said the special counsel did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
There were “clearly” people in the FBI who were investigating both the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, Sen. John Kennedy said Friday, adding that he believes Attorney General William Barr will get to to the bottom of what was going on.
“When Bill Barr issued his [Robert Mueller report] summary, you would have thought according to some of my Democratic friends it was the second coming of the Apocalypse,” the Louisiana Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “It is clear to me that there were a handful of people at the FBI and maybe Justice who acted on their political beliefs in 2016. I think some of them put their thumb on the scale against (Donald) Trump. I think some might have put their thumb on the scale against (Hillary) Clinton.”
The FBI is not supposed to act on political beliefs, Kennedy added. “and they don’t need a hug and a cup of hot cocoa and told ‘don’t do it again,'” said Kennedy. “They need to be fired, and if necessary, prosecuted. You had a handful of bubbleheads that decided they were smarter and more virtuous than the American people and they were going to try to influence the election.”
Meanwhile, Kennedy called on Democrats to leave Barr alone and let him do his job and release a redacted version of Mueller’s report, but he warned that if “every third word is redacted and you can’t make any sense out of it, I’ll join them raising fresh hell. But that’s not going to happen.”
FILE PHOTO: Amit Shah, president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) addresses party workers in Ahmedabad, India, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo
April 12, 2019
By Devjyot Ghoshal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The head of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party took his invective against illegal Muslim immigrants to a new level this week as the general election kicked off, promising to throw them into the Bay of Bengal.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah referred such illegal immigrants as “termites”, a description he also used last September, when he drew condemnation from rights groups. The U.S. State Department also noted the remark in its annual human rights report.
“Infiltrators are like termites in the soil of Bengal,” Shah said on Thursday at a rally in the eastern state of West Bengal, as voting in India’s 39-day general election started.
“A Bharatiya Janata Party government will pick up infiltrators one by one and throw them into the Bay of Bengal,” he said, referring to illegal immigrants from neighboring Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
Shah nevertheless reiterated the BJP’s stance on giving citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs from Bangladesh and Pakistan.
India is already working on deporting an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims living in the country after fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar. New Delhi considers them a security threat.
The comments from Shah, the right-hand man of Modi, drew criticism from the main opposition Congress party as well as minority groups. On Twitter, some users likened his speech to a suggestion of ethnic cleansing.
“The statement is a direct attack on the identity and integrity of the nation as a secular state,” the Kerala Christian Forum, a group from the southern state, said in a statement. It demanded an apology from Shah.
A BJP spokesman declined to comment on the speech.
Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said Shah’s remarks were a deliberate attempt to polarize voters along sectarian lines.
“The political business model of the BJP is to raise the communal temperature, keep it at a boil, and to keep India in a permanent religious divide,” Jha said.
(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal; Additional reporting by Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Krishna N. Das)
President Donald Trump propped up his daughter Ivanka in a new interview and said she would be a favorite to win a presidential election if she ever runs.
The Atlantic published a lengthy profile of Ivanka Trump and her role in the White House, where she works as a senior adviser. Her father told the media outlet that Ivanka has a “great calmness.”
“If she ever wanted to run for president, I think she’d be very, very hard to beat,” Trump said. “She went into the whole helping-people-with-jobs, and I wasn’t sure that was going to be the best use of her time, but I didn’t know how successful she’d be. She’s created millions of jobs, and I had no idea she’d be that successful.”
Trump later added, “She’s got a great calmness … I’ve seen her under tremendous stress and pressure. She reacts very well — that’s usually a genetic thing, but it’s one of those things, nevertheless.”
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner work in the West Wing and live in the Kalorama section of Washington, D.C., about two miles from the White House.