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Amaryllis's Journal
Amaryllis's Journal
March 31, 2017

Here's why Comey may have stayed silent on Russia probe before election & it should terrify Trump

FBI was monitoring Trump Tower for "more than three decades" . They would have had to pick up a lot of incidental intel. Maybe this is where T is getting the Obama wiretap story.

Raw Story


The stark difference between FBI director James Comey’s radio silence on the bureau’s continuing investigation into then-Republican candidate Trump, and the director’s willingness to discuss the investigation into former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server raises serious questions—chief among them, why? What was behind the unwillingness to disclose an ongoing investigation into Trump’s ties to the Russian government?

According to a WhoWhatWhy exposé, published Thursday on AlterNet, the FBI declined to inform the U.S. public about ties between Trump and the Russian government for fear of exposing informants and “[jeopardizing] a long-running, ultra-sensitive operation targeting mobsters tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to Trump.”

A two month-long investigation by the publication revealed that FBI agents likely feared exposing an ongoing operation against “an organized crime network headquartered in the former Soviet Union.” This Russia mob “is one of the Bureau’s top priorities,” spans several decades, and is intricately linked with associates of Trump and businesses the president owns.

As the report notes, federal officials were intent on protecting an FBI source—a convicted criminal with deep links to the organized crime network—upon whom the bureau came to rely for information about this crime network. Some federal officials “were so involved in protecting this source” they later became a part of his personal defense counsel; upon his conviction government attorneys urged for “extreme leniency” toward this man.

The article further reveals that among the many details Comey was unable to discuss during his Mar. 20 testimony into the government’s investigation of Trump associates and Russian operatives was the fact that “for more than three decades the FBI has had Trump Tower in its sights,” monitoring its occupants deep ties to organized crime networks. According to the report, one former Trump Organization adviser, Felix Stater, fits the bill for the FBI’s source into the Russia-based crime ring.

Much more:

March 30, 2017

Watch Schiff presser here that just happened on WH, docs, Nunes, Trump, other nefarious stuff

More in article below:

At a news conference Thursday, Schiff, a California Democrat, said he has "a lot of unanswered questions" about the process. He raised concerns about why, if the White House did give Nunes the information, it shared the reports with the congressman rather than going directly to the White House.

"Why all the cloak and dagger stuff?" Schiff asked.

The White House repeatedly deflected questions Thursday about whether any Trump administration officials gave Nunes the information. During his daily news briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not concede if the reporting is correct.

Asked if he would tell reporters if the report was wrong, he said he was "not going to get into it."

The White House invited the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to view documents related to the probe, and Schiff said they will do so. Schiff is not sure if those documents are the same ones Nunes saw before making his announcement.

The panels' ranking member insisted that the confusion within the committee will not derail its probe.

"We're not going to get distracted," Schiff said.


March 30, 2017

Timing irony of Intel hearings & GOP attack on our cyber security won't be lost on any of you

What absolutely perfect timing for Senate Intel hearings to shine a light on GOP legislative efforts to compromise our cyber security. It will be interesting to see if it gives them pause or in any way affects their agenda.

THese hearings have not been in any respect a disappointment. They are doing a great job of laying groundwork before bringing in the suspects.

March 29, 2017

Witnesses scheduled for Senate Intel public hearings tomorrow

Open Hearing: Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns


No heavies yet. Sounds like they are laying groundwork. Cyber guys in the PM.

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 10:00am

Eugene Rumer
Director of Russia and Eurasia Program
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Roy Godson
Professor of Government Emeritus
Georgetown University

Clint Watts
Senior Fellow
Foreign Policy Research Institute Program on National Security

03/30/2017 - 2:00pm

Kevin Mandia
Chief Executive Officer

General (Ret.)
Keith Alexander
Chief Executive Officer and President
IronNet Cybersecurity

March 29, 2017

Nunes Says He Held Russia Hearings Alone in His Apartment and They Went Great (Borowitz)

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Representative Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Wednesday that he just spent several days alone in his apartment holding hearings on President Donald J. Trump’s ties to Russia and that those hearings “went really great.”

“Having concluded several days of hearings on my own in my apartment, I am one hundred per cent satisfied that the President had no involvement with the Russians,” Nunes said. “Now it’s time to move on.”

While Nunes would not reveal who testified at the hearings in his apartment, he called their testimony “credible and productive.”

“I didn’t know what to expect when the hearings started, but, take my word for it, they were really, really good,” he said.

The disclosure that Nunes had conducted the Russia hearings alone in his apartment drew howls of protest from Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. “No one on the committee was invited to these hearings,” Schiff said. “I can’t believe that Devin keeps trying to get away with this crap.”

Nunes, however, pushed back against Schiff’s rebuke. “If Adam had ever seen my apartment, he would know there was not enough room to fit the whole committee in there,” he said.

After speaking to reporters, Nunes headed to the White House, where Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


March 29, 2017

Reminder: Joint presser Burr & Warner Senate Intel today 2:30 ET. Update Russian investigation.

Live on C-span today


"While that visible gulf opens up between the two members on the House side, Warner defended his relationship with the Chairman of the Senate's Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina.

Last month, Warner said he had "grave concerns" about the independence of their investigation after reports surfaced that the White House sought help from Burr and others to help knock down certain negative news.

"We've had some bumps," Warner said. "But I am working very closely with him right now," adding, "I trust him that we will get this done. And we have a list of witnesses that I think you will see that is comprehensive. And we're going to talk to everybody involved."


March 29, 2017

O'Donnell tonight:Ryan at center of Nunes scandal. R in as deep as N; this why R won't remove Nunes

O'Donnell again tonight showed clip of Ryan saying he "had to brief the speaker first" before going to WH. Asks, "Why are no reporters picking up on Ryan involvement in Nunes scandal? I’ve showed this clip three times of Nunes saying he had to brief the speaker before he did anything else, and yet no one is picking up on it."

"Ryan is at the center of the scandal. The press apparently didn’t hear it when he said it in the WH driveway when he said he first went to Ryan before going to the WH. Everything he did after that would have been at the direction of Ryan. "

"The Nunes scandal is Paul Ryan’s scandal. That is why Ryan won’t remove him. Ryan is in it as deep as Nunes is. If Nunes can lose the chairmanship over it, Ryan can lose the speakership over it. "

I have wondered myself why more aren't picking up on this, even on DU. See this thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10028850749
for O'Donnell show video and transcript from Thursday where he raises this question of why no one seems to be picking up on Ryan's involvement and says Nunes is covering up for Ryan; that Nunes fell on his sword for Ryan.

This is very important; it means Ryan is colluding as well as Nunes! Not only colluding, but directing Nunes. Much more in the thread from the Thursday show linked to above, but O'Donnell feels it so important that he brought it up for the third time tonight.

He also had former CIA director on telling why it was critical to Nunes and Ryan to stop Sally Yates testimony.

March 28, 2017

Dems Demand Nunes Recuse Himself; Swalwell: he should be nowhere near Russia investigation (HuffPo)

Rep. Adam Schiff says the public can’t have the “necessary confidence” in the chairman’s leadership of the House Intelligence Committee probe.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and other Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee have demanded that the committee’s chairman, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), recuse himself from investigating potential ties between the Trump administration and the Russian government.

It was revealed Monday that Nunes met with a source on the White House grounds last week, one day before he alleged that President Donald Trump and his team were surveilled during the final months of the Obama administration.

In a statement Monday, Schiff, the committee’s vice chair, said his recommendation came “after much consideration.”

“In much the same way that the Attorney General was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after failing to inform the Senate of his meetings with Russian officials, I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman,” he said.


Swalwell said in a statement that Nunes should be nowhere near this investigation, let alone leading it.

“Russia attacked our democracy this last election. Our constituents are counting on us to find out how they did it, whether any U.S. persons assisted them, and how to make sure it never happens again,” Swalwell said. “That requires an impartial pursuit of the truth. So far, too many people in the White House and Administration, and now, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have betrayed their duty to conduct an independent, bipartisan inquiry into the Trump team’s ties with Russia.”

Much More; also video:

March 27, 2017

Cautionary Notes on Select Committee for the Russia Matter: pros and cons (Lawfare)

Just discovered this website; someone else on DU linked to an article on it and I can't remember who, but it has some impressive articles on the whole Russia investigation issue by people with some impressive legal and national security credentials.

Article covers pros and cons of different types of investigations based on who is doing what with current investigations.

Cautionary Notes on a Select Committee for the Russia Matter
By Jack Goldsmith
Monday, March 27, 2017, 9:15 AM

I agree with Ben and Susan (see link in article) that an independent national commission to investigate the Russia matter is, at this time, unrealistic. But I’m unconvinced by their argument that a select congressional committee—a specially formed committee in one or both houses of Congress, with special staffing and resources—would be an improvement on the three committees now investigating the matter. I’m not completely unconvinced, but it is perhaps worth fleshing out counterarguments to their case for a select committee.

The best argument for a select committee is the inappropriate-bordering-on-bizarre behavior last week (and earlier) of HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes. Nunes has long been in the bag for President Trump. His terrible judgment and his close connection with Trump and some of the actors under investigation has practically destroyed the credibility of the investigation that his committee, under his “leadership,” is conducting on the Russia matter. If the Republicans were smart they would remove Nunes from HPSCI leadership, and fast.

But there are also two other congressional investigations underway. The SSCI Committee, Ben and Susan acknowledge, once viewed “the question of Russian interference in the U.S. election and its ties to campaign figures to be a non-partisan issue related to safeguarding fundamental democracy.” They add that “the SSCI had many of the necessary elements for a successful investigation: Much of the subject matter is already within the committee’s ordinary oversight jurisdiction, and members and staff are cleared to receive highly-classified materials—which is critical for an investigation that involves sensitive ongoing operations.” Moreover, as a committee, the SSCI has until recently acted in a way that “seemed to indicate not only that a serious and thorough investigation was underway, but also that the Committee was prepared to be adversarial with respect to the Trump Administration.” All true, and all good.

The main knock against the SSCI investigation is that the Committee Chairman, Richard Burr, spoke to news organizations at the White House’s request to dispute reports of multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence operatives. That was a stupid thing to do, and was also a sin Nunes committed. Considered alone it does diminish the credibility of the SSCI investigation. But Burr’s overall conduct has been nothing like Nunes’ behavior, especially his press conference disclosing to the world (and prior to disclosing to his HPSCI colleagues) that he had received information--possibly from the Trump White House--indicating that the Trump transition team conversations had been incidentally collected and named in intelligence reports. In light of the many fruitful and independent actions that SCCI has taken to date, especially in light of the downsides to a select committee investigation (noted below), Burr has not destroyed the possibility and value of a useful, credible and independent SSCI investigation. (Further confirmation of this conclusion comes from SSCI’s prior “formal requests to more than a dozen organizations, agencies and individuals, asking them to preserve all materials related to a probe the panel is conducting on Russian interference in the 2016 election and related issues,” and from this morning’s news that SSCI is seeking “to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law … about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak,” including “a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank.”)

Lots more. Worth reading.

March 27, 2017

Warner of Senate Intel: why he hesitates on independent commission (it's much slower)- video

Interview with Mark Warner, vice chair Senate Intel on Meet the Press today.

Todd says,"You've hesitated on endorsing an independent commission. John McCain has been the biggest proponent."

Warner: "First you have to pass a bill. Then the president has to sign it; then there’s a big debate on who’s going to be on it. We’ve got bipartisan support on our committee. All republicans on the committee are saying we’re going to go where the intel leads."

He feels he can trust Burr now and they/the committee are working well together.

Senator Wyden said at his town hall last month something similar; that it takes a lot longer with an independent commission. He said he wouldn't hesitate to push for an independent commission if it became clear that Senate Intel couldn't do a bipartisan investigation but implied it would be preferable to continue with the Senate Intel one.

Can't they do both? Obviously we want whatever is faster and will still get the job done. House Intel is a different story as long as Nunes is in charge.

THey will start public hearings this week.

Article summary of interview:

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