Trump attacks Hillary Clinton’s email server again — then ‘jokes’ maybe the Russians hacked it

President Donald Trump tweeted that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server, a claim that has not been verified by anyone other than right-leaning media outlets. Trump used the moment to mock the Russia hack while highlighting the story.

“Report just out: ‘China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private Email Server.’ Are they sure it wasn’t Russia (just kidding!)? What are the odds that the FBI and DOJ are right on top of this? Actually, a very big story. Much classified information!” Trump tweeted.

If sources are revealing information that China hacked Clinton’s server, it’s entirely possible that is also classified information.

[Raw Story]

Update

Even Fox News is debunking this story.

Trump threatens ‘to get involved’ in manic conspiracy meltdown over ongoing FBI investigation

Out of nowhere — and possibly as a distraction to some upcoming news — President Donald Trump attacked the FBI on Saturday morning by demanding they turn over files on [Rformer FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to outside conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch.

Once again alleging a conspiracy, Trump tweeted, “Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text massages [sic] to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities. FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people.”

He later added, “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired? So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”

You can see screenshots of the original tweets below which were deleted to correct the usual Trump typos:

[Raw Story]

Trump, citing politics, looking to revoke security clearances

President Donald Trump is considering stripping a half-dozen former national security officials of their security clearances, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, calling their public commentary about the ongoing Russia probe inappropriate.

The list of former officials under consideration includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, according to Sanders.

“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service,” Sanders said during a press briefing. “Making baseless accusations of an improper relationship with Russia is inappropriate.”

Sanders would not say when the President would make the decision; she said only that the White House would provide updates when it had them.

The announcement came after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, tweeted that he planned to speak with Trump about removing Brennan’s security clearance. Brennan declared last week that Trump’s performance following a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was “nothing short of treasonous.”

A decision to strip a former official of a security clearance would prove a striking use of presidential power. Even Michael Flynn, Trump’s onetime national security adviser who was fired during the Obama administration, maintained his clearance when he was acting as a campaign surrogate for Trump, often leading “lock her up” chants at political rallies.

Sanders did little to mask the political nature of Trump’s threat, indicating the President was frustrated by the former officials’ criticism of him.

“When you have the highest level of security clearance, when you’re the person that holds the nation’s deepest, most sacred secrets at your hands and you go out and you make false accusations against the President on the United States, he says that’s something to be concerned with,” Sanders said.

“We’re exploring what those options are and what that looks like,” she said of the process for removing the officials clearances.

When they leave government, national security officials routinely maintain their security clearances, partly to consult with those who replace them about ongoing situations or issues.

Officials also use their clearances to obtain high-paying consulting positions in the private sector.

“I think this is just a very, very petty thing to do. And that’s about all I’ll say about it,” Clapper said on CNN in the immediate wake of Sanders’ announcement.

“There is a formal process for doing this,” he added. “But, you know, legally the President has that prerogative and he can suspend and revoke clearances as he sees fit. If he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that’s a terrible precedent and it’s a really sad commentary and its an abuse of the system.”

Hayden indicated being stripped of his clearance would be of little consequence to his commentary.

“I don’t go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write,” he tweeted.

It is the President’s prerogative to revoke security clearances, a former senior intelligence official said on Monday, who added that instances of such an occurrence were rare.

Usually former senior officials retain clearances so their successors can consult with theem on a pro bono basis, the former official said.

[CNN]

Trump tweets he ‘never fired’ Comey over Russia, contradicting reports about memo

President Trump tweeted Thursday that he “never fired James Comey because of Russia” — despite past statements and recent reports that Russia did come into play.

“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia!” the president tweeted early Thursday. “The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!”

The tweet followed reports first published by the New York Times Wednesday of a memo written by then-Acting Director Andrew McCabe that detailed a conversation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding former FBI Director James Comey. A source close to the matter told ABC that in the memo McCabe described how Rosenstein allegedly told him Trump asked him to mention Russia in his May 9 letter recommending Comey’s firing.

A representative for McCabe declined to comment for this story, and a Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last May, the White House said Trump used letters from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein that cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers in his decision to fire Comey.

But Trump later seemed to contradict himself in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt when said he considered “this Russia thing” in making the decision.

“When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,'” Trump said in the interview.

It’s been over a year since Comey was fired and special counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into possible Trump campaign ties with Russia.

[ABC News]

Media

NBC News

Trump Rails Against ‘Failing and Crooked’ NY Times For ‘Boring’ Report on Gulf Prince Offering Campaign Assistance

President Donald Trump went on a Twitter tirade Sunday against a New York Times exposé revealing his son and other campaign officials met with a Gulf emissary who offered a hand in winning the 2016 election.

Trump blasted the report, calling the publication “Failing and Crooked,” while adding in a jab at Hillary Clinton. He contended that the report was merely “a long & boring story” showing Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation “has found nothing on Russia & me.”

But it didn’t stop there. Launching into one of his trademark tweetstorms, Trump railed against Mueller’s probe as being the work of a bunch of angry democrats, and suggested that they re-focus the investigation onto the Clinton emails.

The Times reported that during the meeting arranged by Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, Donald Trump Jr. was assured by emissary George Nader that leaders in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were hopeful Trump would secure the election, and they wanted to help. Nader has been cooperating with the the special counsel’s investigation in recent months, CNN reported.

While Trump was quick to dismiss the report and again bash the Mueller probe, the investigation has already resulted in more than a dozen indictments along with five guilty pleas.

The president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, believes there is a chance Trump could be subpoenaed in the probe, and has begun preparing him in the event that he’s interviewed, Politico reported.

[Mediaite]

Trump’s gripes against McCabe included wife’s politics, Comey’s ride home

The day after President Donald Trump fired James Comey as director of the FBI, he became so furious watching television footage of Comey boarding a government-funded plane from Los Angeles back to Washington that he called the bureau’s acting director, Andrew McCabe, to vent, according to multiple people familiar with the phone call.

Trump demanded to know why Comey was allowed to fly on an FBI plane after he had been fired, these people said. McCabe told the president he hadn’t been asked to authorize Comey’s flight, but if anyone had asked, he would have approved it, three people familiar with the call recounted to NBC News.

The president was silent for a moment and then turned on McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser — an apparent reference to a failed campaign for state office in Virginia that McCabe’s wife made in 2015.

McCabe replied, “OK, sir.” Trump then hung up the phone.

A White House official, who would not speak on the record, disputed the account, saying, “this simply never happened. Any suggestion otherwise is pure fiction.” The FBI declined to comment on the call.

The previously unreported exchange was one of a series of attacks Trump has aimed at McCabe that fueled tensions between the White House and the Justice Department and culminated Monday with McCabe stepping down as the FBI’s deputy director.

In the past, Trump had also reportedly asked McCabe how he voted in the 2016 election and repeatedly made public references to campaign donations his wife had received from an ally of Hillary and Bill Clinton.

In an impromptu exchange last week with reporters who had been speaking with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Trump said he did not recall asking McCabe who he voted for in 2016. “I don’t think I did,” he said. “I don’t know what’s the big deal with that because I would ask you … who did you vote for?”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the White House was not part of McCabe’s decision-making process about stepping down.

In recent weeks the White House has agitated for McCabe’s exit, saying he is part of a broader pattern of bias against the president in the highest levels of federal law enforcement. Defenders of the Justice Department’s leadership say the charges of bias are part of the president’s effort to try to undermine the federal probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Trump’s repeated criticism of McCabe, both in public and private, made the FBI’s deputy director the leading example of concerns Republicans have increasingly raised about potential impartiality at the Justice Department.

The phone call between Trump and McCabe after Comey’s firing last May underscores the president’s continued fixation on where the loyalties of people around him may lie and his frustration with autonomous arms of the government — particularly ones involved in the Russia investigation. It’s also emblematic of his early and persistent distrust of top Justice Department officials.

The combination of those sentiments whipped the president into such a fury over Comey last year that he wanted his firing to abruptly strip him of any trappings that come with the office and leave him across the country scrambling to find his own way home.

McCabe detailed his conversation with Trump after Comey’s firing to several people at the Justice Department, people familiar with the matter said.

In 2015 McCabe’s wife, Jill, had run for state office in Virginia. She accepted nearly $500,000 in campaign donations from the super PAC of Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally and former governor of Virginia. She lost by just over 2,000 votes.

Andrew McCabe was not involved in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton while his wife was running for office. He became involved in the probe in February 2016.

Comey was criticized by many Democrats for his handling of the Clinton inquiry. The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating.

Trump had publicly suggested that McCabe should not remain in FBI leadership at different times over the past year. Last July, the president questioned why Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t replace McCabe, whom the president described as “a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation.”

Last month the president also wrote on Twitter: “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” The amount the president said McCabe’s wife received was incorrect.

After he fired Comey, Trump met with McCabe in the Oval Office, and, according to The Washington Post, asked McCabe whom he voted for in the 2016 election. McCabe said he did not vote, the Post reported.

More recently, when reports surfaced last month that McCabe planned to retire in March after he’s eligible for full benefits, Trump seized on the news. “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” the president wrote on Twitter.

McCabe’s exit comes in the middle of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into whether the president has tried to obstruct justice in Russia investigation. Given his position at the FBI and his interactions with the president, McCabe is likely to be of use to Mueller in the obstruction inquiry.

Mueller was named to oversee the Russia investigation after Comey’s firing, which became a catalyst for the obstruction investigation.

The firing sent shock waves across Washington, including within the Trump administration.

Comey’s dismissal on May 9, 2017, was hastily executed and even took many senior White House officials by surprise. As it was unfolding, some of them quietly discussed how Comey would get back to Washington, a senior White House official who was there at the time said.

“I don’t think anybody had thought about how he’d get home,” the official said.

Trump thought Comey should not have been allowed to take the FBI plane he had taken to California, according to people familiar with the matter. The president’s longtime bodyguard and aide, Keith Schiller, delivered the news of Comey’s firing in envelope he brought to FBI headquarters while Comey was in California. Trump believed any privileges Comey had received as FBI director should have ceased at that moment, the people familiar with the matter said.

Comey learned of his termination from news reports broadcast on a TV in the room where he was addressing FBI agents in the bureau’s Los Angeles office. He had been in Los Angeles to speak at a recruiting event later that evening. But after learning he was fired, Comey skipped the event.

Instead he went to Los Angeles International Airport. Images of Comey on the tarmac boarding the government plane for the flight back to Washington were among the first the public saw of him after he was fired.

[NBC News]

Trump ‘asked acting FBI chief Andrew McCabe how he voted’

After firing James Comey as director of the FBI, US President Donald Trump asked the agency’s deputy director whom he had voted for, US media report.

Andrew McCabe, who had just become the agency’s acting chief after the surprise dismissal last year, said that he did not vote in the 2016 election.

FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Mr Comey’s firing was an attempt to obstruct justice.

Mr Mueller leads the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

During Mr McCabe’s introductory meeting with the president after he took over the federal law enforcement agency, Mr Trump also allegedly expressed anger with Mr McCabe over his wife’s ties to the Clinton family.

Mr McCabe reportedly found the conversation “disturbing”, according to the Washington Post.

Jill McCabe, a failed Democratic candidate for the Virginia state senate, had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a political action committee controlled by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally.

Last July, Mr Trump told the New York Times: “We have a director of the FBI, acting, who received $700,000, whose wife received $700,000 from, essentially, Hillary Clinton.”

He also erroneously claimed in a subsequent tweet that Mr McCabe had led the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email during her time as US secretary of state.

Mr McCabe had recused himself from any investigations involving Virginia political figures, but Republicans have questioned why he was allowed to be involved in the investigations into Mrs Clinton’s emails, claiming he has a conflict of interest.

The FBI has said that Mrs McCabe’s campaign had ended months before Mr McCabe became involved in that investigation, which he later recused himself from as the date of the presidential election neared.

[BBC News]

Trump Rips Sessions on Twitter, While He Attends a White House Meeting

The one-sided feud between President Donald Trump and his attorney general persisted Wednesday, even as a battered Jeff Sessions trudged ahead with his Justice Department duties.

Less than an hour after Sessions was deposited at the White House by a black SUV for routine meetings in the West Wing, Trump proclaimed from another corner of the same building that his displeasure in his attorney general hasn’t waned.

“Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives,” he tweeted. “Drain the Swamp!”

The message, which stretched facts, was the latest chapter in a humiliating ordeal for the nation’s top law enforcement official, who has refused to resign even amid the increasingly hostile barbs being issued by his boss. Over the past two days, Trump has deemed his attorney general “beleaguered” and “very weak.” His anger has stemmed from Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from an FBI investigation into Russian election meddling.

Even as Sessions was attending a so-called “principals small group meeting” in the West Wing on Wednesday, Trump — who remained in his private residence — declined to confront his attorney general face-to-face. Some of Trump’s aides have encouraged the President to speak with Sessions directly, rather than angrily lambast him over Twitter, but that advice appeared to go unheeded Wednesday morning.

Speaking on CNN, Trump’s newly installed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci defended the President’s tactics for communicating his ire, saying Sessions was likely among Trump’s Twitter followers and thus a direct recipient of his messages.

“Jeff Sessions is probably one of the 113 million people” who follow Trump online, he said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Sessions, however, doesn’t maintain an active Twitter account, and his campaign account — @JeffSessions — hasn’t posted since 2014. That account doesn’t follow Trump.

The disconnect between the two men has caused deep consternation among some members of Congress, who question Trump’s public needling of Sessions while stopping short of firing him.

“I would fire somebody that I did not believe could serve me well rather than trying to humiliate him in public, which is a sign of weakness,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, on Wednesday. “I would just go ahead and say, ‘I appreciate your service, you need to be fired.’ ”

Despite Trump’s attacks, Sessions has no plans to resign, sources have told CNN. Instead, he’s forging ahead with his duties as attorney general, including routine meetings with administration officials at the White House.

His vehicles were spotted around 9 a.m. ET at the West Wing, where he regularly meets with fellow officials. He was not expected to meet with Trump. He departed about 90 minutes later, striding stone-faced wearing a dark checked suit to his car, toting a briefing binder in his right hand.

The President, meanwhile, wasn’t officially scheduled to begin his workday until 10:30 a.m. ET, and wasn’t present in the West Wing while Sessions was there.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, said later Wednesday that Sessions did not meet with the President while he was at the White House.

“The President’s been very clear about where he is,” Sanders said. “He is obviously disappointed.”

“You can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job,” she added.

Trump’s message on Twitter revived a convoluted and largely debunked criticism of Sessions and McCabe, who has served in the acting FBI position since Trump abruptly fired Comey in May. Trump interviewed McCabe for the permanent role, but eventually chose Christopher Wray, whose nomination is pending in the Senate.

McCabe’s wife, who ran for a position in the Virginia legislature in 2015, received a large donation from a political action committee affiliated with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat with close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. But there’s no evidence that she received donations from Clinton herself. The donation also predated the point at which McCabe assumed oversight responsibilities for the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. McCabe consulted ethics officers at the FBI before his wife’s run.

Aside from concerned lawmakers and members of his staff, the prolonged standoff between Trump and Sessions, a former US senator who endorsed Trump early in his campaign, has also drawn criticism from some conservative media outlets, who still regard Sessions as an essential right-wing voice within the administration.

Sessions himself sought to highlight those credentials Tuesday, announcing that “sanctuary cities” would be ineligible for key law enforcement grants. And he soon plans to announce a stepped-up effort to go after leakers, a project that Trump himself has pressed.

But those efforts may not be sufficient to overcome Trump’s anger, which has been simmering for months but which he first revealed publicly in a New York Times interview last week.

Publicly, Trump’s aides say Sessions is merely experiencing a regular facet of Trump’s personality — one that values loyalty and isn’t for the weak of heart.

“I’m telling my fellow teammates here in the West Wing and my fellow friends that happen to be Cabinet secretaries that this is his style and nature,” Scaramucci said on CNN. “You’ve got to have a very tough skin to work for and deal with the President.”

Asked about Sessions’ uncertain fate during a news conference on Tuesday, Trump offered only caprice.

“We will see what happens,” he said in the Rose Garden. “Time will tell. Time will tell.”

[CNN]