Connect with us

ANALYSIS

There’s a Huge Hole in Barr’s Summary of the Mueller Report — According to Top Counterintelligence Experts

Published

on

Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the special counsel report overlooks one of key aspects of the investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation shortly after Trump fired the bureau’s director James Comey, although it’s not clear what happened to that probe after Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, reported The Atlantic.

“We were concerned, and we felt like we had credible, articulable facts to indicate that a threat to national security may exist,” said former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

That counterintelligence investigation was aimed at determining whether the president was acting as a Russian agent — which presents an immense challenge.

“Normally, the bureau would investigate,” said Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the Defense Department and the CIA during the Obama administration, “and if criminal matters were involved, they’d ask prosecutors to get involved. But if it is just a matter of there being a national-security threat, the FBI would report to the director of national intelligence, who would then report to the president. But what if the president is the threat? We don’t have a playbook for this.”

Trump sought real estate ventures in Moscow during the 2016 campaign, which he and his lawyer Michael Cohen lied about, but that still doesn’t fully explain his odd devotion to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“We still do not understand why President Trump has this affinity for Putin,” said former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell. “What happened yesterday is Mueller took one possibility off the table — that there was a criminal conspiracy. But we still don’t know what is going on between these two leaders, and what is driving this relationship.”

Barr’s summary showed Mueller apparently determined there was not enough evidence to prove a criminal conspiracy case, but that’s a different standard of proof than what a counterintelligence investigation would determine.

“(Mueller) always noted that the term evidence meant something different to intelligence analysts who had to work with a variety of sources of varying reliability, whereas an FBI officer needed something so unassailable as to work in a court prosecution,” said JOhn McLaughlin, the former acting CIA director under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

That distinction is crucial to understanding what evidence Mueller was looking for, and it’s something that Barr ignored in his summary.

“If all we do is provide criminal standards to investigative findings, we are missing the point,” said Frank Figliuzzi, the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI.

Most counterintelligence cases don’t result in criminal prosecution, but are intended to determine whether a foreign power targeted, compromised or recruited the subject of the investigation.

“This thing started as a counterintelligence investigation,” Figliuzzi said, “and it needs to end as a counterintelligence investigation.”

RELATED STORIES:

MCCONNELL BLOCKS SENATE RESOLUTION TO RELEASE MUELLER REPORT AFTER UNANIMOUS HOUSE VOTE

WATCH: HOUSE JUDICIARY CHAIR NADLER SMACKS DOWN AG BARR – SAYS ‘WE WILL ASK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO TESTIFY’

EVEN AFTER MUELLER ‘ABOUT A DOZEN OTHER INVESTIGATIONS’ STILL ‘FOCUS ON TRUMP OR HIS FAMILY BUSINESS’: REPORT

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

ANALYSIS

Kavanaugh Probe Must Be Reopened After FBI Allegedly Ignored Thousands of Tips About Him: Ex-Federal Prosecutor

Published

on

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner is demanding an investigation into the FBI after it was revealed that there were 4500 complaints filed against then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh that went ignored and were merely handed over to the White House.

The Guardian reported that the FBI claimed they didn’t have the authority to investigate Kavanaugh during his nomination process. It comes while the FBI is facing demands of a probe into how it mishandled allegations that Dr. Larry Nasser was molesting and raping Olympic gymnasts.

In 2018, when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward with her allegations of sexual assault when they were in high school. A Yale classmate also accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her when they were in college. The FBI has been accused of not thoroughly investigating those allegations, as well as flat-out ignoring thousands of others while doing a background check into Kavanaugh.

The FBI closed their background check after just four days, handing over all 4500 allegations against him to President Donald Trump’s White House officials.

“The very person — the very office that was trying to cram Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court down America’s throat,” said Kirschner.

It was only this week that the FBI revealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee how many tips they got about Kavanaugh that went ignored.

“At the heart of the new questions that [Christopher] Wray will face later this week, when he testifies before the Senate judiciary committee, is a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding that the FBI has recently said constrained the agency’s ability to conduct any further investigations of allegations of misconduct,” said the report.

Kirschner explained that presumably the new administration has those 4500 accusations and could conduct an investigation into them. He went on to call for the 4500 citizen tips to be subpoenaed by Congress so that they can see the accusations that were ignored.

“Let’s start doing some damn justice,” he said, noting that women in Texas deserve it as do the rest of America.

“In its years-late response to our questions, the FBI leaned hard on the notion that this MOU limited its authority to be the FBI and investigate wrongdoing. Now that we have the MOU, it’s even harder to understand the Bureau’s excuses for ignoring credible information it received. Director Wray ought to be ready to answer my questions about this episode — I won’t stop asking until he does,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

See the analysis below:

 

Continue Reading

ANALYSIS

MSNBC’s Morning Joe Breaks Down Why GOP’s California Recall Failure Spells Great News for Dems in 2022

Published

on

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said the results of California’s failed recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom should be seen as good news for Democrats heading into next year’s congressional midterm elections.

The county-by-county results largely mirrored Democratic wins in last year’s presidential election, and the “Morning Joe” host said they should take comfort in those numbers ahead of the 2022 voting.

“Here we have an off-year election in September, when kids are going back to school,” Scarborough said. “This is a race that is set up for a surprise like we saw in 2009, when the race for [Sen.] Ted Kennedy’s replacement shocked the world and went Republican. If i’m a Democrat and looking at this map, and it’s basically an overlay of the 2020 election, a presidential year election where Democrats usually do better, where the turnout expands where you’re running against Donald Trump, I’m liking, if I’m a Democrat, I’m liking very much what I’m seeing this morning.”

“I would wait to see how the numbers were in Orange County, and look at the swing districts the Democrats could pick up in 2022 and overlay those numbers,” he added. “For me, I’m sure Republicans may look at this differently. For me, this is a really big win for Democrats in terms of a report card nine months in. A lot of bad things happening on the national level, you look at right now with Afghanistan, you look at Joe Biden’s numbers down, again, the fact that when people went to polls and this sort of race, and the fact that Democrats held their own, I would mark that down as a really big win were I a Democrat trying to plan ahead for 2022.”

Some of the dynamics that broke Democratic in the recall effort will likely play a major role in the midterms, as well.

“I also want to look at some of the things that drove the election Newsom’s way, and let’s see on that point, let’s talk about the exit poll and COVID,” Scarborough said. “My theory of the case has been run over the 33 percent politically, run over the 30 percent politically, like Republicans did in Texas on the abortion law, running over the 70 percent, actually. If you’re Gavin Newsom, and you want to win then go where most people go on COVID, on whether it’s the vaccination or masks, do what is right and don’t listen to the 30 percent that are getting their news from Facebook.”

 

Continue Reading

ANALYSIS

‘Huff and Puff’: Legal Experts Pan Trump’s ‘Desperation’ Executive Privilege Attempt to Block Jan. 6 Committee

Published

on

Legal experts are weighing in after Donald Trump released an angry statement Wednesday night following reports the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has ordered a massive trove of documents related to the insurrection, including many items about the former president, including his mental health.

“Unfortunately, this partisan exercise is being performed at the expense of long-standing legal principles of privilege,” Trump claimed in his attack. “Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me, but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation.”

That does not appear to be accurate.

“There’s a legitimate scope of executive privilege, which ensures a president gets candid, thorough advice,” says former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC legal analyst and professor of law. “But it doesn’t extend to covering up efforts to keep the new president from taking office. Trump’s desperation to keep info secret says it all.”

Attorney Teri Kanefield, whose legal analysis appears in numerous mainstream news publications, says: “I’d like to hear how revealing communication about an insurrection and a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally would ‘impair government functions.'”

“This doesn’t stop him from filing a lawsuit. It won’t go anywhere, but he can huff and puff,” she adds.

Kanefield also notes “the DOJ already said Trump-era officials can testify.”

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig predicts Trump will try to obstruct the Committee’s work by taking it to court:

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.