In a stunning move Attorney General Bill Barr says he disputes a key finding in the Dept. of Justice’s Inspector General’s report on the Russia probe. The IG found that the Bureau had every reason to open the investigation. AG Barr disagrees.
The long-awaited report – a draft of which has already reached the mainstream media – is to be released on December 9. Some were surprised it debunked President Donald Trump’s March, 2017 lie that President Barack Obama wiretapped him.
Now, according to the Washington Post, “Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016.”
Barr’s public defenses of President Trump, including his assertion that intelligence agents spied on the Trump campaign, have led Democrats to accuse him of acting like the president’s personal attorney and eroding the independence of the Justice Department. But Trump and his Republican allies have cheered Barr’s skepticism of the Russia investigation.
Barr technically cannot force the Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, to change his report. That does not mean he cannot try, or issue his own “findings” to protect President Trump.
Read the Post’s entire report here.
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Rick Santorum Flattened by CNN’s Berman After Calling Parnas Bombshell Revelations ‘Extraneous’ to Impeachment
Rick Santorum and CNN’s John Berman got into a frantic back-and-forth on Friday morning after the former Republican senator attempted to dismiss the revelations by former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas as something that should not be submitted as evidence in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
Discussing the Senate trial expected to start next week, Santorum said the only testimony and witnesses that should be allowed are ones that came up in the earlier House hearings.
“The House’s responsibility to bring to us a case,” Santorum stated. “They’re the one who is said these are offenses that are worthy of the president being removed from office; here is the record, here are the charges. The Senate didn’t impeach, the House did, so we are going to look at the record the House presented us. We’re going to look at the witnesses and say are there are questions that we have for the people that brought this case forward and relied on these witnesses and look at their testimony.”
“But to bring in extraneous testimony? I don’t think members feel it’s their obligation or duty to do so,” he added.
“The extraneous testimony, Lev Parnas says he personally told the Ukrainians that they would not get aid,” Berman lectured. “Listen, I understand he has credibility issues, but listen to my full question here. It’s new evidence which does get to the central issue here. It seems to me that you’re saying even if President Trump came up today and said, ‘you know what? I did this. I withheld the aid. I’m guilty of this. I admit to all of it,’ you would say ‘you know what? It’s inadmissible because it didn’t come up at the House impeachment investigation. You can’t include his investigation because it didn’t come up in the impeachment investigation.’”
“First of all, I’m not saying it’s inadmissible,” Santorum shot back. “I’m telling you how they’re receiving this. And if something ground-breaking would come forth, there might be a reason to bring that information in. All I’m suggesting is that most members believe that even if you accept everything the Democrats say is true, it doesn’t rise to the level of removing a president.”
‘Dangerously Uninformed’ Trump ‘Toyed With’ Awarding Himself the Medal of Freedom: Report
One of President Donald Trump’s most widely ridiculed assertions is that he is a “very stable genius,” and that line is used in an ironic way in the title of the forthcoming Philip Rucker/Carol D. Leonnig book, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America” — ironic because the book depicts Trump as being the opposite of stable during his time in the White House.
The Washington Post has obtained a copy of the 417-page book, which has a Tuesday, January 21 release date on Amazon — and according to the Post’s Ashley Parker, “A Very Stable Genius” is full of “vivid details from Trump’s tumultuous first three years as president, from his chaotic transition before the taking office to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and final report.”
Rucker and Leonnig reveal in their book that Trump toyed with the idea of awarding himself the Medal of Freedom. Yet when it came to foreign policy, Trump was “at times, dangerously uninformed,” according to the long-time Washington Post reporters.
For example, Rucker and Leonnig report, Trump didn’t appear to fully understand the importance of Pearl Harbor when the president and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly were getting ready to privately tour the USS Arizona Memorial. Trump, according to Rucker and Leonnig, “had heard the phrase ‘Pearl Harbor’ and appeared to understand that he was visiting the scene of an historic battle, but he did not seem to know much else.”
When Trump met with Indian President Narendra Modi, according to Rucker and Leonnig, he told him, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.” But in fact, China is one of the countries India shares a border with.
Trump’s fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin is discussed in the book, and at one point, Trump declared himself to be more of an expert on Russia than former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who had extensive dealings with Putin during his years at Exxon.
Rucker and Leonnig write, “Tillerson’s years of negotiating with Putin and studying his moves on the chessboard were suddenly irrelevant. ‘I have had a two-hour meeting with Putin,’ Trump told Tillerson. ‘That’s all I need to know … I’ve sized it all up. I’ve got it.’”
“A Very Stable Genius,” Parker notes, is “based on hundreds of hours of interviews with more than 200 sources, corroborated, when possible, by calendars, diary entries, internal memos and even private video recordings. Trump himself had initially committed to an interview for the book, the authors write, but ultimately declined, amid an escalating war with the media.”
Some of the anecdotes in the book, according to Parker, are more amusing than disturbing. In 2018, for example, Trump met with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to discuss the possibility of Christie becoming the next White House chief of staff; Christie declined — and when Axios reported that the meeting had taken place, Christie wanted to know how the meeting had been leaked to the media. Only three people were present during the meeting: President Trump, Christie and First Lady Melania Trump.
“Oh, I did it,” President Trump revealed.
Sore-Loser Governor’s Last Act: Pardons for Hundreds – Including Killer Whose Family Raised $21,500 for Re-Election
Outgoing Tea Party Republican Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky has now pardoned hundreds of convicts since he lost a close re-election race one month ago. Among those benefitting from his exit are five convicted killers and other violent felons. One of the men receiving a pardon just happens to have family members who hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for the governor’s re-election campaign this past summer.
Gov. Bevin issued 428 pardons in the month before leaving office this week under objection. Bevin wanted to challenge the election results but Kentucky does not have a law mandating it and he was unsuccessful.
41-year old Patrick Brian Baker received an unconditional pardon from his 19-year prison sentence this week after being convicted in 2017 “of reckless homicide, first-degree robbery, impersonating a peace officer and tampering with physical evidence,” The Times-Tribune reports. The victim’s wife and three children were in the home when the acts occurred.
Saying, “I’ve never seen a more compelling or complete case … the evidence was just overwhelming,” Judge David L. Williams had lamented at sentencing the convicted felon could be imprisoned for only 19 years.
“I believe it would be a miscarriage of justice to do any less,” Williams added. “It’s 19 years because that’s all I can give you…if I could give you more, I would.”
But as Newsweek reports, “Baker’s brother and sister in law, Eric and Kathryn Baker, hosted a fundraiser for Bevin at their home in Corbin, Kentucky, in July last year,” according to The Courier Journal. They raised a whopping $21,500. The pair added $4000 to the pot as well.
Baker’s co-defendants are not receiving pardons, despite the fact it was Baker who pulled the trigger.
Others receiving pardons “include one offender convicted of raping a child, another who hired a hit man to kill his business partner and a third who killed his parents.”
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