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Trump claims FBI launched probe as a cover-up of campaign spying

Donald Trump accused FBI leadership of orchestrating a cover-up of campaign spying on Tuesday — furthering his claim that one the America’s most venerable institutions was led by crooked cops, until he cleaned house.

Trump claimed in a tweet that the bureau’s allegations of Russian collusion against his associates was a poor attempt to justify the surveillance he’s long accused the federal government of using to illicitly monitor his campaign.

‘The rank and file of the FBI are great people who are disgusted with what they are learning about Lyin’ James Comey and the so-called “leaders” of the FBI,’ he began. ‘Twelve have been fired or forced to leave. They got caught spying on my campaign and then called it an investigation. Bad!’

Donald Trump accused FBI leadership of orchestrating a cover-up of campaign spying on Tuesday — furthering his claim that one the America’s most venerable institutions was led by crooked cops, until he cleaned house

Trump has claimed in recent days that Comey, the FBI director he fired for alleged incompetence, and his since dismissed underlings were corrupt

Trump has claimed in recent days that Comey, the FBI director he fired for alleged incompetence, and his since dismissed underlings were corrupt

He claimed in a new attack on Comey on Monday that he was a 'bad cop' and a 'dirty cop' and he did the country a favor when he fired him

He claimed in a new attack on Comey on Monday that he was a ‘bad cop’ and a ‘dirty cop’ and he did the country a favor when he fired him

Trump has claimed in recent days that Comey, the FBI director he fired for alleged incompetence, and his since dismissed underlings were corrupt. 

He is seeking to make the case the agents at the law enforcement agency chasing down Russian election meddling had a vendetta against him, and levied trumped up charges against his aides and associates to pursue their duplicitous agenda.

The president says that he never engaged in ‘Russian collusion’ and allegations that his campaign did are a ‘hoax’ that he now claims was designed to cover fired FBI agents’ tracks. 

His charges against ousted FBI leaders follow reports that they launched a counterintelligence investigation into him after he canned Comey and met the next day at the White House with the Russians. 

The revelation forced him into a position on Monday where he had to deny publicly that he was ever a foreign agent of Russia. 

Trump has been asked the question during a phone interview on Fox News on Saturday night and did not deny the claim directly.

But Monday, as a backlash mounted, he denied the charge that the New York Times says was at the center of an FBI probe into him as he prepared to board Marine One ahead of a trip to New Orleans to address a farming group.

‘I never worked for Russia, and you know that answer better than anybody,’ he told a reporter as he left a snowy White House for Louisiana. ‘Not only did never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question, because it’s a whole big fat hoax.’

Instead, he unleashed on the FBI.  Trump called FBI bosses, including ex-acting director Andrew McCabe and former FBI lovers and agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, ‘known scoundrels’ and said that was why they launched a probe into his relationship with Russia after ‘Crooked Hillary’ failed her bid for the presidency.

He claimed in a new attack on Comey that he, too, was a ‘bad cop’ and a ‘dirty cop’ and he did the country a favor when he fired him. 

‘What happened with the FBI, I have done a great service for the country when I fired James Comey. He was a bad cop and he was a dirty cop and he lied, he really lied,’ he said.  

President Donald Trump denied Monday that he was ever a foreign agent of Russia

President Donald Trump denied Monday that he was ever a foreign agent of Russia

Attack: Trump vented about the FBI as he left the White House to fly to New Orleans to address the Farm Bureau conference

Attack: Trump vented about the FBI as he left the White House to fly to New Orleans to address the Farm Bureau conference

Chilly mood: Trump set off on Marine One from a frozen White House lawn after Washington D.C. was blanketed in snow

Chilly mood: Trump set off on Marine One from a frozen White House lawn after Washington D.C. was blanketed in snow

Trump claimed in a new charge against James Comey that he too was a 'bad cop' and a 'dirty cop' and he did the country a favor when he fired him

Trump claimed in a new charge against James Comey that he too was a ‘bad cop’ and a ‘dirty cop’ and he did the country a favor when he fired him

WATERGATE’S BERNSTEIN: MUELLER WILL SAY TRUMP HELPED PUTIN DESTABILIZE U.S.

Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein has claimed Robert Mueller’s report will say Donald Trump ‘helped destabilize the United States’.

Bernstein told CNN on Sunday that Trump’s actions had led White House insiders to believe he has become a ‘half-witting pawn’ working on behalf of Vladimir Putin.

It comes as the Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump had taken extraordinary measures to conceal the contents of his meetings with Putin. 

‘This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,” Bernstein said.

Carl Bernstein (pictured), famous for his reporting on the Watergate scandal, made the claims in an interview with CNN Sunday

Carl Bernstein (pictured), famous for his reporting on the Watergate scandal, made the claims in an interview with CNN Sunday

Bernstein said he had found out from government sources what Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election will say

Bernstein said he had found out from government sources what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election will say

‘From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals.

‘He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,’ the journalist added.

Bernstein also explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.  

The president said of Comey’s recent testimony to Congress about the Hillary Clinton email investigation, ‘Either he’s a bad liar or he’s grossly incompetent.’

Trump accused all those involved in ordering the inquiry into whether he was a Putin agent after he fired Comey of being corrupt. 

‘The people doing that investigation were people that have been caught that are known scoundrels there,’ he said.

Among them he named the FBI lovers Strzok and Page. ‘I guess you could say they’re dirty cops,’ he claimed as he lit into favorite targets.

He called McCabe, who was fired before his retirement kicked in, a ‘proven liar’. 

The president said the former agents’ conduct was ‘so unfair’ to the bureau’s rank and file.  

And he suggested that more FBI heads could roll after McCabe, Strzok and Page quit or were fired by new FBI director Christopher Wray. 

Trump repeatedly dodged demands that he respond to a second report on his relationship with Russia in the Washington Post, proclaiming that he had nothing to hide even as he refused to release the transcripts of his conversations with Vladimir Putin.

Trump claimed on Fox on Saturday that ‘anybody could have listened’ to his infamous closed-door conversation with Putin over the summer in Helskini and the ‘meeting is up for grabs’ but said Monday that he didn’t think it would be appropriate to provide a more fulsome report.

‘I just don’t know anything about it. I read it this morning. It’s a lot of fake news. That was a very good meeting,’ he said. ‘It was actually a very successful meeting and I have those meetings with everything. I just know nothing about it.’

The president recalled, ‘It was a very, very successful meeting. We talked about Israel, we talked about the pipeline that Germany is paying Russia a lot of money — I don’t think it’s appropriate.’ 

The Washington Post claimed in a Sunday article that Trump took his interpreter’s notes after a 2017 conversation with Putin in Hamburg and has kept his senior staff from seeing transcripts or highlights of that and other conversations with the Russian leader. 

A senior official told the Post that no record exists of any of Trump’s five face-to-face conversations with Putin since he took office. 

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee threatened Sunday to subpoena the interpreter’s notes from the president’s June summit with Putin in Finland. 

‘Last year, we sought to obtain the interpreter’s notes or testimony, from the private meeting between Trump and Putin. The Republicans on our committee voted us down. Will they join us now? Shouldn’t we find out whether our president is really putting “America first?” asked Democrat Adam Schiff. 

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, invoked Schiff on Monday morning as she responded to the report. She noted that he could wield his subpoena power, now that Democrats are in power, to get and release the notes himself.  

Conway said that Trump shielded his conversation with Putin in 2017, because his administration was ‘suffering from a great number’ of leaks at that time. 

‘His calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia had leaked, he had an Oval Office meeting in May of 2017, contents of that leaked. And so there was great concern at the time,’ she said. 

Conway had just appeared on ‘Fox & Friends,’ where she responded to the charge and a revelation in the New York Times that the FBI launched a counterintelligence probe into the president after he fired the bureau’s director and met with the Russians the next day.

They suspected Trump of acting as a Russian agent, whether he meant to or not.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, says the president shielded a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2017, because his administration was 'suffering from a great number' of leaks at that time

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, says the president shielded a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2017, because his administration was ‘suffering from a great number’ of leaks at that time

Conway wrote off the probe as one that was conducted ‘rogue actors’ who were fired from their positions because they had a vendetta against Trump.

‘The president said this weekend that it’s the most insulting thing he’s ever been asked, that’s ever been said about him, which is saying a great deal, given everything that’s been said and done about him,’ she said. ‘It sort of confirms what the president has said all along about some of the rogue actors at the very tippy top of the FBI, who are no longer there because they were fired and worse.’

She invoked Strzok and Page, who were said to be having an affair at the start of the special counsel probe, and suggested they sent sexually explicit texts to one another.

‘Some of them were deemed to be leaking and lying, sexting each other – obviously – with their tremendous biases against this president,’ she contended. ‘So I think it confirms what he has said all along about some of those rogue actors – not the 35,000 or so rank-and-file men and women in the FBI who go to work and do a fabulous job every day.’  

Trump on Monday morning had mocked reports that the FBI opened a counterintelligence probe of his activities following his firing of Comey, needling critics who ‘thought he worked for the Kremlin’ in a tweet that made light of the allegations against him. 

The president noted a drop in gas prices, which is harmful to oil-exporting Russia – although market-driven global oil prices are thought to be far beyond control of any single official including the president.        

‘Gas prices drop across the United States because President Trump has deregulated Energy and we are now producing a great deal more oil than ever before,’ Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning.  

‘But this is bad news for Russia, why would President Trump do such a thing? Thought he worked for Kremlin?’ Trump asked. 

Trump’s tweet followed yet another revelation about Russia, after CNN reported on transcripts of congressional testimony of top FBI officials.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker spoke about the debate as officials contemplated opening an investigation of Trump – with possibilities including his innocence as well as him being directed by Moscow.

Baker said that officials wanted to know if Trump was ‘acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will.’

‘That was one extreme. The other extreme is that the President is completely innocent, and we discussed that too,’ Baker told the House Intelligence Committee.

‘There’s a range of things this could possibly be. We need to investigate, because we don’t know whether, you know, the worst-case scenario is possibly true or the President is totally innocent and we need to get this thing over with — and so he can move forward with his agenda,’ he added. 

Trump continued responding to a bombshell story in The New York Times tating that the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump (seen left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) was acting as a Kremlin agent

Trump continued responding to a bombshell story in The New York Times tating that the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump (seen left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) was acting as a Kremlin agent

Targeted: Lisa Page, the FBI attorney, and Peter Strozk, the FBI agent whose affair included exchanging anti-Trump texts, were targeted by Trump again Monday

Targeted: Lisa Page, the FBI attorney, and Peter Strozk, the FBI agent whose affair included exchanging anti-Trump texts, were targeted by Trump again Monday

Targeted: Lisa Page, the FBI attorney, and Peter Strozk, the FBI agent whose affair included exchanging anti-Trump texts, were targeted by Trump again Monday 

Trump blasted the FBI and Comey this weekend after the New York Times reported the FBI opened a counterintelligence in the days after the Comey firing.

‘Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!’ Trump tweeted. 

The transcripts also include former FBI lawyer Page commenting on the days after the Comey firing, including a text from fellow FBI official Strzok that said: ‘We need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting.’

It was a reference to then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was also fired after Trump took office.

‘It’s not that it could not have been done,’ Page testified. ‘This case had been a topic of discussion for some time. The ‘waiting on’ was an indecision and a cautiousness on the part of the bureau with respect to what to do and whether there was sufficient predication to open,’ she said. 

Trump called in to Justice with Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night to deny that he is a secret agent of Russia, following a New York Times report that the FBI had investigated the possibility

Trump called in to Justice with Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night to deny that he is a secret agent of Russia, following a New York Times report that the FBI had investigated the possibility

Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that whether Trump was a witting or unwitting agent of Russia is ‘the defining question’ of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. 

At the time that he was fired, Comey was leading an investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

The Times reported the counterintelligence probe was sparked in part by growing alarm about Trump’s behavior, including comments he made suggesting he fired Comey over the Russia investigation, which is now being led by Mueller. 

Warner on Sunday cited a report alleging that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, shared internal polling data with a Russian businessman believed to be connected to Russian intelligence.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page also testified about the FBI's conduct following the Comey firing

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page also testified about the FBI’s conduct following the Comey firing

‘Why would you turn over that information? And what’s curious is it would be that kind of information that would inform the Russians later in the campaign when they launched their social media efforts where they created these fake identities,’ Warner said.

The Democratic senator said it was ‘clear-cut proof’ that Russian efforts were aimed at dissuading African-Americans from voting.

Trump spoke just ahead of his attorney general nominee, William Barr, telling members of Congress that he will protect Robert Mueller’s Russia probe – saying the special counsel must be allowed ‘to complete his investigation.’

Barr’s testimony is being closely watched because he would assume oversight of the Mueller probe at a critical time – and because of his unsolicited memo that went after the probe and questioned its foray into potential obstruction of justice.

‘I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation,’ Barr said in prepared remarks released Monday.

'I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation,' Barr said in prepared remarks released Monday

Barr is providing assurances that special counsel Robert Mueller will be allowed to complete his work

‘I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation,’ Barr said in prepared remarks released Monday

‘I believe it is in the best interest of everyone – the President, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people – that this matter be resolved by allowing the Special Counsel to complete his work,’ he said.

Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, also provided some subtle reassurance in the tenor of his remarks, referring to Mueller as ‘Bob’ and conveying their professional relationship. 

Trump has spent months attacking Mueller as ‘highly conflicted’ and unable to carry out the probe.

Barr as a private citizen penned a June memo that went after the Mueller probe.  

‘As I understand it, his theory is premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law,” Barr wrote, the Wall Street Journal reported. “Moreover, in my view, if credited by the Justice Department, it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law within the Executive branch.”

He called Mueller’s posture ‘grossly irresponsible” and said it had “potentially disastrous implications.’ 

 He has come under criticism from Democrats for the memo, which he sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He also called the probe into whether Trump obstructed justice ‘fatally misconceived.’ Rosenstein said it didn’t have an impact on him.

The testimony comes days after the New York Times reported FBI agents opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump after he fired Comey.  

Barr’s nomination has broad support by most Senate Republicans.

However, he is expected to receive tough questions during two days of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that start on Tuesday morning, including questions about why he wrote the memo and whether he will agree to make Mueller’s findings public once the probe concludes.

Mueller is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and potential obstruction of justice.

Russia has denied U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that it meddled in the 2016 campaign, while Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow and called Mueller’s probe a ‘witch hunt.’

In his testimony, Barr said he has known Mueller professionally for 30 years and has confidence in his abilities.

‘If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation,’ Barr said in his written remarks.

‘I will follow the Special Counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work.’   

 

 

 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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