A 19 year old Chicago woman who live-streamed the racially charged kidnapping, torture and mutilation of a mentaly disabled teen was given 200 hours of community service and four years of probation on Friday.
Brittany Herring Covington – who went by “Herring” on Social Media before her arreest, and “Covington” in recent reports, avoided a possible 33 years in prison on multiple counts, including a hate crime, aggravated battery and aggravated kidnapping – a charge which was dropped along with several others as part of a plea agreement.
Cook County Circuit Judge William Hooks handed down the slap on the wrist to Covington, who pleaded guilty to a hate crime, aggravated battery and intimidation charges – telling the teen that he could have sent her to prison, but told her “I’m not sure if I did that you’d be coming out any better.”
Hooks warned Covington that should she violate the terms of her probation – which includes a ban from social media for four years, she would face prison time. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop additional charges including kidnapping.
“Do not mess this up,” Judge Hooks said to Covington, who stood in front of him in a blue jumpsuit. Hooks is notably the first African-American president of Chicago’s Federal Bar Association, a past president of the Cook County Bar Association, and a member of the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago.
The brutal attack took place in early January, after four black Chicago teens kidnapped the mentally disabled white teen and held him captive for nearly two days – binding his hands and feet with duct tape and gagging him with a sock, before using a knife to cut and stab the victim while laughing, shouting racial slurs and issuing death threats. In one segment of the livestreamed attack, one of the females can be seen laughing as she punches the victim. At another point, one of the male attackers wraps a cord around the victim’s neck while he groaned in pain, and in another a male approaches the victim with a knife and asks the others “Should I shank his ass?” Other notable quotes include:
“Fuck Donald Trump, Fuck white people”
“There’s gonna be a murder. Pop pop pop”
“We gonna put this bitch in the trunk, put a brick on the gas, like aaaaaaaaah”
“Pistol whip his ass, fool“
After nearly 48 hours, the kidnapped teen escaped after the kidnappers left the apartment to confront a neighbor who had called 911 to complain about the noise coming out of their apartment where the torture was taking place.
The video, which can be seen here, or hereimmediately went viral. After the teens were arrested, Chicago PD initially said it was not racially motivated, despite it clearly being a hate crime. Jordan Hill, 18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; and Brittany Herring’s sister Tanishia, 24, were each charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crimes, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
After her arrest, Brittany Herring Covington bragged on Facebook from a smart phone she was able to sneak into jail, posting “yall mad?” and “Sittin in dis cell on my celly talking to yall trippin. Erbody got phones in her these day,” and typing “Tfse” which stands for “The Funniest Shit Ever.”
And for her participation in the brutal crime, Herring-Covington only received 200 hours of community service and four years of probation. Meanwhile, a Broward County, Florida man who vandalized a Mosque and left bacon inside was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week.
The three other kidnappers charged along with Herring-Covington are still awaiting trial. Perhaps Judge Hooks will give them the key to the city.
As we previously reported, James Comey has been quite the chatterbox on Twitter since revealing his new @Comey handle – firing off tweets about nature scenes, bible quotes, social gatherings, and recently quoting himself – proclaiming how ‘honest’ and ‘strong’ the FBI is despite what seem to be daily revelations of the agency’s political bias. He’s quite the intellectual!
“I want the American people to know this truth: The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong. And the FBI is, and always will be, independent.” Me (June 8, 2017) pic.twitter.com/OZ1ZiBrMNL
And here’s a picture of a river which Comey tweets along with a quote about – get this – lying:
“If you want truth to go round the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go round the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it.” Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1855). pic.twitter.com/YZf4q88wyi
And last week, Comey threw around bible verse Amos 5:24, “But justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Kind of ironic for a guy who couldn’t wait for “justice” to roll down before drafting Hillary Clinton’s exoneration letter.
Which brings us to Comey’s latest attempt at depth after President Trump tweeted a video of himself outside of Air Force One with the caption “On my way to Pensacola, Florida. See everyone Soon! #MAGA”
Less than an hour later, Comey tried to roast Trump with a pithy quote about grandstanding for attention – which, ironically, Comey tweeted for attention while promoting his book tour.
“Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.” – Edmund Burke (1730-1797)
You may have read about the giant CNN retraction over a #FakeNews story about Donald Trump Jr. in which the network claimed two sources both happened to misread the date on an email and accidentally concluded that Wikileaks was passing information to the Trump campaign before it was made public – when in fact the emails had been published days before.
In the wake of all that, George Takei tried to launch his own follow-up ‘gotcha’ at Trump Jr., tweeting ‘Uh-oh, Donnie’ – with a link to a new article from a left-leaning news outlet with a mixed reputation for factual reporting, which claims that a Russian social media executive emailed Jr. and campaign aide Dan Scavino, invited them to create an account. OH MY GOD, EVEN IF TRUE. (…………crickets………..)
In response, Trump Jr. launched a quantum torpedo and blasted Mr. Sulu into deep space…
Wrong again Georgie… I guess you have a bit more free time to read #fakenews now that it’s a bit tougher to ply kids with alcohol to assault them??? You know with all the added scrutiny. https://t.co/xUbvbfhMxN
Trump Jr. was, of course, referring to the accusation lodged against Takei by a former model who says that in 1981 he was invited to the ‘Star Trek’ icon’s house when he was 23, plied with possibly spiked alcohol, and woke up to Mr. Sulu fondling his balls.
Takei denied the assault, saying the encounter “simply did not occur,” however the actor’s frequent appearances on the Howard Stern show where he admitted to ‘grabbing men to persuade them‘ for sex and jerked off a guest didn’t help his case.
In a trend which should surprise exactly nobody, another member of the Mueller team has been found to have deep ties to Trump’s opponents.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has obtained documents which reveal Aaron Zebley – considered to be Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “right hand man,” defended Hillary Clinton IT staffer Justin Cooper – a Bill Clinton aide that installed the “private, illegal” server in the Clintons’ Chappaqua home described by Politico as “jerry-rigged.”
Zebley, a former WilmerHale partner who defended Cooper in 2015 in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, was specifically called out by in a letter to Cooper for stonewalling the investigation, and his “complete refusal to engage the committee in a discussion about how to further assuage your concerns.”
Carlson points out that Zebley’s history as an attorney linked to Hillary Clinton is a compromised position.
Take that in for a minute. A lawyer who played a defense role in the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton is now playing an offensive role in the federal investigation into President Trump. –Tucker Carlson
Imagine my shock – the Zebley story is directly linked to FBI agent Peter Strzok – the man fired from Mueller’s probe who headed up both the Clinton email investigation and the original Trump-Russia investigation and was caught sending anti-Trump / pro-Hillary text messages to his mistress. This makes two original Mueller investigators linked to the Clinton email investigation.
And according to journalist Sara Carter, more anti-trump messages have reportedly been sent by members of Mueller’s team, stating on Sean Hannity’s program this week “A lot more is going to come out.”
As more and more people are coming to realize, the special counsel is a hot partisan mess – stacked with investigators who have donated to Obama, Clinton and other Democrat causes. As Jessica McBride reported inHeavy:
Andrew Weissmann: Weissmann is a Barack Obama and Democratic campaign donor, according to federal records. “Weissmann, who led the Enron investigation, previously gave $2,300 to Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008 and $2,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2006
Jeannie Rhee: donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton in 2015 and 2016, according to FEC records. The records show she gave $2,500 each to Obama for America and Obama Victory Fund 2012 in 2011
Andrew Goldstein: According to Fox News, “Goldstein contributed a combined $3,300 to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012”
Greg Andres: FEC records show that Andres has donated at least $2,700 to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
James Quarles: Donated thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He has also donated money recently to other Democrats, including Friends of Chuck Schumer and two other Democrats. He has a lengthy donation history dating back years. He did donate to two Republicans over the years, however.
Elizabeth Prelogar: A former law clerk to Justics Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagen, gave $250 to Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to FEC records. She also gave $500 total to Obama for America and the Obama Victory Fund 2012.
Brandon Van Grack: gave small amounts to ActBlue, an effort to raise money for Democrats, and to a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2012. In 2008, he gave about $286 to Barack Obama.
Rush Atkinson: donated $200 to Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
Kyle Freeny: In 2012, Freeny gave $300 to Obama. In 2008, Freeny also gave $250 to Obama, FEC records show.
One wonders if the special counsel is now so tainted that it whatever they conclude will forever be mired in doubt.
With just four days to go before the Alabama special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant Senate seat, a woman who accused Roy Moore of sexaul assault just admitted she altered the infamous yearbook inscription…
In an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, Nelson is coached through her answer as she admits she made some ‘notes’ underneath what she claims is Moore’s entry in her 1977 yearbook – confirming what many believe is Moore’s last name, title, date, and location which appear to have been added later – constituting a forgery.
“Nelson admits she did make notes to the inscription,” ABC News tells us. “But the message was all Roy Moore.”
“Beverly, he signed your yearbook,” ABC News reporter Tom Llamas says.
Last month, Nelson’s attorney Gloria Allred refused to confirm the authenticity of the yearbook, and wouldn’t hand it over to handwriting experts unless a US Senate Committee agreed to conduct a hearing first.
Meanwhile, author and former music journalist Thomas Wictor pointed out what appeares to be different ink used on portions of Nelson’s yearbook:
Well, unretouched CNN photo DEFINITELY shows that "Moore D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House" was written in different-colored ink than the rest of the inscription.
Meanwhile Nelson’s stepson, Darrel Nelson, claims that his stepmother’s accusations are “one hundred percent a lie,” stating “I know for a fact that there is a lot that that woman does not tell the truth on,” Nelson claimed in an in-person interview with Breitbart News. “Do I think that Beverly is trustworthy? No, I really don’t. Could I see her making it up? …The odds are in that favor.”
Everything from Nelson’s age when she began working at the Olde Hickory House – where she claims the assault took place, to the restaurant’s hours, to the physical layout of the location Nelson says Moore assaulted her have been called into question – aided by the testimony of former Old Hickory House employee Rhonda Ledbetter, a waitress at Olde Hickory House for almost three years from 1977-1979, along with another former employee.
In addition, two former waitresses and two former customers say they never say Moore come into the restaurant, despite Nelson’s claim that he was there “almost every night.”
According to Ledbetter, Olde Hickory House required employees to be 16 years old. Nelson claims she was 15 when she started.
According to two former employees, the dumpsters were on the side of the building. Nelson claimed that they were in the back.
Olde Hickory House sat right off of the four-lane highway and had a wrap-around porch with lights all around it. Nelson claimed that the surroundings were “dark and isolated.”
Rhonda Ledbetter, who worked at Olde Hickory House for almost 3 years, states that the earliest it closed was at 11 p.m. but she believes it was open until midnight. She is certain it did not close at 10:00 because Goodyear was next door, and employees came to eat when their shift ended at 10 p.m. Nelson claims her story occurred after the restaurant closed at 10 p.m.
It is unlikely that there was an entrance from the back of the parking lot, which Nelson claimed existed. Multiple sources have claimed that everyone parked on the sides of the building because there wasn’t much room behind the restaurant, according to Rhonda not enough room to turn around. Renee Schivera stated that a neighborhood backed up to the parking lot and it was adjacent to the backyards of people’s houses, so she did not see how there would have been a back entrance as it would have gone through someone’s yard.
Nelson claimed that Judge Roy Moore came in almost every night and sat at the counter, but former employees state that customers at the counter were served by the bartender or short order cook – not served by the waitresses and had no reason to interact with the wait staff. Additionally, two former waitresses and two former patrons state they never saw Judge Moore come into the restaurant.
Other Moore accusers have been called out
As Radio host Mark Levin pointed out on his show last week that there are several aspects of the case which don’t really make sense. To recap; a Washington Post reporter overheard a rumor at a Roy Moore event in Alabama about Moore sexually abusing four girls 38 years ago, then found the women, interviewed them, and the rest is history.
Levin raised the following questions:
How did the WaPo reporter know there were four women, who they were, and how to contact them?
How is it that the reporter happened to overhear a rumor about four women who don’t know each other and have never met, yet the anonymous source the WaPo reporter ran into happened to know each girl’s story and how to contact them?
Why hasn’t any of this been reported in Moore’s 38 years in politics? And why now – a month before an important election to fill Jeff Sessions’ senate seat?
Adding to the list of questionable circumstances is the revelation that one of Moore’s accusers, Debbie Gibson, worked as a sign language interpreter for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, and is actively campaigning for Moore’s Democrat opponent, Doug Jones.
As New York Times bestselling author, Attorney and Law professor James Hirsen points out:
The Washington Post failed to disclose that one of Moore's accusers was a sign language interpreter for Joe Biden and is a volunteer for Moore's Democrat opponent.
She says that her teenage life became increasingly reckless with drinking, drugs, boyfriends, and a suicide attempt when she was 16.
As the years went on, Corfman says, she did not share her story about Moore partly because of the trouble in her life. She has had three divorces and financial problems. While living in Arizona, she and her second husband started a screen-printing business that fell into debt. They filed for bankruptcy protection three times, once in 1991 with $139,689 in unpaid claims brought by the Internal Revenue Service and other creditors, according to court records.
In 2005, Corfman paid a fine for driving a boat without lights. In 2010, she was working at a convenience store when she was charged with a misdemeanor for selling beer to a minor. The charge was dismissed, court records show.
The WaPo reporter who penned the article wrote fake check, according to an 2011 Red State report
Ms. McCrummen has a rather interesting criminal history herself, as public criminal records in multiple states stretching across 4 time zones have shown.
Ms. McCrummen’s criminal history began with North Carolina Case # 1992 CR 00654, a violation of the Article 19 – False Pretenses and Cheats section of the North Carolina Criminal Code. Ms. McCrummen was convicted of a crime punishable by up to six months of imprisonment for writing a hot check that was deemed worthless.
With the election just four days away, Beverly Nelson’s admission seems like legal ass covering. Can you imagine of Moore lost and then it emerged that she altered the yearbook?
A seven-year-old Israeli firm founded by three veterans of Israel’s military intelligence unit is raking in millions selling CIA-tier hacking software to governments around the world. With over 200 employees, a sales arm in Bethesda, Maryland, and a long list of clients identified by watchdogs which have dubious civil rights records, the NSO Group – owned by U.S.-based Francisco Partners, charges $500,000 plus $65K per phone to completely hack and infiltrate a device with their flagship “Pegasus” software suite.
Housed in an office complex in the northern Tel Aviv district of Herzelia, the NSO Group has created the world’s most invasive mobile spy kit responsible for some of the most aggressive attacks in the world of espionage. From Mexico’s misuse of NSO’s software, to the UAE targeting dissidents, to the ex-President of Panama using Pegasus to spy on his enemies, researchers at Canada’s Citizen Lab have uncovered dozens of instances of inappropriate hacking.
The Pegasus software suite uses similar techniques to the CIA for hacking an iPhone, according to Forbes:
Of the similarities between NSO Group and the CIA techniques, the researcher said: “They both use the same vulnerability, but implementation differs a bit.” NSO Group had not responded to a request for comment. It’s entirely possible the CIA used the same technique without going through NSO. -Forbes
The software works by luring people to websites in SMS text messages, where the Pegasus malware package is surreptitiously installed on the device to take advantage of a “zero-day” exploit. As Fast Company explains “anything you can do on the phone, Pegasus can do on your phone,” says John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, which released its initial findings on the spyware in August 2016. “Turning on the camera and watching somebody in the room, turning on the microphone and listening to somebody: It can even do some things that you can’t, like put files on the phone and take files off, to manipulate data on the phone.”
The software can even foil encryption – intercepting messages and calls either before or after they are encrypted. Moreover, Pegasus can delete itself, foiling forensic researchers who have called it “the most sophisticated commercial spyware yet to be made public.”
And if it can do all that, perhaps, just perhaps, it can also camouflage itself as a Russian hacker and penetrate John Podesta’s email system.
Apple and Google have issued security patches to eliminate the “zero-day” exploit used by the NSO (and the CIA) to gain access, however many Android devices have not yet received recent security updates. On top of that, according to Fast Company, “Since Pegasus was first deployed, at least three years ago, security researchers says it’s likely that NSO and other cyberarms makers have developed even more sophisticated techniques.”
While NSO’s client list is private, Canadian watchdog group Citizen Lab also discovered that NSO has registered several web domains in countries with dubious civil rights records, ostensibly used for hacking purposes – including Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Turkey, Qatar, Yemen, Hungary.
In June, Citizen Lab released a report with the New York Times which detailed an extensive effort by the Mexican government to use Pegasus spyware on journalists, human-rights activists, lawyers and others looking into corruption, murders, and even the disappearance of dozens of college students – paying NSO Group $80 million for the software. The Pegasus malware had even been used against scientists and public health advocates trying to battle childhood obesity, such as Mexico’s “Soda Tax.”
While NSO said that it only sells to “authorized” government customers, a huge potential for misuse of the system reportedly ended up killing a $400 million deal by Blackstone Group to acquire part of NSO group from Francisco Partners, after Citizen Lab and other human rights groups told Blackstone that NSO could not prevent customers from misusing the spying tool – pointing to over 20 documented cases of reckless misuse.
“We would expect such a track record to trigger exceptional due diligence by an American company, and we asked Blackstone if they had done so,” says Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab. “We also asked what oversight Blackstone proposed to implement to prevent future misuse, if the purchase had gone through.”
Former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli was also caught using NSO’s Pegasus to hack citizens’ smartphones, which the government of Panama has opened an investigation into. Martinelli was reportedly running a personal NSO deployment out of a secret office, in order to spy on opponents, including Americans.
“What my colleagues and I say informally is, there is the principle of misuse, where it’s only a matter of time if you sell this kind of software to a government that doesn’t have very rigorous rules in place before it gets misused,” adds senior researcher at Citizen Lab, Scott-Railton. “It’s clear that the industry that sells the commercial spyware to governments is not wired to take that very basic fact into account and mitigate it.”
NSO claims every client is fully vetted, however, pointing to Israel’s export laws which require the Israeli government body SIBAT to promote and review all weapons exports. NSO also says they have an “ethics committee” that reviews every deal before it’s executed, according to a NSO executive who spoke with The Marker.
Citizen Lab’s Scott-Railton disagrees – insisting that companies like NSO need to institute a more stringent vetting process, and pointing to egregious abuse uncovered by Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Panama.
NSO has a U.S. sales arm in Bethesda, Maryland called WestBridge Technologies, which bills itself as a seller of “top-of-the-line technologies to various government agencies in North America, particularly in the U.S.,” according to its LinkedIn profile. Sometime before January, 2015, WestBridge met with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials to discuss implementing its software, reported Motherboard, which received leaked emails regarding the meeting. While we don’t know the outcome of the meeting, and NSO’s offices have been mum on the deal, the strong possibility exists that the DEA has been using NSO software for several years.
In an interesting “small-world” coincidence, financial disclosure forms reveal that former Trump advisor and short-lived National Security Advisor Lieutenant General Michael Flynn is connected to the NSO group, earning $40,280 from May 2016 through January 2016 on an advisory board of an NSO Group offshoot, OSY Technologies based in Luxembourg. Flynn also worked for NSO Group parent company Francisco Partners, earning “less than $100,000” according to the New York Times.
When asked by Reuters about reports of NSO software being abused, NSO co-founder Omar Lavie – who is launching a new startup named, Orchestra, with a mission to ironically-enough protect phones from cyberattacks, said “I think people believe that NSO is a company that does good. [Security experts] understand the value that this company has generated for the world. I am extremely proud of NSO.”
GOP lawmakers have come forward with new allegations of political bias or interference at the FBI – this time involving the 2012 Benghazi attack. John Solomon of The Hill reports tht Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL) recently interviewed a retired FBI supervisor who told him he was instructed by Deputy Director Andrew McCabe not to call the 2012 Benghazi attack an act of terrorism when distributing the FBI’s findings to the larger intelligence community – despite knowing exactly who conducted the attack.
The agent found the instruction concerning because his unit had gathered incontrovertible evidence showing a major al Qaeda figure had directed the attack and the information had already been briefed to President Obama, the lawmaker said. –The Hill
After the September 11, 2012 attack against U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration peddled a lie, telling the public that the attack was related to Muslims who had become enraged at an anti-Islam YouTube video, and not a planned act of terrorism – despite Hillary Clinton emailing Chelsea Clinton from her unsecure @clintonemail.com server the night of the attack to say exactly that.
Chelsea – using the pseudonym “Diane Reyonds” probably didn’t have the clearance to receive classified intelligence from her mother, the Secretary of State.
“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group: The Ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty w a wife and two young children. Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow.” –Hillary Clinton to Chelsea Clinton
Wikileaks Clinton Email Archive #12136
And we now know FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied for the Obma administration in a clear, partisan violation of the FBI’s mandate to “detect and prosecute crimes against the United States,” not “lie for the President so as not to offend Islam.”
As Rep. DeSantis told The Hill:
“What operational reason would there be to issue an edict to agents telling them, in the face of virtually conclusive evidence to the contrary, not to categorize the Benghazi attack as a result of terrorism? By placing the interests of the Obama administration over the public’s interests, the order is yet another data point highlighting the politicization of the FBI.”
DeSantis and other GOP lawmakers say they plan to question FBI Director Christopher Wray at a Thursday hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee about claims of growing concern among certain FBI supervisors over political bias clouding decisions at the highest levels of the agency.
The case against the FBI for overt political bias couldn’t be more clear. Over the last week we’ve learned of veteran FBI investigator Peter Strzok’s dismissal for texting his mistress anti-Trump messages, which the DOJ is handing over to the House Intelligence Committee. We also learned yesterday that a second prosecutor on Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, Andrew Weissmann, praised then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to defend President Trump’s travel ban.
A top prosecutor who is now a deputy for Special Counsel Robert Muellers Russia probe praised then-acting attorney general Sally Yates after she was fired in January by President Trump for refusing to defend his controversial travel ban.
The email, obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal lawsuit, shows that on the night of Jan. 30, Andrew Weissmann wrote to Yates under the subject line, I am so proud.
He continued, And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton called the new Weissmann document an astonishing and disturbing find.
“The data points we have regarding politicization are damning enough but appear all the more problematic when viewed against the backdrop of investigations whose ferocity seemed to depend on the target: the Clinton case was investigated with an eye towards how to exonerate her and her associates, while the Russia investigation is being conducted using scorched earth tactics that seek to find anything to use against Trump associates,” DeSantis told The Hill.
DeSantis also said his FBI source pointed to an incident after Trump’s National Security Advisor Mike Flynn resigned over lying to Vice President Mike Pence over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador. An FBI executive is said to have made an inappropriate comment during a video teleconference indicating that the agency had a personal motive in investigating Flynn and ruining his career.
“The wildly divergent ways these investigations have been conducted appear to dovetail with the political bias that has been uncovered,” DeSantis said.
In response to the overt political bias at the FBI, the Inspector General’s office (OIG) has launched an investigation into Strzok and other officials connected to both the Clinton email investigation as well as the Trump-Russia investigation. Agent Peter Strzok who was removed for anti-Trump text messages ran both investigations, the latter Trump-Russia having been taking over by Robert Mueller’s probe which he was recently kicked off of.
Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, meanwhile, is directly under investigation by the OIG for potentially violating the Hatch Act or engaged in ethical conflicts pertaining to his wife’s run for the Virginia senate in 2015 as a Democrat. She received $700,000 in campaign contributions tied to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) – an ally of Hillary Clinton who was under FBI investigation at the time. The Hill reports that records show McCabe attended a March 2015 meeting with McAuliffe designed to secure the governor’s support of Jill McCabe’s candidacy.
Potential Hatch Act violation
As The Hill concludes:
McCabe has said he sought FBI legal advice on how to deal with his wife’s campaign. He nonetheless presided over the Clinton email case until just a few days before it was closed, when he unexpectedly recused himself.
Multiple Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they believe the email case was tainted by political favoritism and special treatment for the 2016 Democratic nominee and planned to press Wray about their concerns.
“We are here today calling for an investigation into FBI systems and procedures that have allowed special treatment and bias to run rampant,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said. “The law demands equal treatment for all, not ‘special’ treatment for some. There is a clear and consistent pattern of treating the Clinton investigation differently than other investigations.“
Senator Al Franlen (D-MN) announced his resignation in a Senate floor speech today, following intense pressure to step down following allegations of sexual misconduct by at least eight women.
The Minnesota senator initially brushed off the mounting allegations, however fellow Democrats withdrew their support for Franken after a woman accused Franken of trying to forcibly kiss her in 2006. Hours later, Franken was accused of squeezing a “handful of flesh” on her waist while posing for a 2009 photo.
During his address, Franken maintained his innocence, stating “some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently,” and adding “I am proud that during my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women.”
Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.
Al Franken is resigning from the Senate in the coming weeks after numerous accusations of sexual misconduct pic.twitter.com/eeOI22XvGn
Franken was sure to get a dig in at President Trump and Roy Moore:
I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the oval office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party. But this decision is not about me.
Al Franken: "There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office." pic.twitter.com/CKC4qpEPgc
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) blasted the FBI and Senate Democrats on Wednesday for their unwillingness to fairly investigate Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, stating that the Democrats on the committee he oversees “only want to talk about [President] Trump.”
In a fiery speech to the Senate, Grassley lambasted Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats for “a double standard here in the way that they desperately want to go after the president but ignore all other potential wrongdoing in the previous administration.”
He then tore into the credibility of the Justice Department and the FBI, pointing out that the veteran FBI agent placed in charge of both the Clinton investigation and the Trump-Russia, Peter Strzok, is wildly anti-Trump. Grassley insisted that both the Trump-Russia investigation and the Clinton email investigation are intricately connected to the firing of the former FBI Director James Comey, so they must be investigated together. From his speech:
There are two major controversies plaguing the credibility of the Justice Department and the FBI right now. On the one hand the Trump Russia investigation, and then on the other hand the handling of the Clinton investigation. Any congressional oversight related to either one of these topics is not credible without also examining the other. Both cases were active during last year’s campaign. Both cases have been linked to the firing of the FBI Director.
These questions go to the heart of the integrity of our federal law enforcement and justice system.
Grassley grilled Dianne Feinstein next for telling him that she would not participate in any investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails, despite stating earlier in the yearthat she wanted to get to the bottom of whether Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked James Comey to downgrade the seriousness of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information by referring to it as a “matter” instead of an investigation.
“[T]he ranking member [Feinstein] has told me plainly she won’t join any investigation of the oversight of the Clinton e-mail investigations… …Even on Trump-Russia oversight where we have been able to cooperate a great deal, there have been similar problems.” –Rep. Grassley
When it came to the topic of obstruction, Grassley pointed to the fact that Hillary Clinton’s use of ‘Bleach Bit’ to delete 33,000 emails under subpoena appears be a clear case of obstruction, however when it came to Trump he said “So far, I have seen no credible evidence that President Trump has told anyone to lie. I have also seen no credible evidence that he or his aides have destroyed records being sought by investigators.
Grassley even placed an article by liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz in the Congressional record which asserts that Trump did not commit obstruction – because even if the President did fire Comey over the Russia investigation, “the president cannot be charged with a crime for merely exercising his authority under Article 2 of the constitution. This authority includes firing the director of the FBI for whatever reason or no reason”
In light of the mounting body of evidence that FBI officials were clearly covering for Clinton while gunning for Trump, one can understand why the President wanted Comey gone. As another example of Feinstein’s stonewalling, Grassley pointed to her refusal to fully investigate the “salacious and unverified” Trump-Russia dossier:
[A]ll year I have wanted to learn more about the origins of the dossier that largely kick started the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. In july, the ranking member [Feinstein] joined me in a bipartisan letter seeking voluntary cooperation from the firm that produced the dossier. The dossier was based largely on Russian sources within Russia and was put together by a former british spy. It made salacious and unverified claims about trump. The company responsible for producing it, Fusion GPS, was uncooperative.
In response to our bipartisan request, it dumped on the committee about 32,000 pages of press clippings and 8,000 pages that were entirely blank. Since then, it has provided zero additional documents. The founder of Fusion GPS Initially indicated he would rely on his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination rather than testify at the committee hearing in july. He later agreed to a private staff interview but refused to answer dozens of key questions. I would like to compel him to answer questions and compel him to provide the documents that senator Feinstein and I both asked him in July to provide voluntarily, but under our committee rules, I don’t have the authority to do that on my own.
It should be pointed out that the House Intel Committee chaired by Devin Nunes (R-CA) has made much more progress with Fusion GPS, after the House found out that Fusion agreed to provide them with bank records, only to withhold 112 transactions relevant to the Russia probe. Due to this, the House is now demanding bank transfers to Fusion with other law firms in addition to the DNC’s council at Perkins Coie and Hostelter. Because of Fusion’s ommission of the banking transactions – effectively lying, the House committee is now arguing that the use of law firms to conceal payments to operatives is now fair game and relevant to their investigation.
While Grassley’s speech focused on Democrat efforts to hamstring Senate investigations, Feinstein told CNN on Monday that Grassley had similarly refused to sign her letters requesting more information on actions taken by the Trump campaign, saying “We want him to sign on. I think there’s an effort … not to go deeply,” adding “I hadn’t realized it before. But I realize it now. And we’re going to have to find a way to deal with it.”
Grassley shot back yesterday, stating “[Democrats] complain publicly and they complain privately that I’m not doing enough to investigate obstruction. But obstruction of justice is a legal term of art. It is a conclusion not evidence. …I do not make my conclusions first and try to shoehorn the facts to fit my conclusions.