JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Air Has Seeped Out of the Russia/Collusion Balloon” – Washington Examiner/Michael Barone

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“‘I did not, and of course I looked for it, looked for it hard.’ That was Bob Woodward … replying to … Hugh Hewitt’s question, ‘Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research, in your interviews, that sounded like espionage or collusion?’…. [And] none of Mueller’s indictments and guilty pleas point toward confirmation …. [I]t appears that, beyond a […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Mueller Investigation Is Sending People to Jail – but Not for Collusion; The belief that George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort would turn over evidence of collusion with Russia got ahead of reality” – The Nation/Aaron Maté

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Last week, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI about the timing of his contacts with a Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud. According to Papadopoulos, Mifsud claimed to have connections to Russia and information that the Kremlin had obtained Hillary Clinton’s stolen e-mails. In May 2016, Papadopoulos relayed vague details about his conversation with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Bruce Ohr Told Congress; He warned the FBI that Steele had credibility problems. The bureau forged ahead anyhow.” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr … [on] Tuesday confirm[ed] for Congress its worst suspicions about … [FBI] abuse of its surveillance and sourcing rules. … Over the past year, congressional investigators found out that … Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that gave its infamous dossier, funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Dossier Debunking; His lawyer says the Steele claims about Michael Cohen are false” – Wall Street Journal Editorial

Maps of Czech Republic and Environs, adapted from images at CIA.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: stevencwelsh.com :: stevencwelsh.info

“Michael Cohen’s accusations have replaced Russian collusion as Washington’s reason-du-jour to impeach Donald Trump …. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, confirmed last week that Cohen has never been to Prague in the Czech Republic. … the Steele dossier … commissioned by oppo-research firm Fusion GPS, paid for by the Clinton campaign and used by the FBI in its Trump investigation. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Are the FBI and CIA Hiding? The agency might have led the bureau down a rabbit hole in the 2016 Trump counterintelligence probe” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas J. Baker

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Although the FBI’s case officially began July 31, 2016, there had been investigative activity before that …. John Brennan’s CIA might have directed activity in Britain … [problematic considering] longstanding agreements that the U.S. will not conduct intelligence operations there. It would explain why the FBI continues to stonewall Congress … Further, what we know about the case’s origin does […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller’s New Indictment – Do the Feds Take Us for Idiots” – Medium/Mark McCarty

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… The timing of the indictment is of course quite strategic — released right before Trump’s summit with Putin, there will be no time for critiques of the indictments to appear and be digested prior to the meeting; hence, the chances of a successful outcome auguring for peace will be lowered. And how convenient that Assange has been rendered incommunicado just when […]

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Musings II … The “Intelligence Community,” “Russian Interference,” and Due Diligence; Did the U.S. “Intelligence Community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

(Jack Matlock – Jackmatlock.com – June 29, 2018) About: Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. Since retiring from the Foreign Service, he has focused on understanding how the Cold War ended and how the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why the CIA Needs Its Own Horowitz Report; No need to speculate: The intelligence agencies saw Trump as a de facto agent of the Kremlin” – Wall Street Journal/Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“Now that the world has digested the Horowitz report, notice how much of the story it doesn’t tell. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is treated as a closed loop when, in fact, much of its decision making was based on intelligence and advice supplied by other agencies. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Mueller’s Fruit of the Poisonous Tree; It makes no difference how honorable he is. His investigation is tainted by the bias that attended its origin in 2016” – Wall Street Journal/David B. Rivkin Jr., Elizabeth Price Foley

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Special counsel … Mueller’s investigation may face a serious legal obstacle …. antecedent political bias. … the Justice Department’s inspector general[] unearthed a pattern of anti-Trump bias by high-ranking [FBI] officials …. their communications … were ‘… indicative of a biased state of mind … imply a willingness to take action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.’ Although … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top Agent Said F.B.I. Would Stop Trump From Becoming President” [Excerpt] – New York Times/Michael S. Schmidt

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“New texts released … by the Justice Department’s inspector general show that the F.B.I. agent overseeing the investigation into … Trump’s campaign pledged to stop … Trump from becoming president. ‘[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right?’ asked a top F.B.I. lawyer, Lisa Page, in one text. ‘Right?!’ Peter Strzok, the agent overseeing the F.B.I.’s investigation into links between […]

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NEWSLINK: “THE EARLY CHAPTERS; Books on the Russia scandal focus on the news. What they need is more history” – Washington Post/Carlos Lozada

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… None of the works on Trump and Russia is comprehensive; the appeal of one or another depends on the angles you obsess over and the blind spots you ignore. …” * * * THE FUTURE IS HISTORY How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia By Masha Gessen. Riverhead. 515 pp. $28 COLLUSION Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump […]

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travelers’ devices could be hacked” – Reuters

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“The top U.S. counterintelligence official is advising Americans traveling to Russia for football’s World Cup beginning this week that they should not take electronic devices because they are likely to be hacked by criminals or the Russian government. … William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned World Cup travelers ….”   […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “It’s Time To Admit The Russia Investigation Was Illegitimate From The Start” – The Federalist/Margot Cleveland

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… DOJ intentionally failed to inform the [FISA] court that the [DNC] … paid for the Christopher Steele dossier. That unverified and mainly false dossier formed a significant part of the government’s application for a wiretap …. I … spent nearly 25 years reviewing challenges to warrants based on claims of withheld (or false) evidence. … unlike the typical criminal […]

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JRL NEWSLINK: “F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware” – New York Times/Louis Lucero II

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Hoping to thwart a sophisticated malware system linked to Russia that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers, the F.B.I. has made an urgent request to anybody with one of the devices: Turn it off, and then turn it back on. The malware is capable of blocking web traffic, collecting information that passes through home and office routers, and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Ridiculous To Say FBI Spying Meant To Protect The Trump Campaign; The decision to use Stefan Halper as an informant instead of a messenger cannot possibly be considered a favor to the Trump campaign. It’s as insulting as it is ridiculous to assert.” – The Federalist/Jason Beale

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Jason Beale (a pseudonym) is a retired U.S. Army interrogator and strategic debriefer with 30 years experience in military and intelligence interrogation and human intelligence collection operations. …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “John McCain: ‘Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man'” – Wall Street Journal/The Saturday Essay/John McCain

John McCain file photo

[note from JRL web editor: warning, contains mild profanity] “… Sir Andrew Wood, a retired British diplomat … told me he knew a former MI6 officer … Christopher Steele ….  * * * I agreed to receive a copy of … ‘the dossier.’ …. The allegations were disturbing … I had no idea which if any were true. I could not […]

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NEWSLINK: “When did Trump and Putin talk about ‘hookers’?” – Washington Post/Philip Bump

James Comey file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“By the top of the second page of the first memo former FBI director James B. Comey wrote to memorialize his conversations with President Trump, prostitutes are mentioned. Sex workers are a running theme in the seven memos released on Thursday evening, a function of their prominent role in the dossier of unproven allegations involving the president’s 2016 campaign and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Is the FBI Hiding? The bureau still won’t comply with an eight-month-old subpoena from Congress” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Bit by bit, congressional investigators have wrested [information] from a recalcitrant [FBI regarding] its suspect 2016 election dealings. … one secret … jealously guard[ed]: how central that Steele dossier was from the start. … House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes … has demand[ed compliance] … with an August 2017 subpoena … [requiring] among other things … electronic communication [] ‘EC’ … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How the U.S. Can Play Cyber-Offense; Deterrence Isn’t Enough” – Foreign Affairs/ Michael Sulmeyer

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“The United States has been the victim of repeated cyberattacks by foreign powers, and it seems to have little power to stop them. During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Russian hackers broke into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mail servers and made more general efforts to influence the election’s outcome, as detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians […]

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NEWSLINK: “On Russia, we need more reason and less frenzy” – Washington Post/Katrina vanden Heuvel

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… Finding a way back from the brink won’t be easy, but less hysteria and more reason would be a useful first step. … Those who care about our democracy should be particularly wary of stoking a new Cold War. Worsening relations only feed the worst forces on both sides – militaries expand, the space for dissent closes, nationalist fervor […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Democrats for Eavesdrop Abuse; Their intel memo confirms the FBI used Clinton research to spy on Carter Page” – Wall Street Journal Editorial

“… the memo confirms … the FBI used an opposition-research document paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee as part of its application to surveil Carter Page … associated with the Donald Trump campaign. … the Democrats do not dispute that the Steele dossier was the FBI’s only source in its initial FISA application for its […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power; From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role.” – The National Interest/George Beebe

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Few questions have greater import for the health and integrity of any republic than the question of whether important parts of its government’s national-security apparatus are abusing their power for political purposes. … particularly … in the United States, where … the Intelligence Community (IC) ha[s] grown so large and capable, where faith in the integrity of our democratic institutions […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GOP Focuses on Russia Allegations That Reached Steele; Notes by freelance journalist Cody Shearer got to writer of dossier via Clinton associate” – Wall Street Journal/Byron Tau

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“Republicans on Capitol Hill are probing a collection of unverified and salacious allegations against … Trump … compiled in late 2016 by … freelance journalist and researcher … Cody Shearer, who … passed his work along to an associate of Hillary Clinton. … eight pages of raw and unverified notes … purportedly drawn from interviews with two prominent journalists and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Release the FISA Documents; The public deserves to see the full record on the FBI wiretap request” – Wall Street Journal editorial

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… Trump … refused to declassify the Democratic memo on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA)[sic; the court abbreviates itself as FISC, and deals with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)]… , sending it back for negotiation with the Justice Department over intelligence sources and methods. … Trump claimed … that Democrats laid a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Who Is Christopher Steele? The man who revealed a vast international conspiracy but didn’t know his own client.” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… the former British spy’s credibility has been dismantled. … the FBI should have known better. … the bureau had every reason to be wary …. He was … a paid political operative, hired by Fusion, as a subcontractor for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Opposition researchers are not retained to present considered judgment … [but] to slime an opponent and benefit a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Biased FBI and DOJ Officials Broke The Law And Tried To Decide The Election – an Annotated Timeline” [excerpt] – Forbes/Thomas Del Beccaro

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“There can be no question, at this point, that certain higher ups in the FBI and the DOJ did not want Hillary to be indicted and did not want Donald Trump to become President. Those efforts were not entirely independent of each other. Below is a timeline of events – abbreviated though it is – that makes it rather plain […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lost in memo frenzy, White House passed on punishing Russia for 2016 meddling” – The Hill/STEPHEN BLANK

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Stephen Blank is a former professor of Russian National Security Studies and National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is also a former MacArthur fellow at the U.S. Army War College.”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Nunes Memo is a Devastating Blow to the ‘Deep State’; The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has done its duty by releasing this memo” – The National Interest/Daniel McCarthy

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“In the midst of the 2016 election, bad actors at the Justice Department tried to turn the FBI into the police arm of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That’s the bottom line of the January 18 House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence memo released today. … a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was led, or misled, into authorizing spying on […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Nunes memo shows the opposite of what Trump hoped it would prove” – Washington Post

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… The memo argues that the FBI may have abused special spying authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), obtaining a warrant to surveil former Trump adviser Carter Page using information from the controversial Steele dossier, a collection of allegations about Mr. Trump and his circle assembled by a former British intelligence agent with funding from Democrats. The memo […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Nunes memo and Putin’s long game; As the president and other Republicans directly question the integrity of the FBI and DOJ, analysts and some in the GOP say it only furthers Russian objectives. [Excerpt]” – Politico/Matthew Nussbaum

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Putin might get tired of winning. Ever since the U.S. intelligence community discovered the Russian operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election … some Republicans have been laboring to undermine investigations into the attack and discredit the intelligence agencies that discovered it. … [O]n Friday … House Republicans released a partisan memo alleging anti-Trump bias at the FBI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Did The FBI Vouch For The Crazy Russian Deal From The Steele Dossier?” – Forbes/Paul Roderick Gregory

“The media’s promotion of an unverified dossier against … Trump[] failed to cement Hillary Clinton’s expected victory …. If that were the whole story, the dossier would have faded from public view … Trump would not have spent his first year fighting off charges of treason, and a much bigger story would not be getting ready to break. What we […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal skepticism about the case” – Washington Post/Karoun Demirjian

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… An FBI official who was removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election over politically charged texts disparaging President Trump considered never joining the probe at all, because of a ‘gut sense and concern, there’s no big “there” there.’… Click here for: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Steele boasted to friends of his ‘professional’ work on Russia-Trump dossier” – Washington Times/ Rowan Scarborough

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… On Friday, two Republican senators made a criminal referral to the Justice Department. An investigation revealed that … Steele misled the FBI, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The FBI told lawmakers that the bureau had not confirmed the dossier’s core collusion charges since … Steele’s first briefing in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Flynn Flipped. Who’s Next?” – New York Times editorial

Michael Flynn file photo

“… Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the F.B.I. about his communications with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the transition period in December 2016. … The president has repeatedly denied that he or his campaign had any involvement with Russia, and he has mocked the investigation as a ‘witch hunt.’ …”

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: COLLUSION [re Luke Harding]” – Irrussaianality/ Paul Robinson

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… evidence of direct collusion between Trump and the Russians is looking a little thin, to say the least. Now, into this maelstrom steps Guardian reporter Luke Harding … * * *  I wish I could say that this book was a joke. If you were going to write a parody of the collusion story, this is perhaps what it would look like. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Red mist; How the Russia investigation looks from Moscow; Hyperventilating about Vladimir Putin infuriates Russian liberals, but it has led to a better Russia policy” – The Economist

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Buzzfeed recently broke an explosive story about Russia’s meddling in America’s elections. On August 3rd 2016, it reported, just as the presidential race was entering its final phase, the Russian foreign ministry wired nearly $30,000 through a Kremlin-backed bank to its embassy in Washington, DC, with a remarkable description attached: ‘To finance election campaign of 2016’. … only one of 60 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Bonfire of the Prosecutors; Political animosities are pushing the U.S. toward a significant political crisis” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Henninger

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to … House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte … asked the Justice Department’s career lawyers to look into the possibility of … a second special prosecutor, to investigate Hillary Clinton. * * * The people who brought us the Trump-Russia collusion narrative are now weeping crocodile tears that the appointment of a second prosecutor would mean […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Manafort Indictment; Mueller’s charges relate to money-laundering cash from Ukraine” – Wall Street Journal Editorial

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… Mueller indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for tax fraud …. [accusing] Manafort (and business partner Richard Gates) of funneling money from a pro-Russia party in Ukraine into offshore shell companies and bank accounts. They … allegedly used these accounts to fund their spending habits, neglecting to declare the money to the IRS. The indictment also accuses … Manafort of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier” – Washington Post/ Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett, Rosalind S. Helderman, Julie Tate

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“The … Clinton campaign and … Democratic National Committee helped fund research … result[ing] … in a now-famous dossier … alleg[ing] … Trump[] connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin …. [T]he Clinton campaign and the DNC[] retained Fusion GPS [with the help of law firm Perkins Coie] … to conduct the research. … [Fusions GPS] hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Report of Ukraine Witness to DNC Hacking Stirs Confusion” – AP

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“A report that a cooperating witness has emerged out of Ukraine to help the FBI’s inquiry … is drawing confusion and denials in Ukraine. … The New York Times says a malware author linked to the hacking of the DNC’s servers had turned himself in … But Ukraine’s Cyberpolice said … the unnamed individual had no established links to hacking The Times’ story has […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mending the Gap? Why the DNC mistrusts the FBI” – Economic Principals/ David Warsh

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… The DNC’s reluctance to share its server probably stems from an awareness of lingering antagonisms within the FBI – the natural inference is that there’s presumably something on it that they don’t trust some FBI agents to keep to themselves once seen. Still, the failure to turn over the evidence is just the sort of lever on public opinion […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Special Seinfeld? An investigation about nothing could become something worse” – Wall Street Journal/ James Freeman

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“‘After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my “collusion with the Russians,” nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!,’ tweeted … Trump …. his argument is stronger than he suggests, because … Comey’s FBI began looking for evidence of collusion nearly a full year ago. It still hasn’t appeared, which means that Department of Justice Special Counsel […]

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