web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 58)

Trump Claims ‘Legal Right’ to Interfere in Justice Dept. Cases

Westlake Legal Group 14dc-trump-facebookJumbo Trump Claims ‘Legal Right’ to Interfere in Justice Dept. Cases United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Justice Department Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — President Trump asserted Friday that he had the legal right to intervene in federal criminal cases, a day after Attorney General William P. Barr publicly rebuked him for attacks on Justice Department prosecutors and others involved in the case of Roger J. Stone Jr., the president’s longtime friend.

In a morning tweet, Mr. Trump quoted Mr. Barr saying that the president “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” The president said he had “so far chosen” not to interfere in a criminal case even though he insisted that he was not legally bound to do so.

“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” he said.

Though he and Mr. Barr both said the president has not directly asked for any specific inquiries, Mr. Trump has long pressured law enforcement officials both publicly and privately to open investigations into political rivals and to drop inquiries. Mr. Trump also pressed former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to retake control of the Russia investigation after he recused himself.

The assertion by the president, which implicitly rejected a request by Mr. Barr to stop tweeting about the department’s cases, adds to the mounting controversy over the decision by senior Justice Department officials to overrule prosecutors who had recommended a seven to nine year sentence for Mr. Stone, who was convicted of seven felonies in a bid to obstruct a congressional investigation that threatened the president.

That recommendation infuriated Mr. Trump, who called the department’s handling of the case “a disgrace” and later praised Mr. Barr after his top officials intervened to recommend a lighter sentence for Mr. Stone. The four prosecutors who were overruled resigned from the case in protest; one quit the department entirely.

Seeking to calm the upheaval in his department, Mr. Barr on Thursday issued a pointed denunciation of Mr. Trump’s tweets, which included criticism of the federal judge overseeing the Stone case and even the jury forewoman. Mr. Barr said the commentary from the president made it “impossible for me to do my job” and insisted that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”

“I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me,” said Mr. Barr, who has been one of Mr. Trump’s closest and most reliable allies since taking over at the Justice Department.

Past presidents in both parties have respected long standing traditions that are aimed at preventing political influence from the White House on Justice Department investigations, especially criminal inquiries that involved administration officials or friends of the president. The rules have been in place since the Watergate investigation, in which former President Richard Nixon sought to pressure the F.B.I.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly ignored those traditions, making contact with F.B.I. officials and communicating with top Justice Department officials through Twitter and in person. His claim in Friday’s tweet that he has “so far chosen” not to interfere in criminal cases is contradicted by a record of his actions during the his three years in office.

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russian election interference inquiry, documented numerous instances in which the president sought to obstruct justice as federal investigators examined the activities of Mr. Trump’s White House advisers and former campaign aides. In his final report, Mr. Mueller said that Justice Department rules did not allow sitting presidents to be indicted.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

William Barr’s Interview With ABC: Key Excerpts

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-excerpts-barr-facebookJumbo William Barr's Interview With ABC: Key Excerpts United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Justice Department Barr, William P Attorneys General

Attorney General William P. Barr delivered a sharp reproach on Thursday to President Trump, defending the role of the Justice Department in the face of the president’s persistent attacks.

In an interview with ABC News, Mr. Barr addressed the fallout this week over a case involving a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted last year of obstructing a congressional inquiry. His comments amounted to a rare rebuttal by a cabinet official who has almost unflinchingly stood by the president through politically sensitive investigations and the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Barr said Mr. Trump’s disparaging remarks over sentencing recommendations for Mr. Stone undermined the Justice Department and made it “impossible for me to do my job.” Senior department officials, including Mr. Barr, intervened this week to recommend a more lenient sentence, and Mr. Trump spent days afterward criticizing the department and the prosecutors and the judge overseeing Mr. Stone’s case.

Here are some of the key quotes from Mr. Barr’s interview:

“To have public statements and tweets made about the department — about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases — make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”

“As I, you know, said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as attorney general. I am responsible for everything that happens in the department, but the thing I have most responsibility for are the issues that are brought to me for decision. And I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do and I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. And I said at the time, whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards or the president. I’m going to do what I think is right. And, you know, I think I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

“Nope. I have not discussed the Roger Stone case at the White House.”

“In many areas that don’t affect his personal interests — terrorism, or fraud by a bank or something like that where he’s concerned about something, he can certainly say, ‘I think someone should look into that.’ That’s perfectly appropriate. If he were to say, go investigate somebody, and you sense it’s because they’re a political opponent, then an attorney general shouldn’t carry that out, wouldn’t carry that out.”

“I do think that in the current situation, as I’ve said, the fact that the tweets are out there and correspond to things we’re doing at the department sort of give grist to the mill and that’s why I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Key Excerpts From Barr’s Interview With ABC

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-excerpts-barr-facebookJumbo Key Excerpts From Barr’s Interview With ABC United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Justice Department Barr, William P Attorneys General

Attorney General William P. Barr delivered a sharp reproach on Thursday to President Trump, defending the role of the Justice Department in the face of the president’s persistent attacks.

In an interview with ABC News, Mr. Barr addressed the fallout this week over a case involving a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted last year of obstructing a congressional inquiry. His comments amounted to a rare rebuttal by a cabinet official who has almost unflinchingly stood by the president through politically sensitive investigations and the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Barr said Mr. Trump’s disparaging remarks over sentencing recommendations for Mr. Stone undermined the Justice Department and made it “impossible for me to do my job.” Senior department officials, including Mr. Barr, intervened this week to recommend a more lenient sentence, and Mr. Trump spent days afterward criticizing the department and the prosecutors and the judge overseeing Mr. Stone’s case.

Here are some of the key quotes from Mr. Barr’s interview:

“To have public statements and tweets made about the department — about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases — make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”

“As I, you know, said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as attorney general. I am responsible for everything that happens in the department, but the thing I have most responsibility for are the issues that are brought to me for decision. And I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do and I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. And I said at the time, whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards or the president. I’m going to do what I think is right. And, you know, I think I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

“Nope. I have not discussed the Roger Stone case at the White House.”

“In many areas that don’t affect his personal interests — terrorism, or fraud by a bank or something like that where he’s concerned about something, he can certainly say, ‘I think someone should look into that.’ That’s perfectly appropriate. If he were to say, go investigate somebody, and you sense it’s because they’re a political opponent, then an attorney general shouldn’t carry that out, wouldn’t carry that out.”

“I do think that in the current situation, as I’ve said, the fact that the tweets are out there and correspond to things we’re doing at the department sort of give grist to the mill and that’s why I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Places Loyalists in Key Jobs Inside the White House While Raging Against Enemies Outside

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165731562_38cd19bf-bc8d-4ed7-b692-cf363d6dce43-facebookJumbo Trump Places Loyalists in Key Jobs Inside the White House While Raging Against Enemies Outside Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr National Security Council Kelly, John F (1950- ) Justice Department Hicks, Hope C (1988- ) Bloomberg, Michael R Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — President Trump made a number of staff moves on Thursday to ensure he will be surrounded by a cadre of loyalists at the White House even as he raged against an ever-growing cast of perceived enemies that included his former chief of staff, an impeachment witness, a juror he accused of bias and a Democratic rival.

The White House announced the return of Hope Hicks, the president’s former communications director and one of his closest advisers. The move consolidated the position of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, and signaled the waning influence of Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.

Ms. Hicks will serve as a counselor to the president, reporting to Mr. Kushner. Her return to the president’s side after his acquittal in the impeachment inquiry is an indication that Mr. Trump is seeking to reassemble as best he can the small, intensely devoted team of family members and friends who helped guide him to an improbable victory in 2016.

Johnny McEntee, the “body man” who trailed Mr. Trump as a candidate and in the White House, will be elevated to oversee the Presidential Personnel Office, according to four people briefed on the move. Mr. McEntee, who was forced from his job in 2018 over gambling debts that threatened his security clearance, recently returned to his old role as a personal aide to Mr. Trump.

The West Wing changes came just hours before Attorney General William P. Barr issued a remarkable rebuke of Mr. Trump, saying the president’s attacks on the Justice Department over the case of Roger J. Stone Jr. made it “impossible for me to do my job” and asserting that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”

Earlier Thursday, Mr. Trump engaged in an hourslong series of rants on Twitter and in a radio interview, hurling insults and unproved accusations in a tirade that rivaled his most grievance-filled moments since becoming president.

In rapid-fire fashion, Mr. Trump alleged bias from a juror in the trial of Mr. Stone, his a longtime friend, and belittled John F. Kelly, his former chief of staff, as an ineffective aide who “misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut.” In a speech on Wednesday, Mr. Kelly had defended Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the decorated national security official who testified in the impeachment inquiry and was removed from his job last week.

The president said Colonel Vindman’s exit from the White House — he was escorted out by security officers — was applauded by “the whole building.” Moments later, Mr. Trump mocked the physical stature of Michael R. Bloomberg, a Democratic candidate for president and the former mayor of New York.

“Mini Mike is a 5’4” mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians,” Mr. Trump said, sneering at the idea that Mr. Bloomberg might stand on a box during a debate. “No boxes please.” Mr. Bloomberg is actually 5-foot-7.

Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire who has already spent more than $350 million in his bid for the Democratic nomination, wasted no time returning fire at the man he hopes to face in November’s election.

“We know many of the same people in NY,” he wrote. “Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence. I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will.”

In his speech at Drew University in New Jersey, first reported by The Atlantic, Mr. Kelly said that Colonel Vindman was right to raise questions about a telephone call with the president of Ukraine in which Mr. Trump pressed for investigations into his political rivals.

“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Mr. Kelly said. “He went and told his boss of what he just heard. We teach them: ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then you’ll tell your boss.’”

The remarks drew a swift response from the president, who tweeted on Thursday morning that Mr. Kelly, who served as the chief of staff for 17 months before resigning early last year, was “way over his head” in the job. He also suggested that Mr. Kelly’s public comments violated a “military and legal obligation” to remain silent.

John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, who clashed with Mr. Kelly when the two were White House colleagues, came to his defense. Mr. Kelly has “always served his country faithfully,” Mr. Bolton said in a statement, and called on conservatives to “reject baseless attacks upon him.”

In the radio interview with Geraldo Rivera, Mr. Trump also renewed his attacks on Colonel Vindman, describing him as “very insubordinate” and claiming that Colonel Vindman’s colleagues applauded his departure last Friday.

“Vindman was the guy that, when we took him out of the building, the whole building applauded,” Mr. Trump said. A senior National Security Council official said later that Mr. Trump’s description was accurate, but did not say he had firsthand knowledge of it.

David Pressman, a lawyer for Colonel Vindman, did not address a question about the applause, but said in a statement that the “continued public attacks by the president of the United States on an active-duty officer in the military are designed to intimidate and to punish.” He added, “By using the power of his office to repeatedly humiliate and punish those following the law, the president is encouraging breaking the law.”

Mr. Trump also suggested during the radio interview that he could stop the tradition of allowing numerous national security officials to listen to his phone calls with foreign leaders, as Colonel Vindman did with the Ukraine call. “I may end the practice,” Mr. Trump said. “I may end it entirely.”

The changes at the White House will bring familiar faces back to the West Wing. Always obsessed with the threat of leaks, Mr. Trump has become more concerned about loyalty since a whistle-blower came forward last year to express concerns about the Ukraine call.

Ms. Hicks, 31, worked on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign from its inception and followed him to the White House, eventually becoming communications director. Her return will come as his re-election campaign intensifies and as his advisers say the superstitious president has talked about recreating some aspects of that first race.

Ms. Hicks’s title when she left belied her influence with Mr. Trump, who felt more personal comfort with her than with almost any other adviser. A senior administration official said that Ms. Hicks would work on projects that Mr. Kushner oversees, including the re-election campaign. She will not rejoin the communications office.

“There is no one more devoted to implementing President Trump’s agenda than Hope Hicks,” Mr. Kushner said in a statement. “We are excited to have her back on the team.”

Ms. Hicks’s time with Mr. Trump began when she was working as an aide for his elder daughter, Ivanka Trump, on her fashion brand. He hired her for his skeleton staff when he began his campaign for president in 2015, and because the campaign was so small, Ms. Hicks was constantly at Mr. Trump’s side.

Since last fall, Ms. Hicks had been working as the chief communications officer at Fox.

Eileen Sullivan and Michael Crowley contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

William Barr Says He Will Not ‘Be Bullied’ in Response to Trump’s Attacks

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-barr-facebookJumbo-v2 William Barr Says He Will Not 'Be Bullied' in Response to Trump's Attacks United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Courts and the Judiciary Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — In an extraordinary rebuke of President Trump, Attorney General William P. Barr said on Thursday that Mr. Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department had made it “impossible for me to do my job” and asserted that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”

Mr. Barr has been among the president’s most loyal allies and denigrated by Democrats as nothing more than his personal lawyer but publicly challenged Mr. Trump in a way that no other sitting cabinet member has.

“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with ABC News. “And I said, whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial board, or the president, I’m going to do what I think is right. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

Mr. Barr’s remarks were aimed at containing the fallout from the department’s botched handling of its sentencing recommendation for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted of seven felonies in a bid to obstruct a congressional investigation that threatened the president.

Mr. Trump’s criticisms “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity,” Mr. Barr said.

He added, “It’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”

People close to the president said they were caught off guard by the interview.

Hours after prosecutors recommended on Monday that a judge sentence Mr. Stone to seven to nine years in prison, Mr. Trump attacked their request as “horrible and very unfair” and as a “miscarriage of justice.” The next day, Mr. Barr and other senior department officials intervened to lower the recommendation.

The episode ignited a firestorm among rank-and-file lawyers at the Justice Department. While the officials blamed the original filing on a miscommunication and said they had intended to correct it even before Mr. Trump assailed it, four of the prosecutors working on the case withdrew. Career prosecutors began to express worry that their work could be used to settle political scores.

Mr. Trump’s opponents escalated their accusations of inappropriate influence when he congratulated Mr. Barr for his decision to step in and ease the sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone. “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

The president also accused the prosecutors who had secured a conviction against Mr. Stone of engaging in an “illegal” investigation. He incorrectly accused Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the Stone trial, of placing his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in solitary confinement. Mr. Manafort, who was convicted of monetary fraud in a case that grew out of the special counsel’s investigation, at one point had a jail cell to himself but was not in solitary confinement, and Judge Jackson was not involved in his placement.

And Mr. Trump compared the Stone case to the Russia investigation led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. “Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress,” Mr. Trump said, without evidence.

Mr. Trump reiterated his complaints on Thursday morning, claiming in a tweet that the Stone jury forewoman had “significant bias,” his first rhetorical assault on a juror. He was responding to a Fox News report that the forewoman was an anti-Trump Democratic activist.

Later, in a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera, he railed about the initial decision by Justice Department lawyers to recommend a seven- to nine-year sentence for Mr. Stone.

“What they did to Roger Stone was a disgrace in terms of everything, right from the beginning,” Mr. Trump said.

His complaints about the handling of Mr. Stone’s case have raised concerns from Democrats and critics that he was improperly influencing Justice Department matters.

Mr. Barr quickly became one of Mr. Trump’s trusted advisers after becoming attorney general last February — a reversal of the tense relationship that Mr. Trump had with Mr. Barr’s predecessor, Jeff Sessions.

Mr. Trump soured on Mr. Sessions after he recused himself from oversight of the Russia investigation. Their toxic relationship cast a political shadow over the department and strained dealings between the department and the White House.

Tensions eased when Mr. Barr arrived and embraced some of the most divisive aspects of Mr. Trump’s agenda, often serving as a polished and articulate defender of the president against accusations of abuse of power.

Michael D. Shear contributed reporting from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Justice Dept. Is Investigating C.I.A. Resistance to Sharing Russia Secrets

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-durham1-facebookJumbo-v2 Justice Dept. Is Investigating C.I.A. Resistance to Sharing Russia Secrets United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates National Security Agency Justice Department Espionage and Intelligence Services Durham, John H Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Brennan, John O

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials investigating the government’s response to Russia’s election interference in 2016 appear to be hunting for a basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence officials of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis about Moscow’s covert operation, according to people familiar with aspects of the inquiry.

Since his election, President Trump has attacked the intelligence agencies that concluded that Russia secretly tried to help him win, fostering a narrative that they sought to delegitimize his victory. He has long promoted the investigation by John H. Durham, the prosecutor examining their actions, as a potential pathway to proving that a deep-state cabal conspired against him.

Questions asked by Mr. Durham, who was assigned by Attorney General William P. Barr to scrutinize the early actions of law enforcement and intelligence officials struggling to understand the scope of Russia’s scheme, suggest that Mr. Durham may have come to view with suspicion several clashes between analysts at different intelligence agencies over who could see each other’s highly sensitive secrets, the people said.

Mr. Durham appears to be pursuing a theory that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result — and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal, the people said.

But officials from the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency have told Mr. Durham and his investigators that such an interpretation is wrong and based on a misunderstanding of how the intelligence community functions, the people said. National security officials are typically cautious about sharing their most delicate information, like source identities, even with other agencies inside the executive branch.

Mr. Durham’s questioning is certain to add to accusations that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies, like Mr. Brennan, who has been an outspoken critic of the president. Mr. Barr, who is overseeing the investigation, has come under attack in recent days over senior Justice Department officials’ intervention to lighten a prison sentencing recommendation by lower-level prosecutors for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

A spokesman for Mr. Durham did not respond to phone and email inquiries. The C.I.A. and the National Security Agency declined to comment. The people familiar with aspects of Mr. Durham’s investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic.

The Durham investigation has rattled current and former intelligence officers. Little precedent exists for a criminal prosecutor to review the analytic judgment-making process of intelligence agencies, said Michael Morrell, a former acting C.I.A. director who left the government in 2013.

“This whole thing is so abnormal,” Mr. Morrell said.

Prosecutors are ill equipped to assess how analysts work, he added. “The bar for making a legal judgment is really high. The bar for an analytic decision is much lower,” Mr. Morrell said. “So he is going to get the wrong answer if he tries to figure out if they had enough information to make this judgment.”

But other intelligence officials, according to an American official, are reserving judgment about Mr. Durham, who previously spent years investigating the C.I.A. over its torture program and its destruction of interrogation videotapes without charging anyone with a crime. Two detainees died in the agency’s custody.

Mr. Durham is a longtime federal prosecutor who has repeatedly been asked, under administrations of both parties, to investigate accusations of wrongdoing by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Mr. Trump appointed him as the United States attorney for Connecticut in 2018.

The Justice Department has declined to talk about Mr. Durham’s work in meaningful detail, but he has been said to be interested in how the intelligence community came up with its analytical judgments — including its assessment that Russia was not merely sowing discord, but specifically sought to help Mr. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

The Justice Department inspector general, who released the results late last year of an inquiry into aspects of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation, found no documentary or testimonial evidence senior law enforcement and intelligence officials had engaged in a high-level conspiracy to sabotage Mr. Trump, the narrative the president and his supporters continue to embrace.

Mr. Durham’s questions shed additional light on where he may be going.

In recent months, Mr. Durham and his team have examined emails among a small group of intelligence analysts from multiple agencies, including the C.I.A., F.B.I. and National Security Agency, who worked together to assess the Russian operation. Investigators have interviewed those analysts and their supervisors about the motivations behind several episodes in which some sought access to delicate information from the other agencies and were told — initially, at least — that they could not see it.

One fight, they said, concerned the identity and placement of a C.I.A. source inside the Kremlin. Analysts at the National Security Agency wanted to know more about him to weigh the credibility of his information. The C.I.A. was initially reluctant to share details about the Russian’s identity but eventually relented.

But officials disagreed about how much weight to give the source’s information, and the intelligence community’s eventual assessment apparently reflected that division. While the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. concluded with “high confidence” that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was specifically trying to help Mr. Trump win the election, the National Security Agency agreed but said it had only “moderate confidence.”

The informant and his family were extracted from Russia in 2017 and resettled in the United States. Notably, the source had initially refused to leave when American officials proposed getting him out for his own safety, raising suspicions about whether he might be a double agent. It is not clear whether Mr. Durham has interviewed the informant.

A second fight that Mr. Durham is focused on, the people said, centered on a certain data set. The nature of the data and of the dispute remains unclear, though one person suggested that the disagreement concerned whether N.S.A. analysts could see the raw information or whether the C.I.A., before sharing it, needed to filter the data to mask names and other identifying details about Americans and American organizations.

The filtering process is a routine part of how spy agencies share foreign intelligence with each other under guidelines imposed by the attorney general. The rules permit exceptions in cases where the identities are necessary to understand the information, which can lead to disputes about whether that standard has been met.

Officials also differed over access to unclassified emails of American officials that the Russian government had previously hacked, including at the White House and State Department.

A foreign ally’s intelligence service had obtained its own copy of the stolen messages and provided drives with another reproduction of them to the United States government. Investigators, including at the F.B.I., wanted to look at those files. They argued that the Russian hackers’ chosen focus while the Kremlin’s election interference operation was gearing up might shed light on that operation.

But an index of the messages compiled by the unnamed foreign ally showed that they included emails from President Barack Obama as well as members of Congress. Mr. Obama’s White House counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, decided that investigators should not open the drives, citing executive privilege and the possibility of a separation-of-powers uproar if the F.B.I. sifted through lawmakers’ private messages.

One problem in making sense of these disputes between the intelligence agencies nearly four years later, several people said, is that officials did not caveat their emails with detailed descriptions of their motivations and rationales for balking. That has left the messages open to multiple potential readings.

The analysts could have been engaged in standard bureaucratic behavior like obeying the filtering process or hoarding sensitive information. Or perhaps they were trying to cover something up. The questions asked by Mr. Durham and his team suggest they are looking for any potential basis to support making the latter reading, officials said.

Mr. Durham also asked questions that appear aimed at understanding how analysts reached their conclusion and who drove that process, the people said, and whether and how information from foreign governments or the C.I.A. played any role in stoking suspicions at the F.B.I. about Trump campaign links to Russia.

Standards issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence require analysts to follow procedures aimed at ensuring objective, neutral and independent evaluations of the facts.

Mr. Durham has interviewed F.B.I. officials and agents who worked on the bureau’s Russia investigation, called Crossfire Hurricane, and for the special counsel who took over the inquiry, Robert S. Mueller III. They have also interviewed C.I.A. analysts.

Mr. Durham and his team also interviewed around a half-dozen current and former officials and analysts at the National Security Agency, including its former director, the retired Adm. Michael S. Rogers, last summer and again last fall. The Intercept first reported the interviews of Admiral Rogers.

But Mr. Durham has not interviewed the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, his onetime deputy Andrew G. McCabe or Mr. Brennan. Mr. Durham has requested Mr. Brennan’s emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A. to learn what he told other officials, including Mr. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.

Mr. Trump has targeted all three former top officials as he has sought to foster a narrative that it was illegitimate for government investigators to scrutinize links between his campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks and that he was the victim of a “deep state” conspiracy to sabotage him for political reasons — a push that led to the Durham inquiry.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

After Trump’s Attacks on Justice Dept., Barr Says He Will Not ‘Be Bullied’

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-barr-facebookJumbo After Trump’s Attacks on Justice Dept., Barr Says He Will Not ‘Be Bullied’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Courts and the Judiciary Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr said that President Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department had made it “impossible for me to do my job” and asserted that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”

Mr. Barr’s remarks were aimed at containing the fallout from the department’s botched handling of its sentencing recommendation for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted of seven felonies in a bid to obstruct a congressional investigation that threatened the president.

Mr. Trump’s criticisms “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with ABC News.

He said that he would not let the president’s attacks influence him.

“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” Mr. Barr said. “And I said, whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial board, or the president, I’m going to do what I think is right. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

He added, “It’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”

Hours after prosecutors recommended on Monday that a judge sentence Mr. Stone to seven to nine years in prison, Mr. Trump attacked their request as “horrible and very unfair” and as a “miscarriage of justice.” The next day, Mr. Barr and other senior department officials intervened to lower the recommendation.

The episode ignited a firestorm among rank-and-file lawyers at the Justice Department. While the officials blamed the original filing on a miscommunication and said they had intended to correct it even before Mr. Trump assailed it, four of the prosecutors working on the case withdrew. Career prosecutors began to express worry that their work could be used to settle political scores.

The optics only worsened when Mr. Trump congratulated Mr. Barr for his decision to step in and ease the sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone. “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

The president also accused the prosecutors who had secured a conviction against Mr. Stone of engaging in an “illegal” investigation. He incorrectly accused Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the Stone trial, of placing his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in solitary confinement. Mr. Manafort, who was convicted of monetary fraud in a case that grew out of the special counsel’s investigation, at one point had a jail cell to himself but was not in solitary confinement, and Judge Jackson was not involved in his placement.

And Mr. Trump compared the Stone case to the Russia investigation led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. “Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress,” Mr. Trump said, without evidence.

Mr. Barr did not immediately respond to those false claims about the prosecutors, the judge and Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Barr quickly became one of Mr. Trump’s trusted advisers after becoming attorney general last February — a reversal of the tense relationship that Mr. Trump had with Mr. Barr’s predecessor, Jeff Sessions.

Mr. Trump soured on Mr. Sessions after he recused himself from oversight of the Russia investigation. Their toxic relationship cast a political shadow over the department and strained dealings between the department and the White House.

Tensions eased when Mr. Barr arrived and embraced some of the most divisive aspects of Mr. Trump’s agenda, often serving as a polished and articulate defender of the president against accusations of abuse of power.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Bipartisan Bid to Restrain Trump, Senate Passes Iran War Powers Resolution

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-warpowers-facebookJumbo In Bipartisan Bid to Restrain Trump, Senate Passes Iran War Powers Resolution War Powers Act (1973) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party Middle East Law and Legislation Kaine, Timothy M Iran Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Thursday to require President Trump seek congressional authorization before taking further military action against Iran, as Democrats joined forces with eight Republicans to try to rein in the president’s war-making powers weeks after he escalated hostilities with Tehran.

The bipartisan vote, 55 to 45, amounted to a rare attempt by the Senate to restrain Mr. Trump’s authority just over a week after it voted to acquit him of impeachment charges, and nearly six weeks after the president moved without authorization from Congress to kill a top Iranian security commander.

But it was a mostly symbolic rebuke of the president, as support for the measure fell short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a promised veto by Mr. Trump. The House passed a similar measure last month on a nearly party-line vote that also fell well short of the two-thirds margin.

Still, indignant at the administration’s handling of a drone strike in Iraq last month that killed a top Iranian official — a major provocation that pushed the United States and Iran to the brink of war — an unusually large number of Senate Republicans crossed party lines in an attempt to claw back Congress’s authority to weigh in on matters of war and peace.

“We don’t send a message of weakness when we stand up for the rule of law in a world that hungers for more rule of law,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia and the lead sponsor of the measure, said.

“We need a Congress that will fully inhabit the Article I powers,” Mr. Kaine added, referring to the portion of the Constitution that grants Congress the power to declare war. “That’s what our troops and their families deserve.”

Mr. Kaine drafted the resolution in early January as tensions ratcheted up with Iran after the strike in Baghdad that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important general. In briefings with Mr. Trump’s national security team, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, already angry that the administration had not consulted with them before the operation, complained that top officials demeaned and dismissed them in briefings for questioning the president’s strategy.

Both Republicans and Democrats who sponsored the resolution insisted that the measure was not intended to tie Mr. Trump’s hands, but to reassert Congress’s constitutional prerogatives on matters of war. For decades, lawmakers in both parties have ceded those powers with little resistance, deferring to an increasingly assertive executive branch.

Still, Mr. Trump viewed the resolution as a personal affront, and on Wednesday urged Republicans to reject it, framing the measure as a dangerous show of timidity and an attempt by Democrats to “embarrass the Republican Party.”

“We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, adding: “If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal.”

The legislation is sure to pass the Democratic-led House, but White House advisers warned in a formal statement of administration policy that Mr. Trump would veto it if it reached his desk. The statement described the measure as “grounded in a faulty premise” because the United States was not currently engaged in any use of force against Iran.

In the Senate, Republicans mirrored Mr. Trump’s language, arguing that the resolution would shackle the president at a potentially perilous time and be viewed by Tehran as a message of weakness.

“If this passes, the president will never abide by it — no president would,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said. “I want the Iranians to understand, when it comes to their provocative behavior, all options are on the table.”

But a small group of moderate and libertarian-minded Republicans who were rankled by the administration’s handling of the Suleimani strike supported the measure, insisting that it was both morally and constitutionally necessary.

Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who have advocated disengaging U.S. troops from prolonged military conflicts abroad, were infuriated by a contentious congressional briefing delivered last month by Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers on the operation. They complained that administration officials had been unwilling to engage in a genuine discussion about a possible military escalation in the Middle East. Previously lukewarm on their support for Mr. Kaine’s resolution, both senators signed on after the briefing.

“They were in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public,” Mr. Lee said then, emerging red-faced from the briefing. “I find that absolutely insane. It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional and it’s wrong.”

The vote was the latest in a series of bids by Congress over the past year to rein in Mr. Trump’s war powers. Last year, Congress cleared a bipartisan measure invoking the War Powers Act that would have cut off American military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war, and a separate measure seeking to curtail the president’s war-making powers in Iran ping-ponged between the two chambers, passing the House but not the Senate.

Despite a recognition in both parties that much of the American public is weary of perpetual military conflict, the measures drew only modest support from Republicans, each time falling well short of the two-thirds majority vote necessary to override a veto.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said that he had voted multiple times to send troops to war — first as a member of the House and then later in the Senate. He described them as “the toughest votes” he ever had to cast, “knowing that in the best of circumstances, that Americans will die.”

“Before you make that decision, you have to think long and hard, and many members of Congress would like to race away from that,” he said. He described the rationale adopted by many lawmakers as: “I’d just rather blame the president if it turns out bad.”

Supporters of the resolution approved Thursday saw a glimmer of hope in the final vote tally. In July, the Senate rejected a similar measure to curtail the president’s war powers related to Iran, with only four Republican senators defecting to support it. Twice as many supported the resolution on Thursday.

“We want to make sure that any military action that needs to be authorized is in fact authorized properly by Congress,” Mr. Lee said. “That doesn’t show weakness; that shows strength.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Bipartisan Bid to Restrain Trump, Senate Passes Iran War Powers Resolution

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-warpowers-facebookJumbo In Bipartisan Bid to Restrain Trump, Senate Passes Iran War Powers Resolution War Powers Act (1973) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party Middle East Law and Legislation Kaine, Timothy M Iran Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Thursday to require President Trump seek congressional authorization before taking further military action against Iran, as Democrats joined forces with eight Republicans to try to rein in the president’s war-making powers weeks after he escalated hostilities with Tehran.

The bipartisan vote, 55 to 45, amounted to a rare attempt by the Senate to restrain Mr. Trump’s authority just over a week after it voted to acquit him of impeachment charges, and nearly six weeks after the president moved without authorization from Congress to kill a top Iranian security commander.

But it was a mostly symbolic rebuke of the president, as support for the measure fell short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a promised veto by Mr. Trump. The House passed a similar measure last month on a nearly party-line vote that also fell well short of the two-thirds margin.

Still, indignant at the administration’s handling of a drone strike in Iraq last month that killed a top Iranian official — a major provocation that pushed the United States and Iran to the brink of war — an unusually large number of Senate Republicans crossed party lines in an attempt to claw back Congress’s authority to weigh in on matters of war and peace.

“We don’t send a message of weakness when we stand up for the rule of law in a world that hungers for more rule of law,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia and the lead sponsor of the measure, said.

“We need a Congress that will fully inhabit the Article I powers,” Mr. Kaine added, referring to the portion of the Constitution that grants Congress the power to declare war. “That’s what our troops and their families deserve.”

Mr. Kaine drafted the resolution in early January as tensions ratcheted up with Iran after the strike in Baghdad that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important general. In briefings with Mr. Trump’s national security team, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, already angry that the administration had not consulted with them before the operation, complained that top officials demeaned and dismissed them in briefings for questioning the president’s strategy.

Both Republicans and Democrats who sponsored the resolution insisted that the measure was not intended to tie Mr. Trump’s hands, but to reassert Congress’s constitutional prerogatives on matters of war. For decades, lawmakers in both parties have ceded those powers with little resistance, deferring to an increasingly assertive executive branch.

Still, Mr. Trump viewed the resolution as a personal affront, and on Wednesday urged Republicans to reject it, framing the measure as a dangerous show of timidity and an attempt by Democrats to “embarrass the Republican Party.”

“We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, adding: “If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal.”

The legislation is sure to pass the Democratic-led House, but White House advisers warned in a formal statement of administration policy that Mr. Trump would veto it if it reached his desk. The statement described the measure as “grounded in a faulty premise” because the United States was not currently engaged in any use of force against Iran.

In the Senate, Republicans mirrored Mr. Trump’s language, arguing that the resolution would shackle the president at a potentially perilous time and be viewed by Tehran as a message of weakness.

“If this passes, the president will never abide by it — no president would,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said. “I want the Iranians to understand, when it comes to their provocative behavior, all options are on the table.”

But a small group of moderate and libertarian-minded Republicans who were rankled by the administration’s handling of the Suleimani strike supported the measure, insisting that it was both morally and constitutionally necessary.

Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who have advocated disengaging U.S. troops from prolonged military conflicts abroad, were infuriated by a contentious congressional briefing delivered last month by Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers on the operation. They complained that administration officials had been unwilling to engage in a genuine discussion about a possible military escalation in the Middle East. Previously lukewarm on their support for Mr. Kaine’s resolution, both senators signed on after the briefing.

“They were in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public,” Mr. Lee said then, emerging red-faced from the briefing. “I find that absolutely insane. It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional and it’s wrong.”

The vote was the latest in a series of bids by Congress over the past year to rein in Mr. Trump’s war powers. Last year, Congress cleared a bipartisan measure invoking the War Powers Act that would have cut off American military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war, and a separate measure seeking to curtail the president’s war-making powers in Iran ping-ponged between the two chambers, passing the House but not the Senate.

Despite a recognition in both parties that much of the American public is weary of perpetual military conflict, the measures drew only modest support from Republicans, each time falling well short of the two-thirds majority vote necessary to override a veto.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said that he had voted multiple times to send troops to war — first as a member of the House and then later in the Senate. He described them as “the toughest votes” he ever had to cast, “knowing that in the best of circumstances, that Americans will die.”

“Before you make that decision, you have to think long and hard, and many members of Congress would like to race away from that,” he said. He described the rationale adopted by many lawmakers as: “I’d just rather blame the president if it turns out bad.”

Supporters of the resolution approved Thursday saw a glimmer of hope in the final vote tally. In July, the Senate rejected a similar measure to curtail the president’s war powers related to Iran, with only four Republican senators defecting to support it. Twice as many supported the resolution on Thursday.

“We want to make sure that any military action that needs to be authorized is in fact authorized properly by Congress,” Mr. Lee said. “That doesn’t show weakness; that shows strength.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Bipartisan Bid to Restrain Trump, Senate Passes Iran War Powers Resolution

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-warpowers-facebookJumbo In Bipartisan Bid to Restrain Trump, Senate Passes Iran War Powers Resolution War Powers Act (1973) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party Middle East Law and Legislation Kaine, Timothy M Iran Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Thursday to require President Trump seek congressional authorization before taking further military action against Iran, as Democrats joined forces with eight Republicans to try to rein in the president’s war-making powers weeks after he escalated hostilities with Tehran.

The bipartisan vote, 55 to 45, amounted to a rare attempt by the Senate to restrain Mr. Trump’s authority just over a week after it voted to acquit him of impeachment charges, and nearly six weeks after the president moved without authorization from Congress to kill a top Iranian security commander.

But it was a mostly symbolic rebuke of the president, as support for the measure fell short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a promised veto by Mr. Trump. The House passed a similar measure last month on a nearly party-line vote that also fell well short of the two-thirds margin.

Still, indignant at the administration’s handling of a drone strike in Iraq last month that killed a top Iranian official — a major provocation that pushed the United States and Iran to the brink of war — an unusually large number of Senate Republicans crossed party lines in an attempt to claw back Congress’s authority to weigh in on matters of war and peace.

“We don’t send a message of weakness when we stand up for the rule of law in a world that hungers for more rule of law,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia and the lead sponsor of the measure, said.

“We need a Congress that will fully inhabit the Article I powers,” Mr. Kaine added, referring to the portion of the Constitution that grants Congress the power to declare war. “That’s what our troops and their families deserve.”

Mr. Kaine drafted the resolution in early January as tensions ratcheted up with Iran after the strike in Baghdad that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important general. In briefings with Mr. Trump’s national security team, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, already angry that the administration had not consulted with them before the operation, complained that top officials demeaned and dismissed them in briefings for questioning the president’s strategy.

Both Republicans and Democrats who sponsored the resolution insisted that the measure was not intended to tie Mr. Trump’s hands, but to reassert Congress’s constitutional prerogatives on matters of war. For decades, lawmakers in both parties have ceded those powers with little resistance, deferring to an increasingly assertive executive branch.

Still, Mr. Trump viewed the resolution as a personal affront, and on Wednesday urged Republicans to reject it, framing the measure as a dangerous show of timidity and an attempt by Democrats to “embarrass the Republican Party.”

“We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, adding: “If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal.”

The legislation is sure to pass the Democratic-led House, but White House advisers warned in a formal statement of administration policy that Mr. Trump would veto it if it reached his desk. The statement described the measure as “grounded in a faulty premise” because the United States was not currently engaged in any use of force against Iran.

In the Senate, Republicans mirrored Mr. Trump’s language, arguing that the resolution would shackle the president at a potentially perilous time and be viewed by Tehran as a message of weakness.

“If this passes, the president will never abide by it — no president would,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said. “I want the Iranians to understand, when it comes to their provocative behavior, all options are on the table.”

But a small group of moderate and libertarian-minded Republicans who were rankled by the administration’s handling of the Suleimani strike supported the measure, insisting that it was both morally and constitutionally necessary.

Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who have advocated disengaging U.S. troops from prolonged military conflicts abroad, were infuriated by a contentious congressional briefing delivered last month by Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers on the operation. They complained that administration officials had been unwilling to engage in a genuine discussion about a possible military escalation in the Middle East. Previously lukewarm on their support for Mr. Kaine’s resolution, both senators signed on after the briefing.

“They were in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public,” Mr. Lee said then, emerging red-faced from the briefing. “I find that absolutely insane. It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional and it’s wrong.”

The vote was the latest in a series of bids by Congress over the past year to rein in Mr. Trump’s war powers. Last year, Congress cleared a bipartisan measure invoking the War Powers Act that would have cut off American military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war, and a separate measure seeking to curtail the president’s war-making powers in Iran ping-ponged between the two chambers, passing the House but not the Senate.

Despite a recognition in both parties that much of the American public is weary of perpetual military conflict, the measures drew only modest support from Republicans, each time falling well short of the two-thirds majority vote necessary to override a veto.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said that he had voted multiple times to send troops to war — first as a member of the House and then later in the Senate. He described them as “the toughest votes” he ever had to cast, “knowing that in the best of circumstances, that Americans will die.”

“Before you make that decision, you have to think long and hard, and many members of Congress would like to race away from that,” he said. He described the rationale adopted by many lawmakers as: “I’d just rather blame the president if it turns out bad.”

Supporters of the resolution approved Thursday saw a glimmer of hope in the final vote tally. In July, the Senate rejected a similar measure to curtail the president’s war powers related to Iran, with only four Republican senators defecting to support it. Twice as many supported the resolution on Thursday.

“We want to make sure that any military action that needs to be authorized is in fact authorized properly by Congress,” Mr. Lee said. “That doesn’t show weakness; that shows strength.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com