Saved Stories – None: Robert Mueller’s Sense of Duty Illuminates His Tough Choices

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

Reactions to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s public appearance on Wednesday morning came swiftly, arriving on cable TV panels and social media platforms even before he finished his brief statement.

The first group of responses breathlessly relayed Mueller’s bottom lines, with his description of his inability under Department of Justice policy to accuse the president of crimes and his declaration of unwillingness to exonerate the president of obstruction of justice treated as breaking news. These conclusions, of course, have been available for almost six weeks, thanks to Attorney General William Barr’s choice to release a redacted version of the Mueller report on April 18. The fact that such statements grabbed headlines immediately after Mueller’s appearance reveals less about the special counsel’s work than it does about how few people—including, apparently, many members of Congress—have made time to actually read the report.

The second set of reactions exploded after Mueller’s expression of his desire to walk away now and leave additional commentary and action to others. “I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter,” he said. “I am making that decision myself—no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.” The collective sense of abandonment, as expressed most energetically on social media, was palpable. You would have thought Mueller had just announced he was flying to the moon.

But such shock is misplaced. Mueller’s lifetime of public service and his approach to his work as special counsel over the past two years foreshadowed that he would take this approach—remaining within what he understood as his proper lane up to and beyond the end of any assignment, no matter how bumpy the road.

To understand this, it helps to break down Mueller’s choices since the start of his investigation into three categories: things he felt obliged to do, things he felt unable to do and the small category of things in between—which his sense of duty also guided.

First are the set of actions that the special counsel regulations and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment letter required. Specifically, Mueller was tasked to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” and “any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).” Mueller did that job straight as an arrow, prosecuting crimes arising from the investigation and referring everything else to other offices.

He also delivered his findings as directed. Not to Congress, not to the American people, not on Twitter—but to the attorney general,as the regulations governing his activity required: “At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.” Under the regulations, the decision to make any or all of the report public was not Mueller’s but Barr’s.

And yet there are actions Mueller felt forbidden from taking as a Department of Justice employee. Plenty of attention rightfully has been placed on his strict adherence to the Office of Legal Counsel opinion prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president. Most interesting, however, are the actions neither demanded by Justice Department regulations and policy nor prohibited by the same. Here, Mueller’s perception of duty—which I see as his sense of both the tasks he needed to perform to complete his job ethically and the things he could not do because they would unethically push him beyond his core mission—illuminates his choices.

With only one exception, when the Office of Special Counsel’s spokesman Peter Carr disputed the accuracy of a Buzzfeed report, Mueller avoided commenting publicly on issues related to the special counsel’s investigation (outside of public court documents), regardless of what the president and others in the outside world were saying about him, his team and their collective work. The regulations do not prohibit the special counsel from making public statements. But Mueller chose to keep his head down and do his work.

Yet Mueller did not remain entirely silent. Regarding the report itself, the special counsel’s office could have produced a sparse text, merely listing prosecution and declination decisions with a sentence or two each for the purpose of, as the regulations require, “explaining the prosecution or declination decisions.” As Gen. Michael Hayden and I wrote last month, Mueller’s lengthy report went beyond that absolute minimum—and he wrote in the text of the report how duty drove this choice. He self-consciously wanted to preserve evidence for future prosecutors (should they choose to charge the president with crimes after he leaves office) and for Congress (should it choose to pursue the president’s impeachment). Even though he drew the line short of opining about the president’s actions, he found a way to fulfill a greater duty to the country while not violating his more direct duty as special counsel.

Another area not governed tightly by rules is whether to seek to testify before Congress. The special counsel law does not explicitly prohibit doing so, yet nothing in the statute suggests it. His requirements ended with the delivery of the confidential report to the attorney general. As for whether or how to speak publicly about his work, Mueller had a choice to make. Should he offer to go “behind the report,” to tell Congress more than the printed word conveyed?

Without getting inside Mueller’s mind or heart, it is impossible to know how he made his choice. But my experience with him and his actions to date in this investigation suggest that his sense of duty again pushed him to a strict constructionist view of his mandate. Seeking to testify, or even planting the seed for a request to testify, would have been inconsistent with his pattern of narrowly following his legal and policy guidance as special counsel.

But, as just described, he had already elected to write a report that went beyond the bare minimum. So why not lean forward here, too, and give a wink or a nod to testifying?

I suspect that here, as with the choice to write a detailed report, Mueller may have in mind a sense of greater duty to the country: accepting legitimate legislative branch oversight of the executive branch, which can come in the form of a subpoena. Mueller may prefer not to testify, but he would probably not refuse to show up if Congress demanded his presence. “There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress,” he acknowledged at his press conference before adding, “Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report …. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.” He didn’t say that he would refuse to provide information to the elected representatives of the American people—just that, in doing so, he’d stay within the four corners of the report itself.

Although Robert Mueller is not a political actor, he’s been around the game long enough to understand Washington better than most, to anticipate others’ moves and to prepare for contingencies. Imagine if he had appeared eager to testify, or if he had simply left it as an open question. For the first time in more than two years, he would have opened himself up to understandable claims of being political, by seeking to do something outside his core duty, and to a barrage of hypercharged presidential tweets. At a minimum, any apparent desire to appear before Congress would risk shrinking the American people’s healthy confidence in his work.

The situation would be quite different if he were compelled to testify—even if only to read aloud, in heavily watched televised hearings, the many damning pieces of evidence and disturbing conclusions in the text of the report. Mueller would be seen as a reluctant witness, having made clear he’d rather remain in private life than spend another minute in the spotlight.

What better way would there be to fulfill a wider sense of duty than to see to it that American voters and their representatives hear the report’s words about what the president has done without pushing to do so?

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Saved Stories – None: Today’s Headlines & Commentary

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

President Trump tweeted about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s statement on Wednesday, apparently stating for the first time that Russia helped him win the 2016 election without his own involvement, though he later walked back these statements to reporters at the White House, notes the Washington Post.

Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates pushed for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump following Mueller’s statement, according to NBC News.

Officials from the Defense Intelligence Agency believe that Russia may be conducting low-level nuclear tests—or that the country has the capability to carry out tests exceeding the zero-yield limit set out in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty—reports Reuters. The head of the body monitoring this treaty, Lassina Zerbo, said there are no signs Moscow has violated the treaty.

Israelis will vote in parliamentary elections for a second time in two months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government coalition before a midnight deadline on Wednesday, reports the Post.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan stated that recent North Korean missile tests violated a U.N. Security Council resolution, breaking with President Trump’s comments that he was not bothered by the short-range missile tests earlier this month, according to the Hill.

At least six people have been killed and six more injured in a suicide bomb attack at the entrance to a military training center in Kabul on Thursday, reports Reuters.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Andrew Patterson examined Attorney General William Barr’s denial of bond hearings to detained asylum seekers who have viable asylum claims in the recent immigration case Matter of M-S-.

Matthew Kahn shared Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s statement on the Russia investigation on Wednesday.

Benjamin Wittes reflected on Mueller’s statement and the next steps Congress might take in response.

Robert Chesney, Danielle Citron and Quinta Jurecic discussed the recent video on Nancy Pelosi and how political campaigns might mitigate the harm of similar videos in the run-up to the 2020 elections.

Matthew Kahn shared a special edition of the Lawfare Podcastin which Quinta Jurecic, Benjamin Wittes, David Kris and Paul Rosenzweig reflected on Mueller’s statement and what the next steps might be.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

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Saved Stories – None: Robert Mueller’s Written Statement on the Russia Investigation

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

On Wednesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered a statement about the Russia investigation. The statement, as prepared for delivery, is available below.

Two years ago, the Acting Attorney General asked me to serve as Special Counsel, and he created the Special Counsel’s Office.

The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.

I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking today because our investigation is complete. The Attorney General has made the report on our investigation largely public. And we are formally closing the Special Counsel’s Office. As well, I am resigning from the Department of Justice and returning to private life.

I’ll make a few remarks about the results of our work. But beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office’s written work speak for itself.

Let me begin where the appointment order begins: and that is interference in the 2016 presidential election.

As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system. 

The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information, and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks. The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. 

And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to interfere in the election.

These indictments contain allegations. And we are not commenting on the guilt or innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understood. That is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office.

That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.

Let me say a word about the report. The report has two parts addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate. 

The first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign’s response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy. 

And in the second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the President.

The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the Acting Attorney General apprised of the progress of our work.

As set forth in our report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.   

We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime. The introduction to volume two of our report explains that decision.

It explains that under long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view—that too is prohibited.

The Special Counsel’s Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. 

The Department’s written opinion explaining the policy against charging a President makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report. And I will describe two of them:

First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.

And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.

And beyond Department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of an actual charge.   

So that was the Justice Department policy and those were the principles under which we operated. From them we concluded that we would not reach a determination – one way or the other – about whether the President committed a crime. That is the office’s final position and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.

We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the Attorney General—as required by Department regulations.  

The Attorney General then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and the American people.

At one point in time I requested that certain portions of the report be released. The Attorney General preferred to make the entire report public all at once. We appreciate that the Attorney General made the report largely public. I do not question the Attorney General’s good faith in that decision.

I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter. I am making that decision myself—no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.

There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself.  

The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.

In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.

So beyond what I have said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.

It is for that reason that I will not take questions here today.

Before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, the analysts, and the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals, who spent nearly two years with the Special Counsel’s Office, were of the highest integrity.   

I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments—that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. 

That allegation deserves the attention of every American.

Thank you.

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Saved Stories – None: Livestream: Special Counsel Robert Mueller Delivers Statement on Investigation

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller will deliver a statement at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday on the investigation he led into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. A livestream is available below, via the Washington Post. 

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Saved Stories – None: What Mueller’s reminder about Russian interference really meant – Washington Post

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What Mueller’s reminder about Russian interference really meant  Washington Post

“Multiple, systematic efforts” to affect the election included outreach to the Trump campaign.

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @cspanhistory: In 1922 #OnThisDay, 57 years after President Lincoln was assassinated and the end of the Civil War, the Lincoln Memorial…

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In 1922 #OnThisDay, 57 years after President Lincoln was assassinated and the end of the Civil War, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. was dedicated. Here’s a look at footage from the ceremony. pic.twitter.com/t3ngFlDMZ9


Posted by

cspanhistory
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 12:40pm
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mikenov
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:40pm

48 likes, 37 retweets

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @EpochTimesChina: #China: When a woman fell from her bike, police were called to assist her. Instead, they arrested her for carrying ma…

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#China: When a woman fell from her bike, police were called to assist her.

Instead, they arrested her for carrying materials about her faith—#FalunGong. She was transferred to a mental hospital and forced to take hallucinogenic drugs. theepochtimes.com/police-rescue-…


Posted by

EpochTimesChina
on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 8:35pm
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on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:40pm

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @CNNPolitics: US President Trump praises Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage ahead of state visit to UK cnn.it/2XnDCTX https://t.co/…

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US President Trump praises Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage ahead of state visit to UK cnn.it/2XnDCTX pic.twitter.com/raXuEWbo0K



Posted by

CNNPolitics
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:37pm
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mikenov
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:39pm

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @ricardorossello: Nuestra administración no tolerará ni será cómplice de ningún acto de corrupción venga de donde venga. Esperaremos el…

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Nuestra administración no tolerará ni será cómplice de ningún acto de corrupción venga de donde venga. Esperaremos el resultado del caso de estos acusados, a quienes les asiste la presunción de inocencia. elvocero.com/gobierno/rosse…


Posted by

ricardorossello
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 5:57pm
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on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:38pm

40 likes, 16 retweets

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @kaysintBB: @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS are hiding from @FBI #Trump #FBI #Cheetos #Cheato #BridgetJonesDiary pic.twitter.com/Vn6jRqPkSz

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@realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS are hiding from @FBI

#Trump #FBI #Cheetos #Cheato

#BridgetJonesDiary pic.twitter.com/Vn6jRqPkSz






Posted by

kaysintBB
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:23pm
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mikenov
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:34pm

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: The #Trump #Investigations #Blog by #MichaelNovakhov – #Review Of #News And #Opinions: The #FBI #texts: #Evidence of #treason and ‘a #coup’? -… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-fb…

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The #Trump #Investigations #Blog by #MichaelNovakhov – #Review Of #News And #Opinions: The #FBI #texts: #Evidence of #treason and ‘a #coup’? -… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-fb…


Posted by

mikenov
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 9:56am

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: Analysis | The FBI texts: Evidence of treason and ‘a coup’? washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/…

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Analysis | The FBI texts: Evidence of treason and ‘a coup’? washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/…


Posted by

mikenov
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 9:49am

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @NBCNewYork: Startling photo shows bear trying to open car door in Rhode Island as woman fights to keep it closed 4.nbcny.com/WqgPKuM

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Startling photo shows bear trying to open car door in Rhode Island as woman fights to keep it closed 4.nbcny.com/WqgPKuM


Posted by

NBCNewYork
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 9:14am
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mikenov
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 9:40am

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @KremlinRussia: Сегодня иудеи отмечают 26 Ияра – День спасения и освобождения. Поздравление Президента bit.ly/2wCPZQh

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Сегодня иудеи отмечают 26 Ияра – День спасения и освобождения. Поздравление Президента bit.ly/2wCPZQh


Posted by

KremlinRussia
on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 9:31am
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on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 9:39am

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: RT @thehill: Fox News’ Shep Smith: Mueller statement “directly contradicted” Trump admin hill.cm/cU4zYJr pic.twitter.com/AEDKsCfMjd

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Fox News’ Shep Smith: Mueller statement “directly contradicted” Trump admin hill.cm/cU4zYJr pic.twitter.com/AEDKsCfMjd



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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Just Security: The Early Edition: May 30, 2019

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

TRUMP-RUSSIA AND CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller yesterday reignited demands for President Trump’s impeachment, breaking his two-year silence to deny that the U.S. president is innocent of a crime. Mueller, whose report on Russian election interference and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign was published last month, delivered a nine-minute statement that many have interpreted as a signal to Congress to act on his finding that Trump sought to obstruct justice, David Smith reports at the Guardian.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime … we would have said so,” Mueller said, reading from prepared notes at the Department of Justice (D.O.J.) at a late notice public appearance. Mueller also noted that while D.O.J.  policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime, the Constitution provides for another remedy to accuse a president of wrongdoing — a nod toward Congressional ability to conduct impeachment proceedings, Shron LaFraniere reports at the New York Times.

Mueller took no questions and announced his resignation from the D.O.J., shutting down the special counsel’s office and returning to private life. That announcement brings to an end his inquiry into Russian interference, Byron Tau, Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman report at the Wall Street Journal.

Mueller emphasized that there were “multiple… systematic” attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election …and that allegation deserves the attention of every American” Mueller stated, Morgan Gstalter reports at the Hill.

“I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner … I am making that decision myself,” Mueller said in the course of his televised remarks, adding “any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report … the report is my testimony.” Natasha Bertrand reports at POLITICO.

The D.O.J. and special counsel’s office have claimed that there is “no conflict” between statements made by Attorney General William Barr and Mueller about the role that D.O.J. guidelines regarding indictment played in Mueller’s obstruction inquiry. “The Attorney General has previously stated that the Special Counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that, but for the [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he would have found the President obstructed justice … the Special Counsel’s report and his statement today made clear that the office concluded it would not reach a determination – one way or the other – about whether the President committed a crime … there is no conflict between these statements,” D.O.J. spokesperson Kerri Kupec and special counsel spokesperson Peter Carr in a statement issued yesterday evening. Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

“Nothing changes from the Mueller Report,” the president responded in a message sent on Twitter, adding “there was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent … the case is closed! Thank you,” Dartunorro Clark reports at NBC.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) – who has been resistant to calls for impeachment – remained cautious in response to Mueller’s statement, stating: “I thank special counsel Mueller for the work he and his team did to provide a record for future action both in the Congress and in the courts. The Congress will continue to investigate and legislate to protect our elections and secure our democracy,” Kadhim Shubber reports at the Financial Times.

“You don’t bring an impeachment unless you have all the facts,” an “unruffled” Pelosi said in California several hours after Mueller gave his statement, although she added that “nothing is off the table.” Stephen Collinson reports at CNN.

“With respect to [the] impeachment question … at this point … all options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out,” House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) commented when asked about his current stance of affairs. In an earlier statement following the special counsel’s comments, Nadler claimed it now “falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump,” and that the Constitution “points to Congress to take action to hold the President accountable,” Rebecca Shabad reports at NBC.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said yesterday that lawmakers “look forward” to Mueller’s testimony, despite the special counsel’s stated reluctance to testify on Capitol Hill. “We look forward to Mueller’s testimony before Congress … while I understand his reluctance to answer hypotheticals or deviate from the carefully worded conclusions he drew on his charging decisions, there are, nevertheless, a great many questions he can answer that go beyond the report,” Schiff said in a statement yesterday afternoon, Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

Senate Democrats are intensifying a push for Congress to pass additional election security legislation following Mueller’s statement yesterday. Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Mueller made clear during his remarks that Congress should “take steps to protect our democracy by passing legislation that enhances election security, increases social media transparency, and requires campaign officials to report any contact with foreign nationals attempting to coordinate with a campaign,” Jordain Carney reports at the Hill.

Pelosi yesterday slammed social media giant Facebook, arguing that the company’s refusal to take down altered videos of her demonstrated how the it had contributed to misinformation and enabled Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. “We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians,” Pelosi said in an interview with the public radio station K.Q.E.D., adding “I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false,” Cecilia Kang reports at the New York Times.

Former aide to longtime Trump associate Roger Stone – Andrew Miller – appears to have given up a yearlong quest to challenge Mueller’s authority by resisting a grand jury subpoena. Miller’s arguments against Mueller did not find favor with a federal district court judge and an appeals court panel in Washington, Josh Gerstein and Natasha Bertrand report at POLITICO.

An updated list of substantive documents in cases related to the Russia investigation is provided at Just Security.

TRUMP-RUSSIA AND CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS: OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Mueller’s statement yesterday was “starkly different” from the address Attorney General William Barr gave six weeks ago, Mark Mazzetti and Charlie Savage write in an account of yesterday’s events at the New York Times.

Mueller’ statement was “far from the ‘total exoneration’ that Trump has repeatedly — and falsely — claimed,” Anita Kumar writes in an analysis of the implications of yesterday’s events for the president’s position at POLITICO.

Mueller “hewed to Justice Department legal opinions that have not been tested in the courts and were rooted in past presidential crises,” Rosalind S. Helderman explains in an analysis of Mueller’s reasoning at the Washington Post.

“Mueller could have avoided much confusion and short-circuited the administration’s attempt to manipulate public opinion if he had made his statement weeks ago,” the Washington Post editorial board argues.

Mueller advised Congress and the American public to “focus on two interlocking pieces,” Editor-in-Chief Ryan Goodman writes at Just Security, identifying “the gravity of Russia’s actions” and “the gravity of obstruction” as the two priority areas arising from yesterday’s statement.

Following Mueller’s statement Nancy Pelosi will “now be under pressure to retreat to a new line … or abandon it altogether” Edward Luce comments at the Financial Times.

Mueller’s statement was delivered using respectful and nuanced language, “but his message was clear: ‘it’s about Russia, stupid!’” Barbara McQuade comments at The Daily Beast.

A “translation” of Mueller’s “cautious language” is provided by the New York Times editorial board.

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS

Russia may be conducting low-level nuclear tests to help it upgrade its nuclear arsenal, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment. The assessment marks the first time the U.S. has said the Kremlin has failed to observe its commitments under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Michael R. Gordon reports at the Wall Street Journal.

“The U.S. believes Russia is probably not adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the zero-yield standard,” Defense Intelligence Agency Director – Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr. – told reporters yesterday at the Hudson Institute. In a question-and-answer session afterward, he stated only that Russia “has the capability” to conduct a test with a low nuclear yield, Julian E. Barnes and William J. Broad report at the New York Times.

There was no immediate response from the Russian government and the head of a body monitoring a global nuclear treaty commented there was no sign of such violations by Moscow. Head of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee Vladimir Shamanov told news agency Interfax that Ashley “could not have made a more irresponsible statement,” Reuters reports.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton is to meet with his Israeli and Russian counterparts in Jerusalem in June to discuss regional security matters. Reuters reports.

 It is not Russian [intercontinental ballistic missiles] or hypersonic vehicles that pose the greatest threat to U.S. national security – but rather Moscow’s covert influence and destabilization operations, Michael Carpenter writes in an Op-Ed at Just Security.

The TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has shifted his standards on the makeup of the Supreme Court, Carl Hulse writes at the New York Times, contrasting McConnell’s “oh, we’d fill it” comment Tuesday with his previous refrain shown regarding filling a vacancy.

McConnell will do anything to fill the Supreme Court with nominees who will answer the commands of conservative interest group – regardless of what voters decide year to year, E.J. Dionne Jr. comments at The Washington Post, arguing that “the courts are being packed, politicized and pushed hard to the right.”

The KOREAN PENINSULA

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan states recent North Korean missile tests “are a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution,” breaking with President Trump. Trump has repeated in recent days that he was “not bothered” by the short-range missile tests earlier this month and that he remains hopeful for diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Tal Axelrod reports at the Hill.

North Korea yesterday accused the U.S. of showing “evil ambition” and “bad faith” in negotiations by conducting nuclear and missiles tests and military drills to defeat North Korea by force. A statement released by the North Korean foreign ministry accused U.S. officials of a “hostile scheme to stifle us by force,” adding that “the U.S. has … showcased its ulterior intention that it seeks a strength-based solution of the issues, though outwardly it advocates for dialogue,” David Brunnstrom reports at Reuters.

IRAN

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton warned Iran yesterday that any attacks in the Gulf will draw a “very strong response” from the U.S. “The point is to make it very clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of action risk a very strong response from the United States,” Bolton told journalists in the U.A.E. capital, Abu Dhabi, Jon Gambrell reports at the AP.

U.S. warmongers continue to push for conflict with Iran, according to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Araghchi reportedly stated: “we are aware that evident elements are trying to put America into a war with Iran for their own goals,” accusing Bolton and “other warmongers” of plotting against Iran, Al Jazeera reports.

Iran will not negotiate with the U.S. over its nuclear and missile programs, according to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website. “We said before that we will not negotiate with America, because negotiation has no benefit and carries harm,” Khamenei commented yesterday, after President Hassan Rouhani indicated talks with Washington might be possible if sanctions were lifted, Reuters reports.

“We will not negotiate over the core values of the revolution … we will not negotiate over our military capabilities,” Khameni stated, according to a state T.V. program, Reuters reports.

A U.S. military top general believes recent threats from Iran are “different” because they were “more of a campaign” than previous threats. “What’s not new are threat streams … what I would argue was qualitatively different is we saw something that was more of a campaign than an individual threat,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford commented, Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

The Trump administration’s mission to counter Iran’s foreign policy is more likely to lead the U.S. into war “well before any showdown over a nuclear program,” according to lawmakers, former government officials and analysts. Edward Wong reports at the New York Times.

Remember the intelligence lessons of Iraq as Bolton marches to war with Iran, Peter Eisner cautions at CNN, urging the U.S. to examine Bolton’s past behavior.

Iran and Russia will remain allies with an easily defined common enemy, so long as the U.S. continues its aggressive and erratic policies in the region, Reese Erlich comments at Foreign Policy, arguing that U.S. sanctions could create new strategic alliances rather than isolating Tehran.

IRAQ

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not yet decided whether to extend a 90-day U.S. waiver exempting Iraq from sanctions to buy energy from Iran, Reuters reports.

Two Turkish soldiers were killed yesterday in northern Iraq in a new operation against Kurdish militants, according to a statement made on Turkey’s official news agency, the AP reports.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 10 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq between April 21 and May 4 [Central Command].

SYRIA

The latest strikes in the wave of regime bombardment on the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib killed at least 15 civilians yesterday, despite calls to halt the attacks, according to U.K.-based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Seven of yesterday’s victims were reportedly killed in an air raid on the village of Sarja, AFP reports.

The European Union (E.U.) yesterday called for a ceasefire in Idlib province and said Russia, Turkey, Iran and the Syrian government must protect civilians under siege. At least 180,000 people have fled the surge in violence, and government bombing has killed dozens in the past three weeks, Reuters reports.

U.S. forces quietly sent at least 30 suspected foreign Islamic State group (I.S.I.S.) fighters captured in Syria last year and in late 2017 to stand trial in Iraq, according to interviews with the men, Iraqi sources and court documents. The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (C.T.S.) have denied that the men were transferred into their custody, also denying unverified torture claims made by four of the men, Reuters reports.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a new government yesterday, triggering a new election and becoming the first elected prime minister in Israeli history unable to forge a working government. Paul Goldman reports at NBC.

“Middle East peace is only possible with the creation of a Palestinian state,” Jordan’s King Abdullah told President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. According to a palace statement, Abdullah – who is reportedly “deeply concerned” about Trump’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan – told Kushner that Israel had to withdraw from the West Bank, Reuters reports.

Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan is “doomed to fail” and the Palestinian resistance movement will respond firmly to those who proposed such deal, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said in statement released yesterday, Reuters reports.

U.S.-TURKEY RELATIONS

An analysis of how U.S. sanctions over a Russian weapon could rattle Turkey is provided at Reuters.

Turkish-American scientist Serkan Golge – detained in Turkey for nearly three years – has been released. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus welcomed the decision but declined to discuss why Golge was released, the AP reports.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump agreed during a phone call yesterday to meet on the sidelines of a G.20 meeting set for June 28-29 in Japan, the Turkish Presidency’s communications director announced in messages sent on Twitter.  The two leaders discussed issues such as boosting mutual trade, Turkey’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system and “the opportunity to continue the discussion” during the G.20 summit, White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in an email.  Reuters reports.

U.S. MILITARY

The White House wanted the U.S. Navy to move the warship U.S.S. John S. McCain “out of sight” ahead of President Trump’s visit to Japan, according to a May 15 email to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials. The ship was named after the father and grandfather of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — a frequent target of Trump’s ire — with the senator’s own name added to the ship last year, Rebecca Ballhaus and Gordon Lubold report at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump denied knowing anything about the request, sending a message on Twitter claiming that he “was not informed about anything” related to the ship.  The Navy Chief of Information also sent a message claiming that the ship’s name “was not obscured,” also adding that “the Navy is proud of that ship, its crew, its namesake and its heritage” although not denying that an initial request had been made, the BBC reports.

“Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of mydads incredible life,” McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain stated in a message on Twitter, adding “there is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP … so I have to stand up for him … it makes my grief unbearable,” Colby Itkowitz, Dan Lamothe and Josh Dawsey report at the Washington Post.

A critique of Defense Dept General Counsel Ney’s recent remarks on the law of war is provided by Adil Ahmad Haque at Just Security.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

A mutual defense cooperation deal between the U.S. and the U.A.E came into force yesterday, amid increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran. Al Jazeera reports.

At least six people have been killed – and six injured – in a suicide bomb attack today in the Afghan capital. The explosion took place near an Afghan military training center after the attacker was prevented from entering the Marshal Fahim National Defense University, according to an anonymous official, Reuters reports.

China has stepped up efforts to design and manufacture chips itself rather than buy from the U.S., in response to the threat of U.S. sanctions in its high-tech industry.

“Now the U.S. has made a full-on strike on Huawei with no concrete evidence … the chip industry has fully realized the importance [of self-sufficiency],” chief analyst at Shanghai-based semiconductor research company ICWise – Gu Wenjun – commented, Yuan Yang, Nian Liu and Sue-Lin Wong report at Financial Times.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó has vowed to press ahead with street protests, after talks with government officials hosted by Norway ended yesterday without progress towards resolving the country’s political crisis, Reuters reports.

The post The Early Edition: May 30, 2019 appeared first on Just Security.

Just Security

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠


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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Politics: Trump attacks Mueller, says he would have brought charges if he had evidence of a crime

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Michael_Novakhov
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from 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites).

In morning tweets, the president also seemingly acknowledged that Russia helped him get elected.

Politics

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠


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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Politics: The Energy 202: Trump administration’s ‘molecules of U.S. freedom’ come with a cost

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Michael_Novakhov
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That would be climate change.

Politics

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠


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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: “Peter Strzok” – Google News: Theater cancels Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain’s pro-Trump performance over ‘threats of violence’: ‘We are appalled’ – Yahoo Finance

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May 30, 2019
“Peter Strzok” – Google News: Theater cancels Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain’s pro-Trump performance over ‘threats of violence’: ‘We are appalled’ – Yahoo Finance
“Peter Strzok” – Google News: Can Pelosi steer Democrats’ ship past the impeachment rocks? | TheHill – The Hill
DOJ inspector general: Ex-FBI official leaked ‘sensitive’ info, improperly accepted gift from media – Washington Examiner
“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Gary Bauer: Mueller Speaks – Patriot Post
Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: 10 Things to Know for Today – Spectrum News

“Peter Strzok” – Google News: Theater cancels Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain’s pro-Trump performance over ‘threats of violence’: ‘We are appalled’ – Yahoo Finance

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
Just days after actress Kristy Swanson said she and co-star Dean Cain had received a “death threat” for planning to take part in a live reading critical of the former FBI agents investigating Donald Trump, the Washington, D.C.
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“Peter Strzok” – Google News: Can Pelosi steer Democrats’ ship past the impeachment rocks? | TheHill – The Hill

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
From Tom Steyer’s donated millions to the daily rhetoric of presidential wannabes, the impeachment Sirens are luring the Democratic majority closer and closer to a treacherous shoreline.
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DOJ inspector general: Ex-FBI official leaked ‘sensitive’ info, improperly accepted gift from media – Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner
DOJ inspector general: Ex-FBI official leaked ‘sensitive’ info, improperly accepted gift from media Washington ExaminerThe Justice Department’s watchdog said a high-ranking FBI official leaked “sensitive” information to reporters multiple times with authorization and had …
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“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Gary Bauer: Mueller Speaks – Patriot Post

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller addressed reporters and the American people for the first time yesterday. He declared that his investigation was over, that his office was closing and that he was resigning from the Justice Department.
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Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: 10 Things to Know for Today – Spectrum News

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
Your daily look at late breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. HOW ISRAEL MADE HISTORY Israel faces a snap election for an unprecedented second time in a year after Netanyahu fails to form a governing coalition and dissolves parliament instead.
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The FBI News Review

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): mikenov on Twitter: Robert Mueller: Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider video.foxnews.com/v/604234113500…

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Robert Mueller: Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider video.foxnews.com/v/604234113500…


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on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 6:51am

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Twitter reacts to hearing Robert Mueller’s voice by CNN Thursday May 30th, 2019 at 5:01 AM

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from The Trump Investigations Blog by Michael Novakhov – Review Of News And Opinions.

Twitter reacts to hearing Robert Mueller’s voice 

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From: CNN
Duration: 02:08

After two years of silence, the world finally got to hear the voice of Robert Mueller. CNN’s Jeanne Moos reports on Twitter’s reaction. #CNN #News

Robert Mueller makes public statement on special counsel report 

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠


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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): Current News: “путин” – Google Новости: Путин внес в Госдуму законопроект о приостановке с США договора о РСМД – EADaily

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May 30, 2019

Current News

Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites)


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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: Mueller drew up obstruction indictment against Trump, Michael Wolff book says – The Guardian

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May 29, 2019
Mueller drew up obstruction indictment against Trump, Michael Wolff book says – The Guardian
“fbi” – Google News: Sixteen women sue FBI claiming ‘good old boy’ training discrimination: NYT – WHTC News
“fbi reform” – Google News: Letter to the Editor: Democrats seek power, not justice (5/30/19) – Shelbyville Times-Gazette
“fbi reform” – Google News: The next step: finding the origins of the RussiaGate op – Fabius Maximus website
“fbi” – Google News: New San Diego-area FBI chief named – fox5sandiego.com

Mueller drew up obstruction indictment against Trump, Michael Wolff book says – The Guardian

The Guardian
A new book from Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff says special counsel Robert Mueller drew up a three-count obstruction of justice indictment against Donald Trump before deciding to shelve it – an explosive claim which a spokesman for Mueller flatly denied.
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“fbi” – Google News: Sixteen women sue FBI claiming ‘good old boy’ training discrimination: NYT – WHTC News

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
(Reuters) – Sixteen women filed a lawsuit against the FBI on Wednesday, claiming sexual discrimination and accusing it of running “a good old boy network” in its training program, the New York Times reported.
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“fbi reform” – Google News: Letter to the Editor: Democrats seek power, not justice (5/30/19) – Shelbyville Times-Gazette

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
Letter to the Editor: Democrats seek power, not justice (5/30/19) Shelbyville Times-Gazette(In response to two letters published on May 23). To the Editor: Making America great again means recovering from Obama Administration.
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“fbi reform” – Google News: The next step: finding the origins of the RussiaGate op – Fabius Maximus website

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
Summary: Even on the Left there are many who see through the RussiaGate propaganda, understanding that it serves the interests of our elites – but neither the Right nor Left. Here Ann Garrison takes the next step: discovering the origin of this information operation.
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“fbi” – Google News: New San Diego-area FBI chief named – fox5sandiego.com

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
SAN DIEGO — The FBI Wednesday announced the appointment of 24-year agency veteran Scott Brunner as special agent in charge of the bureau’s San Diego Field Office. The FBI Wednesday announced the appointment of 24-year agency veteran Scott Brunner as special agent in charge of the bureau’s San Diego Field Office.
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