Breaking – Senate announces probe of Loretta Lynch behavior in 2016 election

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/23/senate-announced-probe-loretta-lynch-behavior-2016/?utm_source=onesignal&utm_campaign=pushnotify&utm_medium=push

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Friday, June 23, 2017

The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a probe into former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s efforts to shape the FBI’s investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the committee’s chairman announced Friday.

In a letter to Ms. Lynch, the committee asks her to detail the depths of her involvement in the FBI’s investigation, including whether she ever assured Clinton confidantes that the probe wouldn’t “push too deeply into the matter.”

Fired FBI Director James B. Comey has said publicly that Ms. Lynch tried to shape the way he talked about the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and he also hinted at other behavior “which I cannot talk about yet” that made him worried about Ms. Lynch’s ability to make impartial decisions.

Mr. Comey said that was one reason why he took it upon himself to buck Justice Department tradition and reveal his findings about Mrs. Clinton last year.

The probe into Ms. Lynch comes as the Judiciary Committee is already looking at President Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the committee, said the investigation is bipartisan. The letter to Ms. Lynch is signed by ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and also by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse, the chairman and ranking member of the key investigative subcommittee.
Letters also went to Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria and Leonard Benardo and Gail Scovell at the Open Society Foundations. Mr. Benardo was reportedly on an email chain from the then-head of the Democratic National Committee suggesting Ms. Lynch had given assurances to Ms. Renteria, the campaign staffer, that the Clinton probe wouldn’t “go too far.”

At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Mr. Comey told lawmakers that Ms. Lynch had attempted to change the way the FBI described its probe of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server. The change appeared to dovetail with how Mrs. Clinton’s supporters were characterizing the probe.

“At one point, [Ms. Lynch] directed me not to call it an ‘investigation’ but instead to call it a ‘matter,’ which confused me and concerned me,” Mr. Comey said during his June 8 testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we are to close this case credibly.”

Acknowledging that he didn’t know whether it was intentional, Mr. Comey said Ms. Lynch’s request “gave the impression the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our investigation with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity.”

Mr. Comey said the language suggested by Ms. Lynch was troublesome because it closely mirrored what the Clinton campaign was using. Despite his discomfort, Mr. Comey said, he agreed to Ms. Lynch’s language.

• Andrea Noble contributed to this story

Breaking – Arkansas bar to decide on potential discipline against Hillary Clinton

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/21/arkansas-bar-decide-potential-discipline-clinton/?utm_source=onesignal&utm_campaign=pushnotify&utm_medium=push
Arkansas bar to decide on potential discipline against Hillary Clinton
State Dept. also deciding whether to strip security clearance from Clinton, aides

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton escaped criminal charges last year, but her legal troubles may not be over — the Arkansas state bar has promised a decision by next month on disciplinary action.
And the State Department continues to probe Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling of classified information, with an eye toward deciding whether she and several top aides should maintain their access to classified information at the State Department.

“The department’s investigation is ongoing,” State officials said in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, which the Iowa Republican released earlier this month.

The department said Mrs. Clinton still has access to documents created or reviewed during her time in office. Meanwhile, some seven aides have access to limited classified information, the department confirmed. It said their access is also under review.

Mrs. Clinton sent and received thousands of emails with material now deemed classified, including some top-secret, from an account she maintained on a server she kept at her home in New York. The FBI declined to push charges against her, with then-Director James B. Comey saying she was too inept with technology to put national security at risk knowingly.

But the issue continues to dog her, not only at the State Department, but as a lawyer.

Ty Clevenger, a New York lawyer, filed an attorney misconduct complaint last year against Mrs. Clinton in Arkansas, accusing her of dishonest behavior and lying under oath in testimony to Congress.

In an email Wednesday, Michael E. Harmon, deputy director of the state bar’s office of professional conduct, told Mr. Clevenger he’s still working on the matter. “It is my hope to have something to you by the middle of July at the latest,” he wrote.

Mrs. Clinton’s ability to practice law in Arkansas has been suspended for not keeping up continuing education requirements, but it could be reinstated.

Mr. Clevenger is also asking for discipline in other venues against Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers during the email fiasco: David Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.

Democrat Dictionary

As shown below, Hillary Clinton described the FBI investigation of her as being a security inquiry. In the following articles, read what James Comey said about Obama Attorney General, Janet Lynch, and the word “Matter,” instead of “Investigation.” So, let’s take a look at the purpose of the FBI. Is it called the Federal Bureau of Security Inquiries? Or, is it called the Federal Bureau of Matters? Or, is it known as The Federal Bureau of Investigation? It appears that democrats are ambidextrous, and can choose the word that best accomplishes their objectives. Maybe we should use another name, such as, (you can provide your own name).

News sources are selected without prejudice (John 8:32)

Federal Bureau of Investigation
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), formerly the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, which simultaneously serves as the nation’s prime federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is concurrently a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.[2] A leading U.S. counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.[3]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Bureau_of_Investigation

What we know about the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails

By Lauren Carroll on Thursday, May 12th, 2016 at 6:01 p.m.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/may/12/fbis-investigation-hillary-clintons-emails-recap/

Over the past couple of days, some Hillary Clinton critics have complained over the way her campaign has described the FBI’s probe into her private email server. Clinton and her campaign have called the probe a “security inquiry” regarding information stored on the server, as opposed to a criminal probe.
“I say what I have said now for many, many months: It’s a security inquiry,” she said on CBS May 8.

But on May 11, reporters met with FBI Director James Comey, and he said he is not familiar with the term “security inquiry.” Instead, he said, “we’re conducting an investigation. That’s what we do.”

So is it an “inquiry” or is it an “investigation”? While Clinton might shy away from the word “investigation,” it is truly a distinction without a difference. Inquiry is just another word for investigation.

Clinton’s critics jumped on Comey’s words as proof that the FBI is on track to prosecute Clinton for mishandling classified information. Her campaign continues to deny that the case will ever reach that point.

While serving as secretary of state, Clinton sent and received emails hosted on a private server located in her New York home, outside the State Department’s cyber security fence. Clinton says she did this out of convenience but that, in retrospect, it was a mistake.

Here’s what we know about the investigation so far.

The FBI is conducting an investigation. (It’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation, after all.)

Inspectors General from the State Department and the intelligence community referred the case to the Executive Branch in July 2015. The referral memo made clear that the Inspectors General were not suggesting that anyone involved in Clinton’s email setup committed a crime. Rather, they were following their statutory obligation to inform the intelligence community about any potential security breach — namely, that Clinton possibly held classified information on her email server located outside secure government facilities.

Clinton says she never knowingly sent or received classified information, a possibly criminal action.

In August, the FBI entered the case.

The FBI is determining if criminal activity occurred in connection with the email setup.

We talked to experts in federal criminal investigations, and they told us that the FBI doesn’t look into issues just for the heck of it. They assess cases to find out whether criminal activity occurred.

“We don’t do these because we’re curious,” said Ellen Glasser, a retired FBI special agent who worked on cases regarding mishandled classified information. “There’s a potential that a criminal violation took place.”

Glasser, immediate past president of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, emphasized that she has no inside knowledge about the Clinton case beyond what has been publicly reported.

Clinton’s phrasing — calling it a “security inquiry” — is not necessarily wrong, said Mark Pollitt, former chief of the FBI’s computer forensics program. But it obscures the fact that an investigation can be both security-related and criminal.

A reasonable person might take Clinton’s phrasing to mean the FBI is simply conducting a risk assessment of her server to see whether it’s secure. Agents might do that as part of an investigation, but it’s not the end game, Pollitt said.

Some news organizations have reported that the FBI is also looking into whether the server was hacked.

Clinton is undoubtedly a subject of the investigation, but whether she meets the definition of an official FBI “target” is unknown. That term is reserved for people for whom there is substantial evidence linking them to a crime, according to the prosecutor’s judgment.

Clinton said in March that investigators have not told her that she or any of her staff members are targets of the investigation.

If people ask about their status in an investigation, it’s common practice for the Justice Department to tell them whether they’re targets or not, said Lauren Ouziel, a former federal prosecutor and a professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law.

“If she has been informed by the DOJ that she is presently not a target, then her statement that she is not a target would be accurate,” Ouziel said, noting that she has no non-public knowledge of the case.

But of course, Clinton’s actions are clearly front-and-center in the FBI investigation. Based on her knowledge of how classified information mishandling cases proceed, and her understanding of public reports about Clinton’s role in the email setup, Glasser said the FBI is very likely looking at Clinton specifically.

“My experience tells me that Hillary Clinton is a subject of a criminal investigation,” Glasser said.

The FBI doesn’t open an investigation definitely knowing it will seek charges against someone. If an investigation does not reveal evidence of a crime, or if there is insufficient evidence of criminal conduct, then the investigation will close without any charges filed.

“You don’t know if it’s criminal until you get to the end of it,” Pollitt said.

As part of its investigation, the FBI has looked into the security setup for Clinton’s home server and a thumb drive that has copies of Clinton’s work emails. They have also interviewed several aides, with the Justice Department even granting immunityto the staffer who set up Clinton’s home server.

Agents have not, though, asked Clinton for an interview yet, she said May 8.

The investigation has been going on for nine months now. To Pollitt, that means it’s probably a tough case to pin down.

“If this thing was dead on arrival, nobody would be willing to keep this thing going,” he said.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2017/06/08/loretta-lynch-told-comey-he-should-call-the-criminal-investigation-into-hillary-clinton-a-matter-not-an-investigation-n2338292

Loretta Lynch Told Comey He Should Call Clinton Probe a “Matter,” Not An Investigation
Katie PavlichKatie Pavlich|Posted: Jun 08, 2017 10:55 AM

Speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday morning in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey revealed former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to call the probe into former Secretary of State and then Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a “matter,” not a criminal investigation.

“She [Lynch] told me to call it a matter, which confused and concerned me. But that was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the [Justice] Department if we’re to close this case credibly,” Comey said. “We had an open criminal investigation.”

Comey’s revelation came after a question from Chairman Richard Burr, who asked the former director how the June 2016 secret meeting between Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on her private plane effected his decisions surrounding the case. At the time of the meeting, Clinton was under criminal investigation for storing and sharing top secret and classified information on a private server. Lynch claims the discussion was about golf and grand children, not about special treatment for the former First Lady. Days later, Comey announced she would not be referred to the Justice Department of prosecution.

During the 2016 campaign, Clinton and her campaign team repeatedly referred to the criminal investigation as a “security review,” a classification Comey took issue with.

“I don’t even know what that means, a ‘security inquiry.’ We do investigations here at the FBI,” Comey told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge last year, adding that the term is unfamiliar within the Bureau.

Comey added during his testimony Thursday that he became concerned Lynch was aligning herself with the Clinton campaign by using the same language when referring to the criminal investigation.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-james-comey-ex-atty-gen-lynch-urged-1496934270-htmlstory.html

Comey hearing
JUNE 8, 2017, 8:04 A.M.
Comey: Then-Atty. Gen. Lynch urged that the Hillary Clinton email probe be called a ‘matter,’ not ‘investigation’
Associated Press

Follow
CBS News ✔@CBSNews
#JamesComey says Bill Clinton’s meeting with AG Lynch influenced email probe: “That was the thing that capped it for me”
10:50 AM – 8 Jun 2017
242242 Retweets 240240 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
Former FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that then-Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch urged him to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails a “matter” instead of an “investigation.”

Comey said in his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that he was confused by the request and that it was one of the reasons he felt the need to publicly announce his findings in the Clinton email case.

Comey said the other major factor was Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton on the tarmac of an Arizona airport. Comey said he had to announce his findings to protect the credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department.

‘Trump is the last best chance to get things done’

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/11/inside-the-beltway-trump-is-the-last-best-chance-t/?utm_source=onesignal&utm_campaign=pushnotify&utm_medium=push

By Jennifer Harper – The Washington Times – Sunday, June 11, 2017

Despite calculated Democratic distractions and media attacks, President Trump has signed more bills into law at this point in office than four of his predecessors, besting former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. So says House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy himself.
“Considering that President Trump is getting hit with slings and arrows from all sides including from within his own White House, he is counterpunching and deflecting far better than the press and Democrats think. Trump’s chief concern now is to get congressional Republicans to stop being scared of their own shadow and pass his pro-growth agenda,” Ford O’Connell, adjunct professor at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, tells Inside the Beltway.
“That said, President Trump could make his life easier by expanding and bolstering his communications shop so that his message is more streamlined and consistent. As for Twitter, Trump needs to start tweeting with a message-specific purpose and cease the stream-of-consciousness tweets, particularly when they relate to ongoing investigations and matters before the courts. In politics, there are a lot of things you can’t control, but to be successful you should control what’s in your grasp. If you do that, the rest will take care of itself,” Mr. O’Connell continues.
“Contrary to media reports, a good number of Trump’s core supporters recognize the president’s mistakes and shortcomings. Most previously voted for Bush 43 or Mitt Romney, some voted for Obama. But what unites them is a belief that Trump is the last best chance to get things done in a Washington that no longer represents them,” says Mr. O’Connell. “What fuels these folks is a press corps obsessed with Russia, a Democratic Party kowtowing to an inflamed left-leaning base and smug Republican elites who are all hell-bent on taking down Trump. In other words, it is the venom of this motley consortium that keeps Trump’s grass roots support thriving. As strange as this may seem, welcome to the new normal in politics.”
DEMOCRATS: RESIST, OBSTRUCT, OBFUSCATE
“The Democrats have a playbook. We know it. It’s resist, obstruct. We see them do it at every level,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel tells Fox News Sunday.
Part two, however, is underway.
“Now, it’s throw doubt on the administration. Open as many investigations as possible, cloud the administration as much as possible because they are trying to run out the clock to 2018. That is their playbook. We know it,” Ms. McDaniel adds.
A PRIEST DECLARES HIS MID-TERM MISSION
After personally witnessing President Trump’s speech at the recent Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in the nation’s capital, Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, came away with a new mission.
“As the president spoke passionately of the role of faith in American life, of the freedom Americans must have to live their faith and of the freedom pastors must have to preach that faith without government restriction, I could not help but think that there are so many in the church who do not yet realize what a blessing this president is for the church,” says Father Pavone.
“Perhaps most important of all is that he told us that we religious believers delivered the election to him and that in next year’s midterms, we need to do the same to increase pro-life majorities both in the House and in the Senate. This inspiring event made me all the more committed to do exactly that,” declares the priest.
THE PRO-LIFE DIVIDE
From a new Gallup poll: 49 percent of Americans say abortion is “morally wrong”; 65 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree. Another 43 percent overall say abortion is “morally acceptable”; 27 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats agree.
In addition, 50 percent overall say abortion should be legal “in only certain circumstances”; 56 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree. Another 29 percent say it should be “legal in all circumstances”; 14 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats agree. And finally, 18 percent say abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances”; 28 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats agree.
MR. GORE’S CLIMATE SCHOOL
Former Vice President Al Gore will soon preside over a “Climate Reality Leadership Corps” training session in Bellevue, Washington, at the end of the month. Here’s the pitch from the advocacy group:
“Over the course of three days, participants will: learn from our founder and chairman former U.S. Vice President Al Gore how to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis to people everywhere. Learn how to combine science and solutions to engage audiences. Learn to inspire others to take action. Hear from subject experts in such fields as strategic communications, climate science, and grassroots organizing. Network with global leaders and influencers.”
Oh, and one more thing:
“There is no cost to attend the training. However, participants must pay for their own travel and accommodations.”
POLL DU JOUR
49 percent of U.S. voters have an unfavorable opinion of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; 29 percent have a favorable opinion; 22 percent have never heard of her.
43 percent have an unfavorable opinion of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan; 36 percent have a favorable opinion, 21 percent have never heard of him.
41 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; 24 percent have a favorable opinion, 36 percent have never heard of him.
32 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, 26 percent have a favorable opinion, 42 percent have never heard of him.
Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,999 registered U.S. voters conducted June 1-2.

Breaking – Two Stories: (1) Trump’s lawyer slams Comey’s memo leak, suggests ‘authorities’ should investigate (2) Comey leaked his own memos to contradict Trump, spur special prosecutor

Trump’s lawyer slams Comey’s memo leak, suggests ‘authorities’ should investigate

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/8/marc-kasowitz-trumps-personal-lawyer-says-comey-pr/

By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times – Thursday, June 8, 2017

Responding to the testimony of fired FBI Director James B. Comey, President Trump’s personal lawyer said Thursday that Mr. Comey “makes clear that the president never sought to impede” the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Lawyer Marc Kasowitz also said Mr. Comey made “unauthorized disclosures” of “privileged communications” that he had with the president.
Mr. Kasowitz blasted leaks of classified information by government employees “who are actively attempting to undermine” the president. He criticized the former FBI director for conceding to lawmakers that he provided a friend with a memo he’d written of his conversations with the president, for the purpose of leaking the information to the media.
SEE ALSO: Comey leaked his own memos to contradict Trump, spur special prosecutor (At bottom of page)
“Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers,” Mr. Kasowitz said. “We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated.”
The president’s lawyer said Mr. Trump “feels completely vindicated” after Mr. Comey’s testimony and looks forward to getting on with his agenda.
The president’s lawyer read his statement to reporters at the National Press Club but took no questions.
Mr. Kasowitz said that Mr. Trump “never pressured Mr. Comey” into dropping the Russia investigation, and never sought a loyalty oath from the FBI director.
“It is now established that there the president was not being investigated for colluding with the or attempting to obstruct that investigation,” he said. “As the [Senate Intelligence] committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not leaked during the long course of these events.”

Comey leaked his own memos to contradict Trump, spur special prosecutor

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/8/james-comey-leaked-his-own-memos-contradict-trump/

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fired FBI Director James B. Comey orchestrated the leak of details of his memos of his conversations with President Trump, he testified to Congress on Thursday, saying he was hoping it would spur the Justice Department to announce an independent prosecutor to probe the Trump operation.
Mr. Comey said he used a law professor friend at Columbia University as a go-between to share information with reporters, though he didn’t name the professor. He said he wanted to get information out after Mr. Trump took to Twitter to dispute that he had asked the FBI to let former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn off the hook.
“I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” Mr. Comey testified.
Sen. Roy Blunt said that sounded like a cop-out.
“What you do there is create a source close to the former director of the FBI, as opposed to just taking responsibility yourself,” the Missouri Republican said.
Mr. Comey said he felt so disturbed by his interactions with Mr. Trump that he took notes of their conversations, fearing the president would “lie” about them later. He said he wrote memos in unclassified form so they could be discussed publicly.

Two top intelligence chiefs felt no pressure from Trump to end Russia investigations

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/7/democrats-express-outrage-over-reports-white-house/
By Dan Boylan – The Washington Times – Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Two of the government’s top intelligence officials said Wednesday that they did not feel pressured to end investigations into Russian meddling in the November presidential election, though fired FBI Director James B. Comey did say President Trump asked him to drop a piece of the probe looking into a former top aide.
In testimony prepared for delivery Thursday to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. Comey also confirmed that he thrice told Mr. Trump he was not personally under investigation.
But the former director said Mr. Trump did suggest cutting short the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, asking the FBI to “let this go.”
In recounting five interactions with the president, Mr. Comey never uses the term “obstruction of justice” and makes clear that Mr. Trump said the investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence the election should be completed to ensure that affiliates of his campaign didn’t violate any laws.
But overall, Mr. Comey described a testy relationship with Mr. Trump that began when he confronted the president-elect with unsubstantiated and “salacious” rumors during the transition, then later felt the newly elected president was trying to force on Mr. Comey a “patronage relationship.”
“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Mr. Trump said, according to Mr. Comey.
The committee released the prepared testimony just hours after it heard from Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, on similar topics.
The two men sidestepped questions about their specific interactions with Mr. Trump, but both said they didn’t feel pressure to curtail the FBI’s probe into suspected collusion between the Kremlin and Trump campaign associates.
“In my time of service, which is interacting with the president of the United States or anybody in his administration, I have never been pressured,” Mr. Coats said.
According to recent Washington Post and New York Times reporting, Mr. Trump asked both Mr. Coats and Adm. Rogers to try to influence the Russia investigation and reduce its damage to the Oval Office.
Despite making no direct claims of wrongdoing, Mr. Comey does describe a strange and strained relationship that, according to the former FBI director, appeared to be an effort to demand loyalty.
He emerged from a Jan. 27 meeting, just a week after the inauguration, saying he felt Mr. Trump was trying to pressure him by asking him — for a third time — whether he wanted to stay on as FBI director.
“My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch,” Mr. Comey says.
‘Totally vindicated’
White House independent counsel Marc Kasowitz said later Wednesday that Mr. Trump was satisfied that Mr. Comey had finally confirmed in public that he was not under investigation in any Russia probe.
“The president feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda,” Mr. Kasowitz said.
Wednesday’s hearing included Mr. Coats, Adm. Rogers, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and was nominally called to discuss Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provisions.
But the thrust of the gathering addressed the Russia issue.
While Mr. Coats was firm in his denial of ever feeling pressured by the White House, he implied that he could provide more details of his White House conversations only in a closed meeting.
“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to address that in a public session,” he said.
The answers by Mr. Coats and the others indicate that Mr. Trump, in conversations with the leaders, may have asked the status of the investigations and said they should be dropped if they hadn’t produced anything actionable.
Mr. Comey will appear before the Senate intelligence committee at 10 a.m. Thursday to discuss his dealing with Mr. Trump leading up to his abrupt dismissal on May 9.
Lawmakers are expected to seize upon a particular passage about how the men seemed to interpret the phrase “honest loyalty” — which staffers on Capitol Hill are saying could allude to attempts by Mr. Trump to obstruct justice.
Senate frustration
Mr. Warner began the morning’s Senate hearing by telling the assembled chiefs of America’s leading law enforcement and intelligence agencies that the White House had engaged in an “appalling and improper use” of the nation’s intelligence apparatus.
But when asked, Mr. Coats, Adm. Rogers, Mr. McCabe and Mr. Rosenstein basically deflected attacks or said they could not discuss key matters in a public forum.
Frazzled Democrats were at times joined by exasperated Republicans as the number of questions being dodged increased.
Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican and the panel chairman, went so far as rebuke the intelligence officials for their lack of transparency.
“At no time should you be in a position where you come to Congress without an answer,” he said at the hearing’s end.
When Sen. Kamala D. Harris, California Democrat, sparred with Mr. Rosenstein, Mr. Burr had to jump in and suspend her line of inquiry.
Last month, Mr. Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special council to take over the Justice Department’s Russia probe. On Wednesday, Ms. Harris grilled him for specifics and guarantees that Mr. Mueller could not be fired by the president, as Mr. Comey was.
“Sir, if I may, the greater assurance is not that you and I believe in Mueller’s integrity,” she said as Mr. Rosenstein’s face tightened.
When he started speaking, she cut him off again until Mr. Burr finally intervened.
“The chair is going to exercise his right to allow the witness to answer the question,” the North Carolina Republican declared.
Ms. Harris scowled.
Sen. John McCain, not an intelligence committee member but in attendance at the discretion of the committee, painted a dark picture of the intelligence community’s inability to provide answers.
The Arizona Republican said Mr. Coats‘ refusal to explain about a conversation that The Washington Post already reported “shows what kind of an Orwellian existence that we live in.”
The Post report contained details of Mr. Trump allegedly complaining to Mr. Coats after a March 22 White House briefing about Mr. Comey’s handling of the Russia probe.
“Here in a public hearing before the American people, we can’t talk about what was described in detail in this morning’s Washington Post,” Mr. McCain said.
⦁ Andrea Noble and Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

Breaking – Believe it: Fox News tops the ratings

By Jennifer Harper – The Washington Times – Tuesday, June 6, 2017

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/6/inside-the-beltway-believe-it-fox-news-tops-the-ra/

It has been suggested that there’s is a “war” on against Fox News as the network completes critical personnel changes and launches new programming. Certainly critics hope viewers are under the impression that Fox is suffering in the ratings. But they are not, and this is indisputable. The network still rules. For the 22nd week in a row, Fox News remains the most-watched cable network of all, besting HGTV, USA and TBS, say the latest Nielsen Media Research findings. Additionally, Fox News programs made up 15 of the top 30 telecasts on basic cable.

And no matter what you might hear about ratings minutiae, Fox News outranked both MSNBC and CNN in prime time, drawing 2.2 million viewers compared to MSNBC’s 1.3 million and CNN’s 1.1 million. Fox also triumphed when breaking news about terrorist attacks in London terror emerged: Fox News was the No. 1 cable news network Saturday evening with 2.1 million viewers; CNN garnered 1.2 million and MSNBC a telling 628,000 viewers. And it has been ever thus, it seems. In brief, Fox News has been the No. 1 cable news channel for 15 years according to those Nielsen numbers.

“Fox News is still strong despite the turmoil,” says Jeff McCall, a DePauw University communications professor, in an op-ed for the Indianapolis Star. “For all the controversy surrounding Fox News Channel in recent months, one could conclude the channel is in ratings trouble. Surprisingly, however, the network’s prime time audience in May was 11 percent higher than for May 2016.

Mr. McCall continues, “MSNBC and CNN have seen even larger growth, but those gains have not come at the expense of Fox. MSNBC, in particular, has expanded its audience with a laserlike focus on the Trump administration’s daily dramas. The question for MSNBC now is whether the anti-Trump fervor that fueled its ratings gains has staying power.”

SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY

“A slim majority of Americans (55 percent) say religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. Although this percentage has declined substantially over time, it has been relatively stable over the past year and a half and is up from the all-time low of 51 percent in May 2015,” reports Gallup analyst Art Swift.
And the inevitable partisan divide: 71 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats also agree that faith is still the answer. The strongest sentiment — 85 percent — was found among those who attend church weekly, the lowest — 9 percent — who had no religious preference.

“A slim majority of Americans believe religion can answer problems, a vast majority think that God played some part in the process of human creation, and most believe God also had a role in the contents of the Bible,” says Mr. Swift, summarizing multiple Gallup findings. “Religious fervor may be declining, but with these questions, Americans still assert religion and topics relating to religion as having relevance in 21st-century life.”

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

An event of note on Wednesday in the nation’s capital: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao offers the keynote speech at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Annual Dinner, staged at a sparkling hotel not all that far from the White House. Ms. Chao is likely to address regulatory reform and forward-thinking ideas about infrastructure and yes, the nation’s transportation.

The event has a unique theme, however: “Through the Looking Glass: Washington Gets Curiouser and Curiouser.” Few can argue with that idea. Guests will be treated to “enticing ‘Eat Me’ cookies,” these sweets borrowed from the children’s book itself. There will also be a “looking glass selfie mirror” and a karaoke room complete with a dramatic Red Queen theme.

MOORE OR LESS SECURE

The Trump resistance goes on. And on and on. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has launched TrumpiLeaks a secure new extension of his personal website for those who believe they have something negative to share about President Trump — and are motivated to “protect the United States of America from tyranny.”
Or words to that effect.

Mr. Moore has provided four online encryption apps, plus email and regular mail contacts for interested parties; he’s looking for comments, photos, video and audio files. Will this fuel a future documentary? Hmmm.
“While no form of digital communication is 100 percent secure, the tools we’re using at TrumpiLeaks provide the most secure technology possible to protect your anonymity,” he advises future leakers. “I know this is risky. I knew we may get in trouble. But too much is at stake to play it safe. And along with the Founding Fathers, I’ve got your back.”

ABOUT THOSE SAFE SPACES

Safe spaces on college campuses have been all the rage for a few months. But what the young scholars may really want is, say, a better library, stadium or student union. Yes, there’s a poll.
A new survey finds that 35 percent of college student say the safe spaces are “absolutely necessary,” 37 percent say they are “completely out of touch with reality” and the rest — 25 percent — are indifferent to the whole thing.

“The most important thing to be taken from this survey is that students should be the ones deciding on whether or not a safe space will exist on their respective campus. If enough students want to form a safe space, then let them. If a vast majority of students at a school do not think a safe space is necessary, then do not form one,” notes the analysis from a LendEdu/Whatgoodly poll of 1,659 active U.S. college students conducted May 5-11 and released Monday.

POLL DU JOUR

• 85 percent of U.S. voters say the internet enables more political participation.
• 74 percent say such technological innovation makes them “optimistic about the future.”
• 67 percent say technology has a negative impact on social values; 52 percent say it makes the world “less harmonious.”
• 50 percent say technology can compromise personal privacy.
• 34 percent say they have less trust in technology-driven social media.
Source: A Harvard-Harris poll of 2,006 registered U.S. voters conducted May 18-20 and released Friday.
• Cranky outbursts and chitchat to jharper@washingtontimes.com