AP ‘Fact Check’ Mangles What Trump Tweeted on Tilted Mueller Probe

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Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2018/05/21/ap-fact-check-mangles-what-trump-tweeted-tilted-mueller-probe

Fox News Judicial Analyst Defends Timeline Of Mueller's Probe

During a Fox News segment on various calls for special counsel Robert Mueller to end his probe into Russian meddling during the 2016 U.S. election, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano defended the length of the investigation, which hits the 1-year mark this week. 

“Bob Mueller has no duty to tip his hand and show his cards until the end of his investigation, and he does have a duty to complete the investigation,” Napolitano, a former judge, told host Heather Childers on “America’s Newsroom.” 

“It’s going to take a while until he gets all the evidence,” he added. 

When Childers accused Mueller of expanding the scope of his investigation and therefore extending the timeline of the probe, Napolitano defended him.

“I don’t think he had any idea what he was going to stumble on,” Napolitano said, listing the charges against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and the investigation of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen. 

“They can’t overlook these things,” he added of Mueller’s team.

Childers wrapped the segment up, but not before saying, “I know a lot of people disagree with you because they think this has gone on way too long.” 

“I understand their impatience, but it’ll come to an end one of these days,” Napolitano replied. 

Watch the full segment here.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/fox-news-judicial-analyst-defends-015937463.html

Trump derides Mueller's obstruction probe as a 'setup' and 'trap'

President Trump on Wednesday called special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the president’s possible obstruction of justice in the ongoing federal probe of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia a “setup” and a “trap.”

Trump has for months complained about the probe, which he has repeatedly labeled a “witch hunt.” He did so again Wednesday morning.

“There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap),” Trump tweeted. “What there is is Negotiations going on with North Korea over Nuclear War, Negotiations going on with China over Trade Deficits, Negotiations on NAFTA, and much more. Witch Hunt!”

Trump’s tweet comes amid multiple reports that his lawyers and the special counsel are heading toward a possible legal showdown over an interview Mueller wants to conduct with the commander in chief.

On Tuesday night, the Washington Post reported that Mueller raised possibility of presidential subpoena during a “tense” early March meeting with Trump’s legal team.

“Trump’s lawyers insisted he had no obligation to talk with federal investigators probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign,” the Post reported. “But Mueller responded that he had another option if Trump declined: He could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury.”

CNN reported that Trump’s legal team is bracing for the possibility of the case ultimately going to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, most legal experts say a Trump-Mueller interview would be a minefield for a president who has made, by the Post’s count, more than 3,000 false or misleading claims since taking office.

On Monday, the New York Times published a report that included more than 40 questions that Mueller would like to ask Trump. The Times said it obtained the questions, which were given to the president’s lawyers, from a person who is not part of Trump’s legal team.

Mueller, who has reportedly been seeking an interview with Trump for months, appears to want to know about a broad array of issues, including Trump’s thinking regarding the firings of national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James Comey. Trump’s firing of Comey prompted the Justice Department to appoint Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation. Comey says he believes he was fired because of the probe.

The questions also address Trump’s attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as the president’s knowledge of his campaign’s interactions with figures tied to the Kremlin. In particular, the special counsel is interested in the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower — attended by Donald Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump’s then campaign manager, Paul Manafort — with a Russian lawyer who offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

“This list reinforces the notion that the president should not go in for an interview with Mueller,” Sol Wisenberg, a defense lawyer who served as deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, told the Times. “Mueller knows all kinds of things — we don’t know exactly what he knows — and these are both broad and detailed questions, making real land mines.”

Related: What Mueller’s questions for Trump reveal about the investigation

On Tuesday, Trump called the disclosure of Mueller’s questions “disgraceful” and falsely suggested that a person can’t be charged with obstructing justice if no underlying crime is ultimately found.

“Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed,” he tweeted.

The president added: “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!”

In a follow-up tweet Wednesday, Trump quoted Joe diGenova, a lawyer and former U.S. attorney who on Tuesday argued in a Sirius satellite radio interview that Mueller’s questions are “an intrusion” into the president’s article II power to fire anyone he pleases.

“To ask questions, as Mr. Mueller apparently proposes to do, about what the president was thinking when he fired Comey, or Flynn, or anybody else, is an outrageous, sophomoric, juvenile intrusion into the president’s unfettered power to fire anyone in the executive branch,” diGenova said. An excerpt of the interview appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Tuesday night.

Trump is known to regularly watch the show and use Hannity as an informal adviser.

Trump then weighed in on the Department of Justice’s refusal to turn over certain documents to congressional committees investigating the DOJ’s decision-making in 2016 and 2017 — and warned he may “have no choice” but to “get involved!”

Read more from Yahoo News:

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-derides-muellers-obstruction-probe-setup-trap-125455128.html

Kiev shielded Manafort from corruption probe to ensure delivery of US cash & weapons

Paul Manafort

    

Ukraine froze four corruption investigations into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in order to avoid angering the American president, as the White House finalized a $47 million deal to sell anti-tank missiles to Kiev.

According to Ukrainian officials who spoke to the New York Times, Kiev is too reliant on US financial and military aid to risk irritating Trump, who is hugely critical of the investigation into alleged Russian interference and collusion in the 2016 presidential election.

Volodymyr Ariev, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and ally of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, admitted that the Manafort investigations were put “in the long-term box” to avoid spoiling relations with the Trump administration.

“In every possible way, we will avoid irritating the top American officials,” Ariev said.

The US state department issued a license for 210 Javelin missiles and 35 launching units in December and announced the final approval of the sale in early March. The decision to halt the Ukrainian investigations into Manafort was made in early April.

In the US, Manafort is facing charges of money laundering and financial fraud, stemming from his time working as an adviser to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted in 2014 after street protests supported by Washington turned violent.

Ukrainian investigators had been tracing multi-million dollar transfers to Manafort from members of Yanukovich’s political party. One of the investigations was looking into a $750,000 payment to Manafort from a Ukrainian shell company. Manafort has denied receiving under-the-table payments from Yanukovich’s party and his spokesperson speculated to the Times that a ledger showing $12.5 million in payments to his client could be a forgery.

The investigations into Manafort were not completely closed, but the prosecutor Serhiy Horbatyuk was blocked from issuing subpoenas for evidence or interviewing witnesses. Before he lost the authority to prosecute, Horbatyuk had previously sent a letter to the office of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller offering to cooperate – an offer which he now cannot fulfill, due to Kiev’s decision.

The sale of the missiles, which were received on April 30, was seen as a victory for President Poroshenko, as it indicated American support for his government’s so-called “anti-terrorist operation” against anti-Kiev separatists in eastern Ukraine.

In addition to the missiles, Ukraine receives hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from the US. In 2016, the US paid out $300 million to assist Kiev in defending itself against “Russian-backed separatists.”

A bill introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2017 proposed cutting the amount of military aid to Ukraine in half, but the Trump administration authorized $350 million more in aid to Kiev in late December.

Kiev has repeatedly appealed to Washington for military assistance in the form of lethal weaponry, even as world leaders urge Poroshenko to abide by the Minsk Agreements – the deal between Kiev and the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which was brokered in 2015 by the leaders of Russia, Germany and France.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/384570-Kiev-shielded-Manafort-from-corruption-probe-to-ensure-delivery-of-US-cash-weapons

Cosmic fender-bender: NASA’s asteroid-hunting probe develops mysterious dent (PHOTO)

READ MORE: Threat assessment: NASA’s asteroid hunter reveals scariest, Earth-bound objects (VIDEO)

After over a year of studying the March 2, 2017 snap to determine whether the mark was a smudge on the lens or something more sinister, NASA scientists determined that it’s actually a poppy-seed sized impact crater from some form of cosmic debris. The divet will not, they say, disrupt the spacecraft’s mission to the carbonaceous asteroid Bennu.

The photo was taken by the craft’s StowCam imager as part of a routine status check conducted six months after the initial launch. The indentation measures 0.08 inches (2mm) across and appeared on the craft’s ablative heat shield, a critical component for ensuring mission success.

The shield is designed to withstand such impacts, as well as protect the craft during its high-speed re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere. Heat shield damage can seriously affect a mission – an investigation into the Columbia disaster found that damage to the shield on the shuttle’s left wing caused it to fail catastrophically during re-entry, killing all seven astronauts on board. 

The SRC is the part of the OSIRIS-REx vehicle that will be used to store the Bennu samples and bring them back to Earth, landing somewhere in the Utah desert in 2023. After an exhaustive analysis, the NASA team determined that the indentation does not pose a threat to the overall mission.

The OSIRIS-REx project was launched to extract some of the Bennu asteroid’s resources and return them to Earth while also helping scientists figure out how to properly blow it up – or at the very least bat it away. That’s right, Bennu is coming right for us (sometime in the late 22nd century), so NASA wants to find out exactly what it’s made of.

According to the probe’s mission statement, researchers believe that the asteroid may contain some of the molecular precursors to the origin of life on Earth as we know it. They are also expecting to find natural resources such as water, precious metals, and maybe even some organic matter. Finally, NASA will also use the mission to test the feasibility of using similar asteroids to fuel exploration of our solar system by both robotic and manned spacecraft who will piggyback on board.

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Source Article from https://www.rt.com/usa/424812-asteroid-nasa-study-bennu/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Venezuela arrests two Chevron executives in ongoing anti-corruption probe

chevron

    

The Public Prosecution’s anti-graft initiative widens its scope to include private sector oil industry employees.

Two Chevron employees were arrested in the Venezuelan city of Puerto La Cruz on Monday, as part of the Bolivarian government’s ongoing anti-corruption drive.

Begun last September, Venezuela’s hardline campaign against corruption and influence peddling has led to legal action against dozens of employees and executives in the state oil sector, but these are the first arrests targeting personnel from a private foreign company.

According to sources interviewed by Reuters, agents of the Bolivarian Intelligence Services (SEBIN) raided PetroPiar’s Puerto la Cruz offices, located in the northeastern Venezuelan state of Anzoategui, to make the arrests.

PetroPiar is a 70/30 joint venture between state oil company PDVSA and Chevron, the largest US oil company operating in Venezuela today. One of the detained men, Carlos Agarra, is a chemical engineer recently relocated to Venezuela from Chevron’s Argentina operations, while the second detainee, Rene Vasquez, is a procurement advisor.

Monday’s arrests were not the first time personnel associated with the Petropiar have been accused of corruption. In January, seven PetroPiar managers were detained on grounds of embezzlement and conspiracy involving manipulation of production figures.

Focused on the oil and foreign currency exchange sectors, the anti-corruption drive has led to the arrests of some 80 PDVSA employees, 20 of whom are high-level executives. Among the top figures facing prosecution are former oil ministers Eulogio del Pino and Nelson Martinez.

The most important figure charged with corruption still remains at large. Rafael Ramirez, who was Chavez’s longest-serving oil minister, is sought by Venezuelan authorities and has a capture order issued by Interpol in January.

Although many have welcomed President Nicolas Maduro and Attorney General Tarek William Saab’s crackdown on corruption, some analysts claim that the campaign reflects factional disputes within Chavismo and has hampered the state oil company’s already flagging production.

Production reached record lows of 1.6 million barrels per day in January and has continued to fall throughout the year, as newly named military personnel were tapped to replace civilian staff members in the state oil company. Among the military officials is the new president of PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo.

On Tuesday, Chevron responded to the arrests stating that “Our legal team is evaluating the situation and working towards the timely release of these employees,” adding,”We have contacted the local authorities to understand the basis of the detention and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these employees.”

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/383570-Venezuela-arrests-two-Chevron-executives-in-ongoing-anti-corruption-probe

Lawmakers Urge Criminal Probe of Senior Obama Officials

Lawmakers Urge Criminal Probe of Senior Obama Officials



by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)



Investigative journalist Sara Carter broke the story, saying 11 congressional lawmakers made what’s called a criminal referral to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.



They called for investigating Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch and others, their dubious conduct and abuses of power gone unpunished.



In a letter to Sessions, they said “(w)e write to refer the (designated) individuals for investigation of potential violation(s) of federal statutes.”



“(W)e are especially mindful of the dissimilar degrees of zealousness that has marked the investigations into Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, respectively.” 



“Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately.”



The fabricated Christopher Steele doggy dossier, financed by Hillary and the DNC, was cited as “present(ing) false and/or unverified information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).”



The dossier made spurious accusations without evidence, alleging misconduct and collusion between Trump, his campaign team and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign – including phony accusations of Russian US election interference.



Lawmakers cited DOJ and FBI personnel involved in obtaining FISC warrant authorization “based on unverified and/or false information for possible violation(s) of 18 USC 242 and 18 USC 1505 and 1515b.”



They referred to the explosive January Devin Nunes memo, revealing extensive FISA abuses by high-level US officials – naming former FBI director James Comey, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe and current deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.



A March letter Nunes sent to Jeff Sessions was also mentioned. According to lawmakers, Comey “engaged in questionable conduct vis-a-vis President Donald Trump.”



He “wrote memoranda detailing alleged conversations between himself and President Trump, creating ‘a paper trail’ for ‘documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation.’ “



A previous article said he disgraced the office he held, mocking legal, moral and ethical standards – including involvement in the witch-hunt Russiagate probe, along with letting Hillary off the hook for serious wrongdoing.



He remains unaccountable for major offenses, cashing in handsomely from his mistitled “A Higher Loyalty” book published this week.



He claimed material in the book came personal recollections of discussions with Trump, admitting inclusion of some classified material.



The 1974 Privacy Act governs the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of personal information maintained by federal agencies.



It prohibits disclosing it without written consent, stating:


“No (federal) agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains.”



All federal agencies must prevent unauthorized release of personal records.



FBI policy prohibits staff from releasing “any information acquired by virtue of (their) official employment (to) unauthorized individual(s) without prior official written authorization” from the agency.



Releasing information related to ongoing investigations and sensitive operations is prohibited without written permission.



All material related to official agency business remains government property.



According to the lawmakers, “Comey leaked classified information (without authorization) when sharing (it) with (Columbia University) Professor (Daniel) Richman.”



He leaked it to the media, remaining unaccountable for the action along with Comey.



Hillary was criminally referred to the DOJ “for potential violation(s) of 52 USC 30121 and 52 USC 30101.”



Former attorney general Loretta Lynch was criminally referred to the DOJ for “her decision to threaten with reprisal the former FBI informant, William Douglas Campbell, who first came forward in 2016 with insight into the sale of the Canadian firm Uranium One, which controlled nearly 20 percent of uranium mining interests in the United States,” Carter reported.



According to congressional lawmakers, Lynch’s criminal referral was for potentially violating “18 USC 1505 and 1515b.”



Will Jeff Sessions act responsibly on any or all of the above? Rarely ever are federal officials held accountable for their lawless actions – never for naked aggression, the highest of high crimes.



VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.



My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”



http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html


Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/238771-2018-04-20-lawmakers-urge-criminal-probe-of-senior-obama-officials.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

US/UK Obstructing Douma Probe?

US/UK Obstructing Douma Probe?



by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)



Clear evidence shows the alleged April 7 Douma CW incident was a false flag – US and UK dirty hands almost surely behind it.



Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said Moscow has “evidence that Britain had a direct involvement in arranging this provocation in Eastern Ghouta” – clearly in cahoots with Washington, both nations partnered in waging war in Syria.



On Friday, Sergey Lavrov stressed the same thing as Konashenkov, saying “Russia has strong evidence proving…UK involvement in staging (an alleged) chemical attack in” Douma.



Western financed, (al-Qaeda-linked) White Helmets were involved, Lavrov added.



No CW attack occurred. Claims otherwise were fabricated. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert lied, claiming Washington has “a very high level of confidence” that Assad was responsible – for something that didn’t happen.



Asked if the Trump administration has clear evidence backing its accusation, Heather said sorry, it’s classified. “We are unable to” reveal it.



It’s longstanding US coverup policy, notably on falsely claiming Russian meddling in America’s 2016 presidential election. The Big Lie hasn’t been retracted for lack of credible evidence.



On Monday, US envoy to the OPCW Kenneth Ward lied, claiming “(t)he United States is concerned that Russia may have tampered with the Douma attack site with the intent of thwarting an effective investigation by the OPCW fact-finding mission.”



Nauert repeated the Big Lie, saying Washington has “credible information” (it won’t reveal), indicating “Russian officials have worked with (Damascus) to sanitize the locations of the suspected attacks and remove incriminating evidence of chemical weapons use,” adding:



“We have credible information that indicates (Russia and Syria are) deny(ing) (and) delay(ing) (OPCW) inspectors from gaining access to Douma.”



On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said remnants of terrorists in Douma “intimidate” residents.



Their actions delayed the arrival of OPCW inspectors. They should have begun work days ago. Russia and Syria were wrongfully blamed for them not so far entering Douma – a convenient pretext for Washington and Britain to claim delay let Moscow and Damascus “sanitize” the alleged site before their arrival.



Russia is working with Syria to “ensure (the OPCW) mission (in Douma) takes place,” Lavrov explained, adding:



He “hope(s) professionalism will prevail…(W)e will see. We expect honesty…from (OPCW) experts.”



His comments were remarkable given the organization’s disturbing history of pro-Western bias – its record of shame Lavrov is fully aware of.



Delaying its mission to Douma facilitates blaming Syria and Russia for the alleged April 7 incident whatever the results of its probe.



If OPCW findings are negative, Moscow and Damascus will be accused of obstruction. If positive, the organization will be complicit with Washington and Britain about an incident that didn’t happen.



Clear evidence proves accusations of a CW incident in Douma were fabricated.



US, UK and French naked aggression on Syrian sites following the incident was likely prelude for much more to come – especially given the mission’s failure to heavily damage or destroy targeted Syrian military bases.



That was the objective, not eliminating nonexistent Syrian CW facilities.



VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.



My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”



http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html


Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/238768-2018-04-20-us-uk-obstructing-douma-probe.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS