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Restored Republic via a GCR: Update as of Oct. 19, 2017

Restored Republic via a GCR Update as of Oct. 19 2017 Compiled 12:01 am EDT 19 Oct. 2017 by Judy Byington, MSW, LCSW, ret, CEO, Child Abus...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This Morning's Mainstream Media News Regarding Trump 8-10-17

Robert Mueller team details millions in ethics disclosures

By David Shortell, Tammy Kupperman and Tom LoBianco, CNN

Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT) August 10, 2017

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • President Donald Trump has termed the Justice Department investigation a 'witch hunt'
  • The special counsel is leading the Justice department's investigation into Russia interference
(CNN)Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller and key members of his team revealed millions of dollars of financial holdings and previous legal work for companies that could figure into their investigation of President Donald Trump's campaign, according to financial disclosures released Tuesday.

According to the documents released by the Justice Department after CNN requested the disclosures, Mueller holds a roughly $3.5 million share in the Washington law firm WilmerHale. He also made tens of thousands of dollars delivering speeches to groups including Ford Motor Company, Citi bank and Banamex, a Mexican bank.

Mueller and Aaron Zebley, Mueller's former chief of staff at the FBI, both represented Facebook at WilmerHale before leaving for the special counsel's office. And Jeannie Rhee, a senior lawyer on Mueller's team, represented Google at WilmerHale before joining the special counsel's team.
The proliferation of fake news and pro-Trump messaging on major platforms, including Twitter, Google and Facebook, has drawn the interest of both federal and congressional investigators and could potentially play a key role in the investigations.

The disclosures also showed Zebley had a WilmerHale partnership share of $1.437 million; Rhee's partnership share and capital contribution interest totaled $2.063 million; and James Quarles, a senior lawyer on the team, had a WilmerHale partnership share of $5.889 million.

A White House spokeswoman declined comment for this article. A request for comment from Mueller's office was not immediately returned Wednesday morning.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May to lead the department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. The documents represented disclosures from five members of Mueller's team and Mueller. CNN reported in June that Mueller had brought on 13 lawyers to work on the probe, though it's unclear how many members of the team would have to submit the disclosures known as an Office of Government Ethics 278 form.

In each of the financial disclosures with the Office of Government Ethics, ethics officials determined that Mueller and his team did not violate any ethics rules.

But that doesn't mean their team is immune to political attacks.

Trump has termed the investigation a "witch hunt" repeatedly and said any investigation of his family's finances would cross a "red line." And Trump's aides have, according to The New York Times, spent time digging into the histories of Mueller's lawyers.

CNN reported in June that three members of Mueller's team donated a total of $56,000 to Democrats prior to joining the probe, according to campaign finance records.

At the end of June, Trump alleged in a Fox News interview that "the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton." Two of the now former WilmerHale attorneys did legal work connected to the Clintons. Zebley provided legal service to Justin Cooper, who helped manage Clinton's private email server. Rhee represented the Clinton Foundation in a racketeering lawsuit and Clinton herself in a lawsuit seeking access to her private emails.

Source: CNN
______________________________________________________

Sen. Johnson walks back remarks on McCain's brain cancer

By Andrew Kaczynski and David Wright, CNN

Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT) August 10, 2017

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Johnson suggested McCain's dissenting vote on health care might have been influenced by his recent brain cancer surgery
  • He quickly distanced himself from the comments
(CNN)Sen. Ron Johnson on Thursday walked back controversial remarks he made about Sen. John McCain earlier in the week when he suggested the Arizona Republican's dissenting vote on health care might have been influenced by his recent brain cancer surgery.

Speaking on CNN's "New Day," Johnson, R-Wisconsin, explained that he was "just expressing sympathy," and that McCain was "not impaired in any way, shape or form" when he cast his crucial "no" vote on health care reform late last month.

On Tuesday, Johnson had suggested in a radio interview that McCain's brain tumor and the early morning hours may have affected his vote on the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare.

"Again, I'm not going to speak for John McCain -- he has a brain tumor right now -- that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in," Johnson said on AM560 "Chicago's Morning Answer."

Seemingly shocked, a radio host responded "really?" to Johnson's comments and asked if he really believed McCain's brain tumor might have factored into his judgment.

"Again, I-I-I don't know exactly what -- we really thought -- and again I don't want speak for any senator," Johnson responded. "I really thought John was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30, he voted no. So you have talk to John in terms what was on his mind."

In response, McCain spokeswoman Julie Tarallo said in a statement to CNN that Johnson's comments were "bizarre and deeply unfortunate."

"It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote," she said.
Johnson began distancing himself from the comments on Wednesday, saying he was "disappointed I didn't more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through."

He added to those thoughts on CNN Thursday morning.

"A lot of us had a real problem with that skinny repeal, and we weren't going to vote for it until we got that assurance from (House Speaker Paul Ryan). Listen, I was trying to defend his position and truthfully express my sympathy for his health condition. Again, I reached out to John, I'm hoping to talk to him today. I have the greatest respect for John McCain," Johnson said on "New Day."
Johnson was also asked by anchor Chris Cuomo whether he thought McCain's cancer should be an issue.

"No, absolutely," Johnson said. "I was just expressing sympathy for his condition. Again, I've got the greatest respect for John McCain. He's not impaired in any way, shape or form."

McCain voted no on the so-called skinny repeal, explaining in a radio interview last week that he disagreed with the process leading up to the vote and saying he supported repealing Obamacare but with an immediate replacement. McCain returned to the Senate to vote on health care-related legislation after a surgery to remove a blood clot revealed he had brain cancer.

Source: CNN
______________________________________________________

FBI raided Manafort home as part of Russia probe

By Daniella Diaz and Evan Perez, CNN

Updated 0719 GMT (1519 HKT) August 10, 2017

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The agents seized materials in Manafort's home as part of the ongoing Russia investigation
  • The tactic appears unusual for a case that has been under investigation for months
Washington (CNN)FBI agents raided a home of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort last month, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

The agents seized materials in Manafort's home as part of the ongoing Russia investigation led by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the source said.

"FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort's residences. Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well," Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, told CNN. He declined to provide further details.

The so-called no-knock warrant, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was served at Manafort's home in Washington's northern Virginia suburbs on July 26, the day after Manafort met with Senate intelligence committee investigators.

The tactic appears unusual for a case that has been under investigation for months and for which Manafort has already turned over hundreds of pages of documents to Senate investigators. The source told CNN the documents seized included financial and tax records and at least some of the information had already been provided to Senate investigators.

Since his appointment in May, Mueller has quietly gathered a team of more than three dozen attorneys, investigators and other staff in a nondescript office in Washington. Officials familiar with the probe describe it as akin to a small US attorney's office, with FBI agents and prosecutors assigned to separate groups looking into various aspects of the investigation.



These include groups of investigators and lawyers focused separately on Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, as well as the investigations focused on Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a US official briefed on the investigation has told CNN.

So far, Trump's campaign has turned over approximately 20,000 pages to the Senate judiciary committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the election, while Manafort turned over approximately 400 pages and Donald Trump Jr. turned over about 250 pages.

Fusion GPS, the firm that compiled a dossier at the center of the federal Russia probe, has not yet turned over any documents, according to the committee's spokesperson, though a source told CNN the firm plans to provide the committee with "thousands" of pages of documents Wednesday.
The spokesperson declined to provide details about the specific contents of the documents.

Source: CNN
______________________________________________________

Trump's 'fire and fury' remark was improvised but familiar

By Jeff Zeleny, Dan Merica and Kevin Liptak, CNN

Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT) August 9, 2017

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand," Sanders said
  • Trump has long been bothered by North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un's threats
Bridgewater, New Jersey (CNN)President Trump's fierce warning to North Korea was improvised in the moment, not part of a scripted statement that he prepared to deliver Tuesday, according to three people with knowledge of the remarks.

Trump has long been bothered by North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un's threats against the United States and has privately vented about a powerful United States response to the rogue nation. His statement on Tuesday, flanked by top White House aides and his new chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, mimics those private remarks, a source said.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump said during a meeting on opioids from his golf club in New Jersey. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen ... he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."

The New York Times was first to report the remarks were extemporaneous.

Trump's comment, which came shortly before North Korean officials threatened the United States territory of Guam with missiles, was criticized as too bellicose and direct by national security and defense experts who argued any conflict involving nuclear weapons called for calm and reserve.
"I take exception to the President's comments because you've got to be sure that you can do what you say you're going to do," Sen. John McCain said in an interview with Phoenix radio station KTAR. "The great leaders I've seen don't threaten unless they're ready to act and I'm not sure President Trump is ready to act."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Kelly and members of Trump's national security team "were well aware of the tone of the statement of the President prior to delivery. The words were his own."

"The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand," Sanders said. "(Gen. Kelly and others) were clear the President was going to respond to North Korea's threats following the sanctions with a strong message in no uncertain terms."

The President went into the meeting on the opioid epidemic expected to be asked about the rising nuclear threat from North Korea, but he was not reading from anything when he threatened the rogue nation with "fire and fury," three officials said. The paper in front of him contained notes about the opioid epidemic, not North Korea.

The tone of rhetoric Trump used, which has reverberated around the world and raised alarm among national security and foreign policy experts, did not surprise many around him, the officials said. The President has used nearly that same language in private, the officials said.

White House chief of staff John Kelly was "aware Trump would take a strong tone on North Korea," one official told CNN. He "certainly was not surprised or caught off-guard," the official added.

Some White House aides have trumpeted the President's forceful response to the North Korea.
"This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis," Trump aide Sebastian Gorka said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday. "He is saying don't test America, and don't test Donald J. Trump. We are not just the superpower. We were a superpower. We are now a hyper power, nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities."

Source: CNN
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Poll: Trump finances fair game in Russia investigation

By Jennifer Agiesta, CNN Polling Director

Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT) August 10, 2017

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than six in 10 polled say Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the right thing by recusing himself
  • 60% of Americans see the investigation as a serious matter that should be fully investigated
  • Perceptions of Russia as a "very serious" threat remain at the highest level since the 1980s
Washington (CNN)Seventy percent of Americans believe the federal investigation into Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election in the US should be able to look into President Donald Trump's finances, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

Sixty percent of those polled view the probe as a serious matter that should be fully investigated, and a significant minority, 38%, view it as an effort to discredit Trump's presidency. By a roughly two-to-one margin, those polled disapprove of the way Trump is handling the Russia probe (59% disapprove, 31% approve).

Trump has frequently called the investigation headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller and congressional inquiries a "witch hunt" in tweets, and his firing of FBI director James Comey led to the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department investigation.
The President's handling of the investigation merits far lower approval ratings within the GOP than his overall performance so far does. While 83% of Republicans say they approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency so far, just 56% feel the same way about his handling of the Russia investigation. Democrats (81%) and independents (59%) mostly disapprove of Trump's handling of the investigation.

Still, Republicans are more likely than others to say Trump's finances ought to be off-limits to the investigation (52% feel that way, 41% believe his finances should be on the table). Among Democrats and independents, large majorities say that whether the President had any financial dealings with Russia is a fair question (91% of Democrats and 72% of independents say that).
The poll was conducted last Thursday through Sunday, in the wake of news that federal investigators working on the probe are looking in to whether Trump and his associates have financial ties to Russia.

And news emerged Wednesday that FBI agents raided the home of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in late July, seizing documents including financial and tax records.

Only about half of Americans (51%) say Mueller will be able to conduct a thorough investigation free from outside influence, 40% say he will not be able to do that and 10% are unsure. Republicans (49%) and Trump supporters (52%) express greater skepticism about that than Democrats and those who disapprove of Trump (32% each).

Partisanship seems to drive overall views of the Russia investigation as well, according to the poll. While 87% of Democrats call the investigation itself a serious matter, just 23% of Republicans agree.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation is a rare exception to the partisan divide. Overall, 67% say Sessions did the right thing by stepping away from the investigation, 27% say he did the wrong thing. More than six in 10 across party lines (62% of Republicans, 67% of independents and 72% of Democrats) consider it the right move.

Perceptions of Russia as a threat to the US are largely unchanged since a March CNN/ORC poll. Overall, 35% call Russia a "very serious" threat and another 37% consider the country a moderately serious threat. The "very serious" share (up an insignificant one point since March) remains at its highest level since a 1983 assessment of the Soviet Union found that 49% considered it a "very serious" threat.

This CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone August 3 through 6 among a random national sample of 1,018 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

Source: CNN
______________________________________________________

Senate panel gets more details about Trump Tower meeting, reviews Comey memos

By Manu Raju, CNN

Updated 0717 GMT (1517 HKT) August 10, 2017

(CNN)The Senate judiciary committee is now going through documents that could give a fuller picture of the controversial Trump Tower meeting where Donald Trump Jr. was promised Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton's campaign -- and whether there were any improper contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates during the course of the election.

The panel's two leaders, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, also have reviewed the contents of memos written by fired FBI Director James Comey and his interactions with President Donald Trump as the committee reviews whether there was any improper interference with the FBI investigation to Trump associates.

According to committee officials, the panel has now received roughly 20,000 pages from the Trump campaign responding to a detailed series of questions posed by the panel last month.

The committee asked for all records related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting when Trump Jr., the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Russian operatives after the younger Trump was informed the Russian government was trying to help his father's campaign.

The senators also asked the Trump campaign for a wide range of records pertaining to Russian meddling in the elections, such as any campaign contacts with or about a number of senior Russian officials, such as the former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. And the senators asked for "all communications" from senior Trump campaign advisers, such as Kushner, Manafort, the President's ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, his attorney Michael Cohen, foreign policy adviser Carter Page and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Trump Jr. has provided another 250 pages of documents to the committee, with Manafort turning over an additional 400 pages, according to committee officials.

Moreover, the committee has received documents from the Trump administration about the Russian-American lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, who also attended the Trump Tower meeting, the sources said. The committee had asked the Department of Homeland Security and State Department for information about Akhmetshin's visas, immigration paperwork, and the circumstances around his entrance into the country.

The numbers of pages returned to the committee were provided by committee spokesman George Hartmann. Congressional officials declined to detail the specific contents of the records.

Committee officials also told CNN that Grassley, the chairman of the committee, and Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, were able to review the memos that Comey wrote after his interactions with Trump, including his allegations that Trump urged him to back away from investigating Flynn and sought loyalty from the fired FBI director. The office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, allowed the panel's leaders to review the memos in a classified setting. but they were not allowed to take notes or hold onto copies of the documents. A similar courtesy was given to the two leaders of the Senate intelligence committee, Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, according to congressional sources.

The Senate judiciary committee still has not received a response to its letter to the Justice Department about warrants the FBI sought under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as part of the bureau's probe into potential Trump and Russia collusion, congressional sources said.

In June, the panel also asked a list of questions to the White House and FBI about Kushner's security clearance form, but the panel so far has only received a response from Kushner's outside attorney, according to a committee source. It's unclear whether the panel's detailed questions -- including whether the President or anyone inside the administration intervened to ensure Kushner was eligible for a security clearance -- was answered by Kushner's attorney. A Kushner attorney declined to comment.

Source: CNN

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