The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee says he is preparing a list of eight names of ‘Watergate wannabes’ to send to Attorney General William Barr for criminal referral as it relates to the
‘So we are prepared this week to notify the attorney general that we are prepared to send those referrals over and brief him if he wishes to be briefed.’
‘We think they’re pretty clear, but as of right now this is, this may not be all of them, but this cleans up quite a bit.
‘We have eight referrals that we are prepared to send over to the attorney general this week.’
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes said on Sunday that he plans to make eight criminal referrals to Attorney General William Barr
Nunes said he had prepared the referrals for two years but waited until a permanent attorney general was in place. Barr is seen above at the White House last week
Nunes did not specify the individuals he planned to name, but he said that five of them committed crimes including lying to Congress, misleading Congress, and leaking classified information.
The other three referrals are ‘complicated,’ he said.
Nunes said that the three are being referred for crimes including lying to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and ‘manipulating intelligence.’
Last year, Nunes and his staff wrote a memo alleging anti-Trump bias within the Justice Department.
Earlier this week, Nunes said he would refer ‘two dozen’ people to the attorney general.
‘There are people who definitely lied and misled Congress,’ Nunes told Fox News on Wednesday.
‘If they don’t go to prison, then we will have a two-tier justice Department in this country and it is not going to be good.’
Nunes didn’t tell Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday exactly how many criminal referrals he plans to send to the DOJ, when they would be ready or who would be his targets.
‘The American people need to have confidence in the FBI and the Department of Justice. We are working on the referrals,’ Nunes said. ‘There’s going to be many of them.’
‘There are going to probably at least be a dozen if not two dozen individuals,’ he predicted, ‘and as we continue to get more information and build these and build them out, we want to make sure that everything is finished before we turn them in.’
Nunes said Wednesday night that he will sent up to two dozen criminal referrals to the Justice Department in coming days
Democrats at the helm of the Intelligence Committee have directed their firepower at Trump, retracing ground already trod by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
They have shown no indication of focusing on current or former FBI and Justice Department officials tied to the earliest decisions to investigate the president and his 2016 campaign aides.
Nunes, who led the panel until Democrats took over the House in January, proposed a likely dead-end desire in February for subpoenaing a dozen people.
It’s a near-certainty that Democratic chair Adam Schiff will ignore him.
Instead Nunes changed tack, running his own parallel investigation with the goal of encouraging the Trump DOJ to take action on a series of recommendations of criminal prosecutions.
A joint task force made up of House Judiciary and Oversight Committee members and the Oversight Committee grilled at least 15 witnesses in 2018.
Some transcripts of those interviews are now in the public domain following their release by Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Doug Collins.
The transcripts released so far reflect the testimony of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, top FBI counterintelligence official Bill Priestap and Former FBI agent Peter Strzok.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee approved a series of subpoenas on Wednesday and the Ways and means Committee demanded to see the president’s last six IRS tax returns.
‘There is nothing we can ever give to the Democrats that will make them happy,’ Trump tweeted Thursday. ‘This is the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!’
President Trump said on Sunday attacked Mueller’s team for ‘illegally leaking information’ to the press and then blasted the media for making up stories, calling them a ‘joke.’
‘Looks like Bob Mueller’s team of 13 Trump Haters & Angry Democrats are illegally leaking information to the press while the Fake News Media make up their own stories with or without sources – sources no longer matter to our corrupt & dishonest Mainstream Media, they are a Joke!,’ he tweeted.
The president has been on the attack since The New York Times reported a
But Trump attorney Jay Sekulow gave a simple answer Sunday when asked if there were concerns that the full Mueller report could be more damaging than Barr’s summary.
President Donald Trump attacked special counsel Robert Mueller’s team for ‘illegally leaking information’ to the press
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said there were no concerns the full Mueller report could be more damaging than Attorney General William Barr’s summary
‘No,’ he told ABC’s ‘This Week.’
But he also said it would be a problem if Mueller’s team was leaking to the media.
‘If this is true that there are actually members of that team leaking their concerns about the way things have been phrased to the public, I think is problematic,’ he noted.
The president frequently attacks news reports he doesn’t like as ‘fake news.’ And he has long blasted Mueller’s investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and charged that his staff is made up of mostly Democrats.
Mueller is a registered Republican who was appointed by Republican Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein to investigate Russia’s actions in the presidential election.
Of his 17 team members, 13 are registered Democrats, according to reports.
Trump went after the Times shortly after it released its bombshell report that there could be more to the Mueller report than Barr’s summary indicated.
Barr told Congress that the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between Trump or any of his campaign officials and Russia during the 2016 election.
Mueller also left it up to the attorney general to decide whether Trump should be charged with obstruction of justice.
Barr, working with Rosenstein, decided not to charge the president.
Democrats are demanding Mueller’s full report.
The president directly attacked The New York Times’ ethics, saying the story couldn’t possibly be based on information from people with actual knowledge of what the report contains.
President Donald Trump lashed out at The New York Times on Thursday for claiming discontent among Speical Counsel Robret Mueller’s team about how their final report was characterized by Attorney General William Barr
Trump claimed on Twitter that it would be illegal for Justice Department officials to leak anything to the Times, meaning they ‘probably had no sources at all’
The Times fired back, saying reporters ‘interviewed multiple government officials and others, but didn’t say any of them had first-hand knowledge
The Times ‘had no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal,’ he said, complaining about the kind of press leaks that have made large segments of his administration fertile hunting ground for journalists.
‘In fact, they probably had no sources at all!’ he said.
The paper’s PR office tweeted a broadside back in the direction of the Oval Office.
‘False,’ read the tweet. ‘Our reporters interviewed multiple government officials and others to gather the facts for the story.’
The article described conversations with ‘government officials and others’ who conveyed second- and third-hand information, including what some of Mueller’s investigators reportedly ‘told associates.’
Its central conclusion was that some on Mueller’s team thought Barr’s March 24 letter to a quartet of congressional leaders understated the seriousness of evidence that Trump obstructed justice.
Both the Times and the Post reported that Mueller’s team prepared its own report summaries with the expectation that they might be released to the public – something Barr, a Trump appointee, pre-empted with his own summary.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that members of Mueller’s team say Barr did not accurately describe the findings of their investigation, which are more damaging to President Trump (seen above at the White House on Wednesday) than originally thought
The Justice Department said Thursday, however, the final Mueller report was littered with warnings about ‘protected’ material that would need to be vetted before any public release..
‘Every page of the confidential report provided to Attorney General Barr on March 22, 2019 was marked may contain material protected under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) – a law that protects confidential grand jury information and therefore could not be publicly released,’ according to a Justice Department statement Thursday.
‘Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the attorney general decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and its conclusions immediately without attempting to summarize the report, with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process,’ according to the statement.
The statement reasserted what Barr wrote in his letter to Congress: ‘He does not believe the report should be released in serial or piecemeal fashion.’ It also said the department is ‘continuing to work on redactions’ – a process that Barr has said should allow him to provide a redacted report to Congress within weeks.
Trump has long complained about newspapers’ unfavorable coverage of him, taking special aim at the use of unnamed sources to draw conclusions that impact elections and move markets.
He tweeted Thursday that the Times is a ‘Fake News paper’ that has previously ‘been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!’
That’s a recurring claim based on a
READ IN FULL: Attorney General Barr’s letter to Congress summarizing the Mueller investigation findings
‘We will rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you,’ Arthur Sulzberger Jr. wrote, never directly apologizing to Trump or the paper’s readers.
The Times reported Wednesday that some members of Mueller’s team believe Barr should have included more of their material in the summary he released on March 24 of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
The Times said the officials and other sources declined to flesh out why some of the special counsel’s investigators viewed their findings as potentially more damaging for the president than Barr explained.
It was also not clear how widespread among Mueller’s team, which included dozens of lawyers and investigators, are concerns about differences between Barr’s summary and Mueller’s report, the Times said.
Barr, a Trump appointee, said in the summary that Mueller did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the election.
Barr also said the special counsel did not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice. Barr himself subsequently concluded that Mueller’s inquiry had not found sufficient evidence to warrant criminal obstruction charges against Trump.
Trump and the White House have hailed the conclusions as a victory for the president, who has denied conspiring with Russians or obstructing justice.
The attorney general has pledged to release the nearly 400-page report by mid-April with certain portions blacked out for reasons such as protecting secret grand jury information and intelligence-gathering sources and methods.
MUELLER REPORT: Timeline of events in Mueller’s investigation
Here is a timeline of significant developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow.
May 17 – U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Mueller as a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and to look into any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and people associated with Republican Trump’s campaign.
The appointment follows President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on May 9 and days later Trump attributed the dismissal to ‘this Russia thing.’
June 15 – Mueller is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post reports.
October 30 – Veteran Republican political operative and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who worked for the campaign for five pivotal months in 2016, is indicted on charges of conspiracy against the United States and money laundering as is his business partner Rick Gates, who also worked for Trump’s campaign.
– Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.
December 1 – Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser for less than a month who also had a prominent campaign role, pleads guilty to the charge of lying to the FBI about his discussions in 2016 with the Russian ambassador to Washington.
February 16 – Federal grand jury indicts 13 Russians and three firms, including a Russian government propaganda arm called the Internet Research Agency, accusing them of tampering to support Trump and disparage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The accused ‘had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election’ according to the court document filed by Mueller.
– An American, Richard Pinedo, pleads guilty to identity fraud for selling bank account numbers after being accused by prosecutors of helping Russians launder money, buy Facebook ads and pay for campaign rally supplies. Pinedo was not associated with the Trump campaign.
February 22 – Manafort and Gates are charged with financial crimes, including bank fraud, in Virginia.
February 23 – Gates pleads guilty to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators. He agrees to cooperate and testify against Manafort at trial.
April 3 – Alex van der Zwaan, the Dutch son-in-law of one of Russia’s richest men, is sentenced to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000 for lying to Mueller’s investigators, becoming the first person sentenced in the probe.
April 9 – FBI agents raid home, hotel room and office of Trump’s personal lawyer and self-described ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen.
April 12 – Rosenstein tells Trump that he is not a target in Mueller’s probe.
April 19 – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump supporter in the election campaign, joins Trump’s personal legal team.
June 8 – Mueller charges a Russian-Ukrainian man, Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort business partner whom prosecutors say had ties to Russian intelligence, with witness tampering.
July 13 – Federal grand jury indicts 12 Russian military intelligence officers on charges of hacking Democratic Party computer networks in 2016 and staged releases of documents. Russia, which denies interfering in the election, says there is no evidence that the 12 are linked to spying or hacking.
July 16 – In Helsinki after the first summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump publicly contradicts U.S. intelligence agencies that concluded Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election with a campaign of hacking and propaganda. Trump touts Putin’s ‘extremely strong and powerful’ denial of meddling. He calls the Mueller inquiry a ‘rigged witch hunt’ on Twitter.
August 21 – A trial jury in Virginia finds Manafort guilty of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account.
– Cohen, in a case brought by U.S. prosecutors in New York, pleads guilty to tax fraud and campaign finance law violations. Cohen is subsequently interviewed by Mueller’s team.
August 31 – Samuel Patten, an American business partner of Kilimnik, pleads guilty to unregistered lobbying for pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine.
September 14 – Manafort pleads guilty to two conspiracy counts and signs a cooperation agreement with Mueller’s prosecutors.
November 8 – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns at Trump’s request. He had recused himself from overseeing the Mueller inquiry because of his contacts with the Russian ambassador as a Trump campaign official. Trump appoints Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, a critic of the Mueller probe, as acting attorney general.
November 20 – Giuliani says Trump submitted written answers to questions from Mueller, as the president avoids a face-to-face interview with the special counsel.
November 27-28 – Prosecutors say Manafort breached his plea deal by lying to investigators, which Manafort denies. Trump says he has not ruled out granting Manafort a presidential pardon.
November 28 – Giuliani says Trump told investigators he was not aware ahead of time of a meeting in Trump Tower in New York between several campaign officials and Russians in June 2016.
November 29 – Cohen pleads guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to Congress about the length of discussions in 2016 on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. ‘I made these misstatements to be consistent with individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to individual 1,’ says Cohen, who previously identified ‘individual 1’ as Trump.
– The president criticizes Cohen as a liar and ‘weak person.’
December 12 – Two developments highlight growing political and legal risks for Trump: Cohen sentenced to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the election; American Media Inc, publisher of National Enquirer tabloid, strikes deal to avoid charges over its role in one of two hush payments. Publisher admits payment was aimed at influencing the 2016 election, contradicting Trump’s statements.
January 25 – Longtime Trump associate and self-proclaimed political ‘dirty trickster’ Roger Stone charged and arrested at his home in Florida. Stone is accused of lying to Congress about statements suggesting he may have had advance knowledge of plans by Wikileaks to release Democratic Party campaign emails that U.S. officials say were stolen by Russia.
February 21 – U.S. judge tightens gag order on Stone, whose Instagram account posted a photo of the judge and the image of crosshairs next to it.
February 22 – Manhattan district attorney’s office is pursuing New York state criminal charges against Manafort whether or not he receives a pardon from Trump on federal crimes, a person familiar with the matter says. Trump cannot issue pardons for state convictions.
February 24 – Senior Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Schiff says Democrats will subpoena Mueller’s final report on his investigation if it is not given to Congress by the Justice Department, and will sue the Trump administration and call on Mueller to testify to Congress if necessary.
February 27 – Cohen tells U.S. House Oversight Committee Trump is a ‘racist,’ a ‘con man’ and a ‘cheat’ who knew in advance about a release of emails by WikiLeaks in 2016 aimed at hurting rival Clinton. Trump directed negotiations for a real estate project in Moscow during the campaign even as he publicly said he had no business interests in Russia, Cohen testifies.
March 7 – Manafort is sentenced in the Virginia case to almost four years in prison. The judge also ordered Manafort to pay a fine of $50,000 and restitution of just over $24 million.
March 13 – Manafort is sentenced to about 3-1/2 more years in prison in the Washington case, bringing his total prison sentence in the two special counsel cases to 7-1/2 years.
– On the same day, the Manhattan district attorney announces a separate indictment charging Manafort with residential mortgage fraud and other New York state crimes, which unlike the federal charges cannot be erased by a presidential pardon.
March 22 – Mueller submits his confidential report on the findings of his investigation to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
March 24 – Barr releases a summary of Mueller’s report, saying the investigation did not find evidence that Trump or his associates broke the law during the campaign. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says the summary is a complete exoneration of Trump.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to enable its chairman, Jerrold Nadler, to subpoena the Justice Department to obtain Mueller’s unredacted report and all underlying evidence as well as documents and testimony from five former Trump aides, including political strategist Steve Bannon.
Trump cheered the outcome of the Mueller report – or, at least, Barr’s summary of it – but also laid bare his resentment after two years of investigations that have shadowed his administration.
‘It’s a shame that our country has had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,’ he said.
Democrats pointed out that Mueller found evidence for and against obstruction and demanded to see his full report.
They insisted that even the summary by the president’s attorney general hardly put him in the clear.
Mueller’s conclusions, summarized by Barr in a four page letter to Congress, represented a victory for Trump on a key question that has hung over his presidency from the start — whether his campaign worked with Russia to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
That was further good news for the president on top of the Justice Department’s earlier announcement that Mueller had wrapped his investigation without new indictments.
That could deflate the hopes of Democrats in Congress and on the 2020 campaign trail that incriminating findings from Mueller would hobble the president’s agenda and re-election bid.
But while Mueller was categorical in ruling out criminal collusion, he was more circumspect on presidential obstruction of justice.
Despite Trump’s claim of total exoneration, Mueller did not draw a conclusion one way or the other on whether he sought to stifle the Russia investigation through his actions including the firing of former FBI director James Comey.
According to Barr’s summary, Mueller set out ‘evidence on both sides of the question’ and stated that ‘while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’
Barr, who was nominated by Trump in December, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller in May 2017 and oversaw much of his work, went further in Trump’s favor.
The attorney general said he and Rosenstein had determined that Mueller’s evidence was insufficient to prove in court that Trump had committed obstruction of justice to hamper the probe.
Barr has previously voiced a broad view of presidential powers, and in an unsolicited memo last June he cast doubt on whether the president could have obstructed justice through acts — like firing his FBI director — that he was legally empowered to take.