Tag Archives: Scrambling

Emails Show McCabe Scrambling to Handle Stories About Hillary Probe

Emails Show McCabe Scrambling to Handle Stories About Hillary ProbeAlex Wong/GettyFor months, a huge question has hovered over Washington’s legal community: Would the Justice Department charge former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe with a crime? In the wake of a New York Times report that his lawyers met with the deputy attorney general about the DOJ’s investigation of McCabe, many suspect charges could be coming. And the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office has scrutinized allegations that McCabe was not candid with FBI investigators about his role in a news story concerning the FBI’s probe into the Clinton Foundation. Now, emails reviewed by The Daily Beast cast additional light on the circumstances that preceded McCabe’s firing from the FBI. They show that one FBI official felt the need to clarify to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that the FBI’s internal investigation into McCabe’s behavior wasn’t being slow-walked. And they show that former director of national intelligence James Clapper urged FBI Director Chris Wray to shield McCabe from being fired. They also show that in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election, McCabe shared more information about his media contacts with then-FBI Director James Comey than was previously known. McCabe has sued the Justice Department over his firing. The issues these emails shed light on—whether he deserved to be fired and whether the FBI handled the decision correctly—are sure to be front and center if the lawsuit goes to trial. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog group, obtained the emails through FOIA litigation and shared them with The Daily Beast. They are also available in the FBI’s FOIA vault. CREW’s litigation is ongoing. Some of the emails in the tranche cast light on the FBI’s scramble to deal with media coverage in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. On Oct. 21, 2016, McCabe sent Comey an email with the subject line “Updates.” Copied on the email were James Rybicki, who was then Comey’s chief of staff, and David Bowdich, who was then associate deputy director of the FBI. McCabe opened with an update on a cyberattack. He then turned to the subject of media. “In the more bad news category, Mike K informed me that Devlin Barrett at WSJ is putting together an article claiming I had a conflict of interest on MYR as a result of Jill’s campaign connections to Gov. McCaulife [sic],” McCabe wrote, referring to then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. “I will work with mike to provide some basic facts to push back. And, as always, will keep you advised. I am incredibly sorry for adding to the drama on this.” “Mike K” referred to Mike Kortan, then the FBI’s public affairs chief. “MYR” referred to Midyear, the FBI’s nickname for its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. “Outstanding,” Comey replied to McCabe. “Don’t sweat it.”Two days later, McCabe updated Comey and Rybicki on his participation in the then-forthcoming Wall Street Journal story. “Not too much in the update,” he wrote. “The only additional notable news is that Mike K and I spent a good part of the day trying to shape the WSJ story on my alleged conflict,” he wrote. “Looks like they may try to release it on line tonight. The reporter also called Jill for a comment, so we are working that as well.”The Justice Department Inspector General did not mention the emails in his damning report on McCabe, which focused on his role in a second Wall Street Journal story. The report alleged that McCabe lacked candor when he told FBI investigators about how the Journal obtained information about the Bureau’s internal deliberations for that second story. One issue has been whether McCabe told Comey about his participation in that story; McCabe has said he did, but Comey has said he has no recollection of McCabe making the disclosure to him. McCabe’s lawyers, meanwhile, argue that the Inspector General’s report is seriously flawed. Scrutiny of McCabe’s work at the FBI grew over the following two years, with congressional Republicans and the president calling for McCabe to be fired and punished. But McCabe also had defenders. Clapper—who has also become a target of the president—sent a handwritten letter to FBI Director Chris Wray on Feb. 25, 2018, praising McCabe and calling for Wray to intercede on his behalf. That letter is in the tranche of documents CREW obtained. In it, Clapper called the criticism of McCabe “completely unjustified and profoundly unfair.” “We often appeared as witnesses together at Congressional hearings, where, as you also know, ‘bonds’ with fellow witnesses can quickly form,” he wrote. “I came to know and rely on Andy as steady, straightforward, candid, forthright, and honest.” He also praised McCabe for his “sharp intellect, insightful wisdom, unwavering commitment to the mission, self-effacing humility, staunch devotion to the men and women of the Bureau, and, importantly, his impeccable integrity.” “I would hope you will consider my observations, which I know are shared uniformly by virtually everyone who knows Andy, and will use your influential voice to insure he is able to complete his career and retire after his 21 years of distinguished service to the Bureau and this nation,” Clapper concluded. Clapper’s letter came as the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) was scrutinizing McCabe. The Inspector General had referred his case to OPR so they could make a recommendation to the Attorney General on how to handle it. In an email sent on March 5, 2018, Candice Will—then the head of the OPR office—updated Bowdich on her team’s review of the McCabe investigation. That note includes a line that seems to hint at outside pressure to speed it up.“I sent the DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein] a short email advising that FBI OPR had received the referral from the OIG, we are actively working it, we anticipate providing a proposed action to the subject this week, we will make the file available to the subject—all in accordance with standard procedures—for him to prepare a written response,” she wrote. “In doing so, I let the Dept know that we are doing what should be done, not slow walking—we are following established procedures.”Bowdich responded by noting that the Bureau would face criticism regardless of how it handled the decision on McCabe. “Thanks Candice, as you know we will be second guessed by some every step of the way however this ends up,” he wrote. “As long as we follow the regular process we are where we should be on this issue.”It is unclear why Will felt the need to clarify to Rosenstein that her office was “not slow walking” the McCabe review. An FBI spokesperson declined to comment for this story, as did a spokesperson for McCabe. On March 19, 2018, just hours before McCabe would have been eligible to retire and receive his pension, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his firing. The move horrified his allies, but cheered critics of the Russia probe. And Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, John Dowd, praised the move and said Mueller’s investigation should be shut down next. The timing of McCabe’s firing—and the question of whether Trump’s allies pushed for it to be expedited—has become a major point of contention. The emails suggest there may be more to all these pieces of the McCabe story than currently known—and that civil litigation or a criminal trial could generate much more information. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Mueller report: Trump leaves town claiming victory and with Democrats scrambling to respond

Mueller report: Trump leaves town claiming victory and with Democrats scrambling to respondDonald Trump has flown out of Washington to his resort in Florida, falsely claiming Robert Mueller had totally exonerated him, and with Democrats assessing how best to respond to a report that failed to provide them with a true smoking gun.Five hours after the special counsel’s lightly redacted report was finally made public, the president waved and grinned as he boarded Air Force One, for a three-day weekend. He did not speak to reporters but earlier said at the White House was having a good day as the report revealed “no collusion, no obstruction”. Later, apparently tweeting while on his way south, Mr Trump urged people to watch Fox News later and said: “It was a really great day for America.”In truth, Mr Mueller’s report did not the represent total exoneration, the president claimed it did. While the investigation did not find evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, it uncovered “multiple links between Trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government”. Likewise, the full report, confirmed what had been conceded by attorney general William Barr, who said Mr Mueller wrote “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”.The report contained much damaging information about the president’s behaviour, not least his efforts to fire the person who led the investigation. Indeed, after Mr Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to lead the probe after the presidents firing of FBI Director James Comey, he believed his presidency was over and that he was “f***ed”. He tried to have him fired or the investigation halted, something White House lawyers lawyers pushed back on.Mr Mueller’s report contained 11 instances that he and his team examined as possible breaches either of protocol of legality. He provided evidence to find both for and against such a finding.For instance, the report noted, in June 2017, Mr Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to tell the then-acting attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that Mr Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed, Reuters noted.It also said there was “substantial evidence” the president fired Mr Comey as FBI director in 2017 due to his “unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation”.It also said there was some “some evidence” suggesting Mr Trump knew about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s controversial calls with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office, but evidence was “inconclusive” and could not be used to establish intent to obstruct.The report said Mr Trump directed former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ask Mr Sessions to reconsider the decision to recuse himself from the probe and say the Russia investigation was “very unfair”.Indeed, large chunks of Mr Mueller’s report detail the president’s efforts to halt the investigation into Russia’s alleged election interference and possible collusion.When Mr Sessions told the president about his appointment in the spring of 2017, an appointment made following Mr Trump’s firing of Mr Comey, he was said to have slumped into his chair and declared: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m ****ed.”He then turned to the one time Alabama senator who had joined his cabinet as chief law enforcement and legal officer, and blamed him. “How could you let this happen, Jeff,” he said. “You were supposed to protect me.” He added: “Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won’ t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”> It was a really great day for America! A special evening tonight on @TuckerCarlson, @seanhannity & @IngrahamAngle Will be very interesting!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) > > April 18, 2019Such was the president’s determination to halt the process, he telephoned Mr McGahn, who left the White House in October 2018, and asked him to intervene. Mr McGahn told Mr Mueller’s team he was told by the president: “Call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be special counsel.“Mueller has to go” and: “Call me back when you do it.”The White House and supporters of Trump were quick to claim a victory. Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway told reporters: “We’re taking apologies.”Mr Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale, said Republicans should turn the tables and “investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation.” Meanwhile, Democrats were struggling to find a way forward. They said Mr Barr’s decision to hold preemptive press conference sought to create a false narrative and that the actual report revealed troubling details about Trump’s conduct in the White House. In a joint statement, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer wrote: “One thing is clear: attorney general Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding.” House judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said the report “outlined disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct.” He sent a letter to the justice department requesting that Mr Mueller himself testify before his panel “no later than May 23” and said he would be issuing a subpoena for the full special counsel report and the underlying materials. At the same time, Democrats are probably unlikely to pursue Mr Trump’s impeachment, jugging that the country is in little mood for another lengthy probe, and that their efforts are better focussed on trying to beat the president in the 2020 presidential election.“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point,” Ms Pelosi’s deputy, Steny Hoyer told CNN. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement.”



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Syria exit has Pentagon scrambling amid withdrawal outrage

Syria exit has Pentagon scrambling amid withdrawal outrageWASHINGTON (AP) — Military leaders were scrambling Thursday to devise a swift but safe departure of troops from Syria, as outraged lawmakers appealed to President Donald Trump to reverse an abrupt withdrawal order that rattled Washington's allies and was a key factor in the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis later in the day.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Trump names Mick Mulvaney acting chief of staff after scrambling to find replacement for John Kelly

Trump names Mick Mulvaney acting chief of staff after scrambling to find replacement for John KellyDonald Trump has named Mick Mulvaney as his acting chief of staff, after scrambling and struggling to find a replacement for the outgoing John Kelly. The president had believed that after he announced last week the former Marine Corps general would leave the White House by the end of the year – there had been speculation about the 68-year-old for months – the job would be filled by Nick Ayers. Reports suggested former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was once close to Mr Trump but later sidelined after the 2016 election, was also being considered.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Police departments nationwide sent scrambling by flood of emailed bomb threats

Police departments nationwide sent scrambling by flood of emailed bomb threatsAlthough no explosive devices were found, New York, San Francisco, Oklahoma City are among the cities forced to check out the threats.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Republicans Are Scrambling To Save An Arizona House Seat In GOP Territory

Republicans Are Scrambling To Save An Arizona House Seat In GOP TerritoryDemocrats have launched a serious bid to win an April 24 special election for



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Trump Is Scrambling To Avoid A Special Election Defeat In This Rust Belt District

Trump Is Scrambling To Avoid A Special Election Defeat In This Rust Belt District― Conor Lamb, the Democrat running to represent this district in Congress, was wrapping up an interview with a reporter last week when Ted Skowvron, a 93-year-old veteran in a World War II cap, walked over to shake his hand.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Hawaii sent scrambling after official alert wrongly warns ballistic missile is incoming

Hawaii sent scrambling after official alert wrongly warns ballistic missile is incomingHawaii was plunged into panic on Saturday when an official alert warned people a ballistic missile was about to hit – only for it to turn out to be a false alarm.  Residents in the American state, which has a population of almost 1.5 million,  reportedly ran for cover when they spotted the message on their smartphones.  "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL," the emergency alert read.  Children were seen sheltering in locker rooms while others were witnessed looking “terrified” and crying, according to a congressman for the state.  However it was later discovered that a button had been pressed in “human error” during a change in shifts, wrongly issuing the warning.  An information related to a false emergency alert is displayed in Oahu, Hawaii Credit: REUTERS The blunder caused further fury after it took 38 minutes to alert people via the same system that the original message was incorrect.  “There is no missile threat or danger to the State or Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm,” the second message read.  Between the two messages other national bodies and politicians had confirmed it was a blunder and posted messages online announcing the the fact.  The incident was so serious that Donald Trump, the US president, was briefed about what had happened. HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. pic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018 Hawaii officials apologised for the mistake and an investigation is now underway to work out exactly what went on.  The blunder comes at a time of heightened tension between America and North Korea, with the latter testing ballistic missiles over increasingly long distances.  Brian Schatz, the senator for Hawaii, said of the officials: "They blew it hear. It was totally unacceptable … they don't quite understand how bad this was.” He told CNN: “The fact that the state government knew it was a false alarm but took between 30 and 40 minutes to alert the public is just an abomination."  AGAIN FALSE ALARM. What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 13, 2018  



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Pres. Trump’s New Cuba Policy Leaves Cuban Businesses Scrambling

Pres. Trump’s New Cuba Policy Leaves Cuban Businesses ScramblingAmerican tourists have come in droves since Pres. Obama normalized U.S.-Cuba ties and have been a boon to the Cuban tourism industry. Some Cuban entrepreneurs told NBC News they fear the progress could be reversed under Trump’s new policy.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines