According to Politico, a group of frustrated Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee led by Devin Nunes (R-CA) have been gathering in secret for several weeks to build a case against senior leaders of the Justice Department and the FBI for what they say is “improper” and perhaps criminal mishandling of the salacious and unproven 34-page Trump-Russia dossier, according to four sources familiar with their plans. *** A subset of the Republican members of the House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes of California, has been quietly working parallel to the committee’s high-profile inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. […] The people familiar with Nunes’ plans said the goal is to highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence. –Politico When pressed for details, Reps Mike Conway (R-TX) and Peter King (R-NY) were mum, with Conway telling POLITICO, “I don’t want talk about what we do behind closed doors.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.
Do you ever get the sense that with certain investigations, primarily those targeting conservatives, the FBI has a tendency to dot every ‘i’, cross every ‘t’ and pursue charges at all costs, no matter how minor, but with others (think Hillary’s email scandal) even the most glaring violations of federal law seem to go unpunished? For example, compare and contrast the Flynn charges versus how the Hillary email investigation was conducted by the Comey-led FBI. On the one hand, Flynn held perfectly legal conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States AFTER the U. S. presidential election, a common practice for presidential transition teams, yet for some inexplicable reason, probably having something to do with fears of being charged with a bogus ‘Logan Act’ violation in Mueller’s Russian collusion witch hunt, decided to lie about them during interviews with the FBI. As a result of his lies, Flynn has now plead guilty to two counts of false statements, has been ruined financially by mounting legal bills and could end up serving jail time. On the other hand, compare that outcome to the Hillary email scandal where there is tangible evidence and first-hand testimony that Hillary and her team knowingly violated a Congressional subpoena by deleting 33,000 emails, habitually destroyed evidence with hammers so it could never be recovered and routinely compromised American national security interests by sending “Top Secret” communications via unsecured channels…something that Comey originally defined at “gross negligence” even though he later changed his language to “extreme carelessness” to assure that Hillary could never be pursued with criminal charges. So what were the punishments for all those federal crimes? Well, rather than pursue charges against Hillary and/or various members of her staff the FBI decided to “hand out immunity deals like candy.” Now, in just the latest bit of evidence that the Justice department has been politically compromised, we learn from John Solomon of The Hill that the DOJ didn’t even bother to interview a key FBI informant before filing criminal charges in the Uranium One scandal back in 2014. While he was Maryland’s chief federal prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s office failed to interview the undercover informant in the FBI’s Russian nuclear bribery case before it filed criminal charges in the case in 2014, officials told The Hill. And the prosecutors did not let a grand jury hear from the paid informant before it handed up an indictment portraying him as a ‘victim’ of the Russian corruption scheme or fully review his extensive trove of documents until months later, the officials confirmed.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.
The Washington Post has no problem with a Special Prosecutor investigating Trump and any attempt to stop that would be a crime known as Obstruction of Justice. Yet, when it comes to Hillary, they do a backflip and have the audacity to write: ‘The Justice Department’s declaration that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton in response to demands by Republicans should alarm anyone who cares about the independence of the department.’ So if a Special Prosecutor is ‘justice’ going after Trump and suddenly an abuse of power to investigate Hillary, to even take such a position seems to be the pinnacle of journalistic corruption.
Following the release of the identity of the FBI informant, Justice Department officials in recent days said that informant William Campbell’s prior work won’t shed much light on the U. S. government’s controversial decision in 2010 to approve Russia’s purchase of the Uranium One mining company and its substantial U. S. assets. *** However, The Hill’s John Solomon has reviewed 1000s of new memos from an FBI informant that clearly show illegal activity surrounding a Russian plot to corner the American uranium market, ranging from corruption inside a U. S. nuclear transport company to Obama administration approvals that let Moscow buy and sell more atomic fuels.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.
Barack Obama is funding the anti-Trump movement through a series of backdoor deals and policies. Wall Street may be surprised to learn that it is also helping bankroll the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ whether they wanted to or not. Wall Street is fighting policies which would heavily favor it, including corporate tax cuts and the repeal of Obama-era banking and health-care regulations. We have the Obama administration to thank for the harsh anti-Trump movement by far left groups, according to an article by the New York Post. The Obama administration’s massive shakedown of Big Banks over the mortgage crisis included unprecedented back-door funding for dozens of Democratic activist groups who were not even victims of the crisis. At least three liberal nonprofit organizations the Justice Department approved to receive funds from multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements were instrumental in killing the ObamaCare repeal bill and are now lobbying against GOP tax reform, as well as efforts to rein in illegal immigration. An estimated $640 million has been diverted into what critics say is an improper, if not unconstitutional, ‘slush fund’ fed from government settlements with JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., according to congressional sources. The payola is potentially earmarked for third-party interest groups approved by the Justice Department and HUD without requiring any proof of how the funds will be spent. Many of the recipients so far are radical leftist organizations who solicited the settlement cash from the administration even though they were not parties to the lawsuits, records show. ‘During the Obama administration, groups committed to ‘revolutionary social change’ sent proposals and met with high-level HUD and Justice Department officials to try to get their pieces of the settlement pie,’ Cause of Action Institute vice president Julie Smith told The Post. -New York Post
This post was published at shtfplan on September 25th, 2017.
Just over a year ago we wrote about Paul Manafort resigning from the Trump campaign amid outrage over his consulting firm’s ties to a lobbying campaign designed to sway American public opinion in favor of the Ukraine’s pro-Russsian government (see: FBI Probes Firm Belonging To Brother Of Clinton Campaign Chair For Ukraine Corruption Ties). The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014). As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U. S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. Now, fast forward one year and it seems as though an honest attempt to destroy Trump’s campaign may ensnare another rather unlikely victim, namely The Podesta Group. As our readers are undoubtedly aware by now, The Podesta Group (PG) was co-founded by Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, John Podesta, and is still run by his brother, Tony Podesta. Now, according The Daily Caller, PG, one of six lobbying firms that worked on Manafort’s campaign to get Ukraine into the European Union between 2012 to 2014, finds itself directly in the crosshairs of Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia probe.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.
President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Christopher Wray to take over James Comey’s job as Director of the FBI in a Tweet on June 7, the day before Comey’s much anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In the Tweet, Trump called Wray a ‘man of impeccable credentials,’ which, undoubtedly, he is. He is also a man with a maze of conflicts of interests. It appears that someone has tried to scrub some of those conflicts from the official web site of the Justice Department. For example, try this Justice Department press release link, which now turns up a dead page. http://www.justice.gov/criminal/pr/2004/02/2004_3631_FORMER_ENRON_CHIEF_E.htm Fortunately for our readers, Google has cached the press release which is dated February 19, 2004. The opening sentence includes all three names making headlines today – Comey, Wray and Robert Mueller, the newly appointed Special Counsel who will investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and the firing by President Trump of James Comey as FBI Director. At the time of this press release, the three men were attached at the hip as part of George W. Bush’s Corporate Fraud Taskforce. All three men are quoted in this press release, as follows: ‘This indictment marks an important milestone in the life of the President’s Corporate Fraud Task Force,’ said Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who heads the Task Force. ‘The indictment alleges that Jeffrey Skilling and other Enron executives concocted a massive, complex scheme to give shareholders and the investing public the false appearance of financial strength and security at a time when Enron was, in fact, failing. Our investigators were able to cut through the maze of paperwork and financial trickery to get to the bottom of the scheme and charge Skilling, once the top executive at Enron, with fraud and other crimes that contributed to Enron’s collapse.’
By the way, now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like. — Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) March 12, 2017
There may have been much more to the termination of US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, than meets the casual glance. According to Reuters, which cites a law enforcement source, two days before U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara was fired on Saturday, the high-profile New York prosecutor declined to take a call from President Donald Trump. Bharara reportedly contacted the DOJ for authorization to speak to the president on Thursday – one day before the DOJ announced it had requested all Obama-era attorneys to hand in their resignations. When he apparently did not receive it, Reuters adds that he called back the woman who had contacted him to say “he did not want to talk to Trump without the approval of his superiors.” As reported previously, Bharara – in his role as chief federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York – oversaw several notable corruption and white-collar criminal cases and prosecutions of terrorism suspects. He was one of 46 Obama administration holdovers who were asked to resign by the Justice Department on Friday.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 12, 2017.
Americans pay the price. Earlier this month, I posted two articles on Big Pharma, back to back. The first one was my classic approach: How PE Firms Are Flipping Drugs in Price-Gouging Scheme that Cannibalizes the Entire US Economy (with 109 great comments). The second one was coincidence. The digital ink wasn’t dry on the first article, when its was revealed that the Justice Department was getting antsy: ‘More than a Dozen’ Drugmakers under Criminal Investigation for Price-Fixing, Shares Plunge, after Getting Crushed All Year (56 great comments). But as always, there’s more to it. Here are some hard numbers from a different angle that shed a lot of light on how the industry works.
This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ November 25, 2016.
Rudy Giuliani is said to be under serious consideration by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the U. S. Department of Justice as Attorney General. There are a number of serious problems with Giuliani serving in this post, including his track record of stomping on the Bill of Rights and his employment as a law partner with Greenberg Traurig, a corporate law firm with a long history of lobbying for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce to weaken protections for the average citizen. During Rudy Giuliani’s two terms as Mayor of New York City, from 1993 through 2001, he was sued 30 times by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the state affiliate of the ACLU. Of those 30 lawsuits, the NYCLU won 27 of the cases. (See Editor’s note below on her own case that was successfully challenged in court against the Giuliani administration in 2001 by the NYCLU.) Giuliani had to be hauled into court by the NYCLU time and again due to his authoritarian attitude against free speech, freedom to assemble and protest. Giuliani’s NYPD even went so far as to outlaw protests on the steps of City Hall, a traditional venue for protests in New York City, leading City Council Members to charge him with functioning like a dictator. Removing peaceful protesters from the sidewalks in front of taxpayer-supported public buildings in New York City and herding them like cattle into metal pens in less visible areas was honed into an art form by Giuliani. In its 60th Anniversary Annual Report, the NYCLU characterized Giuliani’s reign as Mayor as follows:
The Department of Justice is so compromised with Lych at the head it is getting to be absurd. Peter J. Kadzik is the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Clearly, there is an internal war going on as I reported. Now that the FBI has over the 650,000 emails uncovered in Anthony Weiner’s notebook, which Huma Abedin failed to turnover to Congress claiming she had no idea how they got there, the US Justice Department announced it is now also joining the probe to dedicate all necessary resources to quickly clear Hillary, up pops the conflict of interest. In the letter to Congress, the DOJ persons to aid this investigation to clear Hillary by the election, is Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik who wrote to the House and Senate lawmakers.
I said sources described an "avalanche of evidence" in case & barring obstruction they'd likely continue 2 push to try for an indictment" — Bret Baier (@BretBaier) November 2, 2016
It’s looking increasingly like there is an ongoing mutiny underway within the FBI as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that, according to “officials at multiple agencies”, FBI agents felt they had adequate evidence, including “secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation”, to pursue an investigation of the Clinton Foundation but were repeatedly obstructed by officials at the Department of Justice. Secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation fueled an internal battle between FBI agents who wanted to pursue the case and corruption prosecutors who viewed the statements as worthless hearsay, people familiar with the matter said. The roots of the dispute lie in a disagreement over the strength of the case, these people said, which broadly centered on whether Clinton Foundation contributors received favorable treatment from the State Department under Hillary Clinton. Senior officials in the Justice Department and the FBI didn’t think much of the evidence, while investigators believed they had promising leads their bosses wouldn’t let them pursue, they said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 2, 2016.
With the FBI accused of pushing the Clinton campaign, which as recently as a week ago was seen as invincible as it stormed toward the November 8 presidential election, over the proverbial cliff, it was perhaps inevitable that in order to preserve the appearance of impartiality the Bureau would proceed with a probe of Trump’s own campaign. And, according to NBC which cited law enforcement and intelligence sources, it has done so by focusing on Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and specifically his foreign business connections. The news of the inquiry, which has not blossomed into a full-blown criminal investigation, emerges just days after FBI Director James Comey’s disclosure that his agency is examining a new batch of emails connected to an aide to Hillary Clinton. It also comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Comey’s revelation and asserted that Comey possesses “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.” As a reminder, Manafort, who resigned as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in August, was previously an international political consultant. He became a liability for the Trump campaign amid reports of his involvement with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. One damaging New York Times story earlier this year alleged the party had earmarked more than $12 million in under-the-table cash payments, raising questions about whether Manafort had run afoul of U. S. lobbying laws that would he require he register as ‘foreign agent’ with the Justice Department.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 1, 2016.
Fresh proof the FBI’s Hillary email probe was a joke … Yet another surprise revelation suggests strongly that the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail mess was anything but a by-the-book investigation. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he learned only Friday that the Justice Department gave immunity deals to Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and two other aides. That brings to five the number of Clintonistas who got a pass in exchange for testimony and/or information. -New York Post The FBI’s erosion of reputation – taking place this very day and minute as a result of the Clinton email mess – could not have happened to a more deserving operation. For 75 years, the FBI has terrorized the American public with increasing vigor and brutality. Much of the FBI ‘crimes’ it focuses on – insider trading and the like – weren’t even thought to be criminal a few decades ago. It is increasingly clear that the drug-dealing prosecuted by the FBI takes place at the highest levels of America’s political office. Enough has been reported (certainly in the alternative media) about Clinton/Bush/CIA cocaine or heroin dealings to generate what may be a believable profile of these operations. When it comes to white collar banking crime, the American public is increasingly skeptical about the engine of the industry – central banks themselves.
Europe’s Competition Directorate commands the shock troops of the EU power structure. Ensconced in its fortress at Place Madou, it can dispatch swat teams on corporate dawn raids across Europe without a search warrant. It operates outside the normal judicial control that we take for granted in a developed democracy. The US Justice Department could never dream of acting in such a fashion. Known as ‘DG Comp’, it acts as judge, jury, and executioner, and can in effect impose fines large enough to constitute criminal sanctions, but without the due process protection of criminal law. It misused evidence so badly in pursuit of the US chipmaker Intel that the company alleged a violation of human rights. Apple is just the latest of the great US digital companies to face this Star Chamber. It has vowed to appeal the monster 13bn fine handed down from Brussels this week for violation of EU state aid rules, but the only recourse is the European Court of Justice. This is usually a forlorn ritual. The ECJ is a political body, the enforcer of the EU’s teleological doctrines. It ratifies executive power. We can mostly agree that Apple, Google, Starbucks, and others have gamed the international system, finding legal loopholes to whittle down their tax liabilities and enrich shareholders at the expense of society. It is such moral conduct that has driven wealth inequality to alarming levels, and provoked a potent backlash against globalisation.
The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014). As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U. S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. The 1938 U. S. foreign agents law is intended to track efforts of foreign government’s unofficial operatives in the United States. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The issue is that neither Paul Manafort, nor his deputy, Rick Gates, disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law. “There is no question that Gates and Manafort should have registered along with the lobbying firms,” said Joseph Sandler of Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, a Democratic-leaning Washington law firm that advises Republican and Democratic lobbyists.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 20, 2016.
The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014). As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U. S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. The 1938 U. S. foreign agents law is intended to track efforts of foreign government’s unofficial operatives in the United States. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 20, 2016.
US health insurer Aetna already made waves earlier this week when it announced on Monday that it would exit 11 of 15 state exchanges in which it offers Obamacare plans as a result of mushrooming financial losses. While that move was largely expected due to the inherent flaws in Obamacare, today it surprised market watchers, and its shareholders, again by handing an ultimatum to the Department of Justice, and thus the US government, threatening it would immediately reduce its presence in the remaining Affordable Care Act exchanges and cancel a planned expansion, if its merger with Humana was blocked. Amusingly, the analysis of the announcement broke down firmly along party line: according to some, the previous decision to exit more than two-thirds of Obamacare exchanges was the first shot across the DOJ’s bow, coming a few weeks after the Department of Justice filed a suit to stop the Humana merger. Prominent Republicans, including Donald Trump’s campaign, said the move, which came after similar ones by other major insurers, reflected flaws of the ACA. Others, notably those with a more Democratic bent, including Elizabeth Warren, suggested that Aetna’s stance on the exchanges was affected by the Justice Department’s decision. ‘The health of the American people should not be used as bargaining chips to force the government to bend to one giant company’s will,’ she wrote in a Facebook post.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 17, 2016.
For an increasingly vocal group in this country – that sees ‘the establishment’ for what it is – it may not come as a total shock that CNN is reporting that The (Clinton-appointee-Loretta-Lynch-run) Department of Justice has “pushed back” against The FBI‘s desires to begin a probe to investigate whether there was a criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s tenure. Officials from the FBI and Department of Justice met several months ago to discuss opening a public corruption case into the Clinton Foundation, a US official has told CNN… At the time, three field offices were in agreement an investigation should be launched after the FBI received notification from a bank of suspicious activity from a foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to the official. FBI officials wanted to investigate whether there was a criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s tenure. Makes perfect sense right? But before we go on, as a gentle reminder – it was then President Bill Clinton that gave Loretta Lynch her big break, nominating her in 1999 to serve as US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York… “probably nothing”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 12, 2016.
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration announced Thursday it will seek to block two giant health care mergers, citing concerns that the deals could drive up health care premiums, undermine innovation and reduce competition. The Justice Department filed lawsuits challenging Anthem’s $48 billion acquisition of Cigna and Aetna’s $37 billion takeover of Humana, threatening to put an abrupt stop to the insurance industry’s rapid consolidation. Eleven states and the District of Columbia joined the attempt to block the Anthem deal, which would combine the nation’s second- and fourth-largest insurers. Eight states and D. C. joined the suit to block the Aetna deal, which would combine the third and fifth largest. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters the mergers would ‘drastically’ curb competition in the insurance industry, including by reducing the number of options for people who buy insurance on public exchanges. ‘If these mergers were to take place, the competition among these insurers that has pushed them to provide lower premiums, higher-quality care and better benefits would be eliminated,’ Lynch said. In a show of unity, Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna and Louisville-based Humana immediately issued a joint statement vowing to ‘vigorously’ contest the government’s suit, saying their deal would improve the quality of care and lower costs while increasing insurance options for many Medicare patients.