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Rocky Mountain Review Politics Segment 1/30/18

Political Report for Tuesday 1/30

Tues 1/23:

Jeff Sessions was questioned by Mueller’s team last week, Mueller’s team reportedly interviewed Comey last year (New York Times).

  • Sessions Recusal
  • 1st of Trump’s Cabinet to be questioned by the Special Council
  • Focused on Trump’s statements and thoughts around firing the ex head of the FBI James Comey
  • Also asked about questions around reports of Sessions pressuring the current FBI head, Christopher Wray to clear the agency of “Comey Loyalists”

The head of the FBI threatened to resign after Jeff Sessions pressured him to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (Axios).

  • Christopher Wray refused to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe even threatening to resign rather than fire McCabe.
  • McCabe oversees Robert Muller’s investigation into possible Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election and whether or not the Trump campaign new anything about it.
  • Similar to the “Saturday Night Massacre” during the Nixon Presidency. Nixon ordered the special investigator fired causing both the AG and Deputy AG resign before the Solicitor General fired the investigator. Massive Scandal


Jeff Sessions ordered an investigation into the missing text messages exchanged between two FBI staffers that referred to Trump as an “idiot” and a “loathsome human.”(Reuters).

  • Texts between Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page exchanged between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017 were lost because of a software glitch.
  • Republicans claim that these texts call Trump an idiot and a loathsome human
  • Republicans also claim that these texts point to a political bias against Trump within the FBI and that the FBI may have given to help candidate Clinton preferential treatment. Despite the widely believed theory that the letter, released just weeks before the election, by the FBI announcing the reopening of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server helped push the election towards Trump
  • Both of the individuals involved were removed from Muller’s investigation by July, almost immediately after the FBI was made aware of the texts.

Wed 1/24:

Trump said he was “looking forward” to speaking with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors under oath (Washington Post / New York Times).

  • Worst possible idea for Trump.
  • Opposite of what Trump’s lawyers want.
  • Under oath Trump would be very vulnerable to perjury.


Flynn kept FBI interview concealed from White House, Trump.

Robert Mueller’s team has also interviewed Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency director Mike Rogers, and CIA director Mike Pompeo. (NBC News)

  • A year ago today, President Donald Trump’s newly sworn–in national security adviser, Michael Flynn, met privately in his West Wing office with FBI investigators interested in his communications with Russia’s ambassador, without a lawyer or the knowledge of the president and other top White House officials, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • This interview set of a chain of events that led to the firing of Flynn, the acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and the the FBI Director James Comey.
  • The resulting firings resulted in President Trump becoming ensnared with accusations of obstruction of justice.
  • These more specifically revolves around Trump’s conversation with Director Comey in which he asked for “Loyalty” and if he could “see his way to letting this Flynn thing go”

Trump asked the acting director of the FBI how he voted in the 2016 election. (Washington Post)

  • Acting Director McCabe answered that he had not voted in the election.
  • Trump was also angry about the fact that McCabe’s wife had run a campaign for State Senate that had received around 500,000 dollars from a PAC with connections to the Clintons.
  • Officials within the FBI expressed frustration with the President asking about a high ranking official about his political leanings. And insinuating that would affect how he did his job.

Trump will declassify the Devin Nunes memo that alleges FBI surveillance abuse. (CNN)

  • This memo was written in private by Devin Nunes who has claimed the he has recused himself from any investigation involving Russia. This is due to an event last year where Nunes appeared to be contacting the White House to alert them about findings in their investigations and to supposedly coordinate damage control with the White House.
  • This memo claims to expose a conspiracy within the FBI to bring down the Trump Presidency and that the FBI abused their surveillance powers to illegally surveilled members of the Trump Campaign.
  • The memo is based around a couple of texts messages sent between the two FBI personnel that were fired last summer and evidence filed with a FISA court to renew surveillance of Trump associates.


Thurs 1/25:

Trump proposed immigration legislation that could provide a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million DREAMers in exchange for a $25 billion “trust fund” to build a border wall. (Washington Post/New York Times)

  • Unlikely


The Justice Department warned the House Intelligence Committee chairman that releasing The Memo™ would be “extraordinarily reckless.” (New York Times)

  • This is the Nunes Memo.
  • Deputy AG Stephen Boyd, who is a Trump appointment, wrote a letter to Rep Nunes stating that “We do not understand why the committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the intelligence community
  • No one outside of Devin Nunes’s staff new of the memo until a week ago.
  • Democrats have drafted their own memo based on the same underlying intel. This is because the Memo is said to be partisan and lacking context.

Dutch intelligence spied on the Russian group believed to be behind the hack of the Democratic Party ahead of U.S. elections. (Reuters/de Volkskrant)

  • Dutch intelligence gained massive access to the Russian government hacking group known as “Cozy Bear”
  • Cozy Bear is believed to be one of the groups behind the hacking of the DNC during the 2016 Election
  • In the summer of 2014 Dutch intelligence gained access to the computer network inside a university building near Red Square. Incredibly this building housed the space from which Cosy Bear launched hacking campaigns.
  • The Dutch agency had such wide access to the computer systems that they used a hallway security camera to identify the actual people who made Cosy Bear.
  • This intelligence was passed on to American intelligence agencies. This contributed lots of hard data about who commited the hack of the DNC and gave the NSA and CIA “very high confidence” that Russia had attempted to change the outcome of the Election

Ty Cobb walked back Trump’s statement that he was “looking forward” to speaking with Robert Mueller’s team. (New York Times)

  • CYA
  • Trump’s lawyers will try to keep Trump from being put under oath by any means.


Fri 1/26:

Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller in June, but backed down after Don McGahn threatened to quit if Trump went through with it. (New York Times/Washington Post)

Trump and his allies have repeatedly denied that Trump ever considered firing Mueller. (CNN)

  • This is a bombshell. Firing the special council would probably strengthen any obstruction of justice charge.

Mueller’s investigation is moving much faster than previously thought. (Bloomberg)

The RNC finance chairman, Steve Wynn, does not plan to step down amid sexual assault allegations. (Wall Street Journal/Washington Post)

  • Flash back to Harvey Weinstein
  • Dems call on Republicans to return money from Wynn, Repubs stay silent. Donated amounts around 1.5 million


Sat 1/27:

The finance chairman of the RNC resigned. (Politico/CNN)

  • Lol get wrecked
  • No movement on the right to return any money

Sun 1/28:

The deadline to implement the Russia sanctions is today. (Politico)

  • These sanctions were passed by almost unanimous consent through both of the houses congress.
  • Were aimed to punish Russia for their attacks on our election. Up to President to create and enforce these sanctions.

Republicans Show Little Urgency on Legislation to Protect Mueller. (New York Times)

  • Would ensure Trump can’t unilaterally fire Muller

Lawmakers in both parties are calling on Trump to drop his demands to slash legal immigration. (Washington Post/CNN)

  • These demands are for more and permanent reductions of legal immigration. These changes demand changing the immigration lottery to a skill based system and limiting family migration. Republicans have called this program focused on uniting families “chain migration. These ideas are most likely the result of far right hard liners like c minus santa monica fascist Stephen Miller pressuring President Trump.

Mon 1/29:

Trump will not impose new sanctions on Russia because the threat is already “serving as a deterrent,”. (Washington Post/Politico)

  • This is huge. President Trump is refusing to enforce a law passed almost unanimously by Congress. We are very close to a constitutional crisis.
  • Also opens up all future elections to attacks from Russia as they will be emboldened by non action on the part of the USA.


Trump sought release of classified Russia memo, putting him at odds with Justice Department. (Washington Post/New York Times)

  • Republicans claim that the three and a half page memo uncovers a massive conspiracy with in the FBI to attack the President.
  • As Stated above the Justice Department called the release of this memo reckless and was astounded that they would not be notified about this release of classified info far ahead of time.
  • The House intel committee voted along party lines to release the memo but refused to give the Democrats permission to release their own memo that is based on the same intel.
  • The White House has 5 days to decide to release the memo.
  • Many reporters and Democrats claim that this memo cherry picks classified info and intentionally leaves other facts out to paint the FBI and conspiering to bring down the President.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is “stepping aside,” (NBC News /New York Times) Taunted by Trump and Pressured From Above, McCabe Steps Down as F.B.I. Deputy

  • The man in charge of overseeing the special investigation into the 2016 election Deputy Director McCabe is stepping down from his position more than a month early.
  • This comes amid reports of mounting pressure from AG Sessions and President Trump himself to slow down or stop the special investigation.
  • The NY Times reports that President Trump reportedly critisiesd and attacked the Deputy over the firing of James Comey demanding to know why the agency had paid for a flight home for Comey after his firing. McCabe responded that he had not approved that flight but if it had come across his desk he would have approved it as well. Trump responded by telling McCabe to ask his wife how it feels to be married to a loser. McCabe responded with “Yes, sir”.
  • McCabes decision to step down allows the possibility the President Trump will be able to appoint someone who is willing to fire Muller. See: Saturday Night Massacre.


Tues 1/30:

The FBI is investigating a second Trump-Russia dossier. (The Guardian)

  • This is a complement document to the notorious Steele dossier.
  • This document created by controversial activist and ex journalist Cody Shearer.
  • It was given to the FBI by Christopher Steele after the FBI asked Steele for any documents that may be related to Russian attempts to infiltrate the Trump Campaign.
  • Steele did not personally vouch for the veracity of the information but passed it on to the FBI because some of the info independently confirmed events in the Steele dossier.
  • Republicans have attacked the FBI for using the Steele dossier in their investigation. They claim that since a Democratic organization paid for part of the information it was biased and untrue. However, the original payment for the Dossier was from a republican think tank that wanted opposition research on Trump during the primaries.
  • Additionally the FBI independently verified many of the claims made in the Steele Dossier through their own sources. See the Dutch intel article above.

FEMA will end food and water aid for Puerto Rico. (NPR)