Trump: Russia probe is greatest witch hunt of a politician in US history

US President Donald Trump says he is the victim of the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history,” in an apparent reference to the investigation regarding the president’s alleged ties with Russia.

@realDonaldTrump This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!

He went on to speak about “illegal acts” that took place during Hillary Clinton’s campaign and throughout the Obama administration, noting that there was “never a special councel (sic) appointed.”

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller. © Jonathan Ernst

It comes just one day after the US Justice Department named former FBI chief Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the US election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

Trump’s tweets follow similar words from the president on Wednesday, in which he said that no politician “has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers during the investigation, according to AP.

Trump reiterated his innocence on Wednesday, saying in a statement that a “thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.”

Trump is also facing allegations that he leaked highly classified information to Russian officials during a meeting in the US capital last week.

That claim has been denied by both Washington and Moscow, with Russian President Vladimir Putin offering on Wednesday to release the records of the meeting, while accusing the US of developing “political schizophrenia.”

@RT_America 'No evidence Russia influencing voter tallies in...50 states' - US ex-intel chief http://on.rt.com/8b32 

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published a report claiming that Trump had “revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister [Sergey Lavrov] and ambassador in a White House meeting,” allegedly related to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

While Trump has said the “facts” discussed included terrorism and airline flight safety, which he had an “absolute right” to discuss with Russia, Lavrov on Thursday was also asked to comment on the matter.

We do not comment on gossip, but we do read [US] newspapers,” Lavrov told the media in Cyprus. “If I remember rightly, around a month-and-a-half or two months ago, the Trump administration decided to ban passengers from seven Middle Eastern countries from carrying any electronic devices on board... I don't understand where the secret is.

  • Published in World

‘Comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations’ before leaking to press – Trump

US President Donald Trump has tweeted that recently fired FBI Director James Comey had better hope there are no tapes of their conversations “before he starts leaking to the press.”

@realDonaldTrump James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

Comey, who had been leading an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's advisers and Russian officials, was fired by the president on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

In a separate tweet, Trump questioned when the “witch hunt” would end, noting that former National Intelligence Director James Clapper and “virtually everyone else” with knowledge of the situation says there has been no collusion with Russia.

@realDonaldTrump When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?

Trump admitted during a Thursday interview with NBC's Lester Holt that "this Russia thing" was on his mind when he made the decision to sack Comey, who he referred to as a "showboat."

However, he said the main reason for firing him was because the FBI has been "in turmoil."

"You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn't recovered from that," Trump said.

READ MORE: Trump thought about ‘this Russia thing’ when deciding to fire ‘showboat’ Comey

Trump has repeatedly denied that he or anyone on his staff has ties to Russia, tweeting earlier on Friday that the story was "fabricated by Democrats as an excuse for losing the election."

Trump has vowed that Comey will be replaced by "someone who will do a far better job," noting that he had "lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington."

@realDonaldTrump James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.

  • Published in World

‘House investigation into alleged Trump Tower wiretapping looks Keystone Cop-ish’

The really odd part is what is going on with the White House. They have never been, not once, in front of this story. They always seem to be responding to it, former CIA officer Jack Rice, told RT America’s News With Ed.

The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes drew fire from some congressional members after it was discovered he had paid a visit to the White House to view information indicating communication by then-President-elect Donald Trump may have been captured during the surveillance of foreign nationals.

Claims by Nunes sheds new light on Trump's as-of-yet unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama.

RT:  Could an independent investigation outdo the FBI? It seems there is this fever pitch on Capitol Hill that the FBI can’t investigate well enough and we’ve got to have a new committee. What are your thoughts on that?

Walter Jones (R-NC) becomes first House Republican to demand Nunes recuse himself from investigation

Jack Rice: Three investigations are taking place right now: The House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee is getting ready to start on Thursday, and then the FBI – all of those are rolling. I think the problem that is going on with the House Committee right now is it seems very ‘Keystone Cop-ish.' There are a lot of things that are jumping back and forth, there are a lot of inconsistencies, a lot is coming from Nunes which we’re not seeing from the Senate side. I think that is part of the problem.

What you’re finding right is that there isn’t consistency and there isn’t sort of an ongoing process that makes sense. It seems haphazard; it seems kind of strange and odd with some of the statements coming from Nunes about going to the White House; why he was at the White House; or at least in the White House area, and what that means. A lot of people are confused. In fact, there has been one Republican, at least now that I am seeing, that is even saying: “Maybe Nunes needs to go.” So that is the question people are asking.

's "absurd" wiretapping allegations could damage UK-US relationship -

https://pbs.twimg.com/card_img/846468010785296384/9F9TUgiM?format=jpg&name=600x314

RT:  Does it change the gathering of information. Does all of that rhetoric and speculation about who goes, who stays, who’s responsible change what the FBI is going to do?

JR: … The FBI is going to continue going down the path that they are going down now, and that is a good thing. The House Intelligence Committee is as well. I believe the concern is that what is the motivation of Congressman Nunes. Is he there to protect the White House? Is he there to provide an independent investigation? If he is acquiring information is he providing that to everybody, or is he basically turning around saying, “Let’s go to the White House and talk to them about it.” That is the real concern right now.

House Intel Committee's Russia investigation is 'haphazard' — fmr CIA officer

RT:  Nunes claims that he felt he had an obligation to tell the President about the unmasking of names. It seems to me that investigators keep things close to the vest and don’t say anything to anybody, and certainly don’t have it end up in the media.

JR: You’re absolutely right. It is odd that this is going on. Contemplate upon the comparison of how the Senate is approaching this and how the House is. That really is the distinction here; that’s the real problem. This unmasking issue – there are some issues that deal with FISA and 12333, and some other issues as to what is and what should not be. But again, the consistency problem with the House is really the issue. The really odd part, honestly, is that what is going with the White House is: they have never been, not once, in front of this story. They always seem to be responding to it… If they want to handle this issue and control it, they need to be on the front end. Why are they always on the back end? It’s crazy, don’t you think?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

No Evidence Trump Campaign or RNC ‘Successfully Hacked’: FBI Director

The FBI has no evidence that Russia successfully hacked President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign or the Republican National Committee (RNC), Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said on Tuesday.

Testifying before Congress for the first time since Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8, Comey declined to answer a question about whether the FBI was investigating the possibility of links between Trump associates and Russia.

U.S. intelligence agencies on Friday released an assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help Republican Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting Clinton in the 2016 campaign.

The report, which omitted classified details, was the U.S. government’s starkest public description of what it says was an Russian campaign to manipulate the American electoral process. Russian authorities have denied interfering in the election.

“We did not develop any evidence that the Trump campaign, or the current RNC, was successfully hacked,” Comey told lawmakers.

He said there was evidence Russia hacked Republican state-level political campaigns and “old” email domains that the RNC was no longer using. While it collected some information from these hacks, Russia did not publicly release it, he said.

In contrast, Friday’s report assessed that Russian military intelligence used intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, DCLeaks.com and the Guccifer 2.0 “persona” to release emails that it had acquired from the Democratic National Committee and top Democrats as part of the effort to help Trump and harm Clinton.

  • Published in World

Hate crimes against Muslims surged by 67% in US: FBI

Hate crimes against Muslims across the United States spiked last year, according to new statistics released by the FBI, a rise which experts say was partially fueled by anti-Muslim rhetoric of Donald Trump, the US president-elect.  

Anti-Muslim hate crimes shot up 67 percent in 2015, compared with the year before, according to the bureau’s Hate Crime Statistics report issued on Monday. At least 257 of hate crime incidents against Muslims took place in 2015 while 154 happened in 2014.

“That is the highest number since 2001, when the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and elsewhere drove the number to its highest ever level, 481 hate crimes,” said Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that tracks hate crimes.

“I wasn’t surprised to learn that anti-Muslim hate crime statistics spiked in 2015.” said Jordan Denari Duffner, research fellow at The Bridge Initiative, a research project on Islamophobia at Georgetown University.

“The official FBI statistics confirmed what many of us predicted – that anti-Muslim acts, many of them violent, were on the rise,” Duffner added.

Hate crimes overall grew by 6.8 percent in 2015 to a total of 5,850 incidents reported throughout the year, compared with the 5,479 incidents reported in 2014.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

                                                     American Muslims attend a community event. (File photo)

Reports of hate crimes and racially motivated violence against minorities have further increased in the United States after the election of Republican candidate Trump as president.

There was a spate of hate crimes reported on social media and to police last week that targeted Muslims, Latinos and African Americans.

Trump’s supporters have been accused of numerous attacks following his election victory last week, including racist graffiti, death threats and physical assaults.

Trump’s campaign had been hit with many controversies since its inception in early 2015. He repeatedly made disparaging remarks against minorities in the US. His comments include a call to ban all Muslims from coming to America as well as stopping Mexican migrants by building a long wall along the US-Mexico border.

Despite all this, the billionaire businessman still managed to stun the world by defeating the heavily-favored Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in the November 8 election.

Trump tells supporters to ‘stop it’

                                           US President-elect Donald Trump talks to CBS' "60 Minutes" program broadcast on Sunday/CBS

Trump told his supporters in an interview on Sunday to stop attacks against Latinos and Muslims.

“I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump told CBS’ “60 Minutes” program, when the host told him Latinos and Muslims were facing harassment. “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it -- if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’“

Trump has been criticized during his presidential campaign for his inflammatory language against Muslims, immigrants, women and other groups.

The SPLC civil rights organization has monitored a rash of racially motivated violence in campuses around the country.

“I think this is absolutely clearly a result of Trump’s election,” Mark Potok, a senior fellow at SPLC, told the Guardian last week. “Donald Trump has ripped the lid off Pandora’s box.”

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US: Resignation of FBI Director James Comey Requested

FBI Director James Comey, should immediately resign his position to preserve the integrity of the federal agency and the American democratic process, according to the daily, The Hill.

The text, signed by historian and professor at the American University, Allan J. Lichtman, criticizes Comey's decision to reopen the investigation into the use of a private server by the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State .

He states that the senior official gave a gift of inestimable value to the campaign of Republican candidate, Donald Trump, by publishing a letter sent to Congress on Friday about the discovery of emails on the server of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton's assistant.

Federal authorities are investigating Weiner, currently separated from his spouse, for the alleged sending of sexual messages to a child under 15 years in North Carolina, and almost a month ago federal agents took his laptop, cell phone and other equipment.

According to Lichtman, Comey used his position to influence the outcome of the presidential election and put the FBI in the center of political controversy, a place where it should have never been, which is a violation of rules designed to keep that law enforcement agency out of partisanship.

Recent polls show Clinton and Trump maintain a virtual tie in voting intentions.

Even before the announcement of the reopening of the FBI investigation the blue party candidate exhibited a lead of between nine and 10 percentage points over the billionaire.

  • Published in Now

WikiLeaks Releases over 1000 Clinton Iraq War Emails

WikiLeaks released 1,258 of the presidential hopeful's emails in relation to the Iraq war.

The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released more than 1,000 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server pertaining to the Iraq War on Monday.

RELATED: The Iraq War Never Ended: An Interview with Anand Gopal

The website tweeted a link to 1,258 emails that Clinton wrote or received during her time as secretary of state, which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange previously said would be enough to indict the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

In March, WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive of more than 30,000 emails sent to and from Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state. The documents spanned from from June 30, 2010, to August 12, 2014, and include more than 7,500 documents sent by Clinton.

Assange and his organization have been staunch critics of Clinton, uncovering her role in Libya and other interventions by the U.S. during her tenure as Washington’s top diplomat.

Clinton is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over allegations that she used her private email to conduct official communications despite being repeatedly warned against doing so. Assange, however, said he doubted that she would be charged.

RELATED: Is Google Responsible for Hillary Clinton's Success? Assange Thinks So

“We could proceed to an indictment, but if Loretta Lynch is the head of the DOJ (Department of Justice) in the United States, she’s not going to indict Hillary Clinton,” Assange told ITV last month.

The latest leaks came as Hillary Clinton met with the FBI for three and a half hours Saturday as part of the investigation into her use of a private email server while leading the State Department.

Sources close to the probe recently told CNN that the FBI will announce no charges against Clinton in the weeks to come.

  • Published in World

US Wants to Keep 9/11 Cockpit Audio Secret in Gitmo Trial - Prosecutor

A US military court is being asked to withhold from the public a cockpit recording from a hijacked jet in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, because it contains evidence needed for upcoming trials, US government prosecutor Ed Ryan testified at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

  • Published in World
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