Speaking to MSNBC Monday, national security expert Jeremy Bash and former FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi explained the specifics on what was likely done to get warrants for members of Congress and the White House counsel and renew the gag order on Apple.
It was revealed late last week by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt that under Attorney General Jeff Sessions warrants were issued to spy on reporters, members of Congress, their staff and their family. While nothing was uncovered, the Justice Department, even under Attorney General renewed the gag order on Apple refusing to allow anyone to learn of the scandal during the Trump reign.
Figliuzzi explained that he spent the weekend on the phone with those who ran leak investigations in an effort to conclude what would explain all of the spying that "didn't involve a compete trampling of existing rules and regulations at DOJ."
The best thing they could come up with, he said, is a scenario in which an overly aggressive approach was taken to root out the leak and they completely forgot the rules. SIMs, the Sensitive Investigative Matters.
"SIMs require much higher level approval for such things," he explained. "Certainly investigations involving Congress would do that. The White House counsel would do that. What does that mean? It means you'd go up to the general counsel of the FBI. You'd possibly involve the deputy director of the FBI. You certainly would involve an assistant attorney general or even the DAG [deputy attorney general], or the A.G. himself on something like this. So, on the worst-case scenario that we could come up with, is that this was indeed reflective of a blacklist going after the president's enemies."
He went on to say that it doesn't sound plausible that former Attorneys General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions, nor DAG Rod Rosenstein would dismiss it as something they don't remember.
"It doesn't jive with the nature of these, and then the scenario I keep seeing kicked around in the press which is, well, here's the inadvertent scenario: a staffer is under investigation. They grab the staffer's records via subpoena. He's called 72 people, and then they start going through and collecting metadata on each of those people. Here's the problem with that; at the point -- first of all, the way it's supposed to work in a normal administration is you go, 'Time out! We're investigating a staffer, he's probably calling members of Congress, so let's use our own directories in the FBI. Anybody seen these California phone numbers? Oh, yes, there's Swalwell and Schiff's phone numbers. Stop what you're doing.' That's not a leak."
He explained that any staffer calling his own member of the committee isn't a leak. It's their day job. At that point, he said that they would have lost their predication.
It means that nothing that Barr, Sessions or Rosenstein are saying makes sense.
Host Nicolle Wallace noted that it wasn't the same as Trump trying to suck up to Vladimir Putin. The information, in this case, is "knowable," and there are staffers at the Justice Department who can answer the questions about this spying and the renewed gag orders.
Bash explained that the DOJ is probably at work on it, but that it's going to take a few days to uncover. Even if those prosecutors who fought to renew the gag order didn't do anything wrong, there's still a question about what they were told.
"If I were the deputy attorney general or I were the inspector general or I were a congressional overseer that I would be asking on a nonpartisan basis is, was this witness intimidation?" Bash asked. "Was this an effort by Donald Trump to intimidate Don McGahn, his own counsel, because Don McGahn was potentially a witness against him in the impeachment matter? In the matter of whether or not the president of the United States engaged in obstruction of justice. I mean, as we know from the Mueller report, Don McGahn was asked to do things like fire Robert Mueller, impede the investigation on multiple fronts, and Don McGahn said, 'No,' and it obviously cost Don McGahn, in terms of his relationship with the president, and ultimately he departed."
He went on to say that he thinks the ultimate information the public must learn is if the subpoenaing of the records was witness intimidation in the Mueller case.
See the discussion below:
ex-FBI official and national security analyst explain Trump's spying www.youtube.com
Over the winter at least 151 Texans died as 4.5 million homes and businesses went without power in a massive failure created by poor planning, lack of regulation, and sheer greed.
Last week Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott promised he had fixed the problem.
Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas. Today, I signed bills into LAW to refor… https://t.co/v21Ldqx9Is— Greg Abbott (@Greg Abbott) 1623188924.0
On Monday, less than seven days later, ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, urged customers to turn air conditioning to no cooler than 78 degrees and to conserve power, as it expects more blackouts throughout the week – this time during extreme heat.
In a statement ERCOT also asked Texans to not use ovens, washing machines, or dryers.
"If you don't need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible."
BREAKING: ERCOT is now asking people to conserve electricity through Friday, saying there are a significant number… https://t.co/jRr08OPiPY— Matt Largey (@Matt Largey) 1623693438.0
Many Texans, and many Americans, are furious.
Start with cutting power to the Governor's mansion. Our grid isn't fixed and the consumer is paying higher prices.… https://t.co/4vNpTmTRaa— Heather (TX) 🇺🇸 (@Heather (TX) 🇺🇸) 1623697289.0
Thanks to @GovAbbott, on one of the first hot days, we're already being told to conserve electricity. They didn't… https://t.co/wu4CqFlmuy— Kelly ツ (@Kelly ツ) 1623696240.0
So now ERCOT can’t handle cold or heat. Someone should check the flight logs to Cancun bc I’m sure Cruz is already… https://t.co/oYWIFAKUBW— Amelia (@Amelia) 1623700417.0
...are you FREAKING KIDDING ME, Texas?! ERCOT: Our grid wasn't built for temperatures this cold!!! ERCOT: uhm....it… https://t.co/fRuIRnyy56— Joe Vargas (@Joe Vargas) 1623698584.0
But @GregAbbott_TX wants to use Texas money to build a wall at the border......get your priorities straight, lives… https://t.co/J1BSzsrVzb— KiKi ♡✌🇺🇸🌊👑💙📣 (@KiKi ♡✌🇺🇸🌊👑💙📣) 1623700591.0
What could go possibly wrong with a combination of Texas's summer power outages and its new conceal-carry for all law? #AbbottFailedTexas— Truth Integrity Logic Fully Vaccinated (@Truth Integrity Logic Fully Vaccinated) 1623700778.0
ERCOT has issued a new warning to Cancun that Ted Cruz might be back sooner than expected.— Richard Hine (@Richard Hine) 1623696769.0
If you listen closely, you can hear Ted Cruz booking a flight to Cancun https://t.co/gmPLkaeMXi— Nunca Trumpismo (@Nunca Trumpismo) 1623702652.0
ERCOT: there will be power outages! #AbbottFailedTexas it's time for Beto to Run things... https://t.co/FEIu7BiQLD— Rachel (@Rachel) 1623698313.0
This wouldn’t be an issue if #Beto was #Texas’ Governor. #ercot #poweroutage https://t.co/5rKUHske5W— ₚₒₗᵢₜᵢcₐₗ ⱼₒᵢₙₜ™ (@ₚₒₗᵢₜᵢcₐₗ ⱼₒᵢₙₜ™) 1623700619.0
We need Beto. While Abbott prattles on about a bloody wall, we need our grid repaired now. This is going to a long… https://t.co/0jU1zAOn0l— ToutdeSuiteLaSinner (@ToutdeSuiteLaSinner) 1623700812.0
‘Outrageous’: Judge accuses US marshals of ‘kidnapping’ defendants after coronavirus vaccine standoff
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that a federal judge in South Dakota is accusing members of the U.S. marshals Service of "kidnapping" after an incident that stemmed from the marshals refusal to disclose whether marshals had been vaccinated for COVID-19.
"U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann, who sits in Aberdeen, tore into the U.S. Marshals Service for nearly an hour over their reaction to his decision at a hearing last month to question the deputy marshal in attendance about whether she had been vaccinated," reported Devlin Barrett. "The deputy marshal, according to the judge, refused to answer the question, at which point he ordered her out of his courtroom. The marshals, in turn, took three of the defendants scheduled for hearings that day out of the courthouse. That infuriated the judge, who describes that act as a 'kidnapping' that obstructed the work of the court."
"This was such an outrageous thing to do," said Kornmann at a hearing on Monday. "Nothing like this that we could find has ever been done in this country. If it is the marshals' position that they can override court orders, they are badly mistaken." D.C. U.S. Marshals Service Chief of Staff John Kilgallon, South Dakota Marshal Daniel Mosteller, and Chief Deputy Stephen Houghtaling have all been charged with contempt.
According to Barrett, Kilgallon told Kornmann that USMS does not know which of its employees have been vaccinated or not — but according to other sources close to the USMS, this is not true, and the agency required marshals to fill out a form with their vaccination status, with some even uploading images of their vaccination cards to a federal database.
You can read more here.
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