Appearing on CNN's "New Day" on Friday morning legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and CNN "Early Start" host Laura Jarrett took a hard look at the one charge that Special Counsel John Durham came up with as part of his investigation of the FBI and said it looked like a desperate move to come up with something as he faced a deadline to wrap up his work after five years.
As the Associated Press reported, cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussman has been accused by Durham of "hiding that he was working with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign during a September 2016 conversation he had with the FBI's general counsel, when he relayed concerns from cybersecurity researchers about potentially suspicious contacts between a Russian bank and a Trump Organization server. The FBI looked into the matter but ultimately found no evidence of a secret backchannel."
Addressing the accusation on Friday morning, attorney Toobin admitted he found the charge bizarre and likely to fall apart under further scrutiny, while Jarrett noted that Durham spent five years and came up almost empty-handed.
"I think counselor Jarrett gave a very accurate description of the charges here," Toobin began. "But, if I can just add how weird this case is and how unusual even this case is. First of all, Sussman isn't charged with lying to an FBI agent. He's charged with voluntarily going to a lawyer at the FBI, the top lawyer Jim Baker, and describing what might be a crime and saying you should look into this."
"In that conversation, he says, I'm not representing a client generally," he continued. "Specifically I'm just sort of reporting this. That's what's alleged. There are no notes of this conversation; there is -- this is a five-year-old conversation and in Baker's report to his colleague, the colleague writes down, everyone knows that Susman's firm represents the Clinton campaign, so there was no mystery about who Sussman was or where Sussman was coming from. So the idea that this was some lie that changed the FBI and changed their investigation just seems deeply bizarre to me, if this statement was ever said at all because there are no notes."
"There's no one present there other than the two lawyers and it was almost exactly five years ago because the statute of limitations is going to run out in a couple days," he added. "That's why this case was brought today. So, not only did the Durham investigation labor mightily and brought forth a mouse, this isn't much of a mouse. I don't know what this case is."
CNN 09 17 2021 06 34 48 youtu.be
Georgian chess legend Nona Gaprindashvili has filed a $5 million defamation suit against Netflix, saying her depiction in the hit TV show "The Queen's Gambit" was "sexist and belittling".
A copy of the lawsuit filed Thursday with a California court accuses Netflix of distorting Gaprindashvili's achievements in the fictional series.
It says the show falsely suggested that the former female world champion never played competitive chess with men, and states that Gaprindashvili, now 80, competed against dozens of top male players, beating 28 of them.
"Netflix brazenly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili's achievements," the lawsuit says.
"The allegation that Gaprindashvili 'has never faced men' is manifestly false, as well as being grossly sexist and belittling," reads the lawsuit.
"Piling on additional insult to injury, Netflix described Gaprindashvili as Russian, despite knowing that she was Georgian."
Netflix said in a statement that it has "only the utmost respect for Ms Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case."
Born in 1941 in Georgia's western town of Zugdidi, Gaprindashvili has played chess since she was 13.
She won the female World Championship aged 20 and defended her title successfully four times, before losing her crown to another Georgian, 17-year-old Maia Chiburdanidze, in 1978.
That same year she became the first woman to be awarded the title of grandmaster by FIDE.
Nona Gaprindashvili, pictured in 2009, is the first woman to be awarded the title of grandmaster VANO SHLAMOV AFP/File
Netflix says "The Queen's Gambit" has become its "biggest limited scripted series ever" with 62 million households watching the miniseries in its first 28 days.
As of July 2021, the California-headquartered streaming service provider had 209 million subscribers.
© 2021 AFP
Trump’s kids kept their ‘free limo access’ after he left office — and it cost taxpayers $1.7 million
Former president Donald Trump issued a "highly unusual order" before leaving office — awarding six months of extra Secret Service protection to his four adult children and three top administration officials.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the total cost for the additional protection was $1.7 million.
Although this represents only a fraction of the the Secret Service's $2.4 billion budget, one government watchdog said the charges represent a "moral choice" for the Trump children — "whom the agents trailed to ski vacations, weekend houses, a resort in Cabo San Lucas, and business trips abroad," according to the Post.
Jim Helminski, a former Secret Service executive, said Trump appears to have given "a public service as a private benefit to his inner circle."
"Who wouldn't enjoy continuing their free limo service and easy access to restaurant tables?" Helminski said. "Even if there was a credible risk to family and associates of Trump these people are now private citizens who can afford to hire some very talented private security firms for their personal protection."
Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Trump's children failed the "moral choice" test when they declined to write off at least one portion of the Secret Service charges.
"The patriotic thing would obviously be, not charging the government to stay at your properties, and not profiting or profiteering off the government," Libowitz said. "It is just so easy for them to write off the rooms. And we're not seeing that."
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