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Trump legal team delays filing leak complaint against Comey

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Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump are not likely to file their planned complaint this week against former FBI Director James Comey over disclosing details about conversations with the president, a spokesman for Trump’s legal team said on Tuesday.

A person close to the legal team said on Friday Trump’s chief personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, expected to file a complaint against Comey early this week to the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office.

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“I think it’s going to take a little longer,” Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the legal team, said on Tuesday. “It may well slip to next week.”

Corallo also said the complaint may be filed to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility rather than its Office of Inspector General.

Trump’s lawyers are sifting through additional information and preparing at least one submission, and a meeting scheduled for Wednesday may clarify the proper avenue for the complaint, he said.

The president has responded to Comey’s testimony on Thursday to the Senate Intelligence Committee by denying that he tried to interfere with an FBI investigation, and calling the former FBI chief a leaker.

In his testimony, Comey said that after Trump fired him last month he gave a memo he wrote about a meeting with the president to a friend in order to have its contents disclosed to the media.

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In a statement following the testimony, Kasowitz accused Comey of leaking “privileged” information. Some legal experts have said the information disclosed was not privileged because Trump himself had already publicly discussed their conversations.

A former high-ranking Justice Department official familiar with how the inspector general handles complaints said any filing by Kasowitz would most likely be treated as part of an existing investigation into Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. “This could end up as a footnote in a longer report,” the former official said.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said he believes the Comey disclosure violated FBI regulations but said the Office of Professional Responsibility may be reluctant to look into an disciplinary allegation against a former rather than current employee.

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“The challenge for the Trump team is to find an office that will get to the merits,” said Turley.

John Lavinsky, a spokesman for the Inspector General, declined to comment.

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(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Anthony Lin and Frances Kerry)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Melania Trump statue torched near her Slovenian hometown: report

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On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump carved from a tree outside her hometown in Slovenia last year has been burned to the ground.

"The artist who had commissioned the sculpture, Brad Downey, had the statue removed on July 5," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "Downey, who is American but works out of Berlin, had hoped his statue of the first lady would create dialogue about American politics, given that Melania Trump is an immigrant married to a president who seeks to stem immigration. Though the investigation is still pending, Downey said he hopes to interview the perpetrators for an upcoming exhibition."

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FBI investigating Chinese businessman who bankrolled media company linked to Steve Bannon

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A Wall Street Journal expose revealed that a Chinese businessman is under investigation by the FBI after he used funds to bankroll a media company with ties to a former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said," according to the Journal. "As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been underway for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved.

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Mike Pompeo asks Egypt to stop harassing US citizens

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed Egypt's release of a US citizen but urged the ally to stop harassment of others.

Mohamed Amashah, 24, was freed Monday, nearly 16 months after he was arrested in Cairo's Tahrir Square for holding up a sign seeking the release of prisoners, according to human rights campaigners.

A dual US-Egyptian citizen who lives in New Jersey, he had gone on a hunger strike this year to protest his conditions.

"We thank Egypt for securing his release and his repatriation," Pompeo told a news conference.

"But at the same time, we urge Egyptian officials to stop unwarranted harassment of US citizens and their families who remain there," he said.

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