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Mueller has gotten witnesses to turn over their phones so his team can access encrypted messages: report

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Special counsel Robert Mueller has successfully gotten multiple witnesses in his probe to turn over their phones so that he and his team can have access to messages that they sent and received over encrypted messaging services.

According to CNBC, many of the witnesses have cooperated with Mueller’s request instead of risking being subpoenaed.

“Since as early as April, Mueller’s team has been asking witnesses in the Russia probe to turn over phones for agents to examine private conversations on WhatsApp, Confide, Signal and Dust,” CNBC reports. “While it’s unclear what Mueller has discovered, if anything, through this new request, investigators seem to be convinced that the apps could be a key to exposing conversations that weren’t previously disclosed to them.”

Encrypted messaging applications were used by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to allegedly conspire to tamper with witnesses who might testify against him.

Mueller’s team reportedly intercepted some of Manafort’s encrypted messages because he backed them up to his iCloud account, which federal officials apparently have access to via search warrant.

Cloud computing services such as iCloud, Google Drive and DropBox can automatically back up files that you create on your devices to a web storage space where you can access them from other web-connected devices.

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This means that if you back up encrypted messages sent to other people through one of these services, anyone who has access to your cloud account can view them — even though they were encrypted when you sent them to someone else.

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Hope Hicks told Congress that Trump was ‘serious’ about accepting foreign help: Jerry Nadler

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Former White House communications director Hope Hicks told Congress on Wednesday that President Donald Trump really does welcome foreign assistance to help him win elections, according to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).

In a statement released Thursday, Nadler revealed that "Ms. Hicks made clear that she understood the President to be serious when he said that he would accept foreign interference in our elections" and "she also made clear that even she knew that such foreign assistance should be rejected and reported to the FBI."

Nadler then put Hicks's testimony in the broader context of Trump telling ABC News' George Stephanopoulos last week that he would welcome the help of a foreign government who came to him and offered him dirt on a political opponent.

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‘It’s a disaster — and it’s getting worse’: House GOP members in a frenzy over 2020 prospects as fundraising flounders

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According to a report in Politico, GOP House members are angry with their own National Republican Congressional Committee, claiming it is doing a poor job of fundraising and is making horrible decisions that could impact the party in the run-up to the 2020 election.

The reports states that Chairman Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) was forced to attempt to calm the waters at private caucus meeting Wednesday and allay members' fears by saying the internal problems were being inflated by Democrats and the press.

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Ex-prosecutor slams Congress for not jailing subpoena violators in the Trump administration: ‘It’s incomprehensible’

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House Democrats have been blocked at every turn from their lawful oversight functions as President Donald Trump's administration directs its members to ignore subpoenas for information on a variety of topics, from the Russia investigation to the census.

On Thursday, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner castigated Democrats for their unwillingness to use their biggest weapon in the subpoena fight: inherent contempt.

It’s incomprehensible that Congress appears unwilling to use its lawful inherent contempt powers to force the issue of administration members ignoring properly issued subpoenas. Like a football team refusing to pass the ball, forever running up the middle, gaining zero yards. https://t.co/AaWvEsJvk2

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