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DOJ preparing to target author of salacious Trump-Russia dossier Christopher Steele: report

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In a detailed and compelling report published Wednesday, Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand revealed that the Justice Department inspector general is likely to criticize Christopher Steele, the author of the famous and salacious Trump-Russia dossier.

Michael Horowitz has been working on the report as a part of the probe of the origins of the Russia investigation. The dossier, which alleged that the Kremlin had considerable influence over Trump and his allies in the run-up to the 2016 election before the existence of the FBI’s probe was confirmed, has been a major source of consternation among Trump defenders.

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While conservatives have tried to claim that the Russia investigation had shady beginnings with the FBI relying on Steele, a former British intelligence officer, public reporting has revealed that the investigators began prior to the bureau’s receiving information from the dossier. And though investigators may have used Steele’s work, in part, to justify covert surveillance of Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign staffer, there’s little that is suspicious about this — the purpose of surveillance is often to prove or disprove unconfirmed allegations.

And, despite all the hand-wringing about the Page surveillance, Bertrand makes clear: He was on the FBI’s radar for suspicious contacts with Russians as early as 2013, and he was placed under surveillance after he left the Trump campaign.

Further, she points out that Steele’s information about Page doesn’t appear to be entirely erroneous:

Steele’s defenders also note that the information he provided which made it into the FISA warrant application to monitor Page was not far off. According to Steele’s sources, Page met with high-level Russian officials while in Moscow in July 2016, including the CEO of Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft. Page denied the claim publicly until pressed under oath by lawmakers in 2017, when he acknowledged meeting “senior members of the presidential administration” during his trip, as well as the head of investor relations at Rosneft. Page had originally claimed only that he went to Moscow to give the commencement address at the New Economic School.

Nevertheless, Bertrand noted, “Horowitz’s probe also appears set to cast doubt on the veracity of the information Steele provided about Page that the FBI included in its application for a FISA warrant” — a finding that would surely be seized upon by defenders of the president.

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She also suggested that, despite an unfamiliarity with the subject matter, Horowitz appears to have his mind made up about at least some of his conclusions:

Former U.S. officials interviewed by the inspector general were skeptical about the quality of his probe. They emphasized to Horowitz that information in a warrant application need not be wholly verified, as long as the reliability of the source of the information is disclosed to the court, which the FBI did in the Page FISA case with regard to Steele. But the inspector general seemed neither well-versed in the FISA process nor receptive to the explanations, the officials said.

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Trump is already making up conspiracy theories about voter fraud — and it’ll only get worse

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The election is eight months away, but President Donald Trump is already crying foul.

Bloomberg News wrote Sunday that Trump is already working to undermine the American electoral process by attacking the Democratic presidential primary.

"Indeed, his campaign, with the full support of the Republican Party, is already waging a vigorous crusade to destroy his opposition. No, it's not Joe Biden, who inspired Trump's shakedown of Ukraine. Trump's gunning for bigger game: democracy itself," wrote Francis Wilkinson for Bloomberg.

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READ IT: More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials tell Bill Barr to resign now

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More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and political crony Roger J. Stone Jr.

“It is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case,” wrote the former Justice Department attorneys in their Sunday letter. “It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.”

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Trump campaign forced to delete #Daytona500 Air Force One photo because it was from 15 years ago

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Air Force One in flight.

Another oops moment happened for President Donald Trump's campaign manager stole George W. Bush's photo from the Daytona 500 in 2004.

Tweeting Sunday, Brad Parscale proclaimed, "[email protected] won the #Daytona500 before the race even started."

Except, it wasn't him. As many people pointed out, the image was from 16 years ago by photographer Jonathan Ferrey, CNN reported. Parscale was forced to delete it and tweet it out again with an underwhelming photo.

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