Subdivision Tips, South Australia (C: +61431138537), https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000/

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trump fires FBI Director Comey, setting off U.S. political storm

Sun May 14, 2017 | 9:15 PM EDT U.S. lawmakers ask Trump to turn over any Comey tapes 22h ago | 01:48 Trump pressured to turn over any Comey tapes U.S. lawmakers ask Trump to turn over any Comey... X By Ayesha Rascoe | WASHINGTON U.S. lawmakers on Sunday called on President Donald Trump to turn over any tapes of conversations with fired FBI chief James Comey, potentially setting up a showdown with the White House as Democrats considered a boycott of the vote on Comey's replacement. In a highly unusual move, Trump last week appeared to suggest on Twitter that he might have tapes of conversations with Comey and warned the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation against talking to the media. Trump and a White House spokesman declined to confirm or deny whether such tapes exist. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the White House must "clear the air" about whether there are any taped conversations. "You can't be cute about tapes. If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over," Graham told NBC's "Meet the Press" program. Trump sparked a political firestorm when he abruptly fired Comey last week. The FBI has been investigating alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Democrats have accused Trump of attempting to thwart the FBI's probe and have called for some type of independent inquiry into the matter. Trump has said he removed Comey because he was not doing a good job and that Comey had lost the support of FBI employees. Trump tweeted on Friday that "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" If there are recordings, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah told the "Fox News Sunday" program it was "inevitable" that they would be subpoenaed and the White House would have to release them. ADVERTISEMENT Lee, who was on Trump's list of potential replacements for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, also said recording conversations in the White House is "not necessarily the best idea." 'SIGH OF RELIEF' Trump's threat about tapes has intensified calls from Democrats for an independent probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump must immediately provide Congress with any tapes and warned that destroying existing tapes would violate the law. Schumer also said Senate Democrats are weighing whether to refuse to vote on a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is named to investigate Trump's potential ties to Russia. ‹ 3/3 FILE PHOTO: FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque 1/3 U.S. President Donald Trump delivers keynote address at Liberty University's commencement in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., May 13, 2017. Reuters/Yuri Gripas 2/3 U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks with reporters about President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. May 9, 2017. Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein 3/3 FILE PHOTO: FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque 1/3 U.S. President Donald Trump delivers keynote address at Liberty University's commencement in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., May 13, 2017. Reuters/Yuri Gripas › Russia has denied the claims and the White House says there was no collusion. "To have that special prosecutor, people would breathe a sigh of relief because then there would be a real independent person overlooking the FBI director," Schumer told CNN's "State of the Union" program. Trump, who has sought better relations with Russia, has continued to question whether it was behind the hacking of email accounts belonging to Democrats involved in Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told NBC's "Meet the Press" program there is no question that "the Russians were playing around in our electoral processes." He defended Trump's decision to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office last week. Related Coverage VIDEOFormer Defense Secretary Gates calls Comey firing 'not terribly well done' "It's in the interest of the American people, it's in the interest of Russia and the rest of the world that we do something to see if we cannot improve the relationship between the two greatest nuclear powers in the world," Tillerson said. The Justice Department began interviewing candidates for the FBI director job on Saturday. Some people under consideration include acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, New York Appeals Court Judge Michael Garcia and former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, according to a White House official. Meanwhile, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday found that 29 percent of Americans approve of Trump's decision to fire Comey, while 38 percent disapprove. If a Senate vote on a new FBI director breaks down along party lines, Democrats would not have the votes to block a nominee because Republicans hold a majority in the chamber. "The key is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us," Schumer said. Republican leaders in the Senate have rebuffed calls for a special prosecutor, saying it would interfere with ongoing congressional probes. Graham said there may come a time when a special prosecutor is needed but not now. "Right now, it is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. So you don't need a special prosecutor," Graham said on "Meet the Press." (Additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Caren Bohan and Jeffrey Benkoe) ======================= ‘Comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations’ before leaking to press – Trump Published time: 12 May, 2017 12:37 Edited time: 12 May, 2017 13:00 Get short URL U.S. President Donald Trump © Carlos Barria / Reuters US President Donald Trump has tweeted that recently fired FBI Director James Comey had better hope there are no tapes of their conversations “before he starts leaking to the press.” Comey, who had been leading an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's advisers and Russian officials, was fired by the president on Tuesday. READ MORE: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey In a separate tweet, Trump questioned when the “with hunt” would end, noting that former national intelligence director James Clapper and “virtually everyone else” with knowledge of the situation says there has been no collusion with Russia. Trump admitted during a Thursday interview with NBC's Lester Holt that "this Russia thing" was on his mind when he made the decision to sack Comey, who he referred to as a "showboat." However, he said the main reason for firing him was because the FBI has been "in turmoil." "You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn't recovered from that," Trump said. READ MORE: Trump thought about ‘this Russia thing’ when deciding to fire ‘showboat’ Comey Trump has repeatedly denied that he or anyone on his staff has ties to Russia, tweeting earlier on Friday that the story was "fabricated by Democrats as an excuse for losing the election." Trump has vowed that Comey will be replaced by "someone who will do a far better job," noting that he had "lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington." Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Sponsored Links  More From The Web ========================== Wed May 10, 2017 | 2:46 AM EDT Trump fires FBI Director Comey, setting off U.S. political storm By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason | WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump ignited a political firestorm on Tuesday by firing FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading an investigation into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign's possible collusion with Russia to influence the election outcome. The Republican president said he fired Comey, the top U.S. law enforcement official, over his handling of an election-year email scandal involving then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The move stunned Washington and raised suspicions among Democrats and others that the White House was trying to blunt the FBI probe involving Russia. Some Democrats compared Trump's move to the "Saturday Night Massacre" of 1973, in which President Richard Nixon fired an independent special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. White House officials denied allegations that there was any political motive in the move by Trump, who took office on Jan. 20. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he spoke to Trump and told him he was "making a very big mistake" in firing Comey, adding the president did not "really answer" in response. An independent investigation into Moscow's role in the election "is now the only way to go to restore the American people’s faith," Schumer said. Though many Democrats have criticized Comey's handling of the Clinton email probe, they said they were troubled by the timing of Trump's firing of him. Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is overseeing its own investigation into Russian interference during the election, said in a statement he was also troubled by the timing of Comey's termination. "His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation," Burr said. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a January report that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered an effort to disrupt the 2016 election, with the aim of helping Trump. CNN reported on Tuesday night that federal prosecutors had issued grand jury subpoenas to former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, seeking business records, as part of the probe into Russian interference in the election. Trump's firing of Comey came a day after former acting Attorney General Sally Yates told a Senate panel that she had informed the White House on Jan. 26 that Flynn was at risk of blackmail by Moscow because he had been untruthful about his discussions with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak. Trump fired Flynn 18 days later. VIDEOFBI director Comey fired VIDEO'Does not seem to be a coincidence': Schumer on Trump firing Comey Timeline: FBI Director Comey's year of controversy ends in firing Russia has repeatedly denied any meddling in the election and the Trump administration denies allegations of collusion with Russia. RESTORING 'PUBLIC TRUST' Trump, in a letter to Comey released by the White House, said: "It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission." The president told Comey in the letter that he accepted the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he could no longer provide effective leadership. Comey's term was to run through September 2023. He was appointed director by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2013. Sessions advised Trump's campaign before being picked by the president to lead the Justice Department. Sessions had recused himself from involvement in the Russia investigation, after he misstated his own 2016 contacts with Russia's ambassador to Washington. Comey's deputy, Andrew McCabe, became acting FBI director. The White House said the search for a new permanent director would begin immediately. Pushing back against critics of the move, White House officials said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a career prosecutor who took office on April 25, assessed the situation at the FBI and concluded that Comey had lost his confidence. ‹ 6/6 This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. President Donald Trump firing Director of the FBI James Comey at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. Reuters/Joshua Roberts 1/6 FILE PHOTO - FBI Director James Comey is sworn in to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo 2/6 FILE PHOTO: FBI Director James Comey is sworn in before testifying before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2016. Reuters/Joshua Roberts/File Photo 3/6 FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump greets Director of the FBI James Comey as Director of the Secret Service Joseph Clancy (L) watches during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. Reuters/Joshua Roberts/File Photo 4/6 FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) and FBI Director James Comey take seats before a meeting with heads of federal law enforcement components at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. Reuters/Yuri Gripas/File Photo 5/6 FILE PHOTO: FBI Director James Comey waits to speak at the Boston Conference on Cyber Security at Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., March 8, 2017. Reuters/Brian Snyder/File Photo 6/6 This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. President Donald Trump firing Director of the FBI James Comey at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. Reuters/Joshua Roberts 1/6 FILE PHOTO - FBI Director James Comey is sworn in to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo › Rosenstein sent his recommendation to Sessions, who concurred and they forwarded their recommendation to Trump, who accepted it on Tuesday, they said. The White House released a memo in which Rosenstein wrote: "I cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken." Rosenstein cited several former Justice Department officials’ comments criticizing Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, including his public statements. But one of those he cited, Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general under President H.W. Bush, questioned the purported reasons for the firing. Reached by Reuters, Ayer said in an email that the administration's explanation was "a sham." Comey was traveling in Los Angeles when the news broke that he had been fired. In an odd twist, a White House official said the letter firing him was delivered to the FBI by Keith Schiller, Trump's longtime armed personal bodyguard who is now director of Oval Office Operations at the White House. Trump, in the letter, said: "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau." Related Coverage FBI in turmoil over Comey firing, scramble on for new chief Top Senate Intelligence Democrat has faith in Russia probe Trump firing of FBI Director Comey evokes criticism, praise Senate Democrat Feinstein calls for independent FBI director EMAIL CONTROVERSY Comey, 56, had been the target of criticism from many quarters for his handling of a probe involving Clinton's use of a private email server while she was U.S. secretary of state under Obama. As recently as Tuesday, the FBI clarified remarks that Comey made on the matter last week. Trump had originally criticized the FBI director for not pursuing criminal charges against Clinton last July, but later lavished praise on him. Comey had said in July the Clinton email case should be closed without prosecution, but then declared - 11 days before the Nov. 8 election - that he had reopened the investigation because of a discovery of a new trove of Clinton-related emails. Clinton and other Democrats say they believe Comey's decision help cost her the election. The firing came as a shock to FBI staff, nearly all of whom had confidence in Comey despite the controversy surrounding his handling of the Clinton email situation, according to an FBI official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said there was concern among agents that the firing was a political act related to the Russian investigation. Other current and former U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials questioned the White House explanation for Comey's firing. "Trump praised him for the work on the email investigation, so that’s not it," said Austin Berglas, a former FBI supervisory agent on hacking cases. "I think he realized the extent of the Russia investigation under way and moved him out. To me, that’s the only logical explanation right now." Trump’s dismissal of Comey does not mean the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election will be disrupted or end - career FBI staffers can continue the probe even as the search for a new FBI director begins, legal experts said. Republican Representative Justin Amash wrote on Twitter that he and his staff were reviewing the possibility of drafting legislation to create an independent commission to look into the Russian campaign meddling. Legislation related to the appointment of a special prosecutor or independent counsel has lapsed. But Justice Department regulations provide for the appointment of a special counsel, which is selected by the attorney general, or acting attorney general in the case of recusal, the experts said. (Additional reporting by Dustin Volz, Mark Hosenball, Joseph Menn, John Walcott, Rick Cowan, Patricia Zengerle, Amanda Becker, Nathan Layne and Lawrence Hurley.; Writing by Warren Strobel; Editing by Peter Cooney and Michael Perry)

No comments: