In general , when the FBI gets a credible lead about potential criminal activity, it can be appropriate to use a confidential informant to follow up on that lead. The FBI has certainly used confidential informants with respect to public officials and, in the campaign context, to target potentially illegal fundraising.
The critical unknown, though, is whether the informant sought to gain trust , expand contacts and effectively move inside the campaign for broader informational purposes. Imbedding an informant in a political campaign would obviously be troubling. In determining this issue, it would be important to assess whether attempts were made by the informant to establish communication with others in the campaign beyond initial leads.Substantial added concerns arise from the fact that this was a Presidential campaign in which the outcome could change the FBI’s own top leadership.
For these reasons, it is appropriate for Congressional authorities- with appropriate confidentiality safeguards- to drill down on the role of the informant to verify whether it was simply following up on credible leads or an infiltration.
You may question former Trump aide, Sam Nunberg and his reliability as a witness in the Russia investigation. I believe Nunberg is still useful despite his recent outbursts.
Robert Mueller’s team can make use of whatever documents Nunberg has and shouldn’t dismiss him entirely. His behavior is unpredictable, so if the special counsel wants his cooperation, they need to advise him to get a lawyer and calm down after the multiple meltdowns he’s had so he’s a more dependable witness.
Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals today for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I believe this is a win for supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
There’s something for both sides in these indictments, but there’s plenty of upside here for the Trump team: a clear signal from the Mueller team that they’ve found zero campaign collusion. Director Mueller also took an important step to protect our election system for the future. The Russian meddling has to stop, and these indictments will certainly help.
The 37 page indictment alleges Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. election illegally, but nothing in the indictment points to Trump campaign collusion and there is no allegation that the operation had no impact on the results.
While Russian defendants charged today will never be extradited from Russia, there are still important consequences. This puts these defendants in the Interpol database, so they won’t be able to travel to dozens of countries with U.S. extradition treaties – they would be subject to arrest and detention at foreign airports. That hits hard. Banking and other business relations with individuals outside of Russia will become exceedingly difficult for the defendants.
While the investigation will continue concerning obstruction, I believe that the framework for examining those issues has now been transformed.
Kendall Coffey, an attorney for the Cuban migrants who took refuge at the American Shoal lighthouse in the Florida Keys and are now being repatriated, speaks outside federal court on Thursday, June 30, 2016, in Miami.
Patriot Tonight with Melanie Collette 8/5/17
RE: Leak crackdown – Jeff Sessions
Is there a culture of leaking today as was recently denounced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Most would have to admit there has been an unprecedented level of leaking with respect to the Russia-related investigation. Indeed, former FBI Director James Comey basically admitted that he leaked a confidential memorandum from the FBI files of a conversation he had with President Donald Trump. Rather than prompt an outcry, his leak was a success and apparently contributed to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Another example arises with the tragic bombing at a concert in Manchester, England on May 22, 2017. According to British authorities, in the early hours of that investigation U.S. law enforcement leaked the identity of who the British law enforcement officers thought to be the principal suspect – something that is not done in a law enforcement investigation unless suspects are at large and the public’s help is needed to locate them. If indeed U.S. law enforcement apparently leaked that information, the British authorities very properly were very concerned.
Most people who disclose confidential or classified material to the press do so because they think the U.S. government is doing something that the public ought to know about. But it’s not a government employee’s decision to make. If one has an issue with what the government’s doing, the proper approach is going within channels rather than going public with classified information or other confidential information.
It’s wrong and it’s often illegal. The law does not provide that if government employees disagree with government or don’t like their bosses, they can take the law into their own hands and ignore oaths.
Certainly, reporters who use leaks are not considered prosecutable today. And they will rarely join in any condemnations of leaks. Instead the folks who write about leaks are journalists who often hope they are going to be the next one who gets the leak.
But their hopes do not necessarily define what is best for our government and our nation.