After more than four years, Department of Justice prosecutor John Durham is finally going to give us a small piece of what he’s been working on since being appointed to investigate the FBI’s now-debunked probe into President Donald Trump and Russia.
The American people vested in the story and lawmakers who have spent years investigating it are more than frustrated and they have reason to be. A duly elected president and the American people had their constitutional rights trampled on and have witnessed egregious malfeasance with agencies that have been entrusted to uphold the law.
Former senior Obama administration officials used and abused the trust of the American people. The senior officials weaponized federal law enforcement, as well as U.S. intelligence assets to spy on a political opponent. When these former senior officials couldn’t derail President Trump’s campaign or his electability, they continued to target his administration and for the last nearly four years they tried to derail his presidency.
After several years of do nothing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and several interim AGs, we still have not seen justice in one of the biggest political scandals in modern history.
If today’s decision by Durham is to issue several smaller indictments against low rung employees then we know justice will not be fully served.
The simplest indictment would be against FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who falsified the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against Carter Page. Page, who was a volunteer for the 2016 Trump campaign, is now suing multiple media outlets for falsifying information against him. The warrant allowed the FBI to spy on Page’s communications and allowed them access into the Trump campaign.
But Clinesmith was not alone in his actions. Neither were any of the other FBI agents that spied on Trump’s campaign. These actions were approved and managed by senior-level officials like FBI Director James Comey and his Deputy Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Rep. Andy Biggs told me Friday morning that Barr’s statements to Fox News host Sean Hannity Thursday night about Durham’s announcement is concerning. He noted that Barr’s statement that the information will not be “earth shattering” is an indication that not enough is being done.
I absolutely agree with Biggs. He wasn’t the only one I spoke to this morning in Congress that is concerned about the direction of the Department of Justice and the ongoing investigation into the FBI’s probe. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
It should only be hours before we know whether or not we have a two-tiered justice system and bureaucrats so powerful they operate with impunity.
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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