8:36 AM 9/30/2017 – Looking for quick end to Russia investigations? Not likely, attorneys say

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USA TODAY
Looking for quick end to Russia investigations? Not likely, attorneys say
USA TODAY
The special counsel, the Senate and House Intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee are all investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Looking for quick end to probes? Not likely

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Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has allegedly hired a lawyer to represent him in the Russian election meddling investigation. Aidan Kelley has the story. Buzz60

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner and Chairman Richard Burr prepare to hear testimony on Russian intervention in the elections on June 28, 2017.(Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo, European Pressphoto Agency)

WASHINGTON — Anxious to see the results of all those Russia investigations going on in Congress and in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office? Well, take a deep breath. It’s likely to be awhile.

The constant stream of news about witnesses, subpoenas and closed-door testimony may make it feel like the Russia probes have been going on forever, but Mueller has only been on the job about four and a half months and the three congressional committees conducting inquiries didn’t really start digging in until spring.

That’s not long when you consider that the Watergate investigation of Richard Nixon took about 20 months — considered relatively fast — and the Whitewater investigation of Bill Clinton, which morphed into the Monica Lewinsky investigation, spanned about five years.

“The public and the press have always been impatient about how quickly these types of investigations are moving, but they have gotten more so,” said Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and the special deputy chief counsel for the House Iran-Contra Committee’s investigation of the Reagan administration. “The 24-hour news cycle means that speculation outruns the actual investigation and demands responses.”

Tiefer estimated that it could take Congress until spring and Mueller about a year to begin to show initial results, such as preliminary reports from the committees or the first round of indictments from the special counsel.

The special counsel, the Senate and House Intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee are all investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

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“They have difficult obstacles to overcome,” Tiefer said. Among them: convincing reluctant witnesses to cooperate, obtaining scores of documents from both inside the U.S. and Russia, and trying to persuade one of the targets to break ranks and become a witness for the prosecution.

Attorney Richard Ben-Veniste, who served as an assistant special prosecutor in the office of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force and chief minority counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee, said the Russia probe and Watergate are “roughly comparable in terms of the complexity.”

“Judged by other investigations and given the breadth of this one, I don’t think the public should be too expectant, but rather appreciate the complexity … and scope of the areas that both Mueller and congressional investigators are charged with looking into,” Ben-Veniste said.

Bruce Udolf, a criminal defense attorney in Florida who served as an associate independent counsel during the Whitewater investigation, said he believes Mueller is “moving at lightning speed” in putting together a team of investigators and questioning witnesses.

Mueller is dealing with complicated issues of money laundering and obstruction of justice, with witnesses and evidence scattered across the globe, Udolf said.

“Of necessity, it’s going to take a very long time,” he said. “I would be surprised if it was completed in less than a year. But it sounds like he’s making a lot of progress. I’m sure his team is working around the clock.”

It’s more important that an investigation be thorough than fast, Udolf said.

“You turn over one stone, and it leads you down another path,” he said. “And you’re dealing with people who are trying to prevent you from doing your job, which is getting to the truth.”

In this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)

Lanny Davis, an attorney who specializes in crisis management and a former spokesman and special counsel for ex-president Bill Clinton, said no one wants these kinds of investigations over faster than an innocent target.

Davis said the best thing an attorney with an innocent client can do is cooperate fully with prosecutors and congressional investigators to help speed up the process.

“You have to do the opposite of what you’re taught to do as a private lawyer, which is to resist and drag things out,” Davis said. “In this situation, if investigators don’t ask for something, you offer it to them anyway. You drown them with paper, facts, and transparency.”

However, it can sometimes be difficult for attorneys to convince their clients that this counter-intuitive strategy is the best way to go. Often, Davis said, a client’s initial reaction will be: “What, are you kidding me? Whose side are you on?”

“You have to convince them that the way to end the investigation is to help investigators, not stop them,” he said.

However, when an attorney has a client who may be guilty, that strategy must change, Davis said. He said the response still can’t be “resist, resist, resist” because that could end up getting a client charged with obstruction of justice.

“You still have to cooperate,” he said. “But you don’t open the kimono and say come on in.”

Former senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat who served as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003, is urging Congress to complete its investigations well before the midterm elections in November 2018.

“I think there needs to be a real sense of urgency by Congress because of the possible consequences to the country,” Graham said. “There could be another round of Russian meddling. They need to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from happening again.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a recent interview that “it’s still fairly early in the investigation.”

“We’re making progress, but it’s very hard to give a timeline,” he said.

Ben-Veniste said he has faith in both Congress and Mueller.

“I look forward with some confidence, having seen the people both in Congress and the special counsel’s office, to them conducting a credible and thorough investigation, and I feel confident we’ll have answers in due time,” he said.

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There They Go Again: Your House Judiciary Committee Hard at Work, Part II

Back in July, faced with all the issues with which the Trump Presidency confronts the nation, House Judiciary Committee Republicans called for an investigation of certain burning public integrity issues: Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and James Comey’s alleged leaking to a 1o-year-old who would some day become a reporter. As Quinta Jurecic wrote at the time,

The committee voted to adopt an amended resolution introduced by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) calling for a special counsel investigation into, variously, former Attorney General Loretta Lynchs instructions to former FBI Director James Comey to refer to the Clinton email probe as a matter rather than an investigation; Comeys leaks to Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman; Comeys leaks to New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt as far back as 1993 (when Schmidt, who graduated college in 2005, would have been around ten years old); collusion between Comey and Robert Mueller; any knowledge by Comey of the Steele dossier and of efforts by the intelligence community to surveill Trump or unmask his associates in a quest to damage Trumps campaign or his presidency; immunity deals provided by the FBI to various Clinton aides over the course of the email investigation; whether Clinton secretly approved a deal to transfer U.S. uranium deposits to Russian control in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation; and yes, the specific circumstances of Huma Abedins employment at the State Department.

This week, those fun-loving House Judiciary Committee Republicans are at it again. They wrote a letter calling for a special counsel investigation ofcan you guess?”the recent revelation that former FBI Director Comey had prepared a statement ending the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before interviewing at least 17 key witnesses, including the former Secretary herself.”

Really, guys?

This is actually the second letter the committee Republicans have written demanding a special prosecutor to examine what they describe as “unaddressed matters, some connected to the 2016 election and others, including many actions taken by Obama Administration officials like former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” The first one, sent in July to the attorney general and deputy attorney general, listed 14 subjects for a special counsel investigation. Like the resolution they reported around the same time, this letter includes “Any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provide [sic] to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993.”

It would all be merely comical, except that this is the committee responsible for serious constitutional matters, including the contemplation of impeachment. Instead of doing anything that a serious person would recognize as even related to its job, it is busy sending typographically challenged, factually ludicrous letters to the Justice Department demanding investigations of irrelevancies. In its own microcosmic way, it is as vivid a portrait of congressional dysfunction as the failure to pass major legislation in health care or anything else.

Twitter just told Congress it found about 200 accounts linked to the same Russian agents found on Facebook – Recode


Inc.com
Twitter just told Congress it found about 200 accounts linked to the same Russian agents found on Facebook
Recode
The two panels are investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Twitter’s representatives led by Colin Crowell, its vice president of global public policy also handed over copies of all sponsored tweets purchased by the news 
Twitter blasted by senator for giving ‘inadequate’ briefing to Congress on Russian election interferenceThe Independent
Twitter, With Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress Over Role in ElectionNew York Times
Twitter Faces Questions About Russia’s Interference in 2016 ElectionInc.com
Sacramento Bee –Quartz –Los Angeles Times –Washington Post
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Facebook is sharing its data with Google as the search giant reviews potential Russian meddling in the 2016 election – Recode


Los Angeles Times

Marketplace.org
Facebook is sharing its data with Google as the search giant reviews potential Russian meddling in the 2016 election
Recode
Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of two panels investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. In a press conference, Warner charged that Twitter’s internal investigationwas frankly inadequate, as it 
Twitter finds 201 accounts linked to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 electionLos Angeles Times
Senator Berates Twitter Over ‘Inadequate’ Inquiry Into Russian MeddlingNew York Times 
Facebook, Twitter: How social media giants are involved in the Russia investigationFox News
FortuneMarketplace.orgCBS News
 
What you need to know about Twitter, Facebook and election interferenceMarketplace.org
Fox NewsFortuneQuartz
 –Twitter Blog

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Senate Intelligence Committee to provide Russia investigation update – Washington Times


Washington Times
Senate Intelligence Committee to provide Russia investigation update
Washington Times
Capitol Hill’s leading investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 election will gather next week to provide a public update on their inquiry, in addition to issuing a warning that foreign entities continue to pose a major threat to 

7:29 AM 9/30/2017 Behind the boring German election are four deeply disturbing trends Washington Post

“The third worrying trend seen in the election was the rise of the AfD. The partys 13 percent of the vote may seem relatively meager in comparison to what National Front received in France or Donald Trumps victory in the United States. However, in Germany with its history of right-wing extremism under Adolf Hitler, … Continue reading“7:29 AM 9/30/2017 – Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends – Washington Post”
How Facebook responded in the wake of Russia-linked election ads – TechRadar


TechRadar
How Facebook responded in the wake of Russia-linked election ads
TechRadar
Facebook has found itself playing a prominent role in the investigation into US 2016 presidential election meddling, a position it may not have expected to be in just a few years ago. Last week, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch … Facebook CEO 

and more »

How Trump is helping to save our democracy – Washington Post


Washington Post
How Trump is helping to save our democracy
Washington Post
Yet Trump’s sheer disregard for the normal practices and principles of presidential behavior has cast a spotlight on the vital role that norms play in regulating and protecting our democracy. … exacerbated the problem of media echo chambers 

and more »

Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends – Washington Post


Premium Times
Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends
Washington Post
The consensus throughout the German election campaign was that this vote was boring in the best possible way. In a Europe roiled by a high unemployment rate, stagnating growth and unpredictable politics, Germany was viewed as a bastion of stability.
Merkel wins another term in Germany, but she has a newly empowered far-right foeLos Angeles Times
ANALYSIS: As Germans vote today, will Angela Merkel return as Chancellor?Premium Times
Germany’s Angela Merkel preserves command, but far-right takes bite: AnalysisToronto Star
CNBC –The Economist (blog) –Conservative Home
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Book World: Why presidents are destined to fail – The Edwardsville Intelligencer


The Edwardsville Intelligencer
Book World: Why presidents are destined to fail
The Edwardsville Intelligencer
Suri’s history shows how the occupants of the Oval Office have acquired ever more power, how their ambitions have soared to absurd heights and how the combination has made it impossible to satisfy the electorate. The gap between power and performance 

Mostly black neighborhoods voted more Republican in 2016 than in 2012 – Washington Post


Washington Post
Mostly black neighborhoods voted more Republican in 2016 than in 2012
Washington Post
The reason most commonly cited for Trump’s victory a victory that relied on winning Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania by a combined margin of fewer than 78,000 votes is that Trump managed to appeal to working-class white voters in the … This 

The NFL, Charlottesville, and Trump’s pattern of racial division … – CNN International


CNN International

CNN
The NFL, Charlottesville, and Trump’s pattern of racial division 
CNN International
(CNN) The overwhelming defiance in the NFL on Sunday to President Donald Trump’s attacks on protesting players encapsulates the high stakes for the GOP in 
 

CNN
From the first day of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2015 — when he denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals” — Trump has targeted the groups in the electorate who polls show feel the most threatened by demographic, cultural and 
 …

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FEATURED POSTS: 7:57 AM 9/20/2017 – PUTIN’S PRO-TRUMP OPERATION MAY HAVE BEEN FAR BIGGER THAN WE YET KNOW – MOTHER JONES | ANATOMY OF A RUSSIAN ATTACK

“We don’t know what these Facebook ads looked like, we don’t know who they were targeting, and we don’t know how many millions of Americans may have been exposed to them.”

Putin’s Pro-Trump Operation May Have Been Far Bigger Than We Yet Know
Did the Kremlin help make Trump the “first Facebook president”?
BILL BUZENBERG – SEP. 20, 2017 6:00 AM

M.N.: And we have to know the answers to these and many other questions. 

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12:26 PM 9/20/2017 – “Political marketing” and possible use of the “psychotronic weapons” techniques in targeted advertising

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