‘The FBI is Trumpland’: Anti-Clinton atmosphere spurred leaks, sources say

The Guardian reports: Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.

This atmosphere raises major questions about how Comey and the bureau he is slated to run for the next seven years can work with Clinton should she win the White House.

The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”

The agent called the bureau “Trumplandia”, with some colleagues openly discussing voting for a GOP nominee who has garnered unprecedented condemnation from the party’s national security wing and who has pledged to jail Clinton if elected.

At the same time, other sources dispute the depth of support for Trump within the bureau, though they uniformly stated that Clinton is viewed highly unfavorably. [Continue reading…]

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Trump supporters: If Clinton is elected ‘we’re going to turn the country upside down’

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Donald Trump is America’s existential threat

trump-frown

Charles M Blow writes: Donald Trump is a lowlife degenerate with the temperament of a 10-year-old and the moral compass of a severely wayward teen.

There is no way to make a vote for him feel like an act of principle or responsibility. You can’t make it right. You can’t say yes to Trump and yes to common decency. Those two things do not together abide.

If you are voting for Trump, you are voting for coarseness, corruption and moral corrosion. Period. And if you are not actively voting against him, you are abetting his attempt to hijack American greatness and sink it with his egotism.

On Election Day, America faces a choice, and it’s not a tough one, but a stark one. It is the difference between tolerance and intolerance. It is the difference between respect and disrespect. It is the difference between a politician with some flaws and a flaw threatening our politics.

Donald Trump is America’s existential threat. On Tuesday, America has an opportunity to defend itself. [Continue reading…]

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FBI launches investigation on its own use of Twitter

ThinkProgress reports: The FBI has launched an internal investigation into one of its own Twitter accounts.
The account at issue, @FBIRecordsVault, had been dormant for more than a year. Then on October 30 at 4 a.m., the account released a flood of documents, including one describing Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump as a “philanthropist.”


But it wasn’t until two days later, when the account tweeted documents regarding President Clinton’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich that the account began to attract significant attention.


The account has not been active since that tweet.
ThinkProgress has learned that the FBI’s Inspection Division will undertake an investigation of the account. [Continue reading…]

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White nationalists plot Election Day show of force

Politico reports: Neo-Nazi leader Andrew Anglin plans to muster thousands of poll watchers across all 50 states. His partners at the alt-right website “the Right Stuff” are touting plans to set up hidden cameras at polling places in Philadelphia and hand out liquor and marijuana in the city’s “ghetto” on Election Day to induce residents to stay home. The National Socialist Movement, various factions of the Ku Klux Klan and the white nationalist American Freedom Party all are deploying members to watch polls, either “informally” or, they say, through the Trump campaign.

The Oath Keepers, a group of former law enforcement and military members that often shows up in public heavily armed, is advising members to go undercover and conduct “intelligence-gathering” at polling places, and Donald Trump ally Roger Stone is organizing his own exit polling, aiming to monitor thousands of precincts across the country.

Energized by Trump’s candidacy and alarmed by his warnings of a “rigged election,” white nationalist, alt-right and militia movement groups are planning to come out in full force on Tuesday, creating the potential for conflict at the close of an already turbulent campaign season. [Continue reading…]

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Trump adviser reveals how Assange ally warned him about leaked Clinton emails

The Guardian reports: A key confidante of Donald Trump has provided new details about the “mutual friend” of Julian Assange who served as a back channel to give him broad tips in advance about WikiLeaks’ releases of emails to and from key allies of Hillary Clinton.

Roger Stone, a longtime unofficial adviser to the Republican presidential nominee, was briefed in general terms in advance about the sensitive and embarrassing leaked Democratic emails by an American libertarian who works in the media on the “opinion side”, he told the Guardian in an interview.

Stone claims his American source, whom he declined to identify, has met with Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, in London and is a “mutual friend” of Stone and Assange. The WikiLeaks source, Stone said, is not tied in any way to the Trump campaign but has served as a back channel for Stone, who is an outside adviser to the Republican presidential candidate, allowing the adviser to tweet and comment very broadly prior to some key WikiLeaks disclosures.

A source close to Trump Tower also told the Guardian that Stone once boasted to him of meeting with Assange himself and told the source, who is active in GOP political circles, that WikiLeaks would be “coming down like a ton of bricks” on Clinton. Stone adamantly denied meeting with Assange (“Your source is bullshitting u” he wrote in an email) or having any direct contact with Assange or anyone with WikiLeaks.

Despite Stone’s advance tweets and comments about some major WikiLeaks disclosures – including recent ones in October relating to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and the Clinton Foundation – the self-styled “rabble rouser” and onetime Watergate dirty tricks operative said the FBI had not contacted him in its investigation into the illegal computer hacking of private Democratic emails, and he was not worried. [Continue reading…]

On October 12, CBSMiami reported: “I do have a back-channel communication with Assange, because we have a good mutual friend,” Stone told CBS4 News Wednesday evening. “That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk. I had dinner with him last Monday.” [Continue reading…]

In 2008, Jeffrey Toobin wrote: [Stone] was just nineteen when he played a bit part in the Watergate scandals. He adopted the pseudonym Jason Rainier and made contributions in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance to the campaign of Pete McCloskey, who was challenging Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1972. Stone then sent a receipt to the Manchester Union Leader, to “prove” that Nixon’s adversary was a left-wing stooge. Stone hired another Republican operative, who was given the pseudonym Sedan Chair II, to infiltrate the McGovern campaign. Stone’s Watergate high jinks were revealed during congressional hearings in 1973, and the news cost Stone his job on the staff of Senator Robert Dole. [Continue reading…]

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FBI email disclosure broke a pattern followed even this summer

The New York Times reports: The F.B.I. and Justice Department faced a hard decision in two investigations this past summer that had the potential to rock the presidential election. The first case involved Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and secretive business dealings in Ukraine. The second focused on Hillary Clinton’s relationships with donors to her family foundation.

At the urging of the Justice Department, the F.B.I. agreed not to issue subpoenas or take other steps that would make the cases public so close to the election, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Against this backdrop, the decision of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to send a letter to Congress last week about a renewed inquiry concerning Mrs. Clinton’s emails is not just a departure from longstanding policy; it has plunged the F.B.I. and the Justice Department directly into the election, precisely what Justice officials were trying to avoid.

Mr. Comey’s letter, which he sent over the objections of the Justice Department, stirred outrage across party lines. It unleashed a torrent of news that laid bare the government’s internal deliberations and exposed the infighting and occasional mistrust between rank-and-file F.B.I. agents and senior department officials.

Since Mr. Comey’s revelation, the F.B.I. has hurried to analyze a cache of emails belonging to one of Mrs. Clinton’s aides, Huma Abedin. It is increasingly unlikely that the review will be complete by Election Day, F.B.I. officials said, although they said there was a chance they could offer updates before Nov. 8.

The mood at the F.B.I. is dark, and nobody is willing to predict what the coming days will bring, particularly if agents and analysts do not complete their review of Ms. Abedin’s emails by Election Day. Officials said it would take something extraordinary to change the conclusion that nobody should be charged. But the absence of information has allowed festering speculation that the emails must be significant. [Continue reading…]

ThinkProgress reports: Tuesday afternoon, the FBI Records Vault Twitter account abruptly shared records “from the FBI’s files related to the William J. Clinton Foundation” on Twitter. The 129 pages of heavily redacted documents appear to pertain mostly to “a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich,” which was closed in 2005 without any finding of wrongdoing.

Though some of the records portray Bill Clinton in a less than flattering light, the documents released Tuesday reportedly contain little new information. Eyebrows were raised, however, by the Bureau’s decision to share them just seven days before Election Day and at the same time controversy is swirling around FBI Director James Comey’s decision to resurrect the Hillary Clinton email case. (Though he was appointed by President Obama, Comey told Congress this summer that he has been a registered Republican “for most of his adult life.”) [Continue reading…]

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Debunking Trump’s ‘secret server’

Robert Graham (Errata Security) writes: According to this Slate article, Trump has a secret server for communicating with Russia. Even Hillary has piled onto this story.

It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia. https://t.co/D8oSmyVAR4 pic.twitter.com/07dRyEmPjX
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 31, 2016

This is nonsense. The evidence available on the Internet is that Trump neither (directly) controls the domain “trump-email.com“, nor has access to the server. Instead, the domain was setup and controlled by Cendyn, a company that does marketing/promotions for hotels, including many of Trump’s hotels. Cendyn outsources the email portions of its campaigns to a company called Listrak, which actually owns/operates the physical server in a data center in Philidelphia.

In other words, Trump’s response is (minus the political bits) likely true, supported by the evidence. It’s the conclusion I came to even before seeing the response.

When you view this “secret” server in context, surrounded by the other email servers operated by Listrak on behalf of Cendyn, it becomes more obvious what’s going on. In the same Internet address range of Trump’s servers you see a bunch of similar servers, many named [client]-email.com. In other words, trump-email.com is not intended as a normal email server you and I are familiar with, but as a server used for marketing/promotional campaigns. [Continue reading…]

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Louis C.K. on why the U.S. needs its first mother president

 

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FBI’s Comey opposed naming Russians, citing election timing

CNBC reports: FBI Director James Comey argued privately that it was too close to Election Day for the United States government to name Russia as meddling in the U.S. election and ultimately ensured that the FBI’s name was not on the document that the U.S. government put out, a former bureau official tells CNBC.

The official said some government insiders are perplexed as to why Comey would have election timing concerns with the Russian disclosure but not with the Huma Abedin email discovery disclosure he made Friday.

In the end, the Department of Homeland Security and The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued the statement on Oct. 7, saying: “The U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. … These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on Comey’s role in the decision-making surrounding the Oct. 7 statement.

According to the former official, Comey agreed with the conclusion the intelligence community came to: “A foreign power was trying to undermine the election. He believed it to be true, but was against putting it out before the election.” Comey’s position, this official said, was “if it is said, it shouldn’t come from the FBI, which as you’ll recall it did not.”
Comey took a different approach toward releasing information about the discovery of emails on a laptop that was used by former congressman Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife Huma Abedin, the official said.

“By doing a press conference, and personally testifying and giving his opinion about the conduct, he made this about James Comey and his credibility,” the official said. “You can see why he did it, from his perspective, once he had had that press conference.”

The official said FBI investigators can get a “preliminary read” of the newly discovered emails within a couple of days and come to an initial conclusion about whether there is classified material in the files. “The questions is whether they will decide to share that read or not,” the official said. “Normally in the FBI we would not, but we’re not in normal land anymore.” [Continue reading…]

The Washington Post reports: In December 2014, it was the FBI that publicly pointed the finger at North Korea for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment and damaging its computers. That was because the attribution to Pyongyang was based on the FBI investigation, said a senior administration official. In the Russian case, the attribution was based on a fusion of intelligence from intelligence agencies, the bureau and private-sector cyber experts, the official said. “So it made sense that the people who were responsible for integrating all of that information” — the ODNI — should be part of the announcement, he said.

DHS joined the attribution because it is the agency responsible for working with state and local governments in protecting election systems.

The announcement did not mention the White House, which also had been very concerned about appearing to influence the election. [Continue reading…]

Not that Barack and Michelle Obama’s speeches at Hillary Clinton campaign rallies might create such an appearance… I guess they just tell their staffers they’ll be out on golfing or shopping excursions, but just by chance, along the way, happen to find themselves behind a podium or a few.

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Investigating Donald Trump, FBI has yet to uncover clear link to Russia

The New York Times reports: For much of the summer, the F.B.I. pursued a widening investigation into a Russian role in the American presidential campaign. Agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, searched for those involved in hacking the computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead — which they ultimately came to doubt — about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank.

Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.

Hillary Clinton’s supporters, angry over what they regard as a lack of scrutiny of Mr. Trump by law enforcement officials, pushed for these investigations. In recent days they have also demanded that James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I., discuss them publicly, as he did last week when he announced that a new batch of emails possibly connected to Mrs. Clinton had been discovered.

Supporters of Mrs. Clinton have argued that Mr. Trump’s evident affinity for Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — Mr. Trump has called him a great leader and echoed his policies toward NATO, Ukraine and the war in Syria — and the hacks of leading Democrats like John D. Podesta, the chairman of the Clinton campaign, are clear indications that Russia has taken sides in the presidential race and that voters should know what the F.B.I. has found.

The F.B.I.’s inquiries into Russia’s possible role continue, as does the investigation into the emails involving Mrs. Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, on a computer she shared with her estranged husband, Anthony D. Weiner. Mrs. Clinton’s supporters argue that voters have as much right to know what the F.B.I. has found in Mr. Trump’s case, even if the findings are not yet conclusive. [Continue reading…]

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There’s no such thing as a protest vote

Clay Shirky writes: We’re in the season of protest vote advocacy, with writers of all political stripes making arguments for third-party candidates (Jill Stein, Gary Johnson), write-in votes (Bernie Sanders, Rod Silva), or refusing to vote altogether (#NeverTrump, #BernieOrBust.) For all the eloquence and passion and rage in these arguments, however, they suffer from a common flaw: there is no such thing as a protest vote.

The authors of these pieces rarely line up their preferred Presidential voting strategies  — third-party, write-in, refusal  —  with the electoral system as it actually exists. In 2016, that system will offer 130 million or so voters just three options:

A. I prefer Donald Trump be President, rather than Hillary Clinton.
B. I prefer Hillary Clinton be President, rather than Donald Trump.
C. Whatever everybody else decides is OK with me.

That’s it. Those are the choices. All strategies other than a preference for Trump over Clinton or vice-versa reduce to Option C.
People who believe in protest votes do so because they confuse sending a message with receiving one. You can send any message you like: “I think Jill Stein should be President” or “I think David Duke should be President” or “I think Park Eunsol should be President.”

Similarly, you can send any message you like by not voting. You can say you are sitting out the election because both parties are neo-liberal or because an election without Lyndon LaRouche is a sham or because 9/11 was an inside job. The story you tell yourself about your political commitments are yours to construct.

But it doesn’t matter what message you think you are sending, because no one will receive it. No one is listening. The system is set up so that every choice other than ‘R’ or ‘D’ boils down to “I defer to the judgement of my fellow citizens.” It’s easy to argue that our system shouldn’t work like that. It’s impossible to argue it doesn’t work like that. [Continue reading…]

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