STONE GETS HARD TIME: Trump adviser Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months

WASHINGTON — Trump ally Roger Stone was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison Thursday for making what prosecutors said were false statements to investigators regarding the Trump-Russia probe.

Prosecutors had suggested that Stone, 67, serve nine years.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, while sentencing Stone, said the prison term originally sought by federal prosecutors was “too excessive.”

“Mr. Stone lied,” Jackson said, denying allegations put forth by Stone’s defense team that he had been persecuted for his conservative stance. “He was not prosecuted, as some have claimed, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”

Stone, who was convicted in November on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, chose not to speak on his own behalf during the sentencing.

President Trump took quickly to Twitter following Stone’s sentencing, blasting the decision as politically motivated.

“’They say Roger Stone lied to Congress.’ @CNN. OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?” he tweeted.

The sentence is a far cry from the probation sought by Stone’s defense team, who cited their client’s age and lack of criminal history.

Stone was the sixth Trump aide to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential election.

In addition to his sentence, Roger Stone was fined $20,000 and given restrictions on travel pending his defense team’s motion for a new trial over claims of juror bias. Stone remains free on bond pending the outcome of the motion.

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VINDICATION: Trump, Conservative celebrate ‘disgraced’ Comey

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and his conservative base on Thursday celebrated a Justice Department Inspector General’s report which found former FBI director James Comey violated FBI policies over memos of private conversations with President Donald Trump prior to his being terminated.

The report, released Thursday morning, documented a myriad of violations by the former FBI director, including one in which he gave a memo containing unclassified information to a friend with instructions to share the contents with a journalist and that Comey failed to notify the FBI after he was dismissed in May 2017 that he had retained some of the memos in a safe located inside his residence.

Shortly after the Inspector General’s report was released, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham called Comey a “proven liar and leaker” and said he “disgraced himself and his office to further a personal political agenda.”

“Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey in the just-released inspector general’s Report. He should be ashamed of himself!” President Trump tweeted.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., referred to inspector general Michael Horowitz findings as “a stunning and unprecedented rebuke of a former director of the FBI.”

“This is the first of what I expect will be several more ugly and damning rebukes of senior DOJ and FBI officials regarding their actions and biases toward the Trump campaign of 2016,” said Graham, who cited Comey’s “off-the-rails behavior.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, (R)-Ohio, also bashed Comey as a result of the report’s findings.

“By leaking his confidential communications with the President in an attempt to save face in the wake of his firing, Mr. Comey believed he was above the rules of the DOJ,” said Jordan, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, in a statement. “His actions were disgraceful and part of a wider effort within the Obama Justice Department to undermine President Trump.”

For his part, Comey defended his actions and demanded an apology from his critics.

“DOJ IG “found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media,” Comey tweeted, citing a portion of the report. “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a “sorry we lied about you” would be nice.”

“And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me “going to jail” or being a “liar and a leaker,” Comey wrote in a separate tweet, “ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president.”

Andy McCarthy, a former U.S. Attorney, who said he has known Comey for “many years,” told Fox News he was “very disappointed” the former FBI director “managed to avoid indictment.”

“If somebody in Comey’s agency had done what he did, he would have terminated them in nothing flat,” said McCarthy.

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TURNING ON EACH OTHER: Lynch denies Comey claims on Clinton email investigation

WASHINGTON — Newly released transcripts of Loretta Lynch’s testimony before the House Oversight and Judiciary Committee last December show the former Obama administration Attorney General now contradicts claims made by former FBI head James Comey.

When directly asked if she instructed Comey to call the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email scandal a “matter,” she replied: “I did not.

“I have never instructed a witness as to what to say specifically,” she said. “Never have, never will. In the meeting that I had with the director, we were discussing how best to keep Congress informed of progress and discuss requesting resources for the department overall.”

“I didn’t direct anyone to use specific phraseology,” Lynch continued. “When the director asked me how to best to handle that, I said: ‘What I have been saying is we have received a referral and we are working on the matter, working on the issue, or we have all the resources we need to handle the matter, handle the issue.’ So, that was the suggestion that I made to him.”

Lynch’s claims directly contradict Claims Comey made to the New York Times, in which he said Lych specifically asked him to refer the Clinton investigation as “a matter.”

“The attorney general had directed me not to call it an ‘investigation,’ but instead to call it a ‘matter,’ which confused me and concerned me,” Comey told the Times in June, 2017.

Transcripts of Lynch’s testimony also show she denied allegations that her department never ordered politically motivated infiltration of then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Did President Obama, or anyone in his administration, ever make a demand or request that the FBI or DOJ infiltrate or surveil the Trump campaign for political purposes?” Lynch was asked by Rep. Jerry Nadler, (D)-N.Y..

“Never,” Lynch replied.

Asked how she would respond if she had received such a request, Lynch said, “I would have declined it and told them how inappropriate it was.”

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HANNITY: Docs prove Trump-Russia collusion allegations were a hoax

WASHINGTON – Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity announced Monday documentation exists which will prove allegations that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election were a massive hoax.

“At this hour, your federal government is in possession of transcripts from 2016 featuring secretly recorded conversations between FBI informants and one-time trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos,” Hannity said Monday evening during his opening monologue.

“According to those who have seen these transcripts, its contents are chock-full of clear irrefutable, incontrovertible, exculpatory evidence proving Trump-Russia collusion was always a hoax from the get-go,” said Hannity. “This includes former congressman Trey Gowdy who is now calling these documents ‘game changing.'”

Gowdy, who appeared on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo, confirmed the existence of the documents.

“Some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist. But they haven’t been made public, and I think one, in particular … has the potential to actually persuade people,” said Gowdy. “Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump or love Trump. But there is some information in these transcripts that has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.”

Hannity, expressing the importance of such documents, said the findings must be made available to the American people.

“If Comey, Strzok, the highest level officials… the upper echelon, the Intel community were withholding exculpatory evidence, let me tell you this is bigger than we ever thought,” Hannity said. “It means the of premeditated fraud, conspiracy against the FISA court, that means there was a real attempt to steal a presidential election with Russian lies paid for by Hillary and an effort when they lost, to unseat a duly elected president of you, the people. Much worse than we ever knew.”

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‘TREASONOUS’: President slams collusion accusors for their ‘evil’ acts

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump came out swinging Monday against those who had for more than two years accused him of colluding with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “And hopefully people that have done such harm to our country — we’ve gone through a period of really bad things happening — those people will certainly be looked at. I have been looking at them for a long time. And I’m saying, “Why haven’t they been looked at?” They lied to Congress. Many of them — you know who they are — they’ve done so many evil things.”

“I will tell you, I love this country. I love this country as much as I can love anything: my family, my country, my God. But what they did, it was a false narrative. It was — it was a terrible thing,” Trump continued. “We can never let this happen to another President again. I can tell you that. I say it very strongly. Very few people I know could have handled it. We can never, ever let this happen to another President again.”

The president’s comments come just one day after an official report released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller failed to tie the president to any unethical activities relating to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mueller’s investigation, which had gone on for nearly two and one-half years had encompassed the entire first half of Trump’s first term in office.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday called for congressional hearings to investigate many of the president’s most prominent critics including former CIA Director John Brennan, Former FBI Director James Comey and former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“The media and Democrats have called the president an agent of a foreign government,” Sanders said during an appearance on NBC’s “Today”. “That is an action equal to treason, which is punishable by death in this country.”

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‘A TOTAL DISGRACE!’; Trump ramps up attacks on Mueller in wake of Cohen sentencing

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday unleashed a bevy of attacks against special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s sentencing last Friday.

“Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?,” the president tweeted Monday morning. “At the same time Mueller and the Angry Democrats aren’t even looking at the atrocious, and perhaps subversive, crimes that were committed by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. A total disgrace!”

In a subsequent tweet, the president angrily asked when the ongoing attacks on he and the members of his administration will come to an end.

“When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever?,” Trump asked. “After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!”

The president’s tweets followed Mueller’s assertion in a court filing that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort intentionally violated his plea agreement. In the document, Mueller alleged that Manafort “committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement.”

On Sunday President Trump also took to Twitter to rant against former FBI Director James Comey, who he accused of lying to House lawmakers about the investigation into alleged Russian during the 2016 presidential election.

“Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful” the president tweeted. “This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!”

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‘GET HIM ON TAPE’: Gowdy suggests videotaping private interview with Comey to prevent leak concerns

WASHINGTON- Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Sunday suggested recording a private interview with former FBI director James Comey after Comey said he would comply with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena only through a public hearing.

Gowdy, who has presided over multiple congressional hearings as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” that he agreed with Comey that private hearings are sometimes susceptible to leaks.

“The remedy for leaks is not to have a public hearing where you are supposed to ask about 17 months worth of work in five minutes. I think the remedy is to videotape the deposition, videotape the transcribed interview,” Gowdy told CBS, suggesting that the interview could be cleansed of classified information, then released to the public.

“I am sensitive to leaks,” Gowdy said. “I think they undercut the authenticity of the investigation. The remedy is not to have a professional wrestling-type, carnival atmosphere, which is what congressional public hearings have become.”

Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump in May of 2017, tweeted on Thanksgiving that he received a subpoena from House Republicans to testify but would only do so if certain conditions were met.

“I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a ‘closed door’ thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion,” Comey tweeted. “Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see.”

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DEMS GET TRUMPED: President authorizes declassification of materials relating to FISA application for Carter Page, and release of ‘all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.’

FISABREAKING

COMEY FIRES BACK: Former FBI head calls out Hillary Clinton over email scandal; ‘She still doesn’t understand why she was under investigation’

Washington, D.C. (TK Network) — Former FBI Director James Comey said that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton still doesn’t understand why she was under FBI investigation for using a private email server during an event in Berlin on Tuesday.

Moderator Holger Stark asked Comey if he would apologize to Clinton after the Department of Justice Inspector General report revealed that Comey had used his personal email to conduct FBI business.

“No, and here’s why: again I don’t want to criticize her, but it shows me that even at this late date she doesn’t understand what the investigation in her case was about,” Comey said. “It was not about her use of personal email system, and she didn’t get that during the investigation.”

“That was not what it was about. It was about communicating about classified topics on that system,” Comey said.

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MICHAEL GOODWIN: ‘FBI head proves Washington has a vendetta against Trump’

New York, N.Y. (New York Post) — As FBI Director Christopher Wray started giving his response to the blistering report on the Hillary Clinton investigation, I hoped he would accept the findings as proof that the agency lost its way and must be shaken to its foundation. By the time he finished talking, I felt ­naive for daring to hope.

Wray’s performance was worse than disappointing. It was infuriating proof that it will take more than one election to change the corrupt culture of Washington.

Wray replaced the ousted James Comey, whose conduct in the Clinton probe was shredded by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Investigators demonstrated with new details that the self-right­eous Comey was insubordinate and duplicitous, and even used private email for government business while he investigated Clinton over her private, ­unsecured server. Talk about arrogance.

The report ends forever the illusion that Comey was a noble public servant. He served only himself and is now so toxic to both parties that it’s unlikely he will ever get another government job. Hallelujah.

But the FBI didn’t stink only from the head. The report paints an agency run amok, with numerous examples of serious misconduct by leaders, agents and ­lawyers.

We learned of more outrageous texts from Peter Strzok, the top agent who worked on both the Clinton and Russia investigations. In one, Strzok promised his lover, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, that “We’ll stop” Donald Trump from becoming president.

Horowitz found another unidentified FBI employee who, in a message to a colleague, echoed Clinton’s “deplorables” slur by calling Trump supporters “all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing ­nothing.”

Yet another one sent “heads up” emails to Clinton campaign boss John Podesta and lobbied to get his kid a job on the campaign. The report also found numerous agents having improper media contacts, with some accepting gifts.

The mystery of leaks is a mystery no more. The FBI was a giant faucet.

Except to Christopher Wray, who acted as if the disturbing findings were just another day at the office. While saying the report shows “we’ve got some work to do,” he stressed its limited scope.

“It’s focused on a specific set of events back in 2016, and a small number of FBI employees connected with those events,” he said. “Nothing in the report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution.”

Right — and otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?

Both Comey and his top deputy, Andrew McCabe, were fired, agents are being investigated for partisan conduct, Congress is in an uproar about FBI stonewalling of documents and public trust is plummeting. But Wray is the consummate company man as he sings the agency’s praises while suggesting the dirty doings are no big deal.

“The report did not find any evidence of political bias or improper consideration actually impacting the investigation under review,” he boasted, then diminished the improper behavior as mere “errors of judgment, violations of or disregard for policy, and decisions that, at the very least, in hindsight, were not the best choices.”

Arrrrgh!

His bias bar is so low, it would never pass muster in an ordinary criminal trial. Imagine a case where the defendant is black and all the jurors have identified themselves as white racists. Would it be considered a fair trial if they found the defendant guilty just because they didn’t make racist comments during deliberations?

By circling the wagons, Wray shows he is unprepared to carry out big changes. That makes it three strikes at Justice, as Wray joins Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as Trump’s biggest whiffs.

They are worse than weak links. They simply don’t see themselves as being part of the same administration.

Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe turned Trump’s fate over to Rosenstein, who is acting much as Comey acted — above accountability.

He and Wray are withholding key documents that House Republicans want about the suspect FBI probe of Trump. Rosenstein threatened to subpoena House members and their staff for daring to question his actions, a chilling abuse of power that reveals his disdain for legitimate oversight.

Despite its otherwise good work, the inspector general report becomes part of the problem by refusing to second-guess Comey’s approach to the Clinton case, saying his choices were matters of discretion that fell within guidelines. Yet the approach Comey chose smacks of politics, with Clinton given every benefit of the doubt and remarkable deference.

Moreover, political bias doesn’t need to be confessed to when President Barack Obama said publicly that Clinton did nothing wrong while the probe continued. Similarly, Horowitz faults then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for meeting with Bill Clinton before the conclusion, but calls it only “an error in judgment.”

Another shortcoming is outside the report’s scope, but can’t be ­ignored. The kid-glove treatment Clinton got stands in sharp contrast to the harsh way Trump and his team are being treated in the Russia probe.

Guilty pleas and indictments, capped by Paul Manafort’s jailing Friday, show special counsel Robert Mueller is playing prosecutor hardball even though he works under the same Justice Department rules Comey used to give Clinton a free pass. Political bias is the only way to explain the ­disparity.

Some 19 months after Trump was elected, the schism his triumph reflected is hardening. Instead of giving all Americans reasons to trust their government, Sessions, Rosenstein, Wray and Mueller act as if they are the law and everybody else should shut up.

Endless conflict will be their ­legacy.

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