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Trump nominates Christopher Wray as new FBI head

Donald Trump has announced that he will nominate former Justice Department official Christopher Wray to head the FBI. The announcement comes a day before former FBI Director James Comey is to testify to the Senate. US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter early Wednesday that he has selected former assistant attorney general Christopher Wray to lead the FBI, nearly a month after he controversially sacked former FBI Director James Comey. Wray, now a partner at the law firm King & Spalding, was assistant attorney general between 2003 to 2005 during George W. Bush's tenure. At that time he dealt with white collar crime and financial fraud, including leading the government task force investigation into energy giant Enron, according to the King & Spalding website. While at King & Spalding, he represented Republican New Jersey Governor and former Trump campaign adviser Chris Christie in the "Bridgegate" scandal. Christie was never charged, but two of his aides were convicted of plotting to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge to retaliate against a Democratic mayor who had refused to endorse Christie. The announcement comes a day before James Comey is scheduled to testify before the Senate intelligence committee about allegations of Russian meddling in the US election and ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Comey is also expected to provide new details about the weeks leading up to his sacking on May 9. This includes allegations Trump asked the FBI director to drop an investigation into ties between Russia and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was fired for misleading the White House about conversations he had with Russia's ambassador in Washington. The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the federal investigation following Comey's firing. Wray's appointment will require confirmation at a special Senate hearing.

Donald Trump has announced that he will nominate former Justice Department official Christopher Wray to head the FBI. The announcement comes a day before former FBI Director James Comey is to testify to the Senate. US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter early Wednesday that he has selected former assistant attorney general Christopher Wray to lead the FBI, nearly a ... Read More »

Trump fires FBI director Comey

US President Donald Trump has surprisingly fired FBI director James Comey, charged with investigating the Trump campaign's ties with Russia. The move has set off shock waves in Washington amid concerns of a cover up. "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau," Trump said in a letter to Comey on Tuesday. The firing reportedly follows the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The White House released a memo by Rosenstein providing the administration's justification for firing Comey: "I cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken," Rosenstein wrote. - Shock, criticism, comedy greet Trump's firing of Comey - Russia has 'compromising info' on Trump - Comey defends pre-election Clinton email decision It is necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the US's top law enforcement agency following several tumultuous months, a White House statement reads. "The FBI is one of our nation's most cherished and respected institutions, and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement," it goes on. The White House said the search for a new FBI director would begin immediately. Comey, 56, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the FBI post in 2013 to a 10-year term. Comey has spent three decades in law enforcement. It is only the second time in the nation's history that a president has fired the head of the FBI. The first time occurred in 1993, when then-President Bill Clinton dismissed William Sessions over alleged ethical lapses. Comey embarrassed over Clinton probe Comey testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee in defense of his handling of a probe into the hacked emails of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during last year's presidential election. Tuesday's announcement follows the FBI correcting a sentence in Comey's sworn testimony on Capitol Hill last week. Comey told lawmakers that Huma Abedin, a senior aide to Hillary Clinton, had sent "hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop, including some with classified information. Earlier on Tuesday, the FBI said in a two-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that only a small number of the emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices. Most of the email chains on the laptop containing classified information were not the result of forwarding, the FBI said. "Nauseous" Last Wednesday Comey defended his decision to reopen a probe into Hillary Clinton's emails only days before the November election, but said it made him feel "nauseous" to think it could have swayed the outcome of the vote. Comey informed Congress 11 days before the November election that the FBI had reopened an investigation into Clinton's use of a private server during her time as secretary of state only months after the country's top law enforcement body had closed the case and recommended no criminal charges. Comey also broke with tradition by discussing the case and chastising the Clinton's "careless" handling of classified information. Democrats have charged that Comey's decision to reopen the probe may have been politically motivated and helped swing the election in Trump's favor. Comey had told the Senate committee that the FBI reopened the probe after agents discovered additional classified emails forwarded by Clinton aide Huma Abedin to her husband, who was not authorized to view them. Comey said he felt he had to inform Congress at the time, after which news of the reopened probe was leaked to the press, because he had previously testified under oath that the investigation had been closed. Clinton and Trump blame Comey In one of her first major remarks since the election, Clinton said on Tuesday that Comey's actions, misogyny, Russian interference and a Wikileaks dump of Democratic Party communications emails were in part responsible for her defeat in the election. Last Tuesday Trump attacked Clinton via Twitter, saying "Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds" and “The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?"

US President Donald Trump has surprisingly fired FBI director James Comey, charged with investigating the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia. The move has set off shock waves in Washington amid concerns of a cover up. “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the ... Read More »

US agencies may have spied on Trump communications, Republican lawmaker says

A leading Republican lawmaker has claimed the communications of Donald Trump's transition team - and maybe even the US president himself - were possibly captured in incidental surveillance against foreign targets. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Republican Devin Nunes, told reporters on Wednesday that US spies may have swept up information on Donald Trump "inadvertently" during the president's transition period. The comments prompted the intelligence committee's ranking Democrat, Alan Schiff, to accuse his opposite number of acting on behalf of the White House, instead of behaving impartially. Read: US Congress hearings on Russia could descend into a partisan slugfest Citing anonymous sources, Nunes - who was himself part of the Trump transition team - said Trump and his associates may have been "monitored" as part of an "incidental collection." He added that the revelation did not bolster Trump's unproven assertion that he was wiretapped at the behest of outgoing President Barack Obama. 'Somewhat' vindicated Trump - potentially in hot water for his tweets accusing Obama and spy agencies of collusion that would have been illegal - welcomed Nunes' comments, saying he felt "somewhat" vindicated. "I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found," Trump said. For Democrat Schiff, however, the comments created "profound doubt" about the efficacy of the investigation being carried out. In particular, he lamented the way that Nunes - as committee chairman - had shared the information with the president and media before the committee itself had been consulted. "This is not how you conduct an investigation," Schiff told a news conference. "You don't take information that the committee hasn't seen and present it orally to the press and to the White House before the committee has a chance to vet whether it's even significant." Chairman or patsy? In comments to the news organization CNN, Schiff said Nunes needed to decide "whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation... or he's going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he cannot do both." The brief of the committee is to investigate potential Russian influence on the 2016 presidential race. It began before Trump took office on January 20. Read: Constant information drip deepens Donald Trump's Russian woes Lines of questioning from Republican and Democratic committee members appeared to diverge during Monday's questioning of security officials. While Democrats concentrated on unmasking Russian officials allegedly in contact with the Trump team, Republicans wanted to hear about the importance of identifying and prosecuting those responsible for intelligence leaks. Trump's claims about the Obama wiretap led the administration to claim the spying had been conducted not by the FBI or National Security Agency, but by Britain's GCHQ surveillance agency. The claim was vehemently denied by Britain.

A leading Republican lawmaker has claimed the communications of Donald Trump’s transition team – and maybe even the US president himself – were possibly captured in incidental surveillance against foreign targets. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Republican Devin Nunes, told reporters on Wednesday that US spies may have swept up information on Donald Trump “inadvertently” during the president’s ... Read More »

GOP chair Priebus: Trump believes Russia involved in DNC hacking

Republican chairperson and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said US President-elect Donald Trump believes Russia hacked into the Democratic Party. It is the first such acknowledgement from Trump's team. Republican National Committee (RNC) chairperson and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told host Chris Wallace in an interview on "Fox News Sunday" that US President-elect Donald Trump believes Russia was involved in hacking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC). "(Trump) accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia," said Priebus. This is the first time Trump, or a member of his transition team, expressed agreement with the intelligence reports. Priebus added that the DNC was still to blame for allowing its emails to be hacked. Trump has previously denied Russia was involved with hacking the DNC, and denied that it was trying to help him win the presidential election in November. Trump has called the investigation into potential Russian hacking a "political witch hunt." Intelligence points to Russia US intelligence reported last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed efforts, including cyber attacks, aimed at eroding support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The report was commissioned by current US President Barack Obama. It also reported that overall vote totals were not influenced by Russia. An unclassified version of the report said Putin was directly tied to election influence and Russia had a "clear preference" for Trump over Clinton. While Clinton won the majority the popular vote, Trump won more electoral votes, which are divided by the population of each state in the US, to secure the presidency. Trump won 306 electoral votes, thus surpassing the required 270 votes, on his way to becoming the 45th US president on January 20. In an interview with the Associated Press, Trump said he "learned a lot" from Friday's discussion with intelligence officials on the intelligence reports into Russian interference in the US presidential election. Trump refused to acknowledge if he accepted the assertions brought up in the meeting.

Republican chairperson and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said US President-elect Donald Trump believes Russia hacked into the Democratic Party. It is the first such acknowledgement from Trump’s team. Republican National Committee (RNC) chairperson and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told host Chris Wallace in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that US President-elect ... Read More »

Hillary Clinton blames FBI’s Comey for election loss to Trump

Hillary Clinton has blamed FBI director James Comey for her election loss, reportedly saying a probe into her emails tipped the scales for Donald Trump. Meanwhile, thousands continue to rally against Trump across the US. Hillary Clinton claimed on Saturday that in reopening a probe into her controversial email practices, FBI director James Comey had eroded the momentum her campaign had gained in the weeks leading up to the November 8 election, US media reported Saturday. Clinton told top donors in a conference call that "there are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful," according to a person on the call, Quartz and CNN reported. "But our analysis is that Jim Comey's letter raising doubts that were groundless [and] baseless - and proven to be - stopped our momentum." October surprise Clinton had been ahead in all major polls leading up to last Tuesday's vote, which ushered in a surprise victory for Donald Trump and the Republicans. On October 28, Comey jolted the presidential race when he told Congress that the FBI was once again examining Clinton's use of a private server while secretary of state after new emails were discovered in another investigation into former congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin. On November 6, two days before the vote, Comey sent another letter to Congress stating that a review of Weiner's emails had revealed no wrongdoing, and that the FBI was sticking with its July recommendation not to charge Clinton. In July, Comey had said that while the FBI would not charge Clinton her email practices were "extremely careless." Trump had made a major issue of Clinton's email practices during the campaign, famously threatening to throw her in prison during one of the presidential debates. While the first Comey letter reopened voter concerns over the email issue, Clinton said the second letter clearing her of wrongdoing allowed Trump to reinforce his message that the system was rigged. The FBI director's letters to Congress days before the election led to accusations that the bureau was politicized and interfering in the election, an accusation President Barack Obama said he believed was not true. Anti-Trump protests continue Meanwhile, thousands of protesters across the United States continued to rally against Trump on Saturday, accusing the president-elect of bigotry, sexism and racism. The largest rallies were in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, where protesters chanted "Not my president!" In New York, thousands marched to Trump Tower, the president-elect's skyscraper home where the transition team is headquartered. The protests have further polarized the nation as Trump supporters, some of whom said they would not accept a Clinton win before the election, are now accusing those on the streets of not respecting the outcome of the vote.

Hillary Clinton has blamed FBI director James Comey for her election loss, reportedly saying a probe into her emails tipped the scales for Donald Trump. Meanwhile, thousands continue to rally against Trump across the US. Hillary Clinton claimed on Saturday that in reopening a probe into her controversial email practices, FBI director James Comey had eroded the momentum her campaign ... Read More »

FBI says no change in conclusion Clinton should not be charged

The FBI has concluded that new emails connected to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server do not warrant charges. The bureau's director has reportedly informed Congressional lawmakers on its findings. James Comey, director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), told American lawmakers on Sunday that newly discovered emails concerning an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as state secretary does not warrant charges. Clinton's Communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters: "We're glad this matter is resolved." At Clinton's Ohio rally with basketball superstar LeBron James, however, the issue went unmentioned. US Republican Jason Chaffetz, who has led a Congressional investigation into the case, said that Comey informed him and other lawmakers of federal investigators' conclusions. Last month, Comey informed members of Congress that the bureau discovered new emails that warranted a review of his conclusion's in July. The emails were discovered during a separate investigation of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, sources close to the investigation told American newspaper "The New York Times." 'Always confident' Comey was strongly criticized by officials, the White House and Clinton's campaign for not providing further information when he notified Congress of the new emails. Officials in the US Justice Department said the move is inconsistent with department policy which directs against actions which could be viewed as affecting the election or helping a candidate, an official said. Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said he welcomed the FBI's latest conclusion concerning the emails. "We were always confident nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it," Fallon said. Following the news on Sunday, however, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accused the FBI of impropriety. At a rally in the Detroit suburbs, Trump said it would have been impossible for the FBI to review what has been reported to be as many as 650,000 emails in such short a time. "Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, The FBI knows it. The people know it," Trump said, insisting that the former secretary of state was being protected by "a rigged system." The US is set to vote for the next US president on Tuesday, November 8.

The FBI has concluded that new emails connected to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server do not warrant charges. The bureau’s director has reportedly informed Congressional lawmakers on its findings. James Comey, director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), told American lawmakers on Sunday that newly discovered emails concerning an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ... Read More »

FBI releases papers related to Bill Clinton’s pardon of Swiss-based fugitive trader

The FBI has released archived documents concerning the pardon Bill Clinton gave to Marc Rich, a controversial, Swiss-based investor and husband of a Democratic donor. The timing of the release has come under scrutiny. The heavily-redacted 129-page document concerns the pardon of Marc Rich, a Swiss-based financial trader who was indicted in 1983 but evaded prosecution. The documents show that his ex-wife, Denise Rich, is a wealthy Democratic donor who pledged $450,000 (407,000 euros). Some of the donations went to the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, the predecessor to the Clinton Foundation, according to the document. In a controversial move, Rich was pardoned on the last day of Bill Clinton's presidency in 2001. An FBI investigation was launched into the pardon later than year and closed in 2005 without charges. Rich died in 2013. "It appears that the required pardon standards and procedures were not followed," the FBI document from February 2001 reads. While Denise Rich's name is redacted from the files, it indicates that she "has been a major political donor to the Democratic Party, and these donations may have been intended to influence the fugitive's pardon." The case fell under the watch of current FBI Director James Comey, then a young prosecutor. Comey is currently under firefrom Democrats after notifying Congress on Friday, just days before the presidential election, of the bureau's decision to reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. The Democratic camp has questioned the FBI's decision to release the documents ahead of next week's election. "Absent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation deadline, this is odd," Hillary Clinton's spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted. "Will FBI be posting docs on Trumps' housing discrimination in '70s?" referring to accounts concerning a 1973 federal housing discrimination lawsuit against the Republican presidential candidate and billionaire real estate mogul, Donald Trump. The FBI said that posting the documents was common procedure under FOIA guidelines and law. Documents requested three or more times were made public "shortly after they are processed." The Marc Rich documents "became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI's public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures," the FBI said. The agency also indicated that the document was a "preliminary" release, meaning it could be followed by more text. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that he was unaware of anyone at the White House being consulted ahead of the release. Speaking to reporters travelling with President Obama to Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, Earnest said: "I've not spoken to anybody who has any awareness of being consulted about that material before it was released."

The FBI has released archived documents concerning the pardon Bill Clinton gave to Marc Rich, a controversial, Swiss-based investor and husband of a Democratic donor. The timing of the release has come under scrutiny. The heavily-redacted 129-page document concerns the pardon of Marc Rich, a Swiss-based financial trader who was indicted in 1983 but evaded prosecution. The documents show that ... Read More »

FBI iPhone case ‘bad for America’: Apple CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended his company's decision to refuse an FBI demand to help crack an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. To do so would be "bad for America," said Cook. "This is not about this phone," Apple chief Tim Cook said during an interview on US broadcaster ABC News on Wednesday. "This is about the future. It is a precedent that should not be done in this country, or in any country." The FBI wants Apple's help hacking the iPhone of US citizen Syed Rizwan Farook. Along with his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, Farook gunned down 14 people and wounded 22 others at the San Bernardino county health department in December, an attack believed to have been inspired by the so-called "Islamic State." While the San Bernardino case is Apple's most high-profile legal fight with the US government, the company is battling the government over unlocking devices in at least 10 cases. When questioned about how he felt about Apple taking the stand with the chance that information on Farook's iPhone might prevent another terrorist attack, Cook admitted that "some things are hard and some things are right. And some things are both. This is one of those things." 'Equivalent of cancer' Cook expressed sympathy for families of the shooting victims, and said that Apple had provided engineers and technical advice to authorities investigating the case. However, he said authorities were now asking the company "to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer." In a separate interview on Wednesday, CIA director John Brennan said that he supported the FBI's side in the high-profile battle. Speaking with National Public Radio, Brennan said the public would never accept criminals or terrorists having exclusive access to a physical storage box, and asked why an encrypted phone should be treated any differently.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended his company’s decision to refuse an FBI demand to help crack an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. To do so would be “bad for America,” said Cook. “This is not about this phone,” Apple chief Tim Cook said during an interview on US broadcaster ABC News on Wednesday. “This ... Read More »

Facebook, Google and Twitter back Apple in encryption fight with FBI

Tech giants, including Facebook, have said Apple was right to refuse a court ruling to help the FBI break into the iPhone of a California shooter. Detectives think the shooter's phone could hold clues to the attack. "We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems," a Facebook representative was cited by Reuters as saying on Thursday. "These demands would create a chilly precedent and obstruct companies' efforts to secure their products," the spokesperson added. The social media giant's public support of Apple follows similar backing by the likes of Google, Twitter and WhatsApp against a court order to help crack the encryption on an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook. On December 2, Farook and his wife killed 14 people in an attack at an office Christmas party, which officials say was inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militant group. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said the case "could be a troubling precedent" and warned that "forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy." FBI adamant But two of New York's top law enforcement officers accused Apple of being irresponsible by not allowing investigators to hack into the phone. The FBI wants the tech giant to disable a feature that wipes the phone's data after 10 failed password entries. Police intend to use the software to try all password possibilities until it finds the right one. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the case was "the most visible example of how Silicon Valley's decisions are thwarting criminal investigations and impeding public safety." Vance's office currently holds 175 seized iPhones that remain inaccessible despite court orders allowing prosecutors to search the devices. Apple has until Tuesday to file a protest to the decision by a magistrate in California. The company's chief executive Tim Cook said the demand is dangerous and an overreach of government power. Analysts said Apple is likely to seek to invoke free speech protection measures as one of its key legal arguments to block the order. The company's defiance has led to a wide variety of supporting and opposing comments on social media, with some people calling for users to #boycottapple.

Tech giants, including Facebook, have said Apple was right to refuse a court ruling to help the FBI break into the iPhone of a California shooter. Detectives think the shooter’s phone could hold clues to the attack. “We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems,” a Facebook representative was cited by ... Read More »

Report: FBI probes Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid

The US' FBI has started an investigation into the awarding of the 2006 soccer World Cup to Germany, the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" reports. A mysterious payment to FIFA, worth millions of dollars, remains the key issue. The US investigators became the third organization to look into the 2002 payment, following similar probes by Swiss authorities and German prosecutors, German daily the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" reported on Saturday. The German Football Association, DFB, reportedly paid 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros, $7.2 million) to FIFA in 2002, two years after the country's successful World Cup bid. It is unclear who received the money, and the purpose of the payment remains disputed. After the scandal broke last October, DFB President Wolfsgang Niersbach said that the sum was needed to unlock a much larger FIFA grant for the 2006 World Cup. FIFA has rejected the explanation. Additionally, the funds themselves did not originate from DFB, but from the late CEO of German sports equipment company Adidas, Robert Louis-Dreyfus. He received the money back in 2005. World Cup organizers allegedly filed the funds as payment for a non-existing FIFA-Gala. German state attorneys suspect that DFB officials attempted to evade taxes by falsely declaring its purpose. According to the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" report, the FBI is concerned with the parallels between the 2002 payment and an alleged $10 million bribe to disgraced FIFA representative Jack Warner in 2008. Warner is suspected of receiving money from the organizers of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The investigators were also alarmed by indications of another deal between Warner and German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, (pictured above) allegedly drafted just days before Germany was awarded the World Cup in the tight 2000 vote. The DFB is currently without an elected president, after Niersbach stepped down in November to take "political responsibility" for the affair. Both Niersbach and Beckenbauer have denied any wrongdoing.

The US’ FBI has started an investigation into the awarding of the 2006 soccer World Cup to Germany, the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” reports. A mysterious payment to FIFA, worth millions of dollars, remains the key issue. The US investigators became the third organization to look into the 2002 payment, following similar probes by Swiss authorities and German prosecutors, German daily the ... Read More »

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