Trump lawyer Giuliani calls on Mueller to end Russia probe: ‘Wrap the damn thing up’

Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump’s lawyers, said Wednesday that the president’s legal team is focused on encouraging special counsel Robert Mueller to end his Russia investigation. “Our strategy is … to do everything we can to try to convince Mueller to wrap the damn thing up, and if he’s got anything, show us,” Giuliani … Continue reading “Trump lawyer Giuliani calls on Mueller to end Russia probe: ‘Wrap the damn thing up’”

Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump’s lawyers, said Wednesday that the president’s legal team is focused on encouraging special counsel Robert Mueller to end his Russia investigation.

“Our strategy is … to do everything we can to try to convince Mueller to wrap the damn thing up, and if he’s got anything, show us,” Giuliani told Yahoo News in a phone interview. “If he doesn’t have anything, you know, write your report, tell us what you have, and we’ll deal with it. He can’t prosecute him [Trump]. All he can do is write a report about him, so write the g–damned thing and get it over with now.”

Giuliani said he believes there is no further reason to probe into Russian efforts to influence the election in Trump's favor.

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“I’ve seen their questions. There’s nothing to look at. They could look at collusion for the next 30 years and, unless they get somebody to lie, they’re not going to find any evidence of it because it didn’t happen,” Giuliani said.

“I think he’s desperately trying to come up with some smoke and mirrors so he can say there’s some form of collusion. I don’t think he can do it,” Giuliani said of Mueller. “I saw a prosecutor that was on a fishing expedition as opposed to somebody that has a solid piece of evidence and wants to nail you with it. It’s like something you’d do at a beginning of a case, not the end.”

“I saw a prosecutor that was on a fishing expedition as opposed to somebody that has a solid piece of evidence and wants to nail you with it."

— Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for President Trump

READ: MICHAEL COHEN SENTENCING MEMO FILED BY PROSECUTORS

He suggested a crime could have taken place only if Trump was directly involved in efforts by Russia to hack Democrats’ emails during the 2016 campaign. U.S. intelligence agencies have said the Kremlin orchestrated hacking efforts to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump.

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Giuliani’s comments came hours after Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in relation to several charges, including lying to Congress about a tower Trump sought to build in Moscow, tax evasion and making payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

“The president’s not a lawyer. The simple fact is that it’s not a criminal violation of the campaign finance law,” said Giuliani of the alleged payments.

During FBI raids, agents seized tapes made by Cohen of conversations with Trump and others.

“Cohen is a completely dishonorable person. … I’ve never heard of a lawyer that tape-recorded their client without the client’s permission, and I’ve known some pretty scummy lawyers,” Giuliani said. “You don’t exist very long in the legal profession if you go around taping your client.”

"I’ve never heard of a lawyer that tape-recorded their client without the client’s permission, and I’ve known some pretty scummy lawyers."

— Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for President Trump

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He also chimed in on Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, though Manafort was accused by Mueller last month of violating the terms of the agreement by lying about contacts he had with the Trump administration.

MUELLER FILING: MANAFORT LIED ABOUT CONTACTS WITH TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS

“In Manafort’s case, they really should give up at this point. I mean, how much do you want to do to the guy? Do you want to waterboard him? I mean, come on, you have him in solitary confinement," Giuliani said. "They take him out every other day. He knows exactly what he has to say to get out, but he says, you know, ‘I’m not going to say it because it’s not true.’ Gee, is it possible maybe he’s right — it isn’t true?”

Judge in Flynn case orders Mueller to turn over interview docs after bombshell claim of FBI pressure

One day after former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's legal team made the bombshell allegation that the FBI had pushed him not to bring a lawyer to his fateful Jan. 24, 2017 interview with agents at the White House, the federal judge overseeing Flynn's criminal case is demanding answers from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller late Wednesday to turn over all of the government's documents and "memoranda" related to Flynn's questioning. The extraordinary demand puts Mueller under the microscope, and sets a 3:00 p.m. EST Friday deadline for the special counsel's office to produce the sensitive FBI documents.

Sullivan — who overturned the 2008 conviction of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens after government misconduct came to light — is weighing how to sentence Flynn, who pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal authorities during the 2017 interview in the West Wing. Flynn faced mounting legal bills that forced him to sell his home amid the prosecution, and Mueller has already recommended he receive no prison time.

The judge's brief order states that Mueller can choose to file the materials under seal if necessary.

Sullivan also ordered the Flynn team to turn over the documents backing up its assertions. The judge could determine why the FBI apparently took a significantly more aggressive tack in handling the Flynn interview than it did during other similar matters, including the agency's sit-downs with Hillary Clinton and ex-Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.

Flynn is set to be sentenced next Tuesday — but Sullivan's move might delay that date, or lead to other dramatic and unexpected changes in the case. Sullivan even has the authority to toss Flynn's guilty plea and the charge against him if he concludes that the FBI interfered with Flynn's constitutional right to counsel, although he has given no indications that he intends to do so.

Rep. Gaetz: McCabe might be Loch Ness Monster of the Swamp

Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee says the former Deputy Director of FBI Andrew McCabe should not be granted immunity before testifying under oath.

Federal authorities undertaking a national security probe are ordinarily under no obligation to inform interviewees of their right to an attorney unless they are in custody, as long as agents do not act coercively. Flynn's lawyers claimed in Tuesday's filing that FBI brass had threatened to escalate the matter to involve the Justice Department if Flynn sought the advice of the White House Counsel before talking with agents.

Sullivan, first appointed a judge by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and then to the D.C. federal bench by Bill Clinton in 1994, could also assess why the two FBI agents who interviewed Flynn — including fired anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok — would have provided an Aug. 22, 2017 date on their so-called "302" report documenting what Flynn told them during their conversation at the White House.

The August date on the FBI 302 cited by the Flynn team is nearly seven months after the Flynn interview took place, and about a week after reports surfaced that Strzok had been summarily removed from Mueller's Russia probe because his persistent anti-Trump communications had surfaced.

So-called 302 reports are ostensibly contemporaneous accounts by agents of what is said during their interviews with witnesses and subjects, as well as other critical details like interviewees' demeanor and descriptions of where the interview took place. They are often critical pieces of evidence in false statements cases where, as in the Flynn case, the FBI typically does not audio- or video-record interviews.

FEDERAL JUDGE 'SHOCKED' AND 'DUMBFOUNDED' BY FBI ACTIONS IN HILLARY PROBE, SAYS STATE DEPT LIED TO COVER FOR CLINTONS

In June, Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C, charged that the FBI may have "edited and changed" key witness reports in the Hillary Clinton and Russia investigations. Meadows also raised the possibility that the FBI misled the Department of Justice watchdog in an attempt to hide the identities of FBI employees who were caught sending anti-Trump messages along with Strzok.

In this image made from a video taken on Dec. 10, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, US President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow.  (The Associated Press)

Flynn "clearly saw the FBI agents as allies," according to the 302 prepared by Strzok and another agent.

In a lengthy court filing Tuesday, Flynn's attorneys alleged that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pushed Flynn not to have an attorney present during the questioning that ultimately led to his guilty plea on a single charge of lying to federal authorities.

The document outlines, with striking new details, the rapid sequence of events that led to Flynn's sudden fall from the Trump administration.

While Flynn is among several Trump associates to have been charged with making false statements as part of the Russia probe, no one interviewed during the FBI’s Clinton email investigation was hit with false statement charges – though investigators believed some witnesses, including Clinton herself, were untruthful.

FALSE STATEMENT CHARGES ABOUND IN MUELLER PROBE, IN CONTRAST TO CLINTON CASE

According to Flynn's legal team, FBI agents in his case deliberately did not instruct Flynn that any false statements he made could constitute a crime, and decided not to "confront" him directly about anything he said that contradicted their knowledge of his wiretapped communications with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying about whether he had talked to Kislyak in December 2016 about whether Kislyak would help limit the Russian government's response to President Obama's recently imposed sanctions against Russia for election meddling. Flynn also allegedly said he could not remember Kislyak's response, which was that Russian would not immediately retaliate in response to Obama's sanctions in the final weeks of his administration.

If “Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used, … to try to refresh his recollection," FBI agents wrote in the 302 report cited by the filing, which Sullivan has ordered both the Flynn team and the FBI to produce by Friday. "If Flynn still would not confirm what he said, … they would not confront him or talk him through it.”

‘A Really Sad Commentary’: Gingrich Blasts ‘Patently Fraudulent’ Comey After Testimony

According to the 302 as described in the filing, Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” as he gave the agents a "little tour" of his West Wing office.

McCabe — who was fired earlier this year for making unauthorized media leaks and violating FBI policy – wrote in a memorandum that shortly after noon on Jan. 24, 2017, he called Flynn on his secure line at the White House, and the two briefly discussed an unrelated FBI training session at the White House. Quickly, the conversation turned to a potential interview, according to an account provided by McCabe cited in the Tuesday filing.

McCabe reportedly testified later that the agents, after speaking with Flynn, “didn’t think he was lying" at the time.

HOW THE FBI MADE INCORRECT ASSURANCES TO THE FISA COURT TO OBTAIN A SECRET WARRANT TO SURVEIL TRUMP AIDE CARTER PAGE

In his order, Sullivan requested Mueller turn over not only the Flynn 302, but also a memo written by McCabe and any similar documents in the FBI's possession. Sullivan similarly demanded that Flynn's lawyers produce the McCabe memorandum and 302 they used to make their assertions.

Mueller has signaled he is wrapping up his probe into the Trump campaign’s communications with Russians. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

(Separately, Sullivan ruled last month that Clinton must answer more questions under oath about her use of a private email server to store classified documents. But the hard-charging judge has not been easy on the Trump administration: In August, he threatened to hold then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court when he learned that authorities were in the process of deporting a woman and her child while a court heard her legal appeal, calling immigration officials' actions "pretty outrageous.")

JEROME CORSI: MUELLER WANTED ME TO LIE

McCabe purportedly said in the memo that he told Flynn he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” to discuss his contacts with Russian officials.

“I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only," McCabe wrote, according to the Flynn filing. "I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House Counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [General Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants."

Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page and fired FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok exchanged anti-Trump text messages during their time at the bureau. (AP, File)

Explaining why Flynn was not warned about the possible consequences of making false statements, one of the agents wrote in the 302 cited by Flynn's lawyers that FBI brass had "decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport."

FBI OFFICIALS IMPROPERLY RECEIVED SPORTS TICKETS FROM REPORTERS, DOJ WATCHDOG FINDS

The tactics were apparently in sharp contrast to the FBI's approach to interviewing former Trump aide George Papadopoulos, who also pleaded guilty to making false statements and was recently released from prison. In a court filing last year, Special Counsel Mueller's team took pains to note that FBI agents who interviewed Papadopoulos on Jan. 27, 2017 — just days after the Flynn interview – had advised Papadopoulos that "lying to them 'is a federal offense'" and that he could get "in trouble" if he did not tell the truth.

The revelations in the court filing, if accurate, would also sharply differ from the FBI's handling of its interview with then-presidential candidate Clinton in 2016, during the height of the presidential campaign. Clinton brought a total of nine lawyers to her interview — a number that fired FBI Director James Comey said was "unusual … but not unprecedented" in House testimony in September.

Roger Stone: Mueller has examined every aspect of my life

Roger Stone, former campaign adviser to President Trump, addresses the American Priority Conference in Washington, D.C.

A scathing report released earlier this year by the Department of Justice's inspector general (IG) found that the FBI had taken actions "inconsistent with typical investigative strategy" by allowing former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson to sit in on the Clinton interview — even though "they had also both served as lawyers for Clinton after they left the State Department."

FLYNN HAS PROVIDED 'SUBSTANTIAL ASSISTANCE' ON CRIMINAL PROBE, MUELLER WRITES

In fact, the IG wrote, FBI officials fretted about how many FBI representatives should be at the interview, for fear of prejudicing Clinton against the agency if, as expected, she went on to become president.

“[S]he might be our next president," FBI attorney Lisa Page wrote, in urging that the number of people at the interview be limited to four or six. "The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?”

The IG report further noted: “Witnesses told us, and contemporaneous emails show, that the FBI and Department officials who attended Clinton’s interview found that her claim that she did not understand the significance of the ‘(C)’ marking strained credulity. (FBI) Agent 1 stated, ‘I filed that in the bucket of hard to impossible to believe.’"

Corsi: Mueller wanted me to lie

Jerome Corsi filed 78-page ‘criminal and ethics’ complaint against Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

FBI MAY HAVE MODIFIED 302 REPORTS AFTER-THE-FACT, GOP REP SAYS

Strzok, who was one of the two agents who interviewed Flynn and who was later also fired for violating FBI policies, had compromised the FBI's appearance of impartiality by sending a slew of anti-Trump texts on his government-issued phone, the IG concluded.

“In particular, we were concerned about text messages exchanged by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director, that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations,” the IG report said.

In one of those texts, Strzok wrote to Page in 2016 that Trump would not become president because "we'll stop" it from happening.

SEVEN BOMBSHELL REVELATIONS IN SCATHING IG REPORT INTO FBI, DOJ MISCONDUCT DURING CLINTON, RUSSIA PROBES

"Even when circumstances later came to light that prompted extensive public debate about the investigation of General Flynn, including revelations that certain FBI officials involved in the January 24 interview of General Flynn were themselves being investigated for misconduct, General Flynn did not back away from accepting responsibility for his actions," Flynn's lawyers wrote in the filing Tuesday.

FILE – In this Jan. 28, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (The Associated Press)

Flynn was fired as national security adviser in February 2017 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his contacts with Russian officials. In arguing that Flynn should receive no more than a year of probation and 200 hours of community service for making false statements to federal investigators, his lawyers Tuesday emphasized his service in the U.S. Army and lack of criminal record.

In a sentencing memo earlier this month, Mueller recommended a lenient sentence — with the possibility of no prison time — for Flynn, stating he has offered "substantial" help to investigators about "several ongoing investigations."

Meanwhile, Comey revealed in closed-door testimony with House Republicans on Friday that he deliberately concealed an explosive memorandum about his one-on-one Oval Office meeting with President Trump in February 2017 from top Department of Justice officials.

Trump: There was collusion between Hillary, Dems and Russia

President Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of collusion with Russia during Pennsylvania rally.

The former FBI head also acknowledged that when the agency initiated its counterintelligence probe into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government in July 2016, investigators "didn't know whether we had anything" and that "in fact, when I was fired as director [in May 2017], I still didn't know whether there was anything to it."

His remarks square with testimony this summer from former FBI lawyer Page, whose anti-Trump texts became a focus of House GOP oversight efforts. Page told Congress in a closed-door deposition that "even as far as May 2017" — more than nine months after the counterintelligence probe commenced – "we still couldn't answer the question" as to whether Trump staff had improperly colluded with Russia.

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.

Feds offer dramatic details on FBI agent’s shooting in Brooklyn

The feds provided a vivid, blow-by-blow account Monday of the broad-daylight ambush shooting of an FBI agent in Brooklyn.

Reputed Crips gang member Ronell Watson drove a BMW M5 the wrong way on Canarsie Road and blocked in the agent’s car, got out, went up to the driver’s-side door and began blasting when the agent tried to get away, court papers say.

The unidentified agent was hit “by at least one round and suffered a gunshot wound to his torso,” but got out of the car and returned fire, hitting Watson at least once before Watson hopped back in the BMW and drove off.

Law enforcement sources have said the agent and two other feds in his car were conducting a gang-related stakeout at the time of the shooting Saturday afternoon.

Watson dumped the car at a nearby auto-body shop and later showed up for treatment at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, where he claimed to have been an innocent bystander shot during a gunfight, according to the feds.

But law enforcement officers overheard him call his live-in girlfriend, Molissa Gangapersad, and tell her to go to their house and “get the jewelry and get rid of it,” court papers allege.

When FBI agents went to interview Gangapersad, she allegedly claimed not to have seen the shooting — but the feds say she changed her tune when she was confronted with surveillance video that shows her on the front porch of their house, with a clear view of the incident at the time it occurred.

A search of their home allegedly turned up 1 and a half pounds of pot, $15,000 in cash and “large amounts of jewelry” stashed in their bedroom.

Brooklyn US Attorney Richard Donoghue personally appeared in court Monday to successfully argue that Watson should be held without bail, calling him “a gun-wielding, drug-dealing gang member who shot an FBI agent in broad daylight.”

Donoghue said the evidence against Watson includes multiple videos of the shooting.

Law enforcement sources have said that Watson was driven to the hospital by Hector Amissah, 31, who wasn’t charged on Monday.

The Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office wouldn’t say why or whether Amissah was cooperating with authorities.

Gangapersad was released on $500,000 bond, but neither she nor any of the defense lawyers in the case would comment.

Click here for more from The New York Post.

Trump blasts ‘Leakin’ James Comey’ following former FBI chief’s testimony on Capitol Hill

President Trump started off Sunday morning with a series of tweets slamming former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony last week during a closed-door questioning in front of Congress.

“On 245 occasions, former FBI Director James Comey told House investigators he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked,” Trump tweeted. “Opened investigations on 4 Americans (not 2) – didn’t know who signed off and didn’t know Christopher Steele. All lies!”

Steele is the former British intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 who handed over to the U.S. a dossier that alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

During the questioning, Comey said that the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia initially focused on four Americans and whether they were connected to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Comey did not identify the Americans, but said President Trump, then the Republican candidate, was not among them.

The committee released a transcript of the interview on Saturday, just 24 hours after privately grilling the fired FBI chief about investigative decisions related to Hillary Clinton's email server and Trump's campaign and potential ties to Russia. Comey largely dodged questions connected to the current Mueller-led probe, including whether his May 2017 firing by Trump constituted obstruction of justice.

The Republican-led committee interviewed Comey as part of its investigation into FBI actions in 2016, a year when the bureau — in the heat of the presidential campaign — recommended against charges for Clinton and opened an investigation into Russian interference in the election.

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The questioning largely centered on well-covered territory from a Justice Department inspector general report, Comey's own book and interviews and hours of public testimony on Capitol Hill. But the former FBI chief also used the occasion to take aim at Trump's frequent barbs at the criminal justice system, saying "we have become numb to lying and attacks on the rule of law by the president," as well as Trump's contention that it should be a crime for subjects to "flip" and cooperate with investigators.

"It's a shocking suggestion coming from any senior official, no less the president. It's a critical and legitimate part of the entire justice system in the United States," Comey said.

In another tweet on Sunday, Trump accused Comey of lying and said the Russia investigation was “a Rigged Fraud."

“Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful!” Trump 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!”

Multiple Trump associates, including his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, have pleaded guilty to lying about their interactions with Russians during the campaign and presidential transition period. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's foreign dealings, including to an associate the U.S. says has ties to Russian intelligence, also has attracted law enforcement scrutiny.

Comey reiterated to lawmakers that it was the 2016 encounter between Trump aide George Papadopoulos with a Russian intermediary in London that ignited the Russia investigation, rather than — as some Republicans have maintained — Democratic-funded opposition research compiled by a former British spy.

"It was weeks or months later that the so-called Steele dossier came to our attention," Comey said.

He said that by the time of his firing, the FBI had not come to a conclusion about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia's efforts to sway the election.

And he insisted that the FBI would recover from the president's attacks on the bureau.

"The FBI will be fine. It will snap back, as will the rest of our institutions," Comey said. "There will be short-term damage, which worries me a great deal, but in the long run, no politician, no president can, in a lasting way, damage those institutions."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comey says Trump wasn’t among ‘four Americans’ targeted in FBI probe

An FBI counterintelligence probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election initially targeted "four Americans," but not Republican nominee Donald Trump nor his campaign, according to former FBI Director James Comey.

The news was revealed Saturday in a 235-page transcript published by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., after hours of closed-door testimony by Comey on Friday.

Comey said "at least some" of the people targeted were affiliated with the Trump campaign in some form, but Trump himself was not under investigation into whether the four individuals colluded with Russia to tip the election in Trump's favor.

“We opened investigations on four Americans to see if there was any connection between those four Americans and the Russian interference effort,” Comey told Gowdy. “And those four Americans did not include the candidate. At least some of them were. The FBI and the Department of Justice have not confirmed the names of those folks publicly, which is why I'm not going into the specifics.”

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Comey told Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican, that the FBI suspected the four individuals may have helped Russia interfere in the election.

“[A]t the time a defensive briefing was done for candidate Trump, do you know if the FBI had any evidence that anyone associated with the Trump campaign had colluded or conspired or coordinated with Russia in any way?” Ratcliffe asked.

“I don't know the dates. … I don't know whether it was before late July when we opened the four counterintelligence files, or not,” Comey replied. “And so, if it was after July 29th, then the answer would be, yes, we had some reason to suspect that there were Americans who might have assisted the Russians.”

LAWYERS STOPPING COMEY FROM ANSWERING QUESTIONS IN HILL TESTIMONY, ISSA SAYS

Though the four individuals have not been named publically, ex-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos was prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and was released from prison Friday after serving 12 days. Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents.

Other Trump associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, have pleaded guilty to lying about their interactions with Russians during the campaign and presidential transition period.

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During questioning, Comey also defended Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who helped lead the bureau’s investigation. He revealed that Strzok edited a letter sent to Congress days before the election disclosing that an investigation into Hillary Clinton had been reopened.

Clinton and many Democrats have blamed the letter for her election loss to Trump.

Comey said he never saw any bias from Strzok after questioning from U.S. Rep. Steven Cohen, D-Tenn. Strzok was fired after anti-Trump texts sent by him had surfaced. Trump has seized on the messages as evidence of a conspiracy to dismantle his presidency.

“So it's hard for me to see how he was on Team Clinton secretly at that point in time,” Comey said. “If you're going to have a conspiracy theory, you've got to explain all the facts. And it's hard to reconcile his not leaking that Trump associates were under investigation and his drafting of a letter to Congress on October 28th that Secretary Clinton believed hurt her chances of being elected.”

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When asked if former President Barack Obama obstructed justice when he commented that Clinton's use of a private email server lacked criminal intent, Comey said he didn’t see it that way, but it did concern him.

“So, if it doesn't rise to the level of obstruction, how would you characterize the Chief Executive saying that the target of an investigation that was ongoing simply made a mistake and lacked the requisite criminal intent?” Gowdy asked.

“It concerns me whenever the Chief Executive comments on pending criminal investigations, something we see a lot today, which is why it concerned me when President Obama did it," Comey replied.

TRUMP TAKES AIM AT MUELLER TEAM’S ‘CONFLICTS OF INTEREST’ AS MAJOR FILINGS LOOM 

Asked if the FBI had any evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign conspired to hack the DNC server, Comey referred to Mueller’s investigation as to why he couldn’t answer.

“Did we have evidence in July of (2016) that anyone in the Trump campaign conspired to hack the DNC server?” Comey asked rhetorically. “I don't think that the FBI and special counsel want me answering questions that may relate to their investigation of Russian interference during 2016. And I worry that that would cross that line.”

He noted that anything related to Mueller’s investigation was “off-limits,” because it is an ongoing investigation.

When asked how confident was he that Mueller would conduct his investigation thoroughly, Comey replied, “There are not many things I would bet my life on. I would bet my life that Bob Mueller will do things the right way, the way we would all want, whether we're Republicans or Democrats, the way Americans should want.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Search continues for killer of North Carolina girl, 13; FBI offers $25G reward

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward as it continues searching for a suspect in the death of a 13-year-old North Carolina girl, whose body was found nearly a month after she went missing.

The body of Hania Aguilar was found in water in Robeson County on Nov. 27, about 10 miles south of the mobile home park from where she was abducted Nov. 5 after going outside to start a relative's SUV before school.

That morning, a man dressed in black pushed the girl into a family member's SUV and drove from the scene, investigators said. A witness reported hearing her scream during the altercation.

Three days later, a green Ford Expedition in question was discovered after someone spotted it in a wooded area several miles south of the girl's home. Her body was found a few miles away.

(FBI)

In Lumberton, four crime block drop boxes around the community are also allowing residents to anonymously inform police about the case, South Carolina's WPDE-TV reported.

“They can utilize these boxes. They don’t have to fear of retaliation of turning in a criminal b placing information in this box. [They] don’t have to put their name on it. We just need a lead. We need some information — some vital information," the Rev. Larry Williams told the station. "I understand that there is nothing done under the sun whereby somebody don’t know about."

Williams had developed the boxes more than 20 years ago for residents to anonymously inform law enforcement about a crime, the station reported.

Authorities vowed to continue their investigation and said their work “will not stop” until whoever is behind the teen’s disappearance is brought “to justice.”

Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Chicago alderman expects to be vindicated after federal agents raid his offices

A powerful Chicago alderman whose offices were raided Thursday by federal agents said he plans to cooperate with authorities and expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Ald. Ed Burke, 74, a former tax attorney for President Trump, made the remarks hours after about 15 agents arrived at his offices at City Hall and in the city's 14th Ward.

"I’ve been in office for 49 years. I’ve been under investigation in the past,” Burke told the news station. “Nothing has ever come of it, and I’ve always cooperated. And I’ll cooperate with whatever this investigation is," FOX 32 Chicago reported.

"I’ve been in office for 49 years. I’ve been under investigation in the past. Nothing has ever come of it, and I’ve always cooperated. And I’ll cooperate with whatever this investigation is."

— Ed Burke, Chicago alderman

No arrests were made and the nature of the raids and who was the target remained unclear. Burke is the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history and has been caught up in several investigations during his tenure.

He did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment Thursday evening.

The agents left the ward office with a cardboard file box, a computer and two computer monitors, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. It was not known what was seized from the City Hall location.

"I have no knowledge of what the U.S. Attorney has been doing," Burke said when asked what evidence agents were possibly looking for.

Burke is a partner at Klafter and Burke, a law firm that once represented President Trump in property tax cases involving the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which opened in 2009. He has filed six lawsuits on behalf of Trump.

Between 2009 and 2015, the firm saved Trump more than $14.1 million by convincing officials to lower the value of hotel rooms and retail space owned by Trump, according to the paper.

Citing “irreconcilable differences," Burke said in May that he stopped representing Trump.

As the alderman for an increasingly Hispanic ward, Burke had come under fire over his relationship with Trump.

Burke is well insulated in Chicago politics.

His wife, Anne Burke, is an Illinois Supreme Court justice. His father was influential in Democratic circles in Chicago until the 1960s and other Burke relatives have also been involved in Illinois politics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Scary ransomware attacks famous North Carolina county

A major ransomware attack has forced the shutdown of a host of IT systems at Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Officials confirmed late Wednesday that they will not pay the ransom to unlock many of the county's applications that have been frozen since Monday.

“I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves,” said County Manager Dena Diorio, in a statement. “It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible.”

Attackers gave a deadline of 1 p.m. ET Wednesday for payment of the ransom, according to news reports.

SHIPPING GIANT HIT BY CYBERATTACK, REFUSES TO PAY HACKERS' RANSOM

The hackers have demanded for the payment in bitcoin. One bitcoin is worth approximately $13,000.

Fox 46 reports that hackers froze a number of servers in the attack, preventing county official from accessing the information stored on them.

Systems affected by the shutdown span human resources, finance, parks and recreation, social services, deeds registration, assessor’s office, tax office and Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA).

In a statement released on Wednesday, the county explained that departments have implemented paper processes and other solutions to continue serving customers.

HACKER TARGETS SACRAMENTO REGIONAL TRANSIT, DELETES 30 MILLION FILES IN RANSOMWARE ATTACK

“There is no evidence at this time that personal, customer or employee information or data has been compromised,” it said. “The County is consulting with Federal, state and private stakeholders, including the FBI and Secret Service, while the County works to restore services,” it added.

Fox 46 reports that the county backs up all of its files, so information frozen by the attack will eventually be retrieved. “At this point in time, backups seem to be highly effective,” explained a Mecklenburg County official during Wednesday’s press conference.

The attack reportedly unfolded after a worker at Mecklenburg County clicked on an infected email.

HUGE 'PETYA' RANSOMWARE ATTACK HITS EUROPE, SPARKS MASS DISRUPTION

A growing number of organizations and municipalities are being targeted in ransomware attacks. U.K. shipping giant Clarkson, for example, recently fell victim to a cyberattack, but vowed not to pay a ransom to the hackers.

A hacker recently deleted 30 million files in a ransomware attack on Sacramento Regional Transit. The hacker demanded $7,000 in bitcoins via SacRT’s Facebook page, which the agency did not pay, opting instead to back up the data.

Last year, a Los Angeles hospital paid a ransom of nearly $17,000 in bitcoins to hackers who infiltrated and disabled its computer network.

Uber recently came under fire for its reported payment of $100,000 to hackers.

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Drones may be terrorists’ next tool of choice, as FBI’s Wray warns of ‘escalating threat’

The potential use of civilian drones by terrorists and other criminal groups to carry out attacks poses a “steadily escalating threat,” FBI Director Christopher Wray warned a Senate panel Wednesday.

Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Wray said groups like the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, MS-13 and Mexican drug cartels have made efforts to use commercial drones as weapons, the Daily Caller reported.

“Terrorist groups could easily export their battlefield experiences to use weaponized” drones, Wray said in written testimony.

The drones could be used for surveillance, or for chemical, biological and radiological attacks on large open-air venues or government facilities, the FBI said.

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Wray said the risk has increased since August, when drones equipped with explosives were used in an assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Wray’s testimony came days after President Trump signed legislation into law that gives the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI the ability disable or destroy drones that pose a threat to government facilities, Bloomberg News reported.

"The FBI assesses that, given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, (drones) will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering."

FBI Director Christopher Wray is seen in December 2017. (Reuters)

The drone provision amounts to an unchecked grant of authority to the government, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, adding drones could be removed from the sky for "nebulous security circumstances."

Wray noted the FBI foiled attempted drone attacks on the Pentagon and Capitol building. Rezwan Ferdaus planned to use three remote-controlled airplanes, each packed with five pounds of explosives and capable of flying 100 miles per hour, and crash them into the buildings using a GPS system.

In 2012, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Citing federal statistics, Sen. Ron Johnson, R- Wis., committee chairman, said earlier this year that the number of drone flights over sensitive areas has jumped from eight in 2013 to around 1,752 in 2016, Reuters said.

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The drone market has rapidly expanded in recent years. In January, the Federal Aviation Administration said more than 1 million have been registered in the U.S.

Companies such as Amazon, FedEx Corp. and Uber have embraced the new technology as it looks to expand its delivery options.

David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski: This is how the Deep State is undermining President Trump

When the Mueller report is finally released—if it ever is released—the Fake News will crawl over it like ants at a picnic. But the one angle they won’t write about is how the deep state played them like a fiddle.

The trick is called “circular sourcing,” and the FBI, under the leadership of people like James Comey, Andy McCabe, and Peter Strzok, brought it to an artform.

The scheme works like this: the deep state leaks stories to the media, then takes action—applies for warrants, initiates investigations, and perhaps partisan impeachment efforts–based on the planted stories as if they’d come out of thin air. Most times, the “evidence” and sourcing in the stories are so thin you can see right through them. And yet, the scheme worked time and again.

For example, the largest investigation against a sitting president in our nation’s history would begin because of a dishonest media leak—one committed by James Comey himself. As we write in our new book, “Trump’s Enemies,” Comey had an agenda from the start. He came into Trump Tower on January 7, 2017 for what was supposed to be a short briefing on Russian hacking. Under his arm, the former FBI chief carried a copy of the infamous phony Steele dossier, a collection of salacious and unverified documents that purported to link Donald Trump to Russia. That document had been sitting on the desks of media organizations for months, who then viewed Steele’s information as too outrageous to publish (maybe the last time they showed an ethical spine). But when James Comey dropped the dossier on the desk in front of President-elect Trump, it went from an obvious pack of lies to “a document that was presented to the president-elect during an official briefing.” The media had no choice but to report it. Buzzfeed published the dossier in full the next day, and CNN soon followed suit, as Comey knew they would, thus bringing the collusion hoax to the public.

“We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review,” stated the DOJ’s Inspector General report back in June.

As is often the case with the FBI, the deeper you dig, the worse it gets. In 2016, months before James Comey dropped the dossier in Trump Tower, Peter Strzok was going after Donald Trump with a vengeance—and using circular sourcing to do it. Strzok had long wanted to go after Carter Page, a low-level volunteer on the Donald Trump for President campaign; he figured he was the FBI’s best shot at framing Trump for a Russia connection. But to spy on him, they would need a warrant, and a warrant required evidence, which they didn’t have.

So, Strzok dug up a Yahoo! News article that suggested Carter Page might have ties to Russia, then used it to apply for a FISA warrant against him. When it was granted, the FBI had free reign to “tap the wires” at Trump Tower. Strzok didn’t mention that the sole source of the article was none other than Christopher Steele, the disgraced former spy who wrote the phony dossier.

Shortly afterward, he had Lisa Page, his lover, leak stories to The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, this time to say that the FBI was looking into Carter Page’s ties to Russia—the very thing they were trying (unsuccessfully) to prove in the first place! Once again the ruse worked, and Carter Page was forced to testify about a few banal meetings he had in Russia, which, to no one’s surprise, weren’t illegal in the slightest.

Dig deeper and the examples pile up like a stack of indictments. “We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review,” stated the DOJ’s Inspector General report back in June. To make matters worse, the practice was not only systemic but transactional. The Inspector General’s office also “identified instances where FBI employees improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golf outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events.”

But it was in politics where the greatest sins were committed: Andrew McCabe planting a story to disguise the fact that the Clintons were giving money to his wife’s political campaign, and James Comey leaking fabricated memos so that a special counsel would be appointed.

If that rogue element of the FBI believes they’ll get away with the scheme forever, however, they have another thing coming, No one knows this better than President Donald Trump. This September the president gave us an exclusive interview for our book. In the Oval Office, we asked him who he thought were his greatest enemies. He wasted no time in naming both the Fake News and the rogue agents at the FBI mentioned above, discussing their crimes and possible repercussions for them in detail.

“The American people haven’t been fooled,” he told us. “They’ve been the opposite of fooled. The American people are wide awake.”

David N. Bossie and Corey R. Lewandowski are the co-authors of “Trump’s Enemies, How the Deep State is Undermining the Presidency.”